Scare Zones at Halloween Horror Nights

Halloween Horror Nights

by Heather Gallagher

I attended opening weekend of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights! It was a blast, but not for the faint of heart. Even if you wanted to avoid the houses, you have to walk through scare zones!

The last time I attended Halloween Horror Nights, I broke the #1 rule – Don’t Go Alone! This year, I took my kids and husband who have never been. They handled it like champs, but watching the team members scare my children was pretty hilarious!

Let’s talk about Scare Zones! I love the houses (which Halloween Horror Nights is known for), but my favorite things about these events are the Scare Zones. Scare actors get close! The two most active on the night we were there was Eddie’s Revenge and Seek and Destroy. Your experience in a Scare Zone can change every time you go through. That is why we go through multiple times in one night.

Here are the Scare Zones, and a few photos from our experience:

Lights Camera Hacktion - Eddie's Revenge

 

 

 

Lights Camera Hacktion – Eddies Revenge –  You get to be part of Eddie’s horror movie. Lots of chainsaws here!

 

 

 

Seek and Destroy Scare Zone

 

 

Seek And Destroy – Aliens are taking humans for fuel! Will you escape or be captured?

 

 

 

 

Gorewood Forest Scare Zone

 

 

Gorewood Forest – Watch out for creatures of the forest and the evil Terra
Queen!

 

 

 

 

30 Year 30 Fears Scare Zone

 

 

30 Years 30 Fears – Past monsters are looking for you!

 

 

 

 

Crypt TV Scare Zone

 

 

 

Crypt TV – Bringing the Monsters from Crypt TV to your reality!

 

 

 

 

It’s not too late to plan your visit to Universal Orlando to experience Halloween Horror Nights! Talk to your Wish Upon a Star with Us Vacation Planner or contact us to start planning your Universal vacation during the Halloween season so you can take part in this ‘terrifying’ event!

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Foodie Guide

Food Guide created by Noelle Schreiber

The 2021 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival has officially begun! Guests at Epcot can enjoy this exciting festival taking place from July 15 through November 20. The Food & Wine Festival takes Guests on a culinary tour through 6 continents and also offers fun activities and entertainment.

Global marketplaces located around World Showcase offer the opportunity to enjoy an irresistible selection of gourmet plates and unique beverages. As you indulge in flavors from around the world, you can also treat your senses to fresh sounds and toe-tapping tunes from the live performers around the World Showcase. Guests of all ages can embark on a Ratatouille-inspired adventure that’s très magnifique as they search for Remy on a savory scavenger hunt around the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Cheese lovers can’t miss Emile’s Fromage Montage,  where you can sample a variety of delicious cheeses served in inventive ways. Whatever you choose to enjoy, the Food & Wine Festival is sure to add some fun and flavor to your Walt Disney World vacation!

Click the image below to view our Foodie Guide to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Want to taste some of these incredible gourmet delights for yourself? It’s not too late to start planning your Walt Disney World vacation for the Epcot Food & Wine Festival 2021. Contact your Wish Upon a Star with Us Vacation Planner or fill out the form on our contact page to get started!

Disneyland Theme Park Reservations

Disneyland has implemented a new Theme Park Reservation System requiring guests to make reservations to visit the theme parks.  This system has been put into place to help control crowd levels and manage capacity during the upcoming months as Disneyland reopens their theme parks and focuses on adhering to the CDC and state guidelines.

IMPORTANT:  In addition to a valid park admission, you MUST make a theme park reservation to enter one of the theme parks!  A valid theme park admission AND a theme park reservation are both required for entry. You will be able to make reservations one day at a time. For guests with multi-day tickets, a theme park reservation is required for each day you plan to visit a park.

Step 1: Sign in to your Disneyland Account and Access the Theme Park Reservation System

Click here to sign into your Disneyland Account. From here, you can start the theme park reservation process.

If you do not have an account, you will need to create one to get started.  If you already have another online Disney account (or ESPN), your log-in will be the same. Your Disneyland Account will allow you to plan several pieces of your Disneyland vacation, including making your theme park reservations, making dining reservations and doing Online Check-in at Disneyland Resort hotels.

