Epcot International Festival of the Arts Foodie Guide 2023

Festival of the Arts

Food Guide created by Noelle Schreiber

The Epcot International Festival of the Arts is once again returning to Walt Disney World! This exciting festival will take place January 13 – February 22, 2023. 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.

The festival is a global celebration of visual, culinary, and performing arts where guests can find inspiration and discover their own creativity in fun ways across the park. There are more than 100 Disney and visiting artists showcasing their eye-catching works of art during the festival. Guests of all ages can express their creative side by learning to draw a Disney character at Animation Academy, leaving their own creative mark at Expression Section: A Paint by Number Mural and helping Figment learn about art on a scavenger hunt around World Showcase. Each evening, the Disney on Broadway Concert Series will feature talented entertainers performing Disney songs live at America Gardens Theatre.

For those who prefer the culinary arts, check out our foodie guide below to see the art-inspired menus at 16 delicious food stalls you can enjoy during the festival!

Click below to view our full foodie guide for the 2023 Epcot International Festival of the Arts!

On mobile? Use the dots at the bottom to navigate to the next page of the guide!

Want to experience these delicious culinary creations for yourself? It’s not too late to start planning your Walt Disney World vacation for the 2023 Epcot Festival of the Arts. We can also help you make plans to visit Walt Disney World during one of the other exciting festivals that take place throughout the year. Contact your Wish Upon a Star with Us Vacation Planner or fill out the form on our contact page to get started!

Disney Cruise Line Announces New Itineraries for Early 2024!

Disney Cruise Line 2024 Itineraries

Set Sail for Tropical Destinations in Early 2024

In early 2024, Disney Cruise Line is going to be on island time! A variety of fan-favorite tropical locales are in store for guests, including itineraries to the Caribbean, Mexico, Bahamas and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.

With sailings from two home ports in the Sunshine State (Port Canaveral and Fort Lauderdale) as well as voyages from Galveston, New Orleans and San Diego, guests can escape the winter blues with a magical vacation at sea from wherever they are in 2024.  

Booking Dates

Bookings for these exciting new itineraries will open to the public on Dec. 15, 2022. Guests that are Disney Cruise Line Castaway Club (have sailed with Disney Cruise Line before) and other select affinity groups may take advantage of special early booking windows:

  • Monday, Dec. 12, 2022: Platinum Castaway Club Members, Golden Oak and Club 33 Members
  • Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2022: Gold Castaway Club Members
  • Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022: Silver Castaway Club Members, Disney Vacation Club and Adventure Insiders
  • Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022: Bookings open to all Guests
Disney Cruise Line 2024 Itineraries

Sun-Drenched Getaways from Fort Lauderdale

The Disney Dream will begin early 2024 with an assortment of 3- and 4-night sailings to the Bahamas and 5-night vacations to the Western Caribbean, sailing out of Fort Lauderdale. All of these sailings will feature classic Disney Cruise Line experiences such as Broadway-style shows, innovative dining, character encounters and fireworks at sea.

All sailings from Florida will include a stop at Castaway Cay, a picturesque private island oasis reserved exclusively for Disney Cruise Line guests. Located in the turquoise waters of the Bahamas, Castaway Cay provides the ultimate escape with something for everyone in the family, including adventure, relaxation and quality time.

Tropical Vacations from Port Canaveral

The Disney Wish will kick off 2024 with 3- and 4-night voyages to Nassau, Bahamas, and Castaway Cay departing from Port Canaveral, Florida, Disney Cruise Line’s home port located just one hour from the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Cruises aboard the Disney Wish combine enchanting entertainment and numerous Disney Cruise Line firsts, bringing to life Disney, Marvel, Pixar and Star Wars stories around every corner of the ship.

Also from Port Canaveral, the Disney Fantasy will continue 7-night sailings to the white-sand beaches of the eastern and western Caribbean. Eastern Caribbean cruises will visit Tortola and St. Thomas, while western Caribbean itineraries will feature the ports of Cozumel, Mexico; Grand Cayman; and Falmouth, Jamaica. Every Disney Fantasy sailing also includes a stop at Castaway Cay, along with several days at sea, giving the family more time to enjoy all the fun and relaxation offered on board.

