Halloween Horror Nights Returns Earlier Than Ever

UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT’S HALLOWEEN HORROR NIGHTS RETURNS EARLIER THAN EVER THIS FALL – RUNNING FOR 48 SELECT NIGHTS BEGINNING AUGUST 30 THROUGH NOVEMBER 3, 2024

Halloween Horror Nights 33 Returns in late August 2024
Exciting News!

The horror begins earlier than ever before,  at every corner of Universal Studios Florida. Beginning today, you can secure your spot for the screams! Select tickets and packages are now on sale for the ultimate fall getaway with adrenaline-pumping thrills of Universal’s theme parks by day and the terrifying chills of Halloween Horror Nights at night.

What is Halloween Horror Nights?

Every fall, guests from all around the globe brave their worst nightmares coming to life at Halloween Horror Nights – consistently named the world’s premier Halloween event.

Are There Family Friendly Options?

Due to the intensity of this event, it is not recommended for children under the age of 13. However, daytime events have been incorporated in years past. Read about past offerings in our blog!

What’s New This Year?

A chilling new collection of 10 all-new movie-quality haunted houses, inspired by cinematic greats and created by the twisted minds of Universal’s Entertainment team. Plus, five scare zones will also be filled with hundreds of menacing creatures who will reign the streets of Universal Studios Florida.

And in between the screams, you can enjoy an energetic live show, fuel up for the next round of scares with sinfully delicious food and beverage inspired by the event’s haunts. You’ll also want to shop the latest merchandise at the highly-themed Halloween Horror Nights Tribute Store as well as enjoy some of Universal Studios Florida’s most exciting attractions.

Scare Zone at Halloween Horror Nights
Ticket and Package Information:

Single-night event tickets and Express Passes for Halloween Horror Nights are available for purchase now. You can also stay, scream and save up with a special vacation package that includes one-night admission to the event and accommodations at a Universal hotel located just minutes from the haunts.  Savings vary based on length of stay and this package is available for purchase now through November 2 for use from August 30 to November 3, 2024.

It’s worth noting Universal Orlando hotel guests receive exclusive benefits including access to a dedicated Halloween Horror Nights gate for faster entry into the event. Early Park Admission to the theme parks during the day plus complimentary resort transportation are also amazing perks.

10 Movie-Quality Haunted Houses Created by the twisted minds of Universal’s Entertainment Team Will Terrify Guests at HHN 33

Halloween Horror Nights upgrades are also available for purchase now, including the guided, nighttime R.I.P. Tour experience where you’ll receive priority V.I.P. access to the haunted houses. There’s also a tour called Behind the Screams: Unmasking the Horror that offers a glimpse into how the scares are brought to life via a daytime, lights-on journey through select haunted houses. For guests who can’t wait to peek at what’s in-store this year, there’s also a limited, three-house Behind The Screams: Unmasking the Horror Tour available for purchase for select days starting Aug. 11.

Photo property of Vacations with Character® LLC

Don’t hit a dead end!  For more information about this event, request a free, no-obligation quote from Vacations with Character® LLC, a Universal Orlando Preferred Travel Agency: Halloween Horror Nights 2024 and Beyond

Additional details about Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Resort and Universal Studios Hollywood will be revealed soon. Event dates include: August 30-31; September 1, 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-29; October 2-6, 9-13, 16-20, 23-27, 30-31; November 1-3.

Never go alone.

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.

DreamWorks Land Details Revealed

This summer, Universal Orlando Resort will debut DreamWorks Land – a vibrant new themed environment inspired by DreamWorks Animation’s beloved characters Shrek, Trolls and Kung Fu Panda.

As soon as guests step into the spectacular new land, the vivid world and imagination of DreamWorks Animation will surround them as they embark on exciting adventures like exploring Shrek’s Swamp just outside of his 35-foot-tall cottage, taking a ride on a dazzling Trollercoaster, interacting with Po in the Panda Village and meeting favorite characters like Gabby from Gabby’s Dollhouse. Guests will also discover unique treats, photo-op-worthy murals, interactive play areas, splash pads and entertainment offerings themed to popular DreamWorks stories and characters. 

Here’s the full run down about the enchanting and playful new experiences coming to DreamWorks Land:

SHREK
Like ogres and onions, guests can peel back layers of fun in Shrek’s oasis to discover “ogre-the-top” adventures at every turn.


Shrek’s Swamp Meet: Guests can visit Shrek’s Swamp Meet to interact with beloved characters Shrek, Princess Fiona and Donkey, the noble steed eager to joke around and converse with guests, just outside of Shrek’s cottage.

Shrek’s Swamp for Little Ogres: This ogre-sized play area features four fun slides, wet play areas and a playground where guests can climb, bounce and splash around as well as venture into Shrek’s outhouse.

Mama Luna Feline Fiesta: The blockbuster film, Puss in Boots 2: The Last Wish, comes to life with this new interactive experience that takes place in Mama Luna’s retirement home for cats. Here, guests get to play with Mama Luna’s many cats on vivid interactive screens activated by buttons, bells, maracas and levers. They might even spot the one and only Puss in Boots himself.

King Harold’s Swamp Symphony: Guests can create their own melodious masterpiece as they trigger a choir of ever-changing frog ribbits by continually stomping on an array of interactive lily pads.

Swamp Snacks: Families can feast like an ogre at this new kiosk, which will serve scrumptious snacks inspired by Shrek, including Shrekzel, Far Far A Waffle, Frozen Ogre and more.

