Tag Archives: memories

Royal Pacific Paradise

Staying onsite at Universal Orlando Resort has many benefits and staying at one of the 3 deluxe resorts  includes the best benefit of all, included Unlimited Express Pass.

HOTEL GUESTS ENJOY EXCLUSIVE THEME PARK BENEFITS
  • SKIP THE REGULAR LINES with Universal Express SM Unlimited ride access* in both theme parks – a FREE benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day^
    (valid theme park admission required)
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™, one hour before the theme park opens (valid theme park admission required)

Loews Royal Pacific offers the lowest cost option of the deluxe resorts and is an absolutely gorgeous resort. Easy walking distance to both parks and boat service as well.

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Dine on exceptional cuisine; delight in the impeccable service; and soak in the breathtaking splendor of lush tropical surroundings at a white sandy beach of the lagoon-style swimming pool; all while enjoying the latest in modern conveniences.

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Royal Pacific offers several room categories, from standard, water view, suites and their fun kid’s suites…Jurassic Park themed!

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Guest Room Amenities

  • 1,000 guest rooms including 51 suites; rooms start at 335 sq. ft
  • Flat panel television with HD channels and On Demand® in-room movies (fees apply)
  • iHome clock radio and docking station
  • Keurig coffee maker featuring Emeril’s Gourmet Coffee and assorted teas
  • Refrigerator
  • Cotton signature bathrobes
  • Nightly turndown service (upon request)
  • Iron, ironing board, hairdryer and in-room safe
  • Complimentary* wireless internet access in each guest room and most common areas of the hotel
  • Upgrade to Premium Plus^ wireless internet access for optimal entertainment and business needs
  • 2 telephones (1 cordless) with dual voice lines, data port and voicemail
  • Club Level rooms feature complimentary continental breakfast, access to the fitness center, and more

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Hotel Amenities

Whether it’s relaxing in the serene lagoon-style pool, the sights and sounds of our weekly luau, or a workout in the fitness center, Loews Royal Pacific Resort has something for everyone.

Pools

One of the most impressive features of this resort is the lagoon-style swimming pool and sandy beach. Sink your toes into the sand and ease your body into your lounge chair. Lagoon style swimming pool featuring a white sand beach and the following:

  • Two (2) hot tubs
  • Beach volleyball court
  • Private cabanas for rent

Mandara Spa® & Fitness Center

Visit the full service Mandara Spa® next door at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel. Mandara Spa® offers comprehensive wellness services, a de-stressing zone where you can work out, or tune out with a delicious spa treatment.

Supervised Kids Camp

When Mom and Dad want to enjoy a night on the town, drop the kids off at the supervised children’s activity center.

Kids will enjoy an arts & crafts table, storybook corner, computer desks, a movie room, and more. Counselors are trained to supervise toilet-trained children ages 4-14 only. One counselor for every 8-10 children.

COST: $15 per hour, per child / $15 per meal

HOURS: Open from 5:00 pm to 11:30 pm, Sunday through Thursday and from 5:00 pm to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays. * Times are subject to change.

Restaurants

Emeril’s Tchoup Chop

In both atmosphere and menu, Emeril’s Tchoup Chop offers diners a unique and exotic journey through the Pacific Seas, a perfect complement for the Loews Royal Pacific Resort, complete with bamboo, waterfalls, sculpted gardens and giant woks in full view.

Islands Dining Room

Enjoy savory chef-inspired creations featuring noodle bar dishes, rice bowls, wok and hibachi specialties. At breakfast, join us for traditional favorites, along with several Polynesian-influenced morning specialties.

Jake’s American Bar

Jake’s American Bar is the perfect place to meet for drinks and lively conversation after your day’s adventures.

Wantilan Luau

Sit back and experience an evening of authentic Polynesian food and entertainment at the enchanting Wantilan Luau, a weekly Hawaiian dinner show featuring an all-you-can-eat buffet of Polynesian specialties, live Hawaiian music and traditional hula dancing. Hula and fire dancers delight the audience and entice a few to even learn the hula! (Fees apply; reservations required)

Orchid Court Lounge & Sushi Bar

Enjoy a continental breakfast or a tropical cocktail at the Orchid Court Lounge, which overlooks a serene orchid garden. The Orchid Court Sushi Bar features modern, inventive sushi and sashimi presentations along with Asian-inspired desserts and South Seas martinis.

Bula Bar & Grille

Bula means “welcome” in Fijian, and you’ll definitely feel right at home at this poolside eatery serving up food and beverages with a tropical flair.

