There have been tons of exciting announcements coming out of the Destination D23 presentation today and we are thrilled to bring you some news about our favorite place, Disneyland! We heard the next-generation MagicBand+ wearable technology and “Hey, Disney!” voice assistant, recently announced for Walt Disney World Resort, will be coming to Disneyland Resort in 2022. This will be the first time that MagicBand+ will be available at Disneyland Resort. Details on features of MagicBand+ will be shared in the coming months. The “Hey, Disney!” voice assistant will work alongside Alexa on Amazon Echo devices and will begin to roll out to guest rooms across the hotels at Disneyland Resort.
In a surprise announcement, Josh D’Amaro also revealed that “World of Color” and “Fantasmic!” will return to the Disneyland Resort next year and we can't wait to welcome them back! 2022 is going to be a great time to visit Disneyland! Let your Starstuff Travel Planner help you start creating those memories today.
1. Non-stop Flights
Many airports in the USA offer a quick non-stop flight into Cancun. This makes it an easy destination to visit for a quick three or four night stay to escape the winter cold.
While it may be frigid where you live in January, it is typically in the low 80's when you visit Mexico in the winter months.
3. Easier Travel Requirements after Covid-19
Unlike other destinations, Mexico does not require a vaccination or Covid-19 test to enter. You do need to test to re-enter into the USA, however most resorts are offering testing complimentary and take care of it right on property for you making it super convenient.
4. Quality with affordability
You will always get more bang for your buck when you visit Mexico. You will almost always find a resort here that checks every box for you on or under budget versus any other destination. If you travel during the winter months after the holidays are over it is also usually less expensive as well.
5. Less crowds
Anytime you travel when kids are back in school after the holidays are finished, it is tyically less crowded and more enjoyable.
For more information on booking your next adventure to Mexico, reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner today!
California Grill is serving up a new Celebration menu for Walt Disney World's 50th Anniversary and on a recent trip we were lucky enough to snag a dining reservation to try it out. With this specific Celebration Menu, they are offering a limited time three course menu with dishes inspired by years past favorites along with some yummy new creations. This three course meal includes an appetizer, an entree and a dessert all for the cost of $89 per adult and $39 per child (this is without any type of Annual Pass or DVC discounts applied). As usual, the California Grill does have a dress code. You can find the Signature Dining Dress code on the California Grill web page. With a fine dining reservation such as this, we always find it fun to be able to dress up and get out of our park gear for the night. Most of the guests in the restaurant will be dressed for this fine dining experience.
The menu has a decent amount of selections, which makes it very hard for those foodies to make a choice and stick with it. My only logic for this is that I will need to go back again to try some of the other menu items I have my eye on. They also offer wine pairing for an additional price.
We started our meal out with some house-made Focaccia bread that is also served with a rich dipping oil loaded with from tomato conserva, chives, and spices. This is so yummy it is hard to remind yourself that you need to save room for all of the food that will be shortly served! For my appetizer I enjoyed the Cascade Roll which is Tuna, Salmon and Hamachi Poke, Jicama, Cucumber, Yuzu-Avocado Purée, Masago Arare, with Soy Gel. I am a sucker for sushi and this did not disappoint. The portion size was just enough to hit the spot and not fill you up.
For my meal I selected the Oak-fired Filet of Beef with Black Truffle-Brown Butter Chateau Potatoes, Golden Raisins Vinaigrette, Cauliflower, and Roasted Tomato Butter. This dish has been a main-stay here at Walt Disney World for as long as I can remember and it is no surprise because it tastes so good. The meat melts in your mouth and for those fans of cauliflower this is a must try!
For dessert we just had to order the Five Magical Bites 50 Years in the Making: Honey, Lemon, Carrot, Strawberry, Chocolate. This featured bite-sized desserts chosen from the Top of the World/California Grill menus from each decade which we thought was super fun. Although the nostalgia is great, this specific dessert was just that......fun. It lacks some of the incredible tastes my other selections had. Again, just another reason for me to revisit and try a different dessert.
