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Hogwart’s Express Celebrates One Millionth Rider

Having only been opened a few short weeks, Universal Orlando Resort and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter celebrates the Hogwart’s Express’ one millionth rider!

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As with everything in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, it was always about bringing the books and films to life, and Universal Orlando Resort worked tirelessly for several years to make the Hogwarts Express an immersive and authentic experience.

In the books and films, the journey on the Hogwarts Express is an important rite of passage for young wizards and witches. So for us, giving guests that same experience was really critical. From the train itself, handcrafted in Europe, to the immersive window scenes featuring the films’ iconic stars and locations, every detail of the Hogwarts Express was faithfully recreated to deliver a wondrous and memorable experience.

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Now, one million riders happily confirm they got the experience right –– which is wonderful, because all we design, develop and create is for our audience to experience and enjoy. So, a sincere thanks to all our fans and guests for riding the Hogwarts Express and joyfully embracing the world of Harry Potter brought to life here at Universal Orlando Resort.


More ‘Frozen Summer Fun’ At Hollywood Studios

Fans of Elsa and Anna will be thrilled to learn that Disney has announced that, due to popular demand, “Frozen Summer Fun LIVE!” is being extended through September 28!

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This summer, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is celebrating “Frozen,” the hit animated feature film from Disney, with a daily character procession, sing-alongs with Anna and Elsa, fireworks, a polar playground and a nightly party featuring a live band, all themed to the worldwide phenomenon.

Here are some highlights:

Olaf on Summer Vacation - Olaf the snowman is having the time of his life on his very first summer vacation! He chimes in throughout the day to keep everyone updated on all his adventures.

Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome - At 11:00 a.m. each day, Elsa and Anna arrive in Hollywood as part of their goodwill tour of neighboring kingdoms, making their way down Hollywood Boulevard in a horse-drawn sleigh. Kristoff is along for the fun, too, joined by a flurry of skaters, skiiers, ice cutters and more! The entire procession culminates in a special moment at the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage to officially welcome the visiting royalty to this kingdom of Hollywoodland.

A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration – Cool down inside the Premiere Theater, where Anna and Elsa join the Royal Historians of Arendelle for a fun and comedic retelling of the unique history of their Kingdom, filled with delightful, sing-along moments from “Frozen.”

Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & “Frozen” Funland – Inside Soundstage One, Oaken and his cousins have created a “Frozen” Funland filled with cold weather activities, unique photo opportunities, and more! There’s a frozen pond with ice skating demonstrations, wintertime fun for kids in the “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” play area, a “big summer blowout” with plenty of “Frozen” merchandise, and special “Frozen” — inspired food and beverage offerings.

“Coolest Summer Ever” Dance Party – Starting at 5:30 p.m. each day, a dance party takes over the area around the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage, with a DJ, live band, and more! The band plays a variety of classic and contemporary summer rock & roll hits, as well as a cool, rocking medley of “Frozen” favorites. It’s going to be hot!

“Frozen” Fireworks Spectacular – Everything wraps up at 9:45 p.m. when Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf come together at the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage for a grand finale to the day’s festivities, kicking off an awe-inspiring fireworks display set to the glorious music of “Frozen!”

From Sept. 2 – 28, “Frozen” Fireworks Spectacular will take place only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings.

“Frozen” Summer Fun Premium Package

While packages have sold out from July 5 to Aug. 22 and Aug. 24 to Sept. 1, 2014, you can still enjoy a premium “Frozen” Summer Fun experience on the following weekends: Sept. 5 – 7; Sept. 12 – 14; Sept. 19 – 21; and Sept. 26 – 28.

Each “Frozen” Summer Fun Premium Package includes:

Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome Procession Viewing – Watch and wave during an enchanting daytime ceremony — complete with royal refreshments! Enjoy Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome procession, beginning at 11:00 a.m.

A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration Seating – Get ready to “Let it Go” like never before — enjoy one (1) sing-along experience featuring favorite tunes from “Frozen” at a time of your choosing.

“Frozen” Fireworks Spectacular Viewing with Dessert Party – Indulge in an unforgettable fireworks showcase, paired with “Frozen”-themed desserts as well as specialty alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.

Don’t miss out on the coolest event of the season! Reserve a “Frozen” Summer Fun Premium Package: US $69.00 for adults; US $39.00 for children (tax and gratuity included).

Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner for more information.


Marketplaces and Menus for Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival 2014

As Summer begins to turn into Fall our thoughts begin to drift towards our favorite time of year: Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival!

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Disney has released the new menus and marketplaces for this years event and we wanted to share them with you.  Do you have a favorite?

Africa

  • Beef tenderloin tips berbere style with okra, jalapeños, tomato and pap
  • South African bobotie with turkey and mushrooms (gluten free)
  • MAN Vintners Chenin Blanc
  • Fairview Pinotage
  • The Wolftrap Red: Syrah, Mourvèdre and Viognier

America Adventure Coffee Cart

  • Apple Maple Spice Latte, Hot or Iced

Australia

  • Garlic shrimp with roasted tomatoes, lemon myrtle and rapini (gluten free)
  • Grilled lamb chop with mint pesto and potato crunchies (gluten free)
  • Pavlova: Crispy meringue shell with fresh berries and vanilla custard
  • Coopers Brewery, Original Pale Ale
  • Chateau Tanuda Grand Barossa Dry Riesling
  • St. Kilda Chardonnay
  • Nine Stones Shiraz

Belgium

  • Potato and leek waffle with beer-braised beef
  • Belgium waffle with warm chocolate ganache and whipped cream
  • Belgium waffle with berry compote and whipped cream
  • Hoegaarden
  • Stella Artois
  • Leffe Blonde
  • Stella Artois Cidre
  • Chilled coffee featuring Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
  • Beer flight (featuring 4 4-ounce servings): Hoegaarden, Stella Artois, Leffe Blonde and Stella Artois Cidre

