Friday, August 19, 2016

A Celebration of Harry Potter {Universal Orlando Resort}

A Celebration of Harry Potter™ Vacation Package

Do you love Harry Potter?? Then you do not want to miss the upcoming event at Universal Orlando! 
You can be part of A Celebration of Harry Potter™ at Universal Orlando Resort™ where you can take part in all-new experiences, as well as returning fan favorites such as film talent Q&A sessions, special panels and demonstrations and more. 

This package starts at $249* per adult, per night, tax inclusive and includes:

  • • 3-Night Hotel Accommodations
  • • 3-Day Park-to-Park Ticket^ to Universal Studios Florida™® & Universal's Islands of Adventure™
  • • Exclusive Evening at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ (includes access to both Hogsmeade™ and Diagon Alley™) with desserts and one complimentary Butterbeer™ - one per person (Friday)
  • • Exclusive Talent Q&A session with select film talent
  • • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ one hour before the theme park opens to one (1) Universal Orlando theme park as determined by Universal Orlando
  • • Special Guest access to the Harry Potter™ Expo (Friday – Sunday)
  • • Special Guest access to Panels and Demonstrations (first come, first served)
  • • Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks™ in Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ - one per person
  • • Commemorative merchandise item from A Celebration of Harry Potter™ - one per package
  • • Commemorative pin from A Celebration of Harry Potter™ and lanyard - one per person
  • • Access to select live entertainment venues^^ at Universal CityWalk®

Or you can upgrade to A Celebration of Harry Potter™ Premium Vacation Package which includes:

  • • 3-Night Hotel Accommodations
  • • 3-Day Park-to-Park Ticket^ to Universal Studios Florida™ & Universal's Islands of Adventure™
  • • Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ one hour before the theme park opens to one (1) Universal Orlando theme park as determined by Universal Orlando
  • • Exclusive Autograph and Photo Session◊◊ with select film talent
  • • Evening Reception at the Harry Potter™ Expo (Saturday)
  • • Exclusive Evening at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ (includes access to both Hogsmeade™ and Diagon Alley™) with desserts and one complimentary Butterbeer™ - one per person (Friday)
  • • Shutterbutton’s™ Photography Studio¥ session at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ - Diagon Alley™
  • • Exclusive Talent Q&A session with select film talent
  • • Special Guest access to the Harry Potter™ Expo (Friday – Sunday)
  • • Special Guest access to Panels and Demonstrations (guaranteed)
  • • Reserved section for select Panels and Demonstrations
  • • Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks™ in Universal’s Islands of Adventure™ - one per person
  • • Breakfast at Leaky Cauldron™ in Universal Studios Florida™- one per person
  • • Commemorative merchandise item from A Celebration of Harry Potter™ - one per package
  • • Commemorative pin from A Celebration of Harry Potter™ and lanyard - one per person
  • • Access to select live entertainment venues^^ at Universal CityWalk™
Packages start at $479* per adult, per night, tax inclusive 

Must travel January 27 – January 30, 2017 to enjoy all package inclusions. 
Package payment is required in full at time of booking and is non-refundable 

*Park-to-Park Admission ticket required. Additional restrictions apply. Select activities are on a first-come, first-served basis. Event occurs rain or shine. No rain checks, returns or refunds. Prices, times, dates and entertainment subject to change without notice. Additional restrictions may apply.

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Very Dapper Girls Getaway Trip Report - It's Arrival Day!

I can't believe this trip is over and it is time to start my trip report! The week was full of new experiences for us and I am so excited to write this trip report - so let's get started with A Very Dapper Girls Getaway! 

My trip actually started the night before we arrived at Disney because I took the red eye from Seattle. My first flight (the longer of the two and the official "red eye") I was seated next to Sasquatch, so sleeping was pretty much non-existent. I did get a little bit of sleep on the second flight, but since it was only a couple hours long that didn't do much for me. So to say I arrived in Orlando a bit sleepy would be an understatement but since I was on my way to Disney I powered through! Amanda picked up our rental car before coming to get me since she arrived about an hour before I did. It worked out perfectly! 

