Around the Mouse: Walt Disney World News, August 20, 2014

There are exciting new things popping up every day at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida! Join us every week to read about what’s new “Around the Mouse.” This week’s Walt Disney World news update features: Disney Springs Updates, show and tour closings, food and restaurant updates, special events and much more!

What’s New This Week?

Disney Springs

Walt Disney World Theme Parks

New! Additional Purchase Options for MagicBandsBeginning Aug. 19, select locations will test an option for Guests to purchase solid-colored MagicBands and link them to a MyDisneyExperience account at a later time. With the new Link-It Later option, Guests will be able to purchase solid-colored MagicBands (available in seven colors) and link them at a future date, which provides an opportunity to buy MagicBands as gifts. This test is taking place at stores currently selling MagicBands at theme parks, Downtown Disney, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort, and Walt Disney World Dolphin and Swan Hotels. NOTE: This test excludes graphic MagicBands. They must be linked to a valid park ticket, annual pass or MemoryMaker account at time of purchase.

New! Electric Vehicle Charging Stations at Epcot: Guests with electric vehicles now have the opportunity to charge their cars at Epcot. Four ChargePoint charging spaces at the front of the Journey parking lot are available for Guests to use by scanning their pre-ordered ChargePoint card, by easily registering for a free ChargePoint account online at http://www.chargepoint.com, or by using a credit card. The cost to charge at these stations is $.35 per kilowatt hour, with a minimum service amount of $1.50. Charging will stop once the vehicle’s battery is fully charged and ChargePoint will “ping” the owners to alert them. The charging stations are available on a first-come, first-served basis.

New! T. Rowe Price Piggy Banks Available for Purchase Online: T. Rowe Price is now selling a replica of the pigs that are a part of The Great Piggy Bank Adventure exhibit at INNOVENTIONS. The piggy banks are only available online at www.MoneyConfidentKids.com for $9.65+ shipping. They are not available at Epcot’s INNOVENTIONS West or any other location at the Walt Disney World Resort®.

Piggy Bank

 New! American Idol Experience Closing: The last show of The American Idol Experience will take place August 30, 2014. At this time, there has been no announcement of what will replace this attraction.

New! American Film Institute Showcase and Shop Closed: On August 18, 2014, the American Film Institute Showcase and the corresponding gift shop its doors. At this time, there has been no announcement of what will replace this portion of the attraction.

New! Male Gorilla Baby Born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom: There’s a new family member on the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail – a newborn male gorilla who can sometimes be seen cuddling with his mom. Born Aug. 7 to mother Azizi and father Gino, the healthy infant has already become an integral member of his family group, which includes two other adult females, Kashata and Benga, and 4-year-old Lilly. The new baby, which is yet to be named, is the fourth gorilla born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan, which manages genetic diversity among species through detailed records of individual animals.

Baby Gorilla at DAK

New! Sumatran Tiger Arrives at Disney’s Animal Kingdom: A new tiger name Sohni can be seen at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on the Maharajah Jungle Trek, a self-guided walking tour set in the land of Asia. Until very recently only one species of tiger could be found on this trail, but with Sohni’s arrival comes increased diversity in the form of a Sumatran tiger, a species that is only found in the wild on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia.

New! Ultimate Day VIP Tour at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: Another new Food & Wine Festival event has been added this year. The Ultimate Day VIP Tour is described on the Disney Parks blog as follows: Begin the daylong festivities at the VIP Lounge hidden within the Festival Center at the Wonder’s Retreat. This special tour includes Champagne, a beverage tasting, six-course tapas-style lunch, wine, private backstage tours, time on some of the most popular Epcot attractions, food and beverage pairings with Disney chefs, VIP seating at the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, reserved seating for IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks spectacular and more. Occurring rain or shine Thursday and Sundays on select dates September through November, this private tour lasts six and a half hours and costs $399 per person (21 and up only). Call 407-WDW-TOUR (939-8687)

Reminder! New Villains Unleashed Event On August 23, 2014:  A brand new special event will take place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on Aug 23, 2014 8pm -1am — Villains Unleashed! For the first time ever, a record number of Disney villains – more than 50 in all – will invade Disney’s Hollywood Studios on August 23 as a part of the park’s new event, Villains Unleashed. This one-night party will kick off at 8:00pm as the Disney villains have plotted to take over Hollywood Studios. The celebration of their wonderful wickedness will include exclusive merchandise, specialty food and beverage and exciting atmosphere entertainment offerings.  Purchase tickets at Disneyvillainsparty.com for $67 for adults and $62 for children, plus tax.

