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Celebrate New Year’s EVE at Universal CityWalk

On Dec. 31, 2014, guests of  Universal Orlando Resort can experience non-stop entertainment at EVE, Universal CityWalk’s unparalleled New Year’s celebration. With unique party zones – each featuring their own entertainment and signature drinks, access to six different clubs with live music and unlimited gourmet cuisine, EVE will be the place to ring in the New Year.


Partygoers can celebrate all night on Orlando’s biggest outdoor dance floor, built just for this event. When midnight strikes, guests will kiss 2014 goodbye in style with a champagne toast, and enjoy a pyrotechnics display with incredible special effects.

EVE at Universal CityWalk

Tickets are on-sale now for advance pricing of $99.99 plus tax until Dec. 15. Admission includes access to:

  • Unlimited gourmet cuisine, including jumbo shrimp, roast sirloin, custom desserts and more
  • Six unique outdoor party zones with entertainment and signature drinks
  • Orlando’s largest outdoor dance floor, featuring live music from DJ M-Squared on a 360˚ DJ platform
  • Six Universal CityWalk venues, including: Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Pat O’Brien’s, the groove, Rising Star and Red Coconut Club
  • Midnight champagne toast and pyrotechnics display

Here is just a taste of what you can look forward to:

Star Wars Weekends to Return with New Dining Events!

Soon, you can feel the power of the force when Star Wars Weekends returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 15-June 14, 2015. This galactic event is filled with special shows, exciting presentations and more.


Plus, this year, you can take your Star Wars Weekends experience to a whole new galaxy with out-of-this universe dining experiences daily from May 4-June 14, 2015, including Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast and Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine, including Fantasmic! Dining Package.

Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast

This cosmic breakfast at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant features favorite characters from a galaxy far, far away, including Darth Vader, Boba Fett, Greedo, Jawas and Stormtroopers.

This experience will take place daily May 4-June 14, 2015 8 a.m.-11 a.m. The price for the Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast is $49.99 per adult and $31.99 per child ages 3-9. Prices include tax, but not gratuity.


Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine, Including Fantasmic! Dining Package

This unique dining experience allows you to celebrate the Star Wars saga with special décor, themed menu options and stirring music – followed by the evening’s first Fantasmic! show. This intergalactic feast includes appearances by favorite Disney pals dressed as popular characters from the Star Wars universe, including Jedi Mickey, Princess Leia Minnie, Darth Vader Goofy, Storm Trooper Donald and Ewoks Chip ‘n’ Dale.

This experience will take place daily May 4-June 14, 2015 from 4:15 p.m.-8 p.m. The price for the Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine, including Fantasmic! Dining Package is $57.99 per adult and $34.99 per child ages 3-9. Prices include tax, but not gratuity.


Advanced reservations for both of these dining experiences are highly recommended. Admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is required. Entertainment and character appearances are subject to change.

Time is short, these extra special experiences will fill up fast!  Contact your Kingdom Magic Travel Planner TODAY to book your event!

May The Force Be With You!

Enjoy Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade

Recently Disney Parks Blog share a video from “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade” as it happened on Main Street, U.S.A. at the Walt Disney World Resort.

We wanted to share that video with you!


Remember, “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade” is best experienced in person at Magic Kingdom Park. You can see the parade during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party nights on December 2, 4, 5, 7, 9, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18 and 19, 2014.

Postcard From Illuminations Reflections Of Earth


At the end of the day, Epcot has one last piece of magic just for you to enjoy.  Illuminations, Reflections of Earth is an amazing nighttime spectacular with fireworks, dancing water, lights, and lasers that can be seen anywhere around World Showcase Lagoon.  It’s an event not to be missed the next time you visit Walt Disney World Resort!

Tour of the Wine and Dine Expo, Waldorf Astoria, and Hilton Bonnet Creek

Carrie Bryniak from Kingdom Magic Runners takes us on a tour of the runDisney Wine and Dine 1/2 Marathon Expo and also the Waldorf Astoria and Hilton Bonnet Creek Resorts!

Hope you enjoy today’s video, be sure to leave a comment and share it with your friends!


VIP Experiences On Adventures By Disney

Imagine traveling around the world and vacationing like a VIP in some of the world’s most incredible destinations. With Adventures by Disney you can do just that!

