10 Tips for Universal Orlando’s Volcano Bay Reopening

Yesterday, we shared our top tips for the reopening of Universal Orlando’s main theme parks. Today, we’re bringing you some photos and tips for the fabulous Volcano Bay water park, where “water is life…and life is joy”!

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

Before you venture out to begin your carefree island life at Volcano Bay – home of the Waturi, according to legend – you’ll need to know a few important things:

1) Social distancing markers are located everywhere and you’ll want to be aware of them. You should also be prepared to know your temperature will be taken. Lastly, masks are required by everyone – guests and Team Members alike – BUT not to worry! Once you enter the park, you may remove them to enjoy your day, not to mention the soothing waves of Waturi Beach!

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

2) Unless staying onsite at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, which has a private entrance to Volcano Bay, buses will help you embark on your journey. Onboard, you’ll be seated 6 feet apart by a Team Member and masks are required.

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

3) Island signage abounds, so no need to take notes! ; )

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

4) Once you arrive at the entrance to Volcano Bay, masks are still required by all and you’ll be welcomed plus provided with your own sanitized, waterproof TapuTapu wearable – designed specifically and exclusively for use in Volcano Bay. With its Virtual Line and TapTu Play capabilities, TapuTapu allows you to live on Waturi time and feel as one with the island’s carefree way of life.  The only difference is, you’ll receive yours from a Team Member who is masked and gloved;  and just as before, Tapu Tapu’s are yours to use for the day!

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

5) Once inside, the fun and relaxation truly begins as masks are only required beyond this point by the lockers, at food venues, or in merchandise stores; just be aware the Waturi respectfully request you maintain social distancing in these areas as well.

In the larger restaurants with seating areas, parties are seated one at a time and at an appropriate distance from everyone else, and Team Members are carefully sanitizing the tables at all venues after each use as well!

Courtesy of Derek Funk

6) The Waturi have a new rule: only 10 guests are permitted at a time in the locker area, so visitors are asked to send one guest from your group in with your belongings. Lockers are also yours for the day!

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

7) Here among the sparkling waters, even life jackets are replaced after each use and taken away by a Team Member for proper sanitizing before reuse.

Courtesy of Derek Funk

8) We are happy to report you can still kick your visit up a notch by renting a private cabana for up to 10 people! Relax, unwind and enjoy the charms of your own personal cabana space in paradise with extra-comfy seating, concierge service and more. Each retreat offers padded lounge chairs, a small refrigerator stocked with bottled water, complimentary fruit and snack basket, towel and locker service, plus concierge service with an exclusive menu of food and drink delivered directly to the cabana. Who can ask for anything more?

Well, there is one thing…

Courtesy of Derek Funk

9) Ice Cream! Koka Poroka is Volcano Bay’s ice cream stand and is renowned for offering this Waturi fusion of flavor! PRO TIP: Don’t miss this delicious treat!

Courtesy of Derek Funk

10) Volcano Bay is THE perfect place to visit in the Florida Summer sun…as masks are not required in the pools, while relaxing on your loungers, or while exploring! You’ll truly enjoy an immersive water theme park full of thrills, relaxation, and one-of-a-kind attractions in a beautiful, tropical setting.

Courtesy of Derek Funk

We’d like to give a BIG shout out to thank our FABULOUS Universal Orlando Representative, Derek Funk, for all of the great photos and information we’ve shared with you yesterday and today, and hope you enjoyed this virtual tour!

Contact Vacations with Character® and let us help you plan your escape! Visit https://universalvacationplanners.com/ for more information or to reach out and drop us a line!

Authorized Universal Orlando Travel Professional
Vacations with Character is proud to have the distinction of being an Authorized Vacation Planner for Universal Orlando and Universal Hollywood

10 Tips for Universal Orlando’s Reopening

Universal Orlando Resort is officially open! We’re excited to take you on a walk with us as we show you what you can expect from line queues to meet and greets to dining and more in this first phase of reopening. Read on for 10 Tips on what to expect!

Universal’s Iconic Globe / Photo Credit Derek Funk

1) Whether you travel to the park via resort buses or personal car, social distancing space is always maintained (even in the parking lot by skipping a space between cars).

2) Upon arrival, you’re greeted with new and clear signage as well as ground markers to enforce the new guidelines for all guest’s health and safety.  It’s at this point ALL guests are required to pass a temperature screening before heading into the security area and through the metal detectors!

