LOTS OF DISNEY, ORLANDO AND PLACES THEREABOUTS !!

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Crystal Boston

Crystal Boston has 17 articles published.

Minnie Van Service – Walt Disney World Resort

in Walt Disney World by

Have you heard about the new ‘Minnie Vans’ at Walt Disney World? I recently had the opportunity to experience this new way to get around property.

With the new ‘Minnie Van’ service, all vehicles are driven by Disney Cast Members and the vans are owned and operated by Disney. Service is offered from 6:30 am – 12:30 am daily (subject to change). Currently, you use your Lyft app to request a ride. The flat rate of $20.00 will get you anywhere on property from a designated originating resort and, if you would like to tip your Disney Cast Member, tipping is also available through the Lyft app. If all goes as planned, within about 2 years, Disney plans to expand their fleet and offer originating rides from more resorts and locations on property, and add the service to the My Disney Experience (MDE) app.

For now, to be eligible to use the new ‘Minnie Van’ service, you must be staying on property at one of the designated originating Deluxe resorts – Disney’s Boardwalk Resort, Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – including Copper Creek Villas and Cabins and Boulder Ridge Villas, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village and Jambo House, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower.
To get started, you must have a Lyft account already set up on your phone through the Lyft app, and there is a one-time set up process using the phone number that you use with your Lyft app.

Note: On your arrival at one of the designated originating resorts, your MDE app should notify you that the ‘Minnie Van’ service is available and you can complete the set up right from your MDE app. If you miss that notification, just inquire at the front desk for set up.

And, Landon, at Bell Services at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort is the expert at that location but any Cast Member at Bell Services or the front lobby desk can assist you with set up and questions.

Once you are set up with the service, you are ready to request your first ride!
You should plan to reserve your ride about 15 minutes before your preferred pick-up time as wait times can be 15-20 minutes. The standard ‘Minnie Vans’ will seat up to 6 guests and all carry 2 car seats and each will accommodate rear facing up to booster. Vans are configured with bucket seats in the front row, captain’s chairs in the second row, and a third row bench seat that is best suited for your little ones or smaller adults. All vans offer phone charging via USB ports, and rear seat climate controls to help you adjust the temperate to your liking. And our driver even had Disney music on the radio!

If you require a mobility van, which will accommodate one mobility scooter/vehicle and up to a total of 8 guests, you will need to ask the front desk to request this type of van for you. There are 2 mobility vans currently in the fleet.

The $20.00 flat rate is per vehicle so, if your group is larger than 6 guests for a standard van or 8 guests for a mobility van, you will need to request 2 vehicles from separate Lyft accounts and pay the $20.00 flat rate each.
The ‘Minnie Vans’ will only provide service on Disney property – no airport pick up or drop off service. They will make multiple stops if needed – for example, if you originate at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort and you have friends staying at Pop Century that you would like to stop and pick up – as long as you are all going to same destination and you all fit in one vehicle you’re set! The ‘Minnie Vans’ will also make quick stops (around 5 minutes) at non-Disney locations on property, such as gas stations and McDonald’s.

If you are headed to experience the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue, your ‘Minnie Van’ will drop you off right at The Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort so you can skip the bus. At Magic Kingdom, they drop off and pick up at Bus Stop #11 in the bus loop – however, the Lyft app will show Ticket & Transportation Center. At the larger resorts, the ‘Minnie Van’ will pick up and drop off close to your room. And, if you take a ‘Minnie Van’ to a destination on property from your designated originating resort you can absolutely request a return ride!

If you happen to lose any items during your ‘Minnie Van’ ride, they will try to get your Lost & Found items back to the location closest to where you were dropped off or originated from.
I would definitely suggest trying the new ‘Minnie Van’ service, especially for early morning dining reservations, signature dining experiences where you a bit more dressed up or getting back to your resort at park closing after a full day of parks. It’s quick and convenient and, well, it’s just FUN to ride in that red polka dot ‘Minnie Van’!!

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The Pirates League – Magic Kingdom

in Walt Disney World by

Show your Pirate side the next time you visit Magic Kingdom park!

