Tag Archives: planning

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!

Epic Savings Event – Vacation Package

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All Vacation Packages Include:(per night rate shown)

  • 4-Night Hotel Accommodations
  • 3-Day Park-to-Park Ticket^
  • Early Park Admission one hour before the theme park opens to one (1) Universal Orlando® theme park as determined by Universal Orlando
  • Access to select live entertainment venues^^ at Universal CityWalk®

Rosen Inn International

Starting from $99* per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • FREE scheduled transportation^^ between hotel and Universal Orlando
  • Discounts~ on merchandise, food & non-alcoholic beverages at select theme park & Universal CityWalk® locations
  • Additional Universal Partner Hotels available

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Starting from $145** per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • Complimentary transportation to both theme parks and Universal CityWalk® make getting around the resort fast and easy so you can make the most of your time
  • Complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to your hotel
  • Resort-wide charging privileges with your room key card 

Loews Royal Pacific Resort

Starting from $219*** per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • FREE Universal Express℠ Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines in both theme parks – a benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day††
  • Complimentary transportation to both theme parks and Universal CityWalk® make getting around the resort fast and easy so you can make the most of your time
  • Complimentary delivery of merchandise purchased throughout the resort to your hotel
  • Resort-wide charging privileges with your room key card
  • And more!

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Hard Rock Hotel

Starting from $239**** per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • FREE Universal Express℠ Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines in both theme parks – a benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day††
  • Complimentary transportation to both theme parks and Universal CityWalk® make getting around the resort fast and easy so you can make the most of your time
  • Priority seating at select restaurants throughout both theme parks and Universal CityWalk®
  • And more!

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Starting from $249***** per adult, per night, tax inclusive

  • FREE Universal Express℠ Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines in both theme parks – a benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day††
  • Complimentary transportation to both theme parks and Universal CityWalk® make getting around the resort fast and easy so you can make the most of your time
  • Priority seating at select restaurants throughout both theme parks and Universal CityWalk®
  • And more!

Subject to availability, room type, hotel, and travel dates selected. Rate valid for bookings 3/31/16 – 4/4/16 and valid for travel; 4/3/16 – 6/10/16.

 

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.

 

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!

 

Refurbishments 2016

Disney World is constantly making improvements to its parks and resorts, it’s a never-ending process.

Here is what is happening in the coming year.

Magic Kingdom

Splash Mountain
Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
Liberty Square Riverboat
Magic Carpets of Aladdin
Mad Tea Party
Jan. 10 – 14, 2016
Jan. 18 – Feb. 11, 2016
Jan. 18 – 22, 2016
Jan. 25 – Feb. 3, 2016
Feb. 22 – 26, 2016

EPCOT

Re-Imagination of Maelstrom
Soarin’
Oct. 15, 2014 – Apr. 30, 2016
Jan. 4, 2016 – Summer 2016

Hollywood Studios

Pizza Planet Jan. 11 – Late 2016

Animal Kingdom

Maharajah Jungle Trek
Kali River Rapids
Flights of Wonder
Jan. 4 – 21, 2016
Jan. 4 – Feb. 11, 2016
Jan. 25 – Mar. 17, 2016