Universal’s New Signage / Photo Credit Derek Funk
Universal’s New Floor Signs / Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

3) All of the line queue have also been updated with social distancing markers to ensure guests are 6 feet apart. Here is how Hagrids line looks; these markers continue throughout the queues for all attractions.

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

4) Hand sanitizer is being given out by a Team Member before experiencing an attraction.

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

FUN FACT: Hagrids carts are actually 6 feet apart so they will NOT be skipping every other cart and from what we have been reassured, it’s very easy to ride a coaster with a well fitting mask. Don’t worry if you lose yours, Universal has complimentary, disposable masks they will supply you with!

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

5) Many attractions are being added to a new Virtual Line Pass, which is a nice surprise especially for fans of Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure!

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

Don’t have access to the Universal Mobile app? They’ve got you covered! You’ll notice the creation of Virtual Line Kiosks:

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

6) While the parks were closed, Universal has been very busy! You’ll notice some upgrades, such as the new Raptor Encounter, including a new baby friend who can’t wait to meet you! ♥

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk
Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

7) Speaking of meeting our friends, everyone loves greeting their favorite characters and Universal has, thankfully, found a creative way! You’ll have to wear a mask and take a selfie within social distancing guidelines (notice the ground marker) but you’ll still have a great new photo op with your pals!

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk
Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk
Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

We ♥ the Spongebob Photo Op and give it 2 fins up!

8) As for dining, upon entrance you’re greeted with a hand sanitizer dispenser and will be seated for social distancing. Ordering and paying will be done from the mobile app.  Eventually, the mobile app will be updated with the dining plan but until then (and if you don’t have a mobile phone) ONE person from your party will walk up and go through the line to order and pay at the register (with your mask on, of course). This is a photo of Louie’s:

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

UPDATED 6/5/2020:
9) Another important detail to know: if a ride has a virtual line available, that is the only way you can currently experience that attraction. So, if you do not have a virtual line reservation you will not be permitted to ride. Currently we are also being told you will not be able to book more than TWO  virtual line time at once but we’ll keep you updated if that changes! (Previously, it was said to be one.)

Photo Courtesy of Derek Funk

10) We have a list of all of the most pertinent details regarding operational procedures from screening to sanitization. Please visit our website for more information by clicking here!

We hope you enjoyed our virtual tour and tips.  Are you ready and excited to visit? Contact Vacations with Character® and let’s talk about your next amazing getaway to Universal! We have some special savings to tell you about including discounts on tickets, plus we are EXPERTS when it comes to Universal vacations. Visit us at our main website for a free quote: https://universalvacationplanners.com/ or reach out and drop us a line!

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Vacations with Character is proud to have the distinction of being an Authorized Vacation Planner for Universal Orlando and Universal Hollywood

Top 5 Updates for Walt Disney World

It’s been a busy week for Disney Destinations and we thought we’d share the top 5 things you might want to know about!
Courtesy of Disney Travel News
1) Three new films will debut Jan. 17, 2020, at Epcot, on the same day the Epcot International Festival of the Arts begins!

“Awesome Planet”, in The Land pavilion, showcases the Earth’s beauty and diversity in a 10-minute film featuring spectacular imagery, in-theater effects and an original musical score from Academy Award-winning® composer Steven Price.

“Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along”, in the France pavilion, is directed and produced by Don Hahn, producer of the animated and live-action “Beauty and the Beast” films, and invites Guests to participate in a twist on a tale as old as time. It also features narration from Angela Lansbury, who played Mrs. Potts in the original film. The new sing-along will run in rotation with “Impressions de France,” which will receive an upgrade to 4K projection.

And “Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360”, in the Canada pavilion, is an update to the previous “O Canada!” film with new scenes, a new musical score by Canadian composer Andrew Lockington and new narration by award-winning actors Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy.

2) We were given a “first look” inside Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at Epcot!
Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Chef Remy is cooking up something special at Epcot®, and Walt Disney Imagineering is hard at work developing a new attraction for the park’s France pavilion, Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure, planned to open in summer 2020. Based on Disney and Pixar’s hit film, “Ratatouille,” this family-friendly attraction will invite you to shrink down to the scale of a rat for a culinary adventure with Chef Remy. You will race across Gusteau’s kitchen floor aboard special trackless ride vehicles, which you can see in the image at the top of this post.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure is one of several new experiences coming to Epcot as part of the park’s historic transformation already underway.

