The merry season will begin November 12 at Walt Disney World® Resort during “The World’s Most Magical Celebration” marking the resort’s 50th anniversary. Festive entertainment, whimsical décor, seasonal food and drinks, and holiday-themed merchandise will all be a part of this very special season at our theme parks, Disney Resort hotels and Disney Springs.
Holidays are sure to be enchanting at Magic Kingdom® Park, where quintessential decorations will return to Main Street, U.S.A. When the sun sets, special holiday projections will appear most nights on Cinderella Castle, alternating periodically with the castle’s transformation into a Beacon of Magic.
Disney Very Merriest After Hours, a new special-ticketed event, will debut November 8 at Magic Kingdom Park and will be available on select nights through December 21. The four hours of festivities will delight guests with “Minnie’s Wonderful Christmastime Fireworks,” Disney characters throughout the park, holiday music and décor, treats included and so much more! As with other Disney After Hours events, a limited number of tickets will be sold for this event. It’s held after regular park operating hours, with lower wait times and access to more than 20 select attractions.
Sunset Seasons Greetings returns to Disney’s Hollywood Studios®, as the Hollywood Holiday Tower Hotel on Sunset Boulevard will twinkle once again with projection effects, magically transforming into a snowy corner of Arendelle, a Muppets gingerbread masterpiece, a Toy Story toy hotel, and a Dickensian village inspired by “Mickey’s Christmas Carol.” This holiday show will also alternate with the tower’s nightly transformation into a Beacon of Magic.
It will be a wild holiday time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park with the return of seasonal décor and festive Disney character flotillas sailing down Discovery River to the sounds of joyful songs of the season. The park’s centerpiece – The Tree of Life – becomes another Beacon of Magic most nights during the 50th anniversary celebration. During the holiday season there’s even more magic inspired by nature as the holiday edition of Tree of Life Awakenings also takes place most nights.
The EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays will return this year, from Nov. 26 – Dec. 30, with Holiday Kitchens around the park, performances by Voices of Liberty, the guest favorite Cookie Stroll and more!
It's not too late to plan your trip to Walt Disney World for the holidays! Reach out to your Whimsical Wishes Travel Advisor to get started.
Get ready for the celebration 50 years in the making.
Beginning October 1, be immersed in a sparkling EARidescent experience like no other – The World’s Most Magical Celebration. It’s a place and time to celebrate the small stuff, the big stuff and even the in-between stuff. Share the magical memories you helped create over the last 50 years. And kick off the next era where the best is yet to come.
Come be immersed in shimmering EARidescence and experience special touches, from embellishments, from on Cinderella Castle to décor throughout the Theme Parks and beyond.
Magic Transforms the Night Sky
As part of the 50th Anniversary Celebration at Walt Disney World® Resort, two all-new epic nighttime spectacular shows are being introduced! Disney Enchantment will take Guests at Magic Kingdom® Park on an incredible journey filled with adventure, wonder and empowerment. With captivating Disney music, stunning fireworks and immersive projection effects that extend down Main Street, U.S.A. ®, Enchantment will inspire everyone to believe in magic again.
Harmonious at EPCOT®
The second new show, Harmonious, is one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created for a Disney Park. With innovative floating set pieces, vibrant lasers and dancing fountains, Guests will discover the power of Disney music as it inspires and unites us all with the magic of possibility.
Incredible kites and colorful windcatchers will have your senses soaring during Disney KiteTails, an all-new, high-flying performance at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park beginning October 1.
Disney Fab 50 Character Collection
Across all four Theme Parks, Disney Fab 50 Characters cast in gold wait to be discovered Stay tuned to learn more about how they’ll inspire surprising new ways you can interact with the Walt Disney World® 50th Anniversary Celebration!
EARidescent 50th Fashion
Daisy, Donald, Goofy, Pluto and Chip ‘n’ Dale join Mickey and Minnie at Magic Kingdom® Park in dazzling new styles ready to welcome you to The World’s Most Magical Celebration.