TROLLS
A magnificent fountain featuring favorite Trolls characters Poppy and Branch sits at the center of the Trolls Village where “fantastamazing” energy flows and guests can relax and “find their happy place.”


Trolls Trollercoaster: After strolling through a dazzling marquee starring cherished Trolls characters Poppy, Viva, Tiny Diamond, Satin and Chenille, guests of all ages can take a ride on the iconic Caterbus escaping evil spiders as they speed along a bright orange and yellow track aboard this family-friendly rollercoaster.

Poppy’s Playground: Nestled under a giant, 20-foot mushroom is Poppy’s Playground – a shaded play area featuring colorful flowers and bugs with a bountiful array of fun bouncing and climbing structures for the youngest of trolls.

Trolls Treats: Poppy’s boombox from Trolls Band Together has been transformed into a playful kiosk that offers up brightly colored Trolls ice cream treats inspired by Poppy and Branch like the pink lemonade-flavored Poppy-licious Pink and huckleberry-flavored BroZone Berry.

High Five Hideaway: Cloud Guy hosts this all-new retail location featuring the latest merchandise including apparel, plush and accessories from Shrek, Trolls, Kung Fu Panda, Gabby’s Dollhouse and more.


KUNG FU PANDA
Guests embark on thrilling and fun adventures alongside the lovable panda Po from the action-packed world of the Kung Fu Panda movies.

Po’s Kung Fu Training Camp: Inspired by the hit Kung Fu Panda films, this all-new play area brings the Panda Village to life like never before. Within both wet and dry play areas, guests have the opportunity to help the pandas wash and dry their laundry with enormous water cannons, dump buckets, giant fans and more. Guests will also encounter fun elements throughout the experience, including an interactive gong, mischievous, giggling baby pandas, and oversized merry-go-round noodle bowls from Mr. Ping’s Noodle Shop.

Po Live!: This digital, interactive meet and greet experience gives guests the opportunity to interact with the famous Dragon Warrior himself as he teaches them cool Kung Fu moves, cooks some delicious stir fry and babysits his little cousin, Ling Ling…all at the same time.

DreamWorks Land will also feature additional opportunities for guests to meet and interact with beloved characters through extraordinary live entertainment, including:

DreamWorks Imagination Celebration: Popular DreamWorks Animation stories leap off the screen and come to life in DreamWorks Imagination Celebration. The multisensory adventure combines hit pop songs, high-energy dancing, advanced technology, and more to create an imaginative party atmosphere that will transport guests to the worlds of their favorite characters within the all-new DreamWorks Theater.

DreamWorks Character Zone: At DreamWorks Character Zone, guests can meet, greet and interact with their favorite DreamWorks characters like Gabby from Gabby’s Dollhouse and more.

There are so many fun events, like the family-friendly Mardi Gras celebration, to wonderful updates such as the addition of Minions Land at Universal Orlando Resort! For more information or to book your adventure, contact your favorite Vacations with Character® Vacationista today! https://universalvacationplanners.com/

Vacations with Character is proud to earn the distinction of being a Universal U-Preferred Travel Agency.

 

Let the Good Times Roll at Universal Mardi Gras 2024

Mardi Gras 2024: International Flavors of Carnaval, returns to Universal Studios Orlando!
Universal Mardi Gras 2024 – Courtesy of Derek Funk

Universal Mardi Gras 2024: International Flavors of Carnaval, runs daily through Sunday, April 7 at Universal Studios, Florida.

Don’t miss this A.W.E.S.O.M.E.  party inspired by Carnaval celebrations around the world. Catch live concerts on select nights, savor amazing international cuisine along with sizzling New Orleans favorites including authentic Cajun specialties (food available for purchase), and an amazing parade plus beads by the handful! Best of all, the Mardi Gras festivities are included with your theme park admission or Annual Pass. Seasonal Passholders can also experience the event on select nights.

Click Here to See an Overview of this Year’s Celebration and take a look at all the details below:

Universal Mardi Gras 2024 – Courtesy of Derek Funk

While last year’s parade theme was based on The Mythical Realms of Mardi Gras, this year’s parade theme will be centered around the elements, with floats inspired by earth, wind, fire, water, the sun and the moon, Universal said in a news release. The six new floats will join the lineup of traditional New Orleans-inspired floats, and, of course, there will be beads.

Universal Mardi Gras 2024 - Courtesy of Derek Funk
Mardi Gras Parade Float

Taste the International Flavors of Carnaval

The celebration will also feature a menu of more than food and beverage items served at kiosks around the park. The dishes will be inspired by flavors from around the world and include classic items such as beignets and fried green tomato po’boys.

Guests and clients can also take their Mardi Gras party to the next level with the Mardi Gras Float Ride and Dine Experience, which provides an exclusive opportunity to be a part of the festivities by reserving a spot to toss beads from a Mardi Gras float during the event’s vibrant parade. The experience also includes a three-course meal at one of four participating restaurants—The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar, NBC Sports Grill & Brew, Finnegan’s Bar & Grill or Lombard’s Seafood Grille. The Mardi Gras Float Ride and Dine Experience includes one appetizer, one entrée, one dessert and one non-alcoholic beverage starting at $90.51 (tax inclusive) per person, as well as one Mardi Gras parade float rider reservation on the same day.

