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Pizza Ponte, Maria and Enzo’s & Enzo’s Hideaway Bar at Disney Springs!

Pizza Ponte is one of the many new dining locations recently opened at Disney Springs. Pizza Ponte is one third of the new restaurants introduced as part of the ‘Patina Restaurant Group.’ All 3 of these new restaurants are connected together and each provides their own take on Italian cuisine. Pizza Ponte is the quick-service restaurant serving Italian cuisine in a relaxed, laid-back, counter service atmosphere. Next door guests looking for a table-service experience can visit Maria and Enzo’s. And in just a few days Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar, a speakeasy type of bar and lounge will open, completing this trio of brand new Disney Springs eateries!

Buon appetito! Disney Springs Welcomes Three New Italian Concepts

Before we talk about the amazing food let’s first talk about theming! If you are familiar with the Disney Parks then it is no surprise that Disney gives incredible theming and backstories to everything they do. When Disney Springs began its transformation from Downtown Disney to Disney Springs, Disney made sure to give the area a storyline of being a Floridian Springs town that in recent years many restaurants and shops built up around the natural wonder. If you have visited Disney Springs recently then you know that this is truly the feeling you get as you shop and dine around the area. You don’t just feel like you’re at a giant outdoor mall, you feel as though you are on a vacation within your vacation to a sunny Floridian community.

When Disney set out to make this new trio of Italian dining locations they wanted to give these establishments stories that would tie them into the Disney Springs experience. Disney made the building that is home to these new eateries an abandoned airport that has now been remodeled as restaurants! The theming can be noticed in details throughout the building. The first of these details can be seen as soon as guests check in for their meal at Maria and Enzo’s. The hostess station has a passenger check-in sign behind the podium.

The floor plan also suggest that this building was once an airport. While I visited Disney Springs I was given the opportunity to tour the inside dining room for Maria and Enzo’s, it is opened and inviting. The airport theme continues inside as posters on the wall advertise travel destinations. The vibe of the restaurant evokes the spirit of adventure!

The staff at these restaurants are all cultural representatives from Italy making this experience a unique authentic exchange! I enjoyed chatting with some of the staff about what part of Italy they were from. Everyone was so friendly and excited to share stories from their home land.

Alright so now let’s talk about the food. While on my most recent visit to Disney Springs I got to enjoy a slice of pizza at Pizza Ponte. It was a great value for the price and very delicious. If you are familiar with the pizza at Via Napoli the Italian restaurant in Epcot’s World Showcase that taste is what this pizza reminded me of! Just like at Via Napoli this restaurant actually imports the water used to make the dough directly from Italy making it truly authentic.

I really enjoyed my meal at Pizza Ponte. I will absolutely be back again and I can’t wait to enjoy the restaurant’s sister locations, Maria and Enzo’s and Enzo’s Hideaway Bar on a future visit! To take a closer look at these new locations, join me in our New YouTube video as we explore the areas theming and dine at Pizza Ponte!

 

 

The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle – New Projection Show Coming to the Universal Orlando Resort!

At the start of this past 2017 Christmas season the Universal Orlando Resort debuted “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts,” a nighttime projection show that brought the Howwarts castle to life with festive holiday scenes. The show was groundbreaking for the Universal Resort and park goers all marveled at the amazing quality of the crisp projections. You can watch “The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts” on our YouTube channel,

The Christmas projection show was an instant hit and it quickly became highly rumored that this new technology would pave the way for more projection shows to take place on the Hogwarts Castle in the future. Well we have very exciting news! That is coming true, a brand new projection show has been announced for the Universal Orlando Resort!

The new show will be called, “The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle.” The brand new projection mapping show will debut January 31st and can be experienced on select nights throughout 2018.

Guests wanting to get a sneak peak of the show can preview the new experience on January 27th and 28th during “A Celebration of Harry Potter 2018.” Guests who have purchased A Celebration of Harry Potter vacation package will have the exclusive opportunity to watch the new show at a special preview event on January 26th. There is still time to book A Celebration of Harry Potter vacation package, so be sure to contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations travel planner today!

Universal has told us that the show will be a great celebration of your Hogwart’s house pride! The new show will highlight all 4 of the Hogwart’s houses, Gryffindor, Ravenclaw, Hufflepuff and Slytherin. Be sure to bring your house spirit with you when you visit Islands of Adventure!

As of now we know that “The Nighttime Lights at Hogwarts Castle” will have showings January 31 – February 5, and February 7 – February 12.  Additional dates will be announced at a later time.

We are so excited to experience the new nighttime show at Universal’s Islands of Adventure!

 

Restaurant Marrakesh at Epcot

Restaurant Marrakesh is located in Epcot at the Walt Disney World Resort. The restaurant is a hidden gem, tucked away in the back of the Morocco Pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase.

World Showcase is a celebration of cultures and countries around the world. My personal favorite Pavilion happens to be Morocco. The Pavilion is incredibly detailed, walking its streets you feel completely transported. While dining here we learned that the King of Morocco was so honored that Disney wanted to feature his country in Epcot that he sent his personal architects to help design the Pavilion. The authenticity is certainly seen in the details of the beautiful tile work and designs of the buildings.

While dining in Restaurant Marrakesh you are surround in the colorful and intricate beauty of the Moroccan culture.

I always find that you can get a reservation here even last minute because it is such a hidden gem not known by many people. The service here is always spectacular, the waiters are all very knowledgeable about the menu and can make excellent suggestions. The staff is all very attentive and takes excellent care of everything you need throughout your dining experience.