Have a Walt Disney Travel Company vacation package or a Disneyland Resort hotel reservation with separately purchased park tickets? You’ll need to retrieve your resort hotel reservation via My Hotel Reservations and link it to your Disney account before making your theme park reservation.

Please note that park reservations are limited in number and subject to availability. Availability can change until the park reservation is finalized.

Step 2: Create Your Party

If you haven’t linked your tickets to your Disney account, you’ll need to enter a valid theme park ticket number for each person in your party to link their tickets to your account.

Please contact your Wish Upon a Star with Us agent if you have not yet purchased your Disneyland theme park tickets.

You may need to enter the name of each ticket holder.

Once everyone’s tickets are linked correctly, you can select the members of your traveling party to proceed with making a theme park reservation for the selected guests.

Step 3: Select the Day and Theme Park You’d Like to Visit

Select the date and theme park that you wish to visit from the available theme park reservations.

Guests with Park Hopper tickets for either park on that date may choose, pending availability, which theme park they wish to start their day—they may visit the other park on the same day after 1:00 PM.

If you have a multi-day ticket, you will repeat this process to make reservations for each day of your ticket, one day at a time.

Step 4:  Review and Confirm Your Visit

Finally, review and confirm your theme park reservations.

Before confirming, you’ll need to agree to the Terms & Conditions, including the COVID-19 liability waiver. Then, select “Confirm” to complete your theme park reservation.

Provide an email address to receive confirmation of your reservation and QR code. Be sure this is an email account you have access too, as you will not be able to change it later.

Check your email account to ensure you’ve received your confirmation email and required QR code. Please be prepared to present your QR code in addition to your valid park ticket when you arrive at the Disneyland Resort.

Know Before You Go

For more details on what to expect during your visit to Disneyland, be sure to review Disney’s  KNOW BEFORE YOU GO information.

Contact your Wish Upon a Star with Us agent if you require any assistance as you complete these steps!

Our Favorite Walt Disney World Restaurants for Adults

Have you considered taking an adults-only vacation to Walt Disney World? It may be known as one of the world’s top family vacation destinations, but there are so many things to do that are perfect for adults, too! From creative dining options, unique tours, fun adult-focused activities and lively nightlife, there is so much for adults to experience. Whether it’s a girls trip, a romantic getaway or a group of friends traveling together, let us help you plan the perfect vacation with tips and ideas designed just for adults.

In today’s post, we’re sharing our favorite restaurants for adults throughout Walt Disney World! Enjoying some of the unique restaurants at Walt Disney World is the perfect way to indulge during your trip. There is such a wide selection of restaurants that there is something to suit every taste and occasion – everything from signature fine dining experiences to restaurants with incredible views to flavors inspired by cuisines around the world! Did you know that Disney Springs has the largest collection of restaurants influenced by James Beard Award Winning Chefs in the world? That’s like the Oscars of food! There are so many amazing restaurants at Walt Disney World that it’s hard to choose just a few. That’s one of the reasons why our agents and clients love visiting again and again to experience more of the amazing offerings at Walt Disney World!

Our Favorite Disney World Restaurants for Adults

From Disney Springs to the Disney theme parks and the Disney Resort hotels, let’s take a look at some of our favorite restaurants for adults (in no particular order):

  1. Frontera Cocina (Disney Springs)
  2. Le Cellier (EPCOT)
  3. Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ (Disney Springs)
  4. Narcoosee’s (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa)
  5. Terralina Crafted Italian (Disney Springs)
  6. Jiko (Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge)
  7. Yachtsman Steakhouse (Disney’s Yacht Club Resort)
  8. Jaleo (Disney Springs)
  9. Victoria & Albert’s (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa)
  10. Tiffins (Disney’s Animal Kingdom)
  11. ‘Ohana (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort)
  12. Boathouse (Disney Springs)
  13. Chefs de France (EPCOT)
  14. Toledo (Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort)
  15. The Wave… of American Flavors (Disney’s Contemporary Resort)
  16. Morimoto Asia (Disney Springs)
  17. Nomad Lounge (Disney’s Animal Kingdom)
  18. California Grill (Disney’s Contemporary Resort)
  19. Wine Bar George (Disney Springs)
  20. Sanaa (Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village)
  21. Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant (Disney Springs)
  22. Grand Floridian Café (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa)
  23. Hollywood Brown Derby (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)
  24. Baseline Tap House (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)
  25. Takumi Tei (EPCOT)
  26. Cítricos (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa)
  27. Monsieur Paul (EPCOT)
  28. Flying Fish (Disney’s BoardWalk Inn)
  29. Topolino’s Terrace (Disney’s Riviera Resort)
  30. Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill (Disney Springs)

