Walt Disney World Resort Hotel News for the Week of Dec 17, 2014

Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

New! Details Released for Disney’s Polynesian Villas a & Bungalows: Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows will be a mix of Deluxe Studios and over-the-water Bungalows – the first of their kind on any Disney property. The 20 Bungalows will sleep up to eight Disney Vacation Club Members and Guests each in a home-like setting reminiscent of the South Pacific. With a full kitchen, two bedrooms and even a plunge pool overlooking Seven Seas Lagoon and the view of the fireworks over Magic Kingdom Park, the Bungalows are sure to quickly become a DVC Member and Guest favorite.

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In addition to the Bungalows, Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows are scheduled to feature the largest Deluxe Studios at the Walt Disney World Resort. The 360 Deluxe Studios will sleep up to five guests each  and have the ability to connect to another Deluxe Studio, which is a first for Disney Vacation Club. Similar to Disney Cruise Line ships and The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, the rooms will each have a bathroom separated into two areas, one with a shower and sink and the other with a sink and tub/shower. Plus, they also will have kitchenettes and enhanced storage space for convenience and comfort. Finally, like all Disney Vacation Club resorts, all rooms at Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows are available for rent by Guests when not in use by Disney Vacation Club Members!

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New! Towels Available at Disney’s Art of Animation and Disney’s Port Orleans-Riverside Resort Pools: Beginning Friday, Dec. 19, pools towels will be available for Guests to use at all three pools at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort. Pool towels will be also available for Guests to use at all of the pools at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort-Riverside.

New! Note’able Games Reopens at All Star Music as a Non-redemption Arcade: Note’able Games arcade at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort reopens Tuesday, Dec. 16, as a non- redemption arcade. Guests will no longer be able to win tickets to redeem for prizes at Note’able Games. Game Point Arcade at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort and Reel Fun Arcade at Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort will remain as redemption arcades until February 2015. At that time, they both will be converted to non-redemption arcades.

New! Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Holiday Offerings: Several Holiday food and beverage offerings are now available at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge is serving its winter scone and winter specialty cupcake for purchase at The Mara. The winter scone consists of white chocolate, cranberry and pistachio. The winter specialty cupcake will be a coconut cream cupcake, which is a vanilla cupcake with coconut cream filling, topped with white and blue swirled buttercream frosting and a glittering snowflake on top. The scone will be sold for $2.79, and the seasonal cupcake will be sold for $5.39. This offer will be available in The Mara Dec. 7-31. In support of Disney’s Worldwide Conservation Fund, our Food & Beverage team also will be providing a gingerbread cookie-decorating activity. All proceeds will go to the conservation fund. Guests will be able to learn about the importance of African cultural attire, as they decorate extra-large gingerbread people with a beautiful African gown or garment for a suggested donation of $5. This activity will be available to Guests Dec. 14-31, from 4-9 p.m. in the lobby of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Jambo House.

Alongside the gingerbread-decorating activity, is a table full of scrumptious holiday treat offerings for Guests to choose from. The following items will be available for purchase at the treat table Dec. 14-
31, from 4-9 p.m. in the lobby, as well as a select few at The Mara:

  • Peppermint bark
  • Chocolate and pistachio crackle cookies
  • Gingerbread cookie animals
  • Butternut crunch bark
  • Coconut cream cupcake
  • House-made chocolate hazelnut spread in a take-home jar, along with the recipe for the famous Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge banana bread
  • African hot chocolate – a specialty hot chocolate made from scratch by the Bakery team. It’s made using a Ghanaian milk chocolate and dark Tanzanian chocolate and served with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles on top.

New! Disney’s Port Orleans Candy Canes: On Monday, Dec. 22, Cast Members will be handing out candy canes to resort Guests in Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside and Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter lobbies from 9-9:30 a.m. Other holiday events and happenings will also occur. Guests should check with the front desk for a schedule.

New! Disney’s BoardWalk Resort Holiday Events: Character meet and greets and group entertainment will be available at Disney’s BoardWalk Resort from Dec. 20-24. Santa will visit the resort on Dec. 24 from 5-9 p.m., and Guests and can enjoy lobby refreshments on Dec. 24 and 25 from 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

New! Disney’s Old Key West Resort Holiday Events: Experience character meet and greets, guest group entertainment and strolling musicians at Disney’s Old Key West Resort and Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa from Dec. 21-24. Santa will visit the resorts on Dec. 25 from 5-9 p.m., and Guests and can enjoy lobby refreshments on Dec. 24 and 25 from 11 a.m.-8 p.m.

Update! Disney’s Polynesian Resort Holiday Events: Now through Dec. 25, Guests will enjoy several holiday offerings at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Holiday characters, community choir groups and Santa Claus will be visiting the Great Ceremonial House on select dates throughout December.  Community choir groups will begin arriving on Dec. 14 to spread holiday cheer throughout the Guest lobby. The groups will perform on Dec. 14, 16, 18, 20 and 22, at 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. in the resort lobby.

Update! Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort Holiday Events: Now through Dec. 25, Guests can enjoy a variety of holiday enhancements at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Community choir groups will be caroling our favorite holiday tunes in the lobby and characters will make festive appearances on select evenings. And on Christmas Eve, Guests can visit Santa Claus in the lobby just in time to share with him their final wish list items. Guests can also enjoy roasted chestnuts on the patio just outside the main entrance of the resort’s lobby from noon – 6 p.m. Gasparilla Island Grill is serving up a seasonal holiday turkey sandwich, piled high with traditional fixings like stuffing and cranberry.

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Reminder! Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Holiday Events: Visit Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts in December for special holiday performances! Each performance will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Disney’s Yacht Club Resorts lobby and will continue in Disney’s Beach Club Resorts lobby at 7:30 p.m:

  • Dec. 19 – TBD
  • Dec. 21 – Sweet Adelines O-Town Sound Chorus
  • Dec. 23 – Osceola High School Dynasty

Closures and Refurbishments

Click here to view the latest renovations and closures at Walt Disney World Resort.