Incredible Ticket Offers with Free Days to Get the Mardi Gras Party Started

Guests looking to experience Universal Mardi Gras and all that Universal Orlando has to offer can take advantage of a variety of incredible offers to plan their visit. Right now, U.S., Canada and Latin America residents can enjoy two free days of admission with the purchase of a 2-Park, 2-Day ticket. Guests can also take advantage of the Save 25% on a 3-Park, 5-Night Vacation Package, which includes 5-night hotel accommodations at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Universal’s Aventura Hotel or Loews Portofino Bay Hotel in addition to a 3-Park, 5-Day Park-to-Park ticket to visit Universal Studios Florida, Universal Islands of Adventure and Universal Volcano Bay.

Universal Concert Series for Mardi Gras 2024 – Courtesy of Derek Funk

Star-Studded Mardi Gras Concert Lineup

This year’s concert series, included with admission, will be held at the park’s Music Plaza Stage after the Mardi Gras parade.  The full Mardi Gras lineup is below:

  • Feb. 3: Walker Hayes
  • Feb. 10: The All-American Rejects
  • Feb. 17: Nessa Barrett
  • Feb. 18: KC and the Sunshine Band
  • Feb. 24: Barenaked Ladies
  • March 2: DJ Khaled
  • March 9: Ava Max
  • March 10: Queen Latifah
  • March 16: Luis Fonsi
  • March 17: Zedd

It’s Springtime fun for everyone! For more information or to book your adventure, contact your favorite Vacationista today! https://universalvacationplanners.com/

 

EPCOT International Festival of the Arts 2024 Foodie Guide

The Epcot Foodie Guide is here! The EPCOT International Festival of the Arts is kicking off in just a couple weeks! Starting Jan. 12 through Feb. 19, EPCOT will embrace the arts in all forms, from music to cuisines, and fill the park with plenty of dazzling experiences to enjoy. With nearly 18 Food Studios filled with expertly crafted bites and delights from our talented teams of chefs and mixologists, guests’ taste buds are about to be brought to life with the culinary arts! Take a peek:

Epcot Foodie Guide Photos
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations Travel News – Figment’s Inspiration Station at the Odyssey: Art, Food, and Little Sparks of Magic

Epcot Foodie Guide Food Items:

  • Blueberry-filled Pastry Tart with purple icing (The Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine Item)
  • Rainbow Cake with freeze dried SKITTLES bite sized candies
  • Figment Premium Popcorn Bucket with Rainbow Popcorn (Limit two per person, per transaction; available while supplies last.)

Beverages:

  • Grape Smoothie with freeze dried SKITTLES bite sized candies (Non-alcoholic beverage)
  • 3 Daughters Brewing Black Cherry Hard Cider
  • 3 Daughters Brewing Blood Orange Hard Cider
  • 3 Daughters Brewing Passion Fruit Hard Cider
  • Rainbow Hard Cider Flight
  • 81Bay Brewing Co. Green with Envy Blonde Ale
  • 81Bay Brewing Co. Blue Butterfly Lager
  • Urban Artifact The Gadget Raspberry & Blackberry Midwest Fruit Tart
  • Rainbow Beer Flight
Epcot Foodie Guide
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations Travel News –Refreshment Port

Epcot Foodie Guide Food Items:

  • Gnocchi Poutine with red wine-braised beef, cheese curds, basil, and burrata
  • Artist Palette Jumbo Chocolate Chip Cookie

Beverages:

  • Blood Orange Cosmo: Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka with blood orange, cranberry, and lime
  • Boulevard Brewing Co. Quirk Blueberry Lemon & Lavender Hard Seltzer
Epcot Foodie Guide
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations Travel News –The Artist’s Table

Epcot Foodie Guide Food Items:

  • Duck and Dumplings: Smoked duck breast, ricotta dumplings, baby vegetables, and duck jus
  • Hummingbird Cake: Banana and pecan cake dipped in cream cheese icing with caramel sauce and warm pineapple compote

Beverages:

  • Wicked Weed Pineapple Daydream IPA (New)
  • Brew Hub Jazzberry Wheat Jam Ale (New)
  • Lost Coast Brewery Peanut Butter Chocolate Milk Stout (New)
  • Migration Pinot Noir (New)
  • Beer Flight also available
Epcot Foodie Guide
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations Travel News –The Painted Panda

Epcot Foodie Guide Food Items:

  • General Tso’s Chicken Shumai
  • Char Siu Pork Bun
  • Sesame Balls with red bean paste

Beverages:

  • Black and White Bubble Tea with black tea, milk, chocolate, and black & white boba pearls (Non-alcoholic beverage)
  • Lucky Foo Pale Ale
  • Silk River Hard Lemonade with vodka, lavender-coconut syrup, and lemonade
  • Butterfly Blue: Butterfly pea flower-infused cocktail with vodka, light rum, lychee syrup, and magic boba pearls
Epcot Foodie Guide
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations Travel News – Pop Eats

Epcot Foodie Guide Food Items:

  • Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese
  • Tomato Soup with pimento cheese, bacon, and fried green tomato grilled cheese
  • Rock the Dots White Chocolate and Orange Mousse with vanilla bean chiffon cake (New)

Beverages:

  • Brooklyn Brewery Pulp Art Hazy IPA
  • Blanc de Bleu Cuvée Mousseux with boba pearls

Refreshment Station

  • Frozen Slushy: Coca-Cola, dragon fruit, or watermelon

Connections Eatery

Beverage: 

  • Orange-Lemonade Cocktail: Three Olives Blueberry Vodka, lemonade, and orange juice with cotton candy 

 

Epcot Foodie Guide
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations Travel News –Cuisine Classique

Epcot Foodie Guide Food Items:

  • Beef Wellington: Mushroom duxelles, prosciutto, and puff pastry with red wine demi-glace
  • Cast Iron-roasted P.E.I. mussels with sautéed tomatoes, garlic, and fresh herbs