Reminder! Some Performances of Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Cancelled: Due to upcoming concrete work on Main Street, U.S.A., there will not be morning performances of the Move It! Shake It! Celebrate It! Street Party on the following dates: Aug 19, 20 and 29. The parade will only perform at 5:40 and 7 p.m. on these dates.

Reminder! New Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Late Nights – LIVE!: Epcot Food & Wine Festival – Late Nights LIVE! street party will run from 9:45 p.m. to 1 a.m. every Tuesday and Thursday during the festival between the United Kingdom Pavilion and World Showcase Plaza. The event includes six tastes (food and beverages) from select marketplaces, live music, entertainment, and a DJ. Cost is $79, plus tax. Admission to Epcot is not required after 9 p.m. for guests who have purchased credentials to the event.

Reminder! Epcot Food & Wine Festival Premium Package: From noon-8 p.m. Monday through Thursday during a select festival period (September 22-November 6), the Epcot Food & Wine Festival Premium Package is an opportunity for guests staying in a Walt Disney World Resort hotel (or the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin hotels) to sip and savor in style. The package includes an in-room gift with wine for guests 21 and older, a festival wine glass, truffles and credential for the Premium Package Areas at the festival – plus an Epcot International Food & Wine Festival MagicBand and a $50 Disney Gift Card to start the fun. The credential gives access to 10 VIP “Premium Package Areas” around World Showcase Promenade where you can order items from Marketplaces and have them delivered to you – no waiting in line. You can also bring your favorite marketplace treats into the Premium Package Areas and just relax. The package also includes one admission to Epcot Food & Wine Festival – Late Nights LIVE!, which you can attend on Tuesday or Thursday night. Cost is $199 per guest, plus tax, plus Epcot admission.

Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

New! Capt. Cooks at Polynesian Village Reopened: On Wednesday, August 13 the newly refurbished quick-service dining location reopened to Guests. Capt. Cook’s once again operates 24 hours each day, and is located on the first floor of the Great Ceremonial House. Dole Whip is not available at Capt. Cook’s, but it will be served in a new location at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Pineapple Lanai, which is opening soon. The new menu includes a classic lobster roll served on a buttered bun. They’ve added blackened fish tacos, a noodle bowl (beef or shrimp) and delectable coconut curry meatballs. A new gourmet hot dog is slathered with garlic ketchup and mango relish. And crispy fried chicken and waffles, a hearty breakfast favorite that stays on the menu all day. The favorite hot beef ‘n blue sandwich stays as well as the pizzas, grilled chicken sandwich and house-made sushi, delivered from Kona Island upstairs. The breakfast favorite Tonga Toast is still on the menu, along with a new breakfast burrito with egg, bacon, potatoes and Cheddar cheese.

Capt Cooks Menu

New! Kona Island at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort Adds Shaved Ice: Another new treat at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort is Hawaiian shaved ice at Kona Island on the resort’s second floor. Located just off the monorail, Kona Island serves specialty coffee and pastries all day, and now shaved ice joins the lineup, along with takeout sushi. Hours are 6:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. and 5 – 10 p.m.

New! Sunrise Safari Tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Ending: the last day of operation for the Sunrise Safari tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be Dec. 28,2014. Guests interested in exploring Disney’s Animal Kingdom can still book Backstage Safari and Wild Africa Trek. Guests staying at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge also have the opportunity to participate in the Wanyama Safari, Night Safari and Dine with an Animal Specialist.

