Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Boarding Group Virtual Queue

written by Crystal Boston, Travel Specialist

UPDATE: Effective July 30, 2021, face coverings are optional for Guests in outdoor areas. All Guests (ages 2 and up) must wear a face covering when inside, including indoor attractions, queues and transportation.

UPDATED: September 10, 2021

Confirming a virtual queue in the My Disney Experience Mobile App is still the only way to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. As availability allows, you will have an opportunity at 7 a.m. and 1 p.m. to request to join the virtual queue. This means there is no need to arrive early to the park to check the virtual queue. 

Here are a few important details to know before arriving…

  • Guests with a valid ticket or annual pass and a Disney Park Pass Reservation for Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be able to access the virtual queue system and check for an available boarding group starting at 7 a.m. on the day of their park reservation. This can be done before you leave your Disney resort hotel, or wherever else nearby you might be at that time.
  • In addition, the virtual queue will reopen daily at 1 p.m. for anyone who was not already able to join a boarding group earlier in the day. Note: Guests must be inside Disney’s Hollywood Studios to access this second virtual queue opportunity, access to a boarding group is subject to availability and not guaranteed.

The attraction’s virtual queue is only accessible via your My Disney Experience Mobile App. To maximize your opportunity to secure a boarding group, here are a few tips for prior to your day at the park:

  • Register an account in My Disney Experience
  • Download the My Disney Experience mobile app on your smart device or ensure you are using the most updated version of the app before you arrive at the park
  • Have a valid Disney Park Pass reservation for Disney’s Hollywood Studios for the day you are visiting
  • Link all park tickets in your party to your My Disney Experience account
  • For the best opportunity, it’s best if all members of your travel party attempt to access the virtual queue for everyone in your group
  • Remember, virtual queue boarding groups are limited and subject to availability

NOTE: Only Guests with a Disney Park Pass reservation for Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be able to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Even with Park Hopper tickets, Guests visiting from another theme park will not be able to request to join the virtual queue.

You can follow the Boarding Group information provided below to join a Boarding Group and should receive a notification when your Boarding Group opens. It’s now easier to confirm your party prior to the Virtual Queue opening. Starting 1 hour before the boarding group queue opens, you can now confirm your party.

 

There are now also tips within the app telling Guests how to “refresh” right at 7 a.m. to join the queue, streamlining the process. You can see this reflected in the screenshot below.

If you have any questions or need assistance with joining the virtual queue, Cast Members at Guest Experience Team locations throughout the park are available to assist. While waiting for a virtual queue group to be called, you can enjoy other experiences at Disney’s Hollywood Studios including the newest experience, Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway.

You will be assigned a Group number and estimated wait time for return to the land to join the line for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. Your MagicBand or park ticket will be scanned again before you are allowed access to the ride queue. During this time you are free to enjoy any other experiences at Disney, including going back to your resort to sleep!

There may be times when a virtual queue will be used to enter Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, allowing you to enjoy the rest of Disney’s Hollywood Studios while waiting for your turn to enter Batuu. Guests should check either the My Disney Experience mobile app or with the Guest Experience team that can be found within the park for the land’s current status.

To make sure that you’ll be able to join the virtual queue, you’ll need to have the latest version of the My Disney Experience mobile app downloaded on your phone. If you’ve enabled push notifications for the app and you have entered the virtual queue, you should be notified when it’s time to return to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. If you don’t, you’ll be able to view the boarding group status in the app, or check the various digital status boards throughout the park.

To see if the land is open or if Boarding Groups are available, you’ll launch your My Disney Experience mobile app and look for the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge: Status and Access section – tap the “Find Out More” button.

If there are Boarding Groups available, and you want to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, you will then click the “Join Boarding Group” button.

Once you select “Join Boarding Group” you will see the information below in your My Disney Experience mobile app. Click “Continue”.

In the next screen you will select your Party and click the “Join a Boarding Group” button.

You will then be assigned a Group number and estimated wait time for return. Click the “Done” button.

For those who don’t choose to use the My Disney Experience mobile app, and you would like to join a Boarding Group, you’ll need to visit a Guest Experience Team kiosk.

As a reminder, for those with reservations for Oga’s Cantina, Savi’s Workshop – Handbuilt Lightsabers, or Droid Depot, if the land is full and you have a reservation, you will be allowed into the land.

Contact your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent now to book your Walt Disney World or Disneyland resort package for your Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge experience!

Park Hopper Option Returns to Walt Disney World Resort on Jan. 1, 2021

written by Crystal Boston, Travel Specialist

As the phased reopening of Walt Disney World Resort continues, another exciting milestone is approaching that many Guests have been looking forward to: the return of the Park Hopper option!

Guests with a ticket, package or pass that includes Park Hopper® benefits will get the chance to see and do more during their visit, which could mean a morning on the savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park and an evening stroll by Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park or starting the day living your Star Wars adventure at Disney’s Hollywood Studios before an afternoon traveling around the world at EPCOT.
Please note that the ability to visit another park will be subject to the park’s capacity limitations.