Beverages:  

  • Gulf Stream Brewing Company Sum of All Colors IPA (New)
  • Tesselaarsdal Pinot Noir (New)
Epcot Foodie Guide
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations Travel News –Funnel Cake 
  • Crazy Chocolate Funnel Cake Sandwich: Mini funnel cake sandwich with vanilla ice cream, rainbow whipped cream, strawberry sauce, powdered sugar, and sprinkles (New)
Epcot Foodie Guide
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations Travel News-The Craftsman’s Courtyard

Epcot Foodie Guide Food Items:

  • Grilled Pork Belly with salsa verde, broccoli rabe, pickled peppers, and raclette cheese on grilled sourdough (New)
  • Grilled Marinated Skirt Steak with caramelized onions and mushrooms, blue cheese fondue, and arugula on a grilled French roll (New)

Beverages: 

  • BrewDog Jet Black Heart Nitro Oatmeal Stout
  • Coffee Old Fashioned Cocktail
Epcot Foodie Guide
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations Travel News –Deco Delights

Epcot Foodie Guide Food Items:

  • Neapolitan Dessert Trio: Chocolate tart, vanilla bean cheesecake, and strawberry mousse (New) (The Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine Item)

Beverages:

  • 3 Daughters Brewing Strawberry Blonde Nitro
  • 81Bay Brewing Co. Vanilla Porter
  • Playalinda Brewing Co. Milk Stout
  • Espresso Martini featuring Boyd & Blair Potato Vodka
  • Beer Flight
Epcot Foodie Guide
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations Travel News –Vibrante & Vívido: Encanto Cocina

Epcot Foodie Guide Food Items:

  • Chorizo and Potato Empanada with turmeric aïoli and annatto aïoli (The Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine Item)
  • Passion Fruit-filled Mango Cheesecake with coconut-pineapple cake, dragon fruit gelée, and dragon fruit-strawberry sauce (New)

Beverages: 

  • Coconut and Passion Fruit Smoothie (Non-alcoholic beverage)
  • Frozen Piña Colada
  • Passion Fruit Daiquiri
Epcot Foodie Guide
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations Travel News –The Deconstructed Dish

Epcot Foodie Guide Food Items:
 

  • Deconstructed BLT: Pork belly, onion bread pudding, watercress espuma, and tomato jam
  • Deconstructed Key Lime Pie: Flexible Key Lime Curd, “Key Lime” Mousse, Graham Cracker Cake, and Meringues (The Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine Item)

Beverages: 

  • Deconstructed Strawberry Mint Julep (Non-alcoholic beverage)
  • Wicked Weed Brewing Blank Canvas Belgian Blonde Witbier
  • Deconstructed Strawberry Mint Julep with bourbon
Epcot Foodie Guide
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations Travel News –Pastoral Palate

Epcot Foodie Guide Food Items:

  • Red Wine-braised Beef Short Rib with parsnip purée, broccolini, baby tomatoes, and balsamic glaze
  • Black Forest Cake: Chocolate mousse with morello cherries and chantilly cream 

Beverages:

  • 3 Daughters Brewing Rosé Hard Cider
  • 81Bay Brewing Co. Rosé Blonde Ale
  • Frozen Rosé
  • A Play on Rosé Flight
  • Marietta Old Vine Rosé
Epcot Foodie Guide
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations Travel News –L’Arte di Mangiare  

Epcot Foodie Guide Food Items:

  • Mozzarella Fritta: Flash-fried breaded fresh mozzarella with artist palette condiments
  • Conchiglie Ripiene: Baked stuffed conchiglie pasta with beef, ricotta, peas, pomodoro, and creamy sauce
  • Torta Ricotta di Cioccolata: Chocolate cheesecake and whipped cream

Beverages:

  • Peroni Pilsner
  • Langhe Nebbiolo
  • Prosecco
  • Italian Sangria (Red or White)
  • Italian Margarita with tequila and limoncello
  • Elderflower Sparkling Cocktail: Mint-infused elderflower liqueur, prosecco, and sparkling blood orange
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations Travel News –Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company 

World Discovery (Near Mission: SPACE)

  • Pistachio Palette Cold Brew: A flavorful masterpiece featuring Joffrey’s Shakin’ Jamaican Cold Brew, pistachio syrup, and milk topped with whipped cream and colorful sprinkles

Near Canada

  • Realism Roseberry Cold Brew:  A lively swirl of flavors featuring Joffrey’s Shakin’ Jamaican Cold Brew, strawberry rose syrup, and milk topped with whipped cream and colorful sprinkles (Alcoholic version available with Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur)

Showcase Plaza (Near Disney Traders)  

  • Brushstroke Berry Bliss: A vibrant combination of frozen lemon, Minute Maid Lemonade, raspberry syrup, and iced tea garnished with lemon (Alcoholic version available with Grey Goose Vodka) 

The American Adventure  

  • Pastel Pineberry Frost: A pastel work of art featuring frozen lemon, Minute Maid Lemonade, and pineberry syrup garnished with lemon (Alcoholic version available with Grey Goose Vodka)
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations Travel News –Goshiki

Epcot Foodie Guide Food Items:

  • Wagyu Bun: Steamed bun filled with American wagyu beef served with green shiso sauce
  • Sushi Donut: Donut-shaped Sushi featuring salmon, tuna, shrimp, cucumber, and sesame seed over a decorated plate of wasabi aïoli, sriracha aïoli, and eel sauce
  • Ichigo Mochi – Daifuku: Daifuku mochi filled with fresh strawberry, sweet azuki bean paste, and white chocolate served with strawberry cream

