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Duffy the Disney Bear Adds International Flavor to His Wardrobe at Disney Parks

Duffy the Disney Bear

The story of Duffy the Disney Bear has him exploring the world with Mickey Mouse. On July 1, Duffy adds a new shirt to his international wardrobe with the release of a tee-shirt for a 17-inch bear that salutes Brazil. I’ve been a fan of Brazilian music for years (especially the jazz and bossa nova greats from the mid 1960s); and the photographer-side of me would love to visit one day. I asked Denise Edelmaier, product developer for Duffy, why Brazil was selected for Duffy’s newest shirt.

“We saw success with the Mother’s Day and Father’s Day shirts, so we decided to introduce a shirt for a country not represented in World Showcase at Epcot,” explained Denise. “We selected Brazil as we hope our Brazilian guests who are visiting Walt Disney World Resort this summer will discover the happiness that Duffy brings.”

Monty Maldovan, long time artist and designer for Duffy’s outfits, created the artwork for the shirt. There are limited quantities of the shirt being added to existing 17-inch bears. Retail for this item will be $30.00 (plus tax), and it will be released in the following locations – Disney’s Traders at Epcot; World of Disney and Once Upon a Toy in Downtown Disney MarketplaceDisneyQuest at Downtown Disney West Side; and the Emporium in Magic Kingdom Park.

Duffy dressed for Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

In keeping with the international theme, I’m happy to share a first look at the upcoming 12-inch bear for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. This year, the event returns to Florida from September 28 through November 12. Interestingly, the 2011 festival bear was the second most popular item sold last year (with the cookbook taking first place). This year’s bear has a feature I love – a bow tie!

Chef Duffy Limited Edition Pin

Guests attending the festival this year will also find Chef Duffy on a limited edition pin. The pin has an edition size of 4,000 and will be released at Epcot at the start of the festival. Jeanne Lewis, developer for Event Pins, also shared with me a look at two holiday pins coming this year. One pin will be released at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party while the other is coming to Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa in Ko ‘Olina, Hawai’i in late 2012.

 

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival with Kids!

The annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is a culinary paradise and many avid festival fans look forward to the event year after year! With so many food and drink offerings to try, the ‘Eat to the Beat’ concert series as well as many culinary and beverage seminars you can easily devote a full day of your vacation just to experiencing everything the Food and Wine Festival has to offer! For families with younger kids I’m sure this sounds like a wonderful time for grown-up fun. But what about younger guests?

Many families with young children often avoid events such as the Food and Wine Festival, thinking that their kids would have no interest in the event. However, the truth is there is plenty of fun and exciting things your kids will love to experience as you enjoy the festival! Disney’s main focus is always on family and finding ways for everyone in your party of all ages to have fun together. With that philosophy in mind Disney has crafted the Food and Wine Festival to include many fun and engaging experiences for younger guests! Here are a few of the fun offerings kids will love!

Remy’s Hide and Squeak Scavenger Hunt

Featuring Remy from Disney Pixar’s Ratatouille, Remy’s Hide and Squeak Scavenger Hunt is a wonderful activity that engages kids in exploring Epcot’s World Showcase! You can purchase a scavenger hunt package for $8.99 (plus tax.) The package includes a map of the World Showcase and a sheet of Remy stickers. Each World Showcase Pavilion has a Remy figurine hidden. Each hidden Remy features a different cooking ingredient. Using the stickers and map guests can match Remy’s hidden ingredients to the corresponding pavilion they found him in. Once your map is complete it can be redeemed for a prize! While your kids enjoy searching for Remy in each county you visit, you can enjoy savoring your food and wine items!

Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure  

If your kids are fans of the hit Disney Channel show Phineas and Ferb then they are sure to love Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure featuring the show’s popular character Perry the Platypus Aka Agent P. Kids can be recruited for missions at kiosks located near the entrance to the World showcase promenade. Your young agents can be given an official FONE – code for Field Operative Notification Equipment to use, or opt to log in using your own smartphone. Once set up with their device they can receive their missions and search for clues throughout the World Showcase. The experience even includes interactive elements that children can activate and unveil special characters and surprises throughout the park! Similar to Remy’s Hide and Squeak Scavenger Hunt this activity also encompasses the entire world showcases promenade, giving adults plenty of opportunities to sample festival offerings while kids enjoy completing their missions.

Kidcot Fun Stop

Kidcot Fun Stops are located in each pavilion of the World Showcase. Kids are given a free Duffy the Disney Bear or Perry the Platypus mask on a stick that they can color and create fun crafts with. At each pavilion children will receive a stamp on their mask representing that country. In some countries cast members can even write your child’s name in their native language. This is a great learning opportunity for kids to discover about new countries and cultures in a fun and exciting way!

