What's new with 2018 Disney World Packages

Disney just released the 2018 packages and there are some new changes! Check it out below!

New Beverage Options:

Guest under 21 can now choose (1) single serving non-alcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered). 

Non Alcoholic beverages could include:

  • Soda, coffee, tea
  • Smoothies
  • Premium Hot Chocolates
  • Artisanal Milkshakes

Guests who are 21 or older will be able to choose one (1) single serving non-alcoholic beverage (including specialty beverages where offered) or one (1) single serving mixed cocktail, beer, or wine (where offered) within their meal entitlement.

Alcoholic beverages would include:

  • Beer or Cider
  • Mixed drinks or specialty cocktails
  • Sangria or wine

Guests 21 and over must show valid ID and alcoholic beverages will only be redeemed with a quick-service or table-service meal entitlement.

Ready to plan your magical Disney World vacation? Contact our experts here

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Disneyland Summer of Heroes!

Marvel fans rejoice! Disneyland Resort has some great fun planned for their Summer of Heroes!  For a limited time, qualifying packages will even receive a Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT! Comic Book! Click here for additional details.

  • Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission: BREAKOUT! -- A brand new re-imagined attraction
  • Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Dance Off with some of your favorite Guardians of the Galaxy!
  • Avengers Training Initiative with Black Widow & Hawkeye
  • Heroic Encounter with Black Widow
  • Meet heroes Captain America and Spider-Man
  • Great merchandise and collectibles
  • MUCH MORE!

Now is a great time to take advantage of a Disneyland vacation package! Contact your Upon A Star Agent for details!

New Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT!

New Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT!

Pandora: The World of Avatar

Well it's been about 2 weeks since my first amazing journey to Pandora -- the World of Avatar. And I've gotta say... I can't wait to go back! With all the hype about Star Wars Land, it seemed to me that things were pretty quiet on the Pandora-front.  I'm always excited to see something new, though, and so I've been not-so-patiently waiting for what was promised to be a spectacular new land in Animal Kingdom. And then... I was privileged enough to be invited to the media event! 

From the first moment we walked in, I was totally immersed. Completely and utterly amazed. Stunned.  The Imagineers truly were able to bring the Valley of Mo'ara to life.  The floating mountains, beautiful flora, and gorgeous water features were so amazing to look at.  I loved speaking to the Cast Members working with "Alpha Centauri Expeditions"... they were all truly in character, telling us details about what each plant was. 

So a bit of back story: Alpha Centauri Expeditions is the company that transports humans into Pandora, helping us to view and experience the culture of the Na'vi. In fact, they are the ones who sent me my invitation!

One of the features in this new land is "Flight of Passage".  In the Na'vi culture, riding a Banshee is a rite of passage - and so of course this is something I had to Sivako ("Rise to the challenge" in Na'vi) and experience for myself. OH MY GOODNESS.  I have to say that I have a new favorite ride.  All of the hype is absolutely true! I'm not normally a fan of screens (except Soarin' of course!)... but this was so completely different than I expected! I could literally feel the breathing of the Banshee... feel its wings... and I gasped, yelled, gazed in wonderment, and had all the feels throughout the ride.  And the queue... wow! Gorgeous!

And that's a good thing, as wait times have been reported as high as 400 minutes.  FastPass is key on this one, folks! Sadly, the FastPass queue cuts out much of the beauty of the standby queue.  So, try to wait for it sometime when it isn't 6 hours! 

The other new attraction is the Na'vi River Journey. And wow! It is simply beautiful. A gentle boat-ride lets you see much of Pandora in all of its bioluminescent splendor. And at the end, you pass the Shaman ... and that animatronic literally made me say "wow!". The realism was incredible! 

And as beautiful as it is by day, it's even more amazing at night!

And then there's the food.  The Satu'li Canteen is a quick service restaurant right in Pandora.  The restaurant itself is beautiful, and the was quite impressed with the food! I sampled a little of everything from the lunch menu during the preview, and then my husband and I went back for breakfast on opening day.

You can even order & pay for your food through your My Disney Experience app, so all you have to do is pick it up!  Right now this feature doesn't work with the dining plan, but we did see people taking advantage of it. 