If you’re ready to start ‘adulting’ at Disney World, contact one of our agents today or fill out our contact form here to get started planning your next magical vacation!

 

*Some restaurants may not be currently available during the phased reopening, but have been included on the list to inspire you for future travel!

Raya and the Last Dragon Activity Packet

The next Walt Disney Animation Studios film, Raya and the Last Dragon, releases this Friday in theaters and on Disney+ with Premier Access. Our agents our eagerly awaiting this new movie, and there are so many ways to celebrate the new film both at Disney Parks and at home!

Raya and the Last Dragon travels to the fantasy world of Kumandra, where humans and dragons lived together long ago in harmony. But when an evil force threatened the land, the dragons sacrificed themselves to save humanity. Now, 500 years later, that same evil has returned and it’s up to a lone warrior, Raya, to track down the legendary last dragon to restore the fractured land and its divided people. However, along her journey, she’ll learn that it’ll take more than a dragon to save the world—it’s going to take trust and teamwork as well.

Raya and the Last Dragon Animation Experience

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Guests can take a photo with a 40-ton sand sculpture at Discovery Island Stage, learn to draw new characters at The Animation Experience at Conservation Station or enjoy several new tasty treats, all inspired by the film.

New products celebrating Raya and the Last Dragon are available at shopDisney.com, Disney stores, the Walt Disney World Resort and the Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort.

Downtown Disney District will also be debuting a new art installation designed by Walt Disney Imagineering Concept Designer, Xiao Qing Chen. Qing was born and raised in Malaysia and drew inspiration for this artwork from the film and her heritage. Qing’s design intent for the piece is to celebrate differences by respecting, accepting and embracing everyone’s uniqueness and strengths.

Get excited for this new movie with a fun Raya and the Last Dragon Activity Packet, a perfect way to discover more about the film with activities themed to nature, storytelling, creativity, friendship and community. Click the image below to download the Activity Packet! You can also click here to stream the new “Raya and the Last Dragon” Soundtrack, featuring score by Oscar-nominated composer James Newton Howard and a new original song, “Lead the Way” by Grammy-nominated artist Jhené Aiko.

Click the image below to view and print the Raya and the Last Dragon Activity Packet:

Raya and the Last Dragon Activity Packet

 

Taste of Epcot® International Flower and Garden Festival Foodie Guide

Taste of Epcot® International Flower and Garden Festival

Food Guide created by Noelle Schreiber 

It may still be a bit chilly outside now, but a hint of spring is in the air as EPCOT prepares for the Taste of EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival. This beloved festival returns to EPCOT on March 3, 2021 and will continue through July 5, 2021. From garden-fresh cuisines, creative gardens and unforgettable topiaries, this vibrant festival combines the freshest flowers and flavors from around the world.

If you’re planning a visit during this exciting festival, be sure to set aside time to explore and admire the extraordinary character topiaries. Plus, a kaleidoscope of bright blooms and floating gardens scattered throughout EPCOT will make the perfect backdrop for photos.

And of course, a major highlight of this exciting festival is the arrival of 20 festival-exclusive Outdoor Kitchens to the park! A smorgasbord of flavors and beverages await throughout World Showcase as you explore flavors of Spring from around the world. Discover creative cuisine featuring the season’s
freshest flavors, bringing the garden to your table. Be sure to check out our Foodie Guide below to see all the sweet and savory bites as well as refreshing sips that await you during your visit to the Taste of Epcot® International Flower and Garden Festival!