Similar to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique experience, which is for ages 3-12, The Pirates League is a makeover experience that the whole family (ages 3 and up) can enjoy together! Choose from pirate, empress or mermaid options, all with coordinating accessories to complete your makeover.
Most pirate packages include facial makeup and hair, sword and The Pirates League logo sash, reversible bandana, earring and eye patch, The Pirates League bag, temporary pirate tattoo, unique pirate coin necklace, pirate’s key, official pirate name and personalized pirate oath. The mermaid packages include luminous mermaid makeup and makeup palette and nail polish, mermaid hairstyle and color-changing hair clip, distinctive mermaid necklace, mermaid sash and bracelet.

Our little pirate chose the zombie pirate makeover because it was scary. Your first task for your makeover is to determine your pirate name by spinning a wheel which turns a treasure chest to roll the dice. The numbers on the dice lead you to your pirate name. Our zombie’s official pirate name was ‘Benjamin Sharkstench’.

All of the ‘Pirate Masters’ are friendly and very good with the little ones, telling jokes and sharing pirate stories as they transform your pirate. If it’s your birthday, be sure to let them know and they whole crew will sing you a pirate birthday song!

Once your makeover is complete, you are sworn in to The Pirates League and taken to a hidden chamber where your Pirate Master will surprise you with a bit of pirate treasure.

Our little pirate enjoyed this makeover experience. One of his favorite parts was that during our day in the park everyone was looking at him and commented how awesome his face paint was.

For the money and the experience, I highly recommend this makeover. It’s much easier to confirm a reservation than the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and adults can participate too – I think, one day soon, my husband and I might just have our own pirate makeover experience!

The Pirates League is located between the entrance of Pirates of the Caribbean and Plaza del Sol Bazaar. Reservations are recommended and can be made up to 180 days in advance, packages start at $39.95. Options for the basic pirate and mermaid packages can even include an entire pirate or mermaid outfit, for an additional charge.

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Disney Cruise Line – Holiday Cruises

in Disney Cruise Line by

It’s never too early for holiday shopping and I can help you give the perfect gift this year!

Now is the time to book YOUR holiday cruise with Disney!

Itineraries now available through January 2019.

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Pandora – The World of Avatar – My Nighttime Experience

in Walt Disney World by

Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park opened May 27, 2017 bringing a flight simulator based-banshee attraction and boat ride through the landscape of Pandora. I experienced a preview of this amazing new land earlier in May and was there on opening day to experience the new entertainment and nighttime Pandora.

Entertainment on Pandora – The World of Avatar is focused around a Na’vi-built drum circle, containing instruments you can play, Na’vi totems and other cultural items found throughout the land. Swotu Wayä – which means “Sacred Place of Song” – is located in the heart of Mo’ara Valley and has the most beautiful backdrop of any stage at Walt Disney World! Performances are fun and interactive with a message of peace and can be seen every hour on the half starting at 10:30 am until 30 minutes before Pandora closes.
*Please check Time Guides for updated performance times.


Once darkness falls, the many unique and exotic plants of Pandora come to life with their beautiful bioluminescence in many different shades and patterns – even the ground you walk on is full of beautiful color!

Look for interactive experiences throughout the land too – floating plants that respond to your arm movements and more. And it’s not only the colors that will surprise you, even the sounds of this amazing land change after sunset. As you move through Pandora at night you can occasionally hear the calls and footsteps of the many fantastic beasts that populate the nearby mountains.

On opening day, Walt Disney World also introduced mobile ordering – only available at Satu’li Canteen. Simply find a table at the canteen area and, using your My Disney Experience Mobile App, you can easily place your order for food and beverage and will be notified via your app when your order is ready. You will only need to know your order number for pick-up. Currently, to use Mobile Order, your MDE account must have a credit card linked and all charges will be applied to the linked credit card – Disney Dining Plans and Gift Cards are not accepted. Mobile Order will expand to other quick service locations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park this summer – and hopefully property-wide soon after!