Block & Hans

  • Robert Mondavi, Fume Blanc
  • The Great American Wine Company, Chardonnay
  • The Great American Wine Company, Red Blend
  • Robert Mondavi, Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Domaine Chandon Brut Sparkling Blanc de Noir
  • Still River Winery Apple Ice Wine

2011 EPCOT INTERNATIONAL FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL

Brazil

  • Mocequa de pescado: Regal Springs premium tilapia with coconut lime sauce and steamed rice (gluten free)
  • Crispy pork belly with black beans, tomato and cilantro (gluten free)
  • Pao de queijo: Brazilian cheese bread
  • Cocada: Brazilian coconut candy
  • Kaiser Brewery Xingu Black Beer
  • Carnaval Moscato Sparkling White Wine
  • Tannat Reserve
  • Frozen Caipirinha

Brewer’s Collection

  • Radeberger Pilsner
  • BraufactuM Colonia
  • BraufactuM Palor
  • Schöfferhofer Grapefruit
  • Altenmünster Oktoberfest
  • BraufactuM Roog
  • BraufactuM Darkon
  • BraufactuM Progusta IPA
  • Beer flight 1 (featuring 4 4-ounce servings): Radeberger Pilsner, BraufactuM Colonia, BraufactuM Palor and Schöfferhofer Grapefruit
  • Beer flight 2 (featuring 4 4-ounce servings): Altenmünster Oktoberfest, BraufactuM Roog, BraufactuM Darkon and BraufactuM Progusta IPA

Canada

  • Canadian cheddar cheese soup
  • Seared rainbow trout with bacon, frisee and maple Minus 8 Vinaigrette (gluten free)
  • “Le Cellier” wild mushroom beef filet mignon with truffle butter sauce (gluten free
  • Moosehead Lager
  • La Face Neige Apple Ice Wine
  • La Face Neige Sparkling
  • Mission Hill Family Estate Syrah

China

  • Beijing roasted duck in steamed bun with hoisin sauce
  • Mongolian beef in a steamed bun with chili mayo
  • Black pepper shrimp with Sichuan noodles
  • Chicken potstickers
  • TSINGTAO Beer
  • Francis Ford Coppola Su Yuen Riesling
  • Francis Ford Coppola Su Yuen Syrah
  • Kung Fu Punch with vodka and triple sec
  • Happy Lychee with tequila and vodka
  • Mango green tea with popping bubbles

Craft Beers

  • Sierra Nevada, Kellerweis® – Chico, CA
  • Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Punkin Ale – Milton, DE
  • Shiner Brewery, Wild Hare Pale Ale – Shiner, TX
  • Abita Brewing Company, Purple Haze – Abita Springs, LA
  • Goose Island, 312 Urban Wheat Ale – Chicago, IL
  • Florida Beer Company, Sunshine State Pils – Cape Canaveral, FL
  • Magic Hat Brewery, Dream Machine IPL – South Burlington, VT
  • Terrapin Beer Company, Rye Pale Ale – Athens, GA
  • Beer Flight 1 (featuring 4 4-ounce servings): Sierra Nevada, Kellerweis; Dogfish Head Craft Brewery, Punkin Ale; Shiner Brewery, Wild Hare Pale Ale; and Abita Brewing Company, Purple Haze
  • Beer Flight 2 (featuring 4 4-ounce servings): Goose Island, 312 Urban Wheat Ale; Florida Beer Company, Sunshine State Pils; Magic Hat Brewery, Dream Machine IPL; and Terrapin Beer Company, Rye Pale Ale

Desserts & Champagne

  • Dessert Trio: Passion fruit coconut creamsicle, blueberry lime cheesecake roll and chocolate espresso opera cake
  • Guylian Belgian chocolate seashell truffles
  • Nicolas Feuillatte Rosé
  • Möet & Chandon Nectar Impérial
  • Ruinart Blanc de Blanc
  • Dom Pérignon
  • Frozen S’mores featuring Monin® Toasted Marshmallow Syrup

American Seafood Favorite

Farm Fresh

  • Nueske’s® Pepper Bacon hash with sweet corn, potatoes, hollandaise and pickled jalapeños (gluten free)
  • Griddled “yard bird” with braised greens (gluten free)
  • Orlando Brewing Company, I-4 IPA – Orlando, FL
  • Ba Ba Black Lager, Uinta Brewing Company – Salt Lake City, UT
  • Duke’s Cold Nose Brown Ale, Bold City Brewery – Jacksonville, FL
  • Florida Cracker Belgian Style White Ale, Cigar City Brewery – Tampa, FL
  • Florida Orange Groves, Key Limen-Key Lime Wine
  • Chateau St. Michelle & Dr. Loosen Eroica® Riesling
  • St. Francis Old Vines Zinfandel
  • Beer Flight (4 4-ounce servings): I-4 IPA, Ba Ba Black Lager, Duke’s Cold Nose Brown Ale and Florida Cracker Belgian Style White Ale

Fife & Drum

  • Ghirardelli® ice cream sundae
  • Mmmhops Pale Ale

France

  • Tartelette aux escargots: Escargot tart with garlic, spinach, bacon and parmesan
  • Gratin de crozet de savoie: Wheat pasta gratin with mushrooms and Gruyere cheese
  • Boeuf bourguignon: Braised short ribs in cabernet with mashed potatoes
  • Crème brûlée caramel fleur de sel: Sea salt caramel crème brûlée topped with caramelized sugar
  • Beer Kronenbourg Blanc 1664
  • Chardonnay, Macon-Villages, La Côte Blanche
  • Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Château Bonnet
  • Sparkling Pomegranate Kir
  • La Passion Martini Slush: vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron, cranberry and passion fruit juice