YOU CAN SIMPLY CHECK YOUR MOBILE APP FOR PARK HOURS FOR THAT DAY, CALL 407-560-5000 TO CHECK PARK AVAILABILITY OR CHECK ONLINE
WALT DISNEY WORLD PARK HOPPER HOURS



How It Works
Starting January 1, 2021, Guests who purchased a ticket or annual pass with the Park Hopper benefits will be able to visit more than one park per day, with some new modifications as part of an ongoing focus for health and safety. These modifications are designed to help with continue to manage attendance in a way that fosters physical distancing. Additionally, other enhanced health and safety measures remain in effect, including face coverings required for all guests ages two and up.

Specific Park Hopper hours will be set during which this option will be available. Park Hopper hours will start at 2 PM each day and end at the park’s scheduled close time. Guests will soon be able to check DisneyWorld.com/ParkHours and the My Disney Experience Mobile App for the most up-to-date Park Hopper hours, as they could start earlier at a later date, depending on the day and park.

With the updated Park Hopper experience, Guests must make a Disney Park Pass reservation for the first park they plan to visit AND enter that first park prior to visiting another. At this time, a park reservation is not required after the first park, however, reservation requirements are subject to change.
Please note that the ability to visit another park will be subject to the park’s capacity limitations.

YOU CAN SIMPLY CHECK YOUR MOBILE APP FOR PARK HOURS FOR THAT DAY, CALL 407-560-5000 TO CHECK PARK AVAILABILITY OR CHECK ONLINE
WALT DISNEY WORLD PARK HOPPER HOURS


Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
To help manage attendance, upon the return of the Park Hopper option, only guests with an initial Disney Park Pass reservation for Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be able to experience Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Guests visiting from another theme park will not be able to request to join the virtual queue.

Ticket Modifications & Cancellations
In light of these updates, if you have a ticket that includes the ability to visit more than one park per day and you wish to modify or cancel your ticket, please contact your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent.

Park-to-park transportation is also planned to resume in 2021, with operations beginning each day shortly prior to the start of Park Hopper® hours.

Remember to check the Walt Disney World Know Before You Go web page for the most up to date information regarding health and safety protocols to insure the best experience possible!

Come experience the magic for yourself, contact your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent today to book your Disney vacation!

Welcome Back to the Magic!

written by Crystal Boston, Travel Specialist

UPDATE:  August 24, 2021, face coverings are optional outdoors but are required for all indoor locations including transportation.  

UPDATE: Effective June 15, 2021, face coverings are optional for fully vaccinated Guests in most areas, outside and inside, as well as when experiencing attractions and shows.

Since Walt Disney World in Florida reopened its properties on June 22, 2020, I have been back to the magic several times already!

I have experienced all resort hotels currently reopened as well as all 4 parks and, while some things are different, so much is still the same and Disney magic is still there! One of the biggest and most noticeable differences, due to capacity limits, is crowd levels – the resort hotels and parks are empty in comparison to “normal” and, while this is amazing for those “doing Disney” right now, it is a bit eerie and the vibe just doesn’t feel as magical at times but I didn’t realize just how much I missed the magic until I was back on property because the magic is definitely still there!!

Staying on property will offer the most healthy and safe experience as Disney has implemented many new touchless features, such as online check-in that allows you to skip the front desk on arrival, and enhanced cleaning protocols.

All Guests that I have had contact with have been great with wearing face coverings properly and maintaining physical distancing and Cast Members are attentive with reminding Guests to replace or adjust their face coverings when needed.

Disney has always been exemplary with sanitation and cleanliness and even more now! Cast Members are constantly working to keep touch points clean. There are sanitizer stations throughout the parks and resort hotels and rides are closed at various times throughout the day for additional cleaning. Even at resort hotel pools you are asked to fold your lounge chairs closed or tip your chairs towards the table when done so that Cast Members and other Guests know that these areas have been used and need sanitized.

To maintain physical distancing protocols, there are markers throughout the parks and resort hotels, at every ride and store – anyplace where a line could potentially form – and Cast Members are often on the side of the lines at certain spots to ensure everyone is maintaining physical distancing. In addition, there are now plexiglass partitions between many spaces where you could come into direct contact with other Guests, even for complimentary transportation.

Something you will notice that has changed is character experiences… There are characters still in the parks and all 4 parks have “Character Cavalcades” or, as I like to call them, “pop up parades”! These character experiences are not announced in advance to ensure that crowds do not gather but here’s a #wishtip – when you hear the music get louder that is your signal that a character cavalcade is on its way and at Animal Kingdom Park these “pop up parades” are on the river, which runs through the park, and you can wave to the characters as they pass under the bridges on the walkways.

While there are no traditional character meet & greets right now there are still plenty of character interactions!

In Epcot you can take a selfie with Mary Poppins or Alice in Wonderland in England or find Joy or Pooh playing in the fenced grassy areas.

In Hollywood Studios you will find Stormtroopers, Chewbacca and Rey in Batuu where you can also take a selfie with each.

At Magic Kingdom you can snap a selfie with Captain Jack Sparrow in Adventureland.

At Animal Kingdom, however, I didn’t see any opportunities for character interactions other than the “pop up parades” when I was there.