For a limited time, now thru July 4, 2017, Disney’s Animal Kingdom park will be open from 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM, giving you more time than ever to explore Pandora – The World of Avatar.
And for Guests staying at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels there will be “Extra” Extra Magic Hours—available exclusively in Pandora – The World of Avatar from 11:00 PM to 1:00 AM, May 27 to July 4, 2017 AND July 4 to August 19, 2017 from 10:00 PM to Midnight! There’s still time to book your summer vacation and experience Pandora – The World of Avatar for these special resort Guest benefits!

Be sure to read about my preview experience on Pandora – The World of Avatar too!

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The Disney Fantasy – A Disney Cruise Line Ship

in Disney Cruise Line by

I just returned from my Disney Cruise Line vacation on the inaugural sailing of the Disney Fantasy after dry dock and WOW – the Disney Fantasy is a magical ship!

It’s been 2 ½ years since my last cruise and I was ready! This was my first experience on the Disney Fantasy and I was excited to experience the ship and learn about everything new.

My husband was cruising with me and we chose a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah for our first Disney Fantasy experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Disney Cruise Line has thought of everything to ensure first-rate comfort and convenience during your voyage. The verandah is a private sanctuary where you can watch the sun rise, bask in ocean breezes and enjoy your morning coffee or an evening beverage. We have never felt cramped or crowded in our stateroom when cruising with Disney. The Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah design features include:
– A sitting area with a couch, TV and desk
– A heavy privacy curtain to separate the sitting and sleeping areas
– A “split bath” (in most) that includes a bathroom with a vanity, sink, shower and tub and a half bathroom with a vanity, sink and toilet
– A leather-upholstered ottoman with hollow inside storage
– Cabinets with storage space in the living area
– And my favorite feature – Elevated wooden bed frames for under-bed storage of suitcases and other large items
For the kids (or kids at heart), a mural of Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Wendy and her brothers soaring through a starry sky reveals itself when the upper-berth bed is pulled down!

This inaugural sailing included 2 full days on Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, consistently rated by Disney Guests as their favorite port of call – and MY favorite port of call when cruising with Disney!! Castaway Cay is reserved exclusively for Disney cruisers and the ship will dock right at the island to allow you to come and go as you please while enjoying experiences such as snorkeling, boating, swimming and sunbathing and bicycles can also be rented if you want to explore the island’s nature trails.

While all areas of the island can be reached by walking, an island tram offers four stops to help you easily get where you want to go.

Your “Key to the World” card will work for all purchases on Castaway Cay except at the local post office where you can send mail to your loved ones back home with a Bahamian postage stamp; the post card postage rate is approximately $0.65 USD each.
Dining is also included as part of your cruise package with covered outdoor restaurants serving burgers, BBQ chicken and ribs. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase and, if you are traveling without children, Disney offers “adult only” areas at Castaway Cay – Serenity Bay is a secluded beach exclusively for adults (where you just might encounter Captain Jack Sparrow strolling the beach!) and families can have fun together at the Castaway Family Beach.

We are runners and Disney Cruise Line offers a 5K on Castaway Cay. It’s very informal but you do get race bibs and a medal at the finish line. If you want to participate in the 5K on Castaway Cay, you can register at Guest Services when you board your cruise.

Your registration ticket, “Key to the World” and photo ID are required the day of your event to participate. The 3.1-mile out-and-back event is free and family friendly; it’s open to walkers and runners ages 10 and older. The race takes place first thing in the morning on the island, typically with a meeting time onboard of 8 am. The vibe of the event is casual, a fun experience worth the early wake-up!

Cruising with Disney is a very casual experience – I wore simple dresses and flip flops while my husband wore shorts and polos – even to dinner. The only exceptions are if you reserve adult only dinging experiences at Palo or Remy which both have dress codes. We enjoy the rotational dining exclusive to Disney Cruise Line, experiencing a different restaurant and menu with the same servers each evening. And, unlimited room service is also included!!

In addition to exceptional dining experiences, Disney Cruise Line offers many entertainment options including Broadway-like musical productions, viewings of recently released Disney movies, character meet & greets that you often cannot find at the parks, deck parties, dance clubs, karaoke, trivia and so much more!