3) New Details were revealed on restaurants coming to Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios:

Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

The new fast-casual restaurant, opening this winter at The American Adventure in Epcot, will serve classic barbecue and home-style craft brews. When Guests step into the pavilion, they’ll be greeted by the enticing aromas of barbecue coming from a large smoker located in the center of the outdoor bar and seating area. Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue will celebrate American backyard barbecue with flavors from different regions around the United States.

Space 220 Restaurant

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Space 220 is a new table-service restaurant debuting this winter at Epcot next to Mission: SPACE. Imagine entering a restaurant and stepping into a special space elevator that will take you 220 miles above the earth’s surface, offering incredible celestial views! Doesn’t this sound amazing? You’ll feel as if you’re traveling straight up into space to dock next to the Centauri Space Station suspended just beyond the orbit of Mission: SPACE. We can’t wait for the journey!

Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Coming in 2020 to Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a new table-service restaurant that invites you to a rootin’, tootin’ rodeo right in Andy’s back yard! Here, you’ll be immersed with all your favorite toy pals in the western atmosphere of Woody’s Roundup providing a fun, family-friendly dining experience that could only be had in Toy Story Land. A new artist concept image (see above) emphasizes the theme of the new dining locale constructed from Andy’s favorite larger-than-life play sets and games.

4) JUST ANNOUNCED: Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser to Debut in 2021 at Walt Disney World Resort
Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will begin transporting Guests from Walt Disney World® Resort in Florida to a galaxy far, far away beginning in 2021. This is a new type of immersive vacation that only Disney could create – a two-night, cruise-style itinerary where you become the hero of your own adventure in an experience that surrounds you 24/7 in Star Wars storytelling.

In a new artist concept rendering just released (above), you get a first look at what you’ll see when you arrive for your Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser vacation. The Galactic Starcruiser Terminal is where you’ll begin your Star Wars experience!

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Whether you show up via personal vehicle, Disney transportation or by landspeeder, curb-side check-in prepares you to leave Earth behind, jump to lightspeed and begin your Star Wars story. From the Starcruiser Terminal, Guests will enter an exclusive launch pod transport ship (above) for travel up to the Halcyon, the starcruiser in a galaxy far, far away. Through the pod’s viewports, it looks as though you’re traveling through space to approach the massive ship that is much too large to land on any planet.

A “spaceport of call” to Black Spire Outpost is included in the itinerary, where special passenger transports take you to the planet Batuu (also known as the destination for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®). You’ll remain fully in-story as you step aboard the transport ships designed specifically for this new immersive experience, which take you from Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and back.  For Star Wars fans, this promises to be an amazing experience like no other and we’ll be reporting on all the future details as they are announced.

5) The groundbreaking new Disney attraction Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance is officially open at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios® – and we’re excited to say Guests are loving it! See for yourself:

Stay tuned to our blog for updates and information to come or to book your next vacation to experience a Disney Destination and see what all the hype is about! Our services are free for our clients but our experience and expertise are priceless! www.vacationswithcharacter.com

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Vacations with Character® has earned the distinction of being an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner

Disney Parks Salutes U.S. Military with Special Ticket Offers, Room Rates in 2020

Disney Destinations continues to honor active-duty and retired members of the U.S. military with special offers on theme park admissions and resort stays at Walt Disney World® Resort for most dates in 2020
Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Before we get started with all the details, on behalf of everyone at Vacations with Character®, we would just like to take a moment to say “Thank You for your service!” We are honored to share the following discounts and information with you.

Special Ticket Offers:

Members of the U.S. Military can choose between 4-Day, 5-Day, and, new for 2020, 6-Day Military Salute Tickets. A 4-Day ticket costs $265, a 5-Day ticket costs $283, and a 6-Day ticket costs $301. The Park Hopper Option is included on all Military Salute Tickets, and the Park Hopper Plus Option can be added to each ticket for $50. Prices are the same for both children and adults. Tickets must be used during the period from January 1, 2020 through December 18, 2020.

You can purchase tickets at U.S. Military Bases tax free! Military Salute tickets will also be available to purchase at Walt Disney World Resort theme park ticket windows beginning January 1, 2020, however, tax is added to the price of the tickets when purchasing at Walt Disney World theme park ticket windows. A valid military ID is required at time of purchase.

