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5 Reasons We Love Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival

Running from September 27 through November 11, Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival opens this weekend with even more flavors to discover – it’s our favorite time of year, and here’s 5 reasons why…

1.  The Food

Epcot Food and Wine Festival - Food Choices

Whether it’s shrimp from Australia or griddled Greek cheese with pistachios and honey, there are so many choices from the 29 marketplaces around World Showcase.   With all those booths, and each booth offering 2 to 4 food choices,  there are dozens of food options to choose from all over the world.

2.  The Beverages

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival - The beverages

From wines to beers, mixed drinks, to aperitifs, the Food and Wine Festival brings us beverage options that are not only tasty and refreshing, but also an eclectic sampling of what the world has to offer.  Only during Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival can we sample beverages from around the world all located in one place and many are paired with the food offers at each marketplace.

3.  The Special Events

5 Reasons We Love Epcot's Food and Wine Festival - Events

Epcot’s Food and Wine is not just about the food and beverages at the marketplaces, there are several special events that that you can attend.  Some of the events like “Party for the Senses,””Dessert Dinner Discovery,”and Celebrity Chef Demonstrations, there are several different special events to attend.  Many are free and included with your Epcot park admission, but some do require an extra fee.

4.  The Merchandise

5 Reasons We Love Epcot's Food and Wine Festival - Merchandise

The merchandise available during the Food and Wine Festival is some of the most imaginable and creative that Disney offers all year.  From bottle openers, wine toppers, Mickey Chef Ears, wine glasses, and so many other merchandise options, there something for everyone to take home with them from this amazing event.

5.  The Cast Members

5 Reasons We Love Epcot's Food and Wine Festival - Cast Members

The Walt Disney World Cast Members are always amazing, but there is something special in the air this year, that makes them even more magical.  Each booth has been challenged with keeping themselves energized and you can even hear them all over World Showcase chanting and keeping everyone laughing and having fun.  You can feel the energy all over the festival and it rubs off on you…it’s awesome.

There is still time to get down to Walt Disney World and enjoy all that Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival has to offer!

It’s not too late to book your trip to experience
Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival!

Contact Kingdom Magic Vacations Today!

5 Simple Tips To Enjoy Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

If you are anything like us, you love Fall and Halloween at the Magic Kingdom and especially Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party!  These parties are extra special events where they close the Magic Kingdom to regular park guests and bring in some extra special Halloween decorations and treats that you can only experience at the Party!

Here are 5 tips to help you enjoy these parties and get the most treats with no tricks!

1.  This is a Family Friendly Event  – Like the name implies, this is a Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.  Unlike other Orlando Theme Parks, Walt Disney World offers a purely family-friendly environment that is suitable for children of all ages.  There are some dark areas, but if your kids loves the Haunted Mansion, that is about as dark as the entire evening gets!

2.  Wear A Costume – Children are always allowed to wear Princess Outfits or Pirate Costumes in Disney Parks, but adults do not have that luxury…except for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties!  As long as you wear a costume that does not cover your face (ie. a full head or face mask) you are welcome to enjoy the party.  Remember, it’s still pretty warm in Orlando during the Fall, so make sure that your costume is lightweight an not too heavy!

5 Simple Tips To Enjoy Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

3.  Trick Or Treat All Night Long – During the party, there are several locations located all around the Magic Kingdom…and you can trick-or-treat as much as you want.  You can return as much as you want and as the night progresses, many Cast Members often become more generous in their treat giving.  We suggest bringing your own bag though…the bags that Disney provides are a little small.

4.  Arrive A Little Early – Even though Mickey’s Party officially starts at 7 p.m., which is when all of the entertainment actually begins, guests can enter with their Halloween Party tickets as early as 4 p.m. This is not something Walt Disney World advertises, but it absolutely is true, and you will see plenty of other guests arriving at 4 p.m., and Cast Members in their Halloween outfits at the turnstiles.  This allows you to enjoy a full 8 hours inside the park, for 1/2 the price!

5.  Make Time to Meet Characters – Haloweentime is one of the best times to meet your favorite Disney Characters, and during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary parties, all your favorite characters are dressed in special Trick-or-treat costumes!  Past favorites are Winnie the Pooh and friends, Snow White, and all 7 dwarfs – they are all not to be missed!!

5 Simple Tips To Enjoy Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Mickey’s No-So-Scary Halloween Parties are Hard Ticketed events, which means you have to buy a separate ticked for entrance to the party.  The parties run on select nights in September and October from 7:00 pm to Midnight.

Contact your Kingdom Magic Travel Planner when you book your Walt Disney World Vacation and let them know you need tickets to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party today!