A few new experiences now offered on the Disney Fantasy include Sweet on You, Tiffany & Co., and something just for kids, Star Wars: Command Post and Marvel Super Hero Academy.

Indulge in frozen desserts that satisfy your confectionary cravings at Sweet on You, a specialty ice cream emporium located just outside Cabana’s featuring 20 hand-crafted gelatos, 16 ice cream flavors, 32 toppings, homemade chocolate, truffles, a large selection of candy and more!

Disney Cruise Line now hosts the world’s premier jewelry and iconic American luxury brand, Tiffany & Co., with an exclusive store aboard the Disney Fantasy. Indulge your most dazzling fantasies and peruse Tiffany’s timeless designs and discover why that little blue box is known around the globe!

At Disney’s Oceaneer Club young cruisers can experience Star Wars: Command Post and Marvel Super Hero Academy.

There is definitely enough to keep you busy on a Disney Cruise if you aren’t the lounging at the pool or beach type.

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Pandora – The World of Avatar

in Walt Disney World by

Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park is scheduled to open May 27, 2017 bringing a flight simulator based banshee attraction and boat ride through the landscape of Pandora. I recently experienced a preview of this amazing new land!

As you enter, you walk through the Valley of Mo’ara and the enormous floating mountains are all around you. The valley is also home to many unique species of plants that can only be found on Pandora. There is a Na’vi-built drum circle, containing instruments you can play, Na’vi totems and other cultural items found throughout the land as well as two new Wilderness Explorers challenges with badges to collect.

This new land also offers 2 new ride experiences as well as a new quick service dining option and a new beverage stand and, of course, Pandora – The World of Avatar themed shopping experiences too!

Avatar Flight of Passage is an exhilarating, 3D ride where you fly on the back of a mountain banshee offering you a breathtaking, first-person flight over the moon’s incredible landscape. This experience is for those 44” and taller and is quite a thrilling ride. Once you enter, there is a pre-experience que similar to DINOSAUR that is narrated by video conferencing but that is also interactive. Once you enter the flight room you mount your own banshee and prepare to take flight. Many have compared this experience to Soarin’ but it is SO MUCH MORE! This is not just a view of the World of Avatar, this ride truly immerses you in the land! FastPass+ is highly recommended for this new experience. After our flight we were able to tour the standby que so even if you don’t have FastPass+, the standby que is quite amazing in itself.

Na’vi River Journey is a boat ride that takes you on a journey deep into a bioluminescent rainforest in search of the Na’vi Shaman of Songs. This is an experience the whole family can enjoy and is similar to boat experiences at the other Walt Disney World parks. The boats each have two rows that will comfortably seat 4 Guests each. After coasting through a series of caves, and passing by exotic glowing plants and amazing creatures of the rainforest, you’ll soon find yourself face-to-face with the Na’vi Shaman of Songs. Your adventure comes to a conclusion as the Shaman demonstrates her deep connection to the life force of Pandora and sends positive energy out into the forest through the power of her music.

The new Pandora – World of Avatar dining and beverage options are Satu’li Canteen and Pongu Pongu, meaning “Party Party” in the language of the Na’vi.
Both offer themed menu items with Satu’li Canteen offering Quick Service dining for breakfast, lunch and dinner and Pongu Pongu offering a quick stop for themed beverages. Of course, my favorite treat on the menu was the Blueberry Cream Cheese Mousse!

For Pandora – The World of Avatar themed shopping, this new land offers Windtraders, which is the exit for Avatar Flight of Passage where you can choose from Na’vi cultural items, toys, science kits and more.

And Colors of Mo’arais, a retail kiosk that also offers Na’vi-inspired face-painting.





Maximize your time at Pandora – The World of Avatar with extended theme park hours, “Extra” Extra Magic Hours for resort Guests and FastPass+!
For a limited time, May 27 to July 4, 2017, Disney’s Animal Kingdom park will be open from 8:00 AM to 11:00 PM, giving you more time than ever to explore Pandora – The World of Avatar.
And for Guests staying at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels there will be “Extra” Extra Magic Hours—available exclusively in Pandora – The World of Avatar from 11:00 PM to 1:00 AM, May 27 to July 4, 2017 AND July 4 to August 19, 2017 from 10:00 PM to Midnight!
There’s still time to book your summer vacation and experience Pandora – The World of Avatar for these exclusive benefits offered only to resort Guests! Request Your Today!