An Adventures by Disney vacation includes admission and private access to popular attractions, behind-the-scenes tours, and front-of-the-line access, all with world-class Disney hospitality.

Adventures by Disney trips offer front-of-the-line access to locations and opportunities that would often be difficult to experience without Disney. Here are just a few of the incredible VIP experiences you can have.


The sights, the tastes and the history of Italy make this popular destination a must visit. But imagine having the Sistine Chapel all to yourself? When you travel to Italy with Adventures by Disney you can explore some of Michelangelo’s magnificent achievements as your Adventure Guides take you on a private, after-hours visit to the Vatican City Museum and Sistine Chapel with a local expert.


Take a trip “down under” to Australia to see the largest coral reef system in the world, the Great Barrier Reef, one of the Seven Natural Wonders on Earth. And with Adventures by Disney Australia vacation you’ll enjoy the knowledge provided by a private marine biologist who joins your journey and can answer any questions as you snorkel around the reef, or view it from 3 feet below the surface on a semi-submersible vessel.


What could be better than visiting the Louvre museum in Paris? How about dining just steps away from the Mona Lisa in a room with a seriously impressive view? On the Adventures by Disney France itinerary you can enjoy an exquisite farewell dinner in a private room at the Louvre overlooking its famed glass pyramid entrance in the Cour Napoléon.


Enjoy a rustic but luxurious stay at the historic Brooks Lake Lodge, which is reserved exclusively for Adventures by Disney Wyoming vacation guests during your stay. As awe-inspiring as the day it was founded, this historic lodge offers incredible views of Wyoming’s mountainous landscape, as well as access to activities such as horseback riding, fly-fishing, hiking, canoeing and archery.


Southern California
Combine a behind-the-magic private tour of the Walt Disney Studios, exclusive access at Walt Disney Imagineering and the Jim Henson Company Studios, a unique visit to Walt Disney’s apartment inside Disneyland park, a 2-day VIP experience at Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park with special Disney’s FASTPASS service and reserved parade seating, and you’ve just begun to scratch the surface of all the special, behind-the-scenes treats in store for you on an Adventures by Disney vacation to Southern California.

From a private catamaran excursion in Costa Rica to dance lessons in a Broadway theater in New York City, you can enjoy an array of other VIP experiences with Adventures by Disney.

Start planning your Adventures by Disney today!

Wine and Dine Half Marathon Recap

We welcome Kingdom Magic Runners‘ newest Guest Blogger, Beth Kripple, who shares her recap of her very first RunDisney race, Disney’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon.

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There are few times when you won’t mind starting an adventure off “on a dark and stormy night”! Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon at Walt Disney World is definitely one of them. I had been prepping to run the race for several months. This was not only my first half marathon, but my first race ever. If I was going to run 13.1 miles, I was going to do it Disney-style. I knew that not being an elite athlete and being new to running was not going to diminish my first race experience if I was at Disney. From the first trip to the Expo to pick up my bib, through the race itself, and to the trip back to Disney Port Orleans Riverside at 3 am, the cast members and volunteers who endured the rainy weather with me had my back.

The support and help doesn’t just start the weekend of the race. On the Run Disney website is a lot of information, including training programs for beginning and intermediate runners, nutritional advice, and advice from experienced Run Disney participants on how to make the best of your time. This kind of support extends into social media and email as well. RunDisney will send out periodic emails as well as update on Facebook and Twitter. You are always in the know, and with the weather the way it was for Disney’s Wine and Dine, that helped with a lot of my first race nerves.


Arriving at the race at 8:00 pm was a great mix of easy going and nervous excitement. There was no rush and no pressure. People were there to run, yes, but also to have fun. Around 9:30, the rain softly started. 10 pm, the first corral was off and running! Even though I was running alone, I did not feel alone. I had the chance to talk with other runners in my corral. We talked about our Disney vacations, joked about the rain and about how we did not care how rainy it got: if the race was on then we were running. There was exchange of advice and support all along the way. Cast members and volunteers guided areas of the route and manned drink stations in their ponchos, all still cheering us on and bringing smiles to our soaked faces.

It was a magical memory. My favorite part, besides finding that finish line, was running through Disney’s Hollywood Studios with the holiday lights. The lights were so beautiful and had a lovely reflection on the wet pavement. And just as an added bonus, rain makes laser lights look awesome with flashes and sparkles as the raindrops reflect the colored beams.