Caribbean Adventures from Galveston and New Orleans

The Disney Magic will have two limited-time engagements in Galveston in early 2024. After ringing in the New Year from the Lonestar State, the ship will embark on Caribbean adventures ranging in length from 4-6 nights through the end of January. Upon returning for another month-long stint between March and April, the ship will sail cruises ranging from 4-7 nights to the Western Caribbean during the popular spring break period.

New Orleans will welcome the Disney Magic back for a second consecutive year in February 2024 with 4-, 5- and 7-night cruises to the Caribbean. The Big Easy is the perfect city to extend a vacation either before or after a cruise to enjoy jazz and jambalaya in the city that inspired Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “The Princess and the Frog.”  

Mexican Escapes from San Diego

After returning from its inaugural season in Australia and New Zealand, the Disney Wonder will arrive in San Diego, California in March 2024 for 3-7-night voyages to Mexico, including the Baja peninsula. Known for its vibrant culture, stunning beaches and saltwater adventures, families can visit some of Mexico’s most prized destinations, including Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan and Ensenada, along with stops to the inviting shores of Catalina Island off the California coast.

Ready to Plan Your Next Magical Vacation at Sea?

Wish Upon a Star with Us Vacation Planners have extensive experience planning magical Disney Cruise Line vacations for families. We can’t wait to help you and your family experience the magic of a Disney Cruise Line vacation at sea.

Contact your Wish Upon a Star with Us Vacation Planner today to be one of the first to book these exciting new itineraries! Don’t have a Vacation Planner yet? Click the link below to fill out a contact form and be matched with one of our exceptional Vacation Planners.

Top 10 Tips for a Smoother Vacation this Summer & Fall

Expert Tips for your vacation

For many of our clients,  this has been the summer of long-awaited travel plans. After a tough couple of years, it’s fantastic that so many people are finally able to take the trips they’ve been dreaming of! With that high demand for travel has come some challenges, particularly with airlines. That’s why we’ve put together some helpful travel tips to help you experience smoother travel this Summer & Fall!

Click through the pages below for 10 tips for a smoother vacation this Summer and Fall!

It’s not too late to plan a last-minute getaway this Summer or Fall! Contact your Wish Upon a Star with Us Vacation Planner or fill out the form on our contact page to get started on planning your next adventure!

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Foodie Guide 2022

Food Guide created by Noelle Schreiber

The 2022 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival has officially begun! Guests at Epcot can enjoy this exciting festival now through November 19, 2022. The Food & Wine Festival takes Guests on a culinary tour through 6 continents -and beyond- and includes plenty of fun activities and entertainment to enjoy.

Global marketplaces located around World Showcase offer the opportunity to enjoy an irresistible selection of gourmet plates and unique beverages. Discover a cornucopia of cultures, cuisines and innovative cooking techniques from chefs worldwide. 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 below to view our full foodie guide for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival!

Want to experience these gourmet delights for yourself? It’s not too late to start planning your Walt Disney World vacation for the Epcot Food & Wine Festival in 2022. Contact your Wish Upon a Star with Us Vacation Planner or fill out the form on our contact page to get started!

All About the NEW Disney Wish

Disney Wish

The newest Disney Cruise Line ship has officially set sail!

The highly anticipated Disney Wish, the newest ship in the Disney Cruise Line fleet, has officially made its debut! A team of Wish Upon a Star with Us Vacation Planners were onboard for the Maiden Voyage of this incredible new ship, as well as a media preview cruise before the ship officially set sail. After 4 ships and more than 20 years in the cruise industry, Disney has completely re-imagined cruising with the stunning design, unique innovations and amazing experiences on the Disney Wish.