Relive the Magic of Christmas at Walt Disney World with Celebrations!

Celebrations Christmas Memories Second Edition

Christmas at Walt Disney World

Announcing the Celebrations Holiday Collector’s Book: “Christmas Memories: Second Edition”

This limited-edition, hard-bound, full-color book features 128 pages of Disney Christmas magic, with ALL NEW photos and features, including:

• Christmas at the Magic Kingdom Pictorial

• The Christmas Parades of the Magic Kingdom

• A Holiday Tour of the Magic Kingdom Resorts

• Christmas Goes Wild at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

• Holidays Around the World at World Showcase

Relive the magical splendor of the Disney parks, the resorts, the holiday shows and much, much more! This limited-edition collectible book is regularly $24.95, but Celebrations has extended their pre-sale offer through the holidays with a special price of only $19.95 (plus shipping)!

Celebrations is one of our partners, and all of us at Destinations in Florida are fans of their stunning magazine. Three of our agents contribute to Celebrations blog, and our agency owner writes restaurant reviews for the magazine, too. We were so impressed by the quality of this gorgeous tribute to Christmas at Walt Disney World, we just had to tell you about it!  “Celebrations Christmas Memories” is perfect for gift giving, or for anyone who cherishes the magic of Christmas at Walt Disney World.

Celebrations-Xmas-Book-Ad

ORDER YOURS HERE TODAY

 

The 2015 Magic Your Way Platinum Package

mk fireworks dtpFor those who would like an almost ‘all-inclusive’ Walt Disney World vacation, the Platinum Package is the perfect choice!  Today, we will look at some of the highlights. This package features deluxe accommodations with a minimum three-night stay.

Begin by choosing the number of days you wish to visit the theme parks. To add flexibility, select add-ons such as the Park Hopper, Water Park Fun & More or No Expiration options to your tickets. Included are the services of a Disney Itinerary Planner to help arrange your chosen tours, dining, shows and activities.

You will receive all the benefits of staying at a Disney resort: Free airport pickup and return, extra time in the theme parks, resort-wide transportation, package delivery and one-bill purchases with your Magic Band or World Card. Many additional product, activity and services discounts are included.

Platinum Package Dining includes: 3 Meals- ages 3 and up (per person, per night of your stay) Children ages 3-9 must order from a Children’s Menu where available. Choose from select table-service or quick-service restaurants for all 3 of your meals.

Each adult or child table-service meal includes:

1 appetizer (lunch and dinner), 1 entrée and dessert (lunch and dinner)
1 non-alcoholic beverage
Or
1 full buffet

Each quick-service meal includes:
1 entrée or 1 combo meal
1 dessert (lunch and dinner)
1 non-alcoholic beverage

2 Snacks

1 Resort-Refillable Mug per Person
Special dining experiences such as Signature Dining, Character Dining, Dinner Shows and In-Room Dining will make your vacation complete.

Disney’s Premium Package is so much more!  You will enjoy a dazzling fireworks cruise, a spa treatment and turndown service.  Unlimited use of select recreation like golf, water sports, boat rental and horseback riding is included. Unlimited Admission to select Children’s Activity Centers is also part of the package. The fun is never ending as you’ll also experience the Cirque du Soleil Show La Nouba, a Characters in Flight Experience and a Richard Petty Ride-Along Experience or Exotic Driving Experience.  If that’s not enough – How about Unlimited Admission to select Disney Tours?  The Magic Your Way Platinum Package is the way to do Disney right!

Why not impress your family with the ultimate Disney vacation this year? It will be the best trip ever!

Written by Sheri Morris, “Main Street Morris”   Sheri is a proud grandmother with a keen eye for detail. She specializes in Disney Travel for adults and RV travel.  Book your next vacation with Sheri at 804 405 5005 or at sheri@destinationsinflorida.com.

Walt Disney World Updates and Mousecellaneous News for the Week of Dec 17, 2014

Walt Disney World Resort – General

New! STK Coming to Disney Springs in 2015: STK Orlando will be opening at Disney Springs next year. The upscale, high-energy restaurant is coming onboard as Downtown Disney continues to transform into Disney Springs. It will be one of the new food & beverage locations located along the waterfront at The Landing. STK’s unique ambiance blends the elements of a modern steakhouse with a sleek lounge, including a DJ, emphasizing a social, fun environment. At approximately 14,000 square feet, STK Orlando will be one of the largest STK locations with two dining floors and the only rooftop dining venue in Disney Springs. The Landing is the first phase of Disney Springs and will be home to unique and memorable dining experiences such as STK, Morimoto Asia and The BOATHOUSE, plus a number of still-to-be-announced innovative restaurants and boutique shops.

STK Orlando logo

New! New Attraction-Themed Merchandise Coming Soon: There are several new collections debuting this month at Disney Parks, featuring many classic and new attractions including a vibrant collection themed to “it’s a small world” that it celebrates children and countries around the world. Look for the new logo to appear on youth and adult tees, a mug, tote, pin trading starter set and more. Other collections feature Radiator Springs, California Screamin’ and Grizzly River run from Disney’s California Adventure park.

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New! New Retail MagicBands Coming Soon: This month, Disney is introducing some new open edition, graphic MagicBands on the dates listed below.

  • December 12 – Sorcerer Mickey
  • December 14 – Minnie Mouse’s iconic polka dots
  • December 17 – Stitch
  • December 22 – Disney Princesses

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These graphic MagicBands will retail at $19.95 each. Guests should look for these items in select locations at the four theme parks and Downtown Disney. Now, all these bands can use the “link-it later” option, so they can be given as gifts. You no longer need to immediately link the bands to your account at time of purchase.