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Rain or not, I loved every minute of my first race and was so very thrilled it was a Disney race. I’m getting ready for the Disney Princess Half Marathon in February! If you’re going to run, run Disney-style!

Guest Blogger – Beth Kripple


Beth is a mom, librarian, sf geek, new runner, Disneyphile, and past Cast Member. Her favorite place to stay at Walt Disney World is Disney Boardwalk Villas. She has had the chance to visit Disneyland and Disneyland Resort Paris. Hopefully visits to Disneyland Shanghai or Disneyland Hong Kong (which only got a wistful wave as she passed through the city two years ago) are in the future, but Walt Disney World is her favorite!

Would you like to be a Guest Blogger for Kingdom Magic Runners? We’d love to share your race review (Disney or other race), product review or personal running accomplishment here! Feel free to email or!

A Zipline Adventure In The Antigua Rainforest

My Zipline Adventure, took place in the breathtaking Antigua Rainforest as part of a port adventure on a Disney Cruise Line Transatlantic Repositioning cruise.

The description when I signed up read “Here, you’ll zipline through lush coastal plains, mangroves, lagoons and limestone mountains. This is the perfect setting for your unforgettable nature-adventure experience.”

I consider myself a daring traveler, as in driving a NASCAR at 149 MPH and riding a motorcycle through the European Alps for a month, with my wife on the back of the bike.

This September day would turn out to be anything but ordinary.

Antigua Rainforest


I was anxious about the thought of zipping along 14 zigzagging lines that traverse the emerald canopy and reach heights of 350 feet above the earth, yet it seemed like a perfectly good idea.
As I arrived for the three hour adventure that morning, the sun streamed through the clouds, and exotic birds chirped a greeting from concealed tree limbs.

Looking towards the forest, it was dissected by a web of cables and ropes. Our leader assured all of us that the three-year-old course had been built to the most modern, “double-redundant” specifications, meaning that every harness, rope and zip line had a backup. The operation was fully certified, and all 30 members of the staff had been professionally trained.

He finished with “Just get ready for the Intimidator! That one makes grown men cry.” Oh GREAT!

Excitement was in the air as 24 of us put on the gear and watched the demonstration on the correct procedures.


We all watched the instructional briefing as the rangers demonstrated proper zipping technique and, more importantly, what not to do.

They declared us certified and competent to hurl ourselves out of trees. We were each fitted into a rope and carabiner ensemble topped off with a hard hat and gardening gloves and we were ready to roll.

We looked like a chain gang as we moved towards the first Treehouse with my fellow zippers.

Robert was in front of me and when it was his turn he said, “Maybe I’ll just watch.”


The next thing he knew, he was bungeed and clipped to the line, and just as suddenly shoved off the platform on the first leg of his zip-roaring adventure.

I was up next, nervous but excited. Hooked up and connected, I jumped off and shrieked and clawed desperately at the air with giant gloved hands as I streaked through the trees.


I’d forgotten everything I’d just learned.  As the wind whipped in my face it was AMAZING.  I just let go and surrendered to the experience and the fail-safe apparatus.

I was struck by a revelation: that this crazy zip-lining thing is actually a BLAST and I threw caution to the wind and hurtling my body between trees was awesome!

Seconds later, when I landed on the platform across the ravine, I was eagerly looking forward to the thirteen adrenaline-pumping zips still to come.

“I’ll show those weepy men how it’s done,” I thought. “Bring on the Intimidator!

About Dr. Howie:
Married to my beautiful bride Joan, for 49 years, we have 2 kids, Mark, and Jenny, six Grand Kids, Jonathan, Christian, Brock, Ava, Luca and Ben. One Great Grand Daughter Evelyn. I was a classroom teacher for 20 years, owned and managed a retails computer store for 10 years in Arizona and then a CIO (Chief Information Officer) in Durango, Colorado. Retired in 2007, I now travel the world instructing educators and administrators on how to bring Disney into the classroom. I have a Disney Themed Office, and anyone that enters must take off their shoes and rub “Mickey’s” head (LOL) Graduate of Florida State University (BS), Northern Arizona University (MA), Western Pacific University (Ph.D.).