There is also a refreshment area called "Pongu Pongu"... which is Na'vi for "Party Party"! I tried the Night Blossom - it was delicious! And pretty....

I also loved the Wind Trader's gift shop and all of the cool merch! And of course, I had to buy a Banshee...

This is a screen shot from the video I posted on Instagram! @uponastarjenn Head over and check it out to meet Esmeralda!

This is a screen shot from the video I posted on Instagram! @uponastarjenn
Head over and check it out to meet Esmeralda!

What an amazing experience! If you can, be sure to get down to Walt Disney World to experience Pandora: The World of Avatar! Your Upon A Star Agent would love to help you and give you tips to make the most of your time there! 

Am Resorts Wanderlust Sale!!

The definition of wanderlust is (n.) A strong desire to travel. These great deals from AM Resorts will be giving you wanderlust! AM Resorts represents 6 countries-52 Resorts-and 6 different resort styles! There is truly something for everyone! Check out this awesome promotion!

Book your vacation at any AM Resort by June 20, 2017 and save up to 40% off!  Plus, resort coupons, hydrotherapy and welcome gifts with room upgrades for as low as $15 USD!

BOOK BY: JUNE 20, 2017
TRAVEL BY: AUGUST 18, 2017

Contact one of our All-Inclusive Vacation experts today to take advantage of this great deal!

Our agents are destination specialists and know what they sell! We can help you find the perfect resort for you!

 

New dining heading to Disney Springs

Disney Springs is bursting at the seams with awesome new dining options! Here's a sneak peek of what's to come:

The Edison will be opening later this year. Modeled after it's sister location in Los Angeles, The Edison will be a lavish, industrial gothic restaurant and bar with live entertainment. The live entertainment will include  contortionists, aerialists, DJs and more. It will include classic American Food, craft cocktails. 

Also opening later this year, Wine Bar George. Master Sommelier George Miliotes brings a wine list of over 100 different varieties. Cheese, charcuterie and small plates will be served to complement the wine selections. There will also be special events and guest wine makers conducting fun wine education. 

Portobello Country Italian Trattoria will be replaced by a new Italian concept. At the helm of this new project is Top Chef Master and James Beard Award Winner, Tony Mantuano.  

2018 will bring us several new locations as well! Chef José Andrés’ will be opening Jaleo, a Spanish inspired tapas location. Jaleo will be a multi-level restaurant which will feature Spanish-style sandwiches on the first floor storefront. 

Also in 2018, we will see a new concept by Wolfgang Puck. Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill is inspired by Puck's dishes at his world renowned Spago location. The restaurant will have a classic farmhouse look with a touch of elegance. Expect comfort food with a Mediterranean flair!

There's always so much to do at Disney Springs! Let our travel experts help you make the most of your time there. Contact us here today!

 

'Guardians of the Galaxy' Characters to join Marvel Day At Sea!

Disney Cruise Line has just announced that Star Lord, Gamora and Groot will be joining other Marvel super heroes onboard Marvel Day at Sea sailings this Fall!

Marvel Day at Sea sailings start October 6, 2017 from New York on the 8 Night Bahamian Cruise and continue throughout Fall! Also, starting on January 7, 2018 a 5 Night Western Caribbean Cruise will originate from Miami and will continue throughout the Spring.

Want more info on Disney Cruise Line and the Marvel Day at Sea? Contact our cruise pros  HERE

Let the pros at Upon A Star Travel help you plan the ultimate Disney Cruise! Sit back and relax while we do the planning and work for you! Book today and get $50.00 On Board Credit!

Let's start planning today!

Top 10 Snacks at Walt Disney World!

So you roll into Disney World with your dining plan and a big pile of snack credits. How will I use them all you say? There are literally 100's of items you can buy with your snack credits but here are our top 10 to get the most bang for your credits!

10.  Le Fou's Brew-Stop in to Gaston's Tavern to get this yummy apple flavored concoction! You can get the regular size cup with your snack credit. You can also buy a souvenir mug for an additional cost.

9. Cupcakes- Disney is known for some of their cupcakes and that is because they are delicious! One of my all time favorites is The King cupcake at Pop Century Resort! Chocolate, banana custard, peanut butter frosting and candied bacon!! 

8. Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in Epcot-Love this bakery tucked back into a cute little corner in the France pavilion in Epcot! There are so many great pastries here for 1 snack credit but one of the best values is the ham and cheese croissant. It is huge!

7. Ice Cream at Ample Hills Creamery- Some of the yummiest ice cream you will ever have is at Ample Hills Creamery at The Boardwalk Resort. You can get a small cup or a cone with 1 snack credit! 

6. Funnel Cake- Get some good old fashioned Funnel Cakes the next time you need to satisfy that sweet tooth! You can get them at the America pavilion in Epcot and also at Sleepy Hollow at the Magic Kingdom.

5. Starbucks- You need some caffeine to keep going at Disney World, what is better than some Starbucks? 

4. Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich- So, true story I might have had a dream about this snack. It's that good! Head to the Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street at the Magic Kingdom to choose your ice cream flavor and they will put it between 2 warm gooey chocolate chip cookies!

3. Mickey Pretzel with Cheese- Pretzels are always delicious but eating one in Disney World that is shaped like Mickey Mouse? That's where it's at!

2. Mickey Ice Cream Bar- This is a classic! You haven't been to Disney World if you haven't eaten a Mickey Ice Cream Bar!

1. The Dole Whip Float- What could be better than a Dole Whip? How about a Dole Whip in fresh pineapple juice? Next time you are in Disney World, run don't walk and get yourself a Dole Whip Float. You"ll thank us, I promise!

Want more info on having a truly magical vacation? Contact our travel experts here

 

 

 

 

 

Meet and Greet News!

If you are a fan of Moana, she has moved to a new home in Adventureland at The Magic Kingdom! Her previous home was at One Man's Dream in Disney's Hollywood Studios. I can only hope and pray that Maui will one day do a meet and greet!

Two new exciting meet and greets have been announced for Hollywood Studios! Starlord and Baby Groot from Guardians of The Galaxy! No word yet on their location but we will report back soon!

 

Exciting things are happening at Walt Disney World!

Contact us today for info on booking your next magical vacation!

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The Frozen Summer Games are headed back to Blizzard Beach!

It's time again for The Frozen Summer Games at Blizzard Beach! Starting on May 26, 2017, you can join either Team Kristoff or Team Olaf and participate in all kinds of activities! Last year's inaugural games were so popular Disney is bring them back again!

New this year are meet and greets with Olaf and Kristoff! They will be at specific locations for you to meet and take some pics with! Challenge your family members with games like: Snowball Toss, Ski Pole Limbo and much more! Chill out to the Summer tunes the DJ will be playing and have a blast at this year's Frozen Summer Games!

Want to join in on the fun at Blizzard Beach?

Contact our travel experts today for information on booking your next magical vacation!

Uponastartravel.com

VIP Tour Experiences at Walt Disney World® Resort Part 2

A couple of weeks back, I posted about some of the amazing VIP Experiences that are available at the Walt Disney World® Resort.  Of course, Part 1 focused on my favorite topic - food!  Again, more detail can be found If you want even more detail, check out the Divas Dish Podcast where I shared live from my hotel at the Grand Floridian (Episode 68). Click this link, or grab it on iTunesI Heart Radio, or Stitcher.

So today, let's focus on a VIP Tour.  Simply amazing. If you want to truly feel like a Rock Star, this is the way to roll! Your Tour Guide is a very knowledgeable Cast Member who will be your personal escort through the parks. Basically, they ensure that you see what you want, when you want, with no waiting.  They will take you into the FastPass line of every attraction - even the most popular!  You bypass bag check.  You are driven right to a special entrance, where your band is scanned and you walk right into the park with no lines.  It couldn't be easier!

Yep - I went to Tower of Terror first!

Yep - I went to Tower of Terror first!

And did I mention SNACKS?! Private VIP guides really do think of everything!  Our guide, Kirk, was phenomenal.  So knowledgeable and friendly! It was fun getting to know him and fun getting to ride the rides with him! He found out that I love Hidden Mickeys, and so he spent time pointing out the hard-to-find ones.  Did you know that there are 3 of them in Soarin' Around the World™? I bet that 3rd one is the one you'll struggle to find! 

