Summer of 2015 Walt Disney World events!

March 11, 2015 Cheryl 0
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There were two great announcements this morning from Walt Disney World!

24-Hour Summer Kick-Off Celebration

Kick off the Coolest Summer Ever with a 24-hour celebration, taking place at Magic Kingdom park! This event will take place from 6:00 AM on Friday, May 22, 2015 till 6:00 AM on May 23, 2015. More details will be announced soon, but if it is anything like the last few years, this is going to be a fun event!

and…

Frozen Summer Fun

From June 17 to September 7, 2015, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be host to your favorite queen, princess, ice master, and snowman as they celebrate with parades, dance parties and nightly fireworks!!

Looks like it is going to be another fun summer!

 

Frozen Summer Fun Premium Package Review

July 7, 2014 Cheryl 0
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Olaf’s Summer of Frozen Fun kicked off this Saturday at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and I was lucky enough to get a premium package reservation for the festivities!  While the premium package is definitely not necessary, it does add some extra perks in to the day!

We had to check in to the event near Min and Bill’s Diner beginning at 10 am.  Cast members were waiting there with clipboards to cross off your name and then hand you a lanyard with the Premium Package credentials that you needed later.  Next you got to select the time you wanted to return to see The First Time in Forever:  A Frozen Sing-A-Long Celebration at the Premiere Theater.  Once you selected your time you were given a ticket with the return time on it.  We already had Toy Story Mania fastpasses and dinner reservations at 50’s Prime Time Cafe, so we selected the 6 pm showtime.  Once we got our tickets, we were allowed to enter into the Premium Package area – which is a roped off area to the left of the hat and stage area.  There is parking for strollers as well as roped off sections for wheelchairs and children, for better viewing.  Once in the area you had access to unlimited Mickey Bars, Frozen Lemonade Treats, water and sodas that you could enjoy while waiting for the parade to start.

Although the area is the same one as the Star Wars Weekend Premium Package area, the parade itself is different, so it makes it a little bit more worthwhile.  The processional starts at the end of Hollywood Boulevard – there are skating snow flakes, ice skaters, skiers, ice carvers, citizens of Arendelle, and of course Princess Anna, Queen Elsa and Kristoff – plus a little bit of snow thrown in for good measure!!  Anna and Elsa arrive on a horse drawn sleigh and go up on the stage for the royal greeting, but afterwards the entire parade continues past Echo Lake for the rest of the park to see, so with the Premium Package you get a very good view of the show and the characters.  You can’t however, see the large video screen on stage, so anything with Olaf is out of view.

When Anna and Elsa take the stage, they are presented with flowers from the head of Hollywoodland, and all of it citizens sing the royal Arendelle song for them – which is of course “Let it Go!”   – just the first of many renditions of the song that is played throughout the day!

After the Processional was done, and after a few Fastpass reservations, we made our way over to the Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and Frozen Wonderland.  The line to get into the building wound around and around, and was over 2 hours long – so we decided to skip the shopping trip this time.  I did hear that it was fun to skate and that they had real snow (from the ice shavings) so that is fun, just not worth the 2 hours to see it!   They did have lots of great items for sale, and I am sure that eBay is full of them, as we saw many people walking out at 9:30 am when we arrived with bags full of Frozen items!    We did, however, get Frozen temporary tattoos – it is kind of a tradition for my son T and I to get them on Mommy/Son days at the parks, so I am glad we they had Frozen ones available!

Since it is Olaf’s Summer of Frozen Fun, they were giving out Olaf’s on a stick for you to take pictures with all day with the #olafsummervacation hashtag.  On the back of the picture Anna, Elsa, Kristof and Olaf have signed – the only signatures you are going to get!  We had a lot of fun with Olaf – he went on Toy Story, Star Tours, had lunch, saw his own water picture and met some characters of his own!  Everyone seemed to be having fun with the Ofaf pictures – and he seemed to be enjoying his first day of summer vacation!

The First Time in Forever:  A Frozen Sing-a-Long Celebration was the next thing on our agenda.  We apparently did not get into the correct line – we had taken off our Premium Package credentials because we didn’t want them to get wet or damaged in the rain, so we were we were told to go stand in the ticketed line which is very long!  They were giving out return tickets throughout the day, so the only way to see the show is with a ticket – there is a standby line, but they give out the correct number of tickets, so it is doubtful that you will get in to see the show without one.  They start queuing the line on the Streets of America, and then it winds around under cover up to Muppets 3D – s0 even with a ticket, prepare to wait!  The Premium Package ticket holders have a separate entrance near the Theater, so just ask a Cast Member where you should go – we didn’t see the sign until we exited the building!

