Friday, February 22, 2019

Disney’s Boardwalk Hotel

 The Boardwalk

       Walt Disney World is made up of so many different areas its easy to overlook or not visit a certain area. There is the Magic Kingdom, Animal Kingdom, Epcot and Hollywood Studios along with Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon, but two areas that get overlooked by many on their trip, one more than the other are, Disney Springs and The Boardwalk. Yes, I know when most go to Disney World they are mainly there to visit the theme parks and stay at their home resort. But, I always suggest setting aside some time to visit Disney Springs and The Boardwalk to get a break from the theme atmosphere.
      Nestled away between Epcot and Hollywood studios is an area that many do not know about or think its even worthy of their time to see, The Boardwalk. This is my personal favorite area in Disney World which features The Boardwalk, Yacht Club, Beach Club, The Dolphin and The Swan resorts. Each of these amazing resorts are all just a walk away from each other and located around Crescent Lake. The resorts here give guests the ability to walk to Epcot or take a Friendship Boat to Hollywood Studios which also provides a feeling of exclusivity and seclusion in a great way that in my opinion no other resort in Disney World can provide.
      The Boardwalk is modeled after Atlantic City from the period of the 1920's and 30's. For those who have never been to Atlantic City, it captures the feeling of an amusement park on the water without the amusement rides. Its various games and foods that you would find on the boardwalk almost make you think of Coney Island. At night however is when Crescent Lake and The Boardwalk come to life. The lights come on from all the neighboring resorts and you are engulfed in a completely different atmosphere, not to mention you are able to see Spaceship Earth from the right spots. How Disney constructed this area truly is magical and is what Disney imagineering is all about.

      If you are hungry, then you have come to the right place. The Boardwalk is filled with various restaurants that you can try out just by walking a couple of steps. Some of my favorite places to eat include the Flying Fish, Trattoria al Forno, Big River Grille & Brewing Works and the ESPN Club. For you sweet lovers make sure you try the Boardwalk Bakery and the Ample Hills Creamery which have some of the best treats and ice cream on property. That's not all, for all you who like to go out for some nightlife, make sure you visit Jellyrolls a dueling piano bar and AbracadaBar which is themed around a magicians dream. Here you will sample drinks that change before your eyes in a Houdini inspired atmosphere. Lastly, for those who like to cut loose and listen to music, make your way to the Atlantic Dance Hall which has a massive dance floor and plays music nightly.

     So for those interested in seeing this hidden gem it is worth the trip. You can exit your way out the back of EPCOT through the International gateway or catch a Friendship boat from Hollywood studios to experience it for yourselves. Personally I'd suggest staying at one of the resorts which will give you access to 2 of Disney's best theme parks and its best kept secret, The Boardwalk. If you are interested contact us at Castle Vacations today and we will make sure you have the best Disney experience of your lives!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Family of Wines Weekend Announced