Germany

  • Schinkennudeln: Pasta gratin with ham and cheese
  • Roast bratwurst in a pretzel roll
  • Berliner: Yeast doughnut filled with apricot jam
  • Altenmünster Oktoberfest
  • J&H Selbach Bernkasteler Kurfürstlay Riesling Kabinett
  • Selbach-Oster Mosel Riesling Spätlese
  • J&H Selbach Bernkasteler Kurfürstlay Riesling Auslese
  • Kallstadter Kobnert Spaetburgunder Spätlese Dry Barrique Style

Greece

  • Vegetarian moussaka
  • Griddled Greek cheese with pistachios and honey (gluten free)
  • Chicken gyro with tzatziki Sauce
  • Spanakopita
  • Domaine Skouras Moscofilero
  • Domaine Siglas Assyrtiko/Athiri
  • Alpha Estate Axia Syrah-Xinomavro
  • Tzatziki martini featuring Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka and BOLS Natural Yoghurt Liqueur

Hawaii

  • Kālua pork slider with sweet and sour Dole® Pineapple chutney and spicy mayonnaise
  • Tuna poke with seaweed salad and lotus root chips
  • Kona Brewing Company, Big Wave Golden Ale
  • Kona Brewing Company, Castaway IPA
  • Maui Splash Sweet Pineapple Wine
  • Aulani Sunrise featuring Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum

Hops & Barley

  • Artisan cheese plate featuring Cabot Cloth wrapped cheddar, Purple Haze chèvre goat cheese and Cave Man blue cheese
  • Baked lobster alfredo
  • Florida grass fed beef slider with pimento cheese
  • Fresh baked carrot cake with Craisins® and cream cheese icing
  • Samuel Adams® Octoberfest
  • New Belgium Brewing Company Snapshot
  • Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat®
  • Leinenkugel’s Seasonal Shandy
  • La Crema Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
  • Julia’s Vineyard Pinot Noir, Cambria Estate Winery
  • Beer flight (featuring 4 4-ounce servings): Samuel Adams Octoberfest, New Belgium Snapshot, Samuel Adams Cherry Wheat and Leinenkugel’s Seasonal Shandy

Intermissions Cafe

  • Southwest chicken wrap
  • Vegan trio
  • Fruit & cheese plate
  • Side salad
  • Grapes
  • Tuna salad with pita
  • Asian chicken salad
  • Key lime tart
  • Brownie
  • J Vineyard Pinot Gris (Wine on Tap)
  • Franciscan Chardonnay (Wine on Tap)
  • Di Seño Malbec (Wine on Tap)
  • Acrobat Pinot Noir (Wine on Tap)
  • MARTINI Prosecco
  • Caposaldo Sweet Sparkling Peach Moscato
  • Iron Horse Fairy Tale Cuvée
  • Medalla Light Beer
  • Einstök Icelandic White Ale
  • Angry Orchard Hard Cider – Crisp Apple
  • Assorted soft drinks
  • Dasani Water

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Ireland

  • Lobster and seafood fisherman’s pie
  • Kerrygold® cheese selection: Reserve cheddar, Dubliner with Irish Stout and Skellig
  • Warm chocolate pudding with Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur Custard (gluten free)
  • Guinness® Draught
  • Bunratty Meade Honey Wine
  • Chilled Irish Coffee featuring Bunratty Potcheen
  • Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur

Italy

  • Ravioli alla caprese: Cheese ravioli, tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan and basil
  • Filetto di pollo, con funghi al marsala: Chicken tenderloin, cremini mushrooms, marsala sauce and ciabatta bread
  • Cannoli al cioccolato: Chocolate-covered cannoli filled with sweet ricotta, chocolate and candied fruit
  • Moretti Lager Beer
  • Moretti La Rossa Beer
  • Procecco, Bosco del Merlo
  • Pinot Grigio, Placido
  • Chianti Classico, Placido
  • Frozen Primavera with limoncello and tequila

Japan

  • Spicy hand roll: Tuna and salmon with Kazan Volcano sauce
  • Teriyaki gyoza bun: Steamed bun filled with chicken, vegetables and sweet teriyaki sauce
  • Chirashizushi: Salmon, shrimp, crab and egg served over seaweed salad and ginger rice
  • Kirin Draft Beer
  • Sake: Kikusui Ginjo
  • Sake Sunrise
  • Sparkling Peach Sake Gell

Liberty Inn

  • Hess Shirtail Chardonnay
  • SIMI Cabernet Sauvignon

Mexico

  • Shrimp taco: Fried shrimp, pickled habanero pepper and onions on a flour tortilla
  • Rib eye taco: Marinated rib eye, roasted chipotle salsa and grilled scallions on a corn tortilla (gluten free)
  • Sweet corn cheese cake
  • Dos Equis Beer
  • Sangria
  • Tequila Flight
  • Mango-strawberry margarita

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Morocco

  • Kefta pocket: Ground seasoned beef in a pita pocket
  • Spicy shrimp roll with cilantro and mint sauce
  • Baklava
  • Casa Beer
  • Guerouane White
  • Sangria
  • Mimosa Royale: Sparkling wine and orange juice topped with orange liquer

New Zealand

  • Steamed green lip mussels with garlic butter and toasted bread crumbs
  • Venison sausage with pickled mushrooms, baby arugula and black currant reduction (gluten free)
  • Lamb meatball with spicy tomato chutney
  • Kim Crawford Pinot Gris
  • Mohua Sauvignon Blanc
  • Kim Crawford Unoaked Chardonnay
  • Kim Crawford Pinot Noir

Patagonia

  • Beef empanada
  • Grilled beef skewer with chimichurri sauce and boniato purée (gluten free)
  • Roasted Verlasso salmon with quinoa salad and arugula chimichurri (gluten free)
  • Pascual Toso Sparkling Brut
  • Terrazas Reserva Malbec
  • Cono Sur Bicicleta Viognier
  • Cono Sur Bicicleta Pinot Noir Rosé

Poland

  • Kielbasa and potato pierogi with caramelized onions and sour cream
  • Sauerkraut pierogi with pork goulash
  • Okocim Brewery, Okocim O.K. Beer
  • Blaufraenkische Donausonne, Hungarian Wine
  • Frozen Szarlotka (apple pie) featuring Zubrowka Bison Grass Vodka