New! Disney Food Truck Serving Breakfast at Disney’s All Star Music Resort: Breakfast options are available at the Disney Food Truck every day from 7-11:30 a.m. The food truck is parked near the Singing Spirits Pool Bar at Disney’s All-Star Music Resort. Menu includes: Egg, bacon and cheese breakfast croissant; Kielbasa and caramelized onion biscuit sliders with sausage gravy; Strawberry-covered waffles with fresh whipped cream; donut holes and more.

New! Wine Pairings at Martha’s Vineyard at Disney’s Beach Club Resort: New late-afternoon wine pairings combine food and wine with a little enlightenment, with wine experts on hand to talk about what you’re sipping at Martha’s Vineyard at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Upcoming dates are 4-5:15 p.m. September 4, September 25, October 2 and October 30. Wineries aren’t yet announced (the last one was France’s Louis Jadot), but the Disney chefs are having fun with pairing delicious food with whatever is poured. It’s an intimate setting – no more than 18 guests, and the conversation flows with the wine. Cost varies, but is in the $20-30 range for three wines paired with three small plates, and price depends on what’s being poured. For reservations, call 407-934-3833.

Wine Pairings at Martha's Vineyard at Disney's Beach Club Resort

Reminder! Sassagoula Rivercruise Now Open: The Downtown Disney Marketplace Watercraft dock reopened Aug. 15. It had been closed since February, as part of the overall enhancements at the property. When the dock reopened, the following service changes to the Sassagoula Rivercruise takes effect:

  • Port Orleans River Cruise – Yellow Route: Service between Downtown Disney Marketplace and Disney’s Port Orleans Resort
  • Downtown Disney Area Water Taxi – Red Route: Service between Downtown Disney districts including the Marketplace, Pleasure Island and the West Side

In addition to the Water Taxi (Red Route) that services all locations, the West Side boat dock continues to offer the
following routes:

  • Disney Vacation Club Ferry – Blue Route: Service between Downtown Disney West Side and Disney’s Saratoga Resort & Spa as well as the Treehouse Villas
  • Disney Vacation Club Ferry – Green Route: Service between Downtown Disney West Side and Disney’s Old Key West Resort

DTD Boat Dock

Walt Disney World Resort – General

New! Imagineers Unveil the Story of Disney Springs: Disney Springs is about bringing diversity of retail, destination dining, and fantastic entertainment together with a great story. Executive Creative Director Theron Skees explains that story in the video below:

New! Festival of the Masters Cancelled in 2014: Downtown Disney, which normally hosts the Festival of the Masters, is undergoing the largest expansion in its history. As they prepare for Disney Springs, much of the area that traditionally houses the Festival of the Masters is unavailable due to expansion work and unfortunately they will not be able to host the event this year.

Reminder! Reservations Can Now be Made 20 Minutes in Advance: Dining reservations can now be made for available seatings up to 20 minutes in advance by using the My Disney Experience website or via the My Disney Experience mobile app on iOS devices. Future enhancements are planned to include the same booking feature for the My Disney Experience mobile app for Android devices. Previously, reservations could only be made for two hours in advance.

Reminder! Inaugural ESPN Fantasy Football Conventions Coming to Walt Disney World: On August 22-23, you can officially kick-off sport’s greatest season of the year with ESPN‘s inaugural Fantasy Football Convention, taking place at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The first-of-its-kind event features unprecedented access to ESPN talent including Matthew Berry, Adam Schefter, Chris Mortensen, Sara Walsh, Mark Schlereth, Stephania Bell, Tim Hasselbeck and more! The event includes an epic Tailgate Party, where you can mix and mingle with ESPN talent and be a judge in the first-ever ESPN Chili Bowl by taste testing creations from decorated Disney Chefs from around the world, and breakfast with some of your favorite characters decked out for the gridiron. The Convention includes a live broadcast of Fantasy Football Now. The event finale features the opportunity to take part in a live fantasy football draft with the help of ESPN Fantasy Experts roaming the floor. And best yet, season winners of leagues created during the Convention will receive a customized trophy. Talk about bragging rights! Price is $349 per person.

