BIG changes are coming to Walt Disney World! Beginning Thursday, February 17, 2022, face coverings will become optional for fully vaccinated guests.
Face coverings will still be required for anyone ages 2+ on Disney transportation, including buses, Monorail, and Skyliner transportation.
Universal Orlando removed the face covering requirements for fully vaccinated guests on February 12, 2022.
Refer to the Operations and Safety updates from both Disney and Universal for the most updated information. Contact me with any questions!
Fairy Tale Concierge is giving away a Universal Orlando vacation, and the contest is LIVE!
Enter the vacation giveaway here.
As I shared earlier, Fairy Tale Concierge is giving away a 3 night, 3 day Universal Orlando vacation for one lucky winner. That winner will get to bring along 3 travel buddies, so make sure you share this with all of your friends!
The contest will be open until March 11, 2022. No purchase necessary. Good luck!
More details have been released about Fairy Tale Concierge's Universal Orlando Giveaway!
The contest will go live Sunday, February 13. To be eligible, you must be following my social media channels. That means that you'll need to follow my Facebook and/or Instagram page in order to win.
There is NO purchase necessary to enter. The contest rules will be posted on February 21 with the contest entry form.
The darker side of the Wizarding World will return nightly to Universal Orlando Resort beginning Saturday, September 18th!
This breathtaking show uses projection mapping, special effects, and lighting to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade.
As darkness falls in Hogsmeade, the all-consuming Dark Arts will be unleashed as ominous green light and fog floods the village. Death Eaters will appear and lurk amongst guests with complete disregard of wizarding laws.
Soon after, guests will witness sinister creatures and villains – such as Dementors, Aragog, Mountain Trolls, Thestrals and more – cloak Hogwarts castle in a display of light, music and special effects. Guests will be asked to summon their inner strength and bravely face the visage of the powerful Dark wizard, Lord Voldemort. Then, find a moment of hope hidden in the darkness as the Patronus spell – one of the most famous, difficult and powerful defense of the Dark Arts charms in the Wizarding World – is cast.
“Darks Arts at Hogwarts Castle” will run nightly with showtimes from dusk until park close this fall beginning September 18 in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade at Universal’s Islands of Adventure.
Click here for more information or to book your tickets.
Mid-Week News Roundup!
Menus, events, tours, and special offers! It's been an eventful week at Disney and Universal...let's dive in!
Universal Orlando Resort
All-New Celebration Of Flavors – Mardi Gras 2021: International Flavors Of Carnaval
Universal Orlando Resort will be celebrating Mardi Gras for the first time ever! This festival will feature cuisine and entertainment inspired by the most iconic Carnaval festivities worldwide. It will take place daily at Universal Studios from Saturday, February 6 through Sunday, March 28. You'll be able to enjoy:
Special Offers Announced!
Universal Orlando Resort welcomes 2021 with a selection of special offers! With the upcoming summer debut of the Jurassic World VelociCoaster, the recently-opened The Bourne Stuntacular stunt showm and the all-new Universal’s Endless Summer Resort – Dockside Inn and Suites hotel, now is the perfect time to plan a visit! Offers include:
Walt Disney World
Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts Now Open!
The Taste of EPCOT International Festival of the Arts began January 8th at Walt Disney World Resort! This incredible festival celebrates visual, culinary and performing arts from around the world. The festival is included with your EPCOT park admission and runs through Feb. 22nd. You can expect to enjoy:
"The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure" Coming to EPCOT
In early February, “The Soul of Jazz: An American Adventure,” will debut! This exhibit, inside The American Adventure, features Joe Gardner from Disney and Pixar’s “Soul”. The exhibit will invite you on a musical tour of America to learn about all about jazz music!
New Mediterranean Small plates at Spice Road Table
With scenic views of World Showcase Lagoon and décor inspired by outdoor cafés from the Moroccan seaside, Spice Road Table is now open offering a delicious new menu of small plates and sips for Guests to enjoy al fresco or in the dining room. B’Saha!
Adventures by Disney
First-Ever Dedicated Expedition Cruises
Journey to some of the world’s most sought-after destinations when you set sail on all-new Adventures by Disney Expedition Cruises. Voyages will include both Antarctica and the Galapagos Islands! (Just like Ted! Any Schitt's Creek fans?) This means that Adventures by Disney now offers experiences across all seven continents!! Antarctica and Patagonia Expedition Cruises will sail with PONANT, a leader in luxury polar expeditions. A Buenos Aires Escape will also be an option. It will be a 4 day, 3 night guided group experience in Argentina!
On the Adventures by Disney Galapagos Islands Expedition Cruise (coming 2022), families will island-hop from one adventure to the next with five 9-day, 8-night sailings aboard the boutique expedition ship, the Galapagos Legend. Three routes are scheduled.
