Cirque du Soleil LUZIA coming to Orlando

Cirque du Soleil LUZIA Orlando 2019

Cirque du Soliel brings its iconic Big Top experience to Orlando for the first time with LUZIA

The astounding production LUZIA opens on March 7, 2019 under the white-and-gold Big Top at The Florida Mall

Orlando, Fla.

Cirque du Soleil is coming to Orlando with its delightfully-imaginative and visually-stunning Big Top production LUZIA, a waking dream of Mexico.

From March 7 – 31, 2019, local audiences are invited for the first time ever under the Cirque du Soleil Big Top at The Florida Mall to escape to an imaginary Mexico – a sumptuous world suspended between dreams and reality.

Cirque du Soleil LUZIA Orlando 2019
Photo: Cirque du Soleil

In a series of grand visual surprises and breathtaking acrobatic performances, LUZIA takes audiences on a surrealistic journey through a vibrant world filled with wonders, playfulness and striking artistry. Smoothly passing from an old movie set to the ocean to a smoky dance hall or an arid desert, LUZIA cleverly brings to the stage multiple places, faces and sounds of Mexico taken from both tradition and modernity. Rich in awe-inspiring moments, LUZIA enchants by incorporating rain into acrobatic and artistic scenes – a first for a Cirque du Soleil touring production.

Cirque du Soleil LUZIA Orlando 2019
Photo: Cirque du Soleil

Written and directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca, in association with Brigitte Poupart, LUZIA takes you to an imaginary Mexico, like in a waking dream, where light (“luz” in Spanish) quenches the spirit and rain (“lluvia”) soothes the soul.

With mesmerizing and refreshing acrobatic performances, LUZIA brings traditional and contemporary circus disciplines to a whole new level.

Cirque du Soleil LUZIA Orlando 2019
Photo: Cirque du Soleil

Cyr Wheel artists perform the unprecedented feat of rolling and spinning under the rain, while an aerialist suspended from a Trapeze flies and twirls through pouring showers.

Cirque du Soleil LUZIA Orlando 2019
Photo: Cirque du Soleil

Hoop Diving is taken onto gigantic treadmills, expanding exponentially the speed and amount of daring leaps executed.

Cirque du Soleil LUZIA Orlando 2019
Photo: Cirque du Soleil

Jaw-dropping highlights include a male contortionist skillfully twisting his body in the world’s most unimaginable positions, a powerful Aerial Straps specialist defying the laws of gravity at the center of a cenote (natural sinkhole), a juggler tossing seven pins at breakneck speed, and two football (soccer) freestylers deftly mixing street dance with mind-blowing ball manipulation.

Since its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil has been presenting traveling Big Top shows all around the world. The overall excitement of going to the circus, the otherworldly atmosphere of the Big Top, as well as its intimate setting elevate the Cirque du Soleil experience. LUZIA is the company’s 17th show to be presented under a Big Top.

Cirque du Soleil LUZIA Orlando 2019
Photo: Cirque du Soleil

Tickets for Orlando performances of LUZIA start at $54, and are available now online.

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ICON Orlando Holiday Savings and Experiences

ICON Orlando Holiday Savings and Experiences 2018

ICON Orlando Rolls Out New Savings & Experiences for the Holidays

ICON Orlando offers Friends & Family Discounts, Dining Package, Sky Bar 360, & More

ORLANDO, Fla.

ICON Orlando is rolling out a festive collection of seasonal savings for group and individual flights, exciting new options for group celebrations and gatherings, nightly light shows, and unique dinner experiences.

Designed for visitors and locals alike, the new offerings present significant savings on memorable holiday outings for friends and families, including always FREE garage parking at the popular dining and entrainment complex.

Located in the heart of Orlando’s International Drive entertainment district, ICON Orlando 360 is home to an array of unique dining experiences.  From authentic Spanish and Mexican fare to traditional American eats, ICON Orlando 360 offers selections to please any palate.  Nightly live music, shopping venues and a central courtyard with fountain and choreographed water displays, complement the experience.

The Orlando Eye I-Drive 360 icon orlando

“Whether entertaining out-of-town guests, toasting the holidays with friends or co-workers, or looking for an iconic Orlando vacation experience, these new offers deliver memorable moments and substantial savings,” said Cindy Dykman, director of sales and marketing at ICON Orlando 360.

ICON Orlando new seasonal experiences include:

Holiday Friends & Family Pass – (Groups of Three or More) – Share the experience with your loved ones this holiday. A group of three riders on ICON Orlando pays less than $22.00 per person, per rotation and can fly during any time of the day or night. For groups of more than three riders, the admission price drops to just $14.99 per additional rider, compared to the listed $29.99/adult and $24.99/child general admission pricing.
Fly Before 4 and Save – Take a flight on ICON Orlando before 4 p.m. and pay just $14.99 per person, per rotation – a savings of $15.00 per standard adult and $10.00 per standard child admission rates. (*Block out dates include December 24, 2018-January 1, 2019.)

Florida Residents Anytime Flight – Florida residents riding ICON Orlando enjoy a savings of 25 percent with prices at $19.99 for adults and $14.99 for children when purchased online.

ICON Orlando

Sky Bar 360 – ICON Orlando now offers private Sky Bar 360 beverage capsules for up to 10 guests, starting at just $29 per person. An ideal experience for a holiday gathering of friends and colleagues, Sky Bar 360 capsules include options for a bottomless selection of beer and/or wine plus two full rotations (44 minutes) on ICON Orlando. Beer options include Bud Light, Corona and Blue Moon with wine offerings including an array of white, red, sparkling, and Prosecco. Guests of the Sky Bar 360 capsules must be 21 years or older. Customization for quantity and selection of beverage offerings is available upon request.  (Not available December 31st).

Holiday Light Show – More than 64,000 LED lights will bring the tallest observation wheel on the east coast of the United States to life in a kaleidoscopic 10-minute show, synchronized to a festive holiday soundtrack.  The light show runs until January 6, 2019 (Sunday-Thursday at 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.; Friday & Saturday at 8 p.m., 9 p.m. and 10 p.m.).

ICON Orlando

Fly & Dine – Fly & Dine includes one flight aboard ICON Orlando, along with a choice of dinner options at seven of ICON Orlando 360’s fast casual and full-service restaurants. The set menu options start at just $32 for fast casual or $45 for full-service dining at participating restaurants, including Sugar Factory Orlando, Tin Roof Orlando, Tapa Toro Spanish Restaurant, UNO Pizzeria & Grill and others.

New Year’s Eve – Exciting plans are underway for an iconic New Year’s Eve celebration.  More information will be announced soon!

The centerpiece of the 18-acre ICON Orlando 360 dining and entrainment complex, ICON Orlando captivates guests with an experience like no other. One of the tallest observation wheels in the world, the 400-foot ICON Orlando provides riders with a bird’s-eye view of Central Florida. Its gentle rotation allows time to take in the Central Florida landscape, and enjoy meaningful time with friends and family for the holidays. In addition, SEA LIFE Orlando Aquarium, Madame Tussauds Orlando, SKELETONS: Museum of Osteology and the all-new StarFlyer Orlando provided added entertainment.

ICON Orlando

For more information on how to purchase tickets and to view the all-new options, visit the official website.

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A Visit to Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen

Disclosure: I was invited to Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen to try these items, however all opinions are 100% my own. I am genuinely a GIGANTIC fan of Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, firmly believe their chicken tenders are heaven sent, and will fight you for the last onion ring…so with that being said let’s get going!