And, if you purchase Memory Maker, there are also new and fun “magic shots” in all 4 parks and the PhotoPass Photographers have all been super fun and are working to offer some great photo opportunities.

Each park offers at least 2 Relaxation Stations where you can sit for a bit and remove your face covering. Some are air conditioned but all offer some type of shade.

Each park offers at least 2 Relaxation Stations where you can sit for a bit and remove your face covering. Some are air conditioned but all offer some type of shade.

Even with lower capacity levels I still suggest planning to arrive just before the scheduled park opening time, especially for Hollywood Studios if you want a Boarding Group for Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, and head back to your resort late afternoon to enjoy the amazing pools on property. Currently, most parks and other experiences are closing earlier than normal but most pools will remain open until 9 – 11 pm.

For dining, it is very important right now, due to limited capacity requirements, to secure advance dining reservations for sit-down dining experiences. I saw many Guests turned away, even at locations that would sometimes previously accept walk-up’s (I always recommend advance dining reservations for my Guests to insure no disappointments!). You can use the QR Code at the host stand to check in or you can also use your MDE Mobile App to check-in for your dining experience 15 minutes in advance and restaurants are offering digital menus that you scan by QR code to insure a more touchless experience.

And, there are also 2 Character Dining experiences available, Topolino’s Terrace – Flavors of the Riviera at Disney’s Riviera Resort [Breakfast à la Art with Mickey & Friends] and Garden Grill at Epcot [Chip ‘n’ Dale with their Disney pals], modified for your health and safety but still so magical!!

For Quick Service dining experiences, be sure to always use your MDE Mobile App to place your order by either logging in to your account or scanning the QR code at the dining location. You will then be notified when your food is ready and that is when you will be allowed into the dining venue, again, due to current limited capacity requirements.

If you have questions about anything when in the parks or at the resort hotels just ask any Cast Member. They have all been great with answering questions about anything and everything that is new and different and, if they do not know, they will find out for you.

My final piece of advice or tip – now is a GREAT time to “do Disney”!

Limited capacity provides – Shorter wait times and ride cars all to yourself – Common areas at resort hotels and parks are less crowded – Pixie Dust (i.e.: magical surprises) is still there

Even though some experiences have changed there is still so much that hasn’t changed (park maps are still available!) and the [necessary] changes implemented to help insure that we can all continue to experience the magic in a healthy and safe way are still just as magical!!

Remember to check the Walt Disney World Know Before You Go web page for the most up to date information regarding health and safety protocols to insure the best experience possible!

Come experience the magic for yourself, contact your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent today to book your Disney vacation!

Working with a Travel Agent for Your runDisney Experience

written by Crystal Boston, Travel Specialist

You train hard for your runDisney experience, let the planning be taken care of by a Travel Agent Specializing in Disney destinations and experiences!

It’s the best of both worlds when you work with a Travel Agent that specializes in Disney who also knows all about runDisney – they can expertly assist you with ALL of your plans!

As a runner you are dedicated to your training and preparing for your runDisney experience. Your training should continue to be your main focus and you shouldn’t need to stress over the details of your travel plans.

There are many avenues for finding a Travel Agent and many that specialize in Disney and runDisney, but you want to be sure to find the “right” Travel Agent to help you with your runDisney travel plans!

runDisney races are unique. You want someone who will partner with you and help you navigate the process. When running at a runDisney event, you do have to earn your placement. This system is in place to be inclusive of all people that want to join in.

And be cautioned – if your Travel Agent offers you higher corral placement that hasn’t been earned or unusual package requirements outside of those required by runDisney BEWARE. Just like in any industry, there are some people who take advantage of the system and this affects everyone and can cause disqualification to participate.

Even if a Travel Agent is recommended by others in runDisney groups, be sure to check reviews before selecting your Travel Agent.

– Do they have extensive travel planning experience?
– Do they take the time to understand your wants and needs rather than a “one size fits all” experience?
– Do they have personal experience with runDisney events?
– Do they have personal experience with resorts on property so that they can offer the best recommendations for you?

Once you decide on the best Travel Agent for you, it’s not out of line to expect the following:
ACCURACY – All information for your reservation and race registrations should be accurate and correct. Having extra people on your reservation or other inaccuracies should be brought to the attention of your Travel Agent. You should have no surprises at check-in.

– Are your travel dates correct?
– Are you booked at the resort hotel with the park ticket type, dining plan and race bibs that you requested?
– Are all names on your reservation the same as you requested for your travel party?

RESPONSIVENESS – A good Travel Agent will respond to your emails and phone calls efficiently and effectively and will help you beyond just making your reservations. A good Travel Agent is there to help you with as much or as little as you want or need.

Having a Travel Agent to help guide you thru the runDisney process can add value to your experience and costs nothing extra! They have a passion for what they do, so it is a win-win for you. Make sure your Travel Agent is a good fit while being knowledgeable, ethical, and responsive to your needs.

Contact your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent and Disney Specialist today to assist you with your runDisney plans – Happy Running!

Travel – FACTS not Rumors…

written by Crystal Boston, Travel Specialist

First, we hope you and your family, friends, and co-workers are staying home [unless you are an essential employee, then THANK YOU!] and staying healthy during this crazy time we are living in.