The menu offers something for everyone. On my most recent visit to restaurant Marrakesh I had the Lemon Chicken. It was amazing! I would order this meal again in a heartbeat. The chicken was so flavorful and tender. It melted in your mouth! Other menu offerings include, Shish Kabobs, Roasted Lamb, Mogador Fish Tagine, and a very popular menu item the traditional Moroccan couscous served with your choice of a selection of proteins. I have always loved everything I ever tried here!

As you dine, periodically throughout your meal you can enjoy the live entertainment! The show begins with traditional Moroccan music and then a belly dancer preforms. The dancer even gets the children involved and invites them to join her onstage to learn dances from the Moroccan culture, making for a very special and one of a kind memory.

I always enjoy my meal at Restaurant Marrakesh. I highly recommend this dinning location. Check it out for yourself on your next Disney World vacation!

New Years Eve at Walt Disney World! Fireworks Boat Cruise

Happy New Year! Welcoming a new year is always an exciting night filled with anticipation. If you are spending New Year’s Eve in Disney, then you are in for an extra special treat! Disney knows how to throw a party. For New Year’s Eve Disney goes all out with special countdown fireworks, dance parties in the parks and more festivities to help guests ring in the New Year. If you are looking for a unique experience for your New Year’s Eve celebration, Disney has you covered. They offer a wide variety of special meals, dining packages and events for the New Year’s Eve holiday. These events range from a buffet meal at Epcot’s World Show Place Pavilion to a luxurious countdown to midnight party at the California Grill.

My family and I spent New Year’s Eve in Walt Disney World this year and it was the best New Year’s Eve celebration ever! Disney knows how to make everything extra magical and made the night very special! We did a fireworks boat cruise and got to watch Magic Kingdom’s incredible countdown fireworks from our very own pontoon boat on the Seven Seas Lagoon. The parks can get very crowded on New Year’s Eve, this cruise experience allowed us to see the same fireworks in a much more private and relaxed setting.

Our night began arriving at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa where we would board our boat at the hotel’s marina. As soon as we arrived Disney rolled out the red carpet and made us feel pampered. When we checked in for our cruise we were greeted by our boat’s captain and guide for the evening. He was wonderful and very personable. Our captain escorted us to a special dessert party on the grounds of the Grand Floridian that was exclusive for guests taking cruises that evening. The dessert party was included in the price of our New Year’s Eve cruise. This was the best way to kick off the festivities.

Disney provided us with all our New Year’s Eve gear including hats, tiaras, horns and clappers.

The events offerings included soft drinks, bottled water, coffee and guests over 21 even got to enjoy some adult beverages. For snacks the event included a cheese board, fruits and vegetables, along with a selection of decadent and delicious desserts. My favorite was the chocolate covered strawberries, they were coated in a rich dark chocolate and the presentation was outstanding complete with edible glitter! All of the desserts had beautiful decorations themed to 2018! It made for a very festive start!

The private party also included a DJ who made sure everyone was energized and ready to ring in the new year! We enjoyed our treats and the music all while soaking in the picturesque view of Cinderella Castle and the Magic Kingdom from across the lagoon.

Around 10:30 at night we boarded our pontoon boat with our captain. The boat was decked out for the occasion with New Year’s Eve banners and balloons. What I loved about this boat cruise experience is that they don’t just take you out to the center of the lagoon before the fireworks and drop anchor just to watch the show. The captain really takes his time and takes you on a very relaxing cruise all around Seven Seas Lagoon and also over to Bay Lake. This portion of the experience adds so much. Your captain serves as your guide and as you tour the lake points out interesting facts and stories about the history of the property and the Disney company.

I am a proud self-proclaimed Disney super fan and I learned things during this portion of the cruise that I had never heard before. For example, our captain pointed out that the island located as soon as you enter Bay Lake from Seven Seas Lagoon is call Frontier Island. Nothing inhabits the island but it’s original intension was that Walt Disney wanted to build a house there for him and his family to live in. As we passed Disney’s Contemporary hotel our captain shared that in the Contemporary’s conference center is where Nixon gave his Watergate speech. We also learned while passing the Polynesian that Disney’s Polynesian Village resort was the location where the Beatles broke up. Paul McCartney was staying at the Polynesian when his lawyer came to have him sign the papers, officially splitting up the band. This type of interesting Disney trivia added to the experience and made us feel like we were getting a Disney tour and a special show viewing all in one.

As we neared midnight our captain took us to the location where we would watch the fireworks. We dropped anchor just off of the Polynesian Beach. We had a perfect view of the show. The sky lit up with so many colorful fireworks.  As the stroke of midnight neared the show counted down in the best way I have ever seen! In the sky fireworks in the shape of numbers counted down from 10 to welcome in the New Year! It was hands-down the best fireworks I have ever seen in Disney.

Watch the Magic Kingdom countdown fireworks in our new YouTube video!

 

What is it like being at Disney World for Christmas?

Have you ever wondered what it is like being at Disney World for Christmas? What is it like not being at home? How are the crowds?

For years my family and I have always visited Disney around the holidays, typically the first week in December. Visiting Disney this time of year, allowed us to experience all the wonderful additions and Christmas experiences offered in the parks! Coming to Disney during this magical time of year became a family tradition. However as many times as we visited during the holiday season we had never come for the actual week of Christmas. This year we decided to go for it!

We set out on our holiday adventure and drove to Disney World on Christmas Day. We had no idea what to expect. Being away from home for Christmas was a different experience for us. We have been having a wonderful time and have been very surprised about some things! Here’s some of our experience:

Will it feel like Christmas?