Oh you know, just your normal Tower of Terror selfie...

Oh you know, just your normal Tower of Terror selfie...

Kirk even helped us park hop! We went from Disney's Hollywood Studios® to Epcot®  - again no bag check line or line to use the touch point. In the space of 2 hours, we had done 4 big ticket attractions!  The amount of time saved was amazing.  

Private VIP Tours are available for up to 10 guests. If you are with a larger party, you'll just add another guide -- this ensures that the personalized experience stays, well ... personal! The cost varies based on season from $400-$600 per hour (7 hour minimum).  This cost is well-worth it, especially during those extra-crowded times of year! Your Upon A Star Agent can book this for you or even add it into your package. 

There are also half day VIP Tours available that are not private; they will, however, take you through the parks to focus on either "thrill rides" or "classic rides".  These are not personalized to your family, but they are a great way to tour if the full VIP Private Tour isn't in the budget this time around.

More to come - watch for Part 3 about "Early Morning Magic" at Walt Disney World® Resort!

New security measures to begin at Walt Disney World

Starting April 3, guests will be going through security checks at the Transportation and Ticket Center. This will allow all guests arriving at the Magic Kingdom to go directly into the parks skipping the metal detectors and bag checks. In addition all guests staying at any of the Monorail Resorts, (Disney's Polynesian Village, Disney's Contemporary Resort and Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa) will go through security check points at  their monorail stations.

Guests that arrive by bus will still need to go through security checkpoints at the park entrance. This should help lessen the congestion and crowds at the security check point and bag check.

 

Ready to plan your next magical vacation?

Contact us today!

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VIP Disney Experiences - Dining Events (Part 1)

What a fun but crazy month! We here at Upon A Star Travel have been hard at work planning magical vacations and checking out new offerings for our clients!  I had the opportunity to check out some VIP Experiences down at the Walt Disney World Resort this past month, and let me tell you - I am super excited to share.  If you want even more detail, check out the Divas Dish Podcast where I shared live from my hotel at the Grand Floridian (Episode 68). Click this link, or grab it on iTunes, I Heart Radio, or Stitcher.

Of course, the magic of Disney is unsurpassed; but, if you are someone who likes just that extra special touch, never fear! Disney has it covered! So, let's start with one of my favorite topics ... FOOD. 

Of course, thinking of upscale, VIP cuisine in Disney, your mind may go immediately to Victoria & Albert's.  This is a 5-Diamond Restaurant located on the 2nd floor of the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. I've often heard about the amazing food, and this is a place that had always been on my bucket list.  Let me say - it lives up to the hype! WOW!

So first of all - GO HUNGRY.  This is a 7-course meal, and it can be done with or without wine-pairings. Everything was absolutely delightful. Even if you aren't sure about a particular dish, trust me - it will taste amazing. 

And they even had this really cool way of brewing coffee for dessert - and as a coffee snob - trust me when I say it was fabulous!

Looks like a science experiment, right? Very neat to watch.  

Now we ate in the dining room, but there is also the option to do the Chef's Table. 

Speaking of Chef's Tables... did you know that you can request a special Chef's Table? Whether you're heading down for business or just having a special family gathering, Disney can coordinate a beautiful experience. 

It was such a neat experience watching the chefs prepare your food at the On-stage Kitchen. The head chef then described each and every course - it really brought the food to life! Oh, and as you might imagine, it was absolutely fabulous!

I also experienced the dessert portion of the "Highway in the Sky Dine Around" on the roof of the Contemporary.  The desserts were perfection, and of course, so was the view of the fireworks!

Another fun dining experience was "Savor the Savanna" at Disney's Animal Kingdom... but that's a post for another week! Stay tuned for more of this series very soon!
 

Interested in booking one of these experiences? Contact your Upon A Star Agent today!

Taking the Disney Cruise Plunge!

As an avid visitor to Walt Disney World, I was nervous to take the ‘plunge’ into a Disney cruise. Let me tell you….it was the best decision ever!  Here are my top 10 reasons why you need to take your family on a Disney cruise.