As a Travel Agency specializing in Disney and Universal vacations, our agents have been working to take care of our Guests directly affected by resort and park closures as well as cruise itinerary cancellations for Disney Cruise Line.

While working with our Guests we have received many questions related to rumors posted on other blogs and social media pages. This blog was created to explain the current situation with information direct from Disney and Universal – this information is not rumor, this is FACT!

Walt Disney World
UPDATE – MAY 27, 2020Plans Unveiled for the Phased Reopening of Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks, Resort Hotels and Disney Stores
Pending Orange County and state approval, the Walt Disney World Resort proposal plans for Magic Kingdom Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom to begin a phased reopening to the general public on July 11, 2020, followed by EPCOT and Disney’s Hollywood Studios on July 15, 2020.
This phased reopening will demonstrate a deliberate approach, with limits on attendance and controlled Guest density that aligns with guidance on physical distancing. That means certain experiences that are known to draw large group gatherings – such as parades and nighttime spectaculars – will return at a later date. In addition, “high-touch” experiences such as makeover opportunities, playgrounds and character meet and greets will remain temporarily unavailable, but characters will still be in the parks to entertain and delight Guests.
Because theme park capacity will be significantly limited as Guests are welcomed back to the magic, attendance will be managed through a new theme park reservation system that will require all Guests to obtain a reservation for park entry in advance. More details about this new reservation system will be available soon.
Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent can help you book now.

Disneyland
UPDATE – April 2, 2021Disneyland Resort Reopening on April 30, 2021
Magic is finally returning to the Disneyland Resort theme parks as Disneyland park and Disney California Adventure park plan to officially reopen to the public on April 30,2021 with limited capacity. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent can help you book now.

Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa
UPDATE – September 24, 2020Aulani Resort will plan to begin a phased reopening on November 1, 2020
Given Hawaii’s recent announcement of a pre-arrival testing program for those traveling from out-of-state, we are working toward a phased reopening of Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa beginning on Sunday, November 1, 2020. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent can help you book now.

Disney Cruise Line:
Update: July 23, 2021Disney Cruise Line Resumes Sailings on the Disney Dream
Disney Cruise Line announced plans for a return to service, beginning with the Disney Dream, which will depart Port Canaveral starting August 9, 2021. New health & safety updates will be in effect for all sailings. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent can help answer any questions you may have or assist you with booking your next cruise now.

Update: June 8, 2021Disney Cruise Line Extends Suspension of Sailings
As Disney Cruise Line continues to refine protocols for an eventual return to service, they have announced the cancellation of additional 2021 sailings.

  • Disney Dream departures through 8/6/21
  • Disney Fantasy departures through 8/28/21
  • Disney Wonder departures through 9/19/21
  • Disney Magic departures in the U.S. through 11/4/21
  • Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

    Update: May 14, 2021Disney Cruise Line Extends Suspension of Sailings Departing Through July 2021
    As Disney Cruise Line continues to refine protocols for an eventual return to service, they have announced the cancellation of additional 2021 sailings for all Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy sailings through July 2021, and all Disney Wonder sailings through July 12, 2021. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

    Update: April 15, 2021Disney Cruise Line Extends Suspension of Sailings Departing Through October 9, 2021 for the Disney Magic ONLY
    As Disney Cruise Line continues to refine protocols for an eventual return to service, they have announced the cancellation of additional 2021 sailings. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

    Update: April 6, 2021Disney Cruise Line Extends Suspension of All Departures through June 2021, and Disney Magic European sailings through Sept. 19, 2021
    As Disney Cruise Line continues to refine protocols for an eventual return to service, they have announced the cancellation of additional 2021 sailings. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

    Update: February 24, 2021Disney Cruise Line Suspends All Departures through May 2021 and Disney Magic sailings through August 10, 2021
    As Disney Cruise Line continues to refine protocols for an eventual return to service, they have announced the cancellation of additional 2021 sailings. Sailings are cancelled aboard the Disney Fantasy, Dream and Wonder through May 2021; and Disney Magic through August 10, 2021. Additionally, based on the conditional sail order provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Disney Cruise Line must cancel sailings longer than 7 nights. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

    Update: January 27, 2021Disney Cruise Line Suspends All Departures through April 2021 and Select Disney Magic and Disney Wonder Sailings in May 2021
    As Disney Cruise Line continues to refine protocols for an eventual return to service, they have announced the cancellation of additional 2021 sailings. Sailings are cancelled aboard the Disney Fantasy through April 24; the Disney Dream through April 30; the Disney Magic through May 6 and Disney Wonder through May 12. Additionally, based on the conditional sail order provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Disney Cruise Line must cancel sailings longer than 7 nights. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

    Update: January 12, 2021Disney Cruise Line Sailings Suspended Through March 2021
    As Disney Cruise Line continues to refine protocols for an eventual return to service, they have announced the cancellation of all sailings through March 2021. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

    Adventures by Disney:
    UPDATE – April 1, 2021Adventures by Disney Departures Suspended Through March
    With the well-being of our Guests and Guides as our top priority and in line with direction from health experts and government officials, Adventures by Disney has decided to suspend most of our adventures through the end of April. Your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent will be reaching out to discuss your options for rebooking or refund.

