Kingdom Magic Vacations

Call Toll-Free
866-972-6244

My Top 5 Snacks Around EPCOT’s World Showcase!

 

EPCOT is a food lovers paradise.  There are so many things to taste in all the 11 countries around World Showcase, not to mention all the additional food and drinks that come along with the four festivals that happen around the year.  But today I am going to focus on my favorite snacks that I have to get on my trip.  Let’s see if any of them are your favorites too!

 

Norway

In Norway there is a wonderful Café which is the Kringla Bakeri Café.  You will find many delicious Norwegian treat and sandwiches.  My choice here is the famous School bread.  This is a sweet bread roll, which is injected with vanilla custard and covered with sweet icing and toasted coconut.  The recipe comes from a classic Norwegian snack, which kids took to school in their packed lunches.

 

China

Here in China I always stop by the Joy of Tea cart to pick up a Bubble Milk Tea.  The tea I love is a sweetened peach flavored black tea with tapioca pearls.  This drink is creamy and decedent and I love to stroll the World Showcase while sipping!

 

Germany

You can smell my next stop before you even see it and that is the Karamell-Kuche shop.  This shop specializes in caramel treats of the maker’s of Werther’s Original Caramels.  The smell just pulls you into this shop and I grab a bag of their fresh popped caramel corn.  The popcorn is made fresh right there as you watch!

 

Japan

It is usually pretty hot in Florida and nothing can beat the heat like a nice refreshing cold treat.  That is why I stop by the Kaki Gori stand in Japan.  Kaki Gori is shaved ice with a sweet flavored syrup.  I always do the add on of the creamy sweetened milk which gives it a creamsicle taste.  Some of the flavors to choose from are strawberry, melon, cherry and tangerine.  If you can’t make up your mind you can ask for rainbow and get a little of everything!

 

France

Fall Festivals, Parties, Concerts & More Return to the Walt Disney World Resort Aug. 25

Here in France is a wonderful ice cream shop called L’Artisan des Glaces.  There are many flavors to choose from and even some special treats like ice cream filled macaroons.  My top two flavors are the Caramel Fleur de Sel Ice cream and Coco-white chocolate.  You cannot go wrong with any of the choices.

 

I hope you enjoyed my top five list and I am sure in the future, I’ll have some new favorites as the chefs are always coming up with new treats for us to try.

Contact you Kingdom Magic Vacation Travel Planner to start planning your next Walt Disney World vacation!

Opening Day for Dockside Inn and Suites at the Universal Orlando Resort

 

The Universal Orlando resort has announced that its newest hotel, Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites, will be opening on March 17, 2020. This news is very exciting because this value hotel was originally not set to open to guests until May 2020. This amazing new hotel is opening early! A whole 2 months early!

 

 

Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites is the sister property to Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Surfside Inn and Suites. Dockside Inn and Suites will be located directly across the street from Surfside Inn and Suites. Dockside Inn and Suites will be a great value resort with affordable pricing starting at $85 per night! the best part! This value resort is home to many luxurious amenities making it an incredible value for the price. the addition of Dockside Inn and Suites will add 2,050 guest rooms to the Universal Orlando Resort property! These rooms will include both standard rooms and 2-Bedroom suites! These beautiful suites can sleep up to six guests making it ideal for families!

 

 

Over at Surfside Inn and Suites the theming is summer sun with lots of beach vibes! At the new Dockside Inn and Suites the theme here channels the calming feeling of a beach retreat. From the newly released concept art we can see Dockside Inn and Suites theming includes a lot of earth tones which make for a very comfortable and cozy feel!

 

 

We are so excited that Dockside Inn and Suites is now opening early on March 17, 2020! Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations travel planner today to plan your next visit to the Universal Orlando Resort!

My Top Picks for Quick Service Locations at the Four Disney World Parks

 

In last weeks blog I discussed getting your Advanced Dining Reservations at Table Service Restaurants in Disney World.  In that blog I recommended that you not make reservations for every day of your vacation and to leave some days just to plan as you go and not be locked into any one location at a specific time.  This week I would like to give you my top picks at each park for a Quick Service Dining Option that is still really good food and not typical burgers and fries.

 

Magic Kingdom

In Magic Kingdom hands down for me I always head to Columbia Harbour House in Liberty Square.  There are so many of my favorites on this menu.  My personal favorites would be the Trio platter which has fried shrimp, breaded chicken breast nuggets and battered fish served with hushpuppies and choice of green beans & carrots or french fries.  Another fav is the chicken pot pie or some healthy options like the grilled salmon or Harbour salads.  There is plenty of seating in this location.  I always head upstairs and get a seat by a window to people watch as I enjoy my meal.