A Visit to Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen

A Visit to Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen

It was probably a year ago that I discovered Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen (when I say ‘discovered’ I really mean I was finally braved the line out the door), and since then it has become my go-to restaurant when I am ‘On the Go’ since their menu has a wide variety of items.

If you haven’t been to a Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen, what makes them so special is that they really live up to their name! Their menu features made-from-scratch dishes like house smoked baby back ribs, hand-battered country fried chicken, scratch burgers, croissants, and their AMAZING homemade onion rings that are stacked to the ceiling.

While the menu features some fan favorites like their chicken tenders (they serve over 30 million a year), Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen is always adding new items to their lineup.

Let’s take a peek at some of my favorite and new favorite menu items!

Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Texas Sweet Tea and Painkiller (there is a limit of 2 per person…for a VERY good reason)
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Homemade Onion Rings- These are the most amazing onion rings you’ll ever have…promise!
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Trio Sampler – The trio sampler for us is perfect, because everyone gets their favorite appetizer. 
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen New Orleans Pasta – The New Orleans Pasta has a great snap of spicy that is perfect for warming you up on a chilly night.
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Tender Parmesan – The parmesan crust on the chicken tenders is FANTASTIC!
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Bourbon Glazed Pork Chop – Let me be honest…Dave didn’t even let me have bite, because he claimed this as ‘his’. Not cool dude. Not. Cool. 
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Blackened Salmon and Shrimp
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Blackened Salmon and Shrimp  – The Blackened Salmon and Shrimp is a great light dinner or lunch. 
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Monte Cristo – The Monte Cristo is Zoe’s go-to menu item, and you can actually order a lunch combo with half of this sandwich with a ton of options. It’s great!
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Seasonal Crisp A La Mode – So now it’s my turn…I didn’t share. I’m not ashamed. It was too good to share. 
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Painkiller Mini Cake – The Painkiller Mini Cake was soooo good, and a fantastic light dessert. 
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen
Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen Chocolate Raspberry Mini Cake – Don’t let the ‘Mini’ fool you, because the Chocolate Raspberry Mini Cake is big on flavor!

But what makes Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen even better is their prices! They have twenty entrees that are under $10, and let me tell you NONE of them are small! You definitely won’t leave hungry!

There are over 150 Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen locations across the country, and you can find your nearest one here.

Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen
Holiday Gift Card Offer for Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen:
This holiday season, Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen is offering a free Sandwich or Scratch Burger served with one side – such as Cheddar’s hand-battered Monte Cristo sandwich or hand-smashed Smokehouse Burger – when guests purchase $30 or more in gift cards online or in-restaurant from December 17 through 24.

If you can’t tell I’m a Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen fangirl, and you will be too when you give it a try!

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What’s New At Dr. Phillips Center – December 3, 2018

Dr. Phillips Center New 12 3 18

The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts is always bustling with activity, and here is the latest news on shows you won’t want to miss!

What’s New At Dr. Phillips Center – December 3, 2018

Tom Jones Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Tom Jones

Wednesday, May 8, 2019 | 8 p.m. | Walt Disney Theater

Tickets

Start at $49.50

Description

Tom Jones’ 50-year career has remarkably gone from strength to strength. Along with sustaining his popularity as a live performer and recording artist for five decades, he has garnered—at the age of 76—the best reviews of his career for his most recent albums, Long Lost SuitcaseSpirit In The Roomand Praise & Blame (Island/Universal). Critics across the world are unanimous in their approval and admiration for both the recorded work and the performance of it in concert.

Jones has a fundamental interest in a wide range of music. Although he is well known for hits including “It’s Not Unusual”, “Kiss”, “Delilah”, “What’s New Pussycat”, “I’ll Never Fall In Love Again” and “If I Only Knew”, he is first and foremost an artist with a true rhythm and blues soul. He has remained a vital recording artist, with his 1999 album Reload the biggest selling (5m) of his then 35-year career. Tom was a key player in Martin Scorsese’s Red White & Blues series, and in 2004 released an album of roots rock n roll with Jools Holland. In 2008, 24 Hours, was a critical career highlight with many of the self-penned tracks being an insightful and evocative reflection of his spirited and rich life.

Tom was knighted by Her Majesty the Queen in 2006, an honour he deeply cherishes. An honour he was able to celebrate once again in 2012 when he performed at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace. Other highlights of his long career include receiving a BRIT Awards for Best Male and Outstanding Contribution to Music, a Silver Clef Award and a Silver Clef Award for Lifetime Achievement, the Hitmaker Award from the [US] Songwriters Hall of Fame, GQ Man Of The Year, and the prestigious [UK] Music Industry Trust Award. He has been animated as himself in The Simpsons, Duck Dodgers, The Emperors New Groove; other film roles include Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks. In 2012 he landed his first acting role not playing himself, alongside Brenda Blethyn and Alison Steadman, in “Playhouse Presents: King of The Teds” for Sky Arts.

Presented by

Dr. Phillips Center in association with Live Nation

Jessie James Decker

Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Jessie James Decker

Sunday, May 12, 2019 | 8 p.m. | Bob Carr Theater

Tickets

Start at $29.50. VIP experience available.

Description

Jessie James Decker is a country music singer/songwriter, style entrepreneur, television personality and New York Times bestselling author. Her album, Southern Girl City Lights, debuted at number one on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart in October 2017 following the success of her gold certified single “Wanted.” A star of the hit reality show Eric and Jessie, she is the creator and designer of Kittenish, a playful fashion line inspired by her personal style. Decker’s first book, the New York Times Bestseller Just Jessie, is her guide to love, life, family and food, and was released in October 2018 from Harper Collins Publishers.

Presented by

Outback Concerts

Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts Jo Koy

Jo Koy

Friday, February 15, 2019 | 8 p.m. | Bob Carr Theater

Tickets

Start at $45.25. VIP experience available.

Description

Jo Koy tours around the world and is currently on his Break The Mold World Tour. He can be heard as a weekly guest on the popular podcast, The Adam Carolla Show. He also hosts the weekly podcast The Koy Pond with Jo Koy on Podcast One. Additionally, Koy can be seen on the Kevin Hart’s LaughOutLoud.com as the host of Inglorious Pranksters. For more info on the podcast and tour dates, please visit: Jokoy.com.

Koy has had two highly rated and successful comedy specials on Comedy Central, Don’t Make Him Angry and Lights Out. In 2017, Koy released his 3rd stand-up special, Jo Koy: Live from Seattle as a Netflix Original.

Koy has appeared on over 140 episodes of Chelsea Lately as a season regular roundtable guest. Other appearances include: The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, @Midnight with Chris Hardwick, Spike TV’s Adam Carolla & Friends Build Stuff Live, Celebrity Page TV, VH1, World’s Funniest Fails, Sean In The Wild, Jimmy Kimmel Live and Last Call with Carson Daly. 

Presented by

Dr. Phillips Center

Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts American Girl Live

American Girl Live

Saturday, March 16, 2019 | 2 p.m. & 6 p.m. | Bob Carr Theater

Tickets

Start at $33.75. VIP experience available.

Description

Experience American Girl® in an all-new musical, coming to Bob Carr Theater! American Girl Live is a premiere stage production, featuring all-original songs and unforgettable experiences. Come along to sleepover camp with some new friends for an exciting summer away from home. As bold tales of bravery and friendship come to life, iconic American Girl characters lend a hand through story and song. Join your favorite American Girl characters and the campers as they follow their hearts, share their dreams, and learn the power of friendship.

