Tag Archives: Epcot

17 Reasons to Visit Walt Disney World in 2017

With an amazing land set to debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park in 2017, a new festival, a multitude of dining locations and popular returning events, 2017 is shaping up to be an exciting year at the Walt Disney World Resort!

Check out these 17 reasons for your family to visit Walt Disney World Resort in 2017, then email me today to start planning your trip, Diana@destinationsinflorida.com.

1)    “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” Fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

This “out of this world” fireworks spectacular, which returned a few weeks ago to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, uses the latest projections effects, lighting, lasers and pyrotechnics to light up the sky, Star Wars style.

 2)    Rogue One: A Star Wars Story – Inspired additions to Star Wars Launch Bay

Your Clients can celebrate the newest cinematic addition to Star Wars, courtesy of an assortment of props from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

3)    MagicBand 2 Rolls Out

MagicBand 2, the next iteration of bands that offer the same helpful functions as the original bands, have just made their way to select Disney Parks merchandise locations and the Shop Disney Parks app. Stay tuned for more updates!

4)    Exclusive New Star Wars Tour Now Available at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

This seven-hour experience, led by a Star Wars “all-in-the-know” tour guide, allows your Clients to experience Star Tours – The Adventures Continue; get an insider’s tour and meet characters at Star Wars Launch Bay; screen “Star Wars: Path of the Jedi” and enjoy Star Wars-themed menu items at Backlot Express. The tour wraps at the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party, which includes reserved viewing for the show.  Younglings ages 4-12 on the Guided Tour package can also train in the way of The Force in Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. The price is $129 per Guest. Book your Clients today by calling 407-939-7529.

5)    Disney After Hours Events Return January-March

Disney After Hours returns to Magic Kingdom® Park on Jan. 20, 27, Feb. 2, 9, 16, March 2 and 9, 2017. This 3-hour event takes place after the park closes and is only open to a limited number of Guests, which means much shorter lines at 25 attractions, character greetings and more. The cost is $119 per adult or child (tax not included). Book your Clients today by calling 407-827-7185, or online at Disneyworld.com. Tickets are commissionable. Please visit Training & Benefits > Commissions > Walt Disney World Resort Commission Policy for more information.

6)    More Dining to Debut at Disney Springs

Dozens of shopping and dining locations made their debut at Disney Springs  in 2016 – and even more are set to open in 2017! Stay tuned for news and opening dates for Planet Hollywood Observatory, Paddlefish, The Polite Pig, The Edison and Wine Bar George.

7)    Milestone Races for runDisney

It’s the 20th Anniversary of the Walt Disney World Half Marathon. And to celebrate, they’ve made Donald Duck their mascot. Also, in anticipation of the release of “Beauty & The Beast” this spring, runDisney has themed this year’s Princess Half Marathon after the film.

8)    First-Ever Epcot® International Festival of the Arts Begins January 13

Epcot will start 2017 off with a bang, offering a brand new art festival for your Clients to experience. This new offering will run weekends between Jan 13-Feb. 20, 2017 and will showcase visual, culinary and performing arts.

9)    Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Begins March 1

This year’s spring festival will run March 1-May 29, 2017. Festival “firsts” include brand-new topiaries of Belle and Figment, two new outdoor kitchens (bringing the total to 15), and a “Cars” interactive play garden for kids in honor of the upcoming Disney Pixar film, “Cars 3.”

10) New Garden Rocks Dining Packages to debut at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

During the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, dining packages will be available on select days at a number of Epcot restaurants, combining dinner and reserved seating for performances of the Garden Rocks Concert Series. Stay tuned for more details!

11) New Family Raft Ride at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park

Coming this spring, your Clients can enjoy a new family-style raft attraction at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. Planned to be one of the longest Disney water park attractions, this experience will immerse your Clients in the story of treasure hunter, Captain Mary Oceaneer. Guests will gently ascend in treasure rafts, only to plunge into a whitewater adventure where they may encounter some of Mary’s legendary treasure.

12) Boulder Ridge Cove, Geyser Point Bar & Grill Opening Summer 2017

Scheduled to open at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge in summer 2017, Boulder Ridge Cove pool will feature an expanded sun deck and zero-depth-entry pool in what appears to have been an abandoned rock quarry. Geyser Point Bar & Grill, a new quick-service eatery, will be located in the heart of the feature pool area of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

13) Pandora – The World of AVATAR Opening Summer 2017

This new land will open its doors at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park in summer 2017 with exciting new offerings – including AVATAR Flight of Passage, the Na’vi River Journey, the Satu’li Canteen Restaurant, Pongu Pongu drink location and Windtraders merchandise shop.

14) Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Returns for a Record 75 Days
This year’s festival will kick off on August 31 and run through November 13 – for a record 75 days!

15) 35th Anniversary of Epcot

The second theme park to be built at the Walt Disney World Resort will mark its 35th anniversary on Oct. 1, 2017.

16) More Updates to Star Wars-Inspired Land

As we’ve previously shared, a Star Wars-inspired land is currently under construction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Measuring 14-acres, this new land will transport your Clients to a never-before-seen planet, a remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life.

17) Return of Holiday Favorites

Stay tuned for updates on next year’s Candlelight Processional narrators, the return of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom Park, “Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and more!

Which is your favorite reason to head to Disney World this year?  Email me today at Diana@destinationsinflorida.com to start planning.

Le Cellier Steakhouse goes to All Day Menu

Disney Parks Blog

We’ll miss the burger, but now the lobster mac ‘n’ cheese is available for both lunch and dinner as popular Le Cellier Steakhouse at Epcot debuts an all-day menu beginning January 16.

It’s easy to just stick with starters like the Le Cellier chopped lobster salad, or dig into a bowl of the longtime favorite Cheddar Cheese Soup made with Moosehead beer. We make a meal of the indulgent poutine fries topped with Canadian Cheddar, and a seasonal salad (for winter, it’s greens with duck prosciutto, blue cheese, fig-almond cake and a soft-boiled egg).

But Canadian-raised beef is the sophisticated star of the show: from a grilled bone-in ribeye to a New York strip, you can’t go wrong with the beef. The buttery filet mignon with white truffle-butter sauce and wild mushroom risotto is the hands-down favorite of guests. For vegetarians, the seasonal menu includes winter squash ravioli with sage brown butter. And, year-round, you’ll find sustainable seafood creatively presented by Chef Al Youngman.

Pair with some of Canada’s best wines and beer from Quebec for a memorable vacation indulgence.

Check it out the next time you are at Epcot.  Contact Diana at diana@beyondcastles.com or 740-593-0373 to plan your vacation.


13 Reasons to Visit Disney World in 2013

By Disney Parks Blog

It seems there’s always a new reason to visit Walt Disney World Resort – whether it’s the debut of a new guest offering, an update made to a favorite attraction, or the return of a fun annual event, there’s always something to do and see.

That said, here are 13 new reasons to visit Walt Disney World Resort in 2013.
Splitsville Luxury Lanes at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort

  1. Splitsville Luxury Lanes opened at Downtown Disney on December 19. No doubt this new location will be a big draw for guests of all ages who love to bowl, dance, play pool and dine.

Dining at the New Monsieur Paul Restaurant in the France Pavilion at Epcot

  1. Another recent debut is the Monsieur Paul restaurant in the France pavilion at Epcot. The restaurant now features a new menu created by Chef Francesco Santin.

  3. Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort just debuted to guests. I don’t know about you, but I hope to hit up this newly reimagined location for a facial or massage in the coming year.

  5. We’ll have a lot of fun surprises to look forward to in 2013 with Limited Time Magic.

  7. The Atlanta Braves will return to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for spring training, which means a chance to attend fun preseason games beginning February 22 against the Detroit Tigers.

  9. Characters from “Doc McStuffins” and “Sofia the First” will be added into the “Disney Junior – Live on Stage!” show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on February 15.

  11. The Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, its fun topiaries, and the Flower Power Concert Series will return for some spring fun March 6. As we previously shared, this year’s festival will also whisk guests back to the land of Oz.

  13. We’ve marked some milestone anniversaries at Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot in the last two years. This spring, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will celebrate its 15th year.

  15. The Drew Brees Passing Academy and Tournament will be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, June 27-30. Sounds like an amazing opportunity for football fans!

  17. A newly updated California Grill will debut at Disney’s Contemporary Resort this summer (date TBA). In addition to decor, Chef Brian Piasecki is also tweaking the menu, which will continue to focus on fresh, seasonal creations.

  19. The 31st Night of Joy returns to Magic Kingdom Park September 6-7, this year featuring Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith as the main acts.

Big Thunder Mountain at Magic Kingdom Park

  1. Last fall, we shared the news that an interactive queue is coming to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom Park. Should be interesting to see exactly what materializes at this attraction in 2013.