Puerto Rico

  • Ensalada de carrucho: Caribbean conch salad with onion, tomato and cilantro (gluten free)
  • Carne guisada con arroz blanco: Slow-braised beef with Puerto Rican-grown rice (gluten free)
  • Friturias: Sorullitos (sweet polenta fries) and bolitas de queso (cheese fritter with mayo ketchup)
  • FlanCocho: Vanilla caramel custard with chocolate coffee cake
  • Gasolina Sangriiia
  • Medalla Light Beer
  • Frozen San Juan Breeze
  • Frozen San Juan Breeze with Don Q Limón Floater
  • Chilled Club Caribe Mango Rum (neat)

Refreshment Cool Post

  • Mango Star featuring African Starr Rum
  • frozen yogurt

Refreshment Port

  • Croissant doughnut
  • Fried shrimp with Dole pineapple sweet and sour sauce
  • Fried chicken chunks with Dole pineapple sweet and sour sauce
  • Dole Fruit Squish’ems!™ Apple-Strawberry
  • Dole Whip Soft-serve
  • Dole Whip Soft-serve with crème de cacao white
  • Dragon Berry Refresher featuring Bacardi® Dragon Berry Rum

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Scotland

  • Vegetarian haggis with neeps and tatties: Griddled vegetable cake with rutabaga and mashed potatoes
  • Fresh potato pancake with smoked Scottish salmon and herb sour cream (gluten free)
  • Seared sea scallop with spinach-cheddar gratin and crispy bacon (gluten free)
  • Crannachan: A traditional Scottish dessert trifle
  • Innis & Gunn® Original
  • Loch Lomond featuring Glenfiddich® 12 year
  • Glenfiddich Scotch Selection (12, 15 and 18 year)

Singapore

  • Lemongrass chicken curry with coconut and jasmine rice (gluten free)
  • Seared mahi mahi with jasmine rice and “Singa” sauce
  • Tiger Beer
  • Marqués de Caceres Satinela
  • Singapore Sling featuring Hendrick’s Gin and Cherry Herring

South Korea

  • Kimchi dog with spicy mustard sauce
  • Roasted pork lettuce wrap with kimchi slaw
  • Bokbunjajoo: Bohae black raspberry wine
  • iCing Grapefruit Sparkling Rice Brew
  • Soju Fruit Slushy featuring Jinro Chamisul Soju

Terra

  • Blackened Chick’n Breast, farro wheat and spicy gumbo sauce featuring Gardein™ Chick’n Breast
  • CraB’less CraB Cake with pepper slaw and Cajun remoulade featuring Gardein™
  • Chocolate-blood orange cupcake with tofu icing
  • Red Bridge Ale
  • The Vegan Vine Chardonnay
  • Paperboy Red
  • Fresh Watermelon Juice

Don’t Miss A Moment Of the Magic…
Let Kingdom Magic Take You To Disney!

Book A Disneyland Vacation Package And Receive A Special Gift

Book a vacation package to Disneyland Resort this fall and they’ll receive a special Vinylmation Figure!

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For a limited time, Guests who book a Disneyland Resort vacation package for arrivals between Sept. 1-Oct. 31, 2014 will receive one (1) 3″ Vinylmation Figure* inspired by Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

Guests can add this special edition Vinylmation Figure to their collection or trade with Disney Cast Members during their visit.

Disney Vinylmation Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas Series - Oogie Boogie, Zero, Dr. Finkelstein, Santa Claus, Mayor of Halloween Town & Corpse Kid

*One (1) Vinylmation Figure per package, as designated by Disney, while supplies last. Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” Vinylmation Figures will vary. Subject to restrictions and change without notice. For packages and arrivals between Sept. 1-Oct. 31, 2014.


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Set Sail For Magic From Port Miami

Miami is a vibrant, colorful and exciting port of call known for its excellent New World or “Florribean” cuisine, pastel skyscrapers, eclectic shopping and sizzling South Beach scenery. And now Miami is the best place to begin your Disney Cruise Line adventure!

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Discover an outdoor wonderland. Tee off on championship golf courses rated among the top 10 by Golfweek. Enjoy Miami’s famous beaches, with miles of sandy stretches. The city is home to 2 amazing national parks: Everglades National Park, an untamed and completely unique ecosystem, and Biscayne National Park, the only living tropical reef within the continental U.S.

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And if shopping is your goal, take your pick of venues—from designer fashions in Bal Harbour to vibrant boutiques in South Beach to guayabera shirts from Little Havana. There are scores of museums, art galleries and blocks of modernist architecture to gawk at too.

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Self described as the Magic City, there’s always something fun for everyone in the family. Whether you have just a few hours or several days, Miami is an excellent jumping off point for your Disney Cruise Line vacation.


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New Ways To Enjoy Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival

We never get enough of Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festivalso this year Epcot is offering an after-hours street party and a Food & Wine Festival Premium Package to make the 19th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival even more fun!

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Epcot Food & Wine Festival – Late Nights LIVE! street party will run from 9:45 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday during the festival between the United Kingdom Pavilion and World Showcase Plaza. The event includes six tastes (food and beverages) from select marketplaces, live music, entertainment, and a DJ. Cost is $79, plus tax. Bringing together the love of food with the love of music, it’s the perfect destination for a delicious final bite. Party is subject to capacity and advance reservations are recommended; to book a spot, call 407-939-3378. We know that Greece, Hawaii and Desserts & Champagne will be showcased, along with others that will change throughout the festival.

*Note: Admission to Epcot is not required after 9 p.m. for guests who have purchased credentials to the event. However, if the guest wants to visit Epcot before 9 p.m., valid theme park admission is required. Alcohol will only be served to guests 21 and older.