 

Animal Kingdom

My pick for Animal Kingdom is Flame Tree Barbecue and I have selected it for two reasons, the food and the atmosphere of this location’s seating.  Flame Tree is located in the Discovery Island section of the park and you will easily be able to find it by just following the incredible BBQ smell.  They have ribs, chicken and pulled pork.  I’ve tried them all and love them!  My go to is the smoked pulled pork sandwich served with coleslaw and signature baked beans.  I have heard a lot of rave reviews on their baked macaroni and cheese with pulled pork so this is on my list to try next time.  As for the seating I mentioned, I like that it is outdoors and under nice shaded pavilions.  It is tucked away and I like to head to the area closest to the water overlooking Expedition Everest.  It is so quiet and peaceful down there and is the perfect place to recharge your energy for more exploring.

 

Hollywood Studios

I have to say that Hollywood Studios was always the park that I struggled to find a quick service location that had anything that I would highly recommend.  That was until Toy Story Land opened and with it Woody’s Lunch Box.  The menu here is not large by any means but everything I have tried has been delicious.  My favorite is their grilled three cheese sandwich and the tomato-basil soup.  The smoked turkey sandwich, totchos and BBQ Brisket melt are also good choices.  My only complaint is they need more seating so I recommend having someone stand in line to order while the rest of the family looks around for a family getting ready to leave and then grab it up quick.

 

EPCOT

Okay, I have left the best for last.  EPCOT is a foodie lovers park.  The quick service options here are endless and this is the one park where I have a hard time just giving you one pick, so I will break it down with a pick in Future World and then World Showcase.  In Future World I would head over to the Land Pavilion where Sunshine Seasons is located on the bottom floor.  This is a food court which has many options and you will be able to find something for everyone in your group.  There are different shops  within the court.  You can choose from:  Asian Noodles Shop, Grill Shop, Sandwich Shop, Soup & Salads Shop and of course a Bakery Shop to enjoy a sweet treat.  There is plenty of seating and if you plan your fast passes carefully this is where Soarin and Living with the Land and located.

In World Showcase there are many quick service locations each geared toward the cusine from the Country you are visiting.  Pick your favorite and you can’t go wrong.  I have to say I have had something from each that I have loved but if pressed to pick I’ll have to choose the fish and chips in the UK!

 

I hope you have enjoyed my quick service picks.  If this has made you hungry and wanting to plan your next Disney World trip please contact your Kingdom Magic Vacation travel planner to get started.

Brand-New Live-Action Stunt Show The Bourne Stuntacular Coming to Universal Studios Florida

 

Bourne fans get excited because, “the chase is on!” This coming Spring 2020, the Universal Orlando Resort will welcome its newest show. This brand-new live-action stunt show will be called, The Bourne Stuntacular! The Bourne Stuntacular will debut at Universal Studios Florida. This new live-action show is based on Universal Pictures’ blockbuster Bourne film franchise. The Bourne Stuntacular will use cutting-edge effects that will literally have you on the edge-of-your-seat! Universal has shared that this epic live show will blur the lines between stage and cinema in a hybrid form of entertainment that has never been seen before!

 

The Bourne Stuntacular will follow lead character Jason Bourne around the world as sinister characters pursue him. This action-packed show will feature thrilling chase scenes, punishing fistfights, death-defying leaps and danger at every turn. All of this action will all happen right in front of you with live performers, interactive props and a massive LED screen! We know this level of immersion will make it impossible to determine where the live-action ends and the screen begins! Universal Orlando has stated that with this show “You won’t just watch it – you’ll feel it.”

 

We are so excited that this brand-new live-action stunt show will soon be calling Universal Studios Florida home! Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner today to plan your next visit to the Universal Orlando Resort!

My Tips for Advanced Dining Reservations at Walt Disney World

 

Part of the fun of my Walt Disney World trips is looking forward to the food that I am going to get to eat.  Just as much as the rides and attractions, I look forward to the dining experiences that Disney World has to offer.  With four parks and the entire Disney Springs Area there are so many options to choice from when selecting a place to dine.

 

 

If you are a Disney Resort Hotels guest, you can start booking your dining reservations 180 days in advance of your trip and can make reservations for the entire length of your Resort stay – up to 10 days.  If you are staying off Disney property, you can still make reservations 180 days in advance of that first day of your trip and continue to make reservations as each 180 day mark arrives.