After your done dining you can step out onto the deck to enjoy the Electrical Water Pageant and Disney's Enchantment fireworks at the Magic Kingdom if your there at the right time. Nothing adds more magic than viewing the fireworks on a full stomach! For those looking for something different to add to their 50th Anniversary trip, check out the new "Celebration at the Top: 50th Flavors & Fireworks at Disney's Contemporary Resort" cocktail and dessert party.
The best time to attempt to make a dining reservation here would be two hours prior to the Magic Kingdom Fireworks. That would give you enough time to dine and then head out to the observation platform. However, dining reservations are difficult to come by for this specific experience right now so you may not have that luxury. If you are lucky enough to find a time that will put you there during the fireworks, make sure to let your server know ahead of time that you will be watching the fireworks so your meal can be cooked accordingly. As a last resort, you can show your receipt at the elevator to return later for fireworks, but it is not as magical as just being there already.
I would say this menu is worth giving it a shot. The food was great, minus our dessert, the atmosphere was charming, and the excitement of the celebration is spot on.
For more information on how to book your Walt Disney World vacation to celebrate the 50th Anniversary, reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner today!
Here at Starstuff Travel, the holidays are our favorite time of year. There is something about the holiday cheer, the decorations and the most imporant part.....THE FOOD! We are excited to bring you this years Foodie Guide for Walt Disney World and you will not be disappointed. We dare you to read this on an empty stomach!
Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Oasis Canteen, Animation Arch Bar, and Sunshine Day Bar
Magic Kingdom Park
Auntie Gravity's Galactic Goodies
Jock Lindsey's Hangar Bar
If your mouth is watering after reading this, we can fix that. For more information on how to book your Walt Disney World holiday vacation, reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner today!
They say enjoying the Mandara Spa at the breathtaking Loews Portifino Bay at Universal Orlando Resort is just the thing you need to relax after some long days at the park, but you can in fact enjoy a relaxing weekend getaway here without even knowing there are theme parks steps away. Quite frankly it was just the rest and relaxation we both needed!
A few weeks ago my daughter and myself checked into Universal Orlando's Portifino Bay resort on a Friday night after a long work day, once checked in we freshened up and got tucked into bed. We enjoyed sleeping in on Saturday morning without an alarm going off and rolled out of bed before heading to the resorts main pool, the "Beach Pool". This pool has zero-entry pool access, lifeguards on duty, and an aqueduct-themed water slide. Cabanas are also available for rent if you want to go all out. Since we planned on spending a majority of our time at the spa, we chose to lay in a regular chair.
After a nice swim and a short nap on a pool lounger, we headed over to the Mandara Spa. One of the great benefits of having a spa treatment here is you can utilize the remainder of the spa before or after your treatment on the day of your reservation. We decided to check into the spa about an hour and a half prior to our massage to do just that. At that time your spa concierge will show you around the spa, explain how to use the lockers and other amenities, and show you where to meet your masseuse when it is time for your treatment.
After relaxing in the sauna, the steamroom and doing some hydrotherapy, we headed to the lounge to meet for our couples massage. What made this different from a typical "Mother/Daughter Massage" was that if we opted for a "Couples Massage" we were able to select a longer massage time, 80 mins versus 50 mins, and we also received a hot parrafin foot mask and an essentional oil scalp massage for just a few dollars more. Since we were spoiling ourselves we went all the way!
We had an amazing experience during our massages and we really loved that the tables were heated. I will not bore you with all of the details on how wonderful an 80 minute full body massage is, but I am sure you can imagine! When we were all finished, they offered me a glass of wine or champagne and my daughter a juice.
After we made our way back to the lounge we decided to shower and get ready for our fine dining experience we had later that evening at BiCE Ristorante Orlando. Mandara Spa is equipt with everything you need to get ready for a night out. We usually bring a fresh change of clothing and any toiletries we will want to use. The spa offers hairdryers, disposal brushes, makeup applicators, etc. This is typical of most spas.
