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My Top 5 Favorite Things During my Visit to the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts! Walt Disney World

 

Just a few days ago I returned from an amazing vacation at the Walt Disney World Resort! Every visit to Disney is special but my family and I all agreed that this trip in particular was one of our favorites! We were blessed with such a perfect trip and got to see and do so much during our time in the world. This trip was very different for us. We typically travel to Disney World for a week-long stay at a time, however this trip we came for a long weekend arriving on a Thursday and returning late Monday. Even though this trip was a quick one, we did SO MUCH during our time at Disney and every moment was filled with magic! Prior to this vacation, February had never been a typical time for us to travel to WDW. However, we planned this trip around this time frame for a very specific reason, the Epcot International Festival of the Arts!

 

 

2019 marked the third year for this annual Epcot festival and until last week this festival remained the only Epcot Festival that I had not personally experienced. That all changed during this vacation and now that I have experienced Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts, I have so much to share!

 

 

The International Festival of the Arts celebrates art in all mediums, with a focus on everything from visual arts, to performing arts and culinary arts! I am an art lover! In my free-time I love oil painting and drawing. Going to see shows and the theatre have always been something I enjoy. And I am a foodie and love getting to try new culinary creations! From the Festival of the Arts beginning I remember remarking that this festival sounded like it was made for me! Every aspect of this event was either a hobby of mine or something I loved! That is why getting to attend my first Festival of the Arts in person was such an incredible moment for me! Here are 5 of my favorite experiences from my time at this year’s 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts!

1. Animation Academy

You may remember a few years back Hollywood Studios was home to a little thing called the Animation Academy. In this experience, you got to participate in a 20-minute drawing class instructed by a Disney animator and by the end of the class you have created a Disney character and get to take your masterpiece home with you. This was always one of my family and I’s favorite things to do at Hollywood Studios and there were many days when we would go around and around again and take several classes in a row! To this day, we have a collection in our house of all the drawing we brought home from Animation Academy over the years! We were sad to see this experience go when the Animation building at Hollywood Studios was reimagined into the Star Wars Launch Bay. However, I have good news… the Animation Academy lives on! This experience is alive and well during the Festival of the Arts! That’s right, inside of Epcot’s Odyssey building you will find the Animation Academy! The class structure is just like the experience that once was at Hollywood Studios and I could not be more thrilled! We did the class twice during our time at the festival, the first time we drew Pluto and the second time we drew Chip, the teacup from Beauty and the Beast! This experience is unlike anything else and I am so happy that they have brought Animation Academy to the Festival of the Arts!

2. Meeting Ashley Taylor!

Visual arts have a big presence at the Festival of the Arts, throughout World Showcase and Future World you will find pop-up tents featuring paintings, sculptures, prints and more! All of this art is actually available to purchase and take home with you. I spent a lot of time checking out these art tents. My family and I all collect Disney prints and love filling our homes with Disney artwork. Bringing Disney art home is a great way to remember your vacation and your happy place! What is so cool about these pop-up art tents is that each day different artists come to do meet and greets and signings!  I had a very magical moment as soon as we walked into Festival of the Arts! I met Ashley Taylor! Our first day attending the festival we actually came in though Epcot’s International gateway entrance and the first pop-up booth we came across was located over by the Canada pavilion. I saw this booth happened to have an artist there signing her work. As we got closer I realized it was Ashley Taylor. I am a big fan of her art so the fact that we got to see her on our very first day at the festival, at the very first booth we came across was such a perfect timing moment! I purchased a print and got it signed by Ashley and enjoyed chatting with her for a bit! This aspect of the festival is one that I think is so original and so special! The fact that you can have a personal meeting with a Disney artist and get a piece of art personalized by them is so cool!

3. Food!

As I said before I am a proud self-proclaimed foodie! I love getting to try new dishes and cuisines. The Epcot Festivals are a great way to expand your palate! What I love about the food and beverage offerings at all of the Epcot festivals are that the portions are all tasting sizes, allowing you to try multiple items during your visit and never fill up on just one dish. This is a great way to try new things as well! This is how I found out I like escargot (aka snails)! A few years back at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival I got brave and ate a snail! I LOVED IT! Here’s the thing, if it wasn’t for the festival portions the only chance I would have had to try escargot would have been ordering a full entrée of it somewhere and I would have never done that being unsure if I liked it or not. That is the great thing about the festival, you get those opportunities to try new things you wouldn’t typically try! That is why I was so excited to check out the culinary offerings available at this event! The Festival of the Arts food and drink items stand out on their own from the culinary items found at any other Epcot festival. All of these items are truly unique and original. For the Festival of the Arts the food dishes all have a big emphasis on the artistry that goes into the dish! You will notice that the plating of these festival items is incredible! The food and drink offerings all look too good to eat! I recommend when you order from the market places be sure to watch the chef actually plate your dish because it is done with so much attention to detail and artistry! A stand-out item for me was the Sous-Vide Poulet Rouge Chicken Roulade from Pop Eats! For dessert, I loved the Paintbrush Churros from Taste Track! They were such a novelty and so cute to take a picture of!

4. Disney on Broadway Concerts!

I have always enjoyed the theatre and going to see shows! So for me another big highlight was the Disney on Broadway Concert Series! Every night during the Festival of the Arts performers from Disney Broadway Shows will perform Disney Broadway songs and share stories with guests about their experience working for Disney on Broadway! It has always been my dream to see a Disney on Broadway production in New York City and I was able to get a taste of what is in store right in Epcot! The performing artists that Disney brings in are so talented! Throughout the festival’s run they will rotate through a few pairs of Disney on Broadway performers. During our visit, we got to see Heidi Blickenstaff and Gavin Lee. They were incredible! Heidi is known for her role in Freaky Friday and best known for playing Ursula in Disney’s The Little Mermaid on Broadway! Gavin originated the role of Bert in the West End and Broadway’s production of Disney’s Mary Poppins! He was nominated for both an Oliver and Tony Awards! These performances showcasing the incredible Disney on Broadway talents happen a few times a night at Epcot’s American Gardens Theatre! Be sure to check the times out when you visit, these shows are a must do at the festival!