Presented by

Dr. Phillips Center in association with The Roberts Group

Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts
Courtesy of Dr Phillips Center for the Performing Arts

Tickets may be purchased online at drphillipscenter.org, by calling 844.513.2014 or by visiting the Bill and Mary Darden Box Office in person at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts at 445 S. Magnolia Avenue between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, or 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. Saturday.

Online and phone ticket purchases are subject to handling fees. Prices, shows, artists, dates and times are subject to change at any time without notice. Groups of 10 or more contact groups@drphillipscenter.org or 407.455.5550.

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Give Kids the World Challenge for Hope 5K Run

I am BEYOND honored to be one of this year’s Give Kids the World Challenge for Hope 5K Ambassadors, and I hope that you will join me on December 8th!!!
Give Kids The World Challenge For Hope 5K Run 2018
Photo: Give Kids The World

Gates To Whimsical Village Open December 8 For Give Kids The World Annual Challenge For Hope 5K Run

Orlando, Fla.

There’s excitement in the air as Give Kids The World Village prepares to open its gates. On December 8, 2018 the public will have a rare opportunity to see inside GKTW during its annual Challenge For Hope 5K Run taking place from 7 to 9  a.m.

Families, wish family alumni, volunteers and the public can walk, run, roll or stroll along a 5K course, while being immersed in the wonder, happiness and hope that happens every day in the Village. A highlight of the event is the opportunity to experience the seven themed nights of entertainment and characters that families enjoy during their wish trips.  Those registered for the Challenge For Hope 5K will be cheered on by Village guests, along with wish families who have stayed in the past and are coming back in support with fond memories.

“We love that all kinds of groups in Central Florida are making the Challenge For Hope an annual tradition,” said Pamela Landwirth, President & CEO of Give Kids The World. “This is such a special event for us, because it gives people a chance to experience the Village – to really see what we do and connect with our mission. We’re so grateful to everyone who comes out.” said Pamela Landwirth, President & CEO of Give Kids The World.

“What makes this particular event so special for us is that it allows us to share our mission and our hope right here with the community where we reside, and beyond.”

Residing in Kissimmee, Fla., this magical resort can be a mystery to Floridians who have heard of but never had the chance to see the fairytale Village where wishes come true. It’s the magic that provides weeklong, cost-free wish vacations to critically ill children and their families from all over the world

General Registration for the Challenge For Hope 5K is $35 per person online at www.ChallengeForHope.org or $50 per person on event day.  Children five years and under are free.  Safe and comfortable costumes welcome! Free off-site parking with shuttle service will be provided at Plaza Del Sol, 3831 W. Vine Street, Kissimmee, FL 34741 and at Medieval Times, 4510 Street, Kissimmee, FL 34746, starting at 5 a.m.  Strollers and wheelchairs acceptable.  Bicycles, roller skates, in-line skates, skateboards and dogs not permitted. Registration opens onsite from 6 to 7 a.m.  Shuttles return to parking lot 9 to 10 a.m.

With the help of many generous individuals and corporations, Give Kids The World serves close to 8,000 families each year.  Truly, there’s only one Give Kids The World Village in the world.

Give Kids The World is an 84-acre, nonprofit resort that offers weeklong, cost-free vacations to critically ill children and their families. The Village provides families accommodations in fully-furnished villas, transportation, tickets to theme parks, meals, daily entertainment and much more. Since 1986, more than 165,000 children and families from all 50 states and over 75 countries have had their dreams fulfilled at a whimsical Village unlike any other place on earth.

For more information on Challenge For Hope, contact Omar Elkalyoubie at Omare@gktw.org or (407) 396-1114, ext. 4540.

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Epcot International Festival of Holidays Must Do’s and Tips

Disclosure: I was an invited guest of the Walt Disney World Resort to experience the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, however all opinions are 100% my own.

Epcot International Festival of Holidays Must Do’s and Tips 2018

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.

The Epcot International Festival of Holidays fills the park with holiday magic, international seasonal delicacies, captivating live entertainment, and festive decor daily until December 30th. And the best gift of all? Most of what you can experience is included with your theme park admission!

The Festival is a great way for families to learn about and even celebrate Holiday traditions from around the world, and at this year’s Epcot International Festival of Holidays you can also experience a new Holiday Cookie Stroll as well as new food and beverage items at Holiday Kitchens throughout Epcot.

With so much to do, I thought I would share my Epcot International Festival of the Holidays must do’s and tips!

Top 7 Epcot International Festival of the Holidays Must Do’s and Tips

Try a tasty teats at the Holiday Kitchens

At the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays  you can savor holiday dishes and beverages from across the globe at 12 specialty kitchens set around the park’s World Showcase.

Epcot International Festival of Holidays Must Do’s and Tips 2018
The L’Chaim Holiday Kitchen is new this year, and the potato knish with herb sour cream was AMAZING!!!

New items this year include black forest roulade with cherry whipped cream at the Bavaria Holiday Kitchen in the Germany pavilion and sofrito-marinated beef with sweet plantains, and olives at the Feast of the Three Kings Holiday Kitchen.

AND a brand-new kitchen this year, L’Chaim!, will feature traditional Jewish dishes such as pastrami on rye, chicken and matzo ball soup, and more. I can tell you that this Holiday Kitchen is an ABSOLUTE MUST DO!!!!

If you want to find out a COMPLETE list of what you can find at each Holiday Kitchen, visit the official Festival website to plan your culinary celebration!

Tip – If you want to sample dishes at the Holiday Kitchens, you can stay on budget by using Disney Gift Cards! Also, don’t forget to register your card on disneygiftcard.com, because if you lose the card you can still have access to the money you’ve loaded onto the card.

Three words…Holiday Cookie Stroll

New this year is the Holiday Cooke Stroll where you can enjoy delicious cookies from cookie stroll locations around World Showcase.

Epcot International Festival of Holidays Must Do’s and Tips 2018
Here’s a list of all the cookies on the stroll!

As you enjoy the cookies you will collect stamps for each one in your Holiday Passport, and if you get all five stamps you will be rewarded with a complimentary “completer” cookie and a cold glass of milk!

Tip – You don’t have to eat all all five cookies in one day, but I won’t stop you…you have until December 30th to present your completed passport for the Cooke Stroll.

Candlelight Processional

Candlelight Processional is the heart of Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays, and is a retelling of the story of Christmas by a celebrity narrator accompanied by a full choir and a 50-piece orchestra in a performance that inspires joy and fills you with the holiday spirit.

Epcot International Festival of Holidays Must Do’s and Tips 2018

This elegant showcase is performed three times nightly at 5:00 PM, 6:45 PM and 8:15 PM through December 30th at the America Gardens Theatre in Epcot’s World Showcase.

Here’s a list of this year’s remaining celebrity narrators:

  • NEW! Alfonso Ribeiro – November 27, 2018
  • Robby Benson – November 28 to 30, 2018
  • John Stamos – December 1 to 2, 2018
  • Neil Patrick Harris – December 3 to 6, 2018
  • Whoopi Goldberg – December 7 to 9, 2018
  • NEW! Bart Millard – December 10 to 12, 2018
  • Blair Underwood – December 13 to 14, 2018
  • Gary Sinise – December 15 to 17, 2018
  • Pat Sajak – December 18 to 20, 2018
  • NEW! Auli’i Cravalho – December 21 to 23, 2018
  • Edward James Olmos – December 24 to 25, 2018
  • Jodi Benson – December 26 to 27, 2018
  • Cal Ripken Jr. – December 28 to 30, 2018
Tip -Seating for Candlelight Processional can get quite packed, so if there is a celebrity narrator that you MUST see consider taking advantage of a Candlelight Processional Dining Package. You can choose to enjoy a delicious breakfast, lunch, or dinner at some of the tastiest restaurants in Epcot and the adjacent Disney’s BoardWalk Resort and Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts followed by reserved seating at a performance of the Candlelight Processional. To reserve Candlelight Dining Packages, call (407) WDW-DINE.