Whether it’s your first time or your 50th, get ready for classic favorites and new adventures unlike any other place on Earth. Come celebrate the small stuff. The big stuff. And all the in-between stuff. Share the magic you helped create over the last 50 years. And kick off the next era where the best is yet to come.
Are you ready to celebrate? Get started planning your magical vacation now!
Go beyond your everyday. Beyond any ordinary vacation. Beyond any Star Wars story you’ve ever seen. Step aboard Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser, a revolutionary new 2-night experience where you are the hero of your own Star Wars story.
Embark with your group on a journey to a galaxy far, far away. This is your Star Wars adventure. See It. Feel It. Live It. And step beyond storytelling into storyliving.
Arrive at the Walt Disney World® Resort terminal and board a launch pod that will transport you to
the magnificent Halcyon starcruiser. As the airlock slides open, your whole world changes with your
first step into the middle of your very own epic Star Wars story, one where you decide your fate.
Stay in a well-equipped cabin with an exquisite view of space. Throughout the ship, you’ll interact with an eclectic collection of characters, sit down to exotic galactic cuisine and perhaps even plot a secret mission together.
As the itinerary continues, you’ll take the story further and deeper, seeking out the inner workings of the legendary starship, learning the ancient ways of the lightsaber and even jumping on a transport to the planet Batuu where your mission continues in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge!
While your story unfolds, you’ll have the power to choose your path. Will you follow the rule of the
First Order or join the Resistance in a secret plot? Strike a bargain with a gang of smugglers or sit
back, sip a cocktail and watch it all from a safe distance?
The choice is yours as you step aboard the most immersive Star Wars story ever created—one where you eat, sleep and live a bespoke experience and journey further into a Star Wars adventure than you ever dreamed possible.
Kristen, Melissa and Kayla chose Disney's Boardwalk Villas for their first anniversary stay at Walt Disney World! This charming and elegant waterfront resort is a blast from the past in the most enjoyable way. From the saltwater taffy colored cottages to the ragtime sounds and carnival pastimes, it's entirely reminiscent of the turn of the century Atlantic City.
Disney's Boardwalk Villas is walking distance to Epcot & Hollywood Studios; the Friendship Boats are also happy to transport you to either park, as well as to Disney's Yacht and Beach Club. We loved being able to take a quick break in the afternoon; it was so nice to be able to walk out of Epcot and back to our room in a matter of minutes. It was just as easy to turn around and head back to the park when we were ready!
We picked up breakfast at the Boardwalk Bakery and enjoyed our coffee al fresco, taking in the sights and sounds of the water and boardwalk area. We've enjoyed many of the restaurants on the Boardwalk on past trips, most recently breakfast at Trattoria al Forno was delicious and easy to visit before heading into Epcot. We cannot wait for one of our favorite signature restaurants, Flying Fish, to reopen! With easy access to the restaurants at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club, there's no shortage of dining options available when you stay at Disney's Boardwalk Villas.
We were so excited to check out the newly refurbished pool area! The Keister Coaster replaced the polarizing clown slide with colorful cartoons of the Fab 5 greeting guests as they make their way down this fun water slide. Leaping Horse Libations, themed after a carousel, was also open for tropical drinks and tasty snacks at the Luna Park Pool.
We stayed in a Deluxe Studio, which we chose because of the convenient bedding arrangement fo three adults - one queen size bed, one double pullout sofa bed and one twin pullout bed. We had plenty of room to spread out and put away all of our stuff. The kitchenette area was so nice to have; we utilized the fridge, extra counter space and sink, and the single-use silverware and plates came in handy. Check out our room tour video below for a complete walk-through!
Here are some more photos from our Deluxe Studio! The view from our balcony was considered a Standard View, but we loved seeing the Skyliner at night!