 

 

I think advance dining is great!  It guarantees that you will have your most important reservations that you want to experience.  This 180 day mark is extremely important not to miss if you have your heart set on reservations like Cinderella’s Royal Table and Be Our Guest Restaurant.  There are also some very popular restaurants like the Contemporary Resort’s California Grill and The Polynesians Resort’s Ohana.  These are restaurants that if you would like a reservation there I would suggest booking as soon as possible.

 

 

Now with all of that being said, I do not want to overwhelm you by thinking that you need to schedule every meal this far in advance.  Remember that this is your vacation and I do not know about you but the last thing I want to do is stress out while planning or enjoying vacation.  As I said before there are so many restaurants at Walt Disney World that even during your trip you will be able to find really good Table service dining reservations available.  When you schedule yourself out for every meal, you really lock yourself into being at a certain place at a certain time, which can add a lot of stress.  You never know what may change your plans such as the weather could be bad and you change where you want to be that day.  The last thing you want is to feel stressed because you now cannot change because you are locked into a dining reservation.  Disney does charge usually a $10 per person for no shows or reservations cancelled less than 24 hours in advance.

 

 

My suggestion is to schedule your must have reservations and then leave some of your vacation days wide open to do whatever you wish.  There are also so many really good Quick Service Dining options at Disney that are not just your traditional burgers and fries.  In an upcoming blog, I will give you a list of some of my favorite Quick Service locations at each park.  In addition, you will want to keep in mind the time of year you are visiting because EPCOT has so many festivals involving good food offerings that if this is something you enjoy you will want to have some of the meals while eating around the World Showcase.

 

 

If hope this helps you with planning dining on your next Walt Disney World trip and if you are thinking of planning your next trip your Kingdom Magic Vacation Travel Planner will be happy to assist.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2019

 

It is that most magical time of year again at the Magic Kingdom and along with all the festive decorations comes an annual event not to be missed and that is the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.  This party is a special ticketed event held on select nights now through December 22nd.  The Magic Kingdom closes for the evening and ticket holders can start to enter Magic Kingdom at 4:00 p.m. with the official party beginning at 7:00 p.m. and lasting until midnight.

Let me tell you a little about the party so you can decide if this is something you would like to add on to your holiday trip.  First, let’s talk about treats!  Party guests will enjoy a variety of complimentary sweets and treats located at various treat stations throughout the park.  Also, note that there are healthy and gluten-free options that will be available upon request.   You will get to fill up on many different yummy cookies, pretzels, eggnog, hot chocolate, apple cider and fanta drinks.  There will also be special holiday treats for purchase that are only available during the party!

 

 

At this wonderful time of year, Cinderella Castle transforms each night by Queen Elsa as she gives everyone their Frozen Holiday Wish!  Christmas magic will surround you with carols and even snow coming down on Main Street!

Then there is the Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade which features costumes and floats that are themed to Winter Wonderland, Christmas Sweets and of course Mr. and Mrs. Claus.  The parade happens twice at 8:30 p.m. and 11:00 pm.  Just a little tip, the second parade is often easier to get a better seat.

 

9 Must-Do’s For Fall Visits to Walt Disney World Resort

 

Fireworks at the Magic Kingdom are always special but the Christmastime Fireworks are not to be missed!  This year debuts a brand new fireworks show called Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks and is presented at 10:00 p.m. on party nights only.

There are many other party events happening through the night like fun dance parties, Christmas songs performed by a cappella group and special holiday character meet and greets.  All of this fun, not to mention the rides and attractions you can enjoy with much shorter waits.

So if you and your family want to partake in all this festive Christmastime fun, contact your Kingdom Magic Vacation travel planner today!

 

 

Dining at Toledo at Disney’s Grand Destino Tower

 

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort recently went through many exciting enhancements! The biggest of these enhancements being the addition of Gran Destino Tower. This new tower is home to 545 guest rooms. Fifty of these guest rooms being suites. The tower is beautiful! Here you will find rich touches of Spanish architecture mixed with a fresh, modern and contemporary feel!

 

 

Our team stayed at Disney’s Coronado Springs on our most recent company event last month. We loved taking in the beauty of this resort during our time there and getting to explore the luxurious new Gran Destino Tower.

 

 

At the very top of Gran Destino tower sits a new Disney restaurant, Toledo! Toledo is known for their great Tapas, Steak & Seafood. This luxurious restaurant is themed after a Spanish haven inspired by surrealist art and the 1930s avant-garde. This restaurant has a very relaxed feel to it. It is classic and sophisticated, yet still so warm and inviting all at the same time.

