Disney Magic Mobile Coming Soon

Disney continues to invent and innovate, and soon will be debuting a new option: Disney MagicMobile service!
Introducing Disney MagicMobile by: Disney Destinations

The MagicBand, the colorful wristband guests wear at Walt Disney World Resort, has made visits simpler and more seamless for years.  And now,  Disney is also introducing MagicMobile service.

Launching in phases starting later this year, this convenient and contactless tool will allow guests to access MagicBand features like theme park entry through the power of an iPhone, Apple Watch or other smart device. Guests will be able to create a Disney MagicMobile pass through the My Disney Experience app and add it to their smart device’s digital wallet. It works like magic – most features will be available by just holding up your smart device near an access point, just like you do with a MagicBand. Disney MagicMobile service and its features will roll out first on Apple devices.

If you love the MagicBand, don’t worry! It’s not going anywhere. Disney will soon be introducing more MagicBands in trendy new colors and fun designs featuring favorite Disney characters and stories, and you may choose to use Disney MagicMobile service or a MagicBand – pick whichever option works best during your visit and even use both and alternate between the two for added flexibility.

The existing digital room key feature will continue to be available as well specifically within the My Disney Experience app, which helps guests expedite their arrival by using online check-in service, going directly to their Disney Resort hotel room and using their phone to unlock their door.

Stay tuned for more information on Disney’s latest happenings and contact your favorite Vacations with Character Travel Agent for more details or to book your next vacation to Walt Disney World! www.vacationswithcharacter.net

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Calling All Disney World Foodies

Take a look at Best Bites across Walt Disney World from “Raya and the Last Dragon”-inspired treats and the return of Sangria University plus breakfast with Disney Junior Characters. Check it out!

Courtesy of Disney Destinations / Travel News
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
  • Baby Tuk Tuk Mousse
  • Baby Tuk Tuk Ice Cream Sundae
  • Mighty Mist Soft-Serve 
    Courtesy of Disney Destinations / Travel News
    Disney’s Hollywood Studios
    Courtesy of Disney Destinations / Travel News

    Breakfast is back at Hollywood & Vine starting March 22, 2021! Guests can wave and snap photos of their favorite Disney Junior Characters while dining on a delicious and hearty à la carte breakfast. They can start with a sharable pastry basket for the table and choose a breakfast entrée, such as the delicious French toast stuffed with chocolate-hazelnut spread or all-you-care-to-enjoy pancakes made with our signature house-made batter. Yum!

À la Carte Menu Options:

  • All-you-care-to-enjoy pancakes made with our signature house-made batter.
  • French toast stuffed with chocolate-hazelnut spread.
  • Toasted open-faced salmon bagel.
  • Four-egg scramble.
  • Four-egg cheese omelet.
  • Plant-based egg frittata.

Reservations are available for booking the Hollywood & Vine Breakfast beginning February. 26, 2021.

Courtesy of Disney Destinations / Travel News

Guests can continue their holiday celebration through Feb. 28, 2021 with the oh-so-popular Peppermint Bundt Cake Shake at Hollywood Scoops! Peppermint ice cream topped with whipped cream, TWO festive Bundt cakes, and peppermint bark!

Magic Kingdom Park

New offerings at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant and Sunshine Tree Terrace:

  • Hazelnut Budino
  • Pot Stickers
Courtesy of Disney Destinations / Travel News
Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort
Courtesy of Disney Destinations / Travel News

Three Bridges Bar & Grill at Villa del Lago: Sangria University has returned! Guests will sample four different house-made sangrias paired with an appetizer. A sangria sommelier will take Guests through the nuances of each recipe, delving into the history of this fruity cocktail. The best part? Guests get to make their very own sangria! They will even receive a Sangria University diploma for a job well done!

For available dates and times, email WDW.Sangria.University@disney.com. (Note: Classes are limited to ensure proper social distancing protocol.)

In addition to the incredible view, Dahlia Lounge has two tasty offerings not to miss:

  • Ham and Cheese Bocadillo – Jamón serrano, Manchego cheese, roasted garlic aïoli, and honey on a toasted baguette.
  • Chicken Wings – Spiced sherry-honey glazed chicken wings.
Courtesy of Disney Destinations / Travel News
Disney Springs

Disney Springs is serving up over-the-top “dogs,” and Everglazed Donuts & Cold Brew has a fun limited-time donut:

  • Mardi Gras Smoked Crawdog
  • The King Dog
  • Chocolate Mint Donut
Courtesy of Disney Destinations / Travel News

Ready to light up your tastebuds? With the ability to park hop plus EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival 2021, guests are sure to find a culinary array of tasty treats. Contact your favorite Vacations with Character® Vacationista to book! https://vacationswithcharacter.net

 

EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival 2021

Check Out These Fresh Details for the Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival, Blossoming March 3 with Family Fun!

Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival
By: Disney Destinations

The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival has been a beloved fan favorite for many years. Read on for all the details and fun highlights of this year’s festival.

Topiaries Full of Disney Character

Gorgeous topiaries of Disney characters come to life in floral sculptures throughout the park. Beloved characters will include Remy, Tinker Bell, Lady and the Tramp, as well as Sorcerer Mickey to name a few!

Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival
By: Disney Destinations
Gardens to Explore

Guests can enjoy 20 different garden areas in Epcot, including floating gardens on the waters of Future World, a bamboo garden in China, a tropical rainforest in Mexico in addition to an English Tea Garden in the United Kingdom (where Guests can also take a Self-Guided Tea Tour!). Another picturesque spot you won’t want to miss is the Goodness Garden Butterfly House, a family favorite for years.

Out Door Kitchens

Guests can embark on a mouth-watering journey around the park and discover  delicious options from more than 20 delectable stops. Each stop offers a specialty menu of food and drink to savor and sip.

Entertainment All Around
From Voices of Liberty to Mariachi Cobre to the sound of the Jammin’ Gardeners plus a famous EPCOT pianist, the festival  will feature plenty of live music every day.
Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival
By: Disney Destinations
Health-Full Trail

Over at the Flavor Full Outdoor Kitchen and garden, along the Imagination Walkway, the whole family can learn ways to stay healthy.

Family Fun with Scavenger Hunts

Little ones can find the buzzzz-iest honey bee at Walt Disney World Resort over at Spike’s Pollen-Nation Exploration. And as a special treat during the Easter season (March 19 – April 4), Guests can also take part in the Egg-stravaganza Scavenger Hunt to find Disney pals and their oversized eggs all around World Showcase.

Festival Memories

In addition to all of the other wonderful offerings, Guests can commemorate their visit with official event merchandise, including apparel, headwear, drinkware and much more, featuring Orange Bird, Figment, Minnie Mouse and Spike the Bee.

Contact your favorite Vacations with Character Travel Agent for details on how to attend or to book your next vacation to Walt Disney World! www.vacationswithcharacter.net

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Park Hopping Coming to Walt Disney World in 2021

Park Hopping is Coming in 2021!

The moment we’ve all been patiently (or not so patiently) waiting for is finally coming as the Park Hopper Option Returns to Walt Disney World Resort on Jan. 1, 2021!! BUT HOLD ONTO YOUR EARS…there’s a lot you’ll need to know before you race out of your resort and into a park! Read on for details.

Guests who purchased a ticket, package or annual pass with Park Hopper benefits will be able to visit more than one park per day, with some new modifications as part of Disney’s ongoing focus on health and safety. These modifications are designed to help manage attendance responsibly to continue to foster physical distancing. Additionally, other enhanced health and safety measures remain in effect, including face coverings required for all guests ages two and up.

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

With the updated Park Hopper® experience, Guests must make a Disney Park Pass reservation for the first park they plan to visit (reservation requirements are subject to change) AND enter that first park prior to visiting another. Additionally, we will set specific Park Hopper® hours during which this option will be available. Park Hopper® hours will start at 2 p.m. each day and end at the park’s scheduled close time.

Park Hopper Infographic

Guests with a ticket, package or pass that includes Park Hopper® benefits will get the chance to see and do more during their visit, which could mean a morning on the savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park and an evening stroll by Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park or starting the day living your Star Wars adventure at Disney’s Hollywood Studios before an afternoon traveling around the world at EPCOT. Please note that the ability to visit another park will be subject to the park’s capacity limitations.

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

VERY IMPORTANT TIP: To help manage attendance, upon the return of the Park Hopper option in January, only guests with a Disney Park Pass reservation for Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be able to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Guests visiting from another theme park will not be able to request to join the virtual queue.

In light of these updates, if you have a ticket or package that includes the ability to visit more than one park per day and you wish to modify or cancel this ticket, please contact your Vacations with Character® Travel Agent for options, including the ability to downgrade your ticket. Didn’t book with an agent? No problem! Reach out to us anyway and we’ll see if we can help!

Disney Bus Transportation

TIP: Park-to-park transportation is also planned to resume in 2021, with operations beginning each day shortly prior to the start of Park Hopper® hours.