Overall, we loved our stay at Disney's Boardwalk Villas! On our last day, we were pixie dusted with an extra special visit from our friends at check-out. We can't wait to see them again real soon!
Kayla, Kristen and Melissa became first time annual passholders at Universal Orlando Resort earlier this year. We decided to celebrate with a stay at Loews Royal Pacific Resort!
This resort has a beautiful, laid back atmosphere with South Pacific vibes. From the moment we set foot on the bridge, we felt like we were on vacation. From the amazing smell in the lobby to the sandy shores off the water, everything was tropical and relaxing.
The short walk and water taxi ride to the theme parks and CityWalk were so convenient. Either way, the parks were only 10-15 minutes away from the resort.
We started our morning with coffee and smoothies at Tuk Tuk Market, which serves Starbucks beverages and other prepared breakfast items. The Orchid Court Lounge, which serves up fresh made sushi in the evenings, has a stunning chandelier and fun modern flare. Jake's American Bar is open for lunch and dinner featuring craft beers, specialty cocktails and classic American fare.
The zero-entry swimming pool and it's accompanying sandy beach is a serene escape from the heat and the hustle of the parks. Swing over to the Bula Bar during your stay for a frosty island-themed beverage.
The most valuable part of our stay at Loews Royal Pacific Resort was the complimentary Universal Express Unlimited ride access, which is included for all resort guests. It was such a huge savings, both in dollars and in time! We would never visit the parks without it.
Early park admission, which is included for all guests staying on-site at Universal Orlando Resort, was also a huge perk. We had early access to Universal's Islands of Adventure during our stay so we were able to ride Hagrid's Magical Creature Motorbike Adventure before the park opened to the general public!
Here's a video tour of our room, a standard room with two queen beds. These accommodations are also available with one king bed or a view of the water, pool, etc.
We would highly recommend this resort to anyone considering a trip to Universal Orlando Resort!
If you have any questions about Loews Royal Pacific Resort, reach out to your Whimsical Wishes travel advisor.
The Whimsical Wishes team just returned from a holiday trip to our favorite place on Earth: Walt Disney World!
This was our first time back together since we launched the agency. It was long overdue and we had so much fun.
The holidays is one of our favorite times to visit Walt Disney World! The magic is alive all around you - in the parks, at the hotels - no detail is missed.
Every trip, we dedicate time to researching new things so we wrote a list of our key trip takeaways to not only share our personal experience with you, but show that the magic is alive and well in Walt Disney World for all to enjoy.
#1. Unique Opportunities to See Characters
This is one of our favorite pictures from our trip! We were talking towards Adventureland when we stumbled across Eeyore and Rabbit on the porch of Crystal Palace.
We loved seeing characters pop up all around the parks like this! Whenever the music played, we knew we were in for a treat. Characters made their way around the parks on decorated boats, tricked out cars and holiday themed floats.
We really enjoyed the characters waving from the Main Street USA Railroad platform; we loved being able to spontaneously walk up and chat or selfie with our friends from a distance.
#2. The Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays
Our first taste of the Festival was from one of our favorite booths, Las Posadas, in Mexico. We loved sharing this tostada and these holiday flavored margaritas. We could have spent a whole week tasting our way around the Festival!
We played along with Olaf's Holiday Tradition Expedition as we traveled around the World Showcase. Kiddos would love finding him in his sleigh in each pavilion, probably as much as we did!
The highlight was the Voices of Liberty; we were missing Candlelight Processional this year but this brought us a beautiful touch of one of our favorite live performances. We can't wait to see what live performances return in the New Year.
#3. Experiencing our Favorite Ride Queues
We're all used to FastPass+ helping us skip to the front of the line but while this service is suspended, it was nice to take in the magical details of our favorite ride queues. The queue from Peter Pan's Flight takes you into the Darling home to play with Tinkerbell before you board the attraction. While the lines appear long because of physical distancing measures, we found they moved at a great pace and we were never bored or wishing for something to see.