Savor life and all its magic at the Disney Family of Wines Weekend, May 17 – 19, 2019. Gather with friends to enjoy an intimate and adventurous getaway. Crafted for those whose passion for wine is as genuine as their love for Disney.
Explore flavors and interact with a collection of curated wines produced by winemakers and wineries that have a special connection to Disney.
Embark on a culinary adventure and indulge in the finer things in life.
This weekend includes a 3-day/2-night food & wine vacation experience at Walt Disney World Resort:
  • 2-night stay at Disney's Contemporary Resort Main Tower – Lake View for the nights of May 17 and May 18, 2019
  • 30+ wines will be presented throughout the weekend in workshops and culinary experiences. Varietals of wine include, but are not limited to: Riesling, Grenache Blanc, Syrah, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Viognier, Rosé, Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc, Cuvée, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Sparkling Wine, and Zinfandel. Subject to change without notice.
  • 4 interactive workshops hosted by winery representatives and culinary experts – Subject to change without notice. Workshops include:
    • Chardonnay's Expression throughout California – This seminar will be an exploration and education on several Chardonnay's from our Family of Wines. You will identify flavor profiles and taste wines from three distinct regions of California (Santa Barbara County, Sonoma County, Carneros). Presenters will describe the wine making experience and how that process affects the flavor of the wine.
    • Discover OUR Family of Pinot Noirs – A tasting and discussion on the Pinot Noir varietal that is well represented in the Disney Family of Wines. One of the greatest and most challenging wines to grow, you will hear from the wineries why Pinot grapes are so special. Once again, these wines will come from three different regions of California (Santa Barbara County, Napa Valley, Marin County) showcasing three distinct growing conditions and flavor profiles.
    • Disney Family of Wines Storytelling – Each of the Disney Family of Wines comes with a special connection to Disney. Join representatives from these wineries as they share their stories, recipes, and history of winemaking alongside their Disney experiences.
    • Wine Wonders and American Artisanal Cheese – A unique approach to cheese making and wine appreciation. Participants will hear about the history and art of cheese making while tasting highly acclaimed boutique cheeses produced in the same regions as the wines paired with them. You will hear how ingredients from the same land creates a connection that is recognizable in the flavors.
  • Interact and learn from the following representatives from each winery. Subject to change without notice:
    • Chappellet Vineyard – Jay James, Master Sommelier and Director of Sales
    • Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard – Tim Snider, President of Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard
    • Frank Family Vineyards – Elizabeth Parenteau, Southeast Sales Manager
    • Kurt Russell's GoGi Wines – Jami Russell Way, COO of GoGi wines
    • MacMurray Estate Vineyards – Kate MacMurray, Spokesperson and daughter of winery founder Fred MacMurray
    • Silverado Vineyards – Jon Emmerich, Winemaker of Silverado Vineyards
    • Skywalker Vineyards – Tom Johnson, General Manager- Skywalker Ranch and Vineyards
  • Intimate Welcome and Farewell receptions, two luncheon experiences, and gala dinner. Subject to change without notice:
    • Welcome Reception – Hosted by representatives from each of our Disney Family of Wines, this reception will feature high-end food tastings and considered wine pairings. It's a chance for guests to share time with other enthusiasts and kick-off the weekend's activities.
    • Culinary Adventure – A hands-on, interactive cooking experience that takes place in the unique Contemporary Catering Kitchen. Participants hand roll sushi, create pasta; "break down" a beef tenderloin; hand craft fromage blanc and learn the secrets of the professional pastry chef. This 5 course event is paired with the Disney Family of Wines.
    • Seed to Table Luncheon – Enjoy a luncheon experience with a focus on the journey of seed to table. Enjoy recipes with connections to the regions from which these wineries hail and ingredients grown here at Walt Disney World exclusively for this weekend experience.
    • Gala Dinner & Fireworks – This special evening will include a one-of-a-kind six course menu designed for this gathering. Once again hosted by our culinary and wine "celebrities" our guests will enjoy these featured wines artfully paired with each course with details about the production of these wines from vine to table. The event includes a pre-reception and concludes with a dessert reception and private fireworks viewing.
    • Farewell Reception – A final opportunity to celebrate the experiences of the weekend, speak to chefs, sommeliers, & winery principals, and enjoy a few final tastings.

Contact your Castle Vacations Agent today for more information please fill out the form below

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Tower of Terror to Undergo Refurbishments

The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror will begin refurbishments this spring and continue through the summer. The twist is that Disney plans to leave the attraction open causing a decrease in the capacity

of the ride. This will ultimately  cause longer lines and wait times. It is anticipated that the various shafts and parts within the attraction will be fixed and done in stages.

Disney plans to reduce the number of Fastpass+ reservations that will be available during this time.

It is reported that the refurbishments will be completed in time for the opening of Star Wars: Galaxy Edge later this year.

Stay tuned for more information.

Castle Vacations

Saturday, February 9, 2019

First Look at Mickey's Sail-A-Wave Party

By: Disney Destinations
Guests can get ready for a new way to “wave” goodbye to work and school and say hello to their Disney cruise vacation with Mickey’s Sail-a-Wave Party on the Disney Wonder and Disney Magic! This high-energy countdown event on embarkation day features characters, dancing and a show-stopping performance – giving guests an unforgettable way to start their cruise.