Before I knew it we were pulling into Disney's Boardwalk Inn. As you can tell from the photo, we arrived on a very wet day.
We booked a studio villa and could not wait to see if we got a refurbished one. Spoiler alert - we totally did! Our room was quite far from the lobby but there was a very handy backdoor right next to our room that worked great to get to the Boardwalk quicker. It was actually quicker for us to use the Swan and Dolphin boat launch when going to Hollywood Studios - which worked great for us. 
The remodeled studio villas will now sleep 5 with 1 queen bed, 1 sleeper sofa and a twin-size pull down bed. We thought it might be a bit cramped if you had 5 people but it is an option for families of 5! The remodel was done very well though. I think it was just what the villas needed. 


After we settled in we walked over to EPCOT to get in a couple rides and start snacking our way through Food & Wine Festival. Our first stop was the France Food & Wine booth to get Beef Bourguignon and, my favorite drink, La Passion Martini Slush! Both were amazing! 
Next stop was Brazil for some Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans and Tomato - another great choice! So far we could not go wrong. 
We made our way around the world and next stopped in China to get Chicken Pot Stickers. These were pretty good but nothing that special. I liked the sauce. It had a nice spice to it. 
After stopping inside the Mexico pavilion for a margarita and a ride on the Three Caballeros, we went to the Farm Fresh booth where we got Loaded Mac n' Cheese. I think this was my favorite thing from Food & Wine all trip (though some cheese we got later on comes in a close second). They gave you a great amount of it too! Along with the Mac n' Cheese we got a Hard Cider Flight. Our favorite was easily the raspberry and we definitely did not like the pumpkin. 

It was time to take a little break from eating and drinking so we went over to Future World and rode Spaceship Earth. We also stopped into the Art of Disney store to decide what drawing we wanted to get to commemorate our trip. That actually took us longer than we expected but we love what we ended up getting. 

We didn't do much more Food & Wine Festival this night because we had plans to stop into the Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar for dinner. This was something neither of us had done before and it was a lot of fun. We each got a wine flight and we shared the Grande Antipasto Misto which is actually from the Tutto Italia menu. The platter was quite good but we did wish it had a little more variety in the cheese department (it pretty much had mozzarella and parmesan) and some more bread. 

Amanda was very excited!
We did not get dessert at Tutto Gusto because we had our sights set on something else - Warm Chocolate Pudding with Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur Custard from the Ireland booth. On our way over there we met up with Erin and Shannon, a couple of my fellow Glass Slipper Concierges, in Morocco. Always fun to meet up with my wonderful coworkers! After a nice little stroll with these gals we were at the Ireland booth! The chocolate pudding was to die for but small so we decided it was time to have our very first Croissant Donut from Refreshment Port! Oh man - this was so good. I could eat a dozen in one sitting...but that would be bad...right? 

As I had pretty much been up for two days we decided to call it an early night and walk back to the Boardwalk. It had been sort of rainy all day but the clouds parted and we got one spectacular sunset on our walk back. I just love the Boardwalk! 
Next up is our first full day including breakfast at Trails End, Hollywood Studios, and a fun night at the Polynesian Village Resort! 

Monday, September 21, 2015

A Very Dapper Itinerary

Let's talk about our Very Dapper Girls Getaway itinerary. We don't create a detailed daily itinerary but we do like to know what park(s) we will go to each day. To come up with our itinerary we consider a number of things: 

*Predicted crowd levels
*Extra magic hours
*Special events
*Do we want to park hop

Once we decide where we will be each day we can choose our restaurants. We don't want to be spending a lot of our time getting to dinner each day so knowing where we will be helps us narrow down our dining choices to nearby locations. 