*TIP: Avatar Flight of Passage and Na’vi River Journey are both Tier 1 FastPass+ selections at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park. If you are only planning for one day at this park, I highly recommend FastPass+ for Avatar Flight of Passage and doing Na’vi River Journey as standby. However, if you are a resort Guest the “Extra” Extra Magic Hours may give you the opportunity to do both without FastPass+.

Check HERE to read about my nighttime experience on Pandora – The World of Avatar which comes to life with beautiful bioluminescence each night!

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Disney’s Express Transportation – Walt Disney World Resort

in Walt Disney World by

There’s a new way to get around Walt Disney World parks and it’s a VIP experience!!

If you have been to Walt Disney World Resort recently, you know all about getting through security and bag checks… Wouldn’t you love if you only needed to pass through a security checkpoint once per day? Now you can!!

If you have a Park Hopper ticket or are an Annual Passholder, you can add Disney’s Express Transportation option and only go through security and bag check once each day – even if you hit all 4 parks – giving you more time in the parks! Disney’s Express Transportation picks you up and drops you off INSIDE the parks!

Start your day in one park, using the normal security checkpoint, and when you are ready to head to the next park simply check-in at the Express Transportation kiosk location inside the park and a Cast Member will escort you backstage to your VIP transportation.

Purchase your Express Transportation access at any ticket window outside a park, Guest Relations inside a park, Disney Springs ticket window, your hotel concierge, or at the kiosks at the Express Transportation check-in locations and you are ready for VIP transportation for one day for date of purchase or up to 7 consecutive days beginning on date of purchase. Advance purchase is not yet available.



Disney’s Express Transportation service departs approximately every 30 minutes and runs each day from 10:00 AM until park closing. Your VIP Express Transportation will travel directly between each of the theme parks, no stops along the way, and drops you off inside the park so you are ready for fun from the moment you arrive! You will have unlimited transfers between all 4 theme parks for as long as your Express Transportation ticket is valid.

Price per Guest (Ages 3+)
Single-day ticket: $19 – Valid for date of purchase only
Multi-day ticket: $29 – Valid for up to 7 consecutive days beginning on date of purchase
*NOTE: Pricing and availability are subject to change.







I took advantage of Disney’s Express Transportation during my last stay at Walt Disney World Resort. It was so quick and easy to get from one park to another. This VIP experience is definitely the way to go, especially if you have little ones with strollers and bags, and I felt the price was very fair!!

**Please Note: The Express Transportation add-on service at Walt Disney World Resort will end Wednesday, August 23, 2017. The last day for guests to purchase this service will be Wednesday, August 16, 2017.

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Everything Star Wars at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

in Orlando/Stay on Property/Walt Disney World by

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is THE PARK for everything Star Wars! Discover new and updated Star Wars experiences that bring you closer to the epic saga than ever before. It’s all here for you to explore! In order to help you plan your Hollywood Studio’s visit, you will find below links to all of the Star Wars experiences including performance times for the major stage shows and fireworks:
*Please check your My Disney Experience Mobile App or Times Guides at the park for current performance times for major stage shows and fireworks.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park Map

Hollywood Blvd (HB) – March of the First Order, Star Wars: a Galaxy Far, Far Away, Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular
Echo Lake (EL) – Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, Star Wars: Path of the Jedi, Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, Tatooine Traders
Streets of America*Coming in 2018
Animation Courtyard (AC) – Star Wars Launch Bay, Star Wars Launch Bay Theater, Kylo Ren at Star Wars Launch Bay, Chewbacca at Star Wars Launch Bay, BB-8 at Star Wars Launch Bay *Coming Spring 2017

Rides, Shows, Stage Shows & Fireworks:
Star Tours – The Adventures Continue (EL) (40 inches) *Offers Rider Switch Make the jump to hyperspace—and to a new destination from Star Wars: The Force Awakens—during a 3D, motion-simulated space flight. *New for 2017, voyage changes, switching back to randomized beginnings, and final destinations will include scenes from the film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
*Tip: FastPass is available for this experience and is recommended.