Something a lot of people wonder when traveling away from home during the holidays is, will it feel like Christmas? We are from the north and are use to snow on the ground and heavy winter coats, but this Christmas has been celebrated in tee shirts! For us Christmas in paradise has been wonderful. Yes it is very different. It is crazy to talk to our family back home and hear that it is 12 degrees while we are wearing flip-flops, but once you are here Disney has so many holiday offerings and exclusive festivities that you are sure to be in the Christmas spirit!!

Crowd level

Probably the thing we were most concerned about was the crowd level. I had always heard that Christmas week in Disney is the absolute busiest week out of the year. We wondered if we would be able to do anything or if each attraction would be too long to wait for. Well I have to say we are so surprised and very happy that we have not felt any day like the parks have been very crowded. Of course Christmas Day is the most popular day of the year to come to Disney and Magic Kingdom did reach capacity on Christmas Day but other days this week no parks have reached capacity. While yes this is a very busy time with the use of the My Disney Experience app, if you are staying on property at a Disney Resort, you will be able to make your fast passes up to 60 days in advance for the rides that you really want to do so you can guarantee getting to experience them. Also Disney does a wonderful job with managing crowds and we have never felt overwhelmed or like the park was too crowded. Disney even opens select seasonal attractions such as Stitch’s Great Escape at the Magic Kingdom that are not typically open. These additional attractions give guests more to do on some of the busier days therefore helping with the crowd level.

Disney is truly magical during The holidays. You will definitely feel the Christmas spirit, all you need is a little planning ahead of time in order to ensure that you will see and do everything that is important to your family. We will definitely be back for another Christmas week in the future!

Christmas Finale of For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration

Hollywood Studios is home to For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration. This show is a ‘can’t miss’ for fans of Disney’s hit movie Frozen!

Two narrators, Aria and Eric tell the story of Frozen while engaging with the audience and improvising some hilarious jokes! The audience is always laughing. I have personally seen the show on several occasions and each time it feels like a new experience because of the narrator’s wonderful comedy!

At the parts in the story where we come to a song, the screen on stage illuminates and plays the clips from the film. The lyrics are also projected onto the screen and the audience is encouraged to ‘Let it go’ and sing along! This element makes the experience truly interactive and fun for all ages!

Throughout the show favorite characters make special appearances including Princess Anna, Kristoff and as the anticipation builds Elsa will then make a grand entrance for the grand finale!

During the Christmas season this show gets a fun holiday overlay! From the beginning of the performance Anna mentions she is searching for her sister so they can prepare for ringing the Arendelle Yule Bell, a holiday tradition in their land. The show then continues regularly and includes some references to the sisters preparing for the Yule Bell Celebration. For the finale guests get a real treat with special holiday songs and a very rare and exclusive appearance from Olaf! Everyone’s favorite snowman sings an original song about holiday traditions. Olaf is not in the regular show so seeing him is truly special. The audience always roars with excitement when he walks out on stage!

The characters all share their favorite parts of the holidays. When it is Elsa turn to share her favorite part about this magical time of year she tells us that her favorite part is being together with the ones she loves. This serves as the lead into another beautiful original song with a very touching meaning! The song will warm your heart with the message of family and love during the Christmas season! It is a beautiful performance!

Watch our YouTube Video to see the special Holiday finale! Enjoy!

New Details on the Disney Skyliner Transportation System Coming to Disney World!

The Walt Disney World Resort truly lives up to its name, it is an entire World! In all seriousness, Walt Disney World is huge! The entire property is double the size of the city of San Francisco. The resort houses 4 world-class theme parks, 2 Water Parks, Disney Springs, the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex, over 30 resort hotels, hundreds of restaurants and more! There is something for everyone and with so many things to see and do transportation plays an important role in any Disney vacation. To maximize time on vacation, guests need to be able to get from point A to point B quickly and efficiently. Disney prides itself on providing a wonderful transporting system across the resort. The Walt Disney World Transportation system is comprised of buses, boats and even the famous Disney monorails!

Disney World is always growing and as they evolve the Disney Company thrives on finding new ways to improve and provide new offerings that enhances their guest’s vacations. In these efforts, Disney announced back in August at the D23 Expo that they would be building the Disney Skyliner Transportation System to add to the Disney Transportation fleet!

The Skyliner is a gondola-type system that will let Guest travel in comfort and style from many place on property. The added mode of transportation will alleviate the crowds and waits on other forms of Disney Transportation and allow guests to get to their destination faster! The commute will also be a fun and exciting ride offering guests a birds-eye view of the property as they travel on the Skyliner.

The Skyliner will be a wonderful addition to the Disney property! We can’t wait for the chance to take our first ride! Construction has already been underway on the system. With the excitement and anticipation building around the Skyliner’s opening, Disney has now released new information about the Skyliner, including new concept art and details on the theming of the stations as well as the actual vehicles! Let’s take a look at everything we now know about this exciting transportation system!

The Skyliner will connect Epcot and Hollywood Studios, making Park-Hopping a breeze! Several resort hotels will also be connected to the Skyliner!

 

Skyliner stations will be located at:

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort 

Epcot’s International Gateway

Hollywood Studios 

Disney’s Pop Century

Disney’s Art of Animation

Disney’s Riviera Resort — (NEW DVC Resort coming soon!) 

 

Disney has now shared concept art for the Caribbean Beach Station. The station’s design is bright and tropical, fitting perfectly into the relaxed feel of Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. In the sneak peek shared by Disney, they clued us in that this station in particular will serve as “the hub of activity” for the Skyliner!

Disney also shared with us the Hollywood Studios Station’s concept art. The architecture of this station will be a continuation of the art-deco style found in the main entrance of Hollywood Studios. The look of the station is very classic, Hollywood glam!