    Universal Parks & Resorts Vacations (Florida & California):
    Universal Parks & Resorts Vacations in Florida have reopened with limited capacity.

    Universal Parks & Resorts Vacations in California will reopen to California residents only on April 16, 2021

    Other Cruise and Land Vacation Destinations:
    While our agency does specialize in Disney and Universal vacations, we also help book and plan other cruise and land vacation destinations and we have been keeping our clients that have been directly affected by closures and cancellations updated about their options.

    Cruise Lines:
    UPDATE: April 6, 2021 – Currently, many cruise lines have suspended all sailings. Be sure to check with your Travel Agent or whoever you booked thru for specific details about your specific reservations.

    Land Destinations:
    As for land vacation destinations, it depends on the destination, please check with your Travel Agent or whoever you booked thru for specific details about your specific reservations.

    Airlines:
    Airlines are still operating but on a limited schedule and are adjusting travel dates and times based on occupancy of certain itineraries. Please check with your Travel Agent or whoever you booked thru for specific details about your specific reservations.

    For all travelers, if you booked your travel plans thru a Travel Agent and they have not yet reached out to you this is likely because your travel dates are not yet directly affected and they are working to take care of their clients with travel plans that are currently directly affected by closures and cancellations, April and some May travel dates. Please be patient, in this type of situation, it is typically in your best interest to wait until your trip is cancelled by the supplier before making any decisions about cancelling or rebooking your future travel plans.

    Please do not hesitate to reach out to your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent with any questions or if you would like more information about anything. We will share as much as we know and can share. We will also post updates as they become available on social media platforms.
    (i.e.: If you are not our client we cannot legally or professionally advise you about your current travel plans, you will need to reach out to whoever you booked thru. But, if you are not yet booked for future travel and wish to discuss future travel plans, we can assist and advise to the best of our ability with the information we have available).

    While the White House has issued an April 30 social distancing guideline, please follow this or the guidelines set by your state or county. If you are not an essential employee, please stay home. This is being implemented for the safety and well-being of everyone and the more of us that follow this guideline the better off we will all be in 14 – 30 days and we will then [hopefully] be able to get back to a more normal way of life again very soon!

    Stay healthy, stay home and practice social distancing!
    CDC / WHO

    Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood

    written by Crystal Boston, Travel Specialist

    During the holidays I had the opportunity to experience the newest dining experience on property – Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood at Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort.


    Toledo – Tapas, Steak & Seafood opened July 2019 and has been a hit from opening day! The new Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort is quite amazing, feeling more like a Deluxe Disney property than a Moderate resort.

    This unique rooftop dining experience is just one of three new options at Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort offering both food and beverage, with Toledo and Dahlia Lounge offering spectacular views as well!

    The menu choices are inspired by the flavors of Spain and include tapas, steaks and seafood created in the on-stage tapas kitchen.

    The atmosphere and experience was amazing and the service top notch! The food presentation was impeccable and everything was prepared to perfection!


    We started our meal with an order of Tronchón Cheese Gratinado from the Cazuelas (Spanish for cooking pot) menu. This was essentially a cheese bread with tupelo honey and lavender, it was very flavorful and you could smell and taste the lavender.

    Our entrées included Scallops (fava hummus, olives, harissa vinaigrette, roasted carrots, yogurt powder), Manhattan Filet (olive oil-potato purée, grilled onions, dates, sherry vinaigrette) and the Red Wine-braised Chicken (grapes, sherry vinegar, roasted tomato ‘bomba’ rice). In addition, we ordered the Roasted Cauliflower and Olive Oil-Potato Purée as sides to share.
    My only critique was regarding the descriptions and recommendations from our server – – – my husband and I ended up switching plates once our food arrived because our server was not accurate with his information.


    I would definitely recommend the Manhattan Filet (which is what I ended up eating) and feel that the Red Wine-braised Chicken is a heavier meal (which my husband ended up eating). And, definitely order the Roasted Cauliflower side dish – I am not a fan of cauliflower but this dish was amazing!

    If you aren’t looking for a table service dining experience, but have the time, I highly recommend simply going to this new resort on property to check it out – the new lobby, Barcelona Lounge, Dahlia Lounge and Three Bridges Bar & Grill all offer amazing experiences and the feel of a Deluxe resort. And, yes, I have experienced and enjoyed it all!!

    I am in LOVE with the lobby area – the lighted panels randomly change colors and the tables all have charging ports!

    Barcelona Lounge

    Three Bridges Bar & Grill

    Let your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent know that you would like to experience Gran Destino Tower at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort during your next Walt Disney World vacation!

    The NEW Disney Skyliner

    written by Crystal Boston, Travel Specialist

    The newest transportation option is the Disney Skyliner – magic in the sky!

    Check out this video of my ride from Disney’s Pop Century Resort to Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.

    Magic is in the air at Walt Disney World® Resort with the new Disney Skyliner transportation system.