Merchandise Events

  • August 23: Keep an eye out for spellbinding commemorative T-shirts and more as part of the “Villains Unleashed” event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Remember, a separate ticket is required to attend this event. If you are thinking of going, purchase tickets now at www.DisneyVillainsParty.com or by calling 407.939.1933.
  • August 29: Be sure to pick up a copy of Tinker Bell: An Evolution, a full biography about everyone’s favorite fiery fairy by author Mindy Johnson. Mindy will appear at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace from 3 – 4 p.m., alongside special guest and Disney Legend, Alice Davis. Tip: Also being released during the event is Marc Davis: Walt Disney’s Renaissance Man.

Closures and Refurbishments

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

The Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley

The Leaky Cauldron is the centerpiece dining location in the new Diagon Alley section of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort. Pull up a chair and enjoy hearty British fare in this famous inn, as well as delicious, frothy Butterbeer™. The children’s menu offers items that kids will love, such as macaroni and cheese.

The Leaky Cauldron

In the Harry Potter movies, the Leaky Cauldron is a popular wizarding pub and inn in London. It is the entrance to Diagon Alley, and, indirectly Knockturn Alley.

You can find the Leaky Cauldron restaurant just to the left as you enter the new Diagon Alley. You walk through a foyer entrance to the main part of the restaurant. Here you will order your food to take with you to the main dining area.

The Leaky Cauldron

You can dine at the Leaky Cauldron during your visit to the Diagon Alley. Certain Diagon Alley vacation packages include breakfast at the Leaky Cauldron and the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade.

Contact our team at Destinations in Florida for more questions about the Leaky Cauldron  at Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley.  Book your Universal Orlando Resort tickets with transportation from your hotel or book your Universal Orlando Package today.

Around the Universe: Universal Orlando Resort News, Aug 19, 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 Resort News update features: Celebration of Harry Potter 2015, new houses at Halloween Horror Nights 24, Holidays at Universal and much more!

What’s New This Week?

Celebration of Harry Potter

Universal Orlando Theme Parks

New! Celebration of Harry Potter 2015 Scheduled for January:  Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. announced that they will host the second annual “A Celebration of Harry Potter” event – a special event for fans celebrating the global phenomenon that is Harry Potter. Beginning January 30, 2015, fans will enjoy three days of incredible experiences – including the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo, Q&A sessions with Harry Potter film talent and more.  Special vacation packages, including annual passholder packages, will go on sale August 21 and will include exclusive benefits such as access to an exclusive evening event in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade and the all-new The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley.  More details.

New! Universal Celebrates One Million Riders on the Hogwarts Express: Cheers from guests filled the air at Hogsmeade Station on August 7th as Universal Orlando Resort celebrated its one millionth rider on the Hogwarts Express – the iconic train that transported Harry Potter and his friends between Hogsmeade Station and King’s Cross Station in J.K. Rowling’s beloved series. To celebrate this magical milestone, nearly two hundred guests were given complimentary Butterbeer ice-cream.

Hogwarts Express Millionth Rider Celebration

New! Three Original Houses, Two New Scare Zones Announced for Halloween Horror Nights 24:  Universal Orlando Resort announced that three original concept haunted houses and two all-new scare zones will join the killer line up of experiences at Halloween Horror Nights 24 at Universal Studios Florida.

Original House – Dollhouse of the Damned: Dollhouse of the Damned Halloween Horror NightsAs described on Universal Orlando’s Blog: “When you walk into the house, you find yourself in this old-time morgue. But this little girl has set up shop and now it’s her playhouse. She’s torturing people in there. So you’re taking the sweetness of the dollhouse and childhood and combining it with something completely sinister. That theme remains throughout the maze. Another phrase we use is ‘forced integration.’ You’ll see characters with porcelain doll masks that have been smashed into their faces, and now they’re permanent. They’re victims of this twisted amalgamation. It’s really creepy.”

Original House: Giggles & Gore Inc.