The Epcot station will be located at Epcot’s International Gateway. International Gateway is a side entrance to Epcot that is walking distance from Disney’s Yacht Club, Beach Club and Boardwalk Resorts. This location will be great for many resort guests to access. Concept art has also been released for this station. The building’s style will match the architecture of the nearby pavilions of Epcot’s World Showcase. This stations style evokes the feeling of travel and adventure!

Now let’s talk about the actual ride vehicles for the Skyliner. Disney has announced the official name for these gondola-type vehicles. They will be referred to as ‘cabins.’ With everything Disney does they always pride themselves on giving wonderful theming and attention to detail. This even applies right down to the very cabins that guests on the Skyliner will ride in. Each cabin will feature favorite Disney characters. Some cabins will feature classic Disney characters such as Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy and the Disney Princesses. And some cabins will feature more obscure Disney characters such as the hitch-hiking ghosts from the Haunted Mansion!

We are so excited for the completion of the Skyliner. I personally am looking forward to experiencing my “maiden-flight” on the new system!

 

Christmas Offerings Are Better Than Ever At The Universal Orlando Resort!

 

Universal Orlando is a vacation like no other! Here you can experience the magic of film-making and step-inside some of your favorite movies through themed lands, rides, and shows! The Resort offers something for all ages and interests, so everyone in your traveling party is sure to find something they enjoy.

During the Christmas season, Universal gets all decked out with special holiday offerings. This year they have raised the bar very high with more Christmas offerings than ever before! Let’s take a look at two of the main holiday attractions that are our favorite this year!

The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts

Hogsmeade is decorated for Christmas this year and looks amazing! The creative team at universal wanted the decorations to fit the storyline of the area. Hogsmeade is a town full of many magical and mystical businesses. When the team was planning which decorations would adorn the area of Hogsmeade, they wanted to keep that feel of this being a real, working town. They made sure that the decorations that graced each shopfront fit into the theme of that specific store or business. The attention to detail is incredible! The beautiful holiday decorations are just a pre-show to what guests can experience at night in Hogsmeade! Come nighttime the Hogwart’s castle comes to life with a breathtaking holiday projection show called, The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts.

The show uses state-of-the-art projection mapping technology and is truly filled with magic! As the lights dim the show begins with caroling ghosts singing classical Christmas hymns.

Guests are then taken on a captivating journey as wizards fly past on broomsticks and decorations magically appear on the iconic castle! This show is a must-see when visiting Universal at Christmas time!

Watch the full show in our YouTube Video,

 

Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s

Our next pick for our favorite Christmas offerings is Universal’s Holiday parade featuring Macy’s. This parade gives a nod to the famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade on TV is a tradition for many families, and here at Universal you can get a taste of what it’s like to be there in person and see those famous balloons float down the street for yourself!

Universal’s Macy’s Parade has been an annual offering for a number of years, however this year the creative team at universal has stepped in and made their mark on the parade. Now along with the classic Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade elements we love, the parade also features many of our favorite Universal characters. Characters from, Despicable Me, Madagascar and Shrek can all be spotted in this festive parade.

Just like the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York, even Santa Claus makes a special appearance!

The parade is fun, energetic and has a great balance of traditional Christmas, along with modern Universal favorites!

Watch the Parade on our YouTube Channel,

Part 1:

Part 2:

Be sure to plan a holiday visit to Universal Orlando to experience all these great offerings for yourself. Our team at Kingdom Magic Vacations is always ready to help you plan your future trips! Have a Merry Christmas!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Experience the excitement of Star Wars at three Disney Destinations!

You’ve seen them on the big screen….now is your chance to meet them in person! Experience all the excitement of Star Wars at three Disney Destinations!

At Disney Parks, the force is strong! At Hollywood Studios and Disneyland, not only can you ride along with CP3O on Star Tours (this is worth riding numerous times as there are multiple versions…it’s almost never the same ride twice!), you can meet many of the major characters like Kylo Ren, Chewbacca and BB-8 and Darth Vader at Launch Bay. Be sure to have your cameras ready, or better yet, take advantage of Disney’s photo service to capture these moments. Younglings can be a part of The Jedi Training Academy and face off against the dark side (and let’s be honest here….us grown ups would like to do this too!)

At Star Wars Theater in Disney World, watch a behind the scenes video and see how film makers are creating the future of the Star Wars saga. In Disneyland, be sure to catch Star Wars: Path of the Jedi at The Tomorrowland Theater, a 10 min film featuring the highlights of the films.

At Hollywood Studios, witness Star Wars, A Galaxy Far Away. This live stage show, featuring Kylo Ren, Rey, Chewbacca, BB-8 and Darth Maul, brings to life legendary scenes from the movies. End your evening enjoying Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular…watch highlights from the film along featuring music and fireworks to light up the night sky. For an additional cost, you can enjoy a reserved seating area and indulge in The Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party (available on select nights).

Disney Cruise Line offers it’s own experiences. On select Caribbean sailings (Jan to April 2018), Darth Vader and the Storm troopers are taking over! Get ready for up close encounters with many from the dark side, like Boba Fet, the Jawas and the storm troopers. Not to worry though, Chewbacca and BB-8 are here too.

In the Oceaneer Club, younglings must defend against the First Order ar the Resistance Base. Little rebels can join the resistance when BB-8 and a pilot stop in to look for new recruits. End your evening on deck enjoying Summon the Force, a stunning spectacular featuring live action and featuring iconic moments from the saga. Sail off to a galaxy far away with the night time fireworks show featuring the musical score from John Williams.

Be sure to contact your Must Love Travel Group agent for more information or to make plans to experience all that Disney has to offer. Don’t forget to keep an eye open for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge opening on both coasts in 2019! I know I can’t wait!

