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

Monday, January 14, 2019

Walt Disney World Credit Card Authorization Policy Change


Walt Disney World announced a new credit card authorization policy today that goes into effect February 27th, 2019. This policy is said to be more in line with the hotel industry.

Under this new policy, Disney Resorts will be putting incremental holds on the credit card for estimated expenses.

Guest staying at Disney Resorts will continue to have the option of not placing a credit card on file, however they will not be able to charge to their room or MagicBand.

Upon checkin guests will be charged the balance of their room stay if not paid in full plus $100. When they reach the $100 in charges to the room account, an additional $100 will be charged.

The ultimate goal of this is to prevent large bills upon checkout that can be denied by the credit card company for a multitude of reasons. 

Guests will continue to be able to pay their balance in cash at all Disney Resorts.

In many ways this can be seen as a good thing as you are not left with an extremely high bill at the end of your trip.

Visting Castaway Cay on the Disney Fantasy

Photo by: Matthew Kondrup
Disney Castaway Cay Visit November 2018

For anyone who has been on a Disney Cruise that stops in Castaway Cay has experienced their amazing island and I am sure was just as satisfied as we were. There is just something surreal about it. Adding to the already amazing vibe of the island, we got to visit while it was decorated for Christmas.

Overall this stop in itself makes the Disney Cruise worth it. Although the clouds rolled in at times, we still consider this stop to be a perfect 10.


When you first get off the ship you get the opportunity to take a picture at the Stern (back of the ship). It is pretty incredible how big the Fantasy is.

Hey you never know who is going to drive by on a golf cart at Castaway. The characters jumped right off for some pictures with everyone.

You can never let some clouds get in the way! Especially with that view.

The sun started to peek out at one point

We made our way on the tram across the Island and found ourselves relaxing beachfront with a drink, snack and nice bahamian breeze.

We made our way over for a cocktail and walked right into a dance party featuring the characters and Cast Members.

The girls went for a walk and came back with their hair braided.

While I went and listened to the live band

There is nothing like the experience of a Disney Cruise, especially when you get to stop at Castaway Cay. From the beautiful island, good food, childrens activities and so much more it's no wonder why Castaway Cay is always a favorite.

Contact us today to start planning your next Disney Cruise and see if you qualify for exclusive on board credits

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Final Season for the Atlanta Braves Spring Training Are on Sale Now!!

January 11th 2018

The Atlanta Braves have announced that 2019 will be their 22nd and final season playing at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World®.

The Brakes are scheduled for 16 games at Champion Stadium against some of the best in baseball including the 2017 World Champion Houston Astros on March 4th and 7th, The New York Yankees on March 18th, and the St. Louis Cardinals on March 12th.

This season is your last chance to come and watch the Braves and experience spring training at Disney. There are magical moments such as character appearances, kids running the bases and in-game entertainment.. Did you know that parking at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is free?

There will be limited, commemorative "Farewell Season" merchandise and special food and beverage offerings. They plan to turn one food and beverage kiosk into "local favorites" of the visiting team. 

Tickets start at just $15 and are on sale thought the Atlanta Braves website (, ESPN Wide World of Sports box office or Ticketmaster.

For more information on this or other Disney news contact your Castle Vacations Agent today.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Disney CEO Bob Iger Announces New Details for Star Wars Lands

PHOTO: Disney Star Wars-Themed Land Artist Concept. (photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort)

Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger announced new details about the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge lands at Disneyland Resort (opening in June) and Disney World (late fall 2019).

According to, Iger revealed the new 14-acre Star Wars areas at both Disneyland and Disney World would feature open-air marketplaces designed to house characters, shops and intergalactic experiences.

Disney Imagineers traveled to Morocco and Turkey to develop ideas and concepts to make the shops and trading posts as authentically detailed as possible. In addition to using Star Wars movie sets, visitors will also be able to enjoy customizable droids that interact with the land.

Iger also showcased additional details about the Millennium Falcon: Smuggler’s Run attraction. The ride will look and feel like the Millennium Falcon and seat six passengers, but it was the note that how guests fly the vessel will impact their time spent in the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge land that has travelers even more excited.

The concept is that how guests fly the space ship—whether exceptionally well or poorly—will impact how shopkeepers and citizens of Black Spire Outpost interact with them as they make their way throughout the park.

More details about Disney’s Rise of the Resistance attraction were also revealed, with droid-powered vehicles transporting visitors on a cinematic-like journey featuring encounters with Kylo Ren, AT-ATs and an army of Stormtroopers.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Disneyland's Star Wars: Galaxy Edge Could Open in June says Disney CEO

PHOTO: An artist rendering of the new Star Wars Hotel at Walt Disney World Resort. (photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort)

Fans have been patiently waiting to hear when Star Wars: Galaxy Edge at Disneyland is set to open and it looks like Disney CEO Bob Iger has let the secret out. He says a grand opening is scheduled for June.

Iger did a Q&A with Barron’s in which he said, “When Star Wars opens in Anaheim in June and in Florida later in the year, that’s adding capacity.”

“You’re adding 14 acres of land (each), more rides and more for people to do. It’s the biggest land we’ve ever built.”

Previous reports put Star Wars: Galaxy Edge to open at the Anaheim park in summer 2019, but according to Iger, it could be in the first month of summer.
Disneyland officials declined to comment on Iger’s quote and are holding steadfast to a “summer 2019” debut.

