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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Disney Resort hotels will also be decked out for the holidays too, with their lobbies featuring iconic trees and other festive flourishes.
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!
Halloween is Coming to Universal Orlando Resort this Fall!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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
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.
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
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!
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
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.
5) Loews Portofino Bay Hotel
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!
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:
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/
The reopening of Disney parks has gone smoothly and happy guests are reporting back to share they are having a wonderful time. Here’s a few things to know if you are visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios soon and want to face an epic battle against the First Order on the thrilling attraction Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance!
Since Disney’s Hollywood Studios reopened, the virtual queues do fill quickly each day. This is due to new health-and-safety measures that includes requiring extra space between groups in queues and on attraction vehicles.
With all of this in mind and even with limited park attendance, Disney is simply not able to accommodate as many people on Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance as they could before the implementation of physical distancing. Therefore, Disney is adjusting the virtual queue for this attraction.
Guests with a Disney Park Pass reservation to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, must continue to access the My Disney Experience app virtual queue if they wish to experience this attraction just as before, but beginning Friday, July 24, opportunities to join the queue will be available at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. only.
Here are some helpful TIPS to be aware of before you arrive:
First, make sure to download the My Disney Experience app before you arrive at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!
Also, make sure your My Disney Experience account is linked to park tickets for you and the others in your group because you can enroll everyone in the virtual queue at the same time.
While you are in the park and at precisely 10 a.m. or 2 p.m., log in to your account. Groups will fill up quickly, so you must be diligent!
Once you have logged in, select “Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance Virtual Queue” on the home screen. You will be able to view the current status and next steps for joining the virtual queue.
The app will indicate when there is no availability for a specific distribution time. If there is no availability try to join a backup group.
Make sure push notifications are turned on for My Disney Experience so you will be alerted if your group is called to return. You’ll have up to an hour from the time of the alert to go to the entrance of Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
Guests who are enrolled in the virtual queue will be able to see an estimated return time indicating when they may be called back to experience the attraction. This time may change throughout the day, so continue to check the app for updates. Also, the tip boards around the park will display the boarding groups that have been called back.
In order to give as many guests as possible the opportunity to join the Resistance, each guest can enter the virtual queue no more than once per day.
Please note that joining the virtual queue does not guarantee the ability to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance.
If you have any questions or need assistance with joining the virtual queue, cast members at Guest Experience Team locations throughout the park are available to assist. While you wait for your virtual queue group to be called, you can enjoy other experiences at Disney’s Hollywood Studios including the newest addition, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.
Enjoy your vacation and “May the force be with you!”