Epcot International Festival of the Arts Concert Lineup Announced

Last year Disney introduced a new festival to Epcot, The Epcot International Festival of the Arts! The festival was a celebration of all mediums of art from visuals arts, to culinary arts, and also preforming arts! The festival was an instant hit and due to its popularity, we are excited that it will be returning again this year! The 2018 Epcot Festival of the Arts runs from January 12th through to February 19th.

Visual art could be seen all around the festival. Murals were painted live by artists. Guests could watch chalk artists create impressive illusions of 3-dimensional art on the ground. Along the world showcase promenade, pop–up shops showcased paintings for purchase. At some of these stations guests even had the chance to meet and get their prints signed by the artist.

Culinary art was available for purchase in marketplaces throughout the park. There were many food offerings, similar to what is offered at the very popular Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, but with an artistic flare!

The third component to the event was the preforming arts. Talented performers from the entertainment industry would star in shows at the American Gardens Theater. Many of the performers were stars flown in from the big apple that star in Disney’s Broadway shows! These performances were a fan-favorites during the festival’s debut year. That’s why you could imagine that when the festival was announced to return in 2018, many fans were filled with anticipation to hear the lineup of talent that would be preforming during the upcoming festival. Well, we have great news! The wait is over because Disney has now released the Disney on Broadway Concert series lineup! The performances will take place at 5:30 pm, 6:45 pm, and 8:00 pm on Friday through Monday evenings throughout the Festival of the Arts.

Here is the star-studded lineup!

January 12 to 15

  • Performers: Kara Lindsay and Kevin Massey
  • Songs from: TarzanAladdinNewsiesand Frozen

January 19 to 22

  • Performers: Kara Lindsay and Kevin Massey
  • Songs from: TarzanAladdinNewsiesand Frozen

January 26 to 29

  • Performers: Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White
  • Songs from: TarzanThe Lion KingAidaAladdinand The Little Mermaid

February 2 to 5

  • Performers: Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White
  • Songs from: TarzanThe Lion KingAidaAladdinand The Little Mermaid

February 9 to 12

  • Performers: Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland
  • Songs from: Beauty and the BeastThe Little MermaidMary PoppinsNewsiesand Frozen

February 16 to 19

  • Performers: Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland
  • Songs from: Beauty and the BeastThe Little MermaidMary PoppinsNewsiesand Frozen

If you would like to guarantee a good seat for the show and skip a long wait in line, you may want to consider a dining package. With the purchase of this package you get to enjoy either breakfast, lunch or dinner at your choice of a variety of Epcot restaurants. You then get priority seating for one performance and can avoid the stand-by line that often is a several-hour wait.

Restaurants participating in the 2018 dining package and current package pricing:

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Character Meal)
Breakfast: Adult $60.00 / Child $36.00 Lunch: Adult: $70.00 / Child $42.00 Dinner: Adult: $70.00 / Child $42.00

Biergarten
Lunch: Adult: $44.00 / Child $25.00 Dinner: Adult: $51.00 / Child $29.00

Coral Reef
Lunch: Adult: $66.00 / Child $22.00 Dinner: Adult: $66.00 / Child $22.00

Garden Grill (Character Meal)
Breakfast: Adult $43.00 / Child $27.00 Lunch: Adult: $57.00 / Child $36.00 Dinner: Adult: $57.00 / Child $36.00

Rose & Crown
Lunch: Adult: $57.00 / Child $21.00 Dinner: Adult: $57.00 / Child $21.00

With so much to offer at this festival early 2018 would be a great time to visit Walt Disney World!

 

 

 

Sunset Season’s Greetings at Hollywood Studios!

Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World is themed to the golden age of Hollywood. Entering the park and walking down Hollywood boulevard you become instantly immersed into the glitz and glamour of ‘Tinsel Town.’ During the Christmas Season, Hollywood Studios gets an extra layer of magic as every inch of the park gets adorned with gorgeous holiday decorations.

This year, Disney introduced a brand-new Christmas offering… Sunset Season’s Greetings! The show uses Disney’s latest in incredible projection-mapping technology to transform the Hollywood Tower Hotel into a series of holiday scenes. The quality of the projections is so clear and vivid. All of sunset boulevard gets festive as well, lights project on the palm trees that dance to the Christmas music, and billboards come to life with holiday scenes. To add to the atmosphere, it even snows in the middle of Florida!

Sunset Season’s Greeting is sure to put you and your family in the spirit of this magical season! There are no set times for the presentations, they take place intermittently throughout the evening. There are 4 different segments of projections that guests can experience. Each segment last about 2 minutes, then the tower is illuminated with a scene from that segment. This cycle is continuous throughout the entire evening. This system is very nice because guests don’t have to worry about staking out a spot to stand for the performance. The show can be seen from anywhere on sunset boulevard and because the presentations are continual there is not such a large crowd.

The 4 segments include a Mickey’ Christmas Carol segment, a Toy Story segment, a Muppet’s Segment, and a Frozen Segment.

Mickey’s Christmas Carol Segment

In this sequence, we watch the Hollywood Tower transform into a beautiful Victorian village! Horse drawn carriages glide across the screen and from the balconies you can see shadows of people moving about the quaint town. The attention to details in the effects is outstanding!

 

Toy Story Segment

In this sequence, the Hollywood Tower Hotel magically transforms into the Hollywood Toy Hotel! During this segment packages pile up to the brim of the hotel. Then the gifts open up and reveal a collection of toys! The toys bounce and dance across the toys. This segment is so colorful and whimsical. One of my favorite effects from the Toy Story sequence is the toy train that appears to be running in and out of the windows on the Hollywood Tower.