Princess Fairytale Hall, Coming to New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom Park in 2013

  1. Princess Fairytale Hall, another new addition to Magic Kingdom Park, will open in New Fantasyland in 2013 (exact date TBA). This will be the new home for Disney princesses to meet their loyal subjects in the Magic Kingdom Park. To open in the Castle Courtyard in the center of Fantasyland, the regal space will provide the perfect setting for meeting Cinderella, and Aurora and the other Disney princesses.

These are just a few of the reasons to visit Disney World in 2013, let’s start planning your trip and you can discover them all!  Contact Diana at diana@beyondcastles.com or at 740-953-0373 today!

What’s Up Next at Disney World?

There has been a lot of excitement at Disney World lately, hasn’t there?  With the opening of the new Fantasyland, the new Pirates of the Caribbean attraction and the new Test Track, it’s hard to remember that there is more still to come!  Check out some of the exciting new experiences coming to the Walt Disney World Resort.

You will soon have an interactive queue at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  In Frontierland at the Magic Kingdom, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will soon give you the chance to immerse yourself in the story of Big Thunder Mountain.

The expansion of Fantasyland continues as Disney laid the first tracks for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.  A family- friendly roller coaster that will take you through the Dwarfs’ diamond mine.  The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train will be opening in 2014.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be getting a new addition with an Avatar– themed land.  Disney continues to work with James Cameron to bring this epic fantasy world to life.  This will be the largest expansion of the Animal Kingdom since it opened.

Bowling anyone?  Yep– December 19th in Downtown Disney Splitville Luxury Lanes will be opening it’s doors.  30 bowling lanes, live entertainment, billiard tables and dining options, including fresh sushi will be available.

Starbucks!  If you haven’t heard, Starbucks is coming to Disney World with two locations. One on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom and the other in Future World in Epcot.

As you can see, there is a lot going on at Disney World now and in the future.  Ready to start planning your trip to Disney?  Contact Diana at diana@beyondcastles.com or 740-953-0373.

Free Eat to the Beat Concert Series

One of the best parts of the  Epcot Food and Wine Festival is the  Eat To The Beat Concert Series. Listening to great music while trying all sorts of amazing, international food? Sounds like a vacation to me!

Head to  Epcot this September and October, this year’s Eat To The Beat Concert Series is truly fantastic!

9/28-9/30 : Night Ranger

10/1-10/3 : Sugar Ray

10/4- 10/7 : STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas

10/8-10/10 : Boyz II Men

10/11-10/12 : Smash Mouth

10/13-10/14 : Javier Colon, winner of “The Voice”

10/15-10/17 : Air Supply

10/18-10/19 : Gin Blossoms

10/20-10/21 : Survivor

10/22-10/23 : Hanson

10/24-10/25 : The Pointer Sisters

10/26-10/28 : Sister Hazel

10/29-10/31 : Billy Ocean

11/1-11/2 : 38 Special

11/3-11/4 : Howard Jones LIVE

11/5-11/6 : Blues Traveler

11/7-11/8 : Dennis DeYoung, original member of the group STYX

11/9-11/11 : Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

Best of all the Eat To The Beat concerts are  free with your admission to  Epcot! Yep, free. You can’t beat free entertainment while enjoying all that great food.

If you are ready to start planning your trip to Disney World for Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival and for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, contact Diana at diana@beyondcastles.com or at 740-953-0373.



Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

An eight-foot-tall floral Sorcerer Mickey topiary will welcome you to this year’s Epcot Flower and Garden Festival , March 7- May 20, 2012.  Mickey will be standing on top of a 12-foot floral mountain cliff, directing broomsticks, buckets, hippos, alligators and more, straight from Disney’s Fantasia.  For these 75 days, you will be able to explore specially made topiaries and gardens, learn planting, style and design techniques and catch the Flower Power concerts.

At Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival, you’ll be able to see Bambi’s Butterfly House filled with multiple species of butterflies and Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden, where Disney fairy topiaries will welcome you into this garden designed with play structures for children ages 2-5.  HGTV celebrities will be on hand each Friday through Sunday and nationally recognized garden personalities will be there Monday through Thursday.  Friday through Sunday you will be able to enjoy Jose Feliciano, Chubby Checker and The Wildcars, Paul Rever and The Raiders and many more at the American Gardens Theatre.


Epcot theme park admission is required. Most Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival events are included with admission to Epcot theme park. Availability is limited for some events. To see more than 100 topiaries throughout Epcot and plan your trip to Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival, contact Diana at diana@beyondcasltes.com.