Beverages:

  • Murasaki Blueberry Drink: Sweet blueberry and cream (Non-alcoholic beverage)
  • Mikan Orange IPA
  • Masu Sake in a traditional personalized wooden cup
  • Blueberry Cocktail: Nigori sake with sweet blueberry, cream, and yuzu
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations Travel News –El Artista Hambriento

Epcot Foodie Guide Food Items:

  • Carne Asada: Chipotle-marinated beef sirloin, grilled queso fresco, Nopales salad with queso fresco foam and chicharron dust

Beverages:

  • Mexican Craft Beer
  • Rubí Delicioso Margarita: Tromba Blanco Tequila, Lejay Blackcurrant Liqueur, citrus, mint, spicy agave, and beet juice
  • Smokey Banana Bliss Margarita: Ten to One Rum, Ilegal Mezcal Joven, banana purée, and lime juice
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations Travel News –L’Art de la Cuisine Française

Epcot Foodie Guide Food Items:

  • Crème de Brie en Petit Pain: Warm creamy brie in a house-made bread bowl
  • Saumon Fumé Mousse et Aspic, Blini et Fromage de Chevre: Salmon mousse, smoked salmon, dill, and flaxseed biscuit, served cold (New)
  • Vol-au-Vent de Saumon et Epinards, Sauce Chardonnay: Puff pastry with salmon and spinach and a chardonnay-shallot sauce, served warm (New)
  • Duo de Saumon Hot and Cold: Enjoy both of the salmon offerings (New)
  • Moelleux aux Noisettes, Croustillant Noisettes, Coulis Framboise et Mangue: Molten Valrhona chocolate cake, hazelnut crunch, and mango-raspberry coulis (New)

Beverages:

  • Frozen French Martini: Grey Goose Vodka, Chambord liqueur, pineapple, orange, and grape juices with lemon-lime foam
  • Elderflower Liqueur Cocktail: St. Germain Liqueur, sparkling wine, and mint (New)
  • Charles Lafite, Brut Rosé Prestige, Méthode Traditionnel Champenoise French Rosé Sparkling Wine
  • Pinot Noir J. de Villebois (New)
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations Travel News –Tangierine Café: Flavors of the Medina

Epcot Foodie Guide Food Items:

  • Grilled Kebabs with carrot-chickpea salad and garlic aïoli
    • Chermoula Chicken
    • Moroccan-spiced Lamb
  • Stone-baked Moroccan Bread with hummus, chermoula, and zhoug dips (Plant-based Item)
  • Chocolate Cake with pomegranate mousse and pomegranate whipped cream (New)

Beverages:

  • Twinings Chai Tea with Sprite and mint (Non-alcoholic beverage)
  • Blake’s Hard Cider Co. Grizzly Pear Hard Cider (New)
  • Rekorderlig Strawberry-Lime Hard Cider (New)
  • Keel Farms Blueberry Lavender Hard Cider (New)
  • Chai Tea Mint Mimosa: Twinings Chai Tea with Key lime sparkling wine and mint (New)
  • Hard Cider Flight
Photo Credit: Disney Destinations Travel News –Gourmet Landscapes

Epcot Foodie Guide Food Items:

  • Verjus-roasted Beets with goat cheese, petite lettuce, blackberry gastrique, and spiced pecans (New) (The Wonderful Walk of Colorful Cuisine Item)
  • Roasted Bone Marrow with onion marmalade, pickled mushrooms, and petite lettuce
  • Wild Mushroom Risotto with truffle shavings and zinfandel reduction (Plant-based Item)

Beverages: 

  • Whole Hog Brewery Raspberry Chéret Double Radler
  • Schlumberger Cuvée Klimt Brut
  • The Meeker Vineyard Winemaker’s Handprint Merlot
  • Frozen Scotch Cocktail: Scotch and herbal tea garnished with a chocolate nail

Another exciting and delicious year for the EPCOT International Festival of the Arts lies ahead! I can’t wait to experience the festival this year and taste all of these delicious dishes and sips.

The tasty adventures are truly endless when you visit Disney Parks, especially during a festival! Contact your favorite Vacations with Character® Vacationista for more information!

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Disney Cruise Line Magical Offers

More Disney Cruise Line Magic is Coming to Florida and We’ve got a Few Featured Sailings to Share!

Disney Cruise Line – The Sea is Calling!

Aboard any Disney cruise, you can experience fun and relaxation, imaginative dining, Broadway-style shows and exclusive spaces for adults and kids alike. Disney Cruise Line is truly a Vacation with Character!

We’re excited to share not only is Fort Lauderdale now a year-round home port for Disney Cruise Line, it’s also a gateway to both of their island escapes in the Bahamas, Disney Castaway Cay and brand-new Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point. This latest island addition will be located on the southernmost tip of the island of Eleuthera, nestled in a one-of-a-kind location where the deep blue Atlantic Ocean meets the turquoise waters of the Bahamas. Guests will be immersed in the natural beauty and tranquility of the Bahamas, inspired by its rich culture, traditions and stories, all interwoven by the amazing storytelling of Disney Imagineers. Disney Lookout Cay at Lighthouse Point debuts summer 2024.

We’ve compiled a list of a few of our favorites just for you that include these amazing destinations and more:

We’ve also prepared a special e-brochure just for you to learn more about all of the amazing experiences a Disney Cruise Line provides, as well as to share a complete list of our special offers. You’ll find all of the magical details here: Handle with Care — Dreams Enclosed! 