 

Muppet’s Segment

The Muppets sequence begins with the Swedish Chef creating a messy gingerbread house. Then a larger than life gingerbread house begins to be constructed on the Hollywood Tower! Icing, gumdrops and candy canes dance across the tower perfectly set to a Christmas soundtrack.

Frozen Segment

Frozen fans will adore this forth segment that features Olaf! Olaf sings an original song about holiday traditions and the tower comes to life with scenes depicting each of those festivities, such as decorating with garland, hanging stockings by the fire and caroling!

If you are traveling to Walt Disney World during the holidays, you will defiantly want to make Sunsets Season’s Greetings a must-see at Hollywood Studios park! Watch the show in our YouTube video!

All About Character Dining At Walt Disney World!

Character dining at Walt Disney World transforms your meal into an experience and a vacation memory your family will always cherish! Here are a few of the reason why choosing a character meal can enhance your next Disney vacation!

Skip The Line

The Disney characters are truly celebrities! Everyone wants to get an autograph from their hero and take a picture with their favorite princess! Due to how popular the characters are the lines to meet the characters can often be pretty long. When you choose a character meal you get VIP access to meeting the characters in a much more personal way.

 

See More Characters 

The great thing about character meals is that there are always multiple characters you get to meet and interact with throughout your meal. If you were to wait in line for a character in the parks often times that meet and greet experience just features that one character. So for every character you would want to see you need to wait in another queue. With character dining you are most often meeting upward of 6-8 characters all while in the relaxed setting of enjoying your meal. You can save your family hours of time by meeting all your favorite characters this way rather than spending time in lines.

 

More Personal Experience 

With character meals, you have the opportunity to interact with character in a more intimate setting as opposed to a quick photo-op in the park. During character dining meals, the characters take a lot more time with each group making for many more memories that you and your party will always remember!

 

Now that we have covered some of the great reasons to choose a character dining experience, now let’s talk about the different character meals available at Walt Disney World!

All of the Character meals are different and each provides something unique as far as atmosphere, cuisine, theming and even down to which characters you get to meet. Now we will break down each character meal currently available at Walt Disney World so you can pick your favorite for your next trip!

 

Cinderella’s Royal Table 

Characters: Princesses

Meals: breakfast, lunch and dinner

Cinderella’s Royal Table is one of the most sought after reservation at Disney World. This dining experience is like no other, the restaurant is actually located upstairs inside Magic Kingdom’s icon, Cinderella’s Castle! When you dine here you are sure to feel like royalty! Throughout your meal you will meet some of your favorite Disney princesses! The restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and offers a pre-fix menu with a great variety of options for everyone. Cinderella’s Royal Table is the most popular character meal in Disney World and reservations go fast. If you are interested in booking a reservation be sure to book as soon as your 180 days reservation window is open. Your Kingdom Magic Agent can assist you in making your reservations as soon as they become available to help guarantee you get in to all the place you want to go.

Tiana’s Riverboat Party – Ice Cream Social and viewing party 

Meals: Dessert party

Characters: Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen

In this unique experience Tiana and Naveen from Disney Princess and the Frog, invent you aboard the Mark Twain Riverboat for an unforgettable party! The experience includes ice cream, topping and more sweet treats. The fun doesn’t stop there the dining experience also gives you VIP seating for the Magic Kingdom’s festival of Fantasy parade! From atop the Mark Twain Riverboat you are sure to have the best seat in the house to view this magical procession!

The Crystal Palace 

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Characters: Winnie the Pooh Characters

The Crystal Palace is located right at the end of Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom. The restaurant’s theming is Inspired by Victorian greenhouses of the late 1800s, the restaurant features an array of topiaries and tropical palms, the perfect backdrop for meeting some of your favorite characters from the hundred-acre-woods. The restaurant serves a buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Garden Grill

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Characters: Classic Characters

The Garden Grill is located in the land pavilion in Epcot. This restaurant has one of the most unique views! Why? Because the view is always changing! As you dine the entire restaurant actually, very slowly is rotating around. At one point, you even have a view overlooking the Living with the Land boat ride! This restaurant is a family style meal for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Classic character such as Mickey Mouse, Chip and Dale and Goofy can be spotted here! (Character offerings subject to change)

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Characters: Disney Princesses

Akershus Royal Banquet Hall is located at the Norway Pavilion inside Epcot. The restaurant transports you inside of a medieval castle with beautiful cathedral ceilings and breathtaking archways. You can start your day here with American Breakfast favorites served family style. Or join your favorite princess for lunch or dinner and enjoy Norwegian-inspired fare. During lunch and dinner guest get to begin their meal with a visit to the buffet where they will find some Scandinavian starters, and then visitors will also get to select a hot entree. Child menu options are also available so everyone in your party will find something they enjoy.

Hollywood and Vine

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Characters: Disney Junior Characters or Classic Characters

Located in Hollywood Studios, Hollywood and Vine serves a great buffet-style meal with an abundance of offering. Your little ones will love meeting their favorite Disney Junior Characters during a memorable breakfast buffet. The restaurant also does seasonal characters dining experiences that feature the Classic Characters during lunch and dinner. Starting early September you can partake in Minnie’s Halloween Dine, and come early November Minnie’s Holiday Dine. During these seasonal meals you can meet Classic Characters such as Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Goofy all decked out in either there Halloween costumes or there Christmas finery! (Characters subject to change)

Tucker House

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

Characters: Classic Characters

Animal Kingdom is home to Tusker House. Here you can meet some of the Classic Characters in their adorable safari outfits! The food here is a buffet-style and offers a great mix of both traditional favorites and also for the adventurous eater, some delicious African-influenced items! To enhance your experience even more Tusker House offers a Rivers of Light dining package that gives you reserved seating for Animal Kingdom’s new nighttime water projection show!