‘Try It’ Festival Items

Who said trying new foods was just for grown-ups?! Get even your pickiest eaters excited to sample new foods with the Food and Wine “Try it” items. Be sure to pick up your Food and Wine Festival Passport guide to see the menus for each festival market place. On the menus you will notice a “Try it” logo next to a few select items. These offerings where picked by Disney chefs as being items that could be of interest to kids. Broaden your child’s culinary taste with these foods from around the world!

As you can see there is so much to experience for both adults and kids at the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival. We hope to see you and your family at this year’s event!

New Artwork Added to Retail MagicBand on Demand Stations at Walt Disney World Resort

Last fall, Disney introduced retail MagicBand on Demand stations in select Walt Disney World Resort merchandise locations. At these stations, you can create and personalize a retail MagicBand in just a matter of minutes. The on-demand MagicBands are offered in a variety of colors, and, once printed, they can be easily linked to your My Disney Experience account.

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There are currently three on-demand stations at Walt Disney World Resort – Tomorrowland Light & Power Co. in Magic Kingdom Park, D-Tech on Demand boutique in the Marketplace Co-Op at Disney Springs Marketplace, and Star Wars Launch Bay in Disney’s Hollywood Studios (the latter only offers Star Wars-inspired designs).

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The “Beauty and the Beast,” Duffy the Disney Bear, and Shellie May designs are found at both the Magic Kingdom Park and Disney Springs locations. You may also find “Bride” and “Groom” options as seen in the first image of this story.

There are two incredibly cute designs by fan favorite artist, Jerrod Maruyama. These two options are currently only found at the Marketplace Co-Op location in Disney Springs.

Fans of the Haunted Mansion will love these four designs reminiscent of the stretching portraits from the attraction.

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The Tomorrowland location also has some unique designs available including several current Magic Kingdom Park attractions. Look for additional artwork of classic attractions such as 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.

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Finally, there are four Pirates of the Caribbean attraction options for guests who visit the Magic Kingdom Park location.

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Which artwork is your favorite? Please share in the comments below.


Carnival Bringing New Ships to Galveston and Port Canaveral

Carnival Cruise Line announced deployment changes designed to enhance its leadership position in two key homeports – Galveston and Port Canaveral, Fla., – while providing exciting “Fun Ship” itinerary choices in time for next summer’s cruise season.

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Carnival Breeze will reposition to Galveston in May 2016 and Carnival Magic to Port Canaveral in April 2016, several months earlier than previously announced. Carnival Breeze will assume Carnival Magic’s year-round schedule of seven-day Galveston cruises beginning May 8, 2016. Carnival Magic will take over Carnival Valor’s current seven-day Port Canaveral cruise program April 23, 2016.

In turn, Carnival Splendor will assume Carnival Breeze’s six- and eight-day Caribbean schedule from Miami May 1, 2016. Carnival Valor will offer a new series of five- and eight-day departures from Port Canaveral beginning June 4, 2016 instead of October 2016 as previously announced.

“Galveston and Port Canaveral are two important markets for ‘Fun Ship’ cruising and these deployment changes provide our guests and travel agent partners with exciting new options featuring a variety of on-board innovations and visiting top destinations in the Caribbean, Mexico, Bahamas and Florida,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president.

Carnival Breeze to Launch Year-Round Service from Galveston in May 2016

Carnival Breeze will kick off its new Galveston-based cruise program May 8, 2016, departing every Sunday on three different week-long itineraries: western Caribbean cruises calling at either Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, or Belize, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan) and Cozumel, and a seven-day Bahamas/Florida route with stops in Nassau, Freeport, and Key West.

The line’s newest ship, Carnival Breeze offers such innovations as a multi-dimensional cinema experience called Thrill Theater, the Bonsai Sushi full-service Asian restaurant and WaterWorks, an aqua park that includes a 312-foot-long slide, a 150-gallon PowerDrencher tipping bucket, the DrainPipe funnel-style attraction and a splash area for younger cruisers.

Carnival Breeze, originally scheduled to reposition to Galveston in December 2016, replaces Carnival Magic which will reposition to Port Canaveral in April 2016.

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Carnival Magic to Sail Seven-day Cruises from Port Canaveral in April 2016

Carnival Magic will reposition to Port Canaveral to operate seven-day Caribbean cruises beginning April 23, 2016.

Carnival Magic will offer two distinctly different week-long itineraries from the Space Coast – a western Caribbean route featuring Cozumel, Belize, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan) and Costa Maya; and an eastern Caribbean option calling at St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk and Nassau or Amber Cove. Prior to launching its new seven-day schedule from Port Canaveral, Carnival Magic will operate a special three-day cruise to Nassau April 20-23, 2016.

Carnival Magic was the first cruise ship to feature a suspended ropes course, part of an expansive open-air recreation area called SportSquare, as well as the Cucina del Capitano Italian family-style restaurant and the RedFrog Pub, a Caribbean-inspired watering hole serving the line’s private label draught brew, ThirstyFrog Red.

Carnival Magic’s previously announced schedule from Port Canaveral was scheduled to begin in December 2016.