Dreams really do come true on a Disney Cruise and if you’re ready to set sail for breezy shores, it’s as easy as Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo to contact us to book a magical escape you’ll never forget with Disney Cruise Line!

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

 

 

Universal’s Mardi Gras International Flavors of Carnival

Universal Orlando Resort’s Mardi Gras 2023 Celebration Returns

Mardi Gras Parade at Universal Orlando Resort
Mardi Gras Parade at Universal Orlando Resort

Universal Orlando Resort invites guests to go beyond the bayou and let the good times roll from February 4 through April 16, 2023 with the return of Universal’s Mardi Gras: International Flavors of Carnaval – featuring a dazzling Mardi Gras parade, mouthwatering cuisine inspired by global Carnaval celebrations and, on select nights, live concerts by top names in music – all included with regular theme park admission to Universal Studios Florida.

Click Here to See an Overview of this Year’s Celebration and take a look at all the details below:

Star-Studded Mardi Gras Concert Lineup

This year’s concert series will feature eight live performances by popular names in music like GRAMMY-nominated band Goo Goo Dolls, GRAMMY-winning Platinum superstar Maren Morris and GRAMMY-winning artist Sean Paul, and at the Music Plaza stage – an outdoor concert venue set against the backdrop of the towering Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit roller coaster.

Complete Concert Line-Up for Universal 2023 Mardi Gras Celebration
Complete Concert Line-Up for Universal 2023 Mardi Gras Celebration
New “Mythical Realms of Mardi Gras” Parade Theme

Guests of all ages can dance along with high-energy performers and catch beads by the handful during this year’s spectacular parade, which will showcase a new “Mythical Realms of Mardi Gras” theme inspired by fantastical creatures like dragons, phoenixes, unicorns and more – with a Mardi Gras twist. This year’s imaginative theme will be brought to life within six incredibly detailed and festive parade floats that will join Universal’s traditional lineup of New Orleans-inspired floats – such as the iconic, two-story Riverboat and nearly 50-foot-long King Gator.

Taste the International Flavors of Carnaval

The mouthwatering flavors of global Carnaval celebrations from New Orleans to Brazil to Belgium and beyond will come to life as part of an expansive menu featuring more than 50 tasting-sized items for guests to enjoy at this year’s event. While venturing throughout the parkwide celebration, guests will find kiosks featuring delectable food and beverage inspired by iconic fare from around the world – including the classic Crawfish Boil and deliciously fluffy Beignets from New Orleans, Shrimp Ceviche Tostada from Mexico, a Mofongo Flight inspired by the Carnaval Ponceño in Puerto Rico, Indonesian Black Coconut Rice Pudding with Mango and so much more.

Plus, for the first time ever, Universal Orlando’s other theme parks are joining the fun by featuring a limited selection of Mardi Gras items, including Gumbo, Jambalaya, King Cake and more at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, and the Muffuletta Long Board Pizza at Universal’s Volcano Bay.

All-New Mardi Gras Tribute Store and Merchandise

Located within an all-new space in the Hollywood area of Universal Studios Florida, this year’s Mardi Gras Tribute Store invites guests to an international jazz celebration that leads to the traditional alleyways of New Orleans and ultimately into a speakeasy where the Mardi Gras celebration continues. Within the new store, guests can shop a new selection of Mardi Gras merchandise that ranges from apparel to accessories and collectibles such as keychains, pins, themed glasses and even some personalized options – allowing them to take a piece of Florida’s Biggest Party home with them. Guests can also devour tasty treats inspired by this year’s celebration within the new retail location.

The Party Continues at Universal CityWalk and Universal Orlando’s Hotels

Guests can keep the party going at Universal CityWalk with special Mardi Gras festivities at select venues along with food kiosks featuring delicious menu items that offer a taste of the Mediterranean, the Islands and popular Mardi Gras fare. Pat O’Brien’s will host a Mardi Gras After Party on select nights from 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. that includes live entertainment and exclusive food and drink offerings; as well as a special Fat Tuesday celebration on February 21 from 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. featuring a dueling piano and more. Reservations for the festivities at Pat O’Brien’s can be made by calling 407-224-3663. Plus, the Red Coconut Club will transform for the Mardi Gras season into the Cursed Coconut Club – more details and dates of operation will be shared soon.

The best way to experience Universal’s Mardi Gras is with a stay at one of Universal’s eight incredible hotels. Each hotel will have exclusive Mardi Gras offerings such as Cajun Jambalaya Pasta at Trattoria del Porto in Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, N’awlins Po’ Boy Sliders at Velvet Bar at Hard Rock Hotel, Crawfish Etouffee at Bar 17 Bistro in Universal’s Aventura Hotel and more. Universal Orlando hotel guests can also enjoy exclusive benefits including Early Park Admission and complimentary transportation to the theme parks.

Incredible Offers to Get the Celebration Started

Access to Universal’s Mardi Gras is included with theme park admission. Guests wanting to join the festivities can save 25% on a 5-Day/5-Night Vacation Package to visit Universal Orlando this spring and experience Mardi Gras (blockout dates apply).

Florida Residents can also take advantage of a new offer to partake in the festivities that gives them two days of free admission to Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure with the purchase of a 2-Park, 2-Day ticket (valid for use through June 29, 2023; blockout dates apply).

For more information or to book your adventure, contact your favorite Vacationista today! https://universalvacationplanners.com/

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.

 

 

EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival is Here!