    Disney Skyliner connects Epcot® and Disney’s Hollywood Studios® to four Disney resort hotels – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and the forthcoming Disney’s Riviera Resort, set to open December 16, 2019. The system serves as a magic carpet, floating Guests through the air aboard approximately 300 gondolas, nearly half of which are wrapped in whimsical Disney scenes of beloved characters, fan-favorite movies, theme park attractions and more. 

    While riding Disney Skyliner, you will be treated to never-before-seen views of Walt Disney World Resort as you float along the treetops and waterways alike. The system provides bird’s-eye vantage points of Disney icons such as the Hollywood Tower Hotel and Spaceship Earth. 

    Come experience the magic for yourself, contact your Wish Upon A Star With Us Travel Agent today!

    The Disney Magic – Rapunzel’s Royal Table

    written by Crystal Boston, Travel Specialist

    My last sailing on the Disney Magic was just before it went in to dry dock for refurbishment and part of the refurbishment was to change Carioca’s to Rapunzel’s Royal Table which I had the opportunity to experience during my recent sailing on the Disney Magic.

    Rapunzel’s Royal Table is a fun and entertaining experience from the time you enter the dining room. The character interaction with the “Vikings” was especially fun while Rapunzel and Flynn seem to move along quickly (it was a challenge to get a good photo of either), but they are entertaining as well.

    During your dinner you are entertained with a birthday celebration for Rapunzel and everyone is invited to join in a big finale parade.

    *Due to connectivity at sea my video is not high quality, but my connection is better a few second in.

    The food selections were delicious and our service team was amazing! Disney Cruise line dining experiences never disappoint!

    Be sure to check out my blogs about my experience on all 4 Disney Ships –
    Disney Magic
    Disney Fantasy
    Disney Wonder
    Disney Dream

    Disneyland Resort in California

    written by Crystal Boston, Travel Specialist

    I have been to Disneyland in California several times – when I lived in California and again in September 2016 when I participated in the runDisney Coast-to-Coast Half Marathon – I didn’t know at the time, but this was the last year for this runDisney experience in California. However, a lot has changed even since 2016 so I was very excited to be chosen to participate in a Travel Agent learning experience at this Disney Destination!

    While we toured all 3 of the Disneyland property hotels, we stayed at the Disneyland Hotel. Even though you are in the heart of Anaheim, this is still a very large property with 3 towers for rooms. We stayed in standard rooms that all had magical Disney touches from the light fixtures to the headboards to the faucets! Everything was so “Disney”.


    And we toured a themed signature suite at this hotel – Adventureland Suite – which was AMAZING! This suite takes guests on the most luxurious safari ever. With the feel of an explorers’ camp from the 1930s, the Adventureland Suite features a master bedroom fashioned as a safari lodge with a claw-foot bathtub in the living area. In the master bathroom there is a grotto with a foot spa, steam and rain showers, and lighting and sound effects that make you feel like you’re in a rain forest or savanna. There is also a second bedroom, which makes you feel like you’re sleeping in a safari tent. The Asian/Indian-inspired main living area includes a wet bar, a flat-screen TV hidden behind artwork above the faux fireplace, and a “hidden” closet (hint: try the bookcase). When you’re in this suite, it even sounds like you’re in the jungle: the doorbell “rings” with tiki gods playing drums, and – for the first time in a Disneyland Hotel suite – themed background music plays three separate tracks inspired by the Jungle Cruise, Disney adventure-themed movies and music first created for Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park.

    There are also 3 other signature suites at the Disneyland Hotel – Fairy Tale, Big Thunder, Mickey Mouse Penthouse and Pirates of the Caribbean. All signature suites include concierge level access.

    All of the property hotels have signature suites and concierge level service. The concierge service is different than Walt Disney World where you book the Club Level room type for concierge level services. At Disneyland Resort you book any room type and then pay additional to add on the concierge services per person per night. And, unlike Walt Disney World, you are encouraged to take food and beverage from the concierge offerings to enjoy when in the parks.

    During our resort tours we also enjoyed Brunch at Storyteller’s Café with Mickey and Friends! This character dining experience offers a delicious buffet with great character interaction for Breakfast and Brunch. It was a fun experience and I would definitely recommend it for your Disneyland vacation!

    Dining reservations open 60 days in advance and walk-ins are typically not available.
    There are 5 locations for character dining:
    – Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & SpaDisney Princess Breakfast Adventures (Napa Rose) – Breakfast with Disney Princesses
    Disneyland Park – Breakfast with Minnie & Friends at Plaza Inn – 7 -11 am *Park ticket required
    Disneyland HotelGoofy’s Kitchen – Breakfast & Dinner
    Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & SpaMickey’s Tales of Adventure (Storyteller’s Café) – Breakfast and Brunch – after 2:30 pm there are no characters
    Paradise PierDonald’s Seaside Buffet – PCH Grill is a small venue and characters are only at Breakfast – this dining experience is known for the best character interaction.

    There are 2 parks at Disneyland Resort – Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park – and they are only separated by a small courtyard-like area so park hoppers are definitely the way to go with tickets at Disneyland. Disneyland Park is very similar to Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort except it’s a bit smaller – or at least seems smaller. This is where the new Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will open Summer 2019.
    Note: With Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge scheduled to open Summer 2019, non-Star Wars fans should plan to visit NOW before opening date.