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Now for some brand-new “Premium” fun! From noon-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday during a select festival period (September 22-November 6), the Epcot Food & Wine Festival Premium Package is an opportunity for guests staying in a Walt Disney World Resort hotel (or the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels) to sip and savor in style. The package includes an in-room gift with wine for guests 21 and older, a festival wine glass, truffles and credential for the Premium Package Areas at the festival – plus an Epcot International Food & Wine Festival MagicBand and a $50 Disney Gift Card to start the fun. The credential gives access to 10 VIP “Premium Package Areas” around World Showcase Promenade where you can order items from Marketplaces and have them delivered to you – no waiting in line. You can also bring your favorite marketplace treats into the Premium Package Areas and just relax. The package also includes one admission to Epcot Food & Wine Festival – Late Nights LIVE!, which you can attend on Tuesday or Thursday night.

Cost is $199 per guest, plus tax, plus Epcot admission.


Princess Cruise Line Partners With World-Renowned Chocolatier Norman Love To Create “Chocolate Journeys”

Princess Cruises today announced a delectable new partnership with internationally acclaimed master chocolatier and pastry designer Norman Love. “Chocolate Journeys,” the line’s new onboard chocolate experience will entice guests with an impressive array of onboard chocolate offerings among which are custom-crafted desserts, chocolate and wine pairings, and exquisite chocolate bites created by one of the top names in artisan chocolate.

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Since debuting Norman Love Confections in 2001 after a notable career as a pastry chef for many luxury resorts, Love has since received wide-spread recognition for his hand-crafted, chocolate-making artistry including being named as one of the “top 10 chocolatiers in North America” and creating “the best ultra-premium chocolates in the nation.” His sea-going chocolate creations will debut this fall aboard the new Regal Princess for her inaugural Caribbean season, and will continue to roll out to the rest of the Princess fleet throughout the next year.

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“Around the world there’s incredible passion for chocolate, as evidenced by ever-growing consumption and the plethora of specialty varieties,” said Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises. “So we’re excited to partner with one of the best chocolatiers in the world to bring some additional moments of decadence and delight to our guests with truly amazing chocolate experiences that we know they’ll love!”

Swartz added that she believes the partnership with Norman Love was meant to be, because of the line’s close association with the iconic TV show “The Love Boat” and Princess‘ reputation for romance. “Based on his name alone this is a perfect match,” she said.

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One thing is for certain, chocolate makes people happy,” said Love. “So what I create and what Princess Cruises offers its guests are quite similar – what could make people smile more than savoring decadent chocolate creations while enjoying their cruise vacation? I think we have a winning combination.”

Love has personally trained Princess Cruises’ pastry team to deliver this unprecedented chocolate experience across the company’s fleet of ships.

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“Chocolate Journeys” will offer Princess’ guests the following sweet experiences:

Decadent Desserts – Norman Love has produced 15 chocolate dessert designs for Princess Cruises that will be offered on a rotational basis in the ships’ main dining rooms, specialty restaurants (Sabatini’s and Crown Grill) and Chef’s Table experience. Examples of the desserts include a Chocolate Tart with Vanilla Mousse and Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Pistachio Dome with Almond and Pistachio Nougatine, and a truly unique Chocolate Tiramisu with Mascarpone Cream and Espresso Gelato that shouldn’t be missed. (Complimentary in main dining rooms. Specialty restaurants carry a cover charge.)

Chocolate & Wine Pairings – In Vines, Princess’ signature wine bar, wine and chocolate enthusiasts alike can sample Norman Love’s exquisite Black™ Single Origin Dark chocolates paired with specific wine varietals designed to enhance the tasting experience, all selected by Love. (Extra charge)

Captain’s Welcome Reception Treats – Guests will be able to toast the start of their cruise with a glass of bubbly along with “Chocolate Love Pop” truffles created by Love, at the signature welcome reception hosted by the Captain. (Complimentary)

Chocolate Libations – Throughout the ships’ lounges and bars, guests can splurge on a number of decadent chocolate drinks including a Chocolate Salted Caramel Hard Shake, Chocolate Bacon Bourbon Bliss or a Chocolate Chile Margarita. (Extra charge)

Chocolate Dessert Demonstrations – Princess pastry chefs will treat guests to entertaining and informative demonstrations so they can learn some simple tips for creating tasty chocolate treats for their family and friends back home. (Complimentary)

Chocolate Petits Fours at Formal Night – Chocolate bites designed by Love will accompany the dessert menu presented to guests following the formal night dinner, for guests to enjoy as they peruse the evening’s sweet endings.

Norman Love Renowned Boxed Chocolates Available for Purchase – Passengers wishing to bring some of Norman Love’s exquisite chocolate confections home to family or friends (or to enjoy themselves during the cruise) will be able to purchase these extraordinary creations in the onboard shops.

Chocolate Spa Treatments – Because chocolate is not only for eating, the ship’s Lotus Spa will offer guests the opportunity to relax with the aroma of pure bliss by offering a Chocolate Indulgence Body Treatment combining a chocolate renewal scrub, whipped chocolate body mask and chocolate massage oil. (Extra charge)


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The Case of the RunDisney Addict | Kingdom Magic Runners

Hello, my name is Donna and I’m addicted to RunDisney races.  Yes, I have a problem.  I’m currently looking for a 12-step program to help me.  I knew I loved the races but I didn’t know how bad my addiction was until the registration for Disney’s Princess ½ Marathon Weekend opened.

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I found myself actually sitting on my hands, trying to control myself and NOT register for this race.  Here I was, sitting at my computer, watching the registration numbers go up, races booking up, watching the posts on Facebook and various blogs, clients calling me all excited because they got in and now they want to book their packages.  It would have been so easy, just enter your name, address and approximate race finish time.  I was doing all I could to control the urge.  I even had a support system of friends reminding me, don’t do it, don’t do it.  At the same time I was texting my running buddy Wendy, “stay strong, we can do it, it’s almost full, we are almost there”.  She was texting me back “ I just want to log on and see how it’s going.” NOOOOOO I’m “Shout texting” back, “Don’t do it, you’ll be tempted to register”.