Storytellers and Holiday Entertainment

Another MUST DO for the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is to stroll the World Showcase stopping to see costumed performers bring the traditions of their home countries to Epcot with holiday stories and music, along with a variety of other international festive entertainment.

Epcot International Festival of Holidays Must Do’s and Tips 2018
The new Hanukkah Storyteller (located between Morocco and France)
Tip – As soon as you get into the park pick up a times guide (or two) for the week, because this is the only way to find out what times performances are happening in each pavilion.

Chip ’n Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree

Chip & Dale are on a scavenger hunt, collecting ornaments for their Christmas tree—and they need your help!

Epcot International Festival of Holidays Must Do’s and Tips 2018
Here’s a look at this year’s map!

To get started, simply purchase a map and stickers ($6.99 plus tax) from select merchandise locations including Pin Central, Disney Traders, and World Traveler at International Gateway.

As you travel around World Showcase, be on the lookout for Chip & Dale in each World Showcase pavilion.

Once you spot them, add the corresponding ornament sticker to your map.

Then, take your completed map to Disney Traders or World Traveler and exchange it for a festive surprise, courtesy of Chip & Dale!

Tip – Look carefully for Chip & Dale on wreaths on the Holiday Kitchen buildings…some are hard to find, so be patient!!!

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth

The Illuminations: Reflections of Earth nighttime spectacular of fireworks, special effects, flame torches and more includes a special holiday finale nightly until December 30, 2018.

Epcot International Festival of Holidays Must Do’s and Tips 2018
This is the view from the area between France and the United Kingdom pavilions.

This will be the final holiday season for IllumiNations, as the show is currently scheduled to conclude at the end of summer 2019, with new thrills on World Showcase Lagoon set to debut immediately afterward (more on this soon).

Tip – While most of the fireworks and special effects take place in the air, I still like to arrive 30 minutes before Illuminations: Reflections of Earth begins (make sure to check your times guide) to find a spot close to the water so I can see all of the magic!

Meet Santa and Mrs. Claus

If you are looking to take an iconic Holiday photo, head to The American Adventure pavilion where you can pose for a photo and share their holiday wishes with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

Tip – The lines to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus can get quite long, so if you are visiting with little ones try to have one adult wait in line while the other adult keeps the little elves busy with the Kidcot Fun Spot at the pavilion or by grabbing a snack from the nearby Holiday Kitchen.

Epcot International Festival of Holidays Must Do’s and Tips 2018

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D23 Announces 2019 Events for 10 FAN-TASTIC Years

D23 2019 Event Listing

D23 Announces New Slate of Magical Events to Delight Disney Fans Across the Country

BURBANK, Calif.

In 2019, D23: The Official Disney Fan Club will celebrate its 10th anniversary and, to mark the occasion, D23 is adding extra pixie dust to some of its most popular events while introducing new experiences, as well.

RETURN TO WALT’S BIRTHPLACE

In 2016 and 2017, D23 Members had the amazing opportunity to visit Walt Disney’s birthplace in Chicago. The home, which is being restored, was constructed by Walt’s father, Elias, and designed by his mother, Flora. This June, D23 Members will have the chance to see the incredible progress made on bringing the home back to its initial glory.

SCREENINGS ON THE WALT DISNEY STUDIOS LOT AND AT WALT DISNEY WORLD RESORT

Throughout the year, D23 will once again offer special screenings on both coasts of classic Disney favorites. As part of D23’s anniversary celebration, all the films screened will also be celebrating milestones, including Up (10th anniversary), Sleeping Beauty(60th), Lucasfilm’s Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (35th), and The Lion King (25th).

THE OFFICIAL WALT DISNEY STUDIOS TOUR—PRESENTED BY D23

D23 Gold Member-exclusive tours of the historic Studio lot return and, for 2019, the tour—traditionally held four times a year—will run monthly starting in March and will include VIP experiences on select tours. Guests are able to take a look inside the Walt Disney Archives and see Walt Disney’s office suite during the tour, which offers fans a unique perspective on historic moments from Disney films, television shows, and theme parks.

D23’S LUNCH WITH A DISNEY LEGEND

Beginning in January, D23 brings back these exclusive luncheons with Disney luminaries. This year, D23 will be crossing the country so more fans than ever can enjoy the opportunity to meet Disney Legends and hear their fascinating stories, including an intimate lunch with Linda Larkin—the speaking voice of Jasmine in Aladdin—in New York City next April.

D23 HEADS TO THE HOLLOW

To celebrate the 70th anniversary of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow—and its infamous headless villain—D23 will hold a special event in Sleepy Hollow, New York,  with a screening, special guests, reception, and more.

ADVANCE SCREENINGS

 Next year, D23 Members can look forward to a host of exclusive, advance screenings across the country in partnership with our friends from The Walt Disney Studios. This year, D23 brought movie magic to 35 cities across the country, including Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Houston, New York City, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Plus, this year D23 Members attended the red-carpet premiere of Disney’s Christopher Robin. D23 Gold Members across the U.S. will once again be selected at random to receive complimentary movie passes, and in honor of D23’s 10 years, 10,000 pairs of tickets will be sent throughout 2019.

SIGNATURE EVENTS

 D23 will bring back foodie favorite Sip & Stroll during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Walt Disney Imagineering’s exclusive merchandise store, Mickey’s of Glendale, will open its doors to members. Guests at Walt Disney World Resort will once again make the holiday season bright next December, and on the West Coast, members will be invited back to The Walt Disney Studios to Light Up the Season. The Walt Disney Family Museum will extend a warm welcome to Gold Members for an exclusive look at a new exhibit in May. Also, D23’s Behind-the-Scenes Experiences will return, offering exclusive, one-of-a-kind events to D23 Gold and Gold Family Members.

MEMBER MIXERS

 After mixing and mingling at complimentary gatherings in places such as Houston, Seattle, and San Diego in 2018, D23 will bring more mixers to U.S. cities in 2019, including a special San Diego Comic-Con mixer to celebrate Marvel Comics’ 80th anniversary.

D23 EXPO 2019

 The Ultimate Disney Fan Event returns. It’s D23’s biggest event of the year, when all of Disney’s wonderful worlds come together once again August 23–25, 2019, at the Anaheim Convention Center for three magical days of once-in-a-lifetime live performances, star-studded presentations, exclusive collectibles, and more celebrating Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars.

FANNIVERSARY

Plus, 2019 will mark a year-long Fanniversary celebration for D23’s 10th anniversary. Every year, D23 honors a Disney favorite that has reached a milestone anniversary. And in celebration of a decade of D23, the Fanniversary will continue all year long with additional special events to be announced, new member discounts, and more.

Dates, ticketing information, and more D23 events will be announced throughout the year. Full details on D23’s lineup of 2019 special events can be found on the Fan Club’s website at www.D23.com/events. Additional dates will be posted soon. All events and dates are subject to change.