The Sing-a-Long itself is a cute show!  Anna comes out first and meets the Historians of Arendelle (who if you look closely look very similar to the Star Wars Weekend show storytellers!!) who proceed to tell the story of Frozen in a comedic way.  Peppered though out with many opportunities to sign songs at the top of your lungs (come on, you know you know the words)…with the finale featuring Queen Elsa herself!  It is cute, and I highly recommend seeing the show!!

The main event for the Premium Package is the Dessert Party and Fireworks show.  The weather was not exactly cooperating, so instead of eating treats outside at the dance party/Ice Men concert, we were escorted to the Disney Junior building and had our own dance party!  The music was rocking, the chocolate was flowing, and the desserts were a plenty!  There were unlimited cupcakes, cookies, key lime tarts, strawberry shortcake cups, fruit with chocolate fondue, ice cream, and drinks-a-plenty!  My favorite was the Iced Summer – yummy!!!

After we had our fill, the kids needed to burn some energy so we all went out to the stage area to wait for the show.  The area is very close to the stage, so perhaps not the best viewing spot, but at least you didn’t have to wait for hours for a good spot.  We parked ourselves right along the rope in front of the Disney Videographer (I figured he had a good view) and we waited for the show to begin.  The Ice Men were just finishing up on stage, and the Anna, Kristoff, a video version of Olaf  and Elsa came out for the finale.  They projected some pictures that people had taken with Olaf throughout the day, and then the fireworks began.  I am not sure if it was the rain, or the lack of breeze, but there was so much smoke that it was very hard to see the fireworks….they were still good though, and I will definitely be back to see them again!

All in all, I would say that the Frozen Summer Premium Package was fun to do, the desserts were tasty, and it definitely cut down on the wait times.  However, as with the Star Wars Premium Package, I wish that we had a better view of the fireworks….and although the desserts were delicious, for the cost of the package you could buy a lot of Mickey Bars to eat while you were waiting in line.

 

FROZEN Summer Fun Premium Packages

July 2, 2014 Cheryl 0

anna and elsaThis just in – Walt Disney World will be offering FROZEN Summer Fun Premium Packages! They will be available daily from July 5 – September 1, 2014 (with the exception of August 23 when the Villains are taking over the Studios).  From the sounds of it, the package is very similar to the Feel the Force Premium Package which was offered during this year Star Wars Weekends – right down to the location of the special area.

Guests who book the package will check in near Min and Bills Dockside Diner starting at 10:30 a.m.(although I  recommend getting there as early as possible so you get a spot up front), then enjoy refreshments and reserved viewing for Anna & Elsa’s Royal Welcome procession at 11:00 a.m. Later on, they’ll experience reserved seating at one showing of For the First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, which takes place between 12:30-7 p.m.   According to the Cast Member I spoke with, you will be able to pick your time that day, so you can coordinate it with your other Fastpass+ and dining reservations.  The evening will end  with an exclusive dessert party in a reserved area for viewing of the nighttime Frozen fireworks spectacular, which will take place from 8:30 – 10PM. Please note: Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome procession and the dessert party offers a reserved viewing area, no seating is available. Wheelchairs and ECVs will be accommodated.  Again, the I recommend getting there early to get a prime spot for the fireworks, as some locations may be blocked by leaves.  In case of in climate  weather, you will still check in at the same place, but be escorted to an indoor location for the dessert party.

Packages cost $59 for adults and $34 for children (including tax and gratuity). Discounts do not apply. Park admission is required. Subject to restrictions and change without notice.

(Note: Guests will receive a credential for identification during the Royal Welcome procession viewing. If you are not able to attend the Royal Welcome procession viewing, please visit Guest Relations to check-in between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. and select a show time for the sing-along celebration. After 8 p.m., please check-in at Min and Bill’s. Credential identification is non-transferrable and will not be replaced if lost or stolen.)

Get ready for a Frozen Summer…It’s Been extended to September 28th!!