Design

While the outside of the Wish maintains the same classic exterior of the previous Disney Cruise Line ships (inspired by classic ocean liners), the interior of the Wish has been designed in a new style, distinct from the other four ships. The Disney Wish brings the magic of a fairytale castle to life, with details throughout the ship taking inspiration from classic Disney stories. The stunning Grand Hall, with its shimmering chandelier and iconic Cinderella statue, is the heart of the ship’s stunning new design. It truly feels like a castle at sea! This ship brings the magic of Disney storytelling to guests like never before. Disney magic is woven into every detail in a way that’s sure to create special memories for every guest who sails on this incredible new ship.

Staterooms

The staterooms on the new Disney Wish bring back many of the elements from the first 4 Disney ships but also feel completely new. Features like the split bathroom layout and convertible beds make them a comfortable and functional space for families. These fairytale-inspired staterooms feature a bright, modern design and art from different Disney animated films! The Disney Wish also has more concierge staterooms than ever before on a Disney ship. You’ll also find the addition of incredible suites like 2-story Royal Suites and the Funnel Suite!

Dining

The Disney Wish brings back Disney’s renowned Rotational Dining. This guest-favorite format means you get to experience different themed restaurant throughout the cruise, all while being accompanied by the same dedicated service team.

Main Dining

The Disney Wish welcomes three all-new incredible and innovative main restaurants! At Arendelle: a Frozen Dining Adventure, dine on a Norwegian-inspired menu while enjoying special entertainment from some of the most popular characters in Disney’s Frozen.  At Worlds of Marvel, immerse yourself in an interactive adventure right alongside some of your favorite Marvel Heroes! The menu takes inspiration from Wakanda, Asgard, New York, and more settings from the MCU. Finally, at 1923 you’ll dine in an elegant restaurant that harkens back to the early days of the Walt Disney company. Surround yourself in the glitz and glamour of Old Hollywood as you feast on Californian-inspired fare.

Casual Dining

Marceline Market is a buffet-style restaurant which takes its inspiration from Walt Disney’s home town of Marceline, Missouri. The variety of stations here offer a wide variety of options for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Mickey & Friends Festival of Food is the place to go when you’re looking for a poolside snack! You’ll find even more poolside options than you’ll find on any previous Disney Cruise Line ship. From pizza to tacos, barbecue to ice cream, this fun boardwalk setting offers something for everyone. 24-hour room service is also available!

Adult-Exclusive Dining

Palo Steakhouse & Enchante offer specialty dining experiences just for the adults! These two upscale restaurants, along with The Rose lounge, are inspired by one of the most beloved Disney films, Beauty and the Beast. Reservations required and extra fee applies.

Pool Decks

The Disney Wish features more outdoor deck space and pools than any previous Disney Cruise Line ship. The central pool deck includes six staggered pools of varying depths, all with a view of the Funnel Vision screen which plays classic Disney movies. An additional quieter pool area sits at the very front of the ship, while in the aft you’ll find the adult-only infinity pool. The Toy Story-themed splash zone is perfect for the littlest cruisers, while the more adventurous can take a ride on the Slide-a-saurus Rex waterslide and the AquaMouse! On the AquaMouse, the first Disney attraction at sea, Guests slide and splash through a zany story from The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse.

Entertainment

Disney has always been known for their incredible entertainment, and the Disney Wish is no exception! Enjoy spectacular Broadway-caliber shows in the Walt Disney Theater, including two brand new shows designed just for the Disney Wish (Disney Seas the Adventure and The Little Mermaid). View first-run movies in two screening rooms – the Wonderland Cinema and Never Land Cinema. Spot your favorite characters making appearances around the ship, with photo opportunities to capture those special interactions. Party like a pirate at the pirate night deck party, including breathtaking fireworks at sea. Fun activities like game shows, trivia, karaoke, animation classes and so much more take place around the ship, offering both family-friendly and adult-only fun. All this and so much more await you and your family onboard the Wish!