How I Became Hooked on Disney:
In 1974, our family took our first trip to Disneyland, California. At the time, I was an Electronics Teacher at Lake Havasu High School and became fascinated on how Walt Disney created the attractions and park. My first ride at Disneyland was the “Matterhorn.” I had to know how they built the attraction and purchased two books-one on Walt Disney and a Disneyland souvenir book.

Since then I have purchased over 170 books on Disney, the parks, Imagineers and designers. That trip began a journey of over 102 visits to Walt Disney World and Disneyland for the next 40 years. We drank ALL the wine and now own two DVC’s at Beach Club and Bay Lake towers and have completed 6 Disney cruises including one 14 day cruise from LA to Panama Canal and then to Galveston, TX. We attend the EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival and the EPCOT Food and Wine Festival each year.

New Years Events At Walt Disney World

It may still be November, but I bet many of you are already thinking ahead and starting to make plans for New Year’s Eve. Well, if you’re going to be ringing in 2015 at Walt Disney World Resort, here’s a rundown of some of the entertainment we have planned for this year’s celebration.


Epcot – It’s a night-long party throughout Epcot, with unique entertainment including a DJ and light show at the Future World Fountain Stage, dancing under flame effects and a smoke-billowing dragon in China, a British blast to the past in United Kingdom, Euro-pop and lasers in Italy, and a Latin band and DJ on the America Gardens Stage. Cap it all off with one of two showings of “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” fireworks, at 6:00 p.m. or 11:40 p.m., followed by a countdown and pyrotechnic salute to the new year.


Disney’s Hollywood Studios – Exclusive specialty drinks and food items are available throughout the night, as the Event Stage comes alive with an energetic DJ and performances by Mulch, Sweat & Shears. As midnight approaches, the band takes the stage to count down to 2015 and plays live during a jaw-dropping fireworks spectacular.


Magic Kingdom Park – You can get a head start on the festivities, with a special New Year’s Eve eve presentation of “Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks at 11:50 p.m. on Tuesday, December 30. The same show will be repeated on December 31.

What are you doing New Year’s Eve?

Special Holiday Velvet Session At Universal Orlando

Just in time for the Holidays, the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort has announced their latest Velvet Session!


Carl Dixon, formerly of The Guess Who, and whose hits include “American Woman,” “These Eyes” and more, will play a laid back acoustic show in the lobby of Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando. Dixon will perform festive holiday favorites, along with some of his own hits.

This velvet Session is Friday, December 19 at 8:00 PM and this show is open to all ages!

The Velvet Bar at the Hard Rock Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort hosts the city’s only rock ‘n’ roll cocktail party on the last Thursday of every month. Each “session” combines creative cocktails with live music from some of the hottest rock bands.


The award winning “Velvet Sessions” is a rock & roll cocktail party held in the hotel’s Velvet Bar and Lobby Lounge. Each “Session” showcases a different type of beverage theme for members to sip, shoot or guzzle along with fabulous and great live music from the nation’s best rock bands.

*Velvet Unplugged is a separately ticketed event. Dates, times, entertainment and benefits subject to change without notice.

Wrap Up From Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival – Travel With Rick Episode 281

As Rick wraps up this year’s Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, Marc Bigbie, Amanda Tinney, and Sarah McGovern Luka join him to discuss the hits and misses from the event.

Hope you enjoy today’s video, be sure to leave a comment and share it with your friends!


QUESTION OF THE WEEK – What was your HIT and MISS of this year’s Festival?

Update On Downtown Disney Transformation

Disney has shared some of the new experiences coming to Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort, including two new dining locations – Morimoto Asia and The BOATHOUSE.


Here’s a look at some of the latest changes at Downtown Disney as it continues to undergo its transformation into Disney Springs.

The “Springs Bottling Co.” marquee was recently installed above the future location of Morimoto Asia.  This architectural detail is a nod to the design story behind Disney Springs, which was inspired by Florida’s waterfront towns at the turn-of-the-century.


Right next to the recently announced site for The BOATHOUSE, the Waterview Stage is now offering nightly entertainment, along with beautiful views of Village Lake. Check a Times Guide for showtimes.

Opening later this month, the Food Trucks at Exposition Park on the West Side will be the permanent home for the owned-and-operated Downtown Disney food trucks. From chicken and waffles to tandoori spiced shrimp, the food trucks will offer a variety of delicious culinary creations daily.  This area will also offer additional seating for diners, as well as shaded areas during the day.


