Tag Archives: Hollywood Studios

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.

May the 4th Be With You- Celebrate at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

For one day only, Disney’s Hollywood Studios will present a “Limited Time Magic” event for the annual, fan-proclaimed “Star Wars Day,” May 4 – a date that Star Wars fans worldwide turn into a celebratory pun, “May the Fourth Be With You!”

Separate from the month-long Star Wars Weekends special event (which begins May 17), this “Limited Time Magic” celebration features special Star Wars entertainment, characters, commemorative merchandise, a Star Wars dance party and a Star Wars-themed fireworks show to cap off the day.

Star Wars characters will make surprise appearances on the 3-D attraction to enjoy the wild journey through space alongside park guests.  You might find yourself sitting next to Chewbacca aboard Star Tours – The Adventures Continue!

A special edition of Jedi Training Academy also is planned for that day, with parents invited to join their children (ages 4-12, sign-ups required on first-come basis) on-stage for the training and final showdown with the Empire.

When the sun goes down, galactic fun lights the night as Lobot (from Star Wars: Episode V The Empire Strikes Back) takes over as DJ for a dance party that will be highlighted by a special Star Wars fireworks show.

“May the Fourth Be With You” “Limited Time Magic” park activities and shows are included in regular admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Ready to plan your vacation to Disney World and celebrate Start Wars at Hollywood Studios?  Or just ready to plan a get away to anywhere?  Contact Diana at diana@beyondcastles.com today!

Fantasmic Picnic Package Returns!

By Disney Food Blog

We all know that those lines for Fantasmic! are long and the table-service seating for Fantasmic! meals is limited. Mickey’s solution for the busy holiday season debuted in 2011 “A Taste of Hollywood To Go – A Fantasmic! Dining Experience”.

Returning this year to help feed the holiday crowds, a picnic-style, quick-service dining option will be offered to guests visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios from December 22, 2012 – January 5, 2013. Guests can make reservations up to 24 hours prior by calling 407-WDW-DINE (a credit card guarantee is required).

The picnic meals include a 20 oz drink ($15.99 adults, $5.49 for kids) as well as reserved seating for Fantasmic! similar to the standard Fantasmic dining packages. Each entree can be purchased with one counter-service Disney Dining Plan credit.

Seating in the reserved section of the stadium will still be first come, first served.

Meal Pick Up will take place at Min & Bill’s Dockside Diner beginning at 11:00 a.m. until 1.5 hours prior to the show time that you preselect. Get your meal when it best fits into your touring schedule! 

Fantasmic seats will be based on the number of guests in your party, and entrees ordered must be equal to or greater than your party size.

Here are a few pics of what the picnic meals may look like!

Cold Fried chicken with roasted sweet potato and baby spinach, broccoli slaw, and blueberry cheesecake.

2011 Fried Chicken Meal 

Veggie Sandwich with tabbouleh, tomato salad, and chocolate cake. A similar meal was offered in 2011.

2011 Veggie Meal 

Other choices include:
Tuna sushi roll with beet and apple salad, ginger-marinated tomatoes and cucumbers, and a spicy pecan chocolate cluster.

Cold-cut roast beef with creamy horseradish, potato salad, grilled asparagus, and chocolate cake. Last year’s offering was a Teriyaki and Orange Marinated beef.

Cajun shrimp salad with beet and apple salad, ginger-marinated tomatoes and cucumbers, and mandarin orange cheesecake.

Kids’ meal with turkey and American cheese wrap and strawberry yogurt, apples and carrots with ranch dip and seven-layer cookie bar. The meal in 2011 was similar.

2011 Turkey Wrap Kids Meal 

Kids’ Meal Power Pack includes Strawberry Yogurt, Apple Wedges, Carrots Sticks, Goldfish Crackers, and Organic Apple Cinnamon and Oatmeal Snack Size Sandwich Bar – $5.49

Kids’ Meal Power Pack 

Ready to head to Disney World this holiday season?  Take away the stress and let Diana plan everything for you- contact her at diana@beyondcastles.com or 740-953-0373.


Is the Disney Dining Plan Really Worth it?

So you are wondering if the Disney Dining Plan is really worth the money.  After all,  $53.54 per night per adult seems like an awful lot of money.  Could you really spend that much per person on food?  Yes, you really can and quite easily, too.  In fact, if you plan to take advantage of the amazing Disney Dining experiences and character meals, then the Disney Dining Plan can easily save you 30% over the cost of paying out of pocket.  Here’s an example of how it breaks down:

For stays during peak seasons the Disney Dining Plan cost is $53.54 per night per adult or junior (ages 10-17) and $16.02 per night for children ages 3-9. Seem like a lot?

Let’s see what you would pay if you paid out of pocket:

Breakfast — Bagel and cream cheese $2.59; Coffee $2.69

Lunch — Tacos de Carne $11.95; Soda $2.50

Dinner — Princess Storybook Dining $46.85

Total cost out of pocket:  $66.58

Total cost with Disney Dining Plan:  $53.54

Savings:  $13.04

Multiply that $13.00 savings by thenumber of adults in our party and the number of nights you are staying at Walt Disney World and you can save hundreds!