On a Disney cruise, your guests don’t even have to wait until the horn blows to get the party started! They can join Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Pluto and Donald on the top decks for this fun-filled celebration. They can dance alongside the crew and characters, and participate in the biggest “wave” on the high seas before the official sail-away countdown signifies the start of their vacation!

And here is how you can get in on the action of Mickey’s Sail-a-Wave Party before they ever leave home. Be sure to order you own Mickey mitts ahead of time and plan the perfect sail-away outfit inspired by your favorite Disney character, because there is a moment in the show where cruisers get to walk the runWAVE to show off the best themed outfits!

Mickey’s Sail-a-Wave Party is already making waves aboard the Disney Wonder and will premiere on the Disney Magic on Feb. 22, 2019.

Contact your Castle Vacations Advisor today to help plan your next Disney Cruise.

World of Dreams Tour

World of Dreams Tour

As Samuel L Jackson said in Jurassic Park, " HOLD ON TO YOUR BUTTS," Disney just announced another tour that will knock your socks off. This brand new top-of-the-line V.I.P. tour called the “World of Dreams” tour will be a Disney Fanatics Dream, and it will come at a price. Disney does offer other tours that you can partake in, but, this tour by far outdoes all the others. Disney World to some is a trip worth going all out for, getting the best of the best and staying at the most exclusive resorts. If this is your style then this exclusive new V.I.P tour is for you! You may ask yourself what does a tour of this magnitude cost? Well ladies and gentleman here it is.

Cost: $12,000 for the first day, $10,000 for additional days
Time: Anywhere from 1-12 hours on a fully customizable tour

Now what does a $12,000 dollar tour get you, you may ask? Here are some of the details that this tour will include:

Cinderella Castle Suite Tour

Exclusive nighttime spectacular views (Japan Pagoda for Illuminations, etc)

3 meals and most alcoholic beverages

Front-of-the-line ride access

Two VIP tour guides per group

Backstage transportation between parks

And other benefits that aren't listed.

So, basically for the money, Disney is open to, within reason, doing whatever you and your group would like to do. For example If you want to go to Animal Kingdom and see the animals on a private tour, they will transport you to the park and give you exclusive access to everything Animal Kingdom has to offer. I can see this tour being extremely popular when Star Wars Land opens or during the 50th anniversary when all the new attractions will be open.Some may think that this is a crazy amount of money for a tour of Disney World that you can only do in one day. But if you get a group of people, friends or family that are willing to split the costs for this once and a lifetime experience then go for it! If you would like to do this tour, as I would, contact us at Castle Vacations today and we'll take care of it for you!

Monday, February 4, 2019

Fort Wilderness Cabin Tour

Fort Wilderness Cabin Tour

By: Amanda Beckett

Traveling with a group of 4-6? Disney's Fort Wilderness Campground and Cabins (my personal favorite); is a great option for larger families, or those traveling with extended family. 

Step away from the hustle of the parks and breathe in that Georgia pine!
Entering from a spacious porch, you are greeted by a cheerful, rustic interior that features an "almost" full-sized kitchen. Recent renovations have replaced the full-sized oven with a 2-burner electric cooktop and a microwave/convection oven combo. 
Also, full sized coffee pots are a feature of this lodging. The kitchen is fully equipped with silverware, flatware, and cookware to prepare meals. (Disney parks permit guests to enter with a soft sided cooler). While groceries are not included, there are many options to stock your fridge! (Contact your favorite travel agent for more information!)

 Rounding out the kitchen space is a seated bench, table and chairs. The best part- mousekeeping will do your dishes so you have more time to enjoy the parks.

To the right, recent renovations have also replaced the classic Murphy bed with a full-sized pullout sofa bed. The living area tv has also been upgraded to a larger sized screen.

The bathroom includes a full-sized tub and shower and oversized vanity. Check the linen pantry- extra towels are already stocked for you!