For a list of Eligible Service Members and offer details about 2020 Military Salute Tickets, click here.

Accommodations and Packages:

You can also enjoy great rates at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels for stays most nights January 1 through April 4 and April 19 through December 18, 2020 when booked by December 18, 2020*.  A Disney Dining Plan can also be added to any room to create a ticketless package as well. Your favorite Vacations with Character Travel Agent would be happy to provide a quote or to book these rates on your behalf.

Note: Valid Military ID will be required upon check-in and military member (or spouse) must stay in the room.

For a list of Eligible Service Members and room offer details, click here.

Memory Maker Discount:

Memory Maker will also be available for a special price of $98 from January 1, 2020 through December 18, 2020 and can only be purchased at Walt Disney World theme park ticket windows.  

Disneyland Discounts:

Disneyland® Resort Military Salute Tickets will go on sale beginning November 5, 2019. Special room rates are now available for booking at Disneyland® Resort as well.

Here are some other important details you should know: 

  • Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased at participating U.S. military sales outlets by Eligible Service Members (defined below) or their spouses (but not both), for use by themselves and family members and friends, as provided herein. These Tickets may not be otherwise transferred, distributed or resold. 
  • “Eligible Service Members” are active or retired members of the U.S. Military, including the National Guard, Reservists, the U.S. Coast Guard, the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service (PHS), and the Commissioned Corps of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Spouses of Military Service Members also qualify if they are able to present valid and active U.S. Military IDs in the absence of active or retired Military Personnel or Commissioned Corps Members. 
  • The actual prices charged at the individual U.S. military base ticket offices for Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be less than the prices set forth above. 
  • Participating military sales outlets must require that Eligible Service Members (or their spouses) present valid military identification to purchase Disney Military Promotional Tickets. 
  • Subject to certain exceptions, Disney 4-Day, 5-Day and 6-Day Military Promotional Tickets for admission to the Walt Disney World Resort are not valid until activated by the Eligible Services Members (or their spouses) at Walt Disney World theme park ticket windows. 
  • Tickets and options expire and may not be used after December 18, 2020. Valid military identification will be required for purchase and use. 
  • No more than six (6) Disney Military Promotional Tickets may be purchased and (if applicable) activated by any Eligible Service Member or spouse (regardless of the place of purchase and whether purchased by that person or that person’s spouse). In addition, one of the six (6) Tickets purchased must be used by the Eligible Service Member or his/her spouse. 
  • Each Disney Military Promotional Ticket must be used by the same person on any and all days. 

Contact your favorite Vacations with Character® Travel Agent for a free, no-obligation quote today! Our services are free but our experience, tips, and expertise are priceless!! Click Here to visit our website or for a free quote!

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Vacations with Character® has earned the distinction of being an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner

*Room offers are subject to availability as the number of rooms allocated for these offers are limited. Eligible Service Members or spouse must present a valid military identification at check-in. If valid military ID is not presented, the non-discounted room price will be charged for the duration of the stay. Offer is non-transferable, and Eligible Service Member/spouse must stay in the room. Not valid on previously booked rooms. Advance reservations required. Not valid in combination with any other hotel discounts or offers. Subject to restrictions and change without notice. Separate Theme Park admission required to enjoy the Parks. Additional per adult charges may apply if there are more than 2 adults per room at Disney Value, Moderate and Deluxe Resorts. Offer excludes suites in Moderate and Deluxe Resort hotels. Advance reservations required. Cannot be combined with any other discount or promotion. Length of stay requirements may apply. Offer excludes the following room types: 3-bedroom villas, campsites, Cabins at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows. 


First Look at Disney Wish and New Disney Island

At the D23 Expo 2019 yesterday, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman, Bob Chapek, announced the highly anticipated name of the fifth Disney Cruise Line ship, Disney Wish. It’s very fitting because making wishes come true is at the heart of so many Disney stories.
New Disney Wish stearn of ship featuring Rapunzel
Courtesy of Disney Destinations

A beloved hallmark of Disney Cruise Line is a tradition to adorn the back of their ships with an iconic character that reflects the theme of each vessel. For the Disney Wish, the ship’s stern will feature Rapunzel. Our favorite artsy princess, paintbrush in hand, uses her enchanted hair to suspend herself as she decorates the stern of the ship with the help of her feisty sidekick, Pascal. Spirited, smart, curious and above all, adventurous, Rapunzel embodies the wish and desire to see and experience the world.