Carnival Splendor to Offer Six- and Eight-Day Cruises from Miami in May 2016

Carnival Splendor will launch six- and eight-day Caribbean cruises from Miami May 1, 2016, departing alternating Saturdays and Sundays.

The schedule, which runs through December 2016, includes eight-day southern Caribbean cruises featuring Grand Turk, La Romana (Dominican Republic), Curaçao, and Aruba, along with eight-day eastern Caribbean departures visiting Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, and St. Maarten. Carnival Splendor will also offer a three-port, six-day option featuring Grand Cayman, Cozumel and Ocho Rios.

Carnival Splendor will offer a nine-day Carnival Journeys cruise round-trip from Miami departing May 26, 2016, and featuring an overnight call in King’s Wharf, Bermuda, as well as visits to Amber Cove (Dominican Republic) and Grand Turk. A number of special on-board activities and programming are planned, as well.

The 113,300-ton Carnival Splendor boasts on-board features like a 21,000-square-foot Cloud 9 Spa featuring a thalassotherapy pool and thermal suite, a retractable dome covering the mid-ship pool, and a classic American steakhouse serving prime steaks and other gourmet cuisine.

Carnival Valor to Offer Three- to Eight-day Cruises from Port Canaveral in May 2016

Carnival Valor will offer a new short cruise schedule from the Space Coast in May 2016 before launching year-round five- and eight-day departures in June 2016.

Three- to five-day sailings will take place throughout May and visit such popular ports as Grand Turk, Nassau, Freeport, and Amber Cove. The ship will also offer a one-time six-day cruise departing May 15 and featuring Nassau, Amber Cove and Grand Turk.

Carnival Valor’s year-round five- to eight-day voyages begin June 4, 2016. Five-day cruises will visit Nassau, Half Moon Cay and Freeport. Eight-day eastern Caribbean cruises will call at Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts and St. Maarten; while eight-day southern Caribbean sailings will include Curaçao or Bonaire, Aruba and Grand Turk.

Carnival Valor is currently based in Port Canaveral and scheduled to undergo an extensive dry dock in spring 2016 that will add a variety of Fun Ship 2.0 innovations.

Book Your Next Carnival Cruise Today!

Carnival Cruise Line’s Vista Designed To Be The Ultimate Family Vacation

Embodying Carnival Cruise Line’s motto of Fun For All, All For Fun, the new Carnival Vista will offer family members of all ages the ultimate vacation experience, debuting a variety of amazing, one-of-a-kind on-board features when it enters service next spring.

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From a unique suspended cycling experience called SkyRide and the innovative Family Harbor staterooms and suites featuring a “family concierge” to cruising’s first IMAX Theater, Carnival Vista promises fun for the whole family.

“Carnival is the number one cruise line for families carrying more than 700,000 children annually and Carnival Vista will build upon our leadership position in this area with incredible outdoor attractions and engaging indoor spaces specifically designed with families in mind,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president.

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Spectacular Outdoor Spaces

Carnival Vista will take cruising to new heights – literally – with SkyRide, a first-of-its-kind aerial attraction. Here, adventure seekers pedal hanging recumbent-like cycles at speeds of up to 18 miles an hour across an elevated 800-foot-long track, while enjoying panoramic views to the sea 150 feet below. There will be no charge for Sky Ride.

Adjacent to SkyRide is SportSquare, a fun-tastic all-ages open-air recreation area with a 270-foot-long suspended ropes course, a two-level miniature golf course, a 700-foot-long jogging track, a variety of outdoor fitness equipment, and the new Clubhouse, a modern indoor sports hangout with mini-bowling, ping-pong, sports-themed video games, arcade-style sports games and more.

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When it’s time to cool off, the young – and the young at heart – can check out WaterWorks, the largest aqua park in the fleet highlighted by Kaleid-o-Slide, Carnival’s first inner-tube slide. Riders can zip down 455 feet of exhilarating corkscrew turns enhanced by music and stunning kaleidoscopic effects. And no Carnival water park is complete without the Twister slide, offering 300 feet of high-speed fun, as well as the PowerDrencher, a 300-gallon tipping bucket that’s sure to elicit shrieks from kids with each drenching. A kiddie area with 30 different water spray toys and mini-racing slides will be available for younger cruisers.

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Amazing On-Board Entertainment Options

There are indoor thrills, too, with the cruise industry’s first IMAX Theater with a three-deck-high screen that brings an immersive cinema experience to sea with the latest Hollywood blockbusters and family favorites, IMAX classics and IMAX documentary content. The 182-seat IMAX Theater is part of the Carnival Multiplex, which includes Thrill Theater, a multi-dimensional experience where seats move back and forth and side to side and viewers are sprayed with water and bubbles to make them feel like they’re part of the movie. The Warehouse, featuring video and arcade games, is located next door. And no trip to the multiplex is complete without popcorn and other movie favorites, available at a nearby concession stand.