 

 

By far my favorite part of this amazing restaurant was the views! Being on the top floor of Gran Destino Tower you can enjoy views all over Disney World property. It very much reminded me of the experience of being at one of my other favorite Disney restaurants, the California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Similar to how Toledo sits at the top of Gran Destino Tower, the California Grill sits on the top floor of the Contemporary Resort. If you have ever dined at the California Grill then you will know that the views from the top are simply breathtaking. Out the restaurant’s windows you can see gorgeous views of Seven Seas Lagoon, Bay Lake, the Magic Kingdom Resorts and even over into Magic Kingdom Park!

 

 

From Toledo, you get that same feeling as over at California Grill with the beautiful views this restaurant offers! At Toledo you get birds-eye views of a whole different area of property. Here at this location you are close to Epcot and Hollywood Studios. You can see some of the icons of these nearby parks from up above! I loved at night spotting the tall pieces of rock work in the distance that are a part of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge over at Hollywood Studios. At night, these rock formations of the land are all illuminated in a purple color. It was so cool seeing this from up at Toledo.

 

 

The menu here has something for everyone. They are known for their steak and seafood. So, whether you are in the mood for surf or turf you will find something you like here! I can’t wait to get back to Toledo soon for the great food and spectacular views!

 

Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner today to plan your next visit to the Walt Disney World Resort.

My Favorite Things at the Universal Orlando Theme Parks!

 

Last week I shared that on our most recent company event I had the incredible opportunity to experience the Universal Orlando Resort for my very first time! In last weeks post I detailed what the experience was like and everything that I had the chance to do in the resort and parks during my time there.

Last week’s post:

My First Time at Universal Studios Orlando!

 

This week I wanted to get more personal and share what my top 3 favorite things were from the Universal Orlando Resort! Let the list begin!

 

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon

 

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon was the very first Universal Ride I experienced inside Universal Studios Florida! I enjoyed this ride so much that it made my highlights list! Something that really struck me about this experience was actually the wait before you board the attraction. Instead of standing in your average queue forming a winding line like most rides, here the process is completely different. Soon into your wait your party gets handed a card with a color group on it. You then head upstairs to what is set up as the Tonight Show stage. Here you will find lots of displays to look at and nice seating areas to go relax. It is one big open space where you can explore or simply just sit down. Then when they call your color group you make your way to the ride entrance and are inside the attraction in minutes. This was really neat to see! My favorite part of the waiting area was the stage where live acts would come out and perform for everyone! While we were there the entertainment was a barbershop quartet that did covers of many modern day pop songs! They were so entertaining! Everyone in the room was having such a great time. You would never know we were really all waiting in “line” Here at this ride the waiting is part of the actually attraction!

 

 

 

Diagon Alley

 

Another highlight from inside Universal Studios Florida for me was exploring Diagon Alley! Diagon Alley is part of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. At Universal Orlando the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is actually built in two locations. There is a Harry Potter section in both Universal Studios and in Universal’s Islands of Adventure. Universal Studios is home to Diagon Alley and Islands of Adventure holds the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade. Out west in Universal Studios Hollywood they also have the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade. I have been out to Universal Studios Hollywood before so I was already familiar with Hogsmeade. But Diagon Alley, which can only be found in Universal Studios Florida was entirely new for me. if you read my post from last week about my full experience visiting Universal, then you will know that the day I visited the parks was the night of a Halloween Horror Nights. This meant Universal Studios closed early in preparation for the event that night. By the time I got into Diagon Alley the park had just closed so I wasn’t able to ride anything or go in any shops but as the park was clearing out, I was able to walk around Diagon Alley and see everything! This is something that I have always wanted to do! I am a big fan of Harry Potter so I appreciated getting to see all of the details and references there were from the movies!

 

 

 

Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey

 

Once Universal Studios closed for the night we used our park-to-park ticket and made our way over to Islands of Adventure to spend the rest of the evening. It was there that I had my next highlight, getting to ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. As I said earlier, Universal’s Islands of Adventure park is home to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Hogsmeade. Hogsmeade was very similar to the Hogsmeade found out in Universal Studios Hollywood that I had recently been to and it felt so good to see it again and enjoy another butter beer! But on this Hogsmeade visit I had my next highlight. Something I didn’t have time to do during my visit out in California, I got to ride Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey! This is the main attraction in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! It was spectacular! I loved everything about this experience. The queue line for this attraction is actually inside of the Hogwarts castle! I felt like I had stepped inside of the movie! Similar to the Jimmy Fallon attraction, I found I did not mind the wait because there was so much to look at! Most notably – the talking portraits on the castle walls! They keep you very entertained while in line. The ride itself was very immersive. You feel as though you are flying on a broom alongside Harry Potter. This ride is part simulator and part roller coaster track. There are many exciting dips and turns. It is a great thrill!