June 26, 2014 Cheryl 0
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Do you want to build a snowman….come on let’s go and play!!   Olaf is spending his first summer vacation at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and is inviting you along for the fun!!  This summer Frozen is taking over the Studios with all sorts of amazing events, and you get to be part of the fun!!  Running July 5th through September 28th – there are lots of awesome experiences that you won’t want to miss!!  Here are some of the highlights:

Here are some of the highlights:

    • Olaf on Summer Vacation –  Olaf, the magical snowman, is living it up during his first summer vacation, and wants to share all the updates with you!!  Throughout the day he will be keeping everyone updated on his adventures, and you can even take him with you on yours!  You will be able to get your very own Take-Along Olaf, and when you share your photos with Olaf on social media, be sure to tag them with #OlafSummerVacation. Your picture might just get selected to appear in that day’s grand finale!
    • Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome – Like every good Royal family, it is important to visit the neighboring kingdoms and trading partners.  At 11:00 a.m. each day, Elsa and Anna will arrive in in a horse-drawn sleigh and travel down Hollywood Boulevard, and they are bringing Kristoff  a flurry of skaters, skiers, and ice cutters along for the goodwill tour!  The processional will end with a special ceremony on stage.
    • For the First Time in Forever: A “Frozen” Sing-Along Celebration – You know you love the songs – so here is your chance to belt out a tune and cool down inside the Premiere Theater.  Anna and Elsa will join the Royal Historians of Arendelle for a fun retelling of the history of the kingdoms history, along with some sing-along moments from “Frozen.”
    • Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post & Frozen Funland – Inside Soundstage One, Oaken and his family have created a Frozen Funland where there will be a frozen pond with ice skating demonstrations, wintertime fun for kids in the “Do You Want to Build a Snowman?” play area, a “big summer blowout” with plenty of “Frozen” merchandise, and special “Frozen”-inspired food and beverage offerings.
    • “Coolest Summer Ever” Dance Party – Starting at 5:30 p.m. each day, a dance party takes over the area around the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage, with a DJ, live band, and more!  Get ready to dance to your favorite hits, as well as a cool, rocking medley of “Frozen” favorites.
    • “Frozen” Fireworks Spectacular – This may be my favorite part!!  Everything wraps up at 9:45 p.m. when Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf come together at the Sorcerer’s Hat Icon Stage for a grand finale to the day’s festivities, kicking off an awe-inspiring fireworks display set to the glorious music of “Frozen!”  Fireworks and Frozen songs – that doesn’t need any fixing upping!!

For the first time in forever….I am REALLY excited to be going to Hollywood Studios!!    The sky will be blue….and I hope you can be there too!  There is no word on whether or not there will be character meet and greets, and as of now there will not be any Fastpasses to these special events, so it promises to be a busy summer at Hollywood Studios based on the über-popularity of all things “Frozen”!

 

Happy Father’s Day!!

June 15, 2014 Cheryl 0

Norway

What Is A Dad?

A dad is someone who
wants to catch you before you fall
but instead picks you up,
brushes you off,
and lets you try again. 

A dad is someone who
wants to keep you from making mistakes
but instead lets you find your own way,
even though his heart breaks in silence
when you get hurt.
A dad is someone who

holds you when you cry,
scolds you when you break the rules,
shines with pride when you succeed,
and has faith in you even when you fail…

~~author unknown

Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing Dad’s out there!!!

 

Feel the Force at Star Wars Weekends!!

April 23, 2014 Cheryl 0

Force ChokeThis IS the event you have been looking for!  A new premium event for Star Wars weekends is open for booking today, and I am SO excited to say that I got a reservation!!!

The Feel The Force Dining Event will include a reserved premium viewing area for two popular Star Wars Weekend events: Guests will be able to sit in a VIP area for The Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade, AND The Symphony in the Stars Fireworks that same evening!!!

During the daytime parade, soft drinks and snacks will be included.  Then at night guests will attend a Star Wars-themed dessert party with the fireworks. Guests will also receive a souvenir PhotoPass card with a series of free Star Wars photos, which can be linked to their My Disney Experience account, so you will always remember your day in the Galaxy far, far away!!

Here are some added details:

The Feel the Force Premium Package occurs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from May 16 to June 15, 2014.