Families can also enjoy all-ages comedy shows at the 385-seat Punchliner Comedy Club presented by George Lopez as well as the audience participation favorite Hasbro, The Game Show. New for Carnival Vista will be a premium ice cream parlor within the Cherry on Top confection store where patrons can select their favorite ice cream and mix-ins and watch as their frozen creation is made right before their eyes.

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Family-Friendly Accommodations

Exclusive to Carnival Vista is Family Harbor, located within a dedicated family zone aft on Deck 2 with 96 specially designed “family ergonomic” accommodations, including extra-large family suites accommodating five guests and featuring two bathrooms.

The Family Harbor Lounge is a secluded space designed as the ultimate family hangout with large screen TVs, board games and complimentary breakfast, cookies and other snacks. An exclusive family concierge maximizes the fun on board, assisting with dining, spa and shore excursion reservations, registering kids for the youth programs and making recommendations on and off the ship for families with kids of all ages.

Family Harbor staterooms include kid-friendly toiletries, bathrobes and slippers while suites feature separate sleeping quarters for parents and children and a walk-in closet. Guests in Family Harbor staterooms also receive a number of exclusive benefits and privileges, including 24/7 card key access to the Family Harbor Lounge, free meals for kids under age 12 in specialty restaurants, and one free evening in Night Owls, a late-night activities program held in Camp Ocean.

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Dr. Seuss Bookville and Other Expansive Play Areas

Carnival Vista will also feature Dr. Seuss Bookville, a family reading and play venue featuring iconic décor and funky furniture inspired by the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss. Here, kids and their families can read Dr. Seuss books, enjoy arts and crafts, toys and play Dr. Seuss-inspired games. Dr. Seuss Bookville is part of Seuss at Sea, a fleetwide program that also includes the Green Eggs and Ham Breakfast with The Cat in the Hat and Friends, and Seuss-a-Palooza Parade and Story Time.

Carnival Vista will also include a 4,000-square-foot Camp Ocean play area where kids ages 2-11 are immersed in the wonders of the sea through a variety of age-appropriate, fun-filled and engaging experiences and activities. Camp Ocean includes Party Reef, a common area for all ages, as well as a breakout room for arts and crafts called Creative Cove. Just outside Camp Ocean, are two outdoor playgrounds: Camp Ocean Playground featuring climbing, tactile and exploratory activities for the little ones, while the interactive NEOS® Play Zone offers fast paced high-tech physical fun for older kids. For early teens, there’s Circle “C,” designed as the ultimate chill space for 12- to 14-year-olds, as well as Club O2, a cool hangout just for 15 to 17 year olds.

 

Carnival Vista is scheduled to enter service from Europe May 1, 2016, then reposition to New York for a series of voyages in November 2016 followed by the launch of year-round Caribbean service from Miami later that month.

Carnival Sunshine to New York, Charleston and Norfolk in 2016

The Carnival Sunshine will offer a unique schedule from New York in 2016 encompassing 20 voyages departing between June and October 2016.

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Carnival Sunshine will also offer a series of sailings from Charleston, S.C., and Norfolk, Va., in summer and fall 2016, providing exciting new cruise choices in these markets.

Following these departures from New York, Charleston and Norfolk, Carnival Sunshine will return to its current homeport of Port Canaveral, Fla., to offer a schedule of five- to eight-day Caribbean voyages from the Space Coast beginning in November 2016.

“Carnival Sunshine has an extraordinary array of guest features and facilities and will provide consumers and our valued travel agent partners with a wide range of itinerary choices from these highly attractive East Coast homeports,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president.
Carnival Sunshine’s 2016 schedule includes:

New York
· Two-day cruises departing June 18 and Oct. 8, 2016
· Four-day cruises to Saint John departing June 30 and July 28, 2016
· Five-day sailings to Saint John and Halifax departing June 20 and 25 and Oct. 10, 2016
· Seven-day Canada/New England cruises to Boston, Portland, Saint John and Halifax departing Sept. 3, 10, 17 and 24 and Oct. 15, 2016
· Seven-day Bermuda cruise featuring a three-day stay in King’s Wharf departing Oct. 1
· Eight-day Exotic eastern Caribbean voyages to San Juan, St. Thomas and Grand Turk departing July 4 and 20 and Aug. 17, 2016
· Eight-day Exotic eastern Caribbean voyages to Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay and Nassau or Amber Cove (Dominican Republic) departing July 12 and Aug. 1 and 9, 2016
· Nine-day Carnival Journeys voyage departing Aug. 25 and featuring San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Thomas and Grand Turk

Charleston
· Two-day cruise departing Nov. 11, 2016
· Four-day voyage to Nassau departing May 26, 2016
· Five-day Bahamas cruises to Nassau and Freeport departing May 21 and Nov. 6, 2016
· 10-day Carnival Journeys cruise departing May 30, 2016 and featuring St. Thomas, Antigua, Martinique, St. Kitts and San Juan