While the exact dates of the opening have not been released by the Disney CEO or any officials, Theme Park Insider editor and Southern California News Group theme park columnist Robert Niles is predicting June 21-23 as the grand opening date with soft opening previews on the weekends before those dates. His prediction is a result of Disneyland annual passholder blockout dates which changed from 2018 to 2019.

Though the Star Wars: Galaxy Edge date isn’t concrete, “June 2019” is a good start if you’re making plans to attend the grand opening, according to Disney’s CEO.

Contact your Castle Vacations Agent today to plan your first trip to Galaxy Edge at Disneyland.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle to Receive $300,000 Overhaul

Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle. (photo via moophoto / iStock Editorial / Getty Images Plus)

The Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland will receive a $300,000 overhaul starting in January and continuing through the spring.

According to the Orange County Register, the centerpiece of the California theme park will have its roof redone and the fiber-reinforced plastic on the turrets replaced. The project will begin on January 7.

To keep the Disneyland experience great for visitors, officials said they will decorate the scaffolding that would surround the Sleeping Beauty Castle in the coming months. The construction work will not change the castle significantly, but walkthroughs at the attraction will be closed starting January 17.

“Sleeping Beauty Castle is the heart of Disneyland Park and is simply being refreshed,” Walt Disney Imagineering art director Kim Irvine told “It will remain the same beloved icon it is today when the refurbishment is complete.”

Disneyland’s overhaul of Sleeping Beauty Castle is part of the theme park’s preparations ready for the debut of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which is currently scheduled to open in the summer of 2019.

In addition to the improvements to the castle, Disneyland is also working on other rides and attractions this winter, including the Haunted Mansion, It’s a Small World, Splash Mountain and more.

Friday, January 4, 2019

Using an ECV at Disney

By Robert Memory 1/4/2019

As many regular guest to Walt Disney World know there is a large number of guest that use Electronic Convenience Vehicles, or ECVs, to get around the Walt Disney World (WDW) property for medical reasons. WDW makes the use of ECVs easy and convenient for guests.  Unfortunately, in many other ways it can also be very inconvenient for both the ECV user and other guests in WDW to get around and enjoy the Disney experience.  In this article I will review the pros and cons of using an ECV both as a user and as a non-using guest. The article will provide some tip and advice for the operator and non-operators of the ECV to improve their park experience. It will also include the names of the companies that are featured ECV providers, along with reviews and experiences with some of these companies.
When initially considering renting an ECV during your visit to WDW, first do your research prior to renting. WDW has a few ECVs if they are the provider that you are wanting to rent from. Each of these providers offer different brands and services, so as mentioned before do your research. Most of the current providers that WDW recommend make online reservations so you never have to talk to an agent, unless you have a problem with the ECV. They will ask your weight; this helps them determine the type of ECV you will need. The most important question they will ask is what time you will be arriving so that they can have the EVC ready prior to your arrival to the resort. Most of the providers offer Pride Mobility ECV as they are one of the best in the industry. To make sure the provider has the proper equipment, they recommend making the reservations about a month prior to your visit. When you make your reservation they will request full payment at that time.
When you arrive at your WDW resort, the ECV should already be delivered if you have made prior reservations. When you arrive, go to bell services to receive the ECV that you have rented. This cast member will need to see your identification and have you sign for the ECV. Once you receive your ECV, you should do a complete inspection of the ECV to see if there are any damages. If there are any damages, take pictures and report them to the provider immediately. The provider might request you to email a picture of the damage to them so that you are not held responsible for the damage.  Provided with the ECV will be a plastic bag, that is used to cover the electrical portion of the ECV in case it rains. You will be responsible for the ECV the entire time you have it, so treat it like you own it.

One of the most positive experiences about operating an ECV is the convenience and freedom you feel being able to visit and enjoy the theme parks and Disney Springs. WDW transportation has also made it convenient for guest operating an ECV to enjoy their transportation system like other guests. They have specially designed buses that open to load the ECV onto the bus. Along with the buses, you are able to travel on most of the water transits.

Finally, we have one of the most heated issues with using a ECV. There have been incidents such as entire families with one family member having an ECV, trying to board the bus with the ECV operator. In my opinion, they should only allow one member of the family to board with them. While I am a guest at Walt Disney World and I am operating a ECV I will not carry any bags with me so I am able to use the no bag lines at the parks. There is also a number of ECV users that will try to speed by everyone which is disruptive, disrespectful, and unsafe for others around them.
Using Disney Transportation can be a hassle for some ECV users., Unfortunately these operators feel invisible at some of the bus stops. There have been many times that an ECV operator will be waiting at a bus stop and the bus will not recognize that the ECV operator is there. WDW has recognized this problem, so at each of the bus stops on Walt Disney World property, they have painted a square for the EVC operator to park and wait for a bus. These changes have made it so the driver of the bus can see the operator. During the popular times of year to visit Walt Disney World, an ECV operator might have to wait for another bus due to space for the ECV. While in parks some ECV operators feel invisible to other guests, these guests will stop in middle of a walking area and you have to avoid them at all cost.
There are many attractions and shows at WDW that the operator can attend while operating an ECV. There will be other attractions that you will have to transfer from the ECV to a wheelchair, and there is some attraction that’s you would have to stand and wait in the line for. Overall ECV are always going to be in the parks and resorts, all parties have to work together to make the experience enjoyable
Castle Vacations Team Members are well versed in the usage and rentals of ECV’s. We are able to help book and secure a rental on your behalf. Feel free to reach out to your local Castle Vacations Team Member or call our main office at 516.262.4955