Day 1 (Arrival Day/EPCOT)
Amanda arrives about an hour earlier than I do so she will pick up the rental car and then come get me and then we are off to Disney World! Once we check into the Boardwalk, we plan to go to EPCOT for the afternoon and evening. Since Food & Wine Festival will be going on, we will likely eat from the booths for lunch. For dinner we plan to try out the Tutto Gusto Wine Bar. Neither of us have been here so we are excited for this. Tutto Gusto is not on the dining plan, so we are paying out of pocket for this meal, and it doesn't take reservations so we are playing it by ear.
Day 2 (Hollywood Studios)
This morning we are not planning on being at the park at opening - which is honestly out of character for us! We have breakfast reservations at Trail's End at Fort Wilderness Resort. After breakfast we will spend the day at Hollywood Studios. We have afternoon FastPass+ reservations so we won't feel like we missed out by not getting to the park early. Dinner tonight will be Kona Cafe at the Polynesian Village Resort. We also plan to get drinks at Trader Sam's (I might be looking forward to this a little too much!). Depending on how we feel after dinner we might also go to Disney Springs (aka Downtown Disney) and check out the new Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar

Day 3 (Magic Kingdom)
Today we will get to the park for Extra Magic Hour at 8am. We always like to get there a little early so we can watch the rope drop ceremony. It's one of my favorite things! Once we get in some early morning rides, we have breakfast reservations at Be Our Guest. Can you say Croissant Doughnut??? After more time in the park, we have lunch reservations at Tony's Town Square Restaurant before we head back to our room for a break and to change into our costumes for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party that night! That night we will be back at the Magic Kingdom for the party. 

Day 4 (EPCOT) 
This will be another get up and go early day. One of the best parts of staying at the Boardwalk is we are able to walk or take a boat to EPCOT. It's seriously great. Also makes it easy for us to take a break in the middle of the day if we want. So we will spend the morning in Future World and then once the World Showcase opens up it's Food & Wine Festival time! We do not have a dining reservation today. We bought the Food & Wine Festival sampler package and will be using that plus our snack credits to peruse the various booths. It's going to be a good day! 

Day 5 (Hollywood Studios/Magic Kingdom)
We are probably looking forward to this day the most. It's Dapper Day! I'm pretty sure we are going to have to get up at like 4am to start getting ready but that's ok - we probably will be too excited to sleep. As Dapper Day is technically being held at Hollywood Studios we plan to start our day there. We have lunch reservations at 50's Prime Time Cafe (because...duh) and then at some point we plan to go to the Magic Kingdom. 

Day 6 (Animal Kingdom)
Today we will be checking out of the Boardwalk. We will be spending one night at Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal. But, before we move over there, we have one last fun day at Disney left! Since we have not been to Animal Kingdom yet this trip (which feels a little weird for us) we will obviously be going there in the morning. Dinner tonight is pretty exciting. We will be going to Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness Resort. We chose the 4pm show so we can possibly go to EPCOT afterward before we drive over to Cabana Bay Beach Resort. 
Day 7(Universal Studios/Departure Day)
I am so glad we decided to add this onto our trip. Today we are going to Universal, mainly to check out the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Amanda has never been and the one time I went I knew I needed to get back ASAP. It's such a wonderful place. I can't wait for some butter beer!! After a fun day walking around Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley we sadly must head to the airport. I am always sad when a trip comes to an end but I am especially sad when a trip with Amanda comes to an end. We live across the country from each other so we see each other once a year if we are lucky. Luckily next year we will be bringing our hubbies and heading to Disneyland - so we have that to look forward to! 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Very Dapper Girls Getaway {Overview}

In just three weeks, I will be at Walt Disney World for another amazing girls trip with Amanda! I thought it was about time I started blogging about our plans. 

We debated for a while about when we should go. The end of 2015 was sort of a given because of our other travel plans for the year, but do we go early September to take advantage of the super low crowds, or go in November or December once Christmas celebrations are in full swing at Disney? Our decision was made quickly for us when we realized that Dapper Day is October 3! What is Dapper Day? I'll get to that in a little bit, but it is something Amanda and I have been wanting to go to since pretty much the day we met 9 years ago. We could not pass up the opportunity to finally go. So we decided on September 29 - October 4!