Norfolk
· Two-day cruises departing June 10 and Oct. 28
· Five-day voyage to Nassau and Freeport June 12
· Five-day Bermuda cruise overnighting in King’s Wharf Oct. 23
· Six-day Bahamas cruise to Nassau, the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay and Freeport departing Oct. 30

Port Canaveral
· Five-day cruises to Freeport, Nassau and Half Moon Cay departing Nov. 14, 2016, Jan. 8, Feb. 19 and April 2 and 23, 2017
· Five-day cruises to Amber Cove and Grand Turk departing Dec. 26, 2016, Jan. 19 and March 12, 2017
· Seven-day eastern Caribbean sailings to Amber Cove, St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk departing Nov. 19 and Dec. 3, 2016
· Seven-day western Caribbean cruise to Costa Maya, Mahogany Bay, Belize and Cozumel departing Nov. 26, 2016
· Eight-day southern Caribbean cruises visiting Aruba, Curacao and Grand Turk departing Dec. 31, 2016, Jan. 21, March 4 and 25, and April 28, 2017
· Eight-day southern Caribbean voyages to Aruba, Bonaire and Grand Turk departing Dec. 10, 2016, Feb. 3 and April 15, 2017
· Eight-day eastern Caribbean cruises to Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts and St. Maarten departing Dec. 18, 2016, Jan. 13, Feb. 11 and 24, March 17 and April 7, 2017
· Nine-day Carnival Journeys voyage visiting St. Kitts, Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Maarten departing April 29, 2016

In 2015, Carnival Splendor will operate a series of four- to eight-day voyages from New York to the Caribbean, New England and eastern Canada and two- to seven-day departures from Norfolk to The Bahamas and Bermuda.

Carnival Sunshine replaces Carnival Splendor on the line’s departures from New York and Norfolk in 2016. Additional information on the future homeport of Carnival Splendor will be provided in the near future.


New Fun Ship Choices Coming to New Orleans, Jacksonville & San Juan

Carnival Cruise Line will expand capacity on its four- and five-day short cruise program from new Orleans by 34 percent when Carnival Triumph replaces Carnival Elation on this schedule next spring.

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In turn, Carnival Elation will reposition to Jacksonville, Fla., for year-round four- and five-day cruises and Carnival Fascination will shift to San Juan for year-round seven-day Caribbean cruises beginning in spring 2016, providing consumers with fresh and exciting new choices in these markets. As previously announced, Carnival Liberty will replace Carnival Triumph on the line’s year-round four- and five- day cruise program from Galveston next spring.

“Repositioning these ships to New Orleans, Jacksonville and San Juan provides our guests and valued travel agent partners with fresh and exciting new ‘Fun Ship’ choices in three important and highly attractive cruise markets,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president.

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New Choices in the Big Easy
Carnival Triumph will shift from Galveston to New Orleans to launch year-round four- and five-day cruises to Mexico beginning April 4, 2016. On this route, four-day “long weekend” cruises depart Thursdays and call at Cozumel while five-day cruises depart Mondays and Saturdays and visit Cozumel and Progreso. During these fun and affordable getaways, consumers can relax on world-class beaches, enjoy a variety of dining, shopping and cultural opportunities and visit centuries-old Mayan ruins including Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Carnival Triumph will also offer a special three-day cruise round-trip from New Orleans April 8-11, 2016.

Carnival Triumph will join Carnival Dream which operates year-round seven-day cruises from New Orleans. Together these two ships are expected to carry 450,000 guests annually from New Orleans – the most of any cruise operator. Carnival is the only cruise line to operate two year-round ships from New Orleans and offers the widest variety of cruise durations and itinerary choices from the Big Easy.

Carnival Triumph has undergone an extensive dry dock that added a number of Fun Ship 2.0
innovations, including Guy’s Burger Joint, developed in tandem with Food Network star Guy Fieri, poolside watering holes BlueIguana Tequila Bar and RedFrog Rum Bar, the BlueIguana Cantina Mexican eatery, cocktail pharmacy-themed Alchemy Bar, and Cherry On Top, a “candy and more” store. Carnival Triumph also features more than 500 staterooms and suites with private balconies that are not generally available on other short cruises and are highly coveted by Carnival guests.

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Carnival Elation to Jacksonville, Carnival Fascination to San Juan
Carnival Elation will shift from New Orleans to Jacksonville to operate year-round four- and five-day cruises from Jaxport beginning April 23, 2016, providing a newer ship on this highly attractive cruise program.

Carnival Elation will assume Carnival Fascination’s four- and five-day schedule from Jacksonville and continue cruising’s only year-round program from that port. Four-day cruises depart Thursdays and visit Freeport and Nassau and five-day voyages depart Mondays and Thursdays and visit the private Bahamian island of Half Moon Cay and Nassau.

In turn, Carnival Fascination will reposition to San Juan to operate year-round seven-day southern Caribbean cruises beginning April 24, 2016. These week-long adventures feature five breathtaking Caribbean islands: St. Thomas, Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Maarten. In addition to some of the world’s best beaches, these tropical seaside destinations are known for their exceptional snorkeling, scuba diving and water sports.