The cozy back bedroom contains a full-sized bed and a twin bunk bed, a spacious closet and a second television. *there is a second doorway to access the porch from here.
The large porch is the perfect spot to enjoy outdoor meals on a rustic picnic table, or allow children to get some fresh air and shake out the excitement from the theme parks.

The campgrounds have an amazing selection of activities from archery, fishing, canoeing and water sports to horseback riding. THREE large, fully fenced playgrounds also dot this resort. The resort has three pools to fit the needs of every family member; A nightly campfire featuring a movie and a character meet and greet with Chip and Dale, there's SO much to do at this Resort, I ALMOST forgot to mention it's home to the Hoop de doo review, and Cinderella's parade horses.
Got a camper? Campsites and hookups are a very affordable way to enjoy this resort, and Disney's theme parks!
Contact us to get your family booked in one of these adorable cabins for your Disney vacation!

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Disney Cruise Line Takes Guests on Epic Adventures in 2020 with the Return of Star Wars Day at Sea and Marvel Day at Sea

Photo by Disney Destinations

In 2020, epic adventures at sea return to Disney Cruise Line with limited engagements of two popular experiences – Star Wars Day at Sea and Marvel Day at Sea. Setting sail on the Disney Fantasy and Disney Magic to the Caribbean and Bahamas, these seven and five-night sailings combine the splendor of a Disney Cruise Line vacation with a special day at sea filled with unique character encounters, live shows and action-packed entertainment. 

Star Wars Day at Sea

You can celebrate the legendary adventures and iconic characters from the Star Wars saga on special seven-night Disney Fantasy sailings from January to March 2020, taking them to the Caribbean and a galaxy far, far away.

In addition to encounters with the galaxy’s most formidable and heroic characters, including Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2, this cruise features a full day of Star Wars activities including live shows, Star Wars-themed family and kids’ activities, unique food and beverage and special merchandise offerings. The day ends with “Summon the Force,” a deck party that celebrates the Star Wars universe and caps off the night with a fireworks show of galactic proportions.  

Star Wars Day at Sea will only be offered on nine Disney Fantasy seven-night Caribbean cruises sailing from Port Canaveral, Florida.
Departing Jan. 11, Jan. 25 and Feb. 22, 2020, the eastern Caribbean itinerary includes Tortola, St. Thomas and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.

Departing Feb. 8, 2020, the eastern Caribbean itinerary includes Tortola; San Juan, Puerto Rico and Castaway Cay.
Departing Jan. 4, Jan. 18, Feb. 1, Feb. 15 and Feb. 29, 2020, the western Caribbean itinerary includes Cozumel, Mexico; George Town, Grand Cayman; Falmouth, Jamaica and Castaway Cay.

Marvel Day at Sea
From January to early March 2020, special five-night Disney Magic sailings will combine the excitement of a Disney cruise to the Caribbean and Bahamas with the thrills of renowned Marvel comics, films and animated series for an action-packed, day-long celebration of the Marvel Universe.
The largest assembly of Marvel Super Heroes and Villains, including the recent addition of Captain Marvel, along with Captain America, Spider-Man, Iron Man and more, highlight an all-day entertainment lineup that includes live shows for the whole family, an extraordinary deck show, Marvel-themed activities for kids and families, special merchandise and unique food and beverage offerings.
Marvel Day at Sea will only be offered on nine Disney Magic Caribbean and Bahamian cruises sailing from Miami, Florida.
Departing Jan. 9, Jan. 27, Feb. 10, Feb. 24 and March 9, 2020, the Bahamian itinerary includes Key West, Florida; Nassau, Bahamas and Disney’s private island in the Bahamas, Castaway Cay.
Departing Feb. 1, Feb. 15 and Feb. 29, 2020, the western Caribbean itinerary includes George Town, Grand Cayman and Castaway Cay.
Departing Jan. 18, 2020, the western Caribbean itinerary includes Cozumel, Mexico and Castaway Cay.

Contact Castle Vacations for your  On Board Credit Exclusively available for these sailings.

Monday, January 28, 2019

Initial Testing Underway for Disney Skyliner Gondolas – More Details Revealed!