A first glance of the ship’s elegant atrium was also revealed:

Artist concept drawing of atrium for new cruise ship, Disney Wish
Courtesy of Disney Destinations

The ship’s atrium will be a bright, airy and elegant space inspired by the beauty of an enchanted fairytale.

Castaway Cay, a beloved private Island of Disney Cruise Line, will be joined by a second tropical destination in The Bahamas, which will be located on the breathtaking island of Eleuthera at a place called Lighthouse Point. The new destination will celebrate both the stories of The Bahamas and the natural environment of Lighthouse Point itself.

Arial photo of Bahamian Island to be transformed for DIsney Cruise Line
Courtesy of Disney Destinations

Bob was joined by Imagineer Joe Rohde to share a first look at the plans for the second island destination in The Bahamas.

Joe Rohde, whose work includes the design of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Hawaii, has embarked on an in-depth cultural tour of The Bahamas. With local artists and cultural experts, he has explored cultural sites across New Providence and Eleuthera, from Junkanoo shacks to noted art galleries.

Joe points out that Disney will be directly involved in conservation efforts to preserve and protect the environment and will be working with local artists to create a unique destination that is rooted in Bahamian culture and filled with Disney magic.

Lighthouse Point will be a new Disney-owned and -managed port of call for Disney Cruise Line. The signature island experience will celebrate the spirit and culture of The Bahamas. (Disney)
Lighthouse Point will be a new Disney-owned and -managed port of call for Disney Cruise Line. The signature island experience will celebrate the spirit and culture of The Bahamas. (Disney)

Construction at Lighthouse Point will begin only after an Environmental Impact Assessment and Environmental Management Plan are reviewed and accepted by the Government of The Bahamas and public consultation has occurred. Construction could begin in 2020 with completion in late 2022 or 2023.

The Disney Wish is scheduled for delivery in late 2021 and will set sail in January 2022. The vessel will join Disney Cruise Line’s award-winning fleet where you experience the magic of Disney entertainment combined with the relaxation of tropical, sun-drenched beaches and the adventure of ocean cruising. Disney Wish will also be powered by liquefied natural gas and, at approximately 144,000 gross tons and 1,250 guest staterooms, be slightly larger than the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.

There’s so much to look forward to on the high seas! Stay tuned as we look forward to sharing more exciting details with you in the future. And in the meantime, it’s not to late to set sail on Disney’s Magic, Wonder, Dream or Fantasy. Contact us a for a free no-obligation quote!

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Vacations with Character® has earned the distinction of being an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner


Holiday Magic Coming to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Courtesy of Disney Destinations

It’s time for Christmas in July! Although it may be a bit too warm out for sweaters and Santa hats, it’s the perfect excuse to give you the gift of exciting new Disney Parks news.

Hold onto your Santa hats! For the first time ever during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, select Magic Kingdom® attractions are receiving special enhancements just for the holidays!

* Get behind the wheel on the Tomorrowland Speedway, and find yourself cruising a festive freeway filled with thousands of lights and stylized décor.

* Over at the Laugh Factory, the crew at Monsters Inc. is putting some “Ha Ha Ha” in their “Ho Ho Ho,” with a new show for everyone visiting the Monster World during the party.

* Space Mountain is getting in on the holiday fun  as well and guests will take a trippy jaunt through the cosmos, filled with dazzling lighting and high-energy holiday tunes.

* The Mad Tea Party in Fantasyland becomes a wild and wacky Christmas party too, as Guests spin their teacups to one of four new holiday combos of lights and music.

All this is in addition to the brand new “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks” show, debuting this year. And there are plenty of returning favorites like “A Frozen Holiday Wish,” “Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration,” “A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas,” Club Tinsel, the Disney Junior Jingle Jam and “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade”, not to mention sparkling décor, complimentary treats and a magical snowfall on Main Street, U.S.A.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party starts at Magic Kingdom Park on Nov. 8 and is offered select nights through Dec. 22, 2019.

Are you ready to celebrate the holidays like never before?  Vacations with Character® is an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner and we would love to help you celebrate life with a vacation! Contact one of our  expert Travel Professionals for more information or visit us at www.vacationswithcharacter.com and fill out a simple quote form! Your family will love you for it!