Take a First Look: EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival presented by CORKCICLE

Epcot Food and Wine Sign
By Disney Destinations – July 14, 2022

For the next 128 delicious days, guests can sip, savor, shop and repeat across six continents at the EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival presented by CORKCICLE! The festival kicked off yesterday and continues through Nov. 19, offering new experiences for foodies and fun-loving
families.

Friends enjoying various drinks at Epcot Food and Wine Festival
By Disney Destinations

A passport for the palate, this iconic festival is a magical taste tour – one that whisks guests off on a fun and flavorful journey. It’s a delicious celebration of the best in global food and drink along with live entertainment, family activities and more. This year, the creative Disney culinarily teams have dreamed up unique dishes as nearly one third of the menu offerings are NEW!

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Passport
Festival Passport by Disney Destinations

Guests can grab a Festival Passport to use as their handy guide to discover all the new sips and fresh bites available at the more than 25 Global Marketplaces throughout the park. These special food and beverage locations celebrate the best in global cuisine.

The Fry Basket by Disney Destinations

Debuting this year is The Fry Basket showcasing French fries presented with unique savory and sweet toppings – like the Fry Flight, featuring three different flavors!

Family enjoying morning treats at Epcot Food and Wine Festival
By Disney Destinations

For those who like to get an early start enjoying the festival and all that EPCOT has to offer, the Belgium marketplace will open at 8:30 a.m. daily to serve up delicious Belgian Waffles topped with either Warm Chocolate Ganache or Berry Compote and Whipped Cream, as well as Chilled Mocha Coffee.

Various Booths at Epcot Food and Wine
By Disney Destinations

All other marketplaces – including The Swanky Saucy Swine, Coastal Eats, Hops & Barley, The Alps, Germany, Spain, Canada, Australia, Greece, Brazil and Flavors from Fire to name just a few – will open at 11:00am daily to entice guests with exciting new options and returning fan-favorites. Be sure to check out the full Festival Foodie Guide for photos of many delectable offerings.

Don’t miss the Eat to the Beat Concert Series presented by Florida Blue Medicare as well! Be sure to check out this incredible list of performances and make plans for which guests want to see. And don’t forget about Eat to the Beat Dining Packages (for Friday through Monday concerts), which include a leisurely meal at a select EPCOT restaurant and guaranteed seating at a performance later that same day. To see the full lineup of artists, performance dates and pricing, and to make a dining package reservation, visit TasteEpcot.com.

New Merchandise for Epcot Food and Wine Festival
By Disney Destinations

It’s time to sip, savor…and shop! Five new merchandise collections offer up fun and whimsical kitchenware, tabletop items, apparel, novelties and unique collectibles featuring favorite Disney characters such as Chef Minnie Mouse, Chef Mickey Mouse, Princess Tiana, Chef Figment and Chef Remy. Merchandise can be found at festival retail locations across EPCOT, with additional pieces debuting throughout the festival. Select items are also available on shopDisney.com.

Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak Savenger Hunt and Sweet Treat
By Disney Destinations

But that’s not all! There are other ways to have even more fun exploring the festival. Cheese lovers will love Emile’s Fromage Montage and take a walk on the tasty side to sample dishes featuring cheese served in inventive ways.

Guests of all ages can enjoy Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure where they’ll join Chef Remy on a daring culinary journey and zip, dash and scurry through Gusteau’s bustling Paris restaurant. And kids will want to embark on a Ratatouille-inspired scavenger hunt that’s très magnifique in Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak as well.

At the end of the day, Guests will want add to the magical memories made by watching “Harmonious” – one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created for a Disney Park.

To experience the 2022 EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival, contact your favorite Vacations with Character® Vacationista for all the details!

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Live Entertainment Returning to Disney World!

Several major live entertainment experiences will be returning to Walt Disney World Resort during The World’s Most Magical Celebration, some with new additions and enhancements!
Just announced as part of the Destination D23 event, several major live entertainment experiences will be returning to Walt Disney World Resort during The World’s Most Magical Celebration, and some of them are coming back with new additions and enhancements!

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, we’re thrilled to share some additional details about this newly updated show, which is being called “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!” The new show is set in the timeline of the movie “Finding Dory.” We’re told the team is hard at work getting “Finding Nemo: The Big Blue… and Beyond!” ready to open in 2022, and we look forward to sharing more soon.

Photo: Courtesy of Disney Travel News

As Josh D’Amaro, Chairman, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, announced earlier today, “Fantasmic!” will also be returning to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2022. When this incredible spectacular reopens next year, it will incorporate an all-new sequence featuring live performers, stunts, special effects and more!

Just announced as part of the Destination D23 event, several major live entertainment experiences will be returning to Walt Disney World Resort during The World’s Most Magical Celebration, and some of them are coming back with new additions and enhancements!

At Magic Kingdom Park, live entertainment is returning to the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage early next year, with a show newly enhanced for the 50th Anniversary celebration. “Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire” will incorporate favorite scenes from the previous version of the show – with sequences inspired by “Frozen,” “Tangled,” and “The Princess and the Frog” – plus a new opening and a new finale with Mickey Mouse and all his friends in their sparkling, EARidescent fashions. The show will also include an all-new, original song entitled “Where the Magic Feels Like Home.” “Mickey’s Magical Friendship Faire” will be a wonderful addition to the live entertainment lineup for the 50th Anniversary celebration.