River Cruise Departures Return in 2022
Adventures by Disney’s popular river cruise vacations return to Europe with three itineraries along the Danube, Rhine and Seine. New for 2022, specialty National Geographic Photography Sailings along the Seine will offer photo-driven excursions with National Geographic photographers. Sailing with AmaWaterways, these all-inclusive voyages are filled with immersive experiences in European destinations. Advance booking begins Jan. 19, 2021 for all previous Adventures by Disney Guests, or Jan. 21, 2021 for Disney Vacation Club Members, Golden Oak Club Members and Disney Cruise Line Gold & Platinum Castaway Cay Club Members. General booking begins Jan. 22, 2021.
Featured Resorts (Part 2)
A while back, I highlighted quite a few Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resort hotels on my social media pages. Check out part 2 of those resorts here! (You can always find those posts on my Facebook or Instagram pages to see them individually!)
November 17th - Old Key West Resort (Walt Disney World)
Disney's Old Key West Resort has some of the most affordable villas of any Deluxe Villa Resort! This Florida Keys-inspired resort offers a laid back oasis for any guests. It features studio, 1, 2, and 3 bedroom villas, boat transportation to Disney Springs, and has one of the coolest pools around, complete with a sandcastle water slide. (Can you spot the Hidden Mickey?)
November 19th - Bay Lake Tower (Walt Disney World)
Bay Lake Tower is a true superstar! This Deluxe Villa resort is connected to Disney's Contemporary Resort via the stunning Sky Way Bridge or by walkway. A stay here grants you access to not only the Contemporary's amenities, but its own exclusive pool, too! It features studio, 1, 2, and 3 bedroom villas and has both a Monorail and a walking path to the Magic Kingdom! There are even Castle view rooms available!
November 19th - Boulder Ridge Villas and Copper Creek Villas and Cabins (Walt Disney World)
It's no secret that Wilderness Lodge is my all-time favorite resort, but did you know that there are 2 other resorts within its property? The Boulder Ridge Villas and Copper Creek Villas and Cabins both provide that stunning rustic elegance, in addition to some very cool amenities. Boulder Ridge Villas are a Deluxe Villa resort where you can stay in a studio, 1, or 2 bedroom villa. Copper Creek Villas and Cabins is another Deluxe Villa resort that feature studio, 1, 2, and 3 bedroom villas in addition to luxury cabins. (Did I mention that those cabins come with a private screened porch with built-in hot tub?? That's my kind of cabin!) Both of these resorts offer boat transportation to the Magic Kingdom.
November 23rd - BoardWalk Villas (Walt Disney World)
Step right up to the BoardWalk! Disney's BoardWalk Villas are located on the entertainment-packed BoardWalk. This charming, fun-filled Deluxe Villa resort features studio, 1, 2, or 3 bedroom villas. The BoardWalk is adjacent to, and within walking distance, to Epcot. It's also a short walk over to Disney's Hollywood Studios. Don't want to walk? You can take a boat to either of those parks, or hop on the Skyliner, which is located right between Epcot and the BoardWalk! Talk about convenience!
November 23rd - Disney's Coronado Springs Resort (Walt Disney World)
Disney's Coronado Springs Resort is a stunning oasis...and as a Moderate Resort, it's totally affordable! The all-new addition of the Gran Destino Tower gives it an extra luxurious feel. What makes this resort even more unique is that Club Level rooms are available...the only Moderate Resort to offer this! There are also suites available!
November 23rd - Cabana Bay Beach Resort (Universal Orlando Resort)
Cabana Bay Beach Resort is the perfect spot to relax! This retro-style hotel is one of the coolest on property! It falls into the Prime Value category, meaning it's very affordable for families! Plus, it features family suites in addition to standard rooms, so families can stay comfortably! Cabana Bay is within walking distance to Volcano Bay water theme park. At the resort, your family can also enjoy 2 pools, a lazy river, and a bowling alley onsite!
November 24th - Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort (Walt Disney World)
Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort is a beautiful lakeside resort inspired by the famous New York retreat. This Deluxe Villa resort features studio, 1, 2, or 3 bedroom villas in addition to its one-of-a-kind Treehouse Villas! You can also enjoy boat transportation or a walking path to Disney Springs.
November 24th - Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort (Walt Disney World)
Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort is a tropical paradise right in the middle of Walt Disney World! This bright, airy resort is one of my personal favorites. A Moderate Resort, it features sandy beaches throughout and a 45 acre lake. Pirate-themed rooms are available. My favorite feature of this resort is that it houses the main hub of the Skyliner! This relaxing island resort needs to be on your family's must-stay list!