5 Simple Tips To Get The Most Out Of Epcot’s International Food And Wine Festival

Epcot’s premier food and wine event happens once a year from September 29 – November 11 and is one of our favorite events at Walt Disney World.  It can also be a little overwhelming.

5 Simple Tips To Get The Most Out Of Epcot's International  Food And Wine Festival

With 29 booths of food and beverages from all over the world, plus Epcot itself, it can be hard to know how to even start enjoying the festivities.  Here are 5 simple tips to help you get the most out of this year’s festival:

1.   Take Your Time and Enjoy – Resign yourself to the fact that you cannot see and taste everything in one day.  It’s just not possible, nor would it be very enjoyable.  We suggest that you SLOW DOWN and take it in leisurely.  Start off at the Festival Welcome Center,  the cast members there will be able to give you all the information that you need and help you get acclimated and it is a great way to start your day!

2.  Stay On Budget – With so many opportunities to try new tastes from all over the world, it is easy to forget how much you spend from marketplace to marketplace.  And believe us, the worst thing is getting home from vacation and getting a seriously high credit card bill!  One of the things Disney does to help is the Food and Wine Festival gift card that you can wear on your wrist.  It’s small and is a GREAT way to budget how much money you spend at the festival.  You can load it up at any of the stores at Epcot, and after each purchase you can see how much is left on the card and you can stay on budget.

5 Simple Tips To Get The Most Out Of Epcot's International  Food And Wine Festival

3.  Drink Lots of Water – It may be cooler in many parts of the United States, but in Florida, it’s still pretty hot, and after you’ve walked around the park all day and start to eat and drink your way around World Showcase, you may find that you no longer feel well.  Drinking lots of water can help keep you hydrated and also protect you from any unnecessary visits to the First Aid station.

4.  Share – The food and beverage items at the Festival are not meant to be meals in themselves, but samples of tastes from around the world.  It’s a good idea to share the food items you get to maximize the different flavors you can try as well and stretch your dollar…both will help you have a much more enjoyable Food and Wine experience!

5 Simple Tips To Get The Most Out Of Epcot's International  Food And Wine Festival

5.  Call a Cab or Use Disney Transportation – Let’s be honest, sometimes we overdo it.  And if you enjoy a few too many adult beverages during the festival, driving is the one thing you DO NOT want to do at Disney.  It’s not safe for you, for guests, and you may create the type of memories you do not want to have at Walt Disney World.

5 Simple Tips To Get The Most Out Of Epcot's International  Food And Wine Festival

Disney Transportation is always available if you are staying on property, but if you are off property, the best advice is to call a cab.  Using a cab FROM your resort also means that you don’t have to worry about your car at the end of the night.  We want you to have a great time and enjoy yourself, but we also want to keep you safe!

Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival can be a little overwhelming, but using these tips and a little common sense will help you have a great time, make some incredible memories, hopefully make you want to come back next year!

It’s not too late to book your trip to experience
Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival!
Contact Kingdom Magic Vacations Today!

Dining Recon: Laguna Bar – Guest Blog Post

If you’ve followed me at for any measure of time, you know that my entire family loves Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.  Frankly, from our view, for the price, it is one of the best places to stay at Walt Disney World Resort.  It is clean, NOT crowded (as much as you might fear it is – given that it is a conference resort), and the people working there are top-notch.  Well, we also love their lake-side watering hole – Laguna Bar.

Dining Recon: Laguna Bar

This way to paradise!

One of the things I tell people is that I fell in love with Walt Disney World many years ago because of the Cast Members.  As a young family, with one 2nd grader in tow, we were taking our very-first BIG vacation.  The staff at Coronado Springs made us feel like we were the only guests visiting Walt Disney World, and they made us want to be a PART of the magic.  What more can you ask for when you’re handing Mickey your hard-earned dollars?  Well, the bartenders at Laguna are prime examples of great service.

The Laguna Bar sits directly behind El Centro – the Southwestern U.S./Mexican-themed resort’s main (central) building.

Dining Recon: Laguna Bar

Only a few steps away from El Centro.

It is a small establishment, but, for us, it packs a large “punch” in the form of hours of enjoyment.  It’s our vacation, after all, and what does one do on vacation but relax?  Oh, we love the theme parks, don’t get us wrong, but sometimes we just want to sit around and chill.  Laguna Bar is an ideal spot.  A cold beverage of any variety, enjoyed by Lago Dorado (the man-made lake at the heart of the resort) takes us to a very happy place.

Dining Recon: Laguna Bar

A comfortable, little resting place.

Dining Recon: Laguna Bar

The stools encircle the bar.