Fortunately the Glass Slipper Challenge filled up quickly.  To complete the Glass Slipper Challenge you must finish the 10K and the 1/2 Marathon.  If we were going to go that weekend, we would only do it for the challenge.

Medals from the 2013 Princess Half Marathon Weekend.

Medals from the 2013 Princess Half Marathon Weekend.

It was a long afternoon waiting for the ½ and 10K to fill up. She signed up for a fitness class at her gym so she would be busy and I went for a walk, I just had to stop looking at the computer.  Later that night she texts me, “You know, the 5K still has slots”. Evil temptress.  “No, we are NOT going that weekend” I told her.  Stay strong.  By the end of the day I was exhausted. I felt as if I had run a full marathon.

We did it!  We both made it through the day.  Now, don’t get me wrong. I LOVE Disney’s Princess 1/2 Marathon Weekend.  It’s a wonderful weekend, the race is awesome, I love the costumes, the camaraderie and I really like the whole theme of the weekend.  The reason we had to stay so strong is because we are both running the month before in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.  We are also hoping to register for the Dumbo Double Dare later in August out in Disneyland so we can get our Coast to Coast medals.  (Coast to Coast medals are can be received for completing a Half Marathon or Marathon in Disney World, followed by the completion of a Half Marathon in Disneyland during the same calendar year.)  I already have a Coast to Coast medal, but I’m trying to check off all of the Disney ½ marathons and figured that if we were going to go out for that race we may as well do an East Coast race and earn a Coast to Coast Medal.

I’m sure I’m not alone in this obsession.  Once you run your first RunDisney race, whether it’s a 5K, 10K,  ½ marathon or full marathon, you will be hooked!  It’s unlike any other race I have ever participated in and I’m sure will never find their equal.

Sincerely,

Donna Genco, RunDisney Addict

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Guest Blogger – Donna Genco

donna1-199x300Donna is not only one of Kingdom Magic Vacations Independent Travel Planners, she is also a runner and contributor over at Kingdom Magic Runners Facebook Page. She’s participated in numerous RunDisney Events from the Wine and Dine Half Marathon, Expedition Everest and more on the East Coast, but she’s also been to Disneyland for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon as well.  Her passion may be RunDisney races, but she has also participated in other races as well.

Love Pop Culture? Take A Cruise!

The great thing about Pop Culture is that there is something for everyone!  And there is a growing trend of Pop Culture cruises that prove there is cruise for everyone!

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For example, Star Trek’s George Takei recently appeared on a transatlantic cruise on Cunard‘s Queen Mary 2.  New Kids On The Block’s annual Carnival cruises are so popular it’s spawned a reality series, to air on the TV Guide Network in the fall.   NKONB’s 2015 cruise has not yet been announced, so there is still time!

Game of Thrones: See the real-life Winterfell. Holland America Line is targeting fans of the HBO show with a four-hour shore excursion, “Experience the Game of Thrones,” out of Belfast. As you visit filming locations, there’s discussion of special effects and photo opportunities with show costumes, plus you can try your hand at archery.

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Zombies: Celebrate the walking dead at sea. You can attend a Zombie prom and hang out with Zombie actors, authors and makeup artists on a Zombie Cruise onboard the world’s largest cruise ship, Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas, embarking Fort Lauderdale on November 2. Among those joining the fun will be Triston Johnson, Zombie Barn Walker on AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” noted zombie expert, NY Times bestselling author and comic book writer Jonathan Maberry, and “Zombie Fallout” author Mark Tufo.

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Top Chef: Chef’testants from the Bravo TV show are making appearances on theme cruises on Celebrity Cruises ships. Next month, the action heads to Europe for a 12-day cruise on the Celebrity Infinity, embarking Harwich, England on September 19. Among those onboard will be Chris Crary, a fan favorite from “Top Chef Texas,” and Kristen Kish, winner of “Top Chef Seattle.” All Celebrity ships have also added show-inspired, passenger-participation Quickfire Challenges and a Top Chef Night dining room menu, through July 2015.

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Dancing with the Stars: Holland America Line’s popular “Dancing with the Stars: At Sea,” tied in with the hit ABC TV show, includes a dance competition on all the line’s ships. Participating passengers are teamed with members of the shipboard dance team for a dance-off. The competition will culminate on a seven-day Champions Cruise on the Westerdam, embarking Fort Lauderdale on December 6. There’s also a Dancing theme cruise on the same ship embarking November 29. Stars from the show will be onboard both sailings.

What Pop Culture themed cruise would YOU like to see?


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Plan Your Next Cruise Vacation!

Disney Cruise Line’s Merrytime Cruises

This holiday season, delight in magical merriment at sea with Very MerryTime Cruises available on Disney Cruise Line sailings departing late November through Christmas! Share seasonal splendor with loved ones as you enjoy a twist on holiday traditions.

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Check out this video of all the fun Santa Claus had on his Summer vacation on a Disney Cruise!

 

What can you expect on YOUR Very Merrytime Cruise?  Lots, here is just a sample…

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A winter wonderland awaits you aboard each ship—as well as at Castaway Cay!

Disney’s private island paradise is transformed with “snow” flurries, a Christmas tree and more. Be on the lookout for Mr. and Mrs. Snowman, dressed in their island attire. Plus, the island’s tram is decorated to resemble a reindeer, complete with antlers and a tail.

Onboard Experiences

On the ship, discover a festive fusion of holiday-themed entertainment, activities and décor—with a life-sized gingerbread house, 24-foot Christmas tree, garlands, poinsettias, shimmering lights and more!