Current D23 2019 event calendar:

  • January 25: Lunch with a Disney Legend: TBA, Burbank, Calif.
  • January 26: The Official Walt Disney Studios Tour—Presented by D23, Burbank, Calif.
  • February 16: D23’s Magical Screening Series: Sleeping Beauty, Burbank, Calif.
  • February 16: D23’s Magical Screening Series: Sleeping Beauty, Walt Disney World Resort
  • April: Lunch with a Disney Legend, Linda Larkin, New York City
  • April 7: The Official Walt Disney Studios Tour—Presented by D23 (Gold Family exclusive), Burbank, Calif.
  • May: The Walt Disney Family Museum event for Mickey Mouse Exhibit, San Francisco, Calif.
  • May 4: D23’s Magical Screening Series: The Lion King, Walt Disney World Resort
  • May 11: D23’s Magical Screening Series: The Lion King, Burbank, Calif.
  • June: Return to Walt’s Birthplace: TBA, Chicago
  • June: Lunch with a Disney Legend: Legend and location TBA
  • June 22: The Official Walt Disney Studios Tour—Presented by D23, Burbank, Calif.
  • July 20: D23 Member Mixer celebrating 90 years of Marvel Comics, San Diego, Calif.
  • August 23-25: D23 Expo 2019, Anaheim, Calif.
  • September 21: D23’s Magical Screening Series: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Walt Disney World Resort
  • September 28: D23’s Magical Screening Series: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Burbank, Calif.
  • October: Lunch with a Disney Legend: Legend and location TBA
  • October 21: Sip & Stroll, Walt Disney World Resort
  • October 26: D23 Heads to the Hollow, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y.
  • November 9: The Official Walt Disney Studios Tour—Presented by D23, Burbank, Calif.
  • November 16: D23’s Magical Screening Series: Up, Walt Disney World Resort
  • November 23: D23’s Magical Screening Series: Up, Burbank, Calif.
  • December: D23 Holiday Event at Walt Disney World Resort
  • December: Light Up the Season with D23, Burbank, Calif.

D23 disney twenty-three Fanniversary D23 Destination D Disney D23 Expo

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Holidays in Space at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Holidays in Space Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Christmas is Out of This World During Holidays in Space at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Annual Holiday event takes place December 14 – 30 adding an extra five days of holiday sparkle

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.

The annual “Holidays in Space” celebration at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex returns with a new kinetic light show and breathtaking holiday décor.

This year’s new show begins on December 14 and happens every night through December 30 (with the exception of Christmas Day). Which means that the event will take place a full five days longer than in previous years.

Holidays in Space KSCVC 2018

The reimagined show, appropriately wrapped like a present, will feature a fanciful kinetic light presentation on the Atlantis North Lawn.

Beginning at 5 p.m. each evening, the inspired production will feature jaw-dropping surprises and a rainbow of colors and special effects second only to the planets, comets and stars in the galaxy.

“Our Holidays in Space celebration gets better and better each year and 2018 is no exception,” said Therrin Protze, chief operating officer, Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. “It’s an exciting time for space exploration with the recent 60th anniversary of NASA, and the upcoming 50th anniversary of the Moon landing and our holiday season here is designed to share our pride and excitement.”

Holidays in Space Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Also new this year will be a holiday-themed kids activity area in the Atlantis West Pavilion. Families can look forward to hours of fun, with special kids’ activities offered from December 26 – 30.

If you are looking for a uniquely ‘Florida’ holiday event, you will want to look no further than Holidays in Space at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex! The event is a great way to cap off you visit to the mesmerizing attraction,

For more information or to book a visit to Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, click here.

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Holidays at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel Christmas
Photo: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

Holiday festivities and Santa return to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

Santa and Mrs. Claus return for their annual vacation, bringing holiday décor and festivities throughout the season

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.

Santa, Mrs. Claus and their elf, Kandy Kane, return for their annual holiday vacation to the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort, Santa’s favorite resort, as part of the resort’s 2018 holiday season celebration.

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel
Photo: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

In addition to the meet and greets with the North Pole visitors in their vacation attire, other holiday favorites including bedtime elf tuck-ins, a dancing lights show and 2,000-pound life-size holiday scene made entirely from chocolate all return to create a festive atmosphere for guests.

Guest who make reservations at www.santasfavoriteresort.com can receive holiday season room rates up to 10 percent off at the Epcot Resort Area resort.

The full slate of Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort holiday activities include:

Santa and Mrs. Claus Meet and Greets

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel Christmas Santa and Mrs. Claus on the balcony
Photo: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

Santa, Mrs. Claus and Kandy Kane, decked out in their favorite Florida vacation attire, will meet guests in Santa’s customized Tiki hut on select nights starting Nov. 23. This unique holiday photo opportunity is filled with Florida flair featuring reindeer, palm trees, flamingos and holiday cheer.

A Florida Snowfall and Tree Lighting Ceremony

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort’s holiday tree, showcasing continuously changing lights, returns to brighten up the holidays. Throughout December, guests can experience the transformation of the lobby into a festive holiday scene featuring the state-of-the-art 24-foot-tall Christmas tree. Regularly timed indoor snowfalls complete the holiday scene. On select nights, guests can join Mrs. Claus in the Dolphin lobby for the lighting of the Christmas tree starting at 6 p.m. The ceremony is followed by hot holiday beverages and crafts for kids at Santa’s Tiki Hut.

Bedtime Elf Tuck-Ins

Holidays walt disney world swan and dolphin - elf tuck in
Photo: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

Santa’s elves are making their return to bring holiday joy to children staying at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. On select nights starting Nov. 30, elves will deliver milk in a souvenir cup, cookies and a storybook to resort rooms. Elves, dressed in full costume, will also read a bedtime story and tuck children on Santa’s nice list into bed. Price varies by date and a service charge of 24 percent is added, in addition to tax. Reservations are required, and space is limited. To book, call 407-934-4206.

Life-Size Chocolate Holiday Santa Scene

 

Holidays walt disney world swan and dolphin - chocolate santa
Photo: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

Constructed entirely of chocolate, this life-size sculpture weighs approximately 2,000 pounds! The sculpture, created by two-time world pastry champion and the resort’s executive pastry chef, Laurent Branlard, is showcased in the lobby of the Swan. It features chocolate Santa sitting in his chair; a 7-foot-tall, 400-pound chocolate nutcracker; chocolate fireplace; chocolate Christmas tree; and chocolate toy train.

The scene will be displayed in the lobby of the resort throughout December and is 100 percent edible. However, any chocolate lovers thinking of taking on the challenge of consuming this enormous sweet should consider that it is 4 million calories! (And unfortunately, the sculpture is not available for tasting.)

Dancing Lights Show

A dazzling musical light show transforms the outdoor causeway each evening into a holiday spectacle with dancing illuminated palm trees and favorite holiday tunes. The performances occur regularly from sunset through 10 p.m.

Magic Keys for Santa on Christmas Eve

How will Santa deliver presents to each guest room without a chimney? With a magic key of course! Children can hang a magic key on their door to help Santa find his way on Christmas Eve. Magic keys are available on Dec. 24 at the concierge desk.

Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel
Photo: Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

For more details about all the holiday excitement, including a full schedule of activities, at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort or to make room reservations, please visit www.santasfavoriteresort.com or call           1-800-227-1500.

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Top 10 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Tips

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is a really fun way to ring in the holiday season, and since attending the party is a splurge for most families here are some of my best tips for making the most of your time at the celebration:

Top 10 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Tips

Tickets for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party vary by date, so make sure you pick the best date for your schedule and wallet. Also, on select nights there are discounts for Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members. Also remember that while the party officially starts at 7 pm, you can enter the park with your Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party ticket starting at 4 pm.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party Ticket Prices

When you are entering the Magic Kingdom, make sure to grab a Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party event map…in fact grab more than one since you will be referencing it often during the celebration.