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Exciting Six- to 11-day Voyages from New Orleans and San Juan
In anticipation of its new homeport, Carnival Elation will offer two exciting longer length cruises
visiting some of the Caribbean’s most stunning ports of call. An 11-day cruise will depart New Orleans April 2 and arrive in San Juan April 13, 2016, with port calls at Aruba, Curacao, Grenada, Barbados, Antigua, and St. Thomas, while a 10-day cruise will sail from San Juan to Jacksonville April 13-23, 2016, featuring Barbados, Grenada, Tobago, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and St. Thomas.

Carnival Fascination will also offer a special six-day cruise departing Jacksonville April 18 and arriving in San Juan April 24, 2016. Featured ports on this one-time voyage will include St. Thomas, St. Kitts and St. Maarten.

All of these cruises have been specially designed to offer our guests who have previously sailed with Carnival from New Orleans or Jacksonville, with new itineraries that visit more exotic ports of call. The unique appeal of these voyages should provide first-time cruisers with even more incentive to experience a Carnival cruise vacation. The 10- and 11-day cruises also offer our valued travel agent partners with the ability to earn higher commissions due to the longer cruise duration.


Carnival Moves Ships to Miami and Galveston in 2016

PortMiami will be the year-round homeport for Carnival Cruise Line‘s new Carnival Vista starting in late 2016.

The Carnival Breeze and Carnival Liberty will reposition to Galveston, Texas in 2016, joining Carnival Freedom which arrives in Galveston this Saturday.

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The Carnival Breeze and Carnival Liberty will replace Carnival Magic and Carnival Triumph, respectively, in Galveston.

Details on new homeports for the Carnival Magic and Carnival Triumph, as well as year-round departures from San Juan, will be provided over the coming weeks.

With the Carnival Breeze, Carnival Liberty and Carnival Freedom, Galveston will be home to three of the line’s ships, making it the biggest cruise line in the Texas port.

“Miami and Galveston are among our most popular points of embarkation and deploying our newest, most innovative ships to these homeports speaks volumes about our confidence in growing these markets,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival’s president.

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“These ships not only offer our guests incredible on-board experiences but also provide our valued travel agent partners with exciting new choices to market to their clients,” she added.

The Carnival Vista starts its new schedule from PortMiami with a four-day cruise to Grand Turk departing Nov. 29, 2016.

The ship will then launch year-round six- and eight-day cruises beginning with an eight-day voyage departing Dec. 3, 2016. Six-day cruises feature Ocho Rios, Grand Cayman and Cozumel, while a mix of different eight-day itineraries visit some of the Caribbean’s most sought-after destinations, including Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, St. Maarten and La Romana (Dominican Republic).

The ship will also offer a combination of one-time voyages, including a five-day cruise departing Dec. 11 and seven-day voyages departing Dec. 17 and 24, 2016.

Prior to the start-up of year-round service from Miami, the Carnival Vista will operate a pair of voyages round-trip from New York beginning with a three-day cruise November 4-7, 2016, followed by an 11-day voyage departing Nov. 7, 2016, followed by a 11-day cruise from New York to Miami Nov. 18-29, 2016, with calls at Grand Turk, Bonaire, Aruba and St. Maarten.

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The Carnival Liberty and Carnival Breeze will shift to Galveston in 2016.

Carnival Liberty will launch year-round four- and five-day cruises to Mexico from Galveston beginning March 21, 2016. Four-day “long weekend” cruises depart Thursdays and feature a stop at Cozumel, while five-day voyages depart Mondays and Saturdays visiting Cozumel and Progreso. Prior to the start-up of its new Texas-based program, Carnival Liberty will offer a special three-day cruise round-trip from Galveston March 18-21, 2016.

The Carnival Breeze will offer three different week-long itineraries visiting popular ports in the Caribbean, Mexico and Florida beginning Dec. 11, 2016. Western Caribbean voyages call at either Montego Bay, Grand Cayman and Cozumel or Belize, Mahogany Bay (Isla Roatan) and Cozumel, while a Bahamas/Florida route includes Nassau, Freeport, and Key West. Carnival Breeze will also offer a special two-day cruise from Galveston Dec. 9-11, 2016, before kicking off its new year-round seven-day schedule.

Before their new deployments, the Carnival Liberty and Carnival Breeze will each operate a unique 12-day Caribbean cruise in 2016.

The Carnival Liberty will offer a 12-day cruise from San Juan to Galveston March 6-18, 2016, calling at St. Thomas, Barbados, Tobago, Grenada, Aruba and Grand Cayman. The Carnival Breeze will operate a 12-day cruise departing Miami Nov. 27, 2016, and arriving in Galveston Dec. 9, 2016. Featured ports on this one-time voyage include St. Maarten, St. Lucia, Curacao, Aruba and Cozumel.