5. Art Everywhere!

This is the Epcot International Festival of the Arts and for this event Disney truly goes all out with immersing you in the world of art everywhere you turn in the park! The next aspect that I want to share with you is how art is happening live time around you everywhere and it is so magical! What is really cool about this event is that you are not just admiring completed pieces of art but you also get to watch the creation of many works of art and even participate in bringing some of the art to life for yourself! One of my favorite acts we got to see was an artist on the Fountain Stage in world showcase who painted to music! You had to see it to believe it. He danced to modern pop music as he painted and within minutes created a work of art featuring a Disney character! This performance is called “Visual Art in Performance.” What I think is really neat is that after the artist is done his masterpiece on stage the painting is then brought over to a festival pop-up tent and you could get the opportunity to purchase the piece you just saw created onstage! Talk about a cool conversation piece to have in your house!

Another awesome visual art component of the festival is the chalk art! Every day chalk artists come to Epcot and created both 2-D and even 3-D masterpieces on the ground using chalk! This is so cool because once again not only do you get to admire the finished product but you also get to enjoy watching the progress of the artist creating their work! We enjoyed seeing the artist starting their work in the beginning of the day and then checking back later on to see the end result! My personal favorite was the 3-dimensional chalk art! It blows me away how they create these pieces that actually look so realistic and like you can reach out and touch them! These also make for some very fun photo-ops!

Another great part of the art happening around you is that there are opportunities for you to get hands on and make art as well! I loved the Expression Section: A Paint by Number Mural! With this experience, you received a paintbrush and a cup of paint with a number on it. You are then assigned so many squares that you get to paint that has your corresponding number. It is so cool to be a part of something so big! After you paint your squares and hand in your paint a cast member will present you with a postcard that shows what the end mural will look like so you can see what you are helping contribute to! This makes a great keepsake to bring home from your trip!

These were just a few of the reasons I loved the Epcot International Festival of the Arts! This year’s event runs through February 25th 2019. I am already dreaming of next year’s festival! I think Festival of the Arts may now hold a top spot as one of my favorite events that Epcot puts on, it has everything, food, entertainment and tons of creative energy everywhere you turn! Now is the perfect time to plan a visit for the 2020 Epcot International Festival of the Arts! Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner today!

Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure – NEW Attraction Opening THIS SUMMER at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at the Universal Orlando Resort!

 

This has been an exciting week for Universal Orlando! The Universal Orlando Resort has now shared details and concept art about their brand-new Harry Potter roller coaster that will be opening THIS SUMMER inside of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Let’s check it out!

 

For some time now we have known that a new coaster was under construction at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, in Universal Orlando. However as far as details of the coasters theme and backstory, we really didn’t know much! Well now that has changed! We now know that guest will get to join Hagrid on a coaster that shares a great resemblance to his bike with the side car that he first gave Harry Potter himself a ride in! From the look of the concept art it will appear that we get to step right inside of the movie! I am so excited!

 

In this brand-new attraction, we will get to join Hagrid and fly far beyond the grounds of Hogwarts castle! During this thrilling roller coaster ride we will plunge into the paths of some of the Wizarding World’s rarest magical creatures. Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure, Universal’s most highly themed coaster opens June 13, 2019! I am so excited that this coaster’s opening day is just around the corner! You can find the new ride only at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, in Universal Orlando!

 

Now is the perfect time to plan your summer vacation to the Universal Orlando Resort! Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner today!

Storybook Dining at Artist Point with Snow White! NEW Disney World Character Dining!

 

There is now a new character dining experience to be found at the Walt Disney World Resort! Many Disney fans are filled with joy about this brand-new character meal addition! Character Dining is a staple experience at the Disney Parks! During a character meal, you get to meet your favorite Disney characters all while you enjoy the culinary offerings that Disney is known for! A character meal provides a unique and very exclusive way to meet the Disney characters. You get to skip the long lines and wait times that are typical for some of Disney’s most popular meet and greets, plus – you get more quality time to spend interacting with the characters in a much more laid-back setting! Booking a character meal gives you a guarantee that you will meet those characters during your vacation!

 

 

For these reasons, Character Dining is a very sought after experience at Disney World! Character Dining reservations get filled up very quickly, that is why fans are rejoicing over the fact that another character meal experience has been added to Disney World’s Character Dining line-up! This new character meal can be found over at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort. Artist Point has received a new whimsical overlay and been transformed into Storybook Dining at Artist Point. Storybook dining features characters from Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs!

 

 

On my most recent Disney World visit I met up with two of our amazing Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planners, Alyssa and Karen and we went to check out everything that Storybook Dining had to offer!

 

 

This Dining experience is only one table service credit if you are on a Disney Dining Plan making it an incredible value for everything that you get and the interactions you get to have with the characters! If you are paying for the meal outright, it is a set price of $55 for adults and $33 for children ages 3-9 (tax and gratuity not included).

 

 

We checked in for our reservation at Artist Point and were soon escorted into the Enchanted Forest! The attention to detail in this restaurant is incredible! Beautifully lighted tree branches cascade down from the ceiling making you truly feel like you are in a fairytale world!

 

 

Let’s talk about the food! I have been to several other character dining experiences at Disney and this meal by far was my favorite for food quality and selections! Artist Point is known to be a signature dining location and that definitely shows in the menu offerings put together for Storybook Dining! You will first enjoy a selection of creative appetizers! These appetizers are all served family style to your table. Each person gets their own perfectly plated portion! Here is a list of the appetizers your will receive:

  • Hunter’s Pie – with chicken, black truffle, and stone fruit preserve
  • Winter Squash Bisque – with caramel loli and granola served in a black cauldron
  • Wicked Shrimp Cocktail – with soy, miso, avocado, thai chili, and greens

My personal favorite was the Hunters Pie!