And don’t forget that your Disney Dining Plan will include a refillable resort mug which is a $13.99 value along with a snack for each night of your stay.  Add that to what you have already saved on your meals and you can see that having a Disney Dining Plan is definitely worth it.

Ready to start planning your next Disney adventure?  Contact us at 740-953-0373 or by e-mail at diana@beyondcastles.com.  We guarantee the the lowest prices on your Walt Disney World vacation package!


Star Wars Weekends 2012

Love Star Wars?  Then you won’t want to miss Star Wars Weekends at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! Star Wars Weekends is an annual event that celebrates the Star Wars film saga and the hit animated TV series Star Wars: The Clone Wars. During the celebration at Disney’s Hollywood Studios there are special shows and presentations as well as some really cool memorabilia!  More details will be coming soon but now’s the tiem to plan your trip — Disney is offering up to 35% off resort rooms during this amazing event!

    Star Wars Weekends at Disney's Hollywood Studios

2012 Star Wars Weekends Dates

  • May 18-20
  • May 25-27
  • June 1-3
  • June 8-10

Book your galactic adventure today by contacting 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.

Run the Happiest Place on Earth

On your mark, get set, go!  Ok, maybe it’s because I just finished a 5K today and am going to start training for my next half marathon but I am in the mood to run!!  The ultimate place to run, in my opinion, would be Walt Disney World.  To have the chance to run through the parks before or after hours with Disney’s world-class entertainment energizing me, is just the best thing I can imagine.

Book your Disney Race weekend package with us and you’ll receive $10 off your race entry fee.  Refer friends and family who book their race weekend package with us and you will receive $5 off your race entry fee per person you refer!  We will also prepare your weekend itinerary for you, so all you need to worry about is which race to run!

I’m pretty new to the running scene, having run my first half marathon in May but I am totally psyched about doing a half or my first full marathon at Walt Disney World.  So I’ve been doing a little research on all the options out there for running the most magical races out there.  (And I’ll share with you the event I’m currently dreaming about!)

The first event coming up is actually the Disneyland half marathon, September 2-4.  They are no longer taking registrations for this race as it is full but I wanted to toss it out there since it would be an amazing run.  I will be keeping track of this event for next year and will post when the registration opens.  You start in Disneyland, run through the park, continue on into Disney’s California Adventure Park and then onto the streets of Anaheim, finishing by the Disneyland hotel.

The next event coming up, and it is still open for registrations, is Disney World’s Wine and Dine Half Marathon, September 30-October 1.  This race corresponds with Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival, what could be better than that?  The half marathon will take you through three theme parks….at night!  And of course Disney’s world-class entertainment will be along the route.  And if that wasn’t enough motivation, at the finish will be the afterhours party inside Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival!  To add to the fun of the weekend, they also have a half marathon relay, kids’ races and Disney’s Halloween 5K.

The ultimate race weekend at Disney World is the Disney Full Marathon weekend, January 5-8, 2012.  This weekend consists of a half marathon, a full marathon, a full marathon relay, the Family Fun Run 5K, Kids’ Races, and my personal favorite, Goofy’s Race and a Half.  For the full marathon, you will run the most magical 26.2 miles on Earth, through ALL four theme parks— I can hardly contain my excitement!  You will start in Epcot, run through the Magic Kingdom, then to the Animal Kingdom, the Hollywood Studios and then back to Epcot to finish.  Registration is still open for this event but you must register by November 1 to get your personalized bib.  For the piece de resistance, and my ultimate goal, Goofy’s Race and a Half!  Run the Disney Half Marathon on Saturday.  Then run the Disney Full Marathon on Sunday!  A 39.3 mile adventure!  You will receive the Donald Duck medal for finsihing the half, the Mickey Mouse medal for finishing the full, and for being goofy enough to do both….you’ll also receive the Goofy medal!

January 27-29, 2012 is Disneyland’s Tinkerbell Half Marathon.  Run through Disneyland and the streets of Anaheim for your Tinkerbell-inspired finisher’s medal.

The weekend of February 24-26, 2012 is Disney’s Princess Half Marathon.  Registration for this event will open July 5, 2011.  This weekend consists of the half marathon, the Beauty and the Beast Royal Family 5K and the Royal Family Kids’ Run.

And if you complete and a half (or full) marathon at both Disney World and Disneyland in the same calendar year, you’ll recieve a very special medal for completing the Disney Coast to Coast Challenge.

There are so many options for running through the parks it’s hard to decide which to do!  Personally, I’d love to do them all but if I can’t, I’ll try for the Goofy medal!  If you are interested in these events and would like email updates and information, please email Diana at diana@beyondcastles.com and let me know what races you are interested in.

And remember to book your race weekend package with us and receive $10 off your race entry fee.  Also, receive $5 off per referral who books a race weekend package with us.