We look forward to starting the new year with the return of this guest favorite! Contact your favorite Vacations with Character® Vacationista for more details or to book: vacationswithcharacter.com

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Where to Eat Breakfast at Universal Orlando Resort

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day as they say! Read on for some delicious ways to start your vacation days at Universal Orlando Resort:

Photo: Denielle Ricci, Universal Parks and Resorts, Travel Agent Partner Community

Today Cafe in Universal Studios serves up the perfect cup of coffee, fresh pastries or healthier options like delicious breakfast sandwiches or an acai bowl.

Breakfast at Universal Orlando - Leaky Cauldron
Photo: Denielle Ricci, Universal Parks and Resorts, Travel Agent Partner Community

Leaky Cauldron in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter- Diagon Alley, features a hot breakfast with authentic British fare from traditional breakfast items to an egg, leak and mushroom pasty. TIP: We recommend this as a “go-to” for guests who have Early Park Admission access.

Breakfast at Universal Orlando - Three Broomsticks
Photo: Denielle Ricci. Universal Parks and Resorts, Travel Agent Partner Community

Three Broomsticks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade is a fan favorite! Here you can enjoy a a plate of pancakes with pumpkin juice!

Breakfast at Universal Orlando - Green Eggs and Ham Cafe
Photo: Denielle Ricci, Universal Parks and Resorts, Travel Agent Partner Community

Make ‘Sam I Am’ proud and pick up a plate of green eggs and ham tots over at Green Eggs and Ham Cafe in Seuss Landing at Islands of Adventure (don’t try to say that with your a mouthful!) Other quick bites include Croissant Moon, Cinnabon, and Starbucks.

Breakfast at Universl Orlando - Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club at Volcano Bay Water Park
Photo: Denielle Ricci, Universal Parks and Resorts, Travel Agent Partner Community

You’ll need to to fuel your body when conquering Volcano Bay and we know just the place! Fill up on breakfast pizza, sandwiches and wraps at Kohola Reef Restaurant & Social Club. You can even enjoy a refreshing continental breakfast with fresh pastries and fruits as well.

Breakfast at Universal Orlando Resorts - Pier 8 Market @ Dockside Inn and Suites
Photo: Denielle Ricci, Universal Parks and Resorts, Travel Agent Partner Community

Looking for breakfast at your resort? There are plenty of options like Pier 8 Market in Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites. Wake up with a refreshing glass of orange juice and enjoy offerings such as chicken and waffles or even vegan avocado toast! There’s also a Starbucks.

Breakfast at Universal Orlando Resort - Beach Break Cafe - Surfside Inn and Suites
Photo: Denielle Ricci, Universal Parks and Resorts, Travel Agent Partner Community

Beach Break Cafe at Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites, offers hearty breakfast items that get you ready for a day in the parks. From breakfast pizzas, burritos, egg muffins, or even a crispy chicken sandwich your pallet and your tummy will be pleased. There’s also a Starbucks here as well.

Breakfast at Universal Orlando Resort - Urban Pantry - Aventura Hotel
Photo: Denielle Ricci, Universal Parks and Resorts, Travel Agent Partner Community

Over at Universal’s Aventura Hotel, Urban Pantry serves up quite the selection with their Hash Station in Urban Pantry. Choose from a bowl or wrap with your choice of protein, eggs, cheese, and fresh ingredients. You can also request traditional breakfast favorites as well.

Breakfast at Universal Orlando Resort - Bayliner Diner - Cabana Bay Beach Resort
Photo: Denielle Ricci, Universal Parks and Resorts, Travel Agent Partner Community

Bayliner Diner at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort has it going on with a perfect mix of quick picks and breakfast platters. Starbucks is also served here too.

Breakfast at Universal Orlando Resort - Amatista Cookhouse - Loews Sapphire falls Resort
Photo: Denielle Ricci, Universal Parks and Resorts, Travel Agent Partner Community

Amatista Cookhouse in Loews Sapphire Falls Resort does not disappoint! Order off the menu and find Carribean inspired dishes along with traditional offerings. In a hurry? Grab and Go from New Dutch Trading Co.

Breakfast at Universal Orlando Resort - Islands Dining Room - Loews Royal Pacific Resort
Photo: Denielle Ricci, Universal Parks and Resorts, Travel Agent Partner Community

Ahhhh….you can get a taste of the island life in Islands Dining Room at Loews Royal Pacific Resort! Savor Hawaiian pancakes, Tahitian French Toast a L’orange, smoked salmon, and more! Tuk Tuk Market is also a great place to pick up more than just Grab and Go items and they serve a limited selection of Starbucks offerings as well.