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New Merchandise to Bloom at the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

The 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is returning to Walt Disney World Resort on March 5. Disney Parks Blog shared new details about the merchandise being offered this year. Here is a first look at some of my favorite items coming to Epcot.

New Merchandise to Bloom at the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

You may recall that we introduced topiary artwork last year to our merchandise assortment. This fun and festive artwork was created by our Yellow Shoes Marketing group and it was wildly popular with guests attending the event. This year, we have used that artwork on new softlines, home décor and more.

New Merchandise to Bloom at the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Topiaries also found their way onto new pins created especially for this year’s Festival. There is a limited release pin featuring Mickey Mouse that will be found in multiple locations through Epcot. There are also a series of limited-edition pins that include characters like Kermit the Frog or Mater and Lightning McQueen.

New Merchandise to Bloom at the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Finally, the Vinylmation team will introduce a new “revealed/concealed” mystery set with figures shaped like topiaries on March 28. Disney Design Group artist Caley Hicks designed the 3-inch figures. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey topiary is the revealed figure in the set, and it will be found on the top of each mystery box. The other four figures will be randomly packaged, so you won’t know which one you get.

New Merchandise to Bloom at the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

I invite you to stay tuned to the Disney Parks Blog in the coming weeks as I will be offering a first look inside the Festival Center located between Mission: SPACE and Universe of Energy pavilions at Epcot.

New Merchandise to Bloom at the 2014 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival


Tokyo Disney Resort Sets Plans For Spring

Our friends at Tokyo Disney Resort just announced plans for this year’s springtime celebration, which will run at both Tokyo Disneyland Park and Tokyo DisneySea Park from April 2-June 23, 2014.

Tokyo DisneySea Park

At Tokyo Disneyland, guests will be able to enjoy “Disney’s Easter” celebration, which will include visits to a secret Easter garden, a new “Hippity-Hoppity Springtime” parade that features Disney characters and Easter bunnies. Guests can also participate in an egg hunt, in which they use a map to track down Easter eggs hidden all around the park.

Mickey & Duffy’s Spring Voyage

Over at Tokyo DisneySea, guests can enjoy “Mickey & Duffy’s Spring Voyage.” In this celebration, Mickey, Duffy, Minnie Mouse and Shellie May embark on a cruise from Cape Cod to see how spring is celebrated around Tokyo DisneySea. Dressed in seasonal costumes, they visit Mediterranean Harbor, travel to American Waterfront for a lively Easter party, and then arrive at the Arabian Coast for a magical celebration of the season. At each of port, guests can enjoy the springtime festivities with the characters.

Disney’s Easter celebration

Here’s a Sneak Peek at 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Merchandise

As the clock ticks closer the start of Epcot’s international Food and Wine Festival at Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Design Group artist Randy Noble shares some of this year’s featured artwork available to guests.

Here's a Sneak Peek at 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Merchandise

“This year’s artwork is based on artwork created by Walt Disney Imagineering that you will see throughout the event,” explaines Randy. “The art has a humorous point of view, which is different from the imagery found in the previous year’s events. For this whimsical image, I used pastel colors to create a softer look for the overall image. If you look carefully, you will spot Remy from Disney•Pixar’s ‘Ratatouille’ in the top of the chef’s hat.”

Here's a Sneak Peek at 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Merchandise

The bumbling, yet-unnamed chef inspired a new item for the festival this year – a seven-inch bobble figurine of the chef. The figurine was sculpted by artist Robert King and looks awesome (especially the details on Spaceship Earth!). Look for this chef artwork on additional items like a reusable tote bag and more.

Here's a Sneak Peek at 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Merchandise

While the chef is a new character for this year’s event, we are also introducing a small art program featuring Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and Goofy as chefs. The character artwork was created by Disney Design Group artist Brian Blackmore, with digital rendering done by artist Dan Salgo. You may recall similar artwork introduced last year in the Italy Pavilion at Epcot.

Here's a Sneak Peek at 2013 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Merchandise

Another character returning this year is a 12-inch Duffy the Disney Bear dressed in a new chef outfit. He joins other new items like a Mouse ear headband with a chef’s hat, a new cranberry bog pin featuring Chip ‘n’ Dale, and a new three-inch Vinylmation figure designed by Disney artist Thomas Scott. The limited edition Vinylmation figure features Gusteau from ‘Ratatouille’ and will be packaged in a mystery box. The more common figure (edition size 2,250) will be in full color, while the monochromatic variant figure (edition size 250) will be rarer to find.

Stay tuned for additional updates as we get closer to the start of the festival.

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‘Limited Time Magic’ Independence Week Celebration at Disney Parks Begins Monday

It’s almost time to kick off our weeklong celebration of America’s birthday at Disney Parks. So, we thought we’d share a quick reminder of what’s planned beginning on Monday at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort.

Yes, next week is the week to see amazing fireworks on both coasts. Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort will be saluting our nation’s birth with “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” — a fireworks spectacular that rockets into the air every night during Independence Week.