Courtesy of Disney Destinations

Sharp-eyed visitors to Walt Disney World® Resort this week may have spotted something new up in the sky while Disney Skyliner began its initial testing.

Scheduled to open this fall, Disney Skyliner will be a new, state-of-the-art gondola system that will conveniently connect Disney’s Hollywood Studios® and Epcot® to four resort hotels – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and the proposed Disney’s Riviera Resort, which is now accepting Guest reservations for stays beginning Dec. 16, 2019. The official Resort opening date will be announced at a later time.

The Skyliner’s towers have been under construction for about a year, so to have a gondola up on its cables is an exciting milestone! Check out this video to hear more about the project from Jordan Matthews at Walt Disney Imagineering:

Several gondolas will be adorned with graphics based on Disney films, attractions and characters. So for example, Guests may jump into a gondola where from the ground it will look like Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto or Chip & Dale are riding along with them Several Disney animated films will be represented, including “Beauty & the Beast,” “Frozen,” “Lilo & Stitch,” “Moana,” “Peter Pan,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “Ralph Breaks the Internet,” “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and “Zootopia.”

The other themed gondolas that will be part of the system include:

  • “Coco”
  • Goofy, Pete, Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow
  • “Finding Dory”
  • The Haunted Mansion
  • “Monsters, Inc.”
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • “Ratatouille”

These gorgeous gondolas will be gliding across Walt Disney World Resort before we know it. Stay tuned as Disney reveals more exciting details about Disney Skyliner throughout the year!

Contact Castle Vacations for your upcoming Disney Travel.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Festival of the Arts

Festival of the Arts 
by Mike DeBonis

     Epcot no matter when you visit usually has a festival going on. Whether it be the Food and Wine Festival, Flower and Garden or going on right now the Festival of the Arts. This festival is a celebration of the visual, performing and culinary arts. Epcot features live entertainment, festival kitchens, Visual Arts showcase and offers workshops and seminars that you can participate in. This festival runs from January 18 - February 25, 2019 and features individual kiosks setup around World Showcase. Here you can find individual dishes and drinks the celebrate cuisine for both flavor and visual appeal. 

     At this festival you can witness artists working on pieces right in front of your eyes. You can see artists painting on canvases, on the walkways with chalk and there are hidden paintings that are placed around the showcase on walls, buildings and more. You can also partake in being apart of helping create a massive mural that you can paint in separate sections that creates a massive image that has been created by EPCOT guests. As well as being apart of the art, you can buy amazing pieces that you will find throughout your journey around World Showcase. 

     While the festival is going on, you will be able to find paintings in  which you can be the main focal point for a picture opportunity. One of these is a photo op that you can insert into a scene where George Washington is crossing the Delaware River. To take it even further, the festival features free drawing classes where an instructor will help you draw your own masterpiece. This is a cool opportunity for you to be apart of the magic! During the Festival of the Arts you will be able to see and hear live entertainment throughout the festival. You will be able to see performances from Broadway productions and as well as live music that get your feet moving.

     Lastly, another key focal point to any EPCOT festival are the food and drinks. During the Festival of the Arts the food and beverages are not just served up in any ordinary way, Disney culinary artists put their own twists on different foods and specialty drinks. Some great places and dishes you can find during your visit are at:

The Artists Table :  Beef Wellington and Chocolate and beer pairing flight.
The Deconstructed Dish: BLT with Crispy Pork Belly and the Pop-Artsicle
Cuisine Classique: Red Wine braised Beef Short Rib and A Play on Rose Flight
Painters Palate: Trio of Savory Croissant Doughnuts and Popcorn pairing Flight
Pop Eats: Shrimp Ceviche and Lime Mint Foam and #RainbowSherbertGlitterDreamAle

     These are just a few of the must try eateries you can sample and experience during your time at the festival. This is the shortest festival EPCOT has to offer but also one of the most unique. You can gaze at all the different art pieces that are located around the Showcase and indulge in some of the finest and most creative dishes and beverages around. The Festival of the Arts is a must do in my opinion and will make your stay at Disney that much more enjoyable. If you are interested in attending Disney or any of Epcots famous festivals contact us at Castle Vacations today!