Breaktfast at Universal Orlando Resort - The Kitchen - Hard Rock Hotel Orlando
Photo: Denielle Ricci, Universal Parks and Resorts, Travel Agent Partner Community

Two Words: The Kitchen! This place has some of the best french toast and waffles around as well as a lot of other great offerings. In a hurry? Grab a breakfast sandwich, fresh fruit, or a bagel from Emack and Bollio’s Marketplace!

Breakfast at Tratoria del Porto - Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
Photo: Denielle Ricci, Universal Parks and Resorts, Travel Agent Partner Community

Take me away to Portofino Bay! Enjoy a beautiful morning on the piazza at Trattoria del Porto at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel. Here you’ll find breakfast menu items your whole family will love. For some quick bites try Gelateria or Starbucks.

Breakfast at Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen - CityWalk
Photo: Denielle Ricci, Universal Parks and Resorts, Travel Agent Partner Community

Did you know Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen serves up breakfast? It’s a best-kept secret! From hearty options to sweet and creamy, they have it all.

Breakfast at Universal Orlando with Grinch and Friends (seasonal)
Photo: Denielle Ricci, Universal Parks and Resorts, Travel Agent Partner Community

Treat yourself to a fun  morning with some of your most favorite characters while enjoying a delicious breakfast with The Grinch and Friends. This seasonal event is a dining experience that’s not to be missed! Note: Reservations are required. This event may be postponed until next year due to Covid-19. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates!

In closing, we always suggest checking the Universal Parks App for times and availability as everything is subject to change.

We hope you’ve enjoyed our tour and can’t wait to help you learn more about about booking a getaway to Universal Orlando. Simply visit your favorite Vacations with Character® Vacationista at: https://universalvacationplanners.com. We have a few special offers to share with you and are experts at creating exciting adventures to this amazing destination!

CDC Gives Cruise Lines the Go-Ahead to Resume Sailing Nov. 1

The Disney Dream (David Roark, photographer – Courtesy of Disney Travel News)

Is it full steam ahead? It certainly appears so! The CDC has supplied the framework for “Conditional Sailing Order for Cruise Ships” today, Friday the 30th of October!

From the official website of the CDC: This Order shall remain in effect until the earliest of

  • The expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency,
  • The CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations, or
  • November 1, 2021

The cruise lines will be able start sailing in North America starting on November 1, 2020 with “a careful approach”. That approach will include testing and additional safeguards for crew members, along with onboard facilities in place to test future passengers. Next, the CDC is requiring all lines go ahead with test voyages to demonstrate the cruise ship operator’s “ability to mitigate CoVID-19 risk.”All ships will have to meet specific requirements for re-certification and then, and only then, can cruise ships start a phased return to service.

“These phases are subject to change based on public health consideration and cruise ship operators’ demonstrated ability to mitigate COVID-19 risk,” the CDC said. The CDC reserves the right to issue additional orders as needed going forward.

The news brings an end to months of uncertainty for the cruise industry, travel agencies, and cruise fans alike. And with this news, brings hope the cruise lines – and many future passengers – will be returning to some kind of normalcy soon!

Although it’s unclear when exactly all ships will begin sailing again as some lines have already cancelled their 2020 season, for others like Carnival and Royal Caribbean, we could see a return to sailing before the end of the year as a real possibility.

What is clear is that when cruises do resume, you can expect new health and safety protocols in place, including universal Covid-19 testing, along with other guidelines…and that’s not necessarily a negative thing, especially if it gets those of us who love to sail the option to return to our paradise on the high seas.

Our cruise specialists will be here every step of the way to guide you and assist you with the new protocols and guidelines to ensure stress-free planning and a smooth sailing for next adventure.

We can’t wait to wish you “Bon Voyage” once again! Contact your favorite Vacations with Character® Vacationista for more information: https://vacationswithcharacter.net/about-us.html 

Vacations with Character® is a Proud Member of CLIA – Cruise Line International Association

 

 

Walt Disney World Holiday Magic Starts November 6

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

We are super excited to share an update on some of the festive experiences coming to Walt Disney World Resort for the holidays!

We know how much Guests love the holidays, and from Nov. 6-Dec. 30, you’ll will be able to enjoy festive décor, themed merchandise, seasonal food & beverage offerings and entertainment all across Walt Disney World Resort. Holiday magic will be in full force at the four theme parks and Disney Springs, and Santa Claus will even make time for special pop-up appearances at each location, waving and exclaiming holiday wishes to all.