 

Kids have their own special selection of appetizers that they will love! Our waiter was so kind to bring us over one of the children’s appetizers so we could see what it included. This restaurant truly has something for everyone. Artist Point had every member of the family in mind when crafting this incredible menu!

 

 

Now it is time to talk about the entrees! As part of your pre-fixe meal each guest gets to select one entrée. There is a very wide array of entrees offered here! Everyone in your party is sure to find something that they love! Here are the selection of entrees:

  • “Cottage” Seafood Stew – Shrimp, Bay Scallops, Mussels, Tomato, Fennel
  • A Stroll through Nature – Butternut Squash, Arugula, Gnocchi, Sage, Parmesan
  • Magic Mirror Slow-braised Veal Shank – Celery Root Mashed, Wilted Winter Greens, Jus
  • Royal Prime Rib Roast -Horseradish Mashed Potato, Hay-smoked Carrots, Popover, Jus
  • Brother’s Grimm Roasted Chicken – Confit Potatoes, Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Apples, and Chestnut Butter
  • Bashful’s Butter-poached Snapper – Root Vegetable Risotto, Wild Mushroom, Citrus-Butter Sauce

I ordered the snapper based off of our waiter’s recommendation and I LOVED this meal! The fish was fresh and that citrus-butter sauce made this dish in my opinion! I really enjoyed this meal! Alyssa and Karen both also enjoyed their entrees! We cannot rave enough about how fantastic the food is at this restaurant!

 

 

Now for the best part… dessert! Just like with the appetizers the desserts are also served family style as part of your pre-fixe meal. This was another major highlight for me! Here’s what you can look forward to:

  • The Miner’s Treasure – sponge cake, chocolate gems, and buttercream icing
  • Fairy Tale Gooseberry Pie – with meringue.
  • “Poison” Apple – white chocolate apple mousse with a sour center.

 

 

Soon after being presented with these three delicious goodies our waiter then presented us with, “The Hunter’s Gift to the Queen” the presentation here is amazing! Have your camera ready because this box of treats comes out steaming with smoke! A very cool effect! Inside the box, you will find crackled maple popcorn and ganache hearts!

 

 

Now that you know about the incredible food to be enjoy here let’s talk about the characters! During your meal, you will get to meet Snow White, Dopey, Grumpy and the Evil Queen. Snow White, Dopey and Grumpy all come around and visit every table. While the Evil Queen makes her grand arrival and then stays in her location in the center of the restaurant as an optional meet and greet that you can partake in after your meal. This is a great set up. This way children who may be scared of the evil queen will not have to see her unless they want to.

 

 

The character interactions that we had were wonderful! Each character truly took their time to interact with us and take lots of pictures. Intermittently throughout the meal music will begin to play and the characters will dance around the restaurant! It is very cute and so fun to watch!

 

If you would like to join us on our journey into the Enchanted Forest you can do so by watching our new YouTube Video!

Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner today to book your next adventure!

 

 

Best Universal Orlando Vacation Tip! How to get Universal Express Unlimited Pass For FREE!

 

Are you looking for a way to take your Universal Orlando Vacation to the next level?! Well do we have the Universal Vacation tip for you! This Universal vacation tip is a game changer! It will enhance your visit in ways you never thought possible, we are talking about getting Universal Express Unlimited pass for FREE! That’s right! It all starts by contacting your Kingdom Magic Vacations travel planner and booking your next stay at any of the amazing Universal Orlando Resorts! Staying at a Universal Orlando Resort gives you many benefits and perks! One of the amazing perks that comes with staying at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel is that you get a FREE Universal Express Unlimited pass!

Universal Express Unlimited is free when you stay at one of these three hotels:

  • Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Portofino Bay Hotel - Universal Studios Orlando Resort Hotel

  • Hard Rock Hotel Orlando

 

  • Loews Royal Pacific Resort

    5 Hidden Gems At Loews Royal Pacific Resort

You may be wondering, what is a Universal Express Unlimited pass? It’s a pass that lets you skip the regular stand-by lines to almost all of Universal’s rides and attractions! The best part is, the pass is UNLIMITED! You can ride your favorites again and again never having to wait in line! For example, if you want to ride Revenge of the Mummy more than one time, you can use your Universal Express Unlimited pass to skip the regular line, as many times as you want! It’s that easy! All you need is a stay at one of the three hotels we mentioned and use your hotel room key.

 

 

To get you excited for your next visit here are just a few of the rides you can ride with Universal Express Unlimited:

  • Hollywood Rip Ride Rockit

 

  • Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

 

  • Skull Island: Reign of Kong

 

  • Jurassic Park River Adventure

 

  • MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack

 

These are just a few examples of some of our favorites! The list of rides goes on and on!

 

So now all you have to do is plan your next visit to the Universal Orlando Resort. Your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner can help you choose the Universal Resort that is right for you and assist you in planning your perfect getaway!

 

 

 

 

Figment’s Brush with the Masters at Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts 2019!

 

I recently returned home from an incredible visit to the Walt Disney World Resort! It was magical! This vacation had a lot of first for me, I had never visited Disney World in the month of February ever before. It is not a month that my family and I typically travel but this long weekend trip in February was planned for a very specific reason, we choose to visit this time of year to attend our very first Epcot International Festival of the Arts!

 

 

2019 marked the third year for Epcot’s Festival of the Arts and up until just a few day ago this was the only Epcot festival that I had not personally attended. As an art lover, I was filled with so much anticipation and excitement going into my first Festival of the Arts! Let’s just say all of my expectations were exceeded and then some! I LOVE THIS FESTIVAL! Be on the lookout for many upcoming post about my experience at this wonderful event! I have so much that I can’t wait to share!