Monday, January 21, 2019

Typhoon Lagoon H20 Glow Nights


          Going to Disney World is a trip some people only experience once in their life, while others make it a yearly destination. 

Disney World has so much to offer between its 4 signature theme parks, resorts, golf courses, shopping, nightlife and restaurants and 2 water parks all on property. Most visitors believe that just visiting these attractions and destinations are enough, but if you are going to Disney World why not partake in something exclusive that will only happen during certain dates of the year. In other words why not get the most bang for your buck! 

Disney offers special parties and exclusive ticketed events that can and will make your Disney trip that much more memorable. Typhoon Lagoon is an amazingly themed water park and one of the firsts that Disney ever made. It features multiple water slides, a signature wave pool where you can learn how to surf and state of the art roller coaster water slides that will leave you smiling and coming back for more! 

Glow Nights will be special in that there will only be a certain amount of tickets available, making the park feel not as crowded with smaller wait lines for the water slides. Another fun factor is that Typhoon Lagoon will be lit up with many different lights adding a wow factor that most visitors don't get a chance to see. I myself with my family are going and we cannot wait! 
The party officially begins at 8 p.m and goes until 11 p.m. But those who purchase tickets will be allowed to enter as early as 6 p.m giving you 5 hours to enjoy the park. Tickets in advance are $59 dollars for adults and $54 dollars for children aged 3-9. Tickets purchased on event days will be more expensive coming in at $69 dollars for adults and $64 dollars for children. The event will take place on Thursday and Saturday Nights the dates are listed below. If you are interested in attending this very special event making your trip one to remember contact us at Castle Vacations today!

May 30

June 1, 6, 8, 13, 15, 22, 27 and 29

July 4, 6, 11, 13, 18, 20, 25, and 27

August 1, 3, 8, 10, 15, 17, 22, and 24

Contact Us today to start planning your next vacation

Friday, January 18, 2019

Disney’s Rivera Resort to Open for Rental Bookings This Month

Photo by Disney Destinations

 Disney’s Riviera Resort was announced in July 2017. Construction is progressing extremely well on the this Disney Vacation Club Resort.  It is now currently scheduled to open in the Fall of 2019

Disney’s Riviera Resort will begin taking rental reservations this month. Also, Disney Vacation Club Members will be able to book this Resort with Vacation Points this Spring. 
When it opens its doors, Disney’s Riviera Resort will offer all the grandeur of Europe combined with the magic of Disney. The new Resort will be conveniently located in the heart of Walt Disney World® Resort, and feature unique access to Epcot® and Disney’s Hollywood Studios® via the new Disney Skyliner.

Ready to be one of the first to stay in Disney's Riviera Resort? Contact us today and be put on our exclusive list to be contacted when reservations open.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Start Your Engines! Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy Sets Opening Date

Photo By: Disney Destinations

Today Disney announced that Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy will speed into Disney’s Hollywood Studios® on March 31, 2019!
This new show experience will welcome guests inside the world of Pixar’s Cars films, bringing them face to face with racing legend Lightning McQueen. Guests will be part of the next generation of rookie racers, and they’ll learn the rules of the road from Lightning’s years of experience. This will be the untold story of Lightning McQueen – as told by Lightning McQueen!
More details about Lightning McQueen’s Racing Academy will be announced in the weeks to come. 

Contact Castle Vacations to hope book and plan your travel plans

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

2019 Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Dates Announced

2019 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party tickets are now on sale! Disney announced that the 2019 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will run from August 16th – November 1st, 2019
  When purchased in advance, tickets start at $79 for adults and go all the way up to $135 for Halloween night. For kids, tickets start at $74 and go all the way up to $130 on Halloween night. Halloween night is always full price. Here are the dates of the party. Contact us at Castle Vacations today for your tickets.

August – 16, 20, 23, 27 and 30 

September – 2, 6, 8, 10, 13, 15, 17, 20, 22, 24, 27 and 29 

October – 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 14, 15, 17, 18, 20, 21, 24, 25, 27, 29 and 31 

November – 1