Dining Recon: Laguna Bar

Welcome to Laguna!

Dining Recon: Laguna bar

Ample seating.

Dining Recon: Laguna Bar

A beautiful view.

Food options at Laguna Bar are a bit limited, but Coronado’s Quick Service food court – Pepper Market – is just a short stroll away.

Dining Recon: Laguna Bar

If you’d like to stick around and keep your seat, however, Laguna sports a new menu.  With cuisine supplied by Cafe Rix, they have expanded their options to include nine salad and sandwich items as well as four “kids” meals and two desserts.  The former menu offered choices from amongst only two salads, three sandwiches, and two recipes of individual pizzas.  A big improvement!

Dining Recon: Laguna Bar

We had the Cobb Salad and the All Beef Jumbo Hot Dog.  The salad was fresh and very filling.  Accompanied by your choice of chips, the “dog” was a hearty little meal!

Dining Recon: Laguna Bar

You’ll love their signature cocktails. The Cancun Colada is especially tasty!

Whether you are buying a beverage or looking for a place to enjoy “take-out” from either Pepper Market or Cafe Rix, there’s plenty of seating.  For us, though, we enjoy a spot at the bar.  It is there that we can enjoy the company of Laguna’s outstanding staff of bartenders.

Dining Recon: Laguna Bar

No, Paola! We can’t drink that whole bottle!

If you’re looking for a surprisingly quiet, clean, moderately priced place to call home when you reach Walt Disney World, we would highly recommend Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.  If you’re looking for a place to sit back, relax, and chill in the presence of friendly Cast Members and a beautiful view, then visit Laguna Bar.

Dining Recon: Laguna Bar

The crowd gathers!

The Three Caballeros request your presence!

Dining Recon: Laguna Bar

Guest Author – Bob Sikon

Guest Author Bob SikonBob Sikon is a Cast Member “Wanna-Be”. He fell in love with Walt Disney World on his first visit to Mickey’s Florida home in 1999, and it was all because of the Cast Members. In his words, “The way they take care of you, they make you want to be part of The Magic.” Someday, his dream will come true, and he’ll proudly wear a Cast Member name badge, but, for now, you can find him in Atlanta, GA, planning his next trip to “The World”, and blogging about the place “Where Dreams Come True” at

Disney Cruise Line Offers Transfers from Walt Disney World Swan or Dolphin to Port Canaveral

Beginning April 7, Disney Cruise Line® Guests can book transfers from the Walt Disney World® Swan or Dolphin hotels to Port Canaveral. Transfers can be added onto the reservation up to 3 days prior to sailing.

Disney Cruise Line® Guests can book transfers from the Walt Disney World® Swan or Dolphin hotels to Port Canaveral. Transfers can be added onto the reservation up to 3 days prior to sailing.

The following is the departure process for Guests who purchased ground transfers and are staying at the Walt Disney World Swan or Dolphin:

  • The day prior to sailing, Guests must contact 407-566-4040 to hear the recorded resort departure time.
  • Disney Cruise Line Cast Members will greet Guests staying at the Walt Disney World Swan or Dolphin approximately 15 minutes prior to departure time.
    • At the Walt Disney World Swan the meeting location is the main lobby
    • At the Walt Disney World Dolphin the meeting location is Starlight foyer, that is just off the main lobby
  • Prior to boarding, a positive ID check is performed for all Guests 18 years and older.
  • Guests must bring their luggage with Disney Cruise Line luggage tags attached with them to the boarding area.
    • The luggage will travel with Guests on the motorcoach and be unloaded by stevedores at Port Canaveral

Although Disney Cruise Line will transport Guests between the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin and Port Canaveral, Disney Cruise Line and Disney Magical Express are not able to offer transfers from Orlando International Airport to the Walt Disney World Swan or Dolphin.

A Real American Adventure: U.S. Soldier Returns from Afghanistan to Surprise His Family at Epcot

Who doesn’t love watching the creative ways that members of the U.S. Armed Forces are surprising their loved ones upon their return home from a tour of duty?

Earlier this week, SPC Scott Halquist of St. Cloud, Florida, reunited with his children right here at the American Adventure attraction in Epcot. After Voices of Liberty finished their performance, Halquist was announced as a surprise special guest – to the wide-eyed delight of his children Joshua, 2; Jack, 7; and Grace, 8.

Scott’s wife, Amy, worked with Walt Disney World Resort cast members to help arrange the surprise reunion for their family.

Now, is it just me, or is little 2-year-old Joshua the cutest thing ever as he jumped up and down waiting for his daddy?