Vacations with Character® has earned the distinction of being an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner 

Top 5 Best Things to Do in Disney Outside of the Parks

Top 5 Best Things to Do in Disney Outside of the Parks by Nicole Ricucci

Your trip is booked, bags are packed, and you’re running through your itinerary in your head out of excitement for your Disney Vacation. You have everything planned for your time in the parks, but did you know there’s more to explore? Walt Disney World property covers over 40 square miles, and there’s loads of hidden gems for you to find.

Grand Floridian Monorail Station
Resort Hopping.

Did you know you can visit any Walt Disney World Resort even if you aren’t staying there? While some amenities may be reserved just for guests with rooms there, many features are open for you to enjoy! Craving a dole whip the second you step off the plane but don’t have park tickets until the next day? Stop over to Pineapple Lanai at Disney’s Polynesian Resort and grab your favorite Adventureland treat! (Secret tip: the Polynesian beach is a great spot to watch the Happily Ever After fireworks show.

Disney’s Polynesian Resort Lobby ~ Photo Courtesy of Chris Gantek

Each resort has a different theme, and so much to see. Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will have a pianist playing in the lobby periodically throughout the day. Sometimes you may even spot some royal special guests! It’s a great spot to relax if you need a quick quiet time break from Magic Kingdom, but don’t want to go back to your hotel. Don’t forget to take advantage of each resort’s dining options! Some of the best dining opportunities on property are located at the resorts.

Mini Golf

If you and your family love some friendly competition, visit one of two mini golf courses available on property. Winter Summerland Mini Golf will make you think it’s Christmas in July at Santa’s off-season retreat, or if marching broomsticks and hippos in tutus are more your speed, visit Fantasia Gardens and Fairways Mini Golf. Both locations offer two 18-hole courses, just in case a rematch is needed. Adult tickets (age 10+) are $14.00 and child (age 3-9) tickets are $12.00. The family member with the lowest score gets to buy everyone else Mickey’s Premium Bars. Time to tee up!

The VOID at Disney Springs

This incredibly immersive experience allows you to not only be a part of a video game, but truly step inside of it. As of right now, the VOID has two adventure options: Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, and Ralph Breaks VR. Strap in to a virtual reality suit and see yourself as a Stormtrooper or an internet character and actually walk through the game. This is an experience unlike anything before that you really need to try to understand the hype. Reservations are required and tickets are $29.99. Contact your travel agent to book your spot!

Disney’s Boardwalk

Located right behind Epcot’s World Showcase, Disney’s Boardwalk is a beautiful walk with shops, restaurants, and nightlife. There’s even an art gallery! Ample Hills Creamery offers ice cream flavors you can’t get at home such as Ooey Gooey Butter Cake, Shirley Temple, and Oatmeal Lace. Head into Jellyrolls (21+) and listen to dueling pianos while enjoying a nightcap. You can even rent surrey bikes to ride along the path. When you’re ready to go back into the parks, follow the boardwalk back to the World Showcase which will put you right in between the UK Pavilion and the France Pavilion, or take the Friendship Boats over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Senses Spa and Salon

Spending all day exploring the parks can be exhausting. Treat yourself to a massage, pedicure (or both, you totally deserve it) and many other spa treatments at Senses. There’s two locations, at Disney’s Saratoga Springs and Disney’s Grand Floridian. They even have packages for children (ages 4-12) with a tasty treat at the end. Don’t forget to relax a bit during your trip, it is a vacation after all.

For any questions or more ideas, be sure to contact your favorite Vacations with Character Travel Professional: www.vacationswithcharacter.com #NowMoreThanEver it’s a great time to visit the Walt Disney World Resort!

“Nicole is a travel agent with Vacations with Character, specializing in planning memories at Disney and Universal. She is a two time alumna of the Disney College Program and is passionate about theme park food, Disney Festivals, and Halloween Horror Nights.” 

10 Great Reasons to Visit Walt Disney World This Year!

Spring is in full bloom, but we’ve got some great reasons why you should visit Walt Disney World Resort later this year, courtesy of Disney Travel News! Be sure to read all the way through our blog for all of the details to see why #NowMoreThanEver it’s a great time to take that vacation you’ve been dreaming of!