Another awesome benefit of having a treatment booked at the spa was being able to utilize the spa and the showers on our hotel check out day. Our spa concierge advised that since we were checking out of the hotel late in the day on Sunday, we could come back to the spa and freshen up with a shower before we headed back to the airport. This came in super helpful because we spent a few hours at the pool after we checked out of the hotel and then also spent a few hours at the parks before we headed home. Being able to shower and put clean clothes on before getting on the airplane after a hot day was a true gift.
This was a quick weekend but it was one of the most relaxing weekends I have had in years. There is no reason you can't head down to do the same with your daughter, mother, or friends....Hey, why not even by yourself for pure relaxation??!! If you already have a Universal Orlando Vacation booked, I highly recommend you add a day at the spa while your there. You will not be disappointed, I promise!
If you would like to find out more about the Mandara Spa in Orlando reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner today!
Smack dab in the middle of all the skyscrapers, the hustle and bustle of the crowds, the shopping, dining and all of the entertainment is one of the worlds most well known tropical resorts, the brand new Margaritaville Resort Times Square. I am so excited to tell you all about our recent trip out to visit this fabulous new resort.
From your first few steps into the resort and coming face to face with the giant blue flip flop, you can feel the vacation mode kick in instantly. It is really strange (in a good way) to be out in the middle of the city and then to walk through the double doors into a tropical oasis. After taking our first few steps inside, we were greeted by the most knowledgeable bell hop I have ever come into contact with. By the time he took our bags and we were in the elevator he had told us almost everything there was to know about the resort, including all the restaurants, the bars, and the pool. He brought us up to the main lobby, which is on the 7th floor, to check into our room. I thought we just got lucky with how friendly the bell hop was, but it did not stop there. Every single person in this resort is genuinely happy to see you and you can feel it. The staff treat you as a VIP, and we did not encounter anyone without a huge smile wanting to make our day better.
As with any hotel in New York City, space is limited, so they have to utilize every inch they can. Margaritaville does this but goes above and beyond with their space, making sure each ounce immerses you in that vacation vibe. In the lobby there is some beautiful seating areas continuing with that Caribbean theming, along with an indoor lobby bar, an outdoor bar with views of Times Square along with stunning views of their rooftop pool just a floor below.
Speaking of rooftop pool, it is a beauty. The pool is directly off of the Landshark Bar & Grill Restaurant and we are being told it will be open all year long for those of you crazy enough to enjoy it! They will have waitstaff out there to take your food and beverage orders or you can dine right inside the Landshark. The neat thing about this specific area is the Landshark has a wall of floor to ceiling glass windows that open up to the pool so you really feel like your on island time BUT you are surrounded by the tall buildings of the city, there is something oddly beautiful about it. While we were enjoying our lunch at Landshark they had a stilt performer dressed as a lifeguard which was really cute.
As with any Margaritaville Resort, they have their flagship restaurant Margaritaville, except this one has to be my favorite one yet. It is two stories and has a giant Statue of Liberty in the middle of it holding nothing other than a margarita glass! Every so often they have a really neat light show with music where the margarita glass showcases dolphins and fish swimming around it and even some fireworks. While we had dinner here, the stilt performer walked around getting everyone to stand on their chairs to dance and sing along during the light show to really make it feel like a party. This was not just a great time for the kids, but also for the parents. We all know it is hard to make sure everyone has fun at the same time!
It’s always 5 o’Clock in Margaritaville! Located on the 31st and 32nd floors of the Margaritaville Resort Times Square, the 5 o’Clock Somewhere Bar provides you with sprawling views of New York City, including the iconic New Year’s Eve Ball and the Hudson River. I could not get over the view of the NYE Ball! This is going to be the place to be for New Years Eve (I was also told they have a handful of rooms with views of the Ball so look out for some NYE packages this year).
The rooms here are pretty straight across the board. They look and feel like all the other Margaritaville Resort rooms except because it is New York City they are smaller. Some of the views are better than others but all the rooms generally look the same. I love that they have hardwood and the little touches like the fins on the sink are adorable. I love the Margaritaville K-cups in the morning and the bottles of water that say "Paradise Water from Margaritaville".