VIDEO: How a Horse Becomes a Disneyland Horse: Owen Makes His Main Street, U.S.A., Debut at Disneyland Park

As we learned last time, Disneyland horse-in-training Owen has earned an A+ as he has been getting ready this year to join his fellow cast members on Main Street, U.S.A. Today we get to see a very important milestone in his training, “graduation” – his first time transporting Disneyland park guests in the Main Street streetcar!

Next time you’re on Main Street, U.S.A., keep an eye out for Owen and be sure to congratulate him on successfully completing his training!

VIDEO: Hawaiian Word of the Week from Aulani – hana no’eau

Disney’s Aulani Cast Members love to share the Hawaiian culture, history and language with their guests. This week, meet Hi’ilani, a cultural greeter, who will share the meaning of hana no‘eau – enjoy!

Walt Disney Imagineers worked hand-in-hand with locals to create Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina – a place that celebrates Hawaiian culture, history and traditions.

And, our Cast Members want to pass that along to you by sharing Hawaiian words each week.

This week’s word is hana no’eau, which means art.


Celebrating National Tell a Joke Day: Kidding Around at Downtown Disney

Know a good joke? Well practice your delivery because today is National Tell a Joke Day. One place where the laughs (and jokes) used to entertain guests nightly was at the Comedy Warehouse at Pleasure Island.

Comedy Warehouse at Pleasure Island

The 290 seat venue “where the tin roof rattled with laughter” was home to both headlining comedians and the Comedy Warehouse players who performed improvisational comedy shows nightly.

Comedy Warehouse at Pleasure Island

This early artist rendering of the Comedy Warehouse gave it a completely different look and feel to the prop warehouse guests and cast members grew to love.

Comedy Warehouse at Pleasure Island

While the laughs have stopped at the Comedy Warehouse at Pleasure Island, last year the troupe was resurrected for a holiday special at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Today, guests can visit the Monsters Inc. Laugh Floor at Magic Kingdom Park for a fresh serving of jokes by the monsters of Monstropolis.

“A Celebration of the Harry Potter Films” Event to Take Place in November at Universal Orlando Resort

Click Here to Book your Universal Vacation Now!

Harry Potter Event Universal orlando

Universal Orlando Resort announced that special vacation packages will go on sale Sunday, July 31st that will give guests the opportunity to attend “A Celebration of the Harry Potter Films.” This special event will be hosted by Warner Bros. and will celebrate a decade of movie history by allowing fans to share their love for the Harry Potter films. The event will take place from Friday, November 11, to Sunday, November 13, at Universal’s Islands of Adventure, home to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

During this special event, guests can celebrate their favorite memories and stories of Harry Potter with filmmakers, cast members and fellow fans.  While all theme park guests will be able to enjoy The Wizarding World of Harry Potter during their visit, only a limited number of guests and those who buy special event packages will have access to exclusive benefits such as:

  • A spectacular evening gala in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Autograph signings with stars from the Harry Potter films
  • Q&A sessions with Harry Potter filmmakers and cast members, along with the creators of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  • Screenings of all eight Harry Potter films – including “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2” – at the AMC Universal Cineplex 20 in Universal CityWalk.  Access to the screenings can be added to the vacation packages for an additional fee.

Throughout the three-day celebration, guests will also be able to explore The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, where the wonder, excitement and adventure of the Harry Potter films come to life.  They will enjoy experiences such as soaring above Hogwarts on Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey, sipping Butterbeer in Hogsmeade and being inside Ollivanders and seeing a wand choose its wizard.

The primary way to participate in celebration events is by purchasing one of Universal Orlando’s special vacation packages.  Packages are extremely limited and go on sale at noon EDT on Sunday, July 31. Guests can choose from two vacation package options:  the Celebration Vacation Package and the Premier Vacation Package. There will be additional ways for a limited number of people to participate in celebration events. Stay tuned for more details.

Vacation Packages for A Celebration of the Harry Potter Films

Celebration Vacation Package – Starts at $369 per person

  • 4-night accommodations at a Universal Partner Hotel
  • 3-day ticket to both of Universal Orlando’s theme parks
  • More time to enjoy The Wizarding World of Harry Potter with Early Park Admission starting at 6 a.m.
  • Reservation to one in-park Harry Potter talent Q&A session (one per person)
  • Commemorative pin (one per person)
  • Harry Potter Blu-Ray set (one per package)

Premier Vacation Package – Starts at $699 per person
All of the above, PLUS:

  • Reservation to one in-park Harry Potter cast member autograph session
  • Admission to the exclusive nighttime gala event on Sunday, November 13
  • Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks

Click Here to Book your Universal Vacation Now!

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