Giggles & Gore Halloween Horror Nights 24

As described on Universal Orlando’s Blog: “So, we asked ourselves, where do evil clowns come from? And we discovered evil clowns are not born, they’re made. It’s an actual process. We all know that there are countless unsolved disappearances across the country. Where do these people end up? In the clown factory, being stretched, smashed and eviscerated. Faces are peeled off and voice boxes are torn out. Victims are dropped into a wood chipper, and the gunk that comes out is shoved into other people to create these massive, nasty stuffed clowns. Toward the end, you encounter the most evil of all evil clowns: The Discarded. These are the surviving clowns that have been cast down for being too dangerous to exist, even with other evil clowns.”

Original House: Roanoke – Cannibal Colony

Roanoke Halloween Horror Nights 24

As described on Universal Orlando’s Blog: “The year was 1587. It was one of the first settlements of the colonial era. The people living here were expecting supplies from Europe, but there was a war going on so they couldn’t make the voyage. Three years later, when the supply ship finally arrived, everyone was gone…except the deranged cannibals who’d managed to survive by eating their fellow settlers. As a guest, you’re fighting you’re way through this chaotic gauntlet of flesh-hungry man-eaters.

New Scare Zone Street Experiences: Even more horrors fill the streets of Universal Studios as guests are hypnotized by deceptive patrons of a seemingly glamorous ball in MASKerade: Unstitched and surrounded by voodoo practitioners that fill the snake and spider-infested Bayou of Blood.

Additional announcements for even more horrifying experiences are coming soon.

New! Universal Holiday Events Announced: 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

Reminder! Rock the Universe Tickets on Sale Now: Rock the Universe is Florida’s biggest Christian Music Festival. It’s an entire weekend of great music, real faith, best friends, fist-pumping rock, praise songs, autographs, shouts of joy, lifted hands and lifted hearts—and you can be a part of every second of it, from the very first scream to the final amen. Grab your friends and join thousands of other believers for a weekend of soul-stirring concerts from some of Christian rock’s brightest. In-between the concerts, scream and spin and laugh on action-packed rides in Universal Studios. This year’s event is September 5-6, 2014. Tickets start at $41 per day. More info.

Reminder! Prior Halloween Horror Nights Announcements: Step right into some of the most pulse-pounding moments in horror history at Universal Orlando® Resort’s Halloween Horror Nights®, the nation’s premier Halloween event. Select nights Sept. 19 – Nov. 1, you can explore eight terrifying haunted houses, multiple street experiences, two outrageous live shows, and many of your favorite rides and attractions. You’ll be completely immersed in the worlds of the biggest names in horror including: The Purge: Anarchy, Syfy’s Face Off, From Dusk Till Dawn, Alien vs. Predator and AMC’s The Walking Dead.

Universal Orlando Resort Hotels

New! Velvet Sessions with Eve 6 Aug 28, 2014: Velvet Bar hosts the city’s only rock ‘n’ roll cocktail party on the last Thursday of the month. Admission is $29 on-line or $35 at the door and includes FREE specialty drinks & finger foods and warm-up tunes from 6:30-8:30pm, plus FREE valet parking. Cash bars and live band from 8:00pm onward. Each “session” combines creative cocktails with live music from some of the hottest rock bands.

Reminder! The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ Exclusive Vacation Package Dates Extended: Experience all the magic and excitement with this exclusive vacation package including admission to both Universal Orlando® theme parks, hotel accommodations, Early Park Admission? to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ one hour before the theme parks open, breakfast at the Three Broomsticks™ and the new Leaky Cauldron™, receive an Owl Post Welcome Gift and more! Purchase now through December 10, 2014 with select travel through December 18, 2014. Prices starting from $109 per adult, per night, tax inclusive.

Universal CityWalk

New! Blue Man Group Discounts for Florida Residents: Florida residents can save up to $40 on Blue Man Group Tickets on select Sundays through September. Adult tickets are $54 and Children’s tickets are $29.