THE LONGER YOU STAY THE MORE YOU SAVE!

Stay more nights and save up to 35%!

Contact me to get starting planning your EPIC vacation at Universal Orlando!

Top 3 Reasons to be at Rope Drop

Rope Drop is what opening is called at the Disney theme parks. At Magic Kingdom, they have a Welcome Show each morning as a part of their Rope Drop. Occasionally, the other parks have had shows as well, but not regularly.

Why should you plan to be at the Magic Kingdom in time for Rope Drop?

 

3. It’s a fun show! The train pulls into the station with most of the characters on it, there is singing, dancing, waving, confetti and often a Family of the Day picked from the early arrivals to the park. Often there is fun going on just inside the park as well, cast members waving hello, the Dapper Dan’s may be out. It’s exciting!

Rope Drop
Welcome Show at Magic Kingdom
Rope Drop
Where else can you see Drizella and Anastasia getting into trouble with Stitch!

Rope Drop

2. Parks are empty! You are walking into an empty park. A cast member will lead people to the main attractions and there are photo ops with  fewer people than you will see for the rest of the day. You can ride the big ticket rides with little to no wait, more than once if you’d like.

Liberty Square
An empty Liberty Square

Liberty Square

1. The number one reason is to maximize your time in the park! By arriving at opening when crowds are minimal and many are still sleeping in, you’ll have access to many rides with little to no wait for an hour or two. You’ll get much more accomplished in the morning than in the afternoon and it’s not quite as hot either.

Tomorrowland at rope drop
Heading to Space Mountain first thing at Rope Drop, nobody ahead of us!

 

While sleeping in is nice, my number one recommendation on a Disney trip is to be at Rope Drop and make the most of your time. Relax by the pool later in the afternoon when the lines are long and the parks are crowded.

 

Here Come Mickey and Santa

Join Mickey at this festive winter celebration for live entertainment, spectacular fireworks and an oh-so-jolly holiday parade.

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Here Come Mickey and Santa

Start planning for a marvelous gathering with family, friends and some familiar Disney faces!

When Mickey celebrates the season, Magic Kingdom park lights up with excitement for Guests of all ages. Cinderella Castle shimmers. Joyful music fills the air. Disney Characters don their most festive attire. Favorite attractions take on a holiday theme. And enchanting surprises lie around almost every turn!

Mickey dressed in seasonal holiday clothing dancing in formation between two life-size nutcrackers

Held on select evenings, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is currently scheduled to take place on the following dates in 2016:

  • November 7, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27 and 29
  • December 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18 and 22

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a Halloween-themed special event held on select dates in Magic Kingdom® Park. Purchase of an additional event admission ticket is required to attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.fhufhu736921211

During Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Guests of all ages are encouraged to dress up in their favorite Halloween costumes. Even better, you can collect delicious candy as you trick-or-treat around Magic Kingdom Park.

In addition to many favorite Disney attractions, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is filled with special entertainment, including:

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

  • “Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular” – a new Cinderella castle forecourt stage show, will take place exclusively at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party this fall. “Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular” features the mischievous Sanderson Sisters from Disney’s “Hocus Pocus” as they return to the mortal world for one night during the Halloween season to cast a spell on everyone in the Magic Kingdom Park. The show also includes appearances by the Disney villains, and features dancers, projections and special effects.
  • Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade – including Disney Characters and the stars of the Haunted Mansion attraction. The parade begins with a spook-tacular ride by the Headless Horseman.
  • Happy HalloWishes – a spectacular fireworks show where the Disney Villains go trick-or-treating in the sky.
  • Many favorite Disney Characters and Disney Villains in special Halloween costumes.
  • Special lighting, music and theming effects transforms special areas of Magic Kingdom Park into happy haunted hollows.

The tone of the event is, well, “Not-So-Scary”, and is appropriate for children of all ages.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will return in Fall 2016.

Here is the full list of this year’s dates:

  • September – 2, 8, 11, 13, 16, 18, 20, 23, 25, 29, 30
  • October – 2, 4, 6, 7, 10, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21, 23, 25, 27, 28, 30, 31

Tickets will go on sale soon!

 

Save up to 30% on Rooms at Select Walt Disney World Resort Hotels This Summer!

Save up to 30% on Rooms at Select Walt Disney World Resort Hotels This Summer!

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Save up to 30%* on rooms at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels for stays most nights June 12-Aug. 25, 2016 when you book by June 10, 2016.