Enjoy the sight of festive flotillas at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, holiday promenades at EPCOT and merry motorcades at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Plus, character cavalcades at Magic Kingdom Park will take on a special holiday twist, with Christmas friends on festive floats in their holiday finest. Gingerbread Men? Check! Elves and Reindeer? Check, check! And the Toy Soldiers will join the Main Street Philharmonic as they march through Magic Kingdom Park, bringing musical holiday cheer for all to hear.

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

When night falls, special projection effects will give a festive look to Cinderella Castle this year, providing a colorful backdrop for photo ops. The appearance of the iconic castle will be transformed with a rotating series of designs including a whimsical Christmas sweater and a regal overlay of red, green and gold ornamentation.

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Of course, the holidays wouldn’t be complete without enjoying a meal among friends and family. Minnie Mouse will be hosting a yuletide gathering for all her friends at Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios starting Nov. 6. Santa Goofy will be there, along with Minnie and more in their holiday best. 

Shifting gears to Disney Springs, You will discover Christmas around every corner as they come across a collection of elaborately-decorated Disney Christmas trees spread throughout this retail, dining and entertainment destination. In the evening, encounter a magical snowfall in areas within Town Center, West Side and The Landing, adding an extra touch of wonder to your holiday shopping. And to top it off, Jock Lindsey will once again be turning his hangar bar into Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar complete with delightful holiday décor and a delicious limited-time menu filled with festive favorites.

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Disney Resort hotels will also be decked out for the holidays too, with their lobbies featuring iconic trees and other festive flourishes.

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

Starting a bit later in the season, on Nov. 27, holiday kitchens will return around World Showcase promenade with favorites like American Holiday Table featuring Slow-roasted Turkey with Stuffing and Bavaria Holiday Kitchen with dishes like Cheese Fondue in a Bread Bowl.

Step inside World ShowPlace to enjoy the returning group, JOYFUL! as they present a journey through R&B, Gospel, contemporary and traditional Christmas and holiday music. Also, the Voices of Liberty will bring their incredible 8-part harmonies to the America Gardens Theatre stage for a special concert of favorite carols and songs of the season.

We’re looking forward to helping you create new traditions this year with unique ways to enjoy the season together. There’s a lot of holiday fun to see and do at Walt Disney World Resort! To learn more about about booking a getaway with seasonal experiences, ask your favorite Vacations with Character® Vacationista for a free, no-obligation quote at: https://vacationswithcharacter.net/ We may even have a few special offers to share with you too!

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Halloween Experiences Invade Universal Orlando this Fall

Halloween is Coming to Universal Orlando Resort this Fall!

HHN Fall 2020 – Courtesy of the Universal Travel Agent Partner Community

Halloween seasonal experiences are set to invade Universal Orlando for an extended time and will include trick-or-treating for little ones, plus the official debut of 2 all-new horrifying haunted houses, sure to please any #HalloweenHorrorNights fans, and more!

AND it’s all included as part of your daytime theme park admission beginning the weekend of September 26th and 27th and then daily from October 3rd through November 1st!

Universal Orlando Fall 2020 – Courtesy of the Universal Travel Agent Partner Community

Here are all the spooktacular details:

DRESS UP IN COSTUMES WHILE VISITING THE THEME PARKS
Guests can share their Halloween spirit and don family-friendly costumes while visiting Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

SCARECROW STALK IN UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA
Participate in the Universal Orlando Scarecrow Stalk, a NEW scavenger hunt that sends guests to find unique scarecrows and collect stamps at 13 retail locations throughout the park. A Halloween treat awaits those who successfully complete the stalk!

TRICK-OR-TREAT IN ISLANDS OF ADVENTURE
While venturing through Islands of Adventure, guests 12 and under can trick-or-treat to collect Halloween candy at retail locations marked by pumpkin signage.

 

Universal Orlando Fall 2020 – Courtesy of the Universal Travel Agent Partner Community

BRAVE TWO HAUNTED HOUSES IN UNIVERSAL STUDIOS FLORIDA
Developed by the twisted minds of Universal Orlando, guests will scream their way through two all-new haunted houses where terrifying creatures await to haunt their every move. In “Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein Lives,” one of Universal Pictures’ most notorious monsters will step out of the shadows as she stops at nothing to revive Frankenstein’s Monster at any cost. In “Revenge of the Tooth Fairy,” guests will be immersed in an original story that uncovers a dark ritual behind the innocent childhood tradition.  

Access to the two haunted houses is included with theme park admission. There may be times when the Virtual Line experience is available for the haunted houses. Guests can use the Official Universal Orlando Resort App to select a Virtual Line time to visit. NOTE: Haunted houses may be too intense for young children and are not recommended for guests under 13.