Epcot and the World Showcase is for everyone!

Epcot is often thought of as a park geared toward older children and adults.  In fact, many guests with younger childrenskip a visit to Epcot entirely.  How sad!  They are missing out on some of the best attractions at Disney that appeal to the entire family!  Both Future World and the World Showcase are filled with exciting attractions for kids of all ages.  So, what’s a little one to do?

First, is Innoventions. This is an often overlooked attraction but it is FULL of interesting things for kids to do. This two-building pavilion (Innoventions East and Innoventions West) is an interactive play space designed for imagination and exploration.  You can design a thrill ride, experience the latest in video game technology, explore a real fire truck or even make paper — and that’s just the beginning.  Innoventions is perfect for the active child.  My kids have always enjoyed going in to explore and take part in all the hands on activities.

Then, there is the Seas with Nemo and Friends. This  ride in the Living Seas pavilion is aimed at younger children and the huge aquarium at the end of it is endlessly fascinating for kids.  They can even watch SCUBA divers in the tanks!  You also don’t want to miss Turtle Talk with Crush where Crush (from Finding Nemo) actually interacts with the children.  The kids love being able to talk to an animated friend and Crush is really funny!  My daughter told Crush that her favorite food is sushi….that didn’t go over very well with the turtle!  Very funny.

Before you leave Future World,  you want to explore Spaceship Earth- build your own future and then move on to more interactive attractions after the ride that the whole family will enjoy, Journey into Imagination and Ellen’s Energy Adventure. Don’t miss Living with the Land inside The Land pavilion.  The hydroponic gardens with giant pumpkins and tomato trees are always a hit!  Then, you can move on to the World Showcase.

The World Showcase used to be a bore for young kids until they introduced the Kim Possible World Showcase Adventure. Your child will get a “Kimmunicator” which is a cell phone. The characters from Kim Possible recruit your child to help them save the world. She will start in a particular country and follow the instructions given her to help solve the mystery. All throughout the World Showcase, they have set up different elements of the adventure that your child will control. She will make things rise from the lake in China, steins sing in Germany and golf balls appear in phone booths in the UK just for starters. It’s a TON of fun and kids love it.

And don’t forget the passports.  You can get purchase a passport that your child will take to every country in the world showcase.  The cast members there who are citizens of that country will stamp and sign a message to your child, in their native language.  It’s another great way to get your kids excited about the World Showcase.

After all the adventure, your little ones are bound to be thirsty.  Stop by Club Cool for free soda samples from around the world!  It’s a great way to finish up your Epcot adventure!

Epcot is an amazing, innovative theme park that appeals to the entire family.  Younger kids can have just as much fun as older siblings and parents.  Don’t miss it!

For more information about planning your Disney adventure, contact us at 740-953-0373 by e-mail at diana@beyondcastles.com or visit us online.



Start Celebrating the Holidays Nov. 8 at Disney World!

Santa’s elves come early to Disney World!  You can start celebrating November 8 with stage productions, parades, garlands, wreaths, millions of sparkling lights and the first flakes of winter.  There are so many choices this holiday season, we’ve got them here so you can easily see what there is to do.  All you have to do is decide which one of a kind celebration you want to have!

Magic Kingdom

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – For 19 nights guests can enjoy this family-friendly party– sip cocoa, catch a “snowflake”, watch shows, fireworks, carolers and enjoy special character meet and greets.

This is an after-hours party on select nights between Nov. 8- Dec. 18, 2011.  The highlights of the event include:

*Cinderella Castle adorned with Castle Dream Lights

*Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade, complete with a special appearance by Santa Claus himself

*An exclusive holiday fireworks extravaganza — Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season

*Live entertainment featuring Disney characters

*Meet and greet opportunities

*Complimentary cookies, apple slices and hot cocoa

*A magical snow fall on Main Street, U.S.A.

*Many popular Magic Kingdom attractions open for fun

*Complimentary family photo

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will take place Nov. 8, 9, 11, 13, 15, 18, 27, 29, 30, Dec. 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16 and 18, 2011, from 7 p.m. until midnight. On the day of the event the price is $62.95 and $57.95 for ages 3 to 9.  Save $6 if you purchase your tickets in advance.  Contact Beyond Castles for easy Disney vacation planning!

Castle Dream Lights – This is a ceremony performed Nov.8- Jan.3, 2012 at dusk with Cinderella and Disney characters dressed in their holiday outfits.  The magically transform Cinderella’s Castle into an ice palace, covered with 200,000 white lights.  Amazing to see.