Awaken Summer MagicBand

Plus,  receive an exclusive “Awaken Summer” graphic MagicBand when you upgrade to a room and Theme Park package with a minimum 2-day Magic Your Way® Ticket. The MagicBand will activate a surprise sound and lighting feature at select touch points throughout the Walt Disney World Resort.**

Booking Window:
March 14-June 10, 2016

Travel Window:
June 12-Aug. 25, 2016

Rooms are limited, contact me soon to book your package for best availability.

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Disney Springs Transformation

Welcome to Disney Springs™, an immersive waterfront destination overflowing with sights, sounds and flavors inspired by Florida’s natural charm, all in a beautiful outdoor environment!

Showcasing a one-of-a-kind mix of brand retail and distinct Disney shopping, along with a stunning assortment of incomparable dining offerings, it’s an unforgettable plaworldofdisney_listce the entire family will enjoy—only made possible by the imagination of Disney. So get ready for the largest expansion in Downtown Disney history as Disney Springs transforms the area and doubles its shopping, dining and entertainment options.

New Retail Locations Now Open!:

The Art of Shaving offers premium grooming essentials for the modern man. The location also has a team of shaving specialists who offer advice to Guests on proper grooming techniques. Appointments for a haircut or shave are suggested.

Apex by Sunglass Hut is designed with the athlete, sports and outdoor enthusiast in mind. This shop utilizes innovative technology, such as the Apex Smart Mirror, to help guests find the best choice in sport sunglasses.

Chapel Hats specializes in fashionable hats and headwear for Guests of all ages. The location carries just about any style of hat including fedoras, sun hats, floppy hats, outdoors hats, kid’s hats and more.

Sanuk offers creatively inspired footwear designed with non-traditional materials like yoga-mats.

Havaianas provides the options to “Make Your Own Havaianas” and “Embellish Your Own Havaianas.” This store features a large assortment of Havaianas sandals for women, men and children, plus kids’ rain boots.

Sound Lion has the latest technology in headphones, earbuds, speakers, and other digital sound and music products can be found in this shop. They also provide education in digital music applications that improve the listening lifestyle.

Erin McKenna’s Bakery NYC will offer the same unsurpassed core vegan, gluten-free menu as its flagship bakery in New York City, and its sister bakery in Los Angeles. Look for a full selection of award-winning donuts, cupcakes, cookies, bagels (with vegan butter!), and other savory items daily.

Vivoli Gelateria: Vivoli Gelateria serves expertly crafted gelato made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, panini sandwiches and espresso drinks.

Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s: Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s specializes in premium loose-leaf teas (hot, iced, blended) featuring customs blends, accessories and packaged teas from all over the globe; created to go or for a tea experience in the café.

The Ganachery: Located in The Landing, The Ganachery specializes in custom-blended chocolates with the finest beans. Hand-crafted ganachery_detail_01onstage by a chocolatier, the shop features fresh batches daily, including dark (65 percent custom blend), hazelnut, chipotle and a custom blend flavored with the world’s finest spices. Beautiful custom packaging makes elegant take-home gifts. And there may even be some chocolate bars inspired by Disney characters!

New Dining Experiences Now Open!

The BOATHOUSE® – This upscale, waterfront dining experience will immerse Guests both on land and on water with live music, guided tours aboard the Captain’s piloted 40-foot Italian Water Taxi with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries and guided Amphicar rides that launch from land, enter the water, and take guests on a 20-minute tour of the landmarks of Disney Springs. The BOATHOUSE will feature steaks, chops, seafood and a raw bar.

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar – Tucked in between Paradiso 37 and The BOATHOUSE restaurant, a new Disney owned and operated Food & Beverage offering is now open — an aviation-themed lounge, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar.

With a prime location along Lake Buena Vista and seating for 150, the venue features unique cocktails — such as the “Hovito Mojito” with Barsol Quebranta Pisco, fresh lime juice and simple syrup — and small plates such as “Air Pirates Everything Pretzels” with house-made mustard and beer cheese fondue.

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Ardent fans of the “Indiana Jones” films may recognize Jock Lindsey as Indy’s frequent pilot. In the main room, Guests will discover an expansive bar, aviation decor filling the room, vintage travel posters covering the walls and correspondence between Jock, Indy and their fellow adventurers on display. Guests can eat, drink and be merry outside as well, in Jocks’ old steamboat, now in permanent dry dock and aptly named “Reggie;” and in nearby seating on the adjacent deck.