Merchandise Events

December 14 – 23: Beloved artist David E. Doss will be appearing this month at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace, just in time for the holidays. Be sure to stop in and say hello!

Now – December 30: Share in the sights and sounds of some of the world’s greatest holiday festivities during Holidays Around the World at Epcot. There are quite a few events taking place throughout the month including special appearances by Precious Moments Creator Linda Rick, Department 56 Artist – Scott Enter, Master Glass Artist Reinhard Herzog, Geir Ness, Kit Heath, Julia April and more. Details are available now on DisneyParksMerchandise.com.

Now – January 5: Representatives from Precious Moments Dolls will be on hand at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace throughout the holiday season. Stop in and add to your collection today.

Closures and Refurbishments

Click here to view the latest renovations and closures at Walt Disney World Resort.

Walt Disney World Theme Park News – Dec 17, 2014

Walt Disney World Theme Park News – Dec 17, 2014

ESPN and SEC Network personality Tim Tebow met up with Louis the alligator from “The Princess and the Frog” during the taping.

Walt Disney World Theme Parks

Magic Kingdom Park

Reminder! “Frozen Christmas Celebration” Filmed at Magic Kingdom: On Christmas Day, millions of viewers tune into ABC for the annual Christmas Day Parade at Disney Parks. The first phase of production for this year’s show, entitled “Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration,” took place at Disneyland Resort earlier this month. Musical performances were shot on a custom stage built in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, featuring artists like Train, Trey Songz, Lucy Hale, and Trisha Yearwood. Along with these performances, ABC News Senior Meteorologist Rob Marciano from “GMA Weekend” joined the holiday celebration as the Disneyland Resort host. Over at the Walt Disney World Resort, taping took place on December 8 and 9 at Magic Kingdom Park. Artists performing on the castle stage included Ariana Grande and Lexi Walker. The WDW hosts are Robin Roberts and Tim Tebow, and Elsa plays a special role this year. Many guests watched the filming and saw the celebrities last week.

 Lexi Walker delighted the audience with her performance of “Let it Go.”

Reminder! Anna and Elsa Still Lighting Cinderella Castle Nightly During “A Frozen Holiday Wish”:  A new holiday stage show that features Anna, Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf, debuted recently at Magic Kingdom Park. In the show, Elsa uses her gift to give us an amazing sight that’s perfect for the holiday season – Cinderella Castle covered in glittering ice.

Reminder! Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Sold Out Dec 19: The very last Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party of the Season is now officially sold out.

Reminder! Meet Santa at Magic Kingdom Park During Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: Santa is available to meet guests at Town Square Courtyard on Main Street, U.S.A., during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Epcot

New! New Year’s Eve at Epcot:  It’s a night-long party throughout Epcot, with unique entertainment including a DJ and light show at the Future World Fountain Stage, dancing under flame effects and a smoke-billowing dragon in China, a British blast to the past in United Kingdom, Euro-pop and lasers in Italy, and a Latin band and DJ on the America Gardens Stage. Cap it all off with one of two showings of “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” fireworks, at 6:00 p.m. or 11:40 p.m., followed by a countdown and pyrotechnic salute to the new year.

illuminations nye

Reminder! Holidays Around the World in Full Swing: Holidays Around the World has officially begun! From Nov. 28-Dec. 30, Epcot and the countries of World Showcase will feature exceptional entertainment, delicious food and beverage items and special merchandise that you don’t want to miss this holiday season! Some of the highlights include:

Candlelight Processional at America Gardens Theatre, with show times at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. Narrators include:

  • Ana Gasteyer (NEW!) – December 18 – 20, 2014
  • Marlee Matlin – December 21 – 23, 2014
  • Isabella Rossellini – December 24 – 25, 2014
  • Blair Underwood – December 26 – 27, 2014
  • Steven Curtis Chapman – December 28 – 30, 2014

Candlelight Dining Packages are available for Guests. With these special dinner packages, Guests receive dinner at a restaurant of their choice, guaranteed seating at America Gardens Theatre for a booked Candlelight Processional show time and viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. Note: Dinner packages do not include park admission.

JOYFUL! A Gospel Celebration of the Season will perform daily at the Innoventions Fountain Stage at 1:15, 2:25, 3:25 and 4:25 p.m. Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season uniquely blends the soulful expressiveness of gospel and inspirational music with the sounds of Jazz, R&B and urban music.

Reminder! Epcot Park Hours Extended: Epcot will be extending operating hours on Jan 1-2. Park open has been changed from 9:00am to 8:00am for Thursday, January 1 and Friday, January 2, 2015.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

New! New Year’s Eve Celebration: Guests can rock out to a fantastic fireworks showcase at midnight set to live tunes from our landscapers-turned-rock-band—Mulch, Sweat and Shears! Celebration starts at 5 p.m. and runs until 2 a.m. (Extra Magic Hours from 12 – 2 a.m.). Additional outdoor bars will be located at Highland Ave., Starring Rolls Patio, Animation Gate, Indiana Jones and Sunset Ranch Market. Hats and Horns will be distributed at Lights, Motor, Action! starting at 5:45 p.m.

Reminder! Explore Osborne Lights in Streets of America: Talking a walk through the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has become a family tradition for many Disney Parks guests. This year’s display of millions of twinkle lights may feature a spinning carousel of angels, bright toy soldiers, and Santa and his reindeer – but if you look closer, it also features plenty of hidden surprises, such as specific nods to Disney films and television shows, as well as 80 hidden Mickeys!