 

 

 

These were just a few of my top highlights I got to enjoy on my quick visit to Universal Orlando. I am already so eager to get back! I know that my list will keep growing and growing as I experience all of the great attractions and rides these parks have to offer.

 

 

I learned on this visit to the Universal Orlando Resort how incredible this destination truly is. There is something for everyone here! From the gorgeous Universal Resort Hotels to the thrills and theming in the amazing parks – it all adds up to one incredible vacation. Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner today to book your next vacation to the Universal Orlando Resort!

 

 

My Experience Riding the Disney Skyliner! – Video

 

Walt Disney World’s newest mode of transportation is here! The Disney Skyliner has arrived! The Skyliner has been added to the Walt Disney World Resort transportation fleet alongside, buses, boats, monorails and even Minnie Vans! The addition of the Disney Skyliner now gives guests another option for Disney transportation. This efficient system is helping to alleviate Disney bus traffic by giving resort guests and park goers another way to get around property.

 

 

Not only is the Skyliner efficient and convenient, but it is also so much fun! I rode the Skyliner for the first-time last month and truly felt that this transportation system feels more like a fun ride rather than simply a means of getting from point A to point B. With the Skyliner it feels as though your journey is already a part of the destination! The Skyliner is an attraction in itself!

 

 

For me riding the Skyliner gave me a similar feeling to riding the Disney monorail system. If you have been to Walt Disney World before, then I’m sure at some point you have experienced the famous Disney monorail. The Disney monorails are icons of the Disney Parks and Resorts and I’m sure you agree that riding the monorail is a fun form of transportation and gives you that feeling of being on a ride rather than just a transportation system. I had that same feeling while riding the Skyliner. The way I see it, I am predicting now that soon the Disney Skyliner will be just as iconic as the monorail. I see the Skyliner becoming one of those staples that you think of when you picture Walt Disney World!

 

 

Currently the Disney Skyliner takes flights to Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and Disney’s NEW Riviera Resort opening next month! All Disney guests are welcome to ride the Skyliner. It is not just exclusive to guests staying at the resorts that are on the Skyliner line. In fact, the Disney Skyliner now provides guests a new way to park hop between Epcot in Hollywood Studios. After using the system to park hop between these two parks last month, I would say in my opinion this is now the easiest and fastest way to get between Epcot and Hollywood Studios.

 

 

Now let’s talk about how the Skyliner works. Prior to me riding the system for myself, I didn’t fully understand how the Skyliner operated. I didn’t know if each station had direct flights to all the other stations, or if transfer flights were involved in order to get where you were going. My first day riding the Disney Skyliner I took every line available and fully experienced all aspect of the Skyliner and now I have a full understanding of how this great system operates.

 

 

You can refer to the map above to get more of a picture of how the system functions. All of the lines connect through the station located at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. From the Caribbean Beach station, you will find 3 lines you can go on. The first line takes a flight that stops at Disney’s Riviera Resort and then continues on to Epcot. The Second line at the Caribbean Beach station is a direct line that goes straight to Hollywood Studios. And the third line at the Caribbean Beach station goes directly over to Art of Animation and Pop Century. These two resorts share a central Skyliner Station.

 

 

Disney’s Caribbean Beach is the main hub station for the skyliner where you will catch all your connecting flights. All of the other stations have one flight option which will take you right to Caribbean Beach. With the exception of the Epcot Line because it offers the stop at Rivera prior to continuing onto Epcot. Likewise Disney’s Rivera Station since it is already on the Epcot line is another exception because you have two option here of either catching a flight to Epcot or over the other direction to Caribbean Beach.

 

 

With this knowledge in mind you can now plan out how to get from place to place. For example, if you were wanting to park hop from Hollywood Studios over to Epcot you would get on the line at Hollywood Studios which runs to Caribbean Beach and from there at the Caribbean Beach station transfer to the Epcot Line. Another example, let’s say you want to go from Art of Animation to Epcot. You would get on the skyliner at the Art of Animation station for the flight over to Caribbean Beach where you then catch your transfer flight to Epcot.

 

 

Disney has done a wonderful job with this new transportation system and the Skyliner is very easy to navigate. There are a lot of directional signs everywhere so you know exactly where you are going. And Disney Cast Members are always nearby and happy to help if you have any questions or need directions.

 

 

I have become such a big fan of the Disney Skyliner. I enjoyed my experience riding the Skyliner so much and it fills me with so much joy to know that this system is now open at Walt Disney World. I am excited for the future and what this means for new transportation or even a possible expansion of this system in the future!