Click the image below for the Taste of Epcot® International Flower and Garden Festival Foodie Guide:

 

Want to taste some of these incredible flavors for yourself this Spring? It’s not too late to start planning your Walt Disney World vacation to experience this exciting festival. Contact your Wish Upon a Star with Us Vacation Planner or fill out the form on our contact page to get started!

Guide to Valentine’s Day at Walt Disney World

Guides created by Noelle Schreiber 

Valentine’s Day is the season of love, and there’s plenty to love at Walt Disney World this time of year!

Check out our foodie guide for all of the special seasonal treats that will be popping up around the Walt Disney World Resort during the next month. If you’re visiting Walt Disney World soon, then you’ll definitely want to check out some of these delightful treats!

Click the image below to see the full Valentine’s Day Foodie Guide:

Shopping more your style? Love is in the air at Disney Springs! Be sure to check out our guide below to see all of the Sweet Finds and special seasonal offerings at Disney Springs.

Click the image below to see the full Sweet Finds for Valentine’s Day Guide:

It’s not too late to start planning your Walt Disney World vacation. Contact your Wish Upon a Star with Us Vacation Planner or fill out the form on our contact page to get started!

Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Arts (with Culinary Guide)

Festival of the Arts

The Epcot International Festival of the Arts has once again returned to Walt Disney World! This exciting festival will take place January 8 – February 22, 2021. Since 2017, this annual event has provided guests the opportunity to celebrate visual arts, performing arts and culinary arts through a variety of experiences! Explore your creative side and immerse in the arts with artsy activities that are fun for every member of the family.

Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Arts Decadent Delights Palette Cookie

Visual Arts

Learn how to draw in Animation Acadamy or leave your mark on the hands on wall mural. Also keep an eye out for artful photo ops and interactive experiences. Take the oportunity to bring some art home with you as well!

Taste of Epcot International Festival of the Arts

Performing Arts

Catch captivating performances everywhere you turn! Enjoy live art
performances! Listen to the Voices of Liberty sing a new songbook and amaze at Art Defying Gravity.

Culinary Arts

Art critics and gourmands alike can enjoy a feast for the eyes as well as the palate! Explore a world where food imitates art as the epicurean elite converge to create mouthwatering magic that rivals the masters.

Click the image below to view a Taste of Epcot® International Festival of the Arts Culinary Guide

Food Guide created by Noelle Schreiber

Want to taste some of these incredible treats for yourself? It’s not too late to start planning your Walt Disney World vacation. Contact your Wish Upon a Star with Us Vacation Planner or fill out the form on our contact page to get started!

A Review of Chef Mickey’s with the Return of Characters

Minnie at Chef Mickey

by Noelle Schreiber 

Wanting to dine at Chef Mickey’s is nothing new.  This is usually a box people are told to check on their Disney vacation.  But, since the reopening of Disney World it has been without the beloved characters…until now!  They’re back!  Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto have returned to Chef Mickey’s.  With their return, Chef Mickey’s has also brought new menu items and a new way to dine.

I had the pleasure of being one of the very first guests to dine at Chef Mickey’s the morning of the big change.  Chef Mickey’s opened at 7:30AM.  We checked in promptly at opening time.  You can now check in via the My Disney Experience app, or by scanning a QR code upon arrival.  Very quickly we were welcomed and escorted to our table with a lovely view of the Castle, the monorail, and the Christmas tree on Main Street.

Our tables were very socially distanced.  We were in an area where only two tables were available.  The area would normally accommodate six tables.  Between our area and the lower level there was a plexiglass barrier.  With Chef Mickey’s being in a very open-air area in the Contemporary, with extra social distancing, we felt very safe.  We were still extra cautious and courteous of our wait staff and kept our mask on while ordering, or when interacting with them later in the meal.

There are Magical Morning Cocktails, such as a cranberry-orange mimosa, a peach bellini, the chef’s bloody mary, and the cold brew XO available at an additional cost.  There were also very cute non-alcoholic specialty smoothies for purchase for the kiddos.  You could get a Mickey or Minnie Mouse version.  A souvenir sipper was also available.