Candelight Processional – This Epcot tradition is a retelling of the Christmas story with a choir and 50-piece orchestra.  Each evening, November 26-Dec. 30, 2011, a celebrity narrator (from a lineup that includes Steven Curtis Chapman, Whoope Goldberg and Marlee Matlin) comes to the America Gardens Theatre stage and shares the story of Christ’s birth.  You can sing along as the orchestra plays seasonal favorites.  Shows are at 6:45 and 8:15 pm.

Candlight Dinner packages are available at select Epcot restaurants.  They include a special fireworks viewing area and guaranteed seating for the Candlelight Processional.  Contact Beyond Castles to get your theme park tickets, as well, as special event packages, diana@beyondcastles.com.

Holidays around the World International storytellers share their homeland’s traditions and tales throughout the World Showcase.  You could come face to face with La Befana, the good hearted witch known for filling children’s shoes with treats in Italy, or Father Christmas in the United Kingdom.  There are meet and greets with Santa and Mrs. Claus in the American Adventure, plus many other Christmas icons who share messages of goodwill.  Kwanzaa and Hanukkah are celebrated, as well.

Finish off the evening with IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, featuring a holiday themed finale.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights – November 10-January 3, 2012 on the Hollywood Studios backlot, guests will experience millions of lights and animated displays with high-energy holiday music.  It is an amazing sight with colorful wreaths, carousels, angels, Santa and his reindeer, snow flurries and 3-D effects around every corner.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade – November 8-January 4, 2012, King Louie and Baloo lead this musical parade.  Watch as Chip and Dale, stilt walkers and savannah friends dance next to decorative floats at 4 pm daily.  As Minnie’s candy cane and hot cocoa float pass by, guests can smell the chocolate!

Camp Minnie-Mickey has become Santa Goofy’s Holiday Village, with holiday decorations, carolers, and meet and greets with Santa Goofy and friends.

Resort Hotels- Disney resort hotels are decorated for the holidays, offering an ideal home-away-from-home during the season. A  life-size gingerbread house cooked up by Walt Disney World pastry chefs is a must-see at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa.  It even has a chimney that puffs out delicious cinnamon smoke!

A magnificent gingerbread carousel complete with chocolate and soft-candy ponies and oversized candy-cane poles takes center stage at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. Other hotels are spruced up with wreaths and trees decorated with miles of garland, ribbon and glistening ornaments. Check each hotel for holiday dining offerings and special entertainment.

Start making your holiday plans now with Diana at Beyond Castles Travel at 740-953-0373 by email at diana@beyondcastles.com.

Epcot’s Character Spot

One of a parent’s worst nightmares is waiting in the long lines to see every character at Walt Disney World.  Is there any way to avoid hours in the hot sun just to take a quick picture with Mickey?  Yes there is!  The Epcot Character Spot This handy little location is one of the best-kept Disney World secrets and can be a huge time saver!

Located in the Innoventions West building, the Epcot Character Spot offers you the opportunity to see up to seven characters at once!  At any given time, you can usually meet with Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, Pluto, Chip and Dale.  You simply wait once and then walk down the line visiting each character in his or her own little area.  The line is usually short — 10-15 minutes — and you can knock out all the major players! Best of all, it is indoors so you get a break from the Florida sun.

Ready to visit the characters?  Contact us today for the guaranteed best prices on all Walt Disney World vacation packages via email at diana@beyondcastles.com or phone at 740-953-0373.

Reservations are Open for Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Events!

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

With fantastic cheese seminars, Sunday afternoon wine schools, special eats at the Italy, France and Mexico Pavilions, and over-the-top dinners hosted in Disney resort hotels, the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is a frenzy of delicious food and drink.  The hard part is pacing yourself!

Don’t miss the complimentary events like this year’s HGTV Home Entertaining Seminars on weekends at the festival center. Go early on a weekday if you want to sidestep the crowds. Our strategy: share and try lots of tastes. We can’t wait to try the jerk-spiced chicken with mango chutney from the new Caribbean marketplace or the new fried kasseri cheese with honey at the Greece marketplace or the lobster and scallop pie at the Ireland marketplace.

Epcot International Food and Wine Festival

For a listing of events, go to Disneyworld.com/foodandwine. The festival runs Sept. 30-Nov. 13.

To plan your next Disney adventure, contact us at 740-953-0373, by e-mail at diana@beyondcastles.com  or visit us online.