 

 

Watch our new YouTube video to hear more in-depth about my experience and thoughts on riding the Disney Skyliner!

 

 

Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner today to plan your next Walt Disney World Vacation!

Epcot Construction Update Video!

 

This year I attended D23, the ultimate Disney Fan event that is hosted every other year at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim California. The convention center is literally right across the street from Disneyland! This event is a Disney fans paradise! This expo has so much fan anticipation every year because this is when Disney officially announces many of their plans that are coming to the Disney Parks in the future!

 

 

This year the big focus was on Epcot! Epcot is currently in the beginning stages of undergoing a massive overhaul that will be bringing many excited new changes to Epcot! We are currently seeing the walls going up already in the park! It is crazy how fast all of this is happening. The future Epcot is on its way!

 

 

I was just in Epcot the other week and I was amazed by seeing all the areas of the park that are getting work done! As a Disney Parks fan and as a huge lover of all things Epcot, I must say this makes me very excited. I stood there at D23 in complete amazement as I watched the preview video of what was coming to Epcot! Seeing these walls makes it all so real that that future is about to take place and become a reality.

 

 

Watch our newest YouTube video for a walking tour of the current construction updates in the park! Let’s get excited for the future of Epcot together!

 

 

Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner today to plan your next vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort!

My First Time at Universal Studios Orlando!

 

During our most recent company event a few weeks ago, our team enjoyed an incredible day of training and fun at the Universal Orlando Resort. We learned so much about the Universal Orlando destination and how this great product is an incredible vacation spot for everyone! Young, old, couples, families, groups of friends… there is something for everyone at the Universal Orlando Resort!

 

 

During our time at Universal Orlando Resort we got to tour several of the amazing onsite Universal hotels, tour Universal’s Volcano Bay Water Theme Park and expand our knowledge of this great product through an educational seminar. After our exciting morning of learning many of our team members headed into the parks for a night of fun and getting to explore the incredible parks!

 

 

For me this was particularly very exciting because I had never been to the Universal Orlando Resort. I had been out to the West Coast park, Universal Studios Hollywood, but never to the Universal Orlando Resort! I had always seen so much about Universal Orlando in blogs and videos, so getting the opportunity to finally be there in person was unreal!

 

 

Our training was held at Universal’s Lowes Portifino Bay Hotel. When we were ready to head to the park we got to utilize the Universal’s water taxi service that is offered at many of Universal’s onsite hotels such at Portifino Bay. I was very impressed with this incredible water taxi service. The boats take you directly from the resort to the end of Universal CityWalk. Here you will find the entrance gates to both Universal Studios and just a short walk down the way Universal’s Islands of Adventure.

 

 

I loved taking the scenic water taxi ride! The views were beautiful! And I was at the park entrance in about 5 minutes! I was also so impressed with how frequently the boats run. There was a boat that was just pulling away as I walked up and the next boat was there in less than 10 minutes! Amazing!

 

The first thing I did once my water taxi pulled up to the CityWalk dock was head right into Universal Studios. This park closed at 5:00 on the particular day I was there in preparation for Universal’s Halloween Horror Night – the specially ticketed Halloween event that takes place on select nights at Universal Studios. I had a park-to-park ticket so I knew I wanted to go to Universal Studios first to get in as much as I could there before it closed and then transfer over to Universal’s Islands of Adventure park. I only had about an hour and a half in Universal Studios so I spent the time walking around and soaking in the amazing sights that I previously had just seen in pictures.

 

 

I also managed to squeeze in two rides. The first ride I experienced at Universal Studios was Race through New York starring Jimmy Fallon! This attraction was so fun and entertaining! It is a 3D simulator style ride where you explore the great city of New York and beyond through wacky antics! The second attraction I had time for was Men in Black! This attraction gives you a blaster and allows you to shoot at aliens and earn points! We had fun competing to see who got the highest score!

 

 

It was soon time to transfer over to Islands of Adventure! I loved this park. The theming was very unique, it felt like something out of a storybook!  The first thing we did was ride the Seuss Trolley Train. This was an experience I had seen before in photos and videos. It is an elevated train experience in the air that gives you a birds-eye view of the park. I loved riding this right at sunset, the views were beautiful!

 

 

After taking in the adorable theming in Seuss Landing we headed straight for the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I was so excited to finally get to ride this land’s main attraction located inside the Hogwarts Castle, Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. The effects in this ride were so cool. You felt like you were really flying on a broomstick alongside Harry Potter!