HHN Fall 2020 – Courtesy of the Universal Travel Agent Partner Community

For additional Halloween treats this fall, you can also:

  • Stop by the popular Halloween Horror Nights Tribute store, an immersive retail location dedicated to the legacy of the world’s premier Halloween event, to purchase limited-time “throwback” merchandise and to get a taste of the horror with an assortment of nearly 20 sweet and savory items. TIP: The Halloween Cake is delicious!
  • Enjoy additional limited-time, crave-worthy food & beverage options to celebrate the season. In Universal Studios, this includes a variety of Halloween-themed drinks like the Frozen Candy Corn beverage at the all-new Skeleton Bar at Café La Bamba, the iconic staple, Pizza Fries, at Louie’s Italian Restaurant, and all-new food trucks near the haunted houses that feature uniquely themed items such as “Franken Fried Chicken & Funnel Brains.” In Universal CityWalk, guests can pick up the “Jack the Clown” and “Pumpkin Spice” specialty doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnut. Plus, guests can sip on specialty drinks themed after icons from Halloween Horror Nights history at Universal Orlando’s hotels, including “The Director” and “The Chance.”
  • Horror movie buffs can catch a classic horror flick at Universal Cinemark in CityWalk now through October 31.
  • Lastly, you can have a hauntingly good time at Hollywood Drive-In Golf, where you’ll encounter a choice of two family friendly courses: “The Haunting of Ghostly Greens” and “Invaders From Planet Putt.” Experience cutting-edge interactive elements and special immersive features that can’t be found elsewhere. Encounter a haunted house, flying saucer, 30-foot robot, and more in quirky capers filled with ghoulish gags and interplanetary puns. Special effects and lighting make it easy to play day, evening, and even late night. And since it’s located in Universal CityWalk™, it’s just steps away from the rest of the action.  This is one family favorite you won’t want to miss!
    Courtesy of Robin Gantek, Vacations with Character®

    To learn more about about booking a getaway to Universal Orlando’s Halloween seasonal experiences, visit your favorite Vacations with Character® Vacationista at: https://universalvacationplanners.com. We have a few special offers to share with you too and are experts at creating exciting adventures to this amazing destination!


Safety Note: Universal Orlando continues to implement its enhanced health and safety procedures and guidelines focused on “screening, spacing and sanitization,” and those practices will be applied to all experiences taking place this fall. Key measures include screening guests and team members, enforcing social distancing, requiring face coverings, limiting capacity at the parks, attractions and hotels, and increasing cleaning and disinfection procedures and more. Specific health and safety protocols for the haunted houses include:

  • Face coverings worn by team members – including scareactors – and guests.
  • Everyone following social distancing guidelines in the queue and inside the haunted houses. Plexi-glass will be installed in various areas to help keep separation between scareactors and guests.
  • The required use of hand sanitizer before entering each haunted house. It will also be available for guests to use immediately after they exit.
  • Managing the guest flow inside the haunted houses by pulsing travel parties and limiting capacity.

 

2021 Walt Disney World Marathons Transition to Virtual Events

2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Transition to Virtual Events

Courtesy of Disney Travel News

We are sad to report this news but wanted to bring you up to speed as quickly as possible. Here is the official announcement from Disney:

“During this unusual time, race organizers around the world continue to pause on hosting in-person race events that draw large crowds. As we look at the 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and 2021 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, we will convert both of these races to virtual events, similar to our offering for the 2020 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend.

While we share our Guests’ disappointment that we will not be running together in person, we have based this decision on the unique circumstances of hosting a road race experience on this scale under the current environment.

Participants who registered through runDisney.com will have the option of receiving a full refund for the race. Those who are registered with a U.S. mailing address may convert their existing registration to the new virtual event that can be completed from home, a local running track or favorite running trail.

Eligible runners who participate in the virtual race will receive a medal for each distance they complete and the option of a race shirt, in addition to the satisfaction of completing the race they’ve trained for. Registered participants will receive an email beginning September 23 with instructions on how to make their registration selection before October 7, 2020.

For those who would still like to register for the 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and 2021 Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend virtual events, we will open additional registration opportunities on a limited basis on Thursday, September 24 at 10 a.m. These race events may be completed from home, a local running track or favorite running trail.

Participants who’ve booked through a charity or tour operator should reach out directly to that organization.