Other holiday enhancements include:

  • Deck the Deck Tropical Holiday Party, a celebration in addition to Pirate Night, with candy-cane limbo, dancing and games
  • King Triton’s Tree Lighting Ceremony, where kids can help light the tree and kick off the holiday festivities
  • Santa Claus meet-and-greet, an exciting opportunity to take family pictures and see Santa and his elves
  • Meet-and-Greets with some favorite Disney Characters, dressed in their holiday attire
  • Teen-only and tween-only holiday parties—private celebrations where teens and tweens can hang out with new friends
  • Holiday storytelling, with new and old tales about holidays at sea and around the world
  • Themed activities and crafts for kids—decorate stockings, make holiday cards, go on a holiday scavenger hunt and more
  • A life-sized gingerbread house made completely with edible ingredients—and the opportunity to make your own gingerbread house
  • Holiday merchandise available for this event

Plus, on December 24 and 25, enjoy additional holiday experiences:

  • Cookies on Christmas Eve
  • Special holiday towel animals
  • Special holiday surprise
  • Holiday caroling with the kids and crew
  • Religious Services

When you celebrate winter holidays with Disney Cruise Line, you can spend more quality time together with loved ones as you sail from one spectacular port to the next.

Book a Very MerryTime Cruise with Kingdom Magic Vacations!


Prepare For ‘Villains Unleashed’ At Disney’s Hollywood Studios

We’re just one month out from August 23, the night a record number of Disney villains – more than 50 in all – will invade Disney’s Hollywood Studios as part of the park’s new, separately ticketed event, “Villains Unleashed.” While some of the surprises being planned for this one-night-only party remain hidden under a cloak of mystery, other tantalizing details are beginning to emerge, and it’s shaping up to be one fiendishly fun evening!

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Hades Hangout – The party kicks off at 8 p.m. at the main event stage, where hosts Hades, Megara, Pain and Panic are killing ‘em with comedy. They’re joined throughout the night by the Underworld Dancers, DJ Igg Nite, live music from Bernie Briquette and Brimstone, and a rogues gallery of roaming rottens, from the Queen of Hearts and Sheriff of Nottingham to the Big Bad Wolf and Captain Hook.

Villains Dominion – For this one special night, the Streets of America area of the park will be swarming with baddies. Here, you’ll have the opportunity to meet favorites like Cruella De Vil, Jafar, Dr. Facilier and Gaston, along with more rarely seen baddies such as Shan Yu from “Mulan,” Bowler Hat Guy from “Meet the Robinsons,” or Captain Gantu and Dr. Hämsterviel from “Lilo & Stitch: The Series.” In addition to these dedicated villain encounters, you may spot even more wandering evildoers in the area. Look for Judge Claude Frollo, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia, Drizella, and more!

The Dark Side – During “Villains Unleashed,” the area around Star Tours – The Adventures Continue becomes a wretched hive of scum and villainy, the place to find nefarious bounty hunter Boba Fett, Sith apprentice Darth Maul, and the ultimate villain – Darth Vader! And that’s not all! Wandering the area, you’ll stumble upon more malcontents from that galaxy far, far away: Zam Wessel, Aurra Sing, Asajj Ventress, Jango Fett, Greedo, Jawas, and others.

Villainous Encounters – Visit Stage 4 (where The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow attraction is seen during the day), and you can “Parlay” with the one and only Hector Barbossa. And just around the corner in the Animation Courtyard is where you’ll discover a bit of the Moors, where you can have an audience with the mistress of all evil, Maleficent!

Oogie Boogie’s Freaky Funhouse Show – Over on Sunset Boulevard, Theater of the Stars presents a production of extreme performances, hosted by the original master of scare-monies, Oogie Boogie. It’s an all-new show that’s sure to thrill!

Fantasmic! – Strolling up Sunset Boulevard, a gang of villainous henchmen, known as the Night Crawlers, tempt you to join them for a special pre-show to the evening’s performance of Fantasmic!, itself a celebration of the power and intrigue of some of the greatest Disney villains.

“Villainy in the Sky” Fireworks – Ultimately, Hades summons Maleficent to the main event stage to close things out with a devilishly dazzling display of pyrotechnics!

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And there’s more! You can get a Villains Ex-Scream Makeover with complimentary face painting at stations around Echo Lake, join in on one of the dance parties taking place in the park, and enjoy a wicked cabaret atmosphere – not to mention some delectable, small-plate menu items – at Club Evil in the Hollywood Brown Derby.

For fans of Disney’s darker characters, “Villains Unleashed” promises to be a nightmare come true! It’s all happening one night only, August 23, 2014, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. You won’t want to miss it, so get your tickets now, before they all disappear!


Reservations for Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Premium Events Open July 31

Enhance your culinary adventure with a variety of top-tier experiences at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival returning to the Walt Disney World Resort Sept 19-Nov. 10, 2014.

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From wine pairings and seminars to culinary demonstrations and signature dining experiences, separately-ticketed Premium Events take your Clients on an unforgettable journey of cuisine and culture.

New Premium Events for 2014:

  • Dining Through the Decades, A Tribute to Walt Disney (Oct. 24) $99 or $119 per person
  • Experience Puerto Rico – The All Star Island (Sept. 20) $99 per person
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – Boot Camp Series Interactive Epicurean Adventure (Sept. 21, Oct. 5, 12, 19, Nov. 2) $119 per person
  • Food for Thought (Fridays, plus Saturday, Oct. 11) $169 per person
  • Mediterranean Food & Wine Pairing (Wednesdays) $55 per person
  • Italian White Truffle & Wine Pairing Dinner (Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30) $295 per person

Popular Returning Events:

  • Parisian Breakfast (Saturdays) $39 per person
  • “3D” Disney’s Dessert Discovery (Oct. 3, 10, 17) $59 or $99 per person
  • Culinary Adventures in Signature Dining (more than 20 dinners throughout the festival; prices vary)
  • Shake and Indulge Like the French Featuring Grand Marnier (Saturdays beginning Sept. 27) $55 per person
  • Cheese Seminars (Saturdays) $79 per person
  • Party for the Senses (Oct. 4, 11, 18 and Nov. 1) $149, $189 or $299 per person
  • Party for the Senses Featuring Disney Chefs from Around the World (Oct. 25) $149, $189 or $299 per person
  • Food & Wine Pairings (Tuesdays and Thursdays) $55 per person
  • Sunday Mornings With… (Sundays) $99 per person

Plus, you can also enjoy Italian and French pairings and lunches, a Japan “Hibachi Experience,” and a Mexican tequila lunch, as well as popular Culinary Demonstrations ($15), Mixology Seminars ($15) and Wine Seminars ($15).