 

 

To cap off an amazing day I enjoyed the most iconic Harry Potter treat you can have… a butterbeer! These drinks are delicious! It’s like a butterscotch soda! With a butterbeer in hand I enjoyed an evening stroll around Islands of Adventure right before park close, taking in the beautiful architecture and everything there was to see and do in this great park.

 

 

I am so excited to go back to the Universal Orlando Resort to get to experience more of what this amazing destination has to offer. Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner today to plan your next vacation to the Universal Orlando Resort!

My Favorite Items of the 2019 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

 

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is an event that I look forward to every year! Just like looking forward to a holiday or birthday, I love the excitement and anticipation that comes before getting to attend this great Epcot festival! I always enjoying getting to feast upon my favorite items that our returning from previous years. I also love the thrill of getting to expand my palate and try something brand new at the event!

 

This year’s 2019 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival started on August 29th and is running this year through November 23rd. I was able to attend this year’s festival on two different trips during this 2019 season. I was in Disney World in August during the opening week of the Food and Wine Festival and I just recently returned from a family vacation to Disney two weeks ago and got to partake in more food and wine fun then!

 

I enjoyed getting to spend time in Epcot on these trips and getting the opportunity to sample a lot of Food and Wine Festival items! So now that I have experience this year’s 2019 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, I am so excited to bring you my list of my favorite items I enjoyed:

 

Baked Shrimp and Scallop Scampi Dip

Festival Marketplace: Coastal Eats

This was an item that was a first for me to try at this year’s festival. I am a big fan of seafood and this Baked Shrimp and Scallop Scampi Dip from Coastal eats was a winner for sure. You get a lot of nice pieces of shrimp and 2 whole scallops in the dip itself making this item a great value. It also was a nice portion size and very rich in flavor making this item great to share. This item was served along with a generous amount of bread slices to accompany the dish. I will definitely be getting this item in the future!

 

Suja Organic Kombucha Flight

Festival Marketplace: Earth Eats

This was an item that was another first for me to try at this year’s festival. It was the Kombucha Flight. I recently was introduced to what kombucha is and have enjoyed buying it to enjoy at home for the health benefits that this drink provides. When I saw that the Earth Eats booth had kombucha at this year’s festival, I knew I had to try it! Earth Eats had 3 variations of kombucha that they sold, a green apple, a pineapple passionfruit and a ginger lemon. You could order these individually or get them in a flight like I did so you can sample all three. They were all excellent but I have to say that the green apple was my favorite!

 

Smoked Corned Beef

Festival Marketplace: Flavors from Fire

The Smoked Corned Beef has been around the Food and Wine Festival since the Flavors from Fire Booth first premiered. I have had this particular item every year since then and it remains on my list as a must get dish because it is that good! This item features corn beef, crisp potatoes, cheese curds, pickled onions and to top it all off – a beer-cheese fondue! All of these flavors accompany each other so perfectly making one unbelievable dish! The beef is always so tender and just melts in your mouth! I love this item!

 

Mala Chicken and Shrimp Bao Bun

Festival Marketplace: China

I am a huge fan of bao buns! I get so excited any time I see a bao bun on a menu. China typically has a bao bun at the Food and Wine Festival each year. Something that I love is that each year they mix it up with a different variation of a bao bun. This year inside the bao bun was a mix of both chicken and shrimp. I really enjoyed this take on one of my favorite food items!

 

Warm Indian Bread

Festival Marketplace: India

I consider this item to be one of the many hidden gems at this year’s Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. This item consisted of pieces of delicious traditional Indian naan bread served alongside 3 dipping sauces. If you have ever been to Sanna, the restaurant over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge then you know that they are known for their naan bread that you can enjoy with their selection of sauces. This is one of my favorite things to enjoy on Disney property and this item at the Food and Wine Festival felt like a miniature Sanna bread service experience! The 3 sauces that came with this Indian bread at the festival were a pickled garlic sauce, a mango salsa and a coriander pesto. My personal favorite was the mango salsa!

 

I hope you enjoyed hearing about my highlights from this year’s Epcot International Food and Wine Festival! Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacation’s Travel Planner today to plan your next magical vacation!

Blaze Pizza in Disney Springs, A Great Quick Service Option

 

When you are in Disney Springs and are looking for a delicious meal but want a less expensive option I have the perfect place for you to try and that is Blaze Pizza.  At Blaze, you can customize your own fast-fired 11” artisanal pizza pie and choose from over 40 tasty toppings and sauces.