 

 

Today I want to share with you a fun activity that you can participate in at the Festival of the Arts, Figment’s Brush with the Masters! This experience is a scavenger hunt challenge that takes place in each pavilion throughout World Showcase. If you are familiar with Remy’s Hide and Squeak during the Food and Wine Festival or Egg-stravaganza during Easter it is similar to these scavenger hunt experiences! You are on the hunt to find famous paintings throughout World Showcase and must use your map and sticker sheet to match each painting to the corresponding country you found it in.

 

 

There are several locations throughout Epcot that you can purchase your map. You can choose to also pick up your prize right then or wait to redeem it after you have completed the challenge. My family and I had a blast doing this experience! I found that by having something you are hunting for in each country, it makes you to stop in each pavilion and truly appreciate the details that are all around you! I was noticing things in each country that I had never noticed before!

 

 

Figment’s Brush with the master challenge would be perfect for kids because it gives them something to do while parents might want to spend time sampling some of the many wonderful culinary offerings that can be found at the festival! We saw so many kids enjoying the challenge and excited to explore each pavilion and find Figment!

 

 

If you want to see what Figment’s Brush with the Masters is all about, join me in our new YouTube video! I vlogged my family experience hunting for Figment! I hope you have as much fun watching as we had searching each pavilion! You are sure to get some laughs at us circling back to pavilions when the quest got challenging! Enjoy!

 

Plan your next adventure by contacting your Kingdom Magic vacations travel Planner. Our knowledgeable and passionate team is ready to help you plan the perfect trip that encompasses everything you are looking for!

VIDEO TOUR – The Art Corner! – NEW SHOP now open at Disney Springs – Artistic Talent Group – Walt Disney World

 

On my most recent trip to Walt Disney World I just so happened to visit Disney Springs on a very special day! I was strolling through Disney Springs on the opening day of The Art Corner, a brand-new shop run by Artistic Talent Group! Talk about being in the right place at the right time! This trip I was staying at a Disney Springs Resort Area Hotel and upon checking in my family and I first decided to head over and explore Disney Springs for a bit before making our way to the parks for our evening plans.

 

During our walk through the Marketplace side of Disney Springs we spotted The Art Corner! This new store took the place of where LittleMissMatched used to be. Having not recognized this new shop we wondered inside and were instantly amazed by all of the creativity that is flowing through this incredible new place! We were greeted by many smiling faces who were so kind to talk to us about everything that The Art Corner has to offer! Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect to see inside!

 

 

Artistic Talent Group has brought a brand-new retail and entertainment concept to Disney Springs! This shop specializes in interactive art of all kinds! Visitors to the store can expect to see a wide selection of unique artistic mediums brought together inside of The Art Corner!

 

Opening!

The shop opened February 7th 2019 at Disney Springs. The store brings an exciting and original new pop-up concept to Disney World’s bustling shopping, dining and entertainment district!

The Art Corner serves as the first brick-and-mortar retail shop of its kind at Walt Disney World, The Art Corner brings together in one location the work from a variety of talented artists!

 

What’s inside!

The Art Corner showcases talented artists producing original work including classic watercolor caricatures, ground-breaking digital caricatures, hand-drawn names and artistic marbling. Caricatures have been a guest favorite at Walt Disney World for decades! Now brand-new, digital caricatures offer an innovative twist on this classic art form.

 

 

 

Name Works, the popular provider of personalized artwork, also has a new location inside The Art Corner, complementing its other locations across Walt Disney World! At Name Works, hand-drawn names are created and personalized with illustrations of guests’ favorite things, including select animated characters!

 

 

After a successful debut at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts in 2018, the interactive, hands-on artistic marbling activity now has a year-round home inside The Art Corner. This customizable experience allows guests to learn the ancient art form of Suminigashi, working along-side a professional artisan to create custom-made silk items. Each piece is designed with specific colors and patterns that the guest themselves get to select!

 

 

Inside The Art Corner you will also find a unique “Coffee & Canvas” gallery by Steven Mikel. Steven is an artist from Coconut Creek, Florida who is represented by Artisitic talent Group. This artist’s work adds a very original touch of whimsy to the store. Focused on revealing the overlooked or unnoticed beauty tucked away in the details of the world around us, Steven paints exclusively using different varieties of coffee!  Every painting often requiring between 60 to 150 brewed cups! The “Coffee & Canvas” gallery helps define the unique niche this gallery/merchandise location brings to Disney Springs over the course of its one-year engagement.

 

“Our goal is to continue Walt Disney’s vision of bringing smiles to the faces of every guest who visits our store, just as they do when they visit Walt Disney World Resort,” said Barbara and Keelan Parham, owners of Artistic Talent Group. “We are thrilled to open our doors and bring The Art Corner to life at Disney Springs!”

 

I had the privilege to Interview The Art Corner’s Owner, Keelan Parham. He was so kind to welcome us into his shop and take us on a tour throughout the store to see everything that The Art Corner has for guests to enjoy! Watch the tour on our YouTube Channel:

 

 

Artistic Talent Group

Artistic Talent Group (ATG) is a talent agency representing visual artists for the special events industry. ATG divisions include Caricature Connection, who have been drawing caricatures and other products on Disney property for over twenty-five years, and Name Works, who create personalized pieces of artwork featuring guest’s names.

 

 

Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacation Travel Planner to plan your next vacation!

7 Reason to Love Mardi Gras at the Universal Orlando Resort!

 

Do you enjoy catching festive beads from colorful parade floats, feasting on authentic New Orleans cuisine and rocking out to some of the biggest names in music?! If so, Mardi Gras at the Universal Orlando Resort is an event you must see! Let’s look at 7 reason why you will love Universal’s Mardi Gras!