10. The Most Beautiful Ships on the Ocean

The stately nautical colors of the exterior set Disney's ships apart from all other cruise lines. They are simply gorgeous! Once inside, the Disney level of accommodations continues. Everything is polished, clean and shines! One of my favorites inside features is the porthole cushions located throughout the ship.

As with everything Disney, the cruise offers a VIP feel from the time you check in. Captain Mickey was signing autographs at the port while people waited to board the cruise. Upon walking onto the ship, your family’s name is announced like royalty to the crews’ applause. The servers are exceptional throughout the ship. Having the same server each evening provides an amazing experience as they get to know your kids and family. Don’t be afraid to order whatever you want!

 

9. The Staterooms (with verandahs)!

The staterooms have an amazing amount of storage. Unpacking was simple with two large closets, an ottoman for storage and drawer space throughout. We tucked those large suitcases under the bed and our room was beyond spacious for the entire stay.

In addition to the space provided in the stateroom, the turn down service is magical each night. For a family of 4 or 5, your room attendant will pull down the additional beds and have them made for when you return from your nightly show and activities.

…And the bathroom situation! Wow, Disney has thought of everything. You can choose a stateroom with a split bathroom, which allows for one to shower/bathe while others use the restroom and get ready. A bathtub is also a wonderful addition to help with families of younger cruisers.

8. Rotational dining!

On a 3-night cruise, your Key to the World card will dictate your dining rotation. It is so refreshing each night to dine in a new location. We were on the Disney Dream, and the kids enjoyed Animator's Palate the best with its interactive features on the walls. My personal favorite was the Royal Palace with its beautiful porthole windows watching the waves and sunset.

7. H20 Toiletries:

The sea marine scent is one that I will pay extra for. I even left a note for my stateroom host for extras and he brought me a bunch of extras to take home. Of course, I then added a couple extra $$ to his tip envelope at the end of the cruise.

6. Kids activities

The Oceaneer Club and Lab on deck 5 are an amazing part of this wonderful cruise! My kids especially enjoyed the cooking class. I loved that the kids got magic bands before boarding the ship. While in the kids club, they could ask a cast member to locate a sibling, or ask a parent to come pick them up. Once we arrived to pick up the kids, the cast members were able to tell us exactly where they were located and could go in and check on them. Amazing! Another amazing option for kids and adults were the latest movies being shown on board, in 3D as well!

 

5. Disney Cruise Line Navigator app

Even though you are disconnected from the rest of the world, this app allows you to communicate with friends and family on board. You can text each other, set favorite activities for the day and preview menus, activities and weather for upcoming days. The kids club will alert you via the app when your kids are ready to be picked up!

 

4. The Aqua Duck!

The Aqua Duck is an amazing roller coaster-like water slide set high above the ship's top deck. Two passengers can ride at a time. Once your children are 7, they can ride with another child. My kids claimed it was one of their favorite things about the cruise. It truly is super fun! This water coaster can be found on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.

 

3. Ice cream whenever you want!

I think my kids had 23 ice cream cones a day! Vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and banana! One of my favorite moments was sitting on the pool deck while my daughter enjoyed a banana ice cream cone watching Princess and the Frog! How cool is that!?

2. The Broadway Style Shows.

Oh. My. Goodness. I would have paid at least $50-$100 a ticket for the shows on board. They were one of my favorite parts of the cruise, and the kids agreed too! They are still talking about “Villians Tonight!” I laughed, cried, sang-along, and will forever treasure watching the magic of Disney unfold in front of my child’s eyes every night.

1. Castaway Cay.

Pictures do not do this place justice. It is simply spectacular. You wake up one morning docked at your own PRIVATE ISLAND. I did not anticipate how wonderful this experience would be. A tram is available to take you to different parts of the island; family beaches, adult beaches and cabanas.

While on the island, you are astounded by the beauty of the sand, water and features. The water slide feature at Pelican’s Plunge is fun for all ages I could have added about 100 more reasons to take a cruise with Disney in the VERY NEAR future. It was an amazing experience from start to finish and my family cannot wait to go again!

Contact our experts today for help planning your next Disney Cruise!!

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