Reservations for Premium Events open July 31, 2014.  Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner to book your special event.


Norwegian Cruise Line Orders Two New Ships

Norwegian Cruise Line announced today that it has reached an agreement with MEYER WERFT GmbH of Germany to build two new Breakaway-Plus class cruise ships for delivery in the second quarter 2018 and the fourth quarter 2019. Each ship will be 164,600 gross tons and include 4,200 passenger berths.

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Norwegian Breakaway and Norwegian Getaway have proven themselves as industry game-changers and are extremely popular with our guests,” said Kevin Sheehan, Norwegian Cruise Line’s chief executive officer. “It was only natural that we build on their success with this new ship order that further solidifies our long-term growth strategy.”

The contract price for both ships is approximately euro 1.6 billion. The Company has export credit financing in place for each ship, arranged and underwritten by KfW IPEX-Bank GmbH of Germany.

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“We are thrilled that Norwegian Cruise Line has the continued confidence in MEYER WERFT to expand their fleet,” said Bernard Meyer, managing partner of MEYER WERFT. “We are very proud of our longstanding relationship with Norwegian.”

Norwegian Cruise Line pioneered the concept of Freestyle Cruising which offers guests the freedom and flexibility to enjoy their cruise vacation on their own terms, including multiple dining venues, relaxed attire, a variety of accommodations and world-class entertainment. The Company took Freestyle Cruising to the next level with the introduction of Norwegian Epic in June 2010 and subsequently launched two game-changing vessels, Norwegian Breakaway based in New York in May 2013 and Norwegian Getaway homeported in Miami in February 2014. These ships incorporate groundbreaking design, including The Waterfront and 678 Ocean Place, a wide range of indoor and outdoor venues on three dynamic decks that create a whole new complex at sea and connect guests with the ocean.

Growing New Cruise Destination: The Philippines

Three of the world’s leading cruise companies—Carnival Corp, Royal Caribbean International and Norwegian Cruise Lines—have expressed interest to help develop the Philippines as a cruise-ship destination, the Philippine Embassy in Washington, DC, said recently.

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In a statement, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia Jr. said officials of the three companies provided feedback on how the Philippines could become a cruise destination that would provide their guests with a unique and memorable experience.

“The cruise giants were open to working with the Philippines in destination development while they discussed infrastructure requirements, “ Cuisia said after a recent economic diplomacy mission to the US state of Florida, where he met with cruise-company officials.

During the meeting, Cuisia took the opportunity to emphasize to the cruise-line executives the notable destination possibilities in the Philippines, particularly Vigan City in Ilocos Sur province, which is now vying to be one of the Seven New Wonders of the World.

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A favorite tourist destination in the northern Philippines, Vigan has been described as “the best-preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia,” and is the only Philippine city on the list of heritage sites declared by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

At the same time, the three cruise-industry leaders, which already employ a combined total of 61,700 Filipino crew members, disclosed their plans to hire more seafarers from the Philippines as they acquire more cruise ships to support their expansion plans.

“They have nothing but high praises for their Filipino crew. They told us that service is in the Filipino genes,” Cuisia said. “Carnival officials even commented that their company will not be what it is if not for their wonderful Filipino crew.”

Carnival Corp. employs the largest number of Filipinos, with 37,700 crewmen; followed by Royal Caribbean, with 16,000; and Norwegian Cruise Lines, with 8,000.

Balcony Smoking Banned On Two More Cruise Lines

Two cruise industry leading lines announced new bans on smoking outside on balconies. These announcements came within days of each other, first Carnival Cruise Line banned smoking on outside balconies, and then Norwegian Cruise Line has joined its competitors in banning smoking on private balconies on its ships.

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The ban will begin on all sailings from November 1. In its casinos, passengers will only be allowed to smoke if they are actively playing.

Smokers will still be allowed to light up on the starboard side of The Waterfront areas on Norwegian Breakaway and Getaway, Norwegian said, except near outdoor dining areas. There is also a designated smoking lounge and cigar bar on ships.

Norwegian allows cigarettes, e-cigarettes, cigars and pipes to be smoked outdoors in certain areas and on open decks, depending on the layout of the ship. It defended its inclusion of e-cigarettes in the ban on the basis that they “look so realistic… other guests’ perception is that we are not enforcing the No Smoking rule.”

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Last summer, Cunard, P&O and Disney all decided to ban smoking on balconies, although the bans for Cunard and P&O, along with a ban from Royal Caribbean, didn’t come into effect until this year.

Carnival Cruise Line more recently banned smoking on balconies for ships departing after October 9 this year, while permitting it in certain parts of the open deck.

A similar ban applying to balconies is already in place on ships run by Celebrity, Princess, Oceania and Crystal.

The issue of smoking on ships is a divisive one, however, with many smokers feeling that they should have the freedom to light up in private when on holiday, as they would on a hotel room balcony.

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Others disagree. “There is nothing worse than being driven from your balcony – for which you have paid a premium – by the smell of cigarette smoke,” said Jane Archer, Telegraph Travel’s cruise critic. “Fires on cruise ships are feared more than anything else so there are also safety issues at play here.

“It is tough for smokers,” she added, “but most ships have a top-deck smoking area and there are still a few vessels where they can light up inside, for instance on Hapag-Lloyd Cruises’ Europa 2, which has a dedicated smokers’ room.”

The Holland America line is now the only major line to still allow smoking on balconies.

What do you think about smoking being allowed in certain areas of cruise ships?

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