  • Magic Kingdom Park – The fireworks spectacular takes place at 9 p.m. on July 3 and 4, and 10 p.m. on July 1, 2, 5, 6 and 7.
  • Disneyland park – The fireworks spectacular will be held each night at 9:30 p.m. during Independence Week – July 1-7.

Every evening at the Disneyland Resort, you can also wear a pair of illuminated Mouse Ears and “Glow with the Show” during performances of “Celebrate America!” and the patriotic pre-show to “World of Color” at Disney California Adventure park.

Also, expect to see plenty of patriotic merchandise available across the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts, including red, white and blue Mickey T-shirts and plush, trading pins, light-up star necklaces and patriotic Duffy the Disney Bear costumes.

There is much more planned at the parks, and we included some of the details in our earlier Independence Week story.

Check back here later today to see a story featuring some of the treats on the menu from July 1-7.

Sneak Peek at Merchandise for the 2013 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

I’m looking forward to the return of the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. This year’s event will feature millions of blooms, great entertainment and new food offerings from March 6 to May 19 at Epcot. Last year, I enjoyed visiting Epcot on multiple occasions to photograph many beautiful flowers (I also snapped some wonderful images in the butterfly garden). This year, my photographic journey started at the Festival Center. This highly-themed destination is located between Mission: SPACE and Universe of Energy, and it’s home to demonstrations, seminars and a merchandise shop.

Merchandise at Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival

This year, the merchandise location resembles a garden oasis. The sound of gentle water and chirping birds filled the air as I took photos. Last year, we introduced artwork that featured Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck as topiaries. The artwork was incredibly popular with guests, so we added a Minnie Mouse topiary to the mix for this year. You can find her image on apparel, a reusable tote bag and, my favorite, a new coffee mug (look inside the mug for a cool detail).

There were a few other items that caught my eye, including a new topiary-inspired headband, a strawberry ear hat, Duffy the Disney Bear in overalls, D-Tech on Demand iPhone cases and more. We are also introducing new garden statues that look like Grumpy and Dopey. Look for additional character topiary statues in the weeks to come.

Celebrate Chinese New Year with Mickey and All His Pals at Hong Kong Disneyland

The celebration begins as soon as guests enter the park, where a glittering Mickey Mouse-shaped gold statue welcomes them in Town Square. (The color gold is a theme throughout the celebration, as the color symbolizes prosperity and good fortune). Main Street, U.S.A. , will be lined with Chinese New Year décor that’s perfect for special photo opportunities. You can also meet Mickey, Minnie, Duffy and other Disney pals in their special gold-trimmed Chinese New Year outfits.

Celebrate Chinese New Year on the ‘Golden Walk of Fortune’ at Hong Kong Disneyland

You can also choose from 50 new merchandise items, including Mickey Family Chinese New Year Lai See Red Packets, fortune-telling sticks, fortune wheels, festive candy boxes and limited-edition crystal embedded watches, which are only available at Hong Kong Disneyland.

First Look at 2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Merchandise

2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Merchandise

I’m counting down the days until the 17th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival arrives. This festival has become one of my favorite things to do in the fall at Walt Disney World Resort. I recently gave you a look at Duffy The Disney Bear’s new chef outfit for this year, so I thought you may enjoy seeing other new merchandise we are “cooking.” I visited with Lindsay Voigt, Product Developer for Event Merchandise, who shared some of her favorite items.

At first glance, I thought the image above was a photograph. It’s not – it’s a painting created by the talented artist Noah, and it will serve as the main “Signature” artwork for merchandise at this year’s festival. You may recall Noah’s artwork from the recent “Storytellers” collection at Disney California Adventure park (which I enjoy even more now after recently visiting Buena Vista Street). Lindsay said she will be using this artwork on items such as a coffee mug, cutting board, trivet, spoon rest, coasters and more.

drinkware items

Lindsay also shared with me two drinkware items – a wine glass with the festival logo and a fun light-up tumbler.

Food & Wine Festival oven mitt and pot holder

In addition to Noah’s “Signature” artwork, there will be a new program called “Sketch” that uses colors found on the oven mitt and pot holder shown above. That program will have an apron, drinkware, towels and dishes.

This year we will also have a limited edition Vinylmation figure featuring Tony from Disney’s animated classic“Lady and the Tramp.” This 3-inch figure has an edition size of 2,500 and was designed by artist Billy Davis.

Food & Wine Festival  limited edition pins

A selection of limited edition pins will return this year to the festival. The adorable Chip and Dale pin will serve as the main logo pin found at locations throughout Epcot. We are also releasing a Minnie Mouse pin for Disney Vacation Club members, while Annual Passholders will find the Figment pin shown above. I’m thinking my fellow Disney Parks Blog author Gary Buchanan will love the limited edition pin with Mickey Mouse in the cranberry bog.

Look for these items and more at the Festival Center and at select locations in Epcot when this annual event returns on September 28.

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