Star Wars: Path of the Jedi (EL)
Watch a 10-minute retelling of the blockbuster Star Wars saga and get a peek at the future of the galaxy.

Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple (EL)
Watch younglings train in the ways of the Force and put their skills to the test against the Dark Side! *TIP: Arrive before park opening to register your child, ages 4-12, for this experience. Your child must be present at the time of registration to participate. Registration is located at the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost located between the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular! and the 50’s Prime Time Café. Availability is limited and offered on a first-come, first-served basis. Be flexible with your schedule to accommodate training times.

Star Wars Launch Bay (AC)

Check out movie props, play games, snap photos, screen videos, and greet Star Wars heroes and villains. *New for 2017 Star Wars Launch Bay will feature new props from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

Star Wars Launch Bay Theater (AC)
Watch a behind-the-scenes video and see how a new generation of filmmakers is designing the future of the Star Wars saga. *New for 2017 making-of footage can be seen in the attraction’s behind-the-scenes film, “Meet the Makers.”

March of the First Order (HB)
Watch and listen as Captain Phasma, a ruthless commander, leads her squad of Stormtroopers up Hollywood Boulevard to Center Stage. *This experience provides a great photo or video opportunity too!

Star Wars: a Galaxy Far, Far Away (HB)

Witness the power of this live show that brings iconic Star Wars moments to life. *New for 2017 Advanced Weapons Research (AWR) Troopers from the film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story will debut during a new scene. AWR Troopers are encased in specialized Stormtrooper armor with a dark, ominous gleam.
*Tip: If you have seen this show previously or the viewing area in front of the stage is already full, stand behind the stage during the show and then just to the left facing side of the stage as the show is ending and you will see the Star Wars characters as they exit, sometimes getting a fist bump or two, for great photo opportunities! Another good spot to see the characters enter and leave the stage (if you have already seen the show) is in the Great Movie Ride courtyard.

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular (HB)
Conclude your day with an out of this world fireworks finale bursting with Star Wars music and magic which includes a celebration of the theatrical release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.
*TIP: Cast Members will ask everyone stand up before the show starts. The best location is, of course, front and center stage – but you will need to arrive early to snag a spot! If the front section is full, the next best spot is center to the stage just to the right of the handicap area behind the section taped off for a walkway or any spot center to the stage will be a good viewing area. The There is no stage show, everything happens on the screens mounted on the stage or in the sky. Watch for the light sabers too!

Star Wars Characters Meet & Greets:
Kylo Ren at Star Wars Launch Bay (AC)

Chewbacca at Star Wars Launch Bay (AC)
BB-8 at Star Wars Launch Bay (AC)


*TIP: Wait times can be long but the lines do move quickly, so don’t be intimidated by a long wait time – at least it’s air conditioned! If you are a Disney Visa Cardmember, just present your Disney Visa card for a special character meet & greet offered daily from 11am to 4pm. Characters may vary daily for this offer. Also, during the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party is a great time to experience the characters as wait times are 20 minutes or less.

Photo Opportunities:
Star Wars Photo Opportunities
Snap a photo in Star Wars settings or next to replica movie props to prove that you visited a galaxy far, far away.

Dining:
Backlot Express (EL)
Celebrate your love for a galaxy far, far away with Star Wars-themed eats like the Royal Guard Burger, Galactic Chicken Salad or even Dark Side Chicken and Waffle! Desserts, adult beverages and soft drinks are also available.

Shopping:
Tatooine Traders (EL)
Descend upon this desert dome to procure rare Star Wars memorabilia and create your very own lightsaber or droid.