Star Wars new entry, Epcot Food and Wine Group, River's of Light artwork, and Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party rendering
Photo Courtesy of Disney Destinations

1. New Fireworks Show for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom Park

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will be held on 36 select nights from Aug. 16-Nov. 1, 2019. This year, the specially ticketed event will include a new Halloween-themed nighttime show featuring state-of-the-art projection effects, lasers, lighting and dazzling fireworks that come together to tell a not-so-scary story about how anything can happen on Halloween night. The show will take you along for a trick-or-treating adventure, where four friends – Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy – find themselves drawn into a mysterious haunted house.

Young adults enjoying Epcot's International Food and Wine Festival
Photo Courtesy of Disney Destinations

2. Record Number of Days Set for Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

This Epcot® celebration of cuisine, music and more takes place Aug. 29-Nov. 23, 2019 – a record 87 days. During this foodie festival, the park will brim with marketplaces, culinary demonstrations, beverage seminars, the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, specialty merchandise and much more.

Epcot Forever rendering
Photo Courtesy of Disney Destinations

3. Last Call for “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” as “Epcot Forever” Debuts Oct. 1

For nearly 20 years, “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” has entertained millions as the nighttime spectacular that has brought each day at Epcot to a thrilling close. Guests have marveled as World Showcase lagoon has come to life with fireworks, fountains and lasers paying homage to the joyful story of humanity and the remarkable achievements of our time. The show’s final night will be Sept. 30, 2019 to make way for an all-new, limited-time spectacular, “Epcot Forever,” debuting Oct. 1, 2019. This new show will be a celebration of the past, present and future of Epcot featuring fireworks, lasers and choreographed special-effect kites accompanied by a stirring collection of songs celebrating Epcot.

NBA Experience rendering of basketball game
Photo Courtesy of Disney Destinations

4. Bounce into Fall at Disney Springs with NBA Experience and Special Seasonal Offerings

Basketball is officially “in season” this fall after NBA Experience holds a championship-worthy grand opening Aug. 12, 2019 at Disney Springs®. When you step into this re-creation of a modern NBA arena, you’ll feel what it’s like to be a basketball superstar through 13 unique interactive and hands-on experiences where Disney magic merges with the thrills of the NBA and WNBA.

The fall season is also a great time to enjoy entertainment and shopping at Disney Springs. Colorful backdrops will make great seasonal photos for the entire family, while new fall looks will be available in shops, including Halloween costumes for kids and clothing for adults featuring their favorite Disney characters.

Clients inside of a spaceship as they fly at lightspeed
Photo Courtesy of Disney Destinations

5. Make the Jump to Lightspeed in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

On the heels of its Aug. 29, 2019 grand opening, Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios® gives you the chance this fall to live your  own Star Wars stories. While visiting the land, stop for a drink at Oga’s Cantina or discover rare artifacts at Dok-Ondar’s Den of Antiquities, among other immersive experiences. The groundbreaking attraction Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run will give Guests control of the iconic spacecraft as the ship hurtles through space on a smuggling mission.

(Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge and its experiences are subject to capacity.)

Skyliner Buckets in the air near Hollywood Studios
Photo Courtesy of Disney Destinations

6. Disney Skyliner Takes Flight

A new mode of transportation will float through the air around Walt Disney World this fall when Disney Skyliner, a state-of-the-art gondola system, begins gliding across the sky. Disney Skyliner will conveniently connect Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot to four resort hotels – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, as well as the 15th Disney Vacation Club property, Disney’s Riviera Resort (planned to open in mid-December). Select gondolas have iconic Disney characters incorporated into their exterior designs to give the appearance that a Disney pal is riding along with you. Disney Skyliner will offer a new way to experience Walt Disney World with amazing views only available from the sky.

Rivers of Light rendering
Photo Courtesy of Disney Destinations

7. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lights Up at Night

As the sun sets earlier and earlier this fall, “Rivers of Light: We Are One” will come to life on Discovery River in Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park. This nighttime show includes dramatic new imagery and familiar animal characters from Disneynature films along with a colorful tapestry of unforgettable moments from Disney animation.

Photo of new Grand Destino Resort
Photo Courtesy of Disney Destinations

8. Disney Resort Hotels Have Plenty New to Explore

To welcome fall travelers, there’s always something new at Disney resort hotels. Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort will greet guests with its new 15-story Gran Destino tower (opening this summer), adding 500-plus guestrooms – including suites and concierge-level services – and crowned by a rooftop restaurant. New waterfront dining and a retail shopping area have come to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, while a mid-December opening is planned for Disney’s Riviera Resort, a Disney Vacation Club property inspired by the grandeur and enchantment of the European Riviera.