Reminder! The Taste of Hollywood Winter Holiday Grab ‘n Go Fantasmic! Package Available: The Taste of Hollywood Winter Holiday Grab ‘n Go Fantasmic! Package is available now through December 31, 2014.  This offering allows Guests to enjoy a picnic meal plus reserved seating for the first or second Fantasmic! show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Reservations are now open, and can be made by calling 407-WDW-DINE up to 24 hours in advance. If you do not have a reservation, you can always check the day you are in the park for availability. Meals can be picked up from Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Choice of Fantasmic! showtime is based on availability, with the number of seats based on the number of meals purchased. Adults can choose from a vegetable sandwich served with ginger-marinated tomatoes and cucumbers, quinoa salad and chocolate cake; shrimp salad served with pita, ginger-marinated tomatoes and cucumbers and mandarin orange cheesecake; golden fried chicken served with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, sweet corn and carrots and warm apple crisp; cold-cut roast beef sandwich with creamy horseradish served with classic potato salad, grilled asparagus and chocolate cake; California sushi tuna roll served with avocado, orange and tomato salad, ginger-marinated tomatoes and cucumbers and spicy pecan-chocolate cluster.

Taste of Hollywood Adult

Kids’ choices include a power pack with strawberry yogurt, apple wedges, carrot sticks with ranch dip, fish crackers, an organic apple cinnamon and oatmeal snack-size sandwich bar or a turkey and American cheese wrap with strawberry yogurt, apple wedges, carrots with ranch dip and a seven-layer cookie bar.

taste of hollywood kids

Reminder! New Holiday Cupcake Available through Jan 4: Guests can enjoy a delicious Holiday gingerbread cupcake at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. For just $5.19 each, the Holiday cupcake will be available at the following quick service locations: FairFax Fare, Pizza Planet, Starring Rolls, Backlot Express, ABC Commissary, Studio Catering Co., Rosie’s All American Café. The cupcake is included in Disney Dining Plan and available through Jan. 4.

Reminder! The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special Returns: Once again, alumni of the former Comedy Warehouse will reunite for “The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special” at Superstar Television Theater from Dec. 20 –  Jan. 4. This offering is part of the second FastPass+ experience group for Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

New! Tusker House Restaurant to Host Character Dinner: Beginning March 8, 2015, Donald, Daisy and their friends will host a fun-filled character dinner at Tusker House Restaurant. Donald’s Safari Dinner gives you the opportunity to meet some favorite characters, including Donald and Daisy Duck while enjoying a delicious selection of all-you-care-to-enjoy spit-roasted carved meats, unique salads, creative vegetarian offerings, hearty stews, and delicious desserts – all with an African touch. Bookings are available now. Donald’s Safari Dinner at Tusker House Restaurant will be offered beginning at 4 p.m. daily. In addition to the new character dinner, Tusker House Restaurant will continue to feature characters at breakfast and lunch.

tusker house

New! Isle of Java Now Open in New Location: Isle of Java is now open in its new location by Flame Tree Barbecue. Coffee, pastries, frozen beverages and soda are available for purchase. In addition to Isle of Java, coffee is also sold at Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery, Royal Anandapur Tea Co. and at the Yak & Yeti Quality Beverage window.

New! Aviary and Hippo Viewing Reopens Dec 21: The aviary, research center and underwater hippo viewing area on Pangani Forest Exploration Trail reopens on Dec. 21. This area was closed for repairs. Once reopened, the Wilderness Explorers birding and hiking badge will return to its original location. The bird and fish collection will also return to the exhibit at this time.

Closures and Refurbishments

Click here to view the latest renovations and closures at Walt Disney World Resort.

 

Walt Disney World Resort Hotel News for the Week of Dec 10, 2014

Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

New! Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort Holiday Events: Now through Dec. 25, Guests can enjoy a variety of holiday enhancements at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Community choir groups will be caroling our favorite holiday tunes in the lobby and characters will make festive appearances on select evenings. And on Christmas Eve, Guests can visit Santa Claus in the lobby just in time to share with him their final wish list items.

New! Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Holiday Events: Visit Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts in December for special holiday performances! Each performance will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Disney’s Yacht Club Resorts lobby and will continue in Disney’s Beach Club Resorts lobby at 7:30 p.m:

  • Dec. 11 – Mckeel Tech Women’s Vocal Ensemble
  • Dec. 13 – West Shrore Jr./Sr. High School Chamber Chorus
  • Dec. 15 – Canterbury Carolers
  • Dec. 19 – TBD
  • Dec. 21 – Sweet Adelines O-Town Sound Chorus
  • Dec. 23 – Osceola High School Dynasty

Yacht Club Lobby Christmas Tree

New! Disney’s Polynesian Resort Holiday Events: Now through Dec. 25, Guests will enjoy several holiday offerings at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. Holiday characters, community choir groups and Santa Claus will be visiting the Great Ceremonial House on select dates throughout December.

New! Parking Lot Refurbs at All-Star Resorts: The Building 10 parking lot at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort will be rejuvenated this month. From Dec. 16-19, Guests should be directed to park in alternate lots. The lot will be coned off beginning Dec. 13. Also, The check-in parking lot of Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort will be rejuvenated in two phases this month. From Dec. 10-13 and Dec. 16-19, Cast Members and leaders should park in the lots near Building 1 and Building 10. Guests will be directed accordingly.

Closures and Refurbishments

Click here to view the latest renovations and closures at Walt Disney World Resort.

Celebrate Christmas at the Candlelight Processional

Candlelight processional dtpIf you are visiting Walt Disney World during the Holiday season, a trip to Epcot Center to see the Candlelight Processional will surely put you in the spirit of the season. The event is presented in the American Gardens Theatre at the World Showcase area of Epcot and has become a beloved holiday tradition at Walt Disney World for many guests.

Candlelight Processional features the retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator who is accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and a glorious mass choir. The celebrity narrators include well-known performers such as Neil Patrick Harris, Whoopi Goldberg and Steven Curtis Chapman.  The orchestra and choir are made up of local talent and professional musicians. Music is woven into the reading of the Biblical account of the Savior, born to a virgin in the town of Bethlehem. It’s an inspirational and meaningful event filled with uplifting choral pieces that will stir your soul!