Special Events & Tours:
Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party
Watch the fireworks from a reserved viewing area with Star Wars-themed desserts and drinks—plus receive a souvenir stein.
*Tip: Advance reservations are highly recommended.
Star Wars Guided Tour
New for 2017, this seven-hour guided tour will be led by an “all-in-the-know” Star Wars tour guide. You will experience Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, get an in-depth, insider’s tour around Launch Bay, and enjoy Star Wars-themed menu items at Backlot Express. Plus, Guests age 4-12 will have an opportunity to participate in Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. And, the finale of this unforgettable day includes the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party with themed desserts and specialty beverages, which also includes reserved viewing for the fireworks show and a souvenir stein. *TIP: I highly recommend this experience, especially if you are a Star Wars fan! The cost for the tour compared to the cost for the dessert party is a DEAL! Plus, this BONUS, if you have younglings that want to participate in the Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple experience, doing the tour provides the opportunity to participate without the need to arrive before park opening to sign up.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios park admission is required for both experiences. Additional fees apply for these separate ticketed experiences.

The Star Wars adventure is only just beginning at Walt Disney World Resort—even more is on the horizon! Disney’s Hollywood Studios is already packed with Star Wars attractions, entertainment, and shopping… but new additions are debuting all the time. The Star Wars experience at Walt Disney World Resort will also include a Star Wars-themed Land, the largest single-themed expansion ever added to a Disney theme park!


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Rivers of Light – Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

in Orlando/Stay on Property/Walt Disney World by

The long awaited ‘Rivers of Light’ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park has finally made it’s debut!

Rivers of Light is located in the park’s Discovery River lagoon between Discovery Island and Expedition Everest. It features water fountains, mist screens, floating lanterns, fire effects, lasers, lights, fog, projection mapping as well as live performers and incorporates the park’s Tree of Life into the show too.

This new nighttime experience celebrates the beauty of all living things. With a brilliant fusion of water, sound and light, it’s a unique experience that will entertain the whole family!

Rivers of Light is staged in the middle of the Discovery River, with seating split in two sections: on the shores of Asia in front of Expedition Everest, and along the banks of DinoLand U.S.A. in front of Finding Nemo—The Musical. All of the seats in Asia – half of the show’s 5,000 seats – are reserved for Guests with FastPass+. The other half of the seats, on the DinoLand side, are for those booking the Rivers of Light dining packages (available at Tusker House or Tiffins) and for standby Guests. There are also very limited, partially obstructed viewing areas around the river. I have viewed from all 3 areas and I highly recommend the dining package viewing area if you plan to see this new experience!

As sunlight fades, the ‘stars’ begin to twinkle in the trees surrounding Discovery River. A vibrant awakening of flitting fireflies leading to a ceremonious procession across the water of floating lotus blossoms that morph into colorful dancing fountains and over-sized animal sculptures – tiger, turtle, elephant, and owl – that light up in various colors.

The show begins with four flickering, lotus flower lanterns floating on the lagoon. They’re soon joined by shamans. The shamans conjure the forces of fire and water to reveal the majesty of the natural world, mostly as video projections on a huge water screen projected at the back of the lagoon.

In the final moments, the largest lotus sprouts a blazing tower. This magnetic display culminates in a triumphant blend of song, light, color and earthly elements. We are all bound together by earth and spirit — past, present and future.

Rivers of Light joins other nighttime experiences recently added to Animal Kingdom, including the sunset Kilimanjaro Safaris, Discovery Island Carnivale, Harambe Wildlife Parti and the Tree of Life awakening. Be sure to watch the video posted above, my photos do not do this show proper justice!

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Universal Orlando Resort

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Your kids grow up and so do vacations. If you are looking for a vacation destination that offers fun and thrills for the whole family, a Universal Orlando Resort vacation is the perfect destination vacation for you!

I recently completed a week of training at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida and it is the Ultimate Central Florida Vacation destination!