Youth Clubs

The youth activity spaces on the Disney Wish offer unique experiences for children of all ages. At the Oceaneer Club, kids ages 3-12 can enter the worlds of their favorite stories like Star Wars, Marvel, Frozen, and more in exciting immersive spaces! For older kids, Edge (for tweens ages 11-13) and Vibe (teens agers 13-17) are trendy hangouts offering counselor-led programming created just for them. These clubs are bursting with creative design details, comfortable lounge space and high-tech entertainment! A third venue, the Hideaway, is a flexible venue that can be opened to the teen club, closed off for tween activities and even reserved especially for special activities for young adult guests ages 18 to 20. Finally, we can’t forget the littlest cruisers! The “it’s a small world” nursery is an adorable childcare center full of whimsical touches inspired the classic Disney attraction.

Adult Exclusive Areas

In addition to the specialty, adult-only dining, there are several spots on the Disney Wish that are designed just for the adults! Ready to relax? The Quiet Cove area offers a peaceful oasis for adults to relax in the adult-only infinity pool, grab a drink at Cove Bar or sip a latte in the adjacent Cove Cafe.  Senses Spa offers the perfect space for rejuvenation with a wide selection of treatments and services available. Meanwhile, the Untangled Salon and Hook’s Barbery offer additional opportunities for pampering. Unique themed lounges abound on the Disney Wish! From galactic views at the Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge to upscale elegance at The Rose, there is something for every taste.

Ready to Set Sail?

The Disney Wish has officially launched, and will be sailing 3- and 4-night cruises to the Bahamas from Port Canaveral, FL. These itineraries include a visit to Disney’s very own private island paradise, Castaway Cay! If you’re ready to start planning your family’s magical adventure at sea, talk to your Wish Upon a Star with Us Vacation Planner today! Don’t have a Vacation Planner yet? Fill out our contact form to get started! Whether this is your first cruise or your 20th, the Disney Wish offers brand new incredible experiences for every Guest that comes aboard. We can’t wait to help your family set sail on the magical voyage of a lifetime!

Epcot® International Flower and Garden Festival – Food Guide

Flower and Garden Festival

Food Guide created by Noelle Schreiber 

Attend a springtime event abloom with brilliant gardens, fresh flavors, lively entertainment and more.

While Spring may be just beginning for many of us,  it’s already in full bloom at EPCOT at the International Flower & Garden Festival. This beloved festival returned to EPCOT on March 2, 2022 and will continue through July 4, 2022. 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. In addition, the celebrations included live performances for the Garden Rocks Concert Series and exclusive merchandise to bring the fun home with you. Even the little ones can get in on the fun with Spike’s Pollen-Nation Exploration, a scavenger hunt that’s fun for the whole family!

And of course, a major highlight of this exciting festival is the arrival of nearly 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 Food Guide below to see all the sweet and savory bites as well as refreshing sips that await you during your visit to the Epcot® International Flower and Garden Festival!

Click the image below to open our Food Guide to the Epcot® International Flower and Garden Festival (PDF):

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!

Epcot International Festival of the Arts – Food Guide

Festival of the Arts

Food Guide created by  Noelle Schreiber

The Epcot International Festival of the Arts is once again returning to Walt Disney World! This exciting festival will take place January 14 – February 21, 2022. 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.

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 opportunity to bring some art home with you as well!

Performing Arts

Catch captivating performances everywhere you turn! Enjoy live art performances! Don’t miss your favorite Disney on Broadway performers live on stage singing the songs they helped make famous.

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

 

Festival of the Arts 2022 Food Guide

Food Guide created by Noelle Schreiber

Want to experience one of Epcot’s exciting festivals for yourself? It’s not too late to start planning your 2022 Walt Disney World vacation. Ask your Vacation Planner about the other amazing themed festivals that take place at Epcot throughout the year. Contact your Wish Upon a Star with Us Vacation Planner or fill out the form on our contact page to start planning!