    Disney California Adventure is similar to Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World Resort. The two new attractions, Incredicoaster and Guardian’s of the Galaxy, were definitely on my “to-do” list as they were not open yet during my 2016 trip! Neither disappointed but Guardian’s of the Galaxy was my favorite – but one of my favorite rides at Walt Disney World is Tower of Terror and Guardian’s is a similar experience with different theming and a bit different experience but close.

    Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa also offers a secret entrance for guests staying at that hotel. This hotel sits “inside” Disney’s California Adventure and offers great views of the park.

    And, if you are looking for a quiet spot to get away from it all – the Alfresco Tasting Terrace is the perfect little spot!

    The Downtown Disney area offers shopping, dining and entertainment with many outdoor areas to enjoy during the day and at night. Splitsville is new to Disneyland and more new venues will be opening soon!

    I also highly recommend adding MaxPass to your resort package. MaxPass will allow you to make advance FASTPASS selections the day of your visit and also includes PhotoPass. If you aren’t heading in to the parks first thing in the morning, be sure to walk over to the Monorail entrance to activate your park tickets – just enter the Monorail area, scan your ticket and exit – you can then make FASTPASS selections if you have MaxPass. Without MaxPass you will only be able to use the paper FASTPASS system once inside the parks. With MaxPass you can have mobile FASTPASS selections and also paper FASTPASS selections for the same or overlapping times.

    The PhotoPass system is a bit different at Disneyland than Walt Disney World… for ride photos you will want to take a screenshot of your photo code and enter it into your Disneyland Mobile App as the photos do not automatically capture to your account like they do with your My Disney Experience (MDE) account at Walt Disney World.

    And, once you link your park ticket to your mobile app, take a photo of it to save to your phone in case your internet is not working once at or in the parks. They can scan the photo of your park ticket instead of needing to open your mobile app.

    Disneyland Resort is a great way to kick off a Southern California vacation – Disney/San Diego/Hollywood – and we can book it all for you! At Paradise Pier there is an Alamo Car Rental office which offers no drop fee to pick up at one location and return to another. So, for example, you could rent a car at Disneyland and drop it in San Diego for your return flight home without any additional drop fees.

    If you are looking for a laid back, more spontaneous Disney vacation experience, where you will often see the characters roaming around and interacting with Guests, then Disneyland is for you! Contact me to help you book and plan your Disneyland Resort vacation!!

    The Disney Dream – Very Merrytime Cruise

    written by Crystal Boston, Travel Specialist

    The Disney Dream was the very first cruise ship I sailed on in 2012 and then again in 2014. I wasn’t a Travel Agent in 2012 yet and still learning my way as a Travel Agent in 2014 so I haven’t written a blog about my experience on the Disney Dream…

    The Disney Dream’s first voyage was in January 2011 and it was last refurbished October 2015. As the first of the larger Disney cruise ships to set sail, the Disney Dream is still just as magical as her sister ship, the Disney Fantasy.

    So, here you go! I actually sailed on the Disney Dream early November 2018, this was a regular Disney cruise experience, and then again early December 2018 which was a Very Merrytime cruise experience.
    The Very Merrytime sailings offer many fun holiday activities in addition to the normal onboard fun! This was my second Very Merrytime Disney Cruise experience, my first was on the Disney Magic out of the port of Miami. This time we sailed out of Port Canaveral for both November and December. On a Very Merrytime cruise, you experience the magic of the holidays before even boarding the ship!

    And remember to download the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app before you sail away! The Navigator app will help you locate experiences while onboard, check out dining menus and the drink of the day and stay in touch with your fellow cruisers via the messaging feature.

    The holidays seem to make anything more magical, even a Disney Cruise! The ship was all decked out for the holidays and there was a tree lighting ceremony, a gingerbread house as well as gingerbread house making classes, even Castaway Cay was decorated for the holidays, and Santa and Mrs. Claus sailed with us too! And, as a special touch, many of the characters were also dressed in their holiday themed costumes.

    Once onboard I always head straight to Cabanas for lunch and I get a big plate full of fresh peel ‘n’ eat shrimp and then dessert – what can I say, it’s vacation!

    Around 1:30 pm my stateroom is ready, and I head there to unpack and then go explore the ship – catching up with crew members that I have come to know from my previous sailings on the Disney Dream and meeting new crew members too. This is time for you and your family to also start enjoying the pools and water slide onboard and check out the kids clubs and other activity areas. And if you would like to make any changes to your dining rotation you can do this now as well.

    After the safety drill (which is required attendance for all cruisers), we head to the upper decks for the Sail-Away Party. Our favorite location to view from is the deck just above the pool area/stage on the port side of the ship.

    Once we set sail the shops open and I can check out the Disney Cruise Line souvenirs – I like to get a new Tervis cup with each cruise. And then it’s time to get ready for the evening activities – Broadway-like musical productions, dinner and other fun activities for adults and children. And there is even a move theater onboard – movies are free to watch and they always show the most recent Disney movie – while the movie is included with your cruise, popcorn, snacks and beverages for your movie are available for a fee.

