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!

Trip to Maui

written by Sarah Anhalt

In early October, when we began planning our trip to Maui, many people would ask “Why would you travel to Hawaii during a pandemic?”  My answer was always “Because we need a break!”

My husband has never been on an airplane and was always a homebody who loves our city and never saw a need to go anywhere but around where we live. Hawaii has always been on my daughter’s bucket list and my son needed no convincing. Southwest was flying with an open middle seat, fares were low and low COVID-19 case numbers on Maui were reason enough to begin planning. My husband agreed.

First, I needed to find out what was required by the state of Hawaii to travel. Hawaii re-opened to visitors on October 15th and wanted to do it in a way that their numbers would remain low so they created the Safe Travels Hawaii website.  Currently, the Big Island of Hawaii, Lanai and Kauai are NOT a part of the Safe Travels requirement and all travelers are subject to a mandatory 14 day quarantine (or your length of stay).  On the website (https://hawaiicovid19.com)  is everything you need to know about flying to Hawaii and the pre-arrival testing program. You need to register your party (each adult must have their own account) and input your flight information, where you are staying, your departure date and pictures of each member of your party including drivers license and birth certificates for minors.

Next step….the COVID-19 test. All travelers are required to have a negative test within 72 hours of arrival in Hawaii. If you have a connecting flight (as we did out of Oakland) your 72 hours begin prior to this last leg of your journey. Your COVID-19 test must be from one of the approved CLIA locations, which are listed on the website. For us, it was Walgreens. At 6pm Central time on Wednesday, I logged on to Walgreens website (this is the time they open their schedule) and said many prayers that we would be approved for a test.  We were able to obtain a rapid test on Sunday morning, within the 72 hours needed, as our flight to Maui left Oakland at 5pm on Tuesday.

Once I received our test results, I had to upload them to the Safe Travels website to get our QR code as proof of our negative test. 24 hours prior to departure, we needed to complete a health screening on the Safe Travels website. With that stress relieved, we were on our way!

Masks are required in airports and on planes. This is enforced. I have an autoimmune disease so I was a little leery of this, but I felt very safe when I would hear them announce that masks were to remain on throughout the flight. Nearly everyone on board had wipes as an extra precaution and were anxiously wiping down their seats and tray tables! The open middle seat was welcoming!

As we arrived on Maui, you are immediately directed to the line for screening, which was quite long but moved pretty fast. They scan your QR code for each party, took temperatures, handed you a pink sheet that shows you are exempt from quarantine and sent you on your way to your rental car or form of transportation to your resort/hotel. Those who did not have their negative test result were directed to the taxi area and sent directly to their hotel.

Masks are required on the island of Maui. Everywhere. If you are out of your room, mask on. If you are walking around the resort, mask on. If you are shopping, hiking, taking a tour…mask on. They have made adjustments to the mask mandate that if you are laying on the beach or by the pool, you do not need your mask on but you must be at least 6 feet from others. They do ticket people for not adhering to this mandate and the fine is up to $5000 and a year in jail.

The mask was not an issue for us. Knowing they want to keep people safe made us feel comfortable.

Our resort, Aston Kaanapali Shores, was beautiful! They are doing everything possible to keep people safe, from hand sanitizer everywhere to limiting the amount of people in an elevator (1 person unless you are from the same household). Rooms are deep cleaned and open for 72 hours before they allow another guest to stay in that room.

 

While a lot is still closed on the island or operating at 25-50% capacity, we were able to do a lot! We did a whale watching tour and saw so many whales for being early in the season. My family did a zip line, parasailing, a kayaking tour, snorkeling, ate some amazing food and the infamous Road to Hana. We shopped until we dropped in Lahaina and drove around the island to see the sites. Little by little, things are beginning to open with Luaus starting in December at limited capacity. Small business owners are very happy to see the tourists back and while everyone is still a little concerned, the locals are slowly coming around to more people arriving.

We had such a wonderful week that we decided to extend our stay another 4 days!

We arrived home last night to the cold and we are all exhausted, but it was worth it. This trip was just the break our family needed!

 

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!

    Early Morning Magic at Toy Story Land

    By Kimber Preece, Travel Specialist

    This trip was never what we planned. Over and over again, we had to move the dates. When we moved it for the last time we were too late to get the coveted Slinky Dog Dash Fastpass. My sister and I stalked the availability for Slinky Dog Dash for weeks. We were even willing to change our day at Hollywood Studios to any day with a Slinky Dog Fastpass to make it work. We were desperate!

    Then my sister asked what I thought about doing Early Morning Magic at Toy Story Land. At the time, prices were $79/adult and $69/child plus tax and regular theme park admission was required. I was curious, but was not thrilled about anteing up to an expensive breakfast event just to ride one ride once or possibly twice. Boy, was I wrong.