 

  1. Live concerts featuring some of the biggest names in music!

On select nights of Mardi Gras, some very popular artists will perform live at the Music Plaza Stage in Universal Studios Florida! These acts are INCLUDED free as part of the event! Here’s a look at the lineup:

February 9 – BUSH

February 16 – Gavin DeGraw

February 17 – Dan + Shay

February 23 – Macklemore

March 2 – Sabrina Carpenter

March 9 – Becky G

March 10 – Sean Paul

March 16 – Steve Miller Band

March 17 – Ziggy Marley

March 23 – NF

March 24 – Pitbull

March 30 – Bazzi

March 31 – To be announced

 

  1. Universal Mardi Gras Parade

Every year the Universal Mardi Gras Parade features a new original theme. This year’s theme is –  Party Animals! Guests can look forward to seeing returning fan-favorites along with many new vibrant floats! The float will feature fun characters decorated to depict animals from around the world including the jungle, arctic, swamp and more. Get ready to catch beads by the handful during this exciting parade!

 

  1. Enjoy N’awlins-style food

Located in the New York area, you will find the French Quarter Courtyard. Here you will find some delicious N’awlins-style favorite food and drink offerings! You can look forward to trying many Cajun classics such as jambalaya, shrimp gumbo, andouille sausage, sugary-sweet beignets, and more! This year all of the food offerings are severed as tasting size portions to give you the opportunity to try multiple food and beverage items!

 

  1. Mardi Gras Drinks

With all the amazing food items to try you need a refreshing beverage to wash it all down! Guests will be able to enjoy Mardi Gras themed specialty drinks, featuring slushies, a wide variety of craft beers and wonderful cocktails including the Ragin Rumbalaya, Carnival Cocktail and Vicious VooDoo!

 

  1. Live Entertainment and Performers

Over at the French Quarter Courtyard you can become part of the Mardi Gras celebration as you interact with stilt walkers, dancers, vibrant parade characters and more who can all be found wandering the streets! Remember that not only do the Mardi Gras characters carry extra beads, but they also love to talk to guests and take photos with you! These photos make for great memories!

 

  1. Big Easy Music in the French Quarter

Also in the French Quarter area at the event you can catch the musical stylings of many authentic Big Easy bands! This can’t be missed! Here is the band lineup:

February 9 – 17: Dirty Bourbon River Show

February 18 – 27: Naughty Professor Brass Band

February 28 – March 18: Free Agents Brass Band featuring Honey Bannister

March 19 – April 4: New Breed Brass Band

 

  1. Have the best time ever!

Whether you are heading to Mardi Gras for a night full of family-friendly fun, or planning to visit with friends for a wild night out, you are sure to have the time of your life! There is something for everyone at this party! Best part, this event is included free with the cost of your admission to Universal!

 

 

We hope you plan to visit Mardi Gras this year at the Universal Orlando Resort! Your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner is always ready to help you plan your next adventure to Universal Orlando or to any destination that you are looking to travel to next!

 

Disney’s Grand Floridian Cafe Video! Walt Disney World Restaurant

 

Disney’s Grand Floridian Café is a hidden gem, located at Disney’s luxurious Grand Floridian Resort and Spa at the Walt Disney World Resort! This table service restaurant can be found just off of the resort’s main lobby. It is quite, tucked away and truly grand! The restaurant’s décor and atmosphere is themed in an elegant and Victorian style just like the rest of this beautiful resort. The menu here has something for everyone. It is classic comfort food done in a sophisticated style! My personal favorite that I get every time is The Café Sandwich. This hot sandwich is served open-faced with ham, roasted turkey, bacon and tomato. It is then topped with a creamy boursin cheese sauce and served with a side of freshly made onion rings. Other popular items here include the Lobster ‘Thermidor’ Burger, the Buttermilk-fried Chicken and Miso-glazed Salmon.

 

 

During breakfast and lunch this restaurant features the same brunch-style menu. A well-known item here is the restaurant’s benedicts! They offer eggs benedict in several variations including the Traditional Eggs Benedict, the Spicy Chorizo Benedict and the Lobster Benedict! If you can’t make up your mind you can go for the Benedict flight which has all three of these signature benedicts!

 

 

I recommend this dining location as a great place to escape Magic Kingdom mid-day to come have a wonderful meal. You can easily access the Grand Floridian from the Magic Kingdom via a boat or monorail. Your commute over to the resort from the park take only a few minutes so coming here for a meal is a great time to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the parks. You can sit down and relax at one of Disney Worlds most peaceful resorts and allow yourself to refuel and be refreshed to then head back into the parks for an awesome night!

 

 

If you want to see my most recent experience at this wonderful restaurant then check out our most recent YouTube video!

 

 

Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner today to plan your next visit to the Walt Disney World Resort or to any destination that you are dreaming of visiting next!

Best Places to Propose at Walt Disney World! Disney Engagement!

 

With Valentine’s Day right around the corner this is the perfect time to talk about love! Love brightens our days and fills our lives with joy! One of the best places to celebrate love is Walt Disney World! The Disney parks are known as a wonderful family destination but it is also a very romantic destination. There are so many things at Disney for couples to enjoy! From Food and Wine Festivals to recreation of every kind, the date ideas are truly endless! After all Disney teaches us in so many of their stories that true love conquers all! So many places within Disney World provide such a beautiful romantic backdrop, that’s why Disney World is one of the best places to get engaged!

 

For any Disney loving couple a Disney proposal will be a fairytale come true and the perfect start to your very own happily ever after! Once you have decided to pop the question in Walt Disney World, it is time to decide where exactly you want to get down on one knee. Everyone know that the Walt Disney World Resort is huge, with 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, Disney Springs and over 30 resort hotels, you have a wide array of proposal locations to choose from. Wherever you choose to get engaged it is sure to be a very special and magical moment! If you are looking for some ideas here are 5 proposal locations suggestions!

 

  1. California Grill

The California Grill is a signature dining restaurant located on the top floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. The restaurant is beautifully decorated in a sleek, modern style. Floor to ceiling glass windows encase the restaurant, perfectly showcasing the breathtaking views that makes this dining establishment an icon! From the Cali Grill, you get a birds-eye view of the Magic Kingdom Park! You can watch the sunset over Disney’s Seven Seas lagoon and watch the monorails wiz past below you. On the opposite side of the restaurant you can watch the Disney watercrafts cruise around Bay Lake and in the distance, see the icons of Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom! This restaurant has 4 outdoor observation decks, one on each corner of the restaurant. From these decks you can truly appreciate those jaw-dropping views. These decks are also one of the best spots on property to watch the Magic Kingdom Fireworks! Seeing the show from this unique location is very romantic! The California Grill is an amazing proposal spot! You can choose to propose over dinner or make the moment more intimate by going out on one of the observation decks!