#4. New Dining Experiences
It had been a long since we'd experienced dinner at Hollywood & Vine in Disney's Hollywood Studios. We were excited to try Minnie's Holiday Dine with the new a la carté menu.
We were pleasantly surprised and enjoyed every element of the experience. The character interaction was a lot of fun; the characters were dressed in their holiday best as they danced around our table. All of the food was great, too!
While not all of our go-to restaurants are open, it was a treat to have some new experiences this trip including Rose & Crown, Trattoria al Forno and the new prix-fix lunch at Be Our Guest.
#5. Castle Projections and Fireworks
It was nice to see a hint of Minnie's Holiday Christmastime spectacular this holiday season. The details and the movements within the projections were captivating and festive.
We were treated to a burst of fireworks every time the castle projections changed; it was amazing to see the sky light up over Cinderella's Castle again.
We spent the better part of our evening soaking in the magic and we can't wait until we're watching fireworks show on Main Street again.
#6. The Magic of Magic Shots
We will never stop singing the praises of Memory Maker and PhotoPass photographers. It's always nice to get pictures of the three of us together but the Magic Shots this trip were extra special. This is our favorite Magic Shot from this trip; the photographer who took these photos could not have been sweeter. Always ask your Photopass photographers if they have any Magic Shots they can take for you and your family.
#7. Enjoying the Small Moments
We always encourage our clients to slow down and take the time to soak in the magic. We are guilty of not always doing that for ourselves but after being apart for the last 9 months, we made a point to relax, enjoy each other and appreciate the every minute. We spent time hanging out on the curb in Hollywood Studios; we drank our coffee and enjoyed a holiday treat while multiple character cavalcades passed us by. We sought out new photo ops (#prettyinpinkwall) and sampled colorful milks on Batuu (#teamblue). Even though it was chilly, we paid a visit to Stormalong Bay and enjoyed a drink by the pool. We enjoyed every second on Main Street, whether we were photographing characters or buying gifts for our families at the Emporium and Confectionary.
More than ever before, we were so grateful for the opportunity to visit Walt Disney World together. We were also reminded how lucky we are to have job and that allows us to be a part of something so special for our clients. We know our families are ready for their next vacation, and we're excited to be a part of whatever vacation your family has been wishing for.
We just returned from Walt Disney World and are so excited to share what we experienced on our amazing trip! This is the first of a series of blog posts we'll share with you to help paint the picture of what you can expect on a Walt Disney World vacation and to help you make the most of it!
We are frequently asked what it is like to travel during this time. Our clients rely on us to be experts and we work tirelessly to elevate our knowledge for you. As your travel advisor, a very important part of our job is to stay current on new travel policies and procedures. Walt Disney World has been open for some time now, and they have been very successful in maintaining a safe environment for their resort guests. Kristen and Kayla just traveled to Walt Disney World and experienced this first hand. They saw and followed the protocols that are in place to help guests have a fun, clean and safe trip to the parks.
#1: Wear your mask
Face coverings must be worn by all guests (ages 2 and up) and Cast Members. You’re responsible for bringing your own face covering but Disney does sell them throughout the parks and resorts. All face coverings must be made with at least two layers of material, fully cover the nose and mouth, secure under the chin, fit snugly against the side of the face and be secured with ties or ear-loops. Neck gaiters, open-chin triangle bandanas, and face coverings with valves, mesh material or holes of any kind are not considered acceptable face coverings. You may only remove your face covering while actively eating or drinking in a stationary position (i.e., standing at a table, sitting on a bench, etc.).
#2: Wash your hands
You probably know by now, washing your hands for 20 seconds is key to reducing the spread. There are portable hand-washing stations throughout the parks that make washing your hands easier to do than ever. Disney has installed hundreds of hand sanitizing stations throughout the parks as well.
We kept Purell wipes and hand sanitizer in our park bags so we could grab them whenever we wanted them. We brought a bottle of antibacterial hand soap for our hotel room, too.