Some other random things I appreciated here are the amazingly comfy robe ( I always adore a good robe when I am away), the island vibe in each hall way including the hand sanitizer they have strategically placed everywhere, and lastly the doorbells each room has complete with a picture of the Statue of Liberty and her margarita glass. The biggest selling point of this resort is the location. It is right in the heart of Manhattan. It is within walking distance to Broadway shows, the Empire State Building, popular dining, Penn Station and so much more. I can even see this becoming a very popular place to stay during the holidays when people want to enjoy all of the cities decorations, Christmas Tree, and ice skating but they also want that warm tropical vibe when they come back to the resort after a long day of sightseeing.
If you would like to find out more about the Margaritaville Resort Times Square reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner today!
Today we wandered off to the Anaheim GardenWalk for the first time. It is such a great area with fun shopping and dining, within a short walking distance if you are staying onsite at a Disneyland hotel. What we did not except was to stumble upon this adorable store, Dara Beauty. This store exudes magic as you walk in and you immediately get lost in it's beauty.
This store is a MUST for those who are visiting the Disneyland area. They have a fabulous selection of costumes, tiaras, makeup and accessories for less than half the price of what you will pay once on property. They even have costumes for adults, and I will be honest, if I was a little slimer I would have purchased one myself!
They also have services to transform your favorite little one into a princess and afterwards you can take pictures inside of the princess carriage and in front of the fantasy garden area. They have a beautiful selection of tiaras that are very reasonably priced. The only problem you will end up having is narrowing down the selection to one, but can a princess really have too many crowns?
We spent a lot of time speaking with the staff and not only are they very knowledgeable but they are extremely passionate about what they do. You can tell how much they love their job and that shines all through out the store. This is a must do when you are in the area. It is whimsical enchantment and perfect for those who love a good fairytale! They even have a Pandora section so you can get your jewelry fix while visiting. I always love purchasing a Pandora charm when I visit a special place to remember that specific moment. This new charm comes with a great memory of the chat I had with the friendly staff in the store. Believe it or not, shopping here was one of my favorite memories of our whole trip out to Disneyland.
For more information on Dara Beauty or to book your next adventure out to Disneyland reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner today. Our services are complimentary for those who book through our agency.
Whenever a new themed area opens in any Disney destination we are always excited to try their quick service dining. There is always something fun about having a meal with a good themed atmosphere and Pym Test Kitchen is no exception. Just in case you didn't know what is quite going on here, Ant-Man and The Wasp utilize the revolutionary shrink and grow technology of Pym Particles, and lead a team of research chefs as they pioneer a menu packed with inventive sized entrees, tiny treats and shareable bites that provide the perfect power up. This old lab facility turned quick service restaurant features a seating area and bar amidst decor that incorporates remnants of ongoing experiments, gigantic soda cans, humongous condiment bottles and massive cellphone recycled into menu boards.
For breakfast we went with the Calculated Breakfast (Calculated Breakfast = E x 2 + (B+P)/T = Eggs Two Ways). This meal comes with eggs two ways (we believe they are using quail eggs for the sunny side up egg so be prepared for it to be cold before you sit down), smoked bacon, crispy potato bites, and focaccia bread. This choice is going to set you back $10.99 and although adorable, it is going to leave you walking away hungry. We also snagged the kids Cinna-Pym Mini Toast which was warmed Cinnamon Pym Particle Bread, with turkey bacon, maple syrup, a Cutie mandarin orange with a choice of a milk or water and this was $7.99.
The theming of this quick service knocks it out of the park but if you are looking for a better meal that will fill you up we recommend skipping breakfast and visiting for lunch or dinner where they have 'LARGER' portioned selections.
Make sure to visit our YouTube channel to see additional Avengers Campus footage by clicking here and to book your next visit to Disneyland Parks and Resorts make sure to use a Starstuff Planner. Our services are complementary to those who book their vacation through us!
As if we did not have enough to be excited for this year with all the recent Walt Disney World announcements, today we are celebrating even more amazing news! This big news includes the reveal of two brand new nighttime shows and we want to tell you all about them!