Chef Mickey’s is now served family style.  It is no longer a buffet.  I also appreciated this safety precaution, and much preferred it this way.  Every menu item was offered to us including the new signature dishes that have been added to the menu.  You did not have to pick just one.  Any time we wanted more of something, including the newest dishes, all we had to do was ask.  Our wait staff were very quick in bringing seconds and always kept our drinks filled.

We started off with some very cute mini yogurt and granola parfaits served in little mason jars as well as a selection of fresh fruit.  Next came the large skillet full of eggs, bacon, brisket, chicken sausage, pork sausage, and of course the ever-popular Mickey waffles!  Everything was wonderful.  I particularly enjoyed the brisket.  There were definitely seconds on those waffles.

Before we could finish this course, Chef Mickey’s signature selections started to arrive.  There is a “Celebration” Mickey pancake, banana bread French toast, and a loaded potato-cheese casserole.  I personally am very much a savory person and the casserole was my favorite!  I ate more of this than I am willing to admit.  The banana bread French toast was also amazing.  The espresso-mascarpone cream with the bananas and chocolate crumbles really made this one a winner!  The cream was light and did not have an overwhelming coffee flavor.  It was a perfect pairing with this dish.  The Mickey pancake was the surprising favorite of my girls.  One said it was the best pancake she had ever had.  Once this showed up that was all that she was eating, and we had to get seconds to even try it ourselves.  She was not giving it up.  We ended our meal with some sweet rolls and sweet fritters that were rolled in vanilla cinnamon sugar.  These little doughnut hole type bites were a great “dessert” to this meal.

While we were enjoying our meal, the characters made 4 rounds through the restaurant.  You are asked to stay seated while the characters make their way through.  The characters danced to a new song called “Let’s make some biscuits.”  There was hand clapping, but the napkin twirling has gone by the wayside.  The characters posed for pictures from a distance.  We switched seats at one point with our girls once we figured out where each character would always stand so that we could get pics of our kiddos with the characters in the shot.  This is something to keep in mind when picking your seating.  They would also pose in the background for selfies.  They took their time interacting and playing that fun game of conversation charades that you get at Disney with the characters.

At the end of the meal, we were given a souvenir card with a picture of all the Chef Mickey’s characters in their Chef Mickey attire in the monorail going through the Contemporary.  On the other side was each character’s autograph.  This was a wonderful keepsake from our breakfast.  I think Disney has done a great job in bringing the magic back to Chef Mickey’s!

Walt Disney World Holiday Food Guide

Foodie Guide to the Holidays

Food Guides created by Noelle Schreiber 

The holiday season at the Walt Disney World Resort officially started this week, and we are so excited about all the magical experiences happening around the theme parks and resorts this year!

From Nov. 6 through Dec. 30, guests can enjoy special cavalcades, seasonal décor, themed merchandise, delicious treats, characters donning their holiday best and so much more. Then, beginning on November 27, EPCOT will join in the festivities with the arrival of the Taste of Epcot® International Festival of the Holidays which will feature live entertainment, holiday kitchens, the Holiday Cookie Stroll and more.

As one of our resident ‘foodies’, Travel Specialist Noelle has created guides to the Holiday Snacks available in all four theme parks, as well as a guide to the Taste of Epcot® International Festival of the Holidays! We hope this gets you in the spirit of the season and excited to try some of these enticing holiday treats.

Here are some of the things on Noelle’s “To-Eat” list this holiday season:

❄️Sweet Potato Casserole Funnel Cake topped with Marshmallow Topping, Cinnamon-Sugar, Honey-roasted Pecans and a Caramel Drizzle

❄️Warm Brown Sugar-stuffed Pretzel with Soft-serve Ice Cream and Chocolate Sauce

❄️Salted Caramel Spaceship Earth® Cookie

Click the image below for the Holiday Snacks Guide:

Click the image below for the Taste of Epcot® International Festival of the Holidays Foodie Guide:

 

Want to taste some of these incredible treats for yourself this holiday season? It’s not too late to start planning your Walt Disney World vacation for this holiday season. Contact your Wish Upon a Star with Us Vacation Planner or fill out the form on our contact page to get started!