Morimoto Asia – Chef Masaharu Morimoto, known from his appearances on Iron Chef America, has opened a one-of-a-kind dining experience in the heart of Disney Springs. Morimoto Asia is the Japanese master chef’s first-ever pan-Asian restaurant featuring flavors from across the continent. This Disney Springs dining destination includes unique exhibition kitchens showcasing traditions like Peking duck carving, and dim sum.

 

      Also Coming to Disney Springs

Retail Locations
Zara: Owned by the Inditex Group, one of the world’s largest fashion retail groups. Zara is known for its men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and accessories, and how it expertly interprets current fashion and style trends of the season, delivering original designs to the consumer in a matter of weeks.

Tommy Bahama: Iconic island lifestyle brand Tommy Bahama embodies relaxed sophistication. The hallmarks of this casual collection include island-inspired sportswear, denim, and swimwear for men and women in luxuriously soft silks and cottons, richly woven textures and eclectic prints.

Lilly Pulitzer: The authentic American resort wear brand, Lilly Pulitzer, is landing in the heart of Disney and will be offering their clothing and accessories, optimistic outlook, and happy prints to those who’ve loved the brand for years and new Lilly Girls out there.

UNIQLO: Leading global retailer UNIQLO designs, manufactures, and sells casual apparel that comes from the company’s Japanese values of simplicity, quality and longevity. The simplest design hides the most thoughtful details in clothing that is constantly being innovated to bring more warmth and lightness, better design and comfort to people’s lives.

PANDORA: Building on its existing relationship with Disney Parks, the popular jewelry brand offers classic yet modern charm bracelets, along with necklaces, rings and earrings, as well as a line of exclusive Disney-themed jewelry.

UGG: The UGG® brand is recognized as a premium lifestyle brand offering men’s, women’s and kid’s footwear as well as loungewear, outerwear, home products, cold weather accessories and handbags.

L’Occitane en Provence: L’Occitane en Provence is an international skincare and beauty line celebrating the culture and beauty of Provence, France.

Edward Beiner: A leading eyewear designer, purveyor and retailer, Edward Beiner offers today’s aspiring lifestyle-oriented customer the world’s most original, authentic and innovative designer, fashion and high performance eyewear.

Dining Locations
STK Orlando – The ONE Group Hospitality, Inc. will open STK Orlando in The Landing area of Disney Springs in early 2016. STK wdw_listOrlando will feature a unique ambience that blends the elements of a modern steakhouse with a sleek lounge. At 14,000 square feet, the Disney Springs location will be one of the largest STK locations in the world.

Edison: Inspired by The Edison venue in Los Angeles, this lavish “Industrial Gothic” -style restaurant, bar and nighttime destination is themed to a 1920s-period power plant, recalling an exuberant era of invention and imagination. It will feature exceptionally good classic American food, craft cocktails and live entertainment including cabaret and music.

Sprinkles: The world’s first cupcake bakery, as named by Food Network and others, serves up handcrafted cupcakes, slow churned ice cream and homemade cookies. Their innovative Cupcake ATM satisfies sweet-toothed epicureans 24/7.

Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza: Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza is a modern day “pizza joint” known for its custom-built artisanal pizzas, freshly made salads, blood orange lemonade and s’more pies. The fast-casual restaurant features an interactive assembly-line format that allows guests to customize their pizza, choosing from over 40 fresh, artisanal toppings — all for one price. The generously sized, 11-inch pizzas are “fast-fired” in a blazing hot open-flame oven and ready to enjoy in just 180 seconds.

Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine – Celebrity Chef Art Smith is bringing a taste of real Florida to a new restaurant opening in summer 2016. Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine will showcase the cuisine of Chef Smith, who was born and reared in the town of Jasper, Fla., on the Florida-Georgia border. With farm-to-fork cuisine that showcases the bounty of Florida, and design inspired by turn-of-the century Florida architecture of the late 1800s, Homecoming will feature traditional Southern favorites with sophisticated, chef-inspired creations. Inside, the “rustic-chic” restaurant will feature a glass-walled show kitchen and the Southern Shinebar that celebrates an era where characters might have created some homegrown spirits on their homesteads just beyond the springs.

Frontera Fresco: Chef Rick Bayless, a six-time James Beard Foundation winner, will open Frontera Fresco in summer 2016. Frontera Fresco will feature authentic Mexican specialties such as hand-crafted tortas, tacos, fresh-made guacamole and classic Mexican braised meat entrees, all prepared with natural, locally sourced ingredients. The table-service restaurant also will serve an extensive selection of margaritas, cocktails, craft beers and wine. Located in Town Center, the nearly 6,000-square-foot venue will seat 200 Guests.