2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Refund Option

Runners registered for the 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort who select the refund option will receive a refund back to their original form of payment for the following. If a Guest no longer has their original form of payment used when registering, they may contact runDisney by October 7, 2021 to receive a refund via check or a Digital Disney Gift Card for the following:

  • Race registrations (Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, Challenges and Kids Races)
  • Commemorative merchandise (automatic refund – no virtual option)
  • Processing fee

Additionally, any registered participant with a shipping address outside of the U.S. will automatically receive a refund back to their original form of payment. At this time, only participants with a valid U.S. shipping address are eligible for the virtual option.

Refund timing:
Refunds from runDisney can be expected to be processed by mid-November 2020. If your clients haven’t received a refund by then, please visit the “contact us” section on runDisney.com.

2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Virtual Race Options

All registered participants with a valid U.S. shipping address for the 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend or Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort who purchased their registrations on runDisney.com will have the option to participate in a virtual race. Please note PO Boxes and APO Boxes are not considered valid shipping addresses for this purpose. Participants who select this option will receive the following based on their registration(s):

  • Race distance medal(s)
  • Option of event tech shirt(s)
  • Digital Bib and finisher certificate
  • Digital Toolkit including start/finish line and mile markers
  • Digital Goody Bag
  • Virtual playlist
  • A Digital Disney Gift Card for select races

Guests with a U.S. mailing address who already have received a refund for their registration may still register to participate in the virtual race option by registering at runDisney.com beginning September 24, 2020.

Digital Disney Gift Cards for select races:
Eligible athletes registered for select events during the 2021 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend or Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort will receive a Digital Disney Gift Card:

  • Marathon, Half Marathon, 10K, 5K, Challenge

Digital Disney Gift Card timing:
Digital Disney Gift Cards from runDisney can be expected to be processed by mid-November 2020. If you haven’t received your Digital Disney Gift Card by then, please visit the “contact us” section on runDisney.com.

Charitable donations

Donations made to Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals will not be refunded and will be delivered to those organizations as originally planned.

Castaway Cay Challenge

The 2021 Castaway Cay Challenge will transition to a virtual event. However, the January 11, 2021 Disney Dream cruise is currently still scheduled to sail.

Future Races:

We’re looking at every aspect of the runDisney experience and making decisions with the safety and well-being of our athletes, volunteers, Cast Members and Guests at the forefront of our planning. At this time, we have no updates regarding future runDisney events. We thank you for your continued patience and understanding.”

Please reach out to your Travel Professional for more information!

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Five Universal Orlando Resorts Ranked 2020s Top 10 Best Amusement Park Hotels!

USA Today has released it’s top 10 Best Amusement Park Hotels and guess what? Universal Orlando Resorts claims FIVE of them. It’s no surprise, as these are among our top favorites too!

Advertising Resorts Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal Orlando Resort CBBR, UOR Pool Exteriors kids having fun in pool, children in pool, couples by pool, water slide, lounging by pool
One of 2 Pools at Cabana Bay Beach Resort – Courtesy of Universal Travel Partners

1) Cabana Bay Beach Resort

This resort features a fun retro theme that takes you back to the iconic beach resorts of the 1950s and 60s. This property features two massive pools including a water slide and a lazy river, 10-lane bowling alley, arcade, fitness center, delicious food court, fire pit, outdoor activities, and there’s even a even a Starbucks®.  Great for families on a budget, this resort is the perfect place to call your “home away from home” for a week…or two. It’s truly a little getaway all to its own.

2) Universal’s Aventura Hotel

Courtesy of: LB McLeod, Universal’s Aventura Hotel, Prime Value, Universal Orlando Resort, Double Queen Standard Room

You’ll say “Ahhhh” at Universal’s Aventura Hotel as you relax and experience a fresh and fun way to vacation. It’s modern and smart, yet vibrant and sleek. At this landmark within Universal Orlando Resort™, you’ll find yourself at home with open areas designed for sharing and gathering. The pool and amazing rooftop views at Bar 17 Bistro are relaxing sweet spots that will be calling your name after time in the parks.

Aventura Hotel Lobby – Courtesy of Vacations with Character®

Dining options are plentiful. Choose from Bar 17 Bistro to Bar Sol to Urban Pantry, the food hall where unique, high-quality restaurants come together offering a multitude of cuisines for your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. (TIP: try the salmon, it’s delicious!) And, for those who need their coffee fix, there’s even a Starbucks®. Great for families with tweens or for a friends/couples getaway, this resort will fill the need quite nicely – and without breaking your piggy bank.

3) Lowes Sapphire Falls Resort

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort – Courtesy of Universal Travel Partners

What can we say about Sapphire Falls except we ♥ this resort! This hidden gem has a Caribbean-inspired theme that transports you to a paradise…and the invitation for relaxation is everywhere.