Mickey topiary near entrance to Epcot
Photo Courtesy of Disney Destinations

9. 2019 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Marks 10-Year Milestone

This fall’s runDisney race season is a delectable celebration 10 years in the making as the 2019 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend takes place Oct. 31-Nov. 3, 2019. Filled with a delicious slate of events and Disney magic along every mile, this year’s event includes a 5K, 10K, half marathon and kids’ races. During this year’s Disney Fall Feast 5K, you can run, jog or walk your way around Epcot for the first time during this fall event. At the Nov. 3, 2019 post-race party, enjoy after-hours access to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, including marketplaces and select Epcot attractions.

And lastly, drum roll please….

Space Theme restaurant rendering
Photo Courtesy of Disney Destinations

10. 2019 Entry Into a New Space-Themed Restaurant Coming to Epcot® at Walt Disney World® Resort

That’s right, the new table-service experience will open later this year adjacent to the Mission: SPACE attraction! No dining experience on Earth can match what’s in store, because this new restaurant will take you into outer space for incredible dining experiences that are “out of this world.”

Patina Restaurant Group will operate the new restaurant, and they’ve developed a menu that features internationally-inspired cuisine, more than 1,000 bottles of the world’s finest wines and a wide selection of craft beer.

Visit us at www.vacationswithcharacter.com for more information or to book your next magical adventure! #NowMoreThanEver it’s a great time to visit the Walt Disney World Resort!

New Dining Adventure Coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom®

Drawing inspiration from the many facets of African cultures and animals, Circle of Flavors: Harambe at Night will offer a unique way to dine in a family-friendly progressive experience honoring some of the most majestic and endangered African animals all while celebrating the beloved story of “The Lion King.”

Your journey will begin with a welcome reception at the Wildlife Express Train Station. There, you’ll receive light hors d’oeuvres, snacks, and beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) while enjoying acoustic music. Afterward, you’ll take a fun-filled adventure to the train station at Rafiki’s Planet Watch, where you’ll be greeted with more light bites and sips. Some familiar friends,  Timon and Rafiki, will also be hanging out in the train station ready to meet you with some engaging, fun activities for all ages. Once you finish up at Rafiki’s Planet Watch, you can hop back on the train and get ready to venture over to Harambe Market for the main event, where you’ll enjoy an array of sweet and savory dishes paired with unique beverages throughout the marketplace.

During the night, you’ll take in sights, sounds, and scrumptious flavors in celebration of “The Lion King” and the Big Five game animals: the African elephant, the rhinoceros, the Cape buffalo, the leopard, and our host animal, the lion. Along the way, you’ll learn more about the importance of the Big Five and the challenges they face around the world as well as how Disney is working to protect them.

Circle of Flavors: Harambe at Night begins on July 24, 2019, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Pricing is $125 plus tax for adults and $99 plus tax for children ages 3-9 and separate park admission is required. Reservations can be made starting April 3, 2019 by calling 407 WDW-DINE (407 939-3463) or by contacting your Vacations with Character® Travel Professional.

Wizarding World Update – for Muggle Eyes Only

Calling all Muggles! We hope you’ll be as excited about this as we are because something amazing is coming to Universal Orlando and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!

Hagrid's Motorbike Adventure
Photo Courtesy of Universal Orlando

For the first time ever you can join Hagrid,  the Care of Magical Creatures Professor at Hogwarts, on an adventure that takes you far beyond the grounds of Hogwarts Castle and into the paths of some of the Wizarding World’s most interesting creatures.

This amazing, thrilling coaster ride replaces Dragon Challenge and will be opening June 13, 2019 in Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park.

Authorized Universal Travel Professional

Vacations with Character is an Authorized Universal Orlando Preferred Partner and let me just say, we ♥♥♥ Universal Orlando! Contact us and we’ll prepare a vacation you’ll remember and may even save you money…money you can spend on things like a #Butterbeer or a Wizarding Wand, like Harry’s!

Don’t forget to ask about our special promo ticket where you’ll Buy 2 days and Get 2 Days FREE  (valid until June 30th)!  Our services are also FREE but you’ll receive tip sheets and expert advice when you book with us – plus more. Visit us at www.vacationswithcharacter.com for more information on Universal Orlando or to book today!