1900 Park Fare 

Meals: Breakfast and Dinner

Characters: Disney Characters or Cinderella Characters

Located at Disney deluxe Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, 1900 Park Fare offers an amazing buffet spread that is fit for royalty. During breakfast guest can be part of the

Supercalifragilistic Breakfast! This experience allows you to meet some more rare characters, including the Mad Hater, Alice and even Mary Poppins! As Mary Poppins herself would state, this meal is “practically perfect in every way!”

During dinner, you can step into the story of Cinderella and meet characters from the beloved tale during Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner.  Prince Charming, the Step-Mother, Step-Sister and of course Cinderella herself are a few of the characters that guests get to meet. (Character appearances subject to change)

Chef Mickey’s 

Meals: Breakfast, Brunch or Dinner

Characters: Classic Characters

Located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Chef Mickey’s is a fun buffet meal for the whole family! Meet the Classic Disney Characters as you enjoy a buffet of American favorites! This restaurant offers breakfast, brunch and dinner.

Ohana

Meals: Breakfast

Characters: Lilo and Stitch Characters

Ohana is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner but breakfast is extra special because breakfast here is a Characters meal! Located at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort you feel as though you have been transported to the beautiful Hawaiian islands! Ohana brings alive the spirit of the Hawaiian culture. During breakfast you can meet Lilo and Stitch! These characters are very rare to find in the parks so if you are a fan of the film this meal is a must-do!

(Character subject to change)

Cape May Cafe

Meals: Breakfast

Characters: Classic Characters

Located at Disney Beach Club Resort, this New England-style, beachside setting restaurant is the perfect backdrop for a Disney Character breakfast! Meet your favorite Disney Classic Characters adorned in their Tropical-Vacations attire, all while enjoying an all you care to enjoy buffet!

Mickey’s Backyard BBQ 

Meals: Dinner Show

Characters: Classic Characters

Located at Disney Fort Wilderness campground join Mickey and the gang for Dancing and a delicious barbeque buffet. This dining experience is interactive and filled with fun!

Trattoria al Forno

Meals: Breakfast

Characters: Tangled and Little Mermaid Characters

Located at Disney Boardwalk Resort this restaurant offers the Bon Voyage Adventure Breakfast! Jump-start your morning with a hearty breakfast featuring beloved Characters from some of your favorite Disney fairytales. Familiar faces from popular animated tales such as Tangled and The Little Mermaid will be drifting through the restaurant and stopping by your table to meet you while you dine on delicious morning staples. Here you can meet character such as Ariel, Prince Eric, Rapunzel and Flynn Rider.

Choosing a Character meal for your next Trip to Walt Disney World is sure to create lasting memories for your entire family!

Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail 2017!

Disney Springs located at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando Florida is home to a wide array of wonderful shops and restaurants. With so much to see and do you can easily spend a day during your vacation relaxing, shopping and dining at Disney Springs!

During the Christmas season Disney Springs becomes even more magical with special holiday offerings! The most popular among these festive additions… The Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail!

The Tree Trail is a pathway lined with beautiful Christmas trees and each tree is themed to a different Disney character or film! The Tree Trail was first introduced last year and was an instant hit! This year it is back by popular demand and is more than doubled in size from its original year. The team at Disney does a wonderful job creating decorations that perfectly portray our favorite Disney stories!

Trees that can be spotted on the 2017 Tree Trail include:

Mickey and Minnie Tree

Pluto Tree

Sleeping Beauty Tree

The Little Mermaid Tree

The Princess and the Frog Tree

Beauty and the Beast Tree

Frozen Tree

Snow White Tree

Cinderella Tree

Pinocchio Tree

101 Dalmatians Tree

Fantasia Tree

Villains Tree

Robin Hood Tree

Dumbo Tree

Tangled Tree

Peter Pan Tree

Lilo And Stitch Tree

The Jungle Book Tree

The Muppets Tree

Mulan Tree

Mary Poppins Tree

Alice in Wonderland Tree

Each tree is themed perfectly with excellent attention to detail. The Sleeping Beauty tree is covered in gorgeous colorful flowers and balls or yarn that give a nod to the iconic spinning wheel from the movie. The Little Mermaid tree looks just as though Ariel herself decorated it using all her treasures she has collected under the sea! The princess and the frog tree has a New Orleans feel, featuring Mardi Gras beads and masks. The Beauty and the Beast tree has Mrs. Pots, Cogsworth, Lumiere and the whole gang represented as beautiful stained-glass ornaments. The Tangled tree includes Rapunzel’s tiny sidekick Pascal hidden on it, as well as her infamous frying pan from the film!

Walking the trail is sure to put you and your family in the spirit of the season! The trails atmosphere is complete with a soundtrack of Christmas music and with a little Disney magic it even snows in the middle of Florida!

Keep an eye out for a featured ornament on each tree, it is showcased in a glass lantern and is a Disney Parks ornament that you can buy in the nearby Days of Christmas shop and take home for your own tree! This is a great way to get ideas for your own holiday decorating and start a new family tradition!

The Disney Spring’s Christmas Tree Trail is a must see attraction when visiting Disney World this Christmas season! Come take a closer look at some of these amazing trees in our YouTube video!

Favorite Quick Service in Magic Kingdom!