Photo: Courtesy of Vacations with Character®

Since parks  reopened last year, Disney has been presenting favorite characters in new ways, such as the cavalcades that travel the parade route at Magic Kingdom Park. These cavalcades have been very popular and will continue to be part of the park entertainment experience into the future. Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade debuted Oct. 1 as part of the 50th anniversary, and later this winter, a new one will be introduced, the Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade, with an exciting lineup of characters all embarking on a great journey through the park. The Disney Adventure Friends Cavalcade will feature the most characters of any cavalcade to date, including Nick and Judy from “Zootopia,” Baloo and King Louie from “The Jungle Book,” José Carioca and Panchito from “The Three Caballeros,” Miguel from “Coco,” plus Merida, Moana, The Incredibles, and so many more!

Photo: Courtesy of Disney Travel News

And best of all, in early 2022, these cavalcades will be joined by the return of the Disney “Festival of Fantasy” Parade. This vibrant and joyous celebration of Fantasyland brings to the streets of Magic Kingdom Park dozens of beloved Disney characters and stories, from the Disney Princess Garden to a carnival of color presided over by none other than Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.

Photo: Courtesy of Vacations with Character®

All of this (and more!) is on the way, adding to new experiences that debuted with the launch of the Walt Disney World 50th Anniversary celebration, including “Disney KiteTails,” “Harmonious,” and “Disney Enchantment,” as well as other returning favorites like “Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular.”

Stay tuned for more news coming soon. We can’t wait to help you create a magical vacation to all that fun! Contact your favorite Vacations with Character® Vacationista if you are interested in booking a vacation package and tickets at www.vacationswithcharacter.net. 

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New Cirque du Soleil Show Opening at Disney Springs!

The Show Goes On! Cirque du Soleil & Disney Announce Opening Date for Drawn to Life at Disney Springs!

Drawn to Life By: Disney Destinations Travel News

Calling all Cirque du Soleil fans! The iconic white tent theater at Disney Springs that has been sitting empty since is buzzing with activity once again as Cirque du Soleil artists are returning to the stage to train and rehearse for a spectacular new show.

Drawn to Life is a thrilling collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering. At its core, the show is about the love between a father and a daughter with a story drawing inspiration from Disney’s 100-year heritage of animation. The family-friendly show brings timeless Disney stories and characters to life in an unforgettable way through the use of innovative design, acrobatic performances, dazzling choreography, musical scores, brand-new animation lovingly created by Disney Animation artists, and some extra touches of Disney magic. Here’s a sneak Peek:

Originally scheduled to debut in spring 2020, Drawn to Life was in its final rehearsals when the pandemic brought live theater performances to a halt. While waiting to return to the stage, artists stayed in shape by training at home or at local facilities. Now, the intermission is over and being back in the theater together is a dream come true for the cast and crew — and soon to be for fans alike!

Drawn to Life presented by Cirque du Soleil & Disney is scheduled to open on Nov. 18, 2021. Tickets will go on sale Aug. 20 to the general public.

For more information about Drawn to Life, visit DisneySprings.com/Cirque. And be sure to keep an an eye out for some behind-the-scenes stories coming in the weeks ahead on our Facebook page as well: https://www.facebook.com/VacationsWithCharacter.

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Run Disney Returns This Fall

On Your Mark, Get Set, Go! In-Person runDisney Racing Returns to Walt Disney World Resort This Fall!

RunDisney Returns, kicking off the 2021-2022 season with four events!

We’re so excited to share that runDisney races will return to Walt Disney World Resort this fall, kicking off the runDisney 2021-2022 race season! The season will include four events:

  • Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend powered by AfterShokz: November 4-7, 2021
  • Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend: January 5-9, 2022
  • Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend: February 24-27, 2022
  • runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend presented by Otterbox: March 31-April 3, 2022

    The 2021 Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend will kick off all the fun. The theme, “Wickedly Delicious”, celebrates favorite Disney villains, and the weekend will include a 5K, 10K, half marathon, and Disney Two Course Challenge (both the 10K and the half marathon). The Post-Race Party will cap off the weekend so runners can celebrate their accomplishments with family and friends at EPCOT with exclusive, after-hours access to the park and the International Food & Wine Festival.

Guests looking forward to running an upcoming runDisney race will be glad to know that many of the things that make Disney races so magical will return – from running through Walt Disney World theme parks and special entertainment to fun race weekend themes and Disney-themed finisher medals.

With the return of runDisney races to Walt Disney World, we’re also excited to hear about some new opportunities:

  • runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend: Each race season, the fourth weekend will be the runDisney Springtime Surprise Weekend that will include different race themes and distances each year.
  • Disney Princess Sunrise Yoga: On the first morning of the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend, runDisney will host Disney Princess Sunrise Yoga in front of Cinderella Castle, before the theme park opens. The professionally led yoga session will be the most magical way to prepare your mind and body for a race!
  • Virtual Races: All runDisney races will have a virtual race option, allowing runDisney fans across the country to participate in your favorite races, even if you can’t make it to Walt Disney World to run in person. Runners will be encouraged to run on the same morning of the on-site events, and will receive the same finisher medals!
  • Just for Kids: The runDisney Kids Races during each event weekend will become runDisney Kids Adventures, focused on health, fitness, and fun for kids!

Looking ahead, the 2022 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend will celebrate the Most Magical Celebration on Earth for the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World, and the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend theme will celebrate courage and kindness inspired by some favorite Disney Princesses.

Stay tuned for more details about runDisney race weekends and on-sale information as information will be forthcoming! As COVID-19 guidelines may change before the return to on-site running, race weekends may not include every element from previous years. runDisney will continue to provide the latest updates to participants leading up to our race weekends, so keep an eye on www.rundisney.com for all race details!

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