November 24th - Disney's Riviera Resort (Walt Disney World)
Holy moly. To say that Disney's Riviera Resort is stunning is a serious understatement. A newer resort, which opened December 2019, this quickly grew to be among my favorites on property. This Deluxe Villa resort features tower, studio, 1, 2, or 3 bedroom villas. It's also home to Topolino's Terrace, a signature rooftop restaurant. This elegant, European-inspired resort is also on the Skyliner route, making it ultra convenient!
November 25th - Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows (Walt Disney World)
Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows are what vacation dreams are made of! This classic Deluxe Villa resort features studio, 1, 2, and 3 bedroom villas. It also features over-the-water bungalows that each have a private deck and plunge pool. Talk about paradise! The resort provides boat transportation to the Magic Kingdom and is within walking distance of the Transportation and Ticket Center. (Normally, there is a Monorail station right in the middle of the resort, but that is temporarily suspended due to construction!)
November 25th - Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and the Villas at Grand Floridian (Walt Disney World)
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, as well as the Villas at Grand Floridian are the epitome of elegance. This lavish Victorian resort features two resorts in one. The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a Deluxe resort, while the Villas are a Deluxe Villa Resort. The Villas feature studio, 1, 2, and 3 bedroom villas. Both have Monorail and boat transportation, as well as an all-new walkway, to the Magic Kingdom! There is a full-service spa and salon on-site. Grand Floridian is also home to Victoria and Albert's, a AAA Five Diamond Award recipient! This timeless resort is calling your name!
Catching a wave...in Orlando? I had the opportunity to stay at Endless Summer: Surfside Inn and Suites at Universal Orlando Resort in December! This value resort has totally stolen my heart! It's part of the Endless Summer Resort, with Dockside Inn and Suites rounding out the complex.
Upon arriving at Surfside, I immediately noticed the health and safety measures being taken to keep everyone safe. (More on that later!) The front desk was staffed, but distanced, and I did not have to wait for a team member to greet me. We received our keys, and headed straight to the Vacation Planning Desk to grab our tickets.
We stayed in a Standard 2 Queen room. One thing that I really loved about the elevators is that, to get to guest floors, you had to scan your room key before the elevator took you to your room. Elevators were also limited to just your travel party, so no sharing a small space with strangers! Our room was spacious and clean. One touch that I really loved was the bottle of hand sanitizer in our room. While I had multiple bottles that we'd packed, I definitely took this one as a souvenir! (And may have already used it once or twice since then!) The resort also features 2 bedroom suites, which is a fantastic option for larger parties or for families who prefer to spread out a bit!
A video of our room tour can be found on IGTV. Watch that here!
Surfside featured a few different dining options that we experienced: Starbucks, Beach Break Cafe, Sand Bar, and resort pizza delivery. Starbucks was located in the lobby, and had your traditional Starbucks fare. Beach Break Cafe was the quick-service location. We ordered two burgers and fries. This was socially distanced, fast, and the food was fresh. That evening, we stopped in at the Sand Bar, which is the pool bar. Seats were distanced, service was fast and friendly, and drink prices were very reasonable. Later in the evening, we ordered pizza delivery from the resort. We had a gluten-free cheese pizza, fruit & cheese appetizer, and two (GIANT) waters. Again, the food was fresh and delicious, and service was much faster than we expected!
Health and Safety
The health and safety guidelines at Universal Orlando were unparalleled. At our resort, we noticed hand sanitizer stations near the front desk, Vacation Planning Desk, near every entrance/exit, and at elevator bays. We also noticed social distancing markers and signage throughout the resort. One feature that I loved was having our temperature checked at the resort before heading to the parks. Guests were issued a colored wristband daily after their temperature screening. (Colors changed by the day.) These wristbands are required for entering the parks, and saved tons of time at park arrival time since we already had this done! We never had to wait in a line for a temperature check. The shuttle (which we also never waited for!) had assigned seating areas for each party to encourage social distancing. Face coverings, of course, are required unless you are actively eating and drinking in a stationary location.
*Please note: temperature checks were phased out as of May 19th, 2021 and Face Coverings were not required indoors or outdoors for vaccinated travelers as of May 29th, 2021.
My overall experience at Endless Summer: Surfside Inn and Suites was FANTASTIC. I would recommend Endless Summer to any clients visiting Universal Orlando Resort. It's a fantastic budget-friendly option without feeling like a "value" resort. Remember, any stay at a Universal Orlando Resort hotel includes Early Park Admission, free shuttles, resort-wide charging privileges, complimentary merchandise delivery to hotel, and Club-to-Club access at CityWalk!
Click here for more information or to book your next stay at Universal Orlando Resort!