3: Keep your (physical) distance
You are reminded often to keep 6 feet between yourself and others. Disney has installed ground markers and physical barriers to make it easy. Ride queues, restaurant dining rooms and shops throughout the parks are clearly labeled so you can maintain a safe physical distance from other guests. Thankfully, this doesn’t impede social interactions! We love chatting with guests and Cast Members; thankfully, we were still able to do plenty of that while keeping our physical distance from them.
#4: Plan your day in the park
While you’re waiting to enter the park, chat with everyone in your party about what they’d like to see and do today. You don’t need to have a step-by-step plan, but you should decide what your priorities are. Monitor the attraction wait times on your My Disney Experience app throughout the day to help you decide where to head next.
#5: Be patient.
While crowds may be lower than usual, it’s important to remember that the park isn’t operating at full capacity. More time is being dedicated to cleaning and maintaining attractions, restaurants and common areas throughout the day. You may wait a little longer for a ride than the posted wait time, or your food may take a little longer to prepare than usual. Be patient and be kind. Rest assured everyone is doing their best to make magic for you.
#7: Stay close to the parks
There are certain resorts that are more convenient than others in the current climate. We recommend staying close to the park you plan to visit the most. If you’re going to spend more than one day at Magic Kingdom, staying at Disney’s Contemporary Resort or Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort are the most convenient as you can walk across the street and into the park. If you’re going to frequent Epcot or Hollywood Studios, you’ll appreciate the ease of accessing these parks from Disney’s Beach Club Villas, Disney’s Yacht Club or Disney’s Boardwalk Inn and Villas. If you’re hoping for a more economical option, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort offers easy access to Disney’s Skyliner which will get you quickly to either Epcot or Hollywood Studios.
If you want to try something new, consider Disney’s Riviera Resort. We had a chance to explore this resort for the first time on our most recent trip and it is beautiful! The 1- and 2-bedroom villas are great for families, the dining options are plentiful and the pools are beautiful. You can also easily access Disney’s Skyliner for a quick ride to either Epcot or Hollywood Studios.
#9: Partner with your travel advisor
Things are changing every day, it’s more important than ever to work with someone who can advise you on how to have the best vacation. We are here to walk you through every step, from choosing which parks to visit on which days to what to pack in your park bag. You have to take an active role in planning and enjoying your vacation, let us be your partners through it all.
Thank you for following our new blog series, Melissa's European Adventures! While cruises and much travel have been put on hold, it brings me joy to share our experiences and adventures with you. If you missed the first post in this series sharing the start of our Mediterranean Disney Cruise vacation in Barcelona, check it out!
Once we exited the gangway, we entered the ship and were greeted by one of our fav things to hear that always brings HUGE smiles to our faces, "Disney Magic, please welcome aboard the Ritrivi Family!". When you hear that saying with your family name, surrounded by crew members clapping as you enter the atrium, you know you are about to embark on one of the most fantastic vacations, ever!
We woke up and were in Italy! Ciao Italia! Docking in Naples offers a range of Port Adventures that can take you to a variety of locations, whether you are looking to take in some history or beautiful scenery. We had dreamt of visiting Capri, so we opted to spend the day there. We took a jet-boat ride to Capri, then boarded a shuttle to Anacapri. Our Port Adventure guide was so welcoming and informative. First, we had free time to explore the breathtaking views of the city and marina. We loved exploring the narrow streets and pathways to discover gardens, charming homes, and lovely scenery. Capri is the home of Limoncello- we enjoyed a few samples and as a result, our first souvenir from the cruise was purchased! My daughter was intrigued by the various sandal-makers located on the island. The Capri sandals date back to ancient times. This mom can't say no to a new pair of beautiful sandals! We found a small sandal shop on a side street and were greeted by the very talented sandal-maker himself. We chose the style, the color leather, he took our measurements and a short time later, we both walked out with a truly memorable souvenir- matching, custom Capri sandals, handmade before our very eyes. We then took a short bus ride down to Capri with our group for a truly delicious Italian, al fresco lunch, filled with antipasti, pasta, and meat.. After lunch, our guide took us on a walk through Piazza Umberto, through the "Rodeo Drive" of Capri, then up to the Gardens of Augustus for an absolutely breathtaking view of the Faraglioni rock formations and the Mediterranean. I could have stood there for hours, taking in the view. On our walk back to the funicular, we couldn't pass up stopping for gelato at the historic Gelateria Buonocore. The smell of their fresh made waffle cones that permeated the air was irresistible!