Show times normally take place three times each evening from late November through the end of December. The show is free with paid admission to the park and seats are on a first-come, first –served basis. However, Disney offers Candlelight Processional Dinner Packages at select restaurants that will allow you to enjoy a fabulous dinner and guaranteed seating for a show.  Due to popularity, these are highly recommended.

The American Gardens Theatre is outdoors and uncovered with bench seating. The event is not canceled due to inclement weather so come prepared and dress accordingly.

Be sure to allow time to hear the joyous story of the birth of Christ and enjoy the warmth of uplifting Christmas music during your holiday visit to Epcot Center. It’s a wonderful way to share the hope and magic of the season with family and friends. You’ll have a glorious time!

Written by Sheri Morris, “Main Street Morris”   Sheri is proud grandmother with a keen eye for detail. She specializes in Disney Travel for adults and RV travel.  Book your next vacation with Sheri at 804 405 5005 or at sheri@destinationsinflorida.com.

Walt Disney World Updates and Mousecellaneous News for the Week of Dec 10, 2014

Walt Disney World Resort – General

New! My Disney Experience App Update: Guests can enjoy maximum flexibility with the My Disney Experience mobile app. With the Walt Disney World® Parks right at their fingertips, Guests can accessDisney FastPass+ service, use the interactive, GPS-enabled maps to navigate the Parks easily and get attraction information all at the same convenient place. And, beginning this month, Guests can now purchase select Walt Disney World Resort theme park tickets via the My Disney Experience mobile app. They can buy single- or multi-day Magic Your Way tickets for visits up to 10 days, with or without thePark Hopper® option. At the time of purchase, Guests can link the tickets to existing or new Family & Friends profiles on My Disney Experience. Immediately after purchase and if they are within the applicable selection window, Guests can make FastPass+ selections, to continue planning their vacation to Walt Disney World Resort!

MDE Screen Shots

New! Apple Pay to be Accepted Soon: A new form of electronic payment will be accepted before Christmas at most Disney-operated merchandise locations, quick-service  restaurants, bars/lounges, spas, recreation and ticket sales locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort that use stationary touch-to-pay devices. A symbol represented by four curved lines will appear on existing touch-to-pay stationary devices when contactless payment is accepted.

New! Blizzard Beach – Closed Due to Forecasted Low Temperatures: Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park will be closed on Tuesday, December 9 – Friday, December 12, 2014 due to forecasted low temperatures. Disney’s Fantasia Gardens and Winter Summerland Miniature Golf Courses will be open normal business hours.

New! Holiday Happenings at Downtown Disney: The Downtown Disney Area at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida is bustling with holiday excitement. The Festival of the Seasons is now underway and new holiday décor is lighting up the Marketplace. Here are some of the holiday activities at Downtown Disney:

  • Meet Santa: You can share your wish list with Santa Claus through Christmas Eve (Santa Goofy Steps in December 25th – 29th)! New this year, guests can check in at the Santa Chalet podium to receive a pager that buzzes when their turn to meet Santa is near. It’s a great opportunity to snag a family photo, too, with Disney’s PhotoPass photographers on standby. (12pm – 9:30pm daily).
  • Enjoy Holiday Entertainment: Pick up a times guide to discover the sounds of the season. From carolers to stilt walkers, live musicians to DJ dance parties, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. A great new spot to catch a performance is Exposition Park on the West Side – and while you’re there, you can indulge in fresh fare from the Disney Food Trucks!
  • Indulge in Holiday Treats: Peppermint Mocha from STARBUCKS? Decadent hot chocolate from Ghirardelli? A homemade treat from Goofy’s Candy Company or Candy Cauldron? Whatever you fancy, you’ll find something sweet to tempt your taste buds!

downtown disney tree

Reminder! Food Truck Park Now Open at Downtown Disney / Disney Springs: The Food Trucks are now open at Exposition Park on the West Side, which is a permanent home for the Disney owned-and-operated Downtown Disney food trucks. Located along the water, the Food Trucks serve mouthwatering culinary creations daily, such as chicken & waffles and tandoori spiced shrimp. The area will also offer additional seating for diners as well as shaded areas during the day.  The four Disney food trucks, along with the ESPN food truck, may be there – Namaste Café with flavors from Disney’s Animal Kingdom; Superstar Catering with favorites from Disney’s Hollywood Studios like a Margarita Flatbread; Fantasy Fare with Magic Kingdom Park goodies like the corn dog, and World Showcase of Flavors with Epcot tastes from grass-fed beef sliders to Pierogies. You’ll find Exposition Park between Bongo’s Cuban Café and Starbucks – an expansive grassy area that take advantage of the pretty waterfront. Hours may vary during peak times and special events.

Disney Food Trucks Exposition Park

Disney Food Trucks Exposition Park 2

New! Soldier and Family Reunited at Walt Disney World Cheer and Dance Competition: One year ago 9-year-old Adisen Kallas made a wish with her family in front of Cinderella Castle. She wished that her dad, Navy SEABEE UT1 Scott Kallas, would return from deployment in Afghanistan in time to watch her dance at the 2014 Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Championships at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. At that time Scott was preparing for his fifth military deployment. Well Adisen wish came true. What happened on Saturday after Adisen and the Mighty Might Tri Town Raiderettes dance team from Schererville, IN, performed was nothing short of magical. It is a moment you will want to watch for yourself.

 

Reminder! Atlanta Braves Spring Training Tickets Available Now: Enjoy America’s most magical pastime at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex March 4-April 4. The Atlanta Braves return for their 18th Spring Training Season at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Individual Game Tickets will go on sale December 1. Get the best seats at the best prices when you purchase early. Tickets available here

Merchandise Events

December 14 – 23: Beloved artist David E. Doss will be appearing this month at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace, just in time for the holidays. Be sure to stop in and say hello!