Typoon Lagoon

Annual Refurbishment Jan. 4 – Mar. 12, 2016

Blizzard Beach

Annual Refurbishment Oct. 4, 2015 – Jan. 3, 2016

Resort Hotels

Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
Bay Cove Pool Feb. 1 – March 18, 2016
Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort
Surfboard Bay Pool Jan. 25 – 28, 2016
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House
Jambo House Soft Goods Rehab Jan. 1 – May 20, 2016
Disney’s Art of Animation Resort
Schoolyard Sprayground Jan. 3 – Mar. 11, 2016
Disney’s Beach Club Villas
Soft Goods Rehab Jan. 22 – Aug. 17, 2016
Disney’s BoardWalk Inn
Exterior Repair and Painting Aug. 17, 2015 – May 5, 2016
Flying Fish Restaurant Feb. 1 – Sep. 30, 2016
Disney’s BoardWalk Villas
Guest Villa Renovations Through Spring 2016
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort
Old Port Royale – Path of Travel Impacts
Guests in some parts of Martinique and Trinidad North may experience some contruction noise.
Jan. 3 – Feb. 28, 2016
Jamaica Pool Jan. 6 – 8, 2016
Martinique Quiet Pool Jan. 11 – 13, 2016
Fuentes del Morro Pool Jan. 13 – 16, 2016
Trinidad North Quiet Pool Jan. 27 – 29, 2016
Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Courtyard Pool Jan. 16 – 19, 2016
Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort
Pool Slide Feb. 1 – 17, 2016
Disney’s Old Key West Resort
Sandcastle Pool Jan. 4 – 6, 2016
Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort
General Construction
During this time, Guests will observe construction taking place and certain pathways and buildings may be unavailable.
Through Spring 2016
East Pool
Closed for enhancement. Guests may see or hear work in progress.
Now – Spring 2016
Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside
Ol’ Man Island Pool Jan. 11 – Feb. 29, 2016
Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Grandstand Pool Jan. 20 – 22, 2016
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge & Villas
General Resort Refurbishments
Due to multiple resort refurbishment projects, Guests will notice construction work in various areas. Noise may be overheard while this work is being completed, but construction will not begin until after 9 a.m. Certain pathways, including the nature trail, will be unavailable. The Hidden Springs leisure pool area (the leisure pool at The Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge), resort beach, playground, Marina and Recreation fire pit will be unavailable.
Through 2017
Cub’s Den (Children’s Activity Center) – unavailable Jan. 3, 2016 – Through 2017
Disney’s Yacht Club Resort
Stormalong Bay Slide Jan. 11 – 15, 2016

 

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.

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.

Portofino Bay Hotel Review

My family recently ventured to the “dark side” and added a 2 night stay at Universal Orlando Resort to our traditional Disney vacation.

Perfect add-on for families with older kids, tweens and teens!

Planning a Universal Orlando Resort trip is not quite as overwhelming as a Disney trip can be, but there is still a little planning to be done. I can help you with this too 🙂 This wasn’t my first stay at Universal, but it was our first trip as a family and with the kids . We will be back!

Magical Travel with Barb

We chose the Portofino Bay Hotel as our home  base for our 2 night stay. This hotel is simply stunning. It’s is a replica of the Italian coastal town of Portofino, right down to the little fishing boats in the harbor and vespa’s lining the piazza!

Magical Travels with Barb

The hotel complex is sprawling, made up of 3 main areas. The lobby facing the main harbor piazza and then the East and West Wings. A Villas Wing extends off of the West Wing.

Magical Travels with Barb

The West Wing offers the best proximity to the boat dock and walking path to the theme parks and the feature pool.

Magical Travels with Barb

Rooms at Portofino Bay are spacious and well -appointed, starting at a generous 450 sq feet for a standard room Garden or Bay view. Deluxe rooms, suites and club level services are also available.

Rooms have all the standard amenities and beds are queen sized.

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb

Portofino Bay features  Despicable Me suites in the East Wing. 

There are numerous restaurants, all Italian, including a Gelateria and Starbucks. Splendido Bar & Grill is right by the main pool with lounge chair service. Three pools are scattered throughout, the Beach Pool being the feature pool with the Roman aqueduct themed water slide, zero entry, sandy beach, waterfalls and a small grotto. Even when busy, we were always able to find a few lounge chairs available.

Magical Travels with Barb
Beach Pool
Magical Travels with Barb
View of activity center and Splendido at Beach Pool.

Recreation includes poolside activities, bocce ball, a game room, fitness center, a spa and much more.  Be sure to catch the daily Musica della Notte show in the harbor piazza, and enjoy the sounds Italy.

Magical Travels with Barb
The spotlight on the building is where the opera singer is entertaining.