After deciding on dates we had to choose a resort. For our last trip we stayed at a moderate resort - Port Orleans Riverside - so after discussing our options we decided this time we were going Deluxe. We thought about the Contemporary because it is on both of our Disney bucket lists but since the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival will be going on we quickly knew we were going to stay at The Boardwalk. It just happens to be both of our favorite resort! 

Once our reservation was made, we immediately started planning. We knew we were going to do three very awesome events while were are there so that was the starting point of our planning process. 

Dapper Day

Started in February 2011, DAPPER DAY® Events organizes fashionable outings to Disney Parks twice a year (spring and fall) in LA, Orlando, and Paris. These events include a "DAPPER DAY at the Parks" with informal in-park meetups, plus other happenings outside the parks such as our DAPPER DAY Expo (in the Disneyland Hotel® Exhibit Hall), DAPPER DAY Car Show, and our official after party FOLLY in Downtown Disney Anaheim. We sometimes organize other non-Disney-related events at various other locations throughout the year.

DAPPER DAY Events celebrates the tradition of "stepping out in style" and are meant to showcase you at your best. We do not aim to recreate a specific period. All sophisticated attire is encouraged from vintage-inspired classics to chic contemporary looks. Active and retired military are encouraged to wear your dress blues or service uniforms if you like. (Please note costumes or cosplay are better suited for other events.)

For much more info on what Dapper Day is as well as upcoming dates visit Sounds like fun, right?? It's a super fun reason to get all dressed up and head to the parks. Though the event this year is mainly at Hollywood Studios, we will be spending the second half of our day at Magic Kingdom. We have our dresses all ready to go and can't wait to get all dolled up! 

EPCOT Food & Wine Festival 

The EPCOT Food & Wine Festival is an annual event inside the World Showcase at EPCOT. Over 25 special kiosks are set up throughout the park with food and drink from various countries. There are also a number of special events, food and drink demonstrations, celebrity chefs and the "Eat to the Beat" concert series! We have 2 days planned at EPCOT, so we can sample as much food and drinks as possible. Last year I went with family and I think we went to EPCOT about 4 times over 9 days and we still felt like there was so much we wanted to try and didn't have time for. I am so glad to see my favorite drink on the menu again for this year - La Passion Martini Slush from the France booth! 

Since this year is the 20th anniversary of the festival, Disney has some special add-ons available including one that we are taking advantage of our second day at EPCOT - the Tasting Sampler Package. For just $59 we get the following: 

  • Custom credential with 8 entitlement tabs for food or beverage items of your choice at over 30 Food & Wine Festival Global Marketplaces (some exclusions may apply and will be listed on the credential)
  • Priority seating at the 6:45 pm Eat to the Beat concert at America Gardens Theater on the day of package purchase
  • Limited-release 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival trading pin

Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party
Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party is a special ticket event held at the Magic Kingdom. On select nights the park closes at 7pm to only guests with party tickets and then let the trick-or-treating, yummy cupcake eating, character meet-and-greets, parade and fireworks begin! I am super excited about this one. Neither of us have been to Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party before so it will be fun to experience it together for the first time! I am especially excited to see the new Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular! This is a new show held on the stage in front of the castle featuring the Sanderson sisters - Winifred, Mary and Sarah! There will have to be at least one viewing of Hocus Pocus before the party. We are not ready to reveal what our costumes will be but stay tuned! 

So that is an overview of our Very Dapper Girls Getaway. Over the next couple weeks I will be blogging about our itinerary plans, dining choices, halloween costumes (in good time), etc. Plus, once we are at Disney you can follow my Facebook and Instagram pages (links to the right) for live posts! 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

These are a Few of My Favorite Disneyland!

Next week I will be joining my fellow Glass Slipper Concierges at Disneyland Resort for our annual Agent Education Program! Our agenda is packed full of great training sessions and resort tours with some free time to enjoy the parks. In honor of our upcoming AEP I am going to share with you my five favorite things about Disneyland Resort. 