Now – December 30: Share in the sights and sounds of some of the world’s greatest holiday festivities duringHolidays Around the World at Epcot. There are quite a few events taking place throughout the month including special appearances by Precious Moments Creator Linda Rick, Department 56 Artist – Scott Enter, Master Glass Artist Reinhard Herzog, Geir Ness, Kit Heath, Julia April and more. Details are available now onDisneyParksMerchandise.com.

Now – January 5: Representatives from Precious Moments Dolls will be on hand at Once Upon A Toy in Downtown Disney Marketplace throughout the holiday season. Stop in and add to your collection today.

New! Hanukkah Merchandise Now Available:  A small assortment of Hanukkah-inspired merchandise is available at World of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace including plates, mugs, beautiful wine glasses, home decor, and Disney pins.

disney hanukkah items

disney hanukkah pins

New! Frozen Merchandise Update: Some of the most popular holiday gifts this year are anything related to Disney’s “Frozen.” Disney Parks Blog author Steven Miller recently visited Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and Frozen Snowground at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to give a rundown of my favorite “Frozen” gifts and where to find them at Walt Disney World Resort during the holidays. In addition to the locations listed in the video, Frozen merchandise is also available at Fantasia in Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

 

Closures and Refurbishments

Click here to view the latest renovations and closures at Walt Disney World Resort.

Walt Disney World Theme Park News – Dec 10, 2014

Walt Disney World Theme Park News – Dec 10, 2014

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Walt Disney World Theme Parks

Magic Kingdom Park

New! Adjusted Times for Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party: Due to concrete work on Main Street, U.S.A., Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! will be presented at 12:30 and 5 p.m. on the following dates: Dec. 3, Dec. 10, and Dec. 17.

Reminder! “Frozen Christmas Celebration” Filmed at Magic Kingdom: On Christmas Day, millions of viewers tune into ABC for the annual Christmas Day Parade at Disney Parks. The first phase of production for this year’s show, entitled “Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration,” took place at Disneyland Resort earlier this month. Musical performances were shot on a custom stage built in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle, featuring artists like Train, Trey Songz, Lucy Hale, and Trisha Yearwood. Along with these performances, ABC News Senior Meteorologist Rob Marciano from “GMA Weekend” joined the holiday celebration as the Disneyland Resort host. Over at the Walt Disney World Resort, taping took place on December 8 and 9 at Magic Kingdom Park. Artists performing on the castle stage included Ariana Grande and Lexi Walker. The WDW hosts are Robin Roberts and Tim Tebow, and Elsa plays a special role this year. Many guests watched the filming and saw the celebrities this week.

Reminder! Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Sold Out Dec 19: The very last Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party of the Season is now officially sold out.  Tickets are still available for December: 11, 12, 14, 16, and 18 2014.

Reminder! Meet Santa at Magic Kingdom Park During Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party: Santa is available to meet guests at Town Square Courtyard on Main Street, U.S.A., during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Epcot

New! IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth New Finale: “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” has a special holiday ending during this time of year. The show concludes with a special finale to the song “Let There Be Peace On Earth” and a special set of holiday themed fireworks. The musical finale brings a message of peace and good will with the brilliance and splendor of music, lights, lasers, water fountains and custom pyrotechnics.

Photo: Mark Willard

Photo: Mark Willard

Reminder! Holidays Around the World in Full Swing: Holidays Around the World has officially begun! From Nov. 28-Dec. 30, Epcot and the countries of World Showcase will feature exceptional entertainment, delicious food and beverage items and special merchandise that you don’t want to miss this holiday season! Some of the highlights include:

Candlelight Processional at America Gardens Theatre, with show times at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. Narrators include:

  • Edward James Olmos – December 10 – 12, 2014
  • Joe Morton (NEW!) – December 13 – 14, 2014
  • Chita Rivera – December 15 – 17, 2014
  • Ana Gasteyer (NEW!) – December 18 – 20, 2014

Candlelight Dining Packages are available for Guests. With these special dinner packages, Guests receive dinner at a restaurant of their choice, guaranteed seating at America Gardens Theatre for a booked Candlelight Processional show time and viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. Note: Dinner packages do not include park admission.

JOYFUL! A Gospel Celebration of the Season will perform daily at the Innoventions Fountain Stage at 1:15, 2:25, 3:25 and 4:25 p.m. Joyful! A Gospel Celebration of the Season uniquely blends the soulful expressiveness of gospel and inspirational music with the sounds of Jazz, R&B and urban music.

New! Epcot Park Hours Extended: Epcot will be extending operating hours on Jan 1-2. Park open has been changed from 9:00am to 8:00am for Thursday, January 1 and Friday, January 2, 2015.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

New! The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special Returns: Once again, alumni of the former Comedy Warehouse will reunite for “The Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special” at Superstar Television Theater from Dec. 20 –  Jan. 4. This offering is part of the second FastPass+ experience group for Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

comedy warehouse

New! The Taste of Hollywood Winter Holiday Grab ‘n Go Fantasmic! Package Available:  The Taste of Hollywood Winter Holiday Grab ‘n Go Fantasmic! Package is available now through December 31, 2014.  This offering allows Guests to enjoy a picnic meal plus reserved seating for the first or second Fantasmic! show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Reminder! 2015 Disney’s Star Wars Weekends Dates Announced and Dining Available for Booking: Attention fans of The Force – get ready to plan your trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in spring 2015! Star Wars Weekends will be held every weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) from May 15-June 14, 2015. Once again, the Star Wars Character Dining Experiences will be available and they are open for booking now. Choose from Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast at $49.99 per adult and $31.99 per child ages 3-9 or Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine, Including Fantasmic! Dining Package at $57.99 per adult and $34.99 per child ages 3-9. Prices include tax, but not gratuity. Star Wars Weekends dates are as follows:

  • Weekend I: May 15-17, 2015
  • Weekend II: May 22-24, 2015
  • Weekend III: May 29-31, 2015
  • Weekend IV: June 5-7, 2015
  • Weekend V: June 12-14, 2015

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

 New! Character Meeting Changes: Character changes are currently being tested at Disney’s Animal Kingdom through Jan. 4, 2015. Here’s what to expect:Guests can meet Tarzan daily along the Discovery Island Trail. Disney’s PhotoPass is not at this character greeting location. Pocahontas is greeting Guests intermittently at the Discovery Island Character Landing location. Daisy is no longer greeting Guests at the Character Landing on Discovery Island. She will return from Dec. 20-31 in a location to be announced at a later date. Guests can still meet Daisy at Tusker House with character dining reservations.

New! Chakranadi Performs Seasonal Tunes: As part of the park’s “Festival of All Seasons” celebration, Chakranadi performs seasonal tunes on the sitar and tablas. Check it out for yourself.

Reminder! Isle of Java Relocation: Isle of Java closed om Dec. 1 after park close in order to begin its relocation. Coffee and limited breakfast offerings will be sold at Beastly Kiosk on Discovery Island while Isle of Java equipment is moved to its new location. Isle of Java is expected to open by Flame Tree Barbecue in the near future. In addition to Beastly Kiosk, coffee is also sold at Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery, Royal Anandapur Tea Co. and at the Yak & Yeti Quality Beverage window.

Closures and Refurbishments

Click here to view the latest renovations and closures at Walt Disney World Resort.

 

Around the Universe: Universal Orlando News, Dec 9, 2014

There are exciting new things happening every day at Universal Orlando Resort in Florida! Join us every week to read about what’s new “Around the Universe.” This week’s Universal Orlando News update features: Holiday and New Year’s Eve activities, military discounts, hot Butterbeer and more!

What’s New This Week?

EVE at Universal CityWalk

New! Tickets for Universal CityWalk’s New Year’s Eve Celebration on Sale Now: On Dec. 31, 2014, guests can experience non-stop entertainment at EVE, Universal CityWalk’s unparalleled New Year’s celebration. With unique party zones – each featuring their own entertainment and signature drinks, access to six different clubs with live music and unlimited gourmet cuisine, EVE will be theplace to ring in the New Year. Tickets are on-sale now for advance pricing of $99.99 plus tax until Dec. 15. Admission includes access to:

  • Unlimited gourmet cuisine, including jumbo shrimp, roast sirloin, custom desserts and more
  • Six unique outdoor party zones with entertainment and signature drinks
  • Orlando’s largest outdoor dance floor, featuring live music from DJ M-Squared on a 360? DJ platform
  • Six Universal CityWalk venues, including: Bob Marley – A Tribute to Freedom, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, Pat O’Brien’s, the groove, Rising Star and Red Coconut Club
  • Midnight champagne toast and pyrotechnics display
  • For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.citywalk.com/EVE

New! Don’t Miss NBC’s Primetime Musical Event, ‘One Direction: The TV Special': On Tuesday, Dec. 23, NBC joins forces with multi-platinum band One Direction in the primetime musical event “One Direction: The TV Special” (8-9 p.m. ET). NBC’s network special will feature an inside look at the wildly popular band, including a special concert fans experienced at Universal Orlando. The hour-long telecast also shows the boys surprising fans in the parks and interviewing each other aboard one of Universal Orlando’s high-speed roller coasters.

One Direction: The TV Special - Season 2014

New! Universal Extends Military Discount: Universal Orlando Resort has extended its ticket offer exclusively for active duty and retired members of the military with purchase available now through June 7, 2015. Military personnel can purchase a one-day, park-to-park ticket and receive two complimentary days to experience the extraordinary thrills and heart-warming moments that can only be found at Universal Orlando Resort. Plus, they can also upgrade with a 3-night stay at the brand-new Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort with a discounted vacation package starting at $269 per adult, tax inclusive with valid military identification. Package also includes: 1-Day, Park-to-Park Ticket with 2 Days Free ticket offer, 3-nights stay at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the theme park opens and access to live entertainment at Universal CityWalk. Special active duty and retired military package rates are also available at Universal Orlando’s additional resort hotels Loews Royal Pacific Resort, Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, and Hard Rock Hotel.

New! Universal Orlando Resort Begins Serving Hot Butterbeer: Guests have tried it cold, frozen – and even as an ice-cream flavor. Now Universal Orlando Resort offers hot Butterbeer at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Hot Butterbeer is a smooth, hot beverage reminiscent of shortbread and butterscotch served year-round with a whipped topping. In The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley, it will be served at Leaky Cauldron, The Hopping Pot, and The Fountain of Fair Fortune. In The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, it will be available at Three Broomsticks and Hog’s Head Pub.

Hot Butterbeer Comes to Universal Orlando

Reminder! Nickelodeon’s “Every Witch Way” Weekend This Friday and Saturday:  Universal Orlando Resort will host a fun filled weekend featuring the Nickelodeon hit live action series “EveryWitch Way” on December 12 and 13.Fans of the hit series will be able to enjoy two days of spellbinding activities featuring some of their favorite cast members, including Paola Andino (Emma Alonso), Nick Merico(Daniel Miller), Paris Smith (Maddie Van Pelt) and Rahart Adams (Jax Novoa). Nickelodeon’s “Every Witch Way” Weekend will also give guests the several special experiences. More details are available here.

 Reminder! New Park Plaza Holiday Shop Opens: Universal’s newest merchandise shop features a Christmas or Holiday theme. The store is called Park Plaza Holiday Shop and is now open and offers an assortment of themed decor featuring franchises and characters found at Universal Orlando such as Despicable Me, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Simpsons, Betty Boop, and others. The store is located across from Transformers, near Gramercy Park.