 

 

You can create your own pizza for under $10.00 and that is a really good bargain for such a delicious pizza.  On my last visit my mom and I shared a pizza and it was plenty for lunch and made this a really budget friendly option.  It’s always good to find ways to save money in Disney World.  This will give you an excuse to splurge on a little shopping!

 

 

 

Blaze Pizza also has some signature pizzas you can choose from and also, they are a very good choice for certain dietary need as they have a gluten free dough choice as well as a Keto and Cauliflower dough.  During my latest lunch with them my mom and I choose the Keto crust with red sauce, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and a drizzle of olive oil.  It was yummy!

 

 

Another thing I like about Blaze is their drink options.  The fountain drink station has many soft drink options as well as fresh brewed ice tea and some signature lemonades.  I really enjoyed the blood orange lemonade and my mom made her own Arnold Palmer by mixing the fresh brewed tea with the lemonade.

 

 

The day we ate here was a perfect day to sit outside on their porch which overlooks the beautiful Disney Springs.  We sat there and enjoyed our meal and watched the Flights of Wonder balloon taking guests on flights over Disney Springs.

 

 

I would highly recommend trying Blaze Pizza out for yourself on your next Walt Disney World trip.  Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations travel planner to start planning your next Disney trip!

Video Tour of Universal’s Volcano Bay!

 

During our most recent Kingdom Magic Vacations Company event, our team had the opportunity to spend a great day filled with both fun and learning at the Universal Orlando Resort! There is so much to see and do at this amazing property! Universal Orlando is a vacation destination that the entire family will love!

 

 

A big highlight from our day at Universal was getting the chance to tour Universal’s newest park, Universal Volcano Bay! This park is truly one of a kind! It is so much more than just a water park, it is a water theme park! What does that mean? It means that this park is not just simply your average water park filled with a bunch of water slides – no, this park is a water park built like a theme park! The park is incredibly themed and detailed! You feel like you are in a lush and tropical island paradise!

 

 

What truly struck me about this water theme park was how beautiful it is! You really do feel like you are at a beach! I loved how much seating there was too. We were there in the middle of the day and there were several beach chairs all available and nice secluded places you can relax at and set up as your base camp for your day in the park.

 

 

Whether you are looking for exciting thrills or relaxing chills, you will find them at Universal’s Volcano Bay! There is something for everyone here. Join us on a walking tour of Volcano Bay in our latest YouTube Video!

 

 

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

New Animation Experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

 

I am a fan of all things Disney art related! My home is filled with Disney paintings and prints, my favorite Epcot Festival is the Epcot International Festival of the Arts and on a personal note I have taken oil painting classes since I was 12! Art is a big part of my life and I love anytime I get to be creative. That’s why The Disney Animation Academy holds a very special place in my heart!

 

 

What is the Animation Academy you may be wondering? The Animation Academy is a Disney Park attraction where you get to participate in a live drawing class instructed by a Disney Animator themselves! It is a one-of-a-kind experience in which you get to learn how to draw a Disney character from start to finish! These drawings then make fantastic keepsakes to take home and save in your family album or display on your fridge!

 

 

The Animation Academy had its original home inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios. For years, this was a ‘must do’ for me and my family on every visit to Hollywood Studios. It was very bitter sweet for us a few years back when the Animation Academy closed its doors at Hollywood Studios to make way for what is now the Star Wars Launch Bay.

 

 

Since then I have enjoyed getting to experience the Animation Academy on the west coast over at the location in Disney’s California Adventure Park located at the Disneyland Resort in California. This location is still open and I just recently experienced getting to draw here on my latest Disneyland vacation this summer!

 

 

Also this past February I got to experience the pop-up Animation Academy that was brought in especially for the Epcot International Festival of the Arts at Walt Disney World. I was so excited that the Animation Academy was alive again at Walt Disney World! This experience was so popular at Festival of the Arts that Disney heard the cries of us Animation Academy fans and made the announcement that the Animation Academy would be returning to Disney World year-round at a new location!

 

 

That’s right! Animation Academy is now back at Walt Disney World! The attraction has now been given a new home in Disney’s Animal Kingdom park in the newly renovated Rafiki’s Planet Watch! I have experienced the Animation Academy twice now in this new location and I absolutely love it!

 

 

In the pre-show you get to watch short video clips that show how Disney Animators studied the movements and motions of real animals to find inspiration for their sketches and drawings. Learning this fact about the heart of Disney Animation ties this attraction so perfectly into the location of Animal Kingdom!

 

I am over the moon that that Animation Academy has returned to Walt Disney World! Be sure to check it out next time you are in Animal Kingdom! It is sure to create great memories for you and your family! Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner today to plan your next visit to Walt Disney World!

MENU