    My husband was cruising with me and we always choose a Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah or Deluxe Family Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah. We enjoy going out on our verandah to “feel” the ocean and we always choose the Starboard side because we love seeing Castaway Cay as we enter the port!

    Disney Cruise Line has thought of everything to ensure first-rate comfort and convenience during your cruise. We have never felt cramped or crowded in our stateroom when cruising with Disney. The Deluxe Oceanview Stateroom with Verandah design features include:
          A sitting area with a couch, TV and desk
          A heavy privacy curtain to separate the sitting and sleeping areas
          A “split bath” (in most) that includes a bathroom with a vanity, sink, shower and tub and a half bathroom with a
          vanity, sink and toilet
          A leather-upholstered ottoman with hollow inside storage
          Cabinets with storage space in the living area
         And my favorite feature – Elevated wooden bed frames for under-bed storage of suitcases and other large items
    For the kids (or kids at heart), a mural of Peter Pan, Tinker Bell, Wendy and her brothers soaring through a starry sky reveals itself when the upper-berth bed is pulled down!

    And don’t forget about the fun and amazing towel art that the talented crew leave in your stateroom – you can also sometimes find towel art around the pool area too!

    The itinerary for both November and December were 2 ports of call – Nassau and Castaway Cay – with the December itinerary offering an additional day at sea as well.

    My preference for Nassau is to stay onboard and enjoy the ship – movies, pools, water slides, games, dining, entertainment and all the soft serve ice cream you want – IT’S ALL INCLUDED!

    Every Disney cruise that departs from Port Canaveral or Miami stops at Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island, consistently rated by Disney Guests as their favorite port of call – and MY favorite port of call when cruising with Disney!! And, as I mentioned previously, the island was decked for the holidays with a large Christmas tree greeting you on arrival.

    Castaway Cay is reserved exclusively for Disney cruisers and the ship will dock right at the island to allow you to come and go as you please while enjoying experiences such as snorkeling, boating, swimming and sunbathing and bicycles can also be rented if you want to explore the island’s nature trails. While all areas of the island can be reached by walking, an island tram offers four stops to help you easily get where you want to go.

    Your “Key to the World” card will work for all purchases on Castaway Cay except at the local post office where you can send mail to your loved ones back home with a Bahamian postage stamp; the post card postage rate is approximately $0.70 USD each. Dining on the island is also included as part of your cruise package with covered outdoor restaurants serving burgers, BBQ chicken and ribs. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase and, if you are traveling without children, Disney offers “adult only” areas at Castaway Cay – Serenity Bay is a secluded beach exclusively for adults (where you just might encounter Captain Jack Sparrow strolling the beach!) and families can have fun together at the Castaway Family Beach. Cabanas are also offered for rent in both beach areas but it’s best to reserve in advance during your online check-in as they are very popular and sell out quickly!

    I am a runner and since I have started cruising with Disney Cruise Line they have offered a 5K on Castaway Cay – IT’S INCLUDED. It’s very informal and you can run or walk. You also receive a race bib and medal at the finish line. If you want to participate in the 5K on Castaway Cay, you can register at Guest Services when you board your cruise and your registration ticket will be added to your onboard activities. Your “Key to the World” and photo ID are required the day of your event to participate. The 3.1-mile out-and-back event is free and family friendly – open to walkers and runners ages 10 and older. The race takes place first thing in the morning on the island, typically with a meeting time onboard of 8 am, and the runners are the first group to disembark the ship. The vibe of the event is casual, a fun experience worth the early wake-up!

    Cruising with Disney is a very casual experience – I wear comfortable dresses and flip flops while my husband wears shorts and polos – even to dinner. The only exceptions are if you reserve adult only dining experiences at Palo or Remy which both have dress codes. And, unlimited room service is also included!!

    I enjoy the rotational dining exclusive to Disney Cruise Line, experiencing a different restaurant and menu with the same servers each evening – my favorite is Animator’s Palate on all 4 Disney ships.

    It’s fun to get to know your servers and I requested the same service team for my December cruise that I had for my November cruise and, even though it was a month later and they had served many Guests since me, they remembered everything about my likes and dislikes! Amazing service is just one of the things that keeps me coming back to Disney for my vacations – land or sea!

    In addition to Castaway Cay and exceptional dining experiences, Disney Cruise Line offers many entertainment options including Broadway-like musical productions, viewings of recently released Disney movies, character meet & greets that you often cannot find at the parks, deck parties, dance clubs, karaoke, trivia and so much more – be sure to say hi to Tony from Spain when you cruise on the Disney Dream!

    Some experiences are included, and some are offered for a fee. There is definitely enough to keep everyone – adults and children – busy on a Disney Cruise if you aren’t the lounging at the pool or beach type. And Disney is the only cruise line allowed to display fireworks at sea!

    There are also “adult only” experiences and areas on the ships, including spa services and mixology classes, so if you are traveling without children, which we normally do, you will be able to find adult spaces.

    And be sure to purchase your photo package in advance for the best price – you can then just pick up your photo prints or digital images from Shutters on your final morning.

    There is so much more I could share about cruising with Disney but then this would be a very long blog… If you are thinking about a Disney Cruise Line vacation, reach out to me and I will help you make the most of your magical experience!