  • Price: adults $54, children $32 (per day, tax and gratuity included).
  • Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade viewing is from 11:00 AM to 12:00 noon with the motorcade starting at 11:30 AM.
  • Symphony in the Stars fireworks dessert party is from 9:00 PM to 10:00 PM with the firework shows beginning at approximately 9:30 PM.
  • Check in for this event will be at Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner starting at 10:30 AM.
  • Guests will receive a wristband during the motorcade viewing that will allow entry into the evening fireworks dessert party. If you are unable to attend the motorcade viewing, you can check in at Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner starting at 8:30 PM.
  • Beverages include soda, water, tea and coffee.
  • The fireworks dessert party includes a specialty beverage with an alcoholic option. Guests must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcoholic beverages.

This year is the first time we are attending Star Wars Weekends, and I am so excited for this…just don’t tell my son, we are keeping it a secret until the big day!!!

Disney’s Grand Floridian Easter Eggs

April 20, 2014 Cheryl 0

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa hosted it’s third annual Easter Egg display this year – and it was amazing!  It took 19 amazingly talented Cast Members three weeks to create these edible works of art!  They started with huge hollow milk chocolate eggs (9-12 lbs and 16-20 inches each) and then let their imagination go wild!  Check them out!!

 

 

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Looks like they had a great time!!!

April 7, 2014 Cheryl 1

Planning Disney vacations is my dream job…I love helping families get the most out of their trip, and making sure that they come home with a lifetime of magical memories. I was lucky enough to plan a spring break getaway for this family – their first trip to Walt Disney World. It looks like they had a great time, what do you think?

A huge thank you to the Gonzales Family for letting me share this video, and for allowing me to help you with your special vacation.

For the mobile version https://vimeo.com/91235894

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort Opens!

April 3, 2014 Cheryl 0
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Universal has just opened it fourth on-site hotel at Universal Studio’s Orlando called the Cabana Bay Beach Resort. It is the first non-deluxe and first Universal owned and operated resort on property. The hotel has a 1950/60’s theme and feel, but with all of the modern conveniences. When the resort is completed (currently scheduled to be completed by July 1, 2014) there will be 1,800 standard rooms and family suites spread out between the 5 buildings – all of which are named after famous southern Florida hotels from the middle of the last century – Starlight, Thunderbird, Castaway, The Continental, and The Americanna (the latter two will open later this summer).

The Cabana Courtyard Pool Area at Cabana Bay Beach Resort

 Cabana Bay (44 of 61)The resort will actually have two pool areas when it is completed, but as of the March 31st opening, only the pool in the Cabana Courtyard is open. And let me tell you, the pool is AWESOME!! – it is 10,000 square feet!! The pool has a zero entry area and an awesome (did I use that word twice?) slide. Above the exit to the slide is a waterfall, so you plop into the water while getting rained down on by the waterfall – so cool!! The waterfall is actually made to look like an old diving platform – very retro and cool!! There is a kid’s water play area with shooting water, sprayers, and buckets of crashing water for hours of fun for your little ones.

Around the pool you will find lots of lounge chairs to relax in. Some of these areas are covered with sand to wiggle between your toes and give you a relaxed on the beach feeling. Ping-pong tables and other games in the area are located near the lobby building. You can also rent a cabana. The cabana comes with two lounge chairs, a table and 4 chairs, a TV, and gives a good amount of shade. If you get hungry you can go to the Atomic Tonic for some drinks and light food or if you get cold head over to the fire pit or the hot tub.

Inside Amenities at Cabana Bay Beach Resort

The lobby building currently houses all of the Cabana Bay Beach Resort inside amenities. One of the first activities you will find is the bowling lanes, called Galaxy Bowl. Ten lanes of neon light bowling will strike the fancy of many young bowlers. If you tire of bowling roll next door to Game-O-Rama. There you will find some classic and modern video games. If killing quarters is not your style take a walk to the Fun in the Sun Rec Center. They have board games for some good old classic dice-rolling and card-shufflin’ fun. For my fitness friends, the Cabana Bay Beach Resort also has an impressive gym (named after 1960’s heath guru Jack LaLanne!), I mean the gym is HUGE, at least floor space wise. This is the one area that I am not sure if it was wisely used. The machines are on the tile floor and you can see there is some open space. The wood floor next to it only has some free weights and benches on the backside of the room by the windows. The rest of the space is open. If they decide to offer classes then it makes perfect sense, otherwise, it is a bit of wasted space. The final inside activity is shopping. The Universal Gift Shop has many of the gifts, toys, and accessories that make any trip complete – so whether you want a Minion, a Homer Simpson shirt, a Marvel towel or gear for your trip to Hogwarts, this is the place to shop.