Reminder! Universal Holiday Events Under Way: Beginning Dec. 6 and running daily through Jan. 3, the Holidays at Universal Orlando features one-of-a-kind traditions. At Universal’s Islands of Adventure, families will light up with holiday cheer as Grinchmas comes to life throughout Seuss Landing. Guests can enjoy a live retelling of Dr. Seuss’s classic holiday tale, “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular,” featuring the Whos from Who-ville, accompanied by an original musical score by Mannheim Steamroller. Guests can also meet The Grinch and the Whos and on select dates, enjoy a special breakfast with the characters.

At Universal Studios Florida, the Macy’s Holiday Parade will fill the streets every evening with the same larger-than-life balloons seen in Macy’s famous Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. This year, you won’t want to miss the Chloe The Clown “Balloonicle,” a new addition to the parade that combines a towering balloon with a self-powered vehicle that roams the streets of Universal Studios. Guests will also enjoy colorful holiday characters, fantasy-filled floats and a tree-lighting ceremony by Santa Claus.

This year, the masters of modern Christmas music—Mannheim Steamroller—will return to the stage to spread Christmas cheer. With more than 40 million albums sold worldwide, the acclaimed musical group will take to the Music Plaza stage in Universal Studios on select nights to perform their memorable holiday hits. Performance nights are Dec. 6, 7, 14, 15, 20 and 21.

Macy's Holiday Parade at Universal Orlando

Universal Orlando Resort Hotels

New! Holiday Happenings at On-Site Hotels: Celebrate the holiday season at one of the spectacular on-site hotels at Universal Orlando® Resort. Experience holiday festivities at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel®, Loews Royal Pacific Resort, or Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort.  You can find something for the whole family including Christmas Eve and Day celebrations, New Year’s Eve dining packages and New Year’s Day fun at each of our resort hotels. You’ll find a uniquely themed, festive holiday atmosphere with great activities including:

  • Hanukkah Candle Lighting
  • Christmas Tree Lighting
  • Cookie decorating
  • Santa visits
  • Storytelling
  • Universal Orlando theme park character visits
  • Holiday “dive-in” movies
  • Special holiday menus & more!

Ask your Destinations in Florida travel agent for details on what’s happening during your visit.

New! Hard Rock Hotel Wine Riffs – Moet & Chandon December 12, 2014: On Friday, December 12, 2014 at 6:30pm, Listen to Kate Hoff tell the stories of the Moët & Chandon, taste the culinary parings from our chefs, and feel the emotions of the music soundtracks that tie them together with Five course dinner & pairings – $150 (tax and gratuity not included). Call 407-503-2405 for reservations.

New! Velvet Unplugged – Holiday Music with Carl Dixon: On Friday, December 19, 2014, visit the Hard Rock Hotel for Holiday Music with Carl Dixon. $40 for a table for 2, $60 for a table of 4. Table includes: free parking, first round of house drinks, prime viewing. Log onto http://loewshotels.tix.com to purchase tickets. Free standing area, $5 parking.

New! Hanukkah Celebration at Loews Royal Pacific Resort and Cabana Bay Beach Resort: Visit the lobby of each hotel nightly Tuesday, December 16th  through Wednesday, December 24th at sundown for the Hanukkah Celebration ceremony. Check with the Front Desk for nightly times.

New! Holiday Stories with Santa at Cabana Bay Beach Resort: Visit the lobby of Cabana Bay Beach Resort for holiday story readings with Santa: 6:00pm – 7:00pm Saturdays – December 6, 13, 20.

New! Meet Holiday Elves at Cabana Bay Beach Resort: Visit the lobby of Cabana Bay Beach Resort to have a meet and greet with holiday elves 4:00pm – 8:00pm Sundays – December 7, 14, 21.

Universal CityWalk

New! CowFish Sushi and Burger Bar Grand Opening Dec 10: Cowfish opened its doors at CityWalk in November, but its official Grand Opening will be held Dec 10, 2014! The Cowfish™ is a one-of-a-kind dining experience, thriving on its ability to fuse two niche products seamlessly on the same menu. Fresh, innovative and delicious, the sushi segment of the menu is far beyond what you’re accustomed to. All natural, creative and hearty, the burgers entice with fresh, never frozen, ingredients and bold flavors. Spiked hand-spun milkshakes, premium sakes, craft beers, wine and 10oz exotic martinis round out a huge bar menu that is sure to please. The Cowfish™ aims to offer something for the entire family. Scrumptious appetizers for sharing, entree-sized salads, homemade desserts and a fun kid’s menu. If you can’t make up your mind, try a bento box to sample a mini-burger along with your choice of sushi roll and three tasty side items!

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The Cowfish at Universal Orlando Resort's CityWalk.

New! New Year’s Eve at Universal CityWalk® Wednesday, December 31, 2014: The whole year’s been leading up to this: Universal CityWalk’s eye-popping, mind-blowing, jam-packed New Year’s celebration. Enjoy six unique party zones, each with their own signature drinks and entertainment. Plus, explore six awesome CityWalk® clubs with live music and unlimited gourmet cuisine. Rock out on Orlando’s biggest and best outdoor dance floor, where DJ M-Squared will be spinning all your favorite tracks all night long. Then top off your night at CityWalk® with a midnight champagne toast and a pyrotechnics display. Drink it all in at Eve. This year’s outta here. Ticket info above.

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Closures and Refurbishments

Universal’s Islands of Adventure

  • The Incredible Hulk Coaster®: 12/2, 12/8, 12/9

Universal Studios

  • Universal’s Cinematic Spectacular®: 12/6, 12/7, 12/13 & 12/14 no shows scheduled
  • Universal’s Superstar Parade: 12/6 no parade scheduled