A lot of the entertainment happens around the hub in front of Cinderella Castle, so if catching as many of those as you can is a priority consider grabbing a spot that allows you to see several of the offerings at once.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party 2018

Little ones getting restless? Head over to Club Tinsel, inside of Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe, where they can dance with holiday friends and get out some energy.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

There are several attractions opens throughout the park during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, but if rides aren’t your priority I still recommend taking a spin on the Jingle Cruise.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party 2018

There are several party exclusive treats this year that are only available after the party begins at 7pm, however if you use the My Disney Experience app to mobile order you’ll find them before the party starts. (I 10 out of 10 recommend the Feliz Navidad Nachos at Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe!)

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party 2018
I **promise** there are nachos under all these toppings!!!

If you see merchandise you really want to purchase or a party exclusive photopass picture you want to take…do it right away! As the night goes on, lines can get longer and/or you may find yourself on the other side of the park.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Don’t forget to pick up your Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party exclusive Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card from the Firehouse on Main Street U.S.A.

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party 2018

After the fireworks, a sizable portion of the attendees at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will leave the park, so it is always a good idea to watch the second parade. BUT keep in mind that A Frozen Holiday Wish and Holiday Wishes fireworks only happen once during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

Wordless Wednesday Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Skipping the first parade also means shorter wait times for treats and attractions during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! Yes, you are seeing at 5 minute wait for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin!

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party 2018 Also, don’t forget to check out my Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Guide before you go to help plan your night!

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Know Before You Go: Now Snowing in Celebration, Florida

Celebration Now Snowing Logo

Celebration, Florida’s Now Snowing event celebrates 20 years of snow

Now Snowing, Central Florida’s original and premier “Snowing” event, offers one of the area’s only synthetic ice rinks, special community performances by some of the area’s top young talent, and special concert events throughout the season.

Now Snowing is a month-long Winter Wonderland Spectacular featuring strolling Charles Dickens style Carolers, photos with Santa, horse drawn carriage rides, ice skating, train rides, and nightly snowfall at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 PM. It’s a true throwback to the traditional family style holiday.

In addition to the everyday fun at Now Snowing Nightly, you can catch A Countdown to Christmas on December 15th – an evening filled with young talent from across the United States and featuring talent seen on national television and radio, and more. These free concerts are in addition to the everyday fun already a part of Now Snowing.

A special Radio Disney Holiday concert filled with surprise performances will take place on December 8th. Past performances have included All-Star Weekend, Drew Seeley, Ryan Beatty, Justin Bieber, Keke Palmer and more.

Now Snowing Celebration Florida 2018
Parking is Free in Open Lots. The town will enforce parking laws, and tow vehicles illegally parked or parked in unauthorized areas at owner’s expense. Please pay close attention to parking and street signs.

** Additional Parking available at the Celebration K-8 School- $5.00 donation **

Now Snowing Celebration Florida 2018Free Nightly Snowfall at 6:00, 7:00, 8:00 and 9:00 PM

everyday November 24th-December 31st *

*weather permitting. Inoperable during heavy rain or temperatures below 32 degree (F)

ICE SKATING

Now Snowing Celebration Florida 2018

Cost to Skate*: $10.00 (ice skates included) for 30 minutes of skating

Hours:  4:00 pm-10:00 pm Nightly November 24th-December 31st.

For more Information: 407-566-2526

*Synthetic ice rink

CELEBRATION EXPRESS TRAIN

Now Snowing Celebration Florida 2018

Cost: $5.00

Hours:  5:00 pm-close Nightly November 24th-December 31st.

For more Information: 407-566-1500

HORSE AND CARRIAGE RIDES

Now Snowing Celebration Florida 2018

Cost:

Cinderella Carriage $65.00 for up to four riders, $10 each additional

Christmas Sleigh: $55.00 for up to four riders, $10 each additional

Vis a Vis (Small Carriage): $45.00 for up to four riders, $10 each additional

Wagon Rides: $5.00 per person

(infants under 1 year of age-no charge)

Hours:  5:00 pm-close Nightly November 24th-December 31st.

For more Information: 321-624-6380

SANTA PHOTOS

Now Snowing Celebration Florida 2018Cost: Depends on Package Purchased

Hours:  5:30-9:00 PM Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturday and Sunday through December 24th and 6:00-9:00 PM Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays through December 24th

For more Information: 407-512-0662 or visit towncenterphotos.com

Wednesdays November 28th, December 5th, December 12th, and December 19th.

The event is brought to you by Lexin Capital, and sponsored in part by the Celebration Town Tavern, and Experience Kissimmee.

Now Snowing Nightly parking and admission are free. Celebration is conveniently located between Highway 192 and interstate 4 near Walt Disney World.

For more information on Celebration Town Center and Special Events visit us on the web at www.celebrationtowncenter.com or call (407) 566-4007.

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Light Up UCF Brings Holiday Fun to the CFE Arena

Light Up UCF 2018 Details

Light Up UCF returns for its eleventh annual season at the CFE Arena

Residents and visitors of Central Florida can expect snowy nights and sparkling lights with a spectacular light show, outdoor skating rink, exciting holiday attractions and more during Light Up UCF!

ORLANDO, Fla.

They’re spreading holiday cheer at CFE Arena and the University of Central Florida with the annual holiday festival, Light Up UCF, from Friday, November 16 through Tuesday, January 1.

This year’s festival offers 47 nights of ice skating, a world- class choreographed light show with new music, free holiday movies, live entertainment, rides like the Ferris Wheel and Light Up Express kids train, and much more.

At Light Up UCF, there is complimentary fun for all ages to enjoy!

The Holiday Light Show features more than 200,000 lights pulsing and strobing throughout the night in perfect synchronization to holiday songs under snowfall.

On select Friday and Saturday nights, the Holiday Film Festival encourages families to gather under the stars and view their favorite holiday films on a 2-story high screen, including titles like “It’s a Wonderful Life”, “The Santa Clause”, “Elf”, “Home Alone”, and more.

You can also walk through Light Up Lane for a beautifully lit Christmas tree forest with the sounds and smells of the holidays.

Then on select nights, Santa will be on location to hear all your Christmas wishes, with photos available for purchase.

Light Up UCF 2018
Photo: Light Up UCF

The Light Up UCF Ice Rink, an ultimate fan favorite, returns yet again as a staple of the festivities. The ice rink invites guests to glide along to their favorite Top 40 hits and holiday tunes, played by a live DJ.

Light Up UCF boasts a range of exciting rides for everyone.

The Ferris Wheel treats guests to panoramic views overlooking the entire event and UCF’s beautiful campus.

Light Up UCF 2018
Photo: Light Up UCF

Other family-friendly thrills include the Light Up Express Train, taking children for a holiday-themed train ride; the Arctic Glide Ice Slide where guests can slide down a 100-foot ice hill; and the Winter Whirl, taking guests on an exciting swing.

The entertainment continues on the Community Stage where local talents are invited to showcase their skills.

Keep the holiday cheer going on Saturday, December 15 and Friday, December 21 when Light Up UCF welcomes back its Holiday Market ‘Under The Stars’ for two special nights!

Light Up UCF 2018 -
Photo: Light Up UCF Facebook Page

Guests are encouraged to take a stroll through the market where they can marvel at the crafts of talented local artisans, all while finalizing their holiday gift shopping.

Tickets for ice skating, rides, and photos with Santa can be purchased at the CFE Arena Box Office. Select tickets are also available for purchase through Ticketmaster or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

More information for all Light Up UCF events can be found at www.LightUpUCF.com.