 

  1. Grand Floridian or Polynesian Beaches

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort are both beautiful deluxe Disney Resort hotels that sit just off the shores of the Seven Seas Lagoon (the body of water that leads across to the Magic Kingdom.) Both of these resorts feature gorgeous white sand beaches that are very peaceful and romantic. Take your loved one for a walk down to the beach, find a quite spot and pop the question! These beaches are a wonderful proposal spot because they are secluded yet still in the middle of the Disney magic! From any of the beaches you can see Cinderella’s Castle in the distance! So Magical! This location is also a great spot to view the Magic Kingdom fireworks. If you want you could even plan to propose here at nighttime during the fireworks!

 

  1. In front of Cinderella’s Castle

If you are looking to make more of a public proclamation of your love you can do the classic showstopper and get down on one knee right in front of Cinderella’s Castle in the heart of the Magic Kingdom! Proposing in front of the most iconic location in all of Disney World always grabs the attention of a large crowd. I have seen proposals in front of the castle before and all the surrounding guests always stop in their tracks to cheer for the newly engaged couple! This proposal idea is definitely an energetic one and a great one if you are looking for the theatrics of it all! You will absolutely make your partner feel like royalty! If the pomp and circumstance isn’t necessarily your thing but you still want to propose by Cinderella’s Castle there are some more intimate alternatives. To the right-hand side of the castle there is a pathway that has a wishing well. Proposing here is a little more private than right in front of the castle but yet you still get that castle backdrop!

 

  1. Epcot’s World Showcase

World Showcase at Epcot allows you to travel the world without a passport! You can visit pavilions that represent countries from all over the globe! If you have visited Epcot before then you know how beautiful the World Showcase is! There is so much to explore and so many great tucked away spots that could make for a perfect proposal setting. I would suggest taking a stroll around the world showcase together and when you find that perfect spot that it just right, make that the moment you get down on one knee! To give you a couple location ideas there is a beautiful waterfall that is hidden away at the very top of the stairs in the back of the Canada pavilion. There is also a bridge in front of the Italy Pavilion near the gondolas that is typically a quiet and beautiful location overlooking the World Showcase Lagoon. Sometime you may even get lucky and there is a Disney PhotoPass photographer in this area who would be able to capture the moment!

 

  1. Disney Transportation

No, we are not talking Disney busses or monorails, we are talking about a more personal and private transportation experience. Did you know you can book a romantic carriage ride at either Disney’s Fort Wilderness Campground or Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort! How romantic would an evening carriage ride be around the grounds of a beautifully landscaped Disney Resort for your special moment! Another Disney transportation experience would be to book a Disney fireworks boat cruise! This experience can happen at either Seven Seas Lagoon for the Magic Kingdom fireworks or at World Showcase Lagoon for the Epcot fireworks. This would make for a very romantic and intimate setting to propose.

 

Hope these suggestions get you inspired for your own Walt Disney World proposal! As always, your Kingdom Magic vacations Travel Planner is ready to help you plan your Next Disney Vacation! Our knowledgeable team can help you make arrangements for reservations or other proposal details and extras!

Disney Skyliner Gondolas Spotted Testing at Walt Disney World! New Mode of Disney Transportation!

 

Now that we are in 2019 we can officially say that we will be riding onboard the Disney Skyliner Gondolas THIS YEAR! This brand-new mode of Disney transportation looks so fun! I am personally so excited to experience a birds-eye view of Disney property while riding in these Disney gondola cars! Another great benefit that this new Disney transportation system will give us is convenience and a shorter travel time! Everyone knows that the Disney busses can get crammed on busy parks days. Now that the Skyliner system will be servicing multiple Disney Resorts, we can anticipate the new gondolas alleviating some of the crowds on Disney transportation busses.

 

 

What is also exciting is that the Skyliner Gondolas will run a line between Epcot and Hollywood Studios to make park hopping faster than ever before. This will alleviate some of the boat crowds that you can find on busy days that run between these two theme parks.

 

This past week we heard some exciting news from the Walt Disney World Resort! Disney has begun the initial testing phase for its new Disney Skyliner system! This means the Skyliner System may be closer then we all think!

 

 

Currently the Skyliner Gondola System is scheduled to open this coming fall. The Skyliner will have stations at four Disney resort hotels including, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and the brand-new Disney’s Riviera Resort which is set to open in December 2019.

 

I have enjoyed watching the Skyliner’s construction progress over this past year during my visits to Walt Disney World. The stations such as the one at Epcot’s International Gateway and Disney’s Hollywood Studios seem to almost be complete! Both of these stations are perfectly themed to their location!

 

 

Many of the gondolas will be adorned with beloved Disney characters! There is a large variety of characters you can get. This adds such a great layer of fun to your ride experience! I can’t wait to see what they all look like in person!

 

 

Gondola themes include:

  • “Beauty & the Beast”
  • “Frozen”
  • “Lilo & Stitch”
  • “Moana”
  • “Peter Pan”
  • “The Princess and the Frog”
  • “Ralph Breaks the Internet”
  • “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”
  • “Zootopia”
  • “Coco”
  • Goofy, Pete, Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow
  • “Finding Dory”
  • The Haunted Mansion
  • “Monsters, Inc.”
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • “Ratatouille”

 

The fact that gondola cars have been spotted being tested on the Skyliner lines makes it very real that this new form of Disney transportation will be here before we know it! I am so excited! I am heading to Disney World next week and will be keeping an eye out for any gondola sightings!

 

One thing is certain this coming fall will be a very exciting time for new things coming to Walt Disney World! Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner today to book your next magical adventure!