Reminder! Classic Albums Live Featuring Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon at Hard Rock Live Aug 22: Classic Albums Live is a group of studio musicians and vocalists that perform the albums LIVE using the instrumentation used on the original recording…cut for cut…note for note. August 22, 2014. Doors open at 7:00 pm. Tickets: $25 Advance, $30 Day of Show for Reserved Seating and $15 Advance, $20 Day of Show GA Standing Perimeter. Tickets available at the Hard Rock Live box office and all Ticketmaster locations. For more information call 407-351-LIVE.

Reminder! CityWalk Expansion Plans: Hot Dog Hall Hall of Fame opened most recently to join Red Oven Pizza Bakery, Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food, Cold Stone Creamery, Starbucks, Menchie’s, Breadbox and VIVO Italian Kitchen as the latest establishments to open as part of the expansion to Universal CityWalk. The CowFish will open later this year.

Closures and Refurbishments

Universal’s Islands of Adventure

  • None

Universal Studios

  • None

Hogwarts Express POV from Kings Cross Station to Hogsmeade

Climb aboard the Hogwarts Express at Platform 9-¾ in Kings Cross Station! Make your way through Kings Cross station, past luggage strewn about to Platforms 9 and 10. Watch closely as you see your fellow Hogwarts students walk through the wall to get to Platform  9-¾.

hogwarts express universal

After walking through the wall, you find yourself on Platform 9-¾ staring at the Hogwarts Express! You will see luggage from other students, including Harry’s owl, Hedwig!

Hogwarts Express

Enter your cabin, sit back, and relax as you ride the Hogwarts Express to Hogsmeade Station. Watch as you leave London, headed for Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. You may even get a visit from Harry Potter, Hermione, Ron, and a dementor!

Hogwarts Express POV Video

Contact our team at Destinations in Florida for more questions about the Hogwarts Express at Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley.  Book your Universal Orlando Resort tickets with transportation from your hotel or book your Universal Orlando Package today.

Shop Til You Drop on a Disney Cruise

DCL MerchandiseShopping is one of the most popular pastimes for many people. Disney Cruise has several shops onboard so you can shop throughout your cruise vacation. There’s so much to choose from in the shops during your Disney Cruise. You should have no problem finding that perfect souvenir of Disney Cruise Line. Choose from shirts, pins, plush toys, hats, designer handbags, and more. The kids can sort through a selection of costumes and accessories for Princesses and Pirates of all ages. Don’t worry about carrying cash because you can charge all of your purchases to your room using your Key to the World card. One of the best parts of shopping at sea is that the merchandise is tax- and duty-free. shopping on DCLYou can continue your duty free shopping at each port and on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. Disney Cruise has shopping experts onboard every cruise. There will be a shopping seminar at the beginning of your cruise to help you decide where to shop at each port. The shopping experts will have hours onboard the ship to give you one on one advice.   They will also go out on each island and spend time in some of the major stores to help you with big purchases. Check your Personal Navigator or the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App for store hours and seminar times.

Written by Shante Carson — Shante is a Disney Cruise Expert with over ten cruises taken on the Disney Fantasy, Disney Fantasy, Disney Magic, and Disney Fantasy.  Bon Voyage!  Shante is ready to help you plan your magical Disney Cruise vacation. Book your next vacation with Shante at 252-917-0497 or shante@destinationsinflorida.com.

New House Announced for Halloween Horror Nights 24: Alien vs. Predator

Universal Orlando Resort has announced a new haunted house for Halloween Horror Nights 24; Alien vs. Predator. This new house will allow you to get caught in the middle of a savage battle between these two horrific extraterrestrial species and try to avoid becoming collateral damage.

In collaboration with 20th Century Fox, Universal Orlando is putting Halloween Horror Nights guests in the middle of an ancient war between two legendary species in an all-new, horrifying house inspired by cult sci-fi franchise AVP: Alien vs. Predator.

Halloween Horror Nights 24

On select nights September 19 – November 1, your worst nightmares will take shape as Universal Studios Florida® theme park is transformed into the award-winning Halloween Horror Nights®. See if you can survive all-new haunted houses, spine-chilling street experiences, outrageous live shows, and more. There’s no better way to “end” your day at Universal Orlando® than with the winner of Amusement Today’s “Best Halloween Event” Golden Ticket award.