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Island H2O Live! Water Park At Margaritaville Resort Orlando

Margaritaville Resort Orlando Announces Island H2O Live! Water Park

Margaritaville Resort Orlando Announces Island H2O Live! Water Park Details

Island H2O Live! water park set to bring chills and thrills to Central Florida in Spring 2019

I don’t know about you, but I am STOKED for the opening of the Margaritaville Resort Orlando in Spring 2019!

And as I’ve been driving by the site, I can’t help but notice the HUGE water park area that is taking shape next to 192 in Kissimmee.

Today I was excited to learn that Central Florida’s newest and most immersive water park will be called Island H2O Live!, and will be opening with the Margaritaville Resort Orlando in Spring 2019.

Island H2O Live! will unleash the power of pure play and enthusiasm with nine different thrill rides, a lazy river, a wave pool, a kids’ area, and a river raft ride for the whole family. Designed to enable guests to customize their experience and share it with the world, the park uses a new RFID wristband system that will enable guests to personalize the music and lighting they experience on select rides, making every time very unique.

The park, owned by Horizon Waterpark, LLC and developed in collaboration with Encore Capital Management and Innovative Attraction Management, will change the way people think about water parks.

Island H2O Live Park Map Rendering
Margaritaville Resort Orlando

“Water parks are known for exhilarating rides and attractions, but Island H2O Live! will let guests be playful in interactive ways that have never been seen before,” said Albo Antenucci Jr., Executive in Charge, Horizon Waterpark, LLC. “These incredible opportunities for engagement will be what Island H2O Live! is all about.”

BEHIND THE TECHNOLOGY

The wristband system at Island H2O Live! is called Vantage and is the latest offering from water slide manufacturer WhiteWater West.

The Vantage system works through an app that guests download either before or when they arrive. Once they arrive at the park, guests sync the app to their wristbands and the fun begins, as a scanner on certain slides will read their wristband and automatically play songs and lighting effects from the previously established selections.

On some slides, the technology will enable cameras to snap pictures and video and share the content directly to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, or other social media sites. Guests can also use their creativity and personal style to produce their own slide experience by choosing music playlists, lighting preferences and tagging their social media handles for easy sharing.

Another high-tech feature: “Be Live” invites guests to sing karaoke or star in other audio/visual experiences with clips from these sessions shared through the app.
The gamified app also allows guests to earn loyalty points with every ride. Guests can win prizes such as free food and beverage items, skip-the-line passes, and more.

“These features speak to the ‘Live’ part of our name,” Albo Antenucci Jr. “Customization offers guests the creative space to develop their own adventures, to be in the moment, but then capture those moments and share them in real-time.”

Margaritaville Resort Orlando The Island Rendering Island H2O Live
Margaritaville Resort Orlando

PERSONALIZED PARADISE

The experience at Island H2O Live! will be all about creating your own, unique, customized experience. For those looking to soak in the island vibe, listen to music, and have some chill with their thrill, tropically-inspired havens will abound with hammocks, cabanas and soft sand beaches around every turn and adult-only areas will offer cocktails only steps from your beach chair.

To keep the fun going. Island H20 Live! is within walking distance or a short trolley ride to Margaritaville Orlando Resort hotel and cottages, and Sunset Walk, the resort’s retail, dining and entertainment district featuring everything from Studio Movie Grill, to Rock & Brews, BurgerFi, Capone’s, Ford’s Garage, GameTime, Sketchers and more.

AFFORDABLE FUN

Island H20 Live! admission will offer the most fun you can have in the water at a great value. Please visit IslandH2OLive.com for specific ticket pricing or to book tickets call 407-910-1401.

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Check Out the Winter Issue of Disney Twenty-Three

2018 Winter Issue Disney twenty-three d23

Check Out What’s Inside the Winter Issue of Disney Twenty-Three

A Practically Perfect Issue of Disney Twenty-Three Celebrates Mary Poppins Returns

Director Rob Marshall and Stars Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda Take Us Inside The Next Chapter of the Beloved Nanny’s Story

Plus, the Stars of Ralph Breaks The Internet, New Details on Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway Coming Next Year to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and All the Enchantment of Kingdom Hearts Iii

The world’s most beloved nanny will fly back into our lives when Mary Poppins Returns lands in theaters this December, and D23: The Official Disney Fan Club gives readers an early look at the next chapter in the lives of Mary and the Banks family.Disney twenty-three was on the London set of the Rob Marshall-helmed movie musical and spoke exclusively with the director as well as the film’s stars, Emily Blunt and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Plus, readers will get a look at Practically Poppins in Every Way, a stunning new book that chronicles the character on the page, in song, on the big screen, and on Broadway.

disney twenty three winter 2018 d23 - marry poppins front cover

And before Poppins returns, another Disney favorite is returning, when Ralph Breaks the Internet hits screens this Thanksgiving. Directors Rich Moore and Phil Johnston and Vanellope herself, Sarah Silverman, guide us through the excitement Wreck-It Ralph will face in the wacky and wild World Wide Web. And the back cover of the new issue features an exclusive image created for D23 of the duo (lovingly) wrecking the Disney twenty-three logo.

The first Mickey Mouse-themed ride-through attraction is coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios next year, and the Imagineers behind Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway offer up exciting new details about the exhilarating exploits that will await guests (and the beloved pair) when they climb aboard this thrilling attraction. Plus, the creative minds behind the video game Kingdom Hearts III reveal what’s to come from the latest installment of the epic adventure, which opens up the worlds of Pixar and Frozen in spectacular ways.

And this December, D23.com will once again kick off D23 Days of Christmas, a celebration of the holidays with original stories, videos, crafts, recipes, and downloadables. The theme of this year’s seasonal celebration is the cartoon featurette Mickey’s Christmas Carol, which has its 35th anniversary this year, and to kick off the fun, D23 sat down with animator Mark Henn and Disney Legend Burny Mattinson to talk about the making of the heartwarming classic. Plus, the issue offers a look at how guests can enjoy holiday magic—including unique Christmas trees delivered right to their doors at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts—as well as a photographic journey through the annual Disney Parks Christmas Parade, which has been bringing cheer to fans on ABC for three decades.

disney twenty three winter 2018 d23 - wreck it ralph cover

Also included in the Winter issue of Disney twenty-three:

  • Every bit of magic (or just about) coming from Disney in 2019—from theme parks and movies to television and beyond
  • The rededication of Stage A to Sherman Brothers Stage A, as Disney Legend Richard Sherman reflects on the honor
  • A reflection on Tinker Bell’s timeless charm and enduring legacy
  • A close look at Disney Legend Peter Ellenshaw’s background artwork for 1964’s Mary Poppins, which makes an appearance in the new film
  • From the Desk of: El Capitan Theatre organist Rob Richards
  • Regular features including By the Numbers, Character Analysis, D Society, and Ask Dave

Disney twenty-three, which is delivered directly to fans’ doorsteps, is offered exclusively to D23 Gold and Gold Family Members as a benefit of their membership. The latest issue will begin arriving in mid-November.

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Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Guide 2018

November 2018 Theme Park Events - Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Walt Disney Word Resort

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Guide 2018

Everything you need to know to plan a festive evening at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!

There’s no better way to celebrate Christmas than a evening at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World!

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a special hard ticketed event not included with regular theme park admission, takes place on November 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29 and 30; and December 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20 and 21 from 7pm until midnight.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party gives guests the opportunity to meet with some of their favorite Disney friends in their holiday finest, enjoy holiday entertainment, exclusive fireworks, a high-energy parade, complimentary treats throughout the park, and more topped off with a ‘snowfall’ on Main Street U.S.A.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Treats

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Let’s talk about those complimentary treats you can find during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, because it is more than just hot cocoa and sugar cookies!