NEW Food and Beverage Offerings at Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras 2019!

 

It’s that time of year! Universal Orlando’s Mardi Gras is days away! We are so excited for the return of this amazing event this year! Now is the perfect time to take a look at all of the food and beverage items that you can look forward to enjoying at this year’s event! You can anticipate many wonderful Cajun dishes and several delicious signature drinks from Universal’s Mardi Gras! You can look forward to enjoying both new and returning favorites daily in the French Quarter Courtyard which can be found in the New York area of Universal Studios Florida starting at 4 p.m. from Feb. 9 – April 4.

A change that is brand new this year, all food and beverage items will be served in smaller tasting sizes. This is so exciting because smaller portions means a chance to try a taste of EVERYTHING. Let’s take a closer look at a few of the items you can enjoy!

 

Crab Etouffee

A classic etouffee dish with rice and crab coated in a savory sauce.

 

Catfish Po Boy

Fried catfish po boy with a crisp slaw and hot sauce, served with kettle chips. Also, new this year is the shrimp and andouille sausage po boy and chicken po boy!

 

King Cake

A New Orleans classic treat!

 

Returning this year are the authentic classics we all know and love including Gumbo, jambalaya (available without shrimp), red beans and rice (available without shrimp) and beignets. Additionally, you will also be able to get twisted taters but with a new Cajun seasoning twist!

Gumbo

 

Beignets

 

Shrimp and Andouille Sausage Po Boy

 

Also, this year will see the premier of many new drinks to quench your thirsts in between all of the delicious food!

Specialty Drinks

 

There is a large variety of new specialty cocktails you can try in the French Quarter:

Mimosa Bar: Also, brand-new to this year’s event is a bar dedicated to Mimosas! You will get to try unique flavors of mimosas such as caramel apple, raspberry rosemary, mojito mint and more.

Signature Drink: If you are looking for a non-alcoholic drink option, check out the Bayou Bog Water! This drink is complete with gummy worms and fish, blueberry boba beads and a lemonade and ginger ale mix.

Other specialty drinks include:

Carnival Cocktail

Ragin’ Rumbalaya

Vicious Voodoo (a combo of the two above!)

And a wide variety of craft beer selections

 

 

You can be a part of all of the Mardi Gras festivities daily at the Universal Orlando Resort beginning February 9, 2019! This year’s event will run through April 4, 2019! See you there!

Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner today to plan your visit to the Universal Orlando Resort!

5 Favorite Things about Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Bay Lake Tower Room Tour

 

Staying on property at a Walt Disney World Resort truly adds a whole new layer of magic to your Disney vacation! The Disney Resorts provide you with luxury, world class hospitality and of course magical perks! Staying at a Disney World resort hotel you receive many benefits exclusive to guests staying on Disney property, such as the 60-day out FastPass booking window, extra magic hours to enjoy the park and complimentary Disney Transportation!

Every Disney Resort is different and offers something unique in the ways of theming, atmosphere and perks! Today I am going to share with you my experience staying at Disney’s Bay Lake Tower located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort! I fell in love with this resort and can’t wait to stay their again in the future. Here are my top 5 reasons to love Disney’s Contemporary Resort!

 

  1. Location, Location, Location!

Of all the Disney Resorts the Contemporary is the resort with closest proximity to the Magic Kingdom! This is actually the only Disney resort that you can walk to Magic Kingdom from! From the balconies of the resort that are facing towards Seven Seas Lagoon you will have incredible views right into the Magic Kingdom park! You will feel like you can reach out and touch it! This also means you have a front row seat for the fireworks! I have watched the fireworks from Disney’s Contemporary many times and it is such a unique viewing location! You get a birds-eye view of the park and the fireworks appear at eye-level! It is truly breathtaking! From the balconies on the opposite side of the resort, facing Bay Lake you will enjoy magnificent views of the naturally formed Bay Lake along with sights of Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom all in the distance. You can catch the fireworks from Epcot and Hollywood Studios on this side of the hotel!

 

  1. Monorail

Disney’s Contemporary Resort is located on the monorail loop in the Magic Kingdom resort area. You can take the Disney Resort Monorail directly from your resort to the Magic Kingdom park! The Disney Monorail actually drives right through the center of the hotel then pops back outside. It is an incredible engineering marvel! This fun mode of transportation will get you to the park in a breeze! Also from the Contemporary you can take the monorail one stop over to the Transportation and Ticket Center, then transfer monorails to go directly to Epcot!

 

  1. History

Disney’s Contemporary Resort is the original resort on all of Walt Disney World property. Fun fact! Even though Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort both opened on October 1st 1971, Disney’s Contemporary is still the original because it officially opened its doors about 2 minutes before Disney’s Polynesian!  As the original Disney World Resort Hotel this place is filled with history! One of my favorite details is the Mary Blair mosaic mural. You can get a great view of this work of art from anywhere within the Grand Canyon Concourse, the area that serves as the hub of the resort. Mary Blair was one of the first women to become a Disney Imagineer and she is also the creative drive behind “It’s a Small World.”

 

  1. Dining

Disney’s Contemporary Resort is full of wonderful dining options! They have everything from casual table-service dining at The Wave, to quick-service dining at Contempo Café, to fine dining at the California Grill. I love all these locations but my favorite will forever be the California Grill! This is the spot to go when you are looking for a very special and memorable meal! This signature dining location can be found on the top level of the resort, on the 15th floor. The restaurant is encased with floor to ceiling glass windows that showcase the breathtaking views. The 4 observation decks that bookend every corner of the restaurant are great spots to watch the fireworks!

 

  1. Theming

I will be honest I always thought the Contemporary looked cool but of the 3 resorts located on the Magic Kingdom Monorail loop, (Contemporary, Polynesian & Grand Floridian) I always thought I would like the theming of the Polynesian and Grand Floridian more than the Contemporary. Then I stayed here and everything changed! I fell in love with the unique theming the Contemporary provides. Staying here made me stop and more closely appreciate all the details of the beautiful resort. It is sleek and modern, yet retro at the same time. It is futuristic while still grounded in its heritage. Most importantly all throughout the resort and the rooms, there is pixie dust and little Disney touches that can be found in the most unexpected places!