The Bayliner Diner – Food at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort

So by now you have had fun in the sun and played inside and you are probably hungry. You may have gone to Atomic Tonic or Swizzle Lounge, but the main eatery is the Bayliner Diner. The Diner is split into six cooking sections – The Deli, Pizza, International Eats, Hot Off the Grill, Salad Bar and Dessert Bar – plus a Grab-and-Go area. The Deli and Pizza serve … well, deli sandwiches and pizza. ☺ International Grill has the Brazilian Beef Churrasco, Swedish Meatballs Colombian Chicken Empanadas, Tofu Stir Fry, and Ginger soy Glazed Salmon. Hot Off the Grill has the Cabana Bay Burger, Bacon Cheese Burger, Black Bean Veggie Burger, and Grilled Chicken Sandwich. To simply say, the Bayliner Diner is a designed for quick in and on-your-way service. However, if you want to sit and eat, there is plenty of seating in the dining room area, which is also where you will find the soda machines. Refillable mugs are available for purchase, as are standard cups. Both are programmed with RFID technology that allows you to refill your cups at pre-designated stations (Coca Cola Freestyle machines for the mugs, standard dispensers for the cups) for specific time allotments (length of stay on the refillable mugs, 2 hours for the cups).

The Cabana Bay Beach Resort Family Suite

Finally, lets talk about the rooms. The first three buildings are designed with an open walkway/enter from the outside concept, and the final two towers will have rooms where you enter from an interior hallway. These two final buildings will be a combination of standard rooms and family suites. The three buildings there currently open are all family suites. When you enter you walk into the kitchenette (microwave and mini-frig) and a sitting area with a queen sofa bed. A privacy slider separates the front area and back bedroom. The back bedroom has two beds. The unit sleeps six but the layout is not as nice as the family suites in Disney’s Art of Animation Resort (at least in my opinion). The bathroom in the room we stayed in was well designed. One room had only the toilet (we have been told that some rooms would also have a sink in this room). In the center there is a sink, which is open to the bedroom. Finally, a room contains the shower and second (or third) sink. This design can allow multiple people to get ready for a fun day in the park all at the same time. The décor was pure retro in aqua blues and oranges – a design that made it feel fun and young at the same time!

Transportation to City Walk and Universal from Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Cabana Bay Beach Resort has its own bus transportation to City Walk. The buses are clearly decorated with wood paneling, well painted on wood paneling, and large lettering. The ride to the park is pretty quick and the chairs on the bus are actually quite comfortable cushioned seats. When you exit you have to go up the stairs and down the walkway to enter City Walk or have access to the park. For those that prefer to walk, the resort is located pretty close to the theme parks!

 

Overall Impression

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort is a great place for a vacation. It has lots of on-site entertainment and is a quick ride to the Universal theme parks. The rooms are well appointed and the pool is great (and the next one that will also include a lazy river looks awesome too). I highly recommend checking this resort out if you plan on spending any time at Universal Orlando. I can’t wait to stay here again!!

IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Parties at Epcot

March 14, 2014 Cheryl 0

IlluminationsBeginning, March 15, 2014, you will be able to  experience IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot® in an exciting new way.

The new IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party invites Guests to enjoy international desserts and sparkling wines in an intimate, exclusive setting with a clear view of the World Showcase Lagoon during the nighttime spectacular, IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.  The party will be set up near the gift shop right as you enter the World Showcase from Future World.  Some of the desserts served during the dessert party will be Tiramisu’ from Italy, Baklava from Morocco, Vanilla Pot de Crème from France, Shortbread Cookies from the United Kingdom, and Ice Cream Novelties from around the Disney Parks.  This is a great way to end your day at EPCOT after enjoying time with your family strolling the World Showcase or after a day at the Flower & Garden Festival.

This new IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Parties will be available on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and will run from 7:45 p.m-9:20 p.m. The cost is $49 for adults and $29 for children. Parties begin March 15, 2014 and booking is now open. Epcot park admission is required.