1. The More Manageable Size
Disneyland Resort is 160 acres in size. That includes three hotels, 2 parks and Downtown Disney. For comparisons sake, Walt Disney World is 40 square miles, or about 27,000 acres, roughly the size of San Francisco! Everything at Walt Disney World is very spread out. Getting around requires using some form of transportation - bus, boat, monorail, car, etc. That is not the case at Disneyland. The turnstiles to Disneyland Park and California Adventure Park are maybe 100 yards away from each other. This makes park hopping so incredibly easy. Here is a photo from Disney's website that is meant to show where will call is located but it does a great job at also showing how close both parks as well as Downtown Disney are. Also note it is an old image, and the entrance to California Adventure no longer has the word California or the Golden Gate Bridge (which does make me sad). 
I often go back and forth between both parks a couple times in a day. The Disney hotels are all easily walking distance to both parks as well. Disneyland Hotel and Paradise Pier are a 10 minute walk through Downtown Disney or just a couple minute walk to the monorail. The Grand Californian Resort & Spa is the closest Disney hotel to ANY Disney park. It even has it's very own entrance into California Adventure. You will also notice a difference in size between Disneyland Park and the Magic Kingdom in Florida. Everything is closer together and getting from Frontierland to Tomorrowland is so much quicker and easier. Because of it's smaller size, Disneyland Resort is a great weekend destination! 

2. Cars Land
If you haven't seen Cars Land yet you are truly missing out. It is Disney magic at it's best. You truly feel like you stepped into Radiator Springs. It's so much fun to be in Cars Land right as the sun sets and all the neon lights come on. Really makes for some great photos. I love seeing Tow Mater and Lightning McQueen driving down the road to meet the guests. So much fun! Not to mention how much fun Radiator Springs Racers is, of course. Simply walking around, checking out all the details, is a great evening in my book! 

3. Space Mountain
iPhone photo
I have probably said it before but Space Mountain is leaps and bounds better at Disneyland than at Disney World - for so many reasons. It feels faster, you sit side by side in the vehicle making it much more comfortable, there are speakers in the head rest (similar to Rock 'n' Roller Coaster at Disney's Hollywood Studios), did I mention it is more comfortable?? It is the ride I want to do over and over again when at Disneyland!! Another thing I prefer about Disneyland's version is when they take the ride photo. It is done right at the very end when you are excited and having fun. I always find the location of the Disney World version to be quite silly. We always look bored because it is taken before the ride has really begun. Of course it's partially sentimental for me as I have some great memories being in a very empty park with my dad and riding Space Mountain at Disneyland over and over again without having to get back in line. 

4. New Orleans Square
New Orleans Square is my favorite themed area of any Disney park. It's so beautiful. It's no wonder why Walt was designing an apartment of his very own right in New Orleans Square (where the Royal Suite is now located). I love how Disneyland incorporates both Pirates of the Caribbean and the Haunted Mansion into this land. Then there is my favorite restaurant when it comes to atmosphere -Blue Bayou. You just can't beat listening the the crickets and watching the Pirates of the Caribbean boats go by. 

5. Disneyland Hotel
Though the Grand Californian Resort & Spa is steps away from the parks and, as the name implies, is more grand I still favor the Disneyland Hotel. The first hotel to bare the name Disney, it was beautifully renovated in 2011. The standard rooms are larger than at the Grand Californian and, of course, you can't miss the magical headboard!

All the Disney details makes my Disney geek heart so happy. It has a pretty awesome pool with very cool monorail slides. Oh, and two very very large hot tubs! Of course I can't forget about Trader Sam's Enchanted Tiki Bar. Seriously this place alone deserves to be one of my favorites but as I was narrowing this down to 5 I am including it with the hotel. Trader Sam's is not to be missed! I can't wait to get Mai Tais with my fellow GSC peeps! Is it next week yet?