    Let me just say that I will tell you if a ticketed event is not a good fit for your family. But, I think most guests will appreciate the extra time in this new land that this breakfasts event supplies. And, yes, I said plural breakfasts. Read on to find out why.

    The event last from 7:00am or 7:30am depending on what you reserved until 10am, though park guests will enter the land at 9am when Hollywood Studios opens. This essentially brings the riding part of the event to a close. It is just the breakfast part that continues until 10am. We started by showing up at Hollywood Studio’s main entrance at what we thought was extra early, 6:45am for a 7:00am entrance.  But, there was no crowd ahead of us and it was apparent that guests had already arrived before us. We received wristbands and enjoyed a peaceful walk down Hollywood Boulevard.

    Whether you have the 7am or the 7:30 am entrance time, you do not get to enter Toy Story Land until 7:30am, so breakfast was our first stop. Breakfast was a combination of quick service ordering ques for hot food and a continental breakfast bar that included yogurt, pastries, cereals, and juices. From our experience you can order as much as you like and make multiple trips to either.

    After eating somewhat quickly, we used the bathrooms and applied sunscreen before heading over to Toy Story Land. We thought we were a few minutes shy of the 7:30am mark, but it seemed they let guests in early again. So, if you do this event, just remember not to wait around and fill up time if you are early.

     

    The attractions that are available to ride during this event are Slinky Dog Dash, Toy Story Mania!, and Alien Swirling Saucers. There are also opportunities to get your picture taken with Woody, Buzz, and Jessie.

    My party consisted of three adults and four children, ages 2.5, 8, 9, and 12. At first, we split up, because we weren’t sure the 2.5-year-old was big enough to handle the curves and stops of Slinky Dog Dash though he met the height requirement. But, after a few test-runs by Mom and Auntie, we decided he could ride. He is tall and solid, so take that into account if you are trying to decide whether your kiddo should ride. And, just as we got the little guy riding Slinky Dog, the 8-year-old decided to tap out and do other things, so more splitting up. But, my point is, even with all the splitting up, each of the adults got to ride Slinky Dog Dash at least 3 times. Some of the kiddos got to ride it 7 times. We all rode Alien Swirling Saucers a few times each. And, we rode Toy Story Mania! together once knowing we had a Fastpass for it later in the day. Note: my party was not interested in meeting characters, and I have heard that they can take some time. So your experience my vary based on what you want to accomplish.  All in all, we thought it was a blast and that we accomplished a lot of Slinky Dog Dash riding!

    The quoted wait times for Slinky Dog Dash varied from 5-25 minutes during our event, but I think those quotes were higher than what we experienced. The longest wait times were at the beginning of the event and they tapered pretty quickly. Thankfully we noticed the time just before 9am and sent the 9 and 12-year-olds through the line one more time before the mass of park goers entered the que. This is was the wait time for Slinky Dog Dash just after 9am.

    Once we regrouped we headed back to the Backlot Express where we had second breakfast. This was nice, because some of our party were up too early to be ready to fill up the first go around. The rest of us just took advantage of another opportunity to fill up. It was similar to dessert parties where the food is available the entire event.

    We had an amazing morning! The food was yummy. And, the event did not feel crowded, so you really got to ride as much as you wanted. I heartily recommend it to people who are interested in having extra time in a new land.

     

     

    Packing Cubes! Oh, how I Love Thee! Let Me Count the Ways….

    packing cubes

    By Kimber Preece, Travel Specialist

    suitcase with packing cubes

    My family travels all the time: quick trips to the mountain, a week at Walt Disney World, lengthy trips to Europe, cruises, you name it. These cubes have changed my packing game for the better.

    Cubes….

    1. You keep everyone’s stuff separate

    2. You compress stuff so we can fit more into our bags

    3. You make unpacking easy, just unzip the lid, fold lid back, and place cube in drawer

    4. You turn any bag into luggage

    5. You are a spiffy overnight bag all by yourself

    6. You make divvying up stuff to various rooms easy

    7. You make my kids more responsible for their stuff, because they like cubes too

    packing cubes in drawers

    How to make the most of your packing cubes:

    1. Pack a few complete outfits in a smaller cube and pack that cube in another traveler’s bag or your carry-on (I do both when traveling internationally). This way if you lose a bag, you will have at least a few outfits to see you through until you get your luggage catches up with you. Do this for all your family members.

    2. When sending the kids to stay grandparents’ house or hotel room, cubes are convenient mini suitcases.

    3. Buy cubes in different colors for each family member to make finding things easier. It’s also more fun for the kids.

    4. Repack cubes with dirty clothes (folding optional) and put them away in the luggage to keep your room tidy and repack along the way. This also keeps the dirties from spilling at the airport in case you bought too many souvenirs and have to rearrange your load. Some travelers like to turn them inside out when they put their dirty clothes inside.  

    packing cubes
    packing cubes