Finally, The Landing – the first phase of Disney Springs – is starting to come to life with a new pedestrian walkway now open between Portobello Yacht Club and Paradiso 37. Later this month, the walkway will be fully open and provide direct access to the West Side.

With the new garage opening and so many new dining and shopping options, it’s great time to visit Downtown Disney and see the transformation for yourself!

Disney Parks Honored With Awards

We all love Disney Parks, but this week two prestigious organizations honored Disney Parks projects with multiple industry awards.


The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) announced their annual Thea Award winners. Among the honorees, TEA announced that “it’s a small world” at Disneyland park, currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, is the recipient of the Thea Classic award, honoring attractions that have withstood the test of time and have endured for 20 or more years. TEA said in their announcement that the attraction “continues to captivate audiences around the world with pure charm, melded with a profound message deceptively hiding in a simple and astonishingly catchy song … This timeless classic continues to engage generation after generation. Surely “it’s a small world” is the very definition of a Classic.”


Also, Bistrot Chez Remy, the new French restaurant at Walt Disney Studios Park in Paris that is inspired by the Disney∙Pixar film “Ratatouille,” is the winner of the Award for Outstanding Achievement – Themed Restaurant. “It is a truly charming and thematically thorough dining experience, where oversized objects are reused in every possible way to create tables, chairs, architectural elements, and props … [E]verything is very well-conceived and delivered to create an illusion that is both convincing and coyly self-aware. The exterior of the attraction looks like a typical Parisian café, but on closer inspection, one realizes that this is the world of Paris from the film, where there are no straight lines – a perfect blend of fiction and reality. This venue exhibits thoroughness, conceptual clarity, dedication to narrative detail, and exceptional finish.”


Finally, Wilderness Explorers at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, an interactive experience that combines badge collecting, guest interaction and learning about the natural world, is the winner of the Award for Outstanding Achievement – Interactive Park Attraction on a Limited Budget.

“Disney has incorporated storytelling and gaming to create an experience that is intimate and personal in its connection to the guests, yet wisely recognizes that technology would be a distraction and remove guests from nature. Guests are given a role in the story – becoming a Wilderness Explorer – that was a poignant, aspirational story of a core identifiable character from the Pixar film. This intersection point between film story world, live animals and the beautiful habitats within Disney’s Animal Kingdom is a huge part of why this attraction is effective … This unique attraction is worthy of honors as much for its craft as for the authenticity and cleverness of implementation within a unique park environment.”

TEA is an international non-profit association representing the world’s leading creators, developers, designers and producers of compelling places and experiences. Thea Awards will be given out at an awards ceremony at the Disneyland Hotel on March 21, 2015.


Finally, the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) awarded their Brass Rings Awards for Live Entertainment Excellence and “Once Upon a Time” at Tokyo Disney Resort won for Best Multimedia Spectacular.

IAAPA is the largest international trade association for permanently situated amusement facilities and attractions, and is dedicated to the preservation and prosperity of the attractions industry. The IAAPA Brass Ring Awards mark achievements of excellence throughout the global attractions industry.

Congratulations to all who worked to create and bring these wonderful projects to life!

What award would you give your favorite Disney Park or Attraction?

Sneak Peek at the New Gingerbread House at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel

To celebrate National Gingerbread Day this past week, Disney gave us a sneak peek at the brand-new gingerbread house coming to Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at Disneyland Resort.


Opening on November 27, this gingerbread house was created by a talented team of 25 artists, engineers and bakers, and it will take a total of 1,400 hours to bake and create the edible portion alone! The house measures in at a whopping 7 ½ feet tall and 12 feet wide. Which might leave you wondering: what goes into a gingerbread house of this scope?

  • More than 500 pounds of gingerbread
  • 60 gallons of frosting and icing
  • 100 pounds of isomalt sugar
  • 50 pounds of granulated sugar
  • 50 pounds of powdered sugar
  • 2 gallons of egg whites
  • 1 quart of lemon juice

Want to bring home a piece of the holiday magic? Seasonal offerings for sale include:

  • Gingerbread shingles and other assorted holiday cookies
  • Holiday cookie-decorating kits
  • Gingerbread house kits
  • Specialty hot chocolate and cider


Get to Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa on November 27 to check out this sweet masterpiece!