Every comfort has been built in including a luxuriously landscaped 16,000 square foot, resort-style pool surrounded by cascading waterfalls as its centerpiece. From the beautiful stone turret work in the lobby to the inviting island charm of the 1,000 guest rooms and suites, you’re surrounded by old-world chic, yet modern and timeless style…and you’re only steps away from the theme parks! TIP: the suites are amazing!

You can almost reach out and touch the theme parks from here as well! Look closely at the top left and you’ll see Hogwart’s Castle!

Aerial View of Lowes Sapphire Falls from Bar 17 Bistro at Universal’s Aventura Hotel – Courtesy of Vacations with Character®

Culinary options abound from Amatista Cookhouse, serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, to Strong Water Tavern, to the grab-and-go offerings at New Dutch Trading Co. You can also enjoy a menu of fresh seafood along with tropical drinks poolside. For those needing some pampering, there’s even 24-hour room service! From families to friends to couples, we recommend this resort for anyone. And believe it or not, it too is budget friendly!

4) Lowes Royal Pacific Resort

Lowes Royal Pacific Resort – Courtesy of Universal Travel Partners

Explore the island of comfort and sophistication at Loews Royal Pacific Resort. Experience touches of paradises such as Fiji, Bali and Hawaii. From lush landscaping to the white sandy beach of the lagoon-style swimming pool, you’ll be surrounded by an exotic feel!

Feast in the Island’s Dining Room or Jake’s American Bar or savor sushi at Orchid Court. Bula means “welcome” in Fijian, and you will love Bula Bar & Grille, a casual poolside eatery featuring tropical drinks, sandwiches, and classic American items.  Tuk Tuk Market, the all-new lobby marketplace, offers coffee, breakfast items, pastries, and exclusive Tuk Tarts, plus hot and cold sandwiches, wok bowls, sushi to go, ice cream and gelato. At Royal Pacific, 24-hour room service is also available as well. We recommend this resort for anyone seeking a luxury vacation in a beautiful surrounding.

Royal Pacific Resort – Courtesy of Universal Travel Partners

5) Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Portofino Bay Hotel, Universal Orlando Resort – Courtesy of Universal Travel Partners

Take a trip to the stunning seaside village of Portofino, Italy without leaving the country at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando. The stunning and luxurious rooms, authentic Italian specialties, and warm hospitality make your stay here a taste of what the Italians call la dolce vita – the sweet life. From the cobblestone streets to the outdoor cafes, you just may forget what country you’re in. Kids are not overlooked here as well. The kid’s suites are amazingly fun!

Portofino Bay Hotel, Despicable Me Suite – Courtesy of Universal Travel Partners

We recommend this resort for anyone seeking an upscale luxury resort vacation but you’ll have to wait to enjoy a stay here as it is currently closed.

Speaking of the sweet life, did you know by staying on property you’ll also receive exclusive theme park benefits? What can be sweeter than that?

Guests staying at Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Lowes Sapphire Falls Resort, Universal’s Aventura Hotel or Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites enjoy  Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ one hour before the theme parks open along with complimentary shuttle service (or water taxi for Sapphire Falls guests) to and from the Universal Orlando® theme parks and Universal CityWalk® the dining and entertainment complex.

Guests staying at Lowes Royal Pacific Resort, Hard Rock Hotel® or Lowes Portofino Bay Hotel enjoy exclusive benefits including FREE Universal Express Unlimited™, which provides access to skip the regular lines at participating rides and attractions at Universal Studios Florida™ and Universal’s Islands of Adventure™. Plus, they receive Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ and Universal’s Volcano Bay™ one hour before the theme parks open. Staying at these resorts also means you’re within walking distance-or a short, complimentary water taxi ride-from the theme parks and Universal CityWalk™!

Questions? We’ve got answers…and tickets…and special offers available for your next amazing vacation to Universal Orlando Resort.  You can also read our blogs about the reopening and all of the safety features in place to keep you safe by starting here:

RELATED: 10 Tips To Experience Universal Orlando Resort

Ready to visit? There’s never a better time to plan your trip! Contact a Vacations with Character® Vacationista for a free quote for tickets or packages today, and let’s get you back to enjoying life and creating amazing memories with your family and friends!  Just visit us at: https://universalvacationplanners.com/

We look forward to hearing from you!

Vacations with Character® is proud to be recognized as a Universal Orlando Preferred Travel Agency. This distinction is only offered to top sellers for Universal Orlando Parks and Resorts.