2022 Airport Transportation Options at the Walt Disney World Resort

Walt Disney World

by Josh Mitchell, Vacation Planner at Wish Upon a Star with Us

Whether you are visiting Walt Disney World for the first time or you’ve visited 50 times before, 2022 is an exciting year to visit Walt Disney World! With the 50th anniversary celebration officially underway, many families can’t wait to return to the magic or experience the magic for the first time. While 2022 brings a lot of exciting new changes like new rides and dining venues, one classic Walt Disney World experience is coming to an end – Disney’s Magical Express. 

The beloved shuttle service was a complimentary transportation perk all Walt Disney World Resort Guests could take advantage of when flying in or out of Orlando International Airport (MCO). With the news of Disney’s end to Magical Express, many guests were left wondering what transportations options they will have going forward. While we hope this blog post is helpful in giving you a quick answer, the best resource is to talk to one of our expert Vacation Planners at Wish Upon a Star with Us Travel to decide which option is best for you and your vacation. Our Vacation Planners don’t just talk about Disney, they are constantly immersed in the “Disney Know”. When you don’t find them working behind their computers tirelessly for their clients, you can be sure to find them traveling to Disney destinations around the World! 

When will Magical Express end?

Disney’s Magical Express service will officially end December 31st, 2021. Any Guests that checks in to their Disney Resort hotel before the end of the year will still receive Magical Express complimentary transportation back to the airport, even if it’s after December 31. Magical Express will no longer be available for Guests with arrivals on or after January 31.

Why is Disney ending the Magical Express service?

Disney attributed the decision to the rise of other transportation options like ride-shares (Uber and Lyft). “Vacationers have more options to choose from than ever for transportation, including ride-share services that save time and offer more flexibility to go where they want, when they want.” 

What are my transportation options now that Magical Express is gone?

Even without Magical Express, there are a variety of transportation options to choose from to easily get from the airport to your Walt Disney World Resort hotel. Here are a few of the most popular options:

    • Private transfers
    • Shared shuttle
    • Uber/Lyft
    • Taxi

Our Vacation Planners can help you arrange your transportation through a trusted private transportation company, or set up transportation for you on a shared shuttle service such as Mears Connect, a new service launching in 2022. If you prefer, you can also plan to use Uber/Lyft or take a taxi when you arrive at the airport.

What is Mears Connect?

Mears Transportation (the company that currently operates Disney’s Magical Express service in partnership with Disney) is not going anywhere. The same day that Disney announced the end of Magical Express, Mears announced their new Walt Disney World Resort shuttle service – Mears Connect. Mears Connect will begin service on January 1st, 2022 and is already taking reservations. While this service is no longer complimentary, the shuttle service is expected to run very similar to how Magical Express has been operating. The other key difference is the shuttle service will no longer be run or booked through Disney.

With Mears Connect looking to be one of the new most popular options for getting to Walt Disney World, we wanted to help share what this new service will look like. Mears Connect will have 2 paid service options: Standard Service or Express Service. 

Mears Connect Standard Service: This is a shared transport service whose operation remains very similar to that of Magical Express. It serves all the hotels of the Walt Disney World Resort as well as other area hotels. It will make a limited number of stops and will have you on your way to your resort within 20 minutes of your check-in to the Mears Connect reception area. The cost for this option is $16 per adult and $13.50 per child (ages 3-9) each way.

Mears Connect Express Service: The Express Service option offers direct service to your resort and back to the airport (guaranteed first stop), with limited to no wait time. The Express Service may be provided in a bus, van or a small vehicle, and is only available for roundtrip service. Note that Express Service is not considered private service, it may be shared service. This option starts at $250 roundtrip for a party of 4, plus $55 for each additional passenger.

Which transportation option is best for me?

Deciding which transportation method to take to your Walt Disney World Resort hotel might feel stressful now, but we’re here to help you arrange the best option for your vacation. Deciding between the forms of transportation is really going to come down to your family’s preference. Talk to your Wish Upon a Star with Us Vacation Planner and see what they personally recommend for your family and getting to your Walt Disney World Resort hotel!

 

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!