Transportation to/from the parks is so easy! There are boats running constantly from early morning till the wee hours of the night. Every 20 minutes or so. The ride is less than 10 minutes. The walking path is just past the boat dock and takes about 15 minutes at  a leisurely pace, 10 minutes if you are really trying to make it back before a downpour…we made it. 🙂 The path brings you past the Hard Rock Hotel and right to the Universal Studios entrance. They also have bicycle jitneys going back and forth if you choose.

Magical Travels with Barb

Magical Travels with Barb

The major benefit of staying on-site at Universal is this:

  • 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)

That’s right, staying at one of the 3 deluxe onsite hotels, Portofino Bay, Hard Rock or the Royal Pacific, entitles you to the above benefits. With the popularity of Harry Potter, that extra hour is much needed! And Express Pass really helps with the rest of the parks , the only place it is not accepted is for the Harry Potter rides.

We made the most of both the parks and the resort by splitting up our day with a pool break in the afternoon each day and with Express Pass and having early entry one day, we were able to see and do everything we wanted to in less than 2 full days, but would probably stay longer next time to really make the most of everything offered.

Universal offers some great packages including a Wizarding World of Harry Potter package and Stay More Save More deals. Contact me for a free no obligation quote.

 

 

Land of Frozen Coming to Disney Cruise Line

In summer 2015, Disney Cruise Line Guests can immerse themselves in the animated hit “Frozen” with brand-new experiences inspired by the film, including a spectacular deck party, a three-song stage show production number, new character meet and greets, storybook adventures ashore and more.

Debuting this summer, on select Disney Magic and Disney Wonder sailings to Europe and Alaska, you will be transported to the land of “Frozen” when the ship is transformed into a winter wonderland for one day of frozen fun.

Experience family fun throughout the day with all-new meet and greets and themed experiences, including:

  • Memorable moments with Anna, Elsa, and for the first time in forever, Kristoff and Olaf
  • “Anna’s Chase for the Chocolate” scavenger hunt for those who share Anna’s sense of adventure, with a special surprise for finishing the game
  • “Do You Want to Build a Snowman” activity where kids take on Elsa’s magical powers to make snow and ice
  • “The Maypole Swirl and Twirl” for families to learn a traditional Scandinavian dance spinning and braiding giant ribbons
  • “Frozen” themed dining experience, including a menu inspired by traditional Nordic fare and special dishes inspired by the film
  •  “Freezing the Night Away with Anna, Elsa and Friends,” a family-friendly interactive deck party featuring the famous royal sisters of Arendelle and their fun-loving Nordic companions.

Also on the Disney Magic this summer, friends from “Frozen” will make their stage show debut at sea in the Walt Disney Theatre aboard the Disney Magic. In the Disney Cruise Line original production, “Disney Dreams … An Enchanted Classic,” Anna, Elsa and Olaf join the line up of beloved Disney characters who together teach a young girl the power of her dreams.

Guests who travel aboard the Disney Magic to Norway will have the opportunity to join exciting new Port Adventures that bring the fairytale setting of Arendelle to life. One signature adventure ashore in Ålesund, Norway, created exclusively for Disney Cruise Line, will immerse Guests in the splendor and charm of Norway, with the help of Anna and Elsa, in an enchanting storybook village.

On the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy this summer, Olaf will be giving warm hugs when he joins Anna and Elsa on their royal tour of the Disney Cruise Line ships. Guests should check their Personal Navigator on the first day of their cruise for special Meet & Greet ticket distribution locations.

And, with the help of everyone’s favorite snowman, Disney Cruise Line is cooling down Disney Castaway Cay with the addition of Olaf’s Summertime Freeze bar. Serving non-alcoholic specialty frozen drinks, Olaf’s Summertime Freeze opens summer 2015 near the Pelican Point tram stop by Disney Castaway Cay Family Beach.

So much Frozen Fun this summer. Don’t miss it! Contact me for a no obligation Disney Cruise Line quote today.