Save Up to 25% on Rooms

Save Up to 25% on Rooms at Select Walt Disney World Resort Hotels This Spring!

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Save up to 25%* on rooms at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels for stays most nights April 14-June 11, 2016 when you book by March 31, 2016. Other great rates for stays most nights Feb. 22-April 13, 2016.

Plus,  receive 1 more ticket day FREE when you upgrade to a room and ticket package with a minimum 4-day Magic Your Way® Ticket.

Booking Window: Dec. 28, 2015 – Feb. 28, 2016
Travel Window: Feb. 22 – Jun. 11, 2016

Full list of offer exclusions : campsites, 3-bedroom villas, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows and Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms.

Get a Caricature

The parks and even some resorts usually have a caricature stand where you can have a fun picture made.

Magical Travel with Barb
My son getting his caricature done at the Wilderness Lodge

Pricing is reasonable and it only takes about 20 minutes total. There is a book of choices and ideas, but the artist can make adjustments on the fly.

Magical Travels with Barb

The artists are incredible and the result so amusing! My kids both wanted one on our last trip, themed after their chosen sports. They are now both hanging in their rooms.

Magical Travels with Barb
Swimming
Magical Travels with Barb
Hockey

 

Wilderness Lodge Villas Review

We recently returned from another fabulous family Disney vacation, this time making our home base a 1 bedroom villa at the Wilderness Lodge.

Magical Travels with Barb
Main lobby at Wilderness Lodge

The villas are housed in a separate building right beside the lodge and accessed by a covered walkway where western music guides you to the villas own majestic, if on a somewhat smaller scale, lobby. Check-in occurs in the main lodge, there is no check-in desk in the villas lobby.

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb
Villas Lobby

Magical Travels with Barb

The villas have  been refurbished since we last stayed in one and are lighter and more airy than before. The dark kitchen cabinets are now white, carpet is now wood flooring and overall the villas are brighter.

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb
Master bedroom with window pocket door into the bathroom

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb

The 1 and 2 bedroom villas offer a full kitchen and stackable washer/dryer making life very convenient indeed for keeping up with laundry and having breakfast and even lunch if you wanted to in your villas.   A pull out queen sofa makes up the main room along with the kitchen and entry way. Then a split bathroom with jetted tub and separate shower and a king size bed in the bedroom make up the rest. The 1 bedroom villa features two balconies. We were on the 5th floor, the top floor so our villas had vaulted ceilings and our balcony had a solid wall.

When booking the resort directly with Disney, just as you would a regular room, mousekeeping is daily. When booking on DVC points, it’s every 4th day. Detergent was provided daily for the dishwasher and laundry.

Magical Travels with Barb
view from our balcony on 5th floor. Facing main lodge and we could see just a hint of the quiet pool through the trees. Straight ahead we could see the very high fireworks from Magic Kingdom’s Wishes.

We took advantage of grocery delivery options to have staples delivered for breakfast and of course, beverages. The Mercantile in the Lodge does have a nice selection of food items and essentials, but you’ll save money by ordering in advance. We use Garden Grocer and have had great success with them.

Magical Travels with Barb
First aid and essentials

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb

Other than the health club, which is located in the Villas lobby, all other resort amenities, restaurants, etc… are located in the Lodge.  Signature restaurant Artist’s Point, the fun and playful Whispering Canyon and the counter service Roaring Forks. The quiet pool is just steps outside and a short walk around to the main pool, pool  bar, beach, marina with boat rentals and the boat dock for the ferry to the Magic Kingdom or Fort Wilderness and the Contemporary. The Wilderness Lodge is a fairly compact resort in comparison to some of the sprawling resorts Disney offers, so nothing is really too far away.

Magical Savings for Fall

Experience what a Walt Disney World® Resort family vacation is all about with this 4-day/4-night room and ticket Magic Together package in a standard room at Disney’s All-Star Resorts for a family of 4 from just $1,701.

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Booking Window: July 20 – Sept. 18, 2015
Travel Window: Most nights 10/4-10/8, 10/12-10/15, 10/18-10/22, 10/25-10/29, 11/1-11/5, 11/9-11/12, 11/15-11/19 and 11/28-12/10/15. Check for other great rates between 10/4-11/24 and 11/28-12/23.