Our time in Capri was coming to an end, so we took the funicular down to the marina for the jet-boat ride back to the ship. The girls soaked in every last bit of Capri with the wind in our hair and beautiful views from the ride, while the boys took a nap to rest up for an evening of fun onboard. Our first stop in Italy was full of beauty around every single turn. We left Capri already dreaming of the day we'd return. That day was supposed to be in June of this year. My family had a vacation planned to Sorrento, Capri, and the Amalfi Coast for this summer. We were so looking forward to revisiting some of our fav sites, plus new adventures like going to the stunning Blue Grotto and visiting Pompeii for a fascinating history lesson, plus just soaking in the views from the cliffs of Sorrento. I hope we can reschedule this extra special vacation for another time.
Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for the next stop in our European Adventure, Florence!
Disney Cruise Line released their Fall 2021 itineraries last week! We love to see where they're going and when; we especially love the Fall itinerary announcement because it includes all the dates for the Halloween on the High Seas and Very Merrytime Cruises! There's no better way to celebrate these holidays than onboard.
Booking a Disney Cruise is a bit different from booking a traditional cruise. Itineraries become available to book this week based on your Castaway Club status with Disney Cruise Line:
Disney Cruise Line prices increase as the ship fills so historically you can lock in the lowest price on opening day. Of course, their deposit policy is flexible. The deposit is 20% of the total cruise fare, and the deposit is entirely refundable up until final payment is due.
In fall 2021, Disney Cruise Line will return to favorite destinations on a variety of itineraries, including sailings to the Caribbean, the Bahamas, Mexico, Bermuda and Canada. Here are a few itineraries that caught our eye:
*Celebrate New Year's onboard the Disney Fantasy, sailing a 7-night Eastern Caribbean itinerary on December 26, 2021
*Looking to experience a Disney Cruise for the first time? We recommend the 4-night Bahamian itineraries on the Disney Dream, sailing four times per month
*Castaway Cay fans, rejoice! A 5-night Bahamian itinerary with TWO stops at Castaway Cay sails on November 6, 2021 on the Disney Fantasy
*Northeast friends, the Disney Magic will be sailing from New York again in September 2021! There are a handful of 5-night Bermuda sailings and only one 6-night Canadian sailing on October 24, 2021.
*If you really love your sea days, the Disney Magic sails an 11-night Westbound Transatlantic itinerary from Dover, England on September 18, 2021 with two stops in Spain and one in Bermuda.
There are dozens more itineraries, we'd be happy to chat with you about all of them! Don't forget, most sailings in September and October feature a Halloween on the High Seas celebration while most sailings in November and December feature a Merrytime celebration. It's a fun way to celebrate Halloween and the holiday season with Mickey, Minnie and the entire Disney Cruise Line family.
Click here to get started planning your next Disney Cruise Line vacation!
While we are all yearning to travel again, I’d like to share one of my family’s most memorable vacations to locations we can’t wait to return to someday!
That evening, we visited the Spanish Village, enjoyed another outdoor cafe for a quick bite and took in a spectacular Flamenco show. The cafe gave us just a small taste of the delicious cuisine that was in store on this trip, with traditional patatas bravas, pan con tomate, and the first of numerous glasses of sangria. The show was a feast for the eyes- I never realized how meaningful and moving dance can be. Even my children were captivated by the show!