CABANA BAY BEACH RESORT

We spent our week at Cabana Bay Beach Resort and it’s a fun resort with so much to do! Go for a swim or relax in the lazy river, take the family for a game or two at the bowling alley or get your fitness on at the Jack LaLanne Fitness Center. From the moment you arrive, you will be taken back to the iconic beach resorts of the era with décor that throws back to the 1950’s and 60’s. It’s a fun place to hang out with the entire family. Also, when staying on property, you will enjoy exclusive benefits to make the most of your vacation. It’s the best way to experience all that Universal Orlando Resort has to offer!
LOWES ROYAL PACIFIC RESORT

On our first day we were able to tour all 5 of the resorts on property. Although Cabana Bay Beach Resort has a fun throw-back vibe, I prefer the tropical styling of Loews Royal Pacific Resort. This resort offers the breathtaking splendor of lush tropical surroundings and you feel like you’re on a tropical island in the South Seas.

LOWES PORTOFINO BAY RESORT

   In addition, Lowes Royal Pacific Resort offers Universal Express Unlimited ride access in both theme parks FREE with your resort stay, which is also offered at Hard Rock Hotel and Loews Portofino Bay Hotel.

HARD ROCK HOTEL

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort and Cabana Bay Beach Resort do not offer the Universal Express Unlimited ride access.

LOWES SAPPHIRE FALLS RESORT

Universal Orlando Resort also offers special events throughout the year, and most all are included with your park admission! We were lucky enough to be at the resort during the Mardi Gras celebration and participated in the Mardi Gras parade held nightly during the celebration! Other special events throughout the year include ‘A Celebration of Harry Potter’ (usually held the last week of January), ‘Halloween Horror Nights’ held in the fall (this is a special ticketed event and is not included with regular park admission), and the ‘Macy’s Holiday Parade’ and ‘Grinchmas’ experience held in the winter.

We kicked off our second day with breakfast at Three Broomsticks inside Universal’s Islands of Adventure park. This Happy Potter themed dining experience offers a traditional English breakfast, porridge, and other more traditional options along with pumpkin juice and Butterbeer! We were then free to tour the parks and explore on our own. If you want to experience all of the Harry Potter themed adventures, be sure to add a Park-to-Park ticket with your package as the Harry Potter experiences are in both parks and you can’t get from one to the other, or ride the Hogwarts Express, without a Park-to-Park ticket.
During the day we were able to use the Universal Orlando Dining Plans for Quick Service and Table Service. There are many good Quick Service options both inside the parks and a couple at CityWalk. I chose Bread Box Handcrafted Sandwiches for my Quick Service lunch. This is a uniquely themed little spot that looks like an old-time soda shop, with great food and atmosphere. It was a quiet place to relax after a morning in the parks. For evening, we dined at Vivo in CityWalk and the service, food and experience were all excellent. The dining plans are easy to use and the Team Members and servers can all answer your questions about how to use your dining plans.

Day three we were able to experience a VIP Tour and I would highly recommend adding a VIP Experience Tour to your vacation package! Along with a personal guide, the VIP Experience includes priority front of the line access to all rides and attractions including The Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man, TRANSFORMERS: The Ride-3D and all of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter attractions and experiences; exclusive behind the scenes tours, complimentary valet parking (1 vehicle, based on availability); continental breakfast to start your day, reserved Seating at shows; lunch at one of Universal Orlando’s 50+ dining venues. All VIP Experience Tours are date and time specific. There is also a Private VIP Experience Tour option as well as Halloween Horror Nights Tours. While we were able to experience attractions without waiting, it was also exciting to see the backstage areas of the parks. For our evening experience, we enjoyed the entertainment of the Blue Man Group. This is a family friendly and fun show that is also definitely worth adding to your vacation package.

Universal Orlando Resort will have new attractions opening soon, including Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon and Fast & Furious Supercharged Underground Racing as well as a whole new park – Volcano Bay (which will offer virtual lines via TapuTapu, an interactive wearable designed exclusively for Volcano Bay experiences) – opening May 25, 2017! You will want to experience this full day water park during your vacation which will also offer themed dining experiences and shopping. Be sure to add at least a 3-Day Park-to-Park ticket to your vacation package so that you can experience all that Universal Orlando Resort has to offer!

If you are looking for excitement, thrills AND relaxation for your next vacation, something that is family friendly – from the little ones up to the adults – I highly recommend Universal Orlando Resort in Florida! So, come on, what are you waiting for? Contact me today and let me help you create your own #universalmoments!

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