Halloween Horror Nights annually draws hundreds of thousands of horror fans from around the globe. Tony Timpone, Editor of Fangoria Magazine, said, “After visiting scream parks all across the U.S. for the last 20 years, I can easily say that Universal’s is the best in the business… Halloween Horror Nights is the ultimate Halloween experience.”

Contact our team at Destinations in Florida for more questions about Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Orlando Resort.  Book your Universal Orlando Resort tickets with transportation from your hotel or book your Universal Orlando Package today.

Borgin and Burkes in Knockturn Alley at Wizarding World of Harry Potter

You can find Borgin and Burkes at 13B in Knockturn Alley at the new Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley. It sells objects of Dark magic and other dangerous magical artifacts, including many souvenirs exclusive to this one-of-a-kind shop in Knockturn Alley. You may also see wanted posters for Bellatrix Lestrange, the Hand of Glory, part of the Floo Network where Harry accidentally entered the wizarding world, and the Malfoy vanishing cabinet.

Borgin and Burkes

You don’t have to be a Death Eater to gain entry to this infamous shop. As you wedge your way through the fascinating, eclectic collection of Dark Arts objects, you may find Death Eater masks, skulls, and costume replicas. The shop also sells apparel, accessories, jewelry, collectibles, and gifts.

Borgin and Burkes in Knockturn Alley

To get to Borgin and Burkes, follow the signs to Knockturn Alley, searching for the entrance in the picture, above. It’s easy to find, as it’s the largest shop in Knockturn Alley.

I found some really cool Deathly Hallows merchandise in this store, so if you’re a fan, this is the place to get that merchandise.

Contact our team at Destinations in Florida for more questions about the Butterbeer ice cream at Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley.  Book your Universal Orlando Resort tickets with transportation from your hotel or book your Universal Orlando Package today.

The Tale of the Three Brothers in Diagon Alley

The Tale of the Three Brothers is a fairy tale told to wizard children. Supposedly written by Beedle the Bard, it is published as part of a series of works that collectively are called The Tales of Beedle the Bard. While most wizards view this story as one that teaches children morals (e.g., humility, wisdom), some believe that the story refers to the Deathly Hallows, three highly powerful magical artefacts coveted by generations of wizards.

The Tale of Three Brothers

Many also believe that the three Peverell brothers were the inspiration for the story, and that they first obtained the artefacts known as the Hallows. ‘The Tale of the Three Brothers’ also has a different variation, referring to twilight as midnight to make it more suspenseful for the entertainment of children, but in Dumbledore’s original copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard it refers to the journey taking place at twilight.

In the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Diagon Alley, you can find the Tale of the Three Brothers show in the Carkitt Market at periodic times throughout the day. The video, below, only shows you part of the show. To see the whole performance, you’ll have to visit Diagon Alley.

Contact our team at Destinations in Florida for more questions about the Butterbeer ice cream at Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley.  Book your Universal Orlando Resort tickets with transportation from your hotel or book your Universal Orlando Package today.

Harry Potter Celebration Event 2015

Harry Potter Celebration Event Returns to Universal Orlando in 2015

Universal Orlando Resort and Warner Bros. will host the second annual “A Celebration of Harry Potter” event at Universal Orlando– a special event for fans celebrating the global phenomenon that is Harry Potter. Beginning January 30, 2015, fans will enjoy three days of incredible experiences – including the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo, Q&A sessions with Harry Potter film talent and more. Special vacation packages, including annual passholder packages, will go on sale August 21, 2014 and will include exclusive benefits such as access to an exclusive evening event in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade and the all-new The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley. Full vacation package details are below.

All general admission park guests will have the opportunity to:

  • Attend Q&A sessions with Harry Potter film talent and other special guests (talent attendees will be announced at a later date)
  • Experience and participate in the interactive and unique exhibits of the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo
  • Enjoy special discussions regarding various aspects of the Harry Potter franchise
  • Visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley at Universal Studios Florida. Plus, ride the Hogwarts Express between the two lands with a park-to-park ticket.
  • And much more!