Throughout the Magic Kingdom there are seven locations, marked with a giant inflatable candy stick, offering a wide variety of holiday treats until midnight.

Here is a list of where you can find the treats throughout the Magic Kingdom:

  • Tortuga Tavern (Adventureland): Snowman Soft Pretzel and Blue Sno-Cone
  • Liberty Square Ticket Office (Liberty Square): Ginger Molasses Cookie and Eggnog
  • Pete’s Silly Sideshow (Storybook Circus): Peppermint Crunch Cookie and Nesquik Chocolate Milk
  • Pinocchio Village Haus (Fantasyland): A variety of Holiday Favorite cookies and Hot Chocolate & Apple Cider
  • The Friar’s Nook (Fantasyland): Variety of DOVE Chocolate and Chilled Sparkling Apple Cider
  • Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe (Tomorrowland): Snickerdoodle Cookie and Hot Chocolate
  • Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies (Tomorrowland): Santa Claus Cookie and Blue Sno-Cone

If you have dietary concerns, there are allergy-friendly and alternative healthy options available upon request at each location.

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Entertainment

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Another huge part of the celebration is the event exclusive holiday entertainment, and this year the returning favorites are fantastic! 

  • Mickey’s Most Merriest Celebration: Mickey and his pals invite some of their friends over for an unforgettable Christmas party filled with music, dancing, color and fun on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage! The celebration features medleys of delightful holiday songs both classic and contemporary, along with special effects, magical projections and beloved Disney characters including Woody and Jessie from “Toy Story,” Fantasyland friends such as Peter Pan and Snow White.
  • A Frozen Holiday Wish: Arendelle royalty and their lovable snowman visit Magic Kingdom Park to help everyone feel the wintry chill in the air and love in their hearts. “A Frozen Holiday Wish,” presented on the Castle Forecourt Stage, features Anna, Elsa, Olaf and Kristoff. As a gift to the kingdom, Elsa lets it go and uses her icy powers to transform Cinderella Castle into a sparkling palace of ice. (Keep in mind that this only happens once a night during the party, but will happen before the party officially begins if you arrive early)
  • “A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas”: Buzz Lightyear, Mike Wazowski and Stitch join host Haley Comet for an intergalactic musical revue on the Rockettower Plaza Stage. The show is full of modern twists on classic holiday songs and the coolest dance numbers in town!
  • Club Tinsel: located inside Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café in Tomorrowland, becomes the coolest place to get down with a DJ and some North Pole pals in the cheeriest dance party this side of Santa’s Workshop!
  • The Edge Effect: Experience the incredible vocal harmonies in an unforgettable, a cappella holiday concert live on the the Rockettower Plaza Stage.
  • Storybook Circus Disney Junior Jingle Jam: Young partygoers can get their groove on with their favorite Disney Junior Characters.

Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Once Upon A Christmas Time

Stepping off in Frontierland, the Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade fills the streets of the Magic Kingdom with holiday fun and cheer featuring some of your favorite Disney characters, iconic marching soldiers & prancing reindeer, and ending with the big guy himself.

The Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade happens twice during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and typically the second parade is less crowded. 

Holiday Wishes Fireworks – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season

Wordless Wednesday Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Holiday Wishes Fireworks – Celebrate the Spirit of the Season is the holiday nighttime fireworks and pyrotechnic spectacular that lights up the skies above Cinderella Castle that is set to some familiar and favorite holiday songs with touches of Disney magic.

PLEASE keep in mind that this only happens once during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, so if this is a priority make sure you keep track of the time. The best viewing areas are in front of Cinderella Castle, and while getting there early is still a good idea it isn’t a necessity.

Special Disney Character Appearances during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Throughout the Magic Kingdom you can find characters, their locations are marked on the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party maps with a Mickey Mouse silhouette and in the My Disney Experience app, during the party that are exclusive to the event.

Here are the character locations from 2017’s Mickey Very Merry Christmas Party:

  • Main Street U.S.A.: Santa Claus and Mickey Mouse
  • Adventureland: Aladdin, Jasmine, Genie and Abu, Captain Jack Sparrow, Moana, and Peter Pan
  • Frontierland: The Country Bears
  • Liberty Square: Sandy Claws aka Jack Skellington
  • Fantasyland: Ariel & Prince Eric, Rapunzel & Flynn, Cinderella & Prince Charming, Belle, Pooh & Friends, Seven Dwarfs, Snow White & Prince, Aurora & Prince Phillip, Elena of Avalor, Minnie Mouse, Scrooge McDuck, Donald & Daisy, Santa Goofy, Mary Poppins & Bert, and Tiana & Naveen.
  • Tomorrowland: Nick Wilde & Judy Hopps

It’s important to know that these appearances can change at any time, so make sure you talk to the Cast Members around the entrances to the lines to make sure you are in the correct place.

November 2016 at Walt Disney World Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Photo: Walt Disney World

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Event Merchandise

It wouldn’t be a special event at Walt Disney World without exclusive event merchandise that includes everything from ornaments to MagicBand, and this year the merchandise has a really fun retro vibe. 

Here is where you can find this year’s merchandise:

  • Full Event Collection: Emporium (Main Street U.S.A.), Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe (Liberty Square), Big Top Souvenirs (Storybook Circus), & Mickey’s Star Traders (Tomorrowland) 
  • Trading Pins: Emporium (Main Street U.S.A.), Frontier Trading Post (Frontierland), & Mickey’s Star Traders (Tomorrowland)  
  • MagicBand: Frontier Trading Post (Frontierland)  & Tomorrowland Light & Power Co. (Tomorrowland)
  • Walt Disney World Annual Passholder Merchandise: Emporium (Main Street U.S.A.) & Mickey’s Star Traders (Tomorrowland) 

To purchase Walt Disney World Annual Passholder exclusive merchandise, you will need your Walt Disney World Annual Pass and photo id.

Exclusive Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party PhotoPass Pictures

Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

 This year the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party ‘Magic Shots’ from their PhotoPass photographers are AWESOME!!!

They range from the addition to some of your favorite Disney characters to fun holiday themed videos.

The Disney Parks Blog has examples of all the shots you will find at this year’s party!

New this year at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

This year at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, guests will be able to experience these new offerings during the festivities:

  • Very Merry Morsels Await – Guests will find festive new treats at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, such as the Sugar Rush Jumbo Red Velvet Cupcake or the Vanellope Éclair with rainbow cereal topping.
  • Holiday Music Happening in Tomorrowland – A new a cappella group will sing holiday favorites in Tomorrowland during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Look for them in between performances of “A Totally Tomorrowland Christmas”!
  • New Sweet-and-Savory Party Debuts on Town Square – Tony’s Most Merriest Town Square Party will debut this year as part of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. In this special experience, guests will discover a mix of sweet and savory treats including Tony’s famous meatballs, red velvet cupcakes and much more. The $99/person ticket also includes beer, wine and non-alcoholic beverages, as well as special reserved viewing for Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade.

Purchasing Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Tickets

November 2016 at Walt Disney World Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
Photo: Walt Disney World – Ryan Wendler, photographer

Ticket pricing for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party varies by date and range in price from $95 to $125 plus tax for adults (ages 10 and up), $90 to $120 plus tax for children (ages 3-9), and children under 2 are free.

You will save some by purchasing your tickets in advance, and there are select dates that have discounts for Walt Disney World Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club owners.

As with any & every purchase, I only suggest buying tickets directly from Walt Disney World by using their website or by calling (407) 939-5277. Don’t take the chance that what you purchase is a lump of coal!

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