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!

 

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!

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!

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!

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!

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!