While most of the activities for “A Celebration of Harry Potter” will be open to all Universal Orlando park guests and annual passholders, only guests who purchase the exclusive event vacation package or annual passholder package will enjoy certain special benefits and reserved seating for select events. Packages are limited and will go on sale at 1 EST on Thursday, August 21, 2014.

Packages for “A Celebration of Harry Potter” at Universal Orlando Resort:

All packages are LIMITED so please do not delay in requesting a quote!

Cabana Bay Beach Resort (24)On-Site Hotel Celebration Vacation Package ~ Starts at $219 per adult per night, tax inclusive

  • 3-night on-site hotel accommodations at Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Universal Orlando Resort’s all-new retro-themed moderate & value priced hotel
  • 3-day park-to-park ticket to both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure (includes access to the Hogwarts Express)
  • Exclusive Q&A session with select Harry Potter film talent
  • Access to an exclusive evening event in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, including light desserts and Butterbeer
  • Specially themed Welcome Parcel and complimentary commemorative merchandise item
  • Special Guest access to the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo
  • Reserved seating or viewing area for select Celebration events
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the parks open
  • Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, one per person
  • Complimentary on-site transportation to and from both theme parks and Universal CityWalk

Note: This package does not include complimentary Universal Express Unlimited ride access

Royal Pacific

On-Site Deluxe Hotel Celebration Vacation Package ~ Starts at $285 per adult per night, tax inclusive

  • 3-night on-site hotel accommodations at one of Universal Orlando’s spectacular deluxe on-site hotels: Loews Portofino Bay Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel or Loews Royal Pacific Resort
  • 3-day park-to-park ticket to both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure (includes access to the Hogwarts Express)
  • Complimentary Universal Express Unlimited ride access to skip the regular lines in both theme parks for all three days – a FREE benefit worth up to $89 per person, per day
  • Exclusive Q&A session with select Harry Potter film talent
  • Access to an exclusive evening event in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, including light desserts and Butterbeer
  • Specially themed Welcome Parcel and complimentary commemorative merchandise item
  • Special Guest access to the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo
  • Reserved seating or viewing area for select Celebration events
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the parks open
  • Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, one per person
  • Complimentary on-site transportation to and from both theme parks and Universal CityWalk

UOR Parter HotelUniversal Partner Hotel Celebration Vacation Package ~ Starts at $185 per adult per night, tax inclusive

  • 3-night accommodations at a Universal Partner Hotel near Universal Orlando
  • 3-day park-to-park ticket to both Universal Studios Florida and Universal’s Islands of Adventure (includes access to the Hogwarts Express)
  • Exclusive Q&A session with select Harry Potter film talent
  • Access to an exclusive evening event in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Diagon Alley and The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, including light desserts and Butterbeer
  • Specially themed Welcome Parcel and complimentary commemorative merchandise item
  • Special Guest access to the “A Celebration of Harry Potter” Expo
  • Reserved seating or viewing area for select Celebration events
  • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one hour before the parks open
  • Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade, one per person
  • Free scheduled transportation between the hotel and Universal Orlando Resort

Note: This package does not include complimentary Universal Express Unlimited ride access

Contact Us Today for a FREE, No-Obligation Quote!
877-918-8941 or Request a Price Online

Gringotts Bank

 

Interactive Wands at Wizarding World of Harry Potter

The interactive wand spells are one of the coolest new additions to both sides of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley). Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing all the interactive wand spells with you. The first: Metelojinx causes an umbrella near the restrooms to begin storming with lightning, thunder sounds, and rain.

You can find the Umbrella spell casting location, just outside the bathrooms in Diagon Alley. You can’t miss the umbrella. The show really improves, at night.

Umbrella Metelojinx Interactive Wand Spell at Diagon Alley

This is one of the more visible and popular interactive wand spells at Diagon Alley. It will likely be one of the few with a line.