While in Magic Kingdom inevitably you are going to work up an appetite from a day filled with rides, shows and fun! The Magic Kingdom park has several highly popular restaurants such as the sought-after Cinderella’s Royal Table, here you can dine with royalty inside the famous Cinderella Castle. Be Our Guest Restaurant is another favorite for Beauty and the Beast fans, here you step inside the story with French influenced cuisine and dining rooms perfectly themed with details from the film. Crystal Palace on the corner of Main Street USA offers character dining with the lovable Winnie the Pooh characters and includes a wonderful buffet spread to fill you up before hitting the parks again.

These table service restaurants are a great experience to add to your day at the Magic Kingdom, but if you are looking for a faster and less expensive option then we know you will also have a great experience at a Disney quick service restaurant. When many people think of theme park fast food they think about just burgers and fries. Disney does quick service much differently! At a Disney quick-service location you can enjoy many gourmet options and even some unique menu offerings. Quick Service locations are also themed to the area of the park they are in and just like with everything Disney does, you feel immersed in the backstory and environment. Cosmic Rays Starlight Café in Tomorrowland feels like a futuristic space center. Pecos Bills in Frontierland will immerse you in an old western salon featuring delicious Mexican cuisine. Columbia Harbour House located in Liberty Square is another great choice, here in this colonial themed quick service location you can enjoy great seafood items such as the lobster roll or the New England clam chowder.

Now it’s time for my pick for the best quick service at Magic Kingdom! Drum roll please….. Pinocchio Village Haus! Located in Fantasyland this restaurant is themed with touches from, you guessed it… Pinocchio! There are two main reason that I have named Pinocchios’ my favorite quick service.

Reason #1: The food! I love the menu offerings at Pinocchio Village Haus! Pinocchio’s is known for their artisan flatbreads. You can choose from the sausage and pepperoni flatbread, pepperoni flatbread, classic cheese flatbread or my favorite the caprese flatbread! I have had the caprese flatbread several times before and it has always been a winner for me and the portion sizes are very generous. I would say that a flatbread here is definitely shareable for two people. Pinocchio Village Haus also features menu items such as the chicken caesar salad, chicken parmesan pasta, chicken parmesan sandwich, penne pasta and marinara, and chicken breast nuggets.

Reason #2: The atmosphere! The second reason I love this quick service location is for the atmosphere. For a quick service location, you can make this meal an experience if you know just where to grab a table! There are two spots I like to head for to get a table when eating here. The first is on the main floor where you order and pick up your food. Head to the back of the restaurant and you will find a wall of glass windows that overlook the It’s a small World attraction! There are about 6 tables directly against the window that you can experience this unique view. If you can grab a table here do it! It is so relaxing to enjoy your meal as you watch the Small World boats float past. My other favorite spot to sit here is a little less known and is an absolute hidden gem! Toward the center of the restaurant you will find an unmarked staircase. Head upstairs and you will find a second level of seating and even an upstairs deck that looks out into fantasyland. In my experience this has always been a more quiet and relaxing spot to sit because many guest do not know you can go up the staircase.  There is not much signage advertising the additional seating. I have even had an experience where my family and I where the only guest dining on the upper deck!

There are a lot of places to dine in the Magic Kingdom but if you are looking to save time and some money head to a quick service location.  Happy eating!!!

Despicable Me, Shrek, Madagascar and Holiday Favorites Spread the Cheer in the New Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s

Despicable Me, Shrek, Madagascar and Holiday Favorites Spread the Cheer in the New Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s

The new Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s is unlike any other parade that has been at Universal Orlando Resort.

We have 16 new balloons that will soar above you, 13 of which were exclusively designed for us by Macy’s, the global leader in balloon entertainment. And let me just say right now: the Dronkeys from Shrek are adorable (more to come on them later)!

These 15 floats are HUGE. Each float has an astonishing lighting display and unique details to each theme.

Despicable Me, Shrek, Madagascar and Holiday Favorites Spread the Cheer in the New Universal’s Holiday Parade Featuring Macy’s

Jingle All the Way With the Minions

The Minions are bringing mayhem to the holidays this year. You’ll hear them sing their own rendition of Jingle Bells as they attempt to decorate a Christmas tree. Look up and you’ll see Bob the Minion balloon chase after his favorite teddy bear, Tim. You’ll also see Lucy (for the first time ever), Gru and his daughters spreading holiday cheer.

Santa Claus is Coming to Madagascar

Up next, King Julien and the Madagascar crew are inviting you to a tropical holiday party. The Penguins are searching for Santa Claus, followed by King Julien who has gifted himself a giant pineapple balloon. The last float showcases Alex, Gloria, Marty and Melman celebrating the holidays like only they can.

Celebrate the Most Wonderful Time of Year with Shrek  

Shrek, Fiona and their baby ogres are also celebrating the holidays in their swamp. Gingy leads the festivities from above with his gingerbread house float below. Donkey follows right behind with an assortment of gifts. Lastly, Shrek and Fiona share a massive float with Dragon while two of her Dronkey babies fly above.

Here Comes Santa Claus…With His Elves

Holiday favorites are also returning with a brand new look. Santa’s elves are inviting you into the workshop where you’ll see all your favorite toys come to life. Following close behind is Santa Claus himself. Santa’s float is beautiful when it lights up with all the reindeer!

Having a performance background, I’m also really excited about the choreography in this parade. We have more than 100 performers and every one of them has a unique personality that ties to their character’s theme.

Also new to the parade this year is the musical score—and Santa will be making it snow throughout the parade.

You can watch the parade near the end of your park day in Universal Studios Florida. Check the Official Universal Orlando Resort App or your park map for the parade start time when you visit.

The parade is just one of the exciting new elements coming to this year’s Holidays celebration at Universal Orlando Resort.

The festivities start on Saturday, Nov. 18 and run through Jan. 6. Start writing your Christmas list and add Holidays at Universal Orlando to it. You won’t want to miss it!

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