 

Watch our NEW YouTube video for a room tour of a studio room at Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort!

 

 

Disney’s Contemporary is now one of my all-time favorite Disney World properties! I am dreaming of the next time I get to stay at this amazing resort! I highly recommend giving this Disney Resort a try on your next Disney vacation, then you will see exactly what I mean about this hotel having something truly special and unique!

 

 

Plan your next adventure today to Disney World or anywhere in the world by contacting your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner!

Three New Ships Joining the Disney Cruise Line Fleet!

We have known for a while now that Disney Cruise Line was expanding their fleet! A while back Disney officials made the announcement that not one, not two, but THREE new ships would be joining the impressive lineup of ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet! The Three new ships will be joining the Disney Cruise Line family alongside the four ships Disney currently has, the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.

 

 

Disney has taken cruising to the next level in the cruise industry.  Anyone I have spoken to that has been on many cruises with other cruise lines and then takes a Disney cruise all say the same thing which is “once you go on a Disney Cruise you will never want to go back to other cruise lines”.  Disney knows how to spoil you!  The rooms are larger and very elegant, the food and restaurants are wonderful, the entertainment is fantastic and the Disney staff is as always, the best of the best.  These ships have something for everyone.  Disney knows how to make a family vacation perfect with things to do for all age levels but Disney equally knows how to make a romantic couples cruise where you will not even know that there are children around having areas for adults only to dine, relax and be entertained.

 

Top Five Reasons to Cruise from New York City Aboard the Disney Magic This Fall

 

Now we can look forward to more of this Disney cruise magic coming in the near future.  Officials at Port Canaveral met this past week regarding the new fleet of Disney cruise ships which will be docking in Central Florida.  Port Canaveral will be getting some major upgrades to accommodate the three new ships by Disney.  The information we learned says the ships will roll out in 2021, 2022 and 2023.  Each of these ships will hold at least 1250 staterooms.  One of these ships will be 1,119 feet long which will make it Disney’s longest ship!!

 

Disney Cruise Line Wins Highest Honor in the Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards

 

As soon as we start hearing more updates on the progress of this new line of ships we will be sure to bring this information to you in future blogs.  Until then maybe it is time to begin planning your Disney cruise on one of their current ships.  Just contact a Kingdom Magic vacations travel planner to get started on making your Disney Cruise dreams come true!

What I am Most Excited for at the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts!

 

The 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts is in full swing at Walt Disney World! This year the Festival runs from January 18 through February 25, 2019. This event is the only Epcot festival that I have yet to experience for myself. Well, that is about to change! In 2 weeks I am heading back to my favorite place… Disney World! We planned this trip specially with the intention of being in the park during the Festival Of the Arts!

 

 

This festival is a celebration of art in all mediums! You will find everything from visual arts, to culinary arts and also performing arts! Art has always been a passion of mine, I love painting, cooking, theatre – just to name a few! I feel this festival was pretty much made for me! That is why I am thrilled to get to finally attend this event for my first year!

 

 

In my excitement I made a list of the top 10 things that I am most looking forward to at the International Festival of the Arts!

1. Drawing Classes

2. Food

3. Interactive Food

4. Disney on Broadway Concert Series

5. Mural Painting

6. Art for Sale

7. Photo Ops

8. Chalk Art

9. Performing Artists

10. Merchandise

To hear why these are my top 10 things that I am most excited for, watch our new YouTube video!

 

 

I will absolutely be taking tons of video footage from my experience at the Festival of the Arts so make sure you are subscribed to our YouTube channel to see more Festival content! I will also be posting live video clips and photo updates on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter so be sure to follow us on all our social media platforms!

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KingdomMagic/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kingdommagic/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KingdomMagic

Are you ready to check this event out for yourself?! Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner today!

All About Interactive Wands at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Universal Orlando Resort

When planning your visit to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter there are a few items every witch and wizard plans to grab, your house robe, a butter beer and of course your very own wand!

Getting a wand inside the Wizarding World truly takes your experience at the parks to the next level! You can choose to purchase an interactive wand! These wands have been crafted with a bit of extra magic that allows you to use your wand for some pretty amazing interactive experiences within the park! You can give your wand a “swish and a flick” and cause some magical surprises to take place!

Let’s take a closer look and answer some of your questions about interactive wands!

 

What do they look like?

Universal has 22 styles of interactive wands based off of the movie characters. Each wand is inspired by the wands of one of your favorite Harry Potter film series characters! If you are looking for even more options, Universal has you covered! Additionally there are interactive wands that are not based on a character. These wands are unique to the witch or wizard’s personality!

 

 

Where do you find them?

When you are ready to pick out your wand you have a couple of places you can go. In The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, you can find interactive wands at Ollivanders. You can also find them at Wands by Gregorovitch.

In The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, you can find interactive wands at Ollivanders. You can also find them at the wand cart on the path to Hogwarts castle.

If you have the time and are looking for a unique experience then I definitely recommend visiting the wand keeper in Ollivanders! Here you can witness the magic of a wand choosing its witch or wizard! You yourself may even get selected to participate in the experience!

Additionally you can also find wands for sale at the Universal Store in front of Universal Studios Florida and at CityWalk.

 

 

What do the wands do?

Now that you have your interactive wand, you are ready for the fun part! It is time to cast spells during your journey through the Wizarding World! In total, there are 16 spells you can cast in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and 9 you can cast in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade.

Inside the box that your interactive wand came in, you will find a double-sided map that provides the details of all the spell casting locations.

The location for an interactive wand stop will be marked with a gold medallion. This shows wizards and witches where to stand and indicates the correct wand movement for the spell that they should cast.

 

Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations travel Planner today to plan your next adventure!
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