A new nighttime spectacular, “Disney Enchantment,” will help kick off the 50th anniversary festivities when it debuts Oct. 1 at Magic Kingdom Park. Created to launch with “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” this evening extravaganza will take you on a journey filled with adventure, wonder and empowerment. Inspiring everyone to believe in magic, “Disney Enchantment” will feature music, enhanced lighting, stunning fireworks and, for the first time, immersive projection effects that extend from Cinderella Castle down Main Street, U.S.A.
Joining “Disney Enchantment” on Oct. 1 will be “Harmonious” at EPCOT, one of the largest nighttime spectaculars ever created for a Disney park. This new show will bring the globe together at World Showcase Lagoon in a celebration of Disney music that inspires people worldwide. It’s a grand, powerful tribute to the stories and songs that unite us, embracing new technical magic that incorporates pyrotechnics, choreographed moving fountains, lighting and media in new ways. “Harmonious” will invite you to travel the globe through new interpretations of classic Disney songs as you’ve never heard them before, reimagined in more than a dozen languages by a diverse group of 240 artists from around the world.
There’s also new daytime entertainment stirring at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park. Check out this artist rendering of “Disney KiteTails,” which will come alive several times daily at the Discovery River Amphitheater beginning Oct. 1. Performers will fly windcatchers and kites of all shapes and sizes, while out on the water elaborate three-dimensional kites, some stretching to 30 feet long, will depict Disney animal friends, including Simba, Zazu, Baloo and King Louie. These colorful creations will dance through the sky to the beat of favorite Disney songs in an uplifting, vibrant experience for the whole family.
Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse will be your hosts for “The World’s Most Magical Celebration,” and they’ll be decked out in sparkling new EARidescent fashions for the 50th anniversary. As you can see in the photo above, their best pals want to get in on the shimmer, too, as Donald Duck and Daisy Duck, Goofy and Pluto, and Chip ‘n’ Dale will be sporting their own custom-made EARidescent looks beginning Oct. 1. You’ll get a chance to see them when they travel through Magic Kingdom Park several times daily in the new “Mickey’s Celebration Cavalcade.”
These eight friends will also be featured in special golden character sculptures debuting Oct. 1 at Magic Kingdom Park; in this artist rendering, you can see Mickey and Minnie shining in the sunlight near Cinderella Castle. There will be 50 characters total in this series of sculptures that will be displayed across all four theme parks. Disney will soon reveal more of the “Disney Fab 50” as excitement builds for the big day, as well as the surprising ways you’ll be able to interact with these beautiful sculptures as part of the 50th anniversary celebration.
This fall, you can bring home “Walt Disney World: A Portrait of the First Half Century,” a beautiful new coffee table book from Disney Editions. You can see the cover art above for this insider’s look at the history and evolution of Walt Disney World, written by Kevin Kern, Tim O’Day and Steven Vagnini. The book will be available for purchase beginning Sept. 28 at Walt Disney World, shopDisney.com and wherever books are sold.
“The World’s Most Magical Celebration” will also see the grand opening of Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure at EPCOT, icons at each of the four parks transforming into Beacons of Magic at night*, EARidescent decor all across the resort, plus much more. Walt Disney World cast members who will be wearing new EARidescent nametags designed especially for this occasion are looking forward to sharing all this magic with you, as they are the heart of this momentous event.
For more information on booking your Walt Disney World vacation, contact one of our Starstuff Travel Planners today. Our services are complimentary when you book your vacation with us!
SELECT NIGHTS ◆ SEPT 3rd through OCT 31, 2021
Last year, Universal made the difficult decision not to hold Halloween Horror Nights due to Covid 19. So when they made the announcement today that they were back for their 30th year we could not contain our excitement! If you are not familiar with this awesome event let us tell you a little more about it. HHN does require a separate ticket where you can experience terrifying haunted houses, sinister scare zones, outrageous live entertainment and some of the park’s most exhilarating attractions. You definitely need someone to cling to, someone to hide behind, somebody to panic with because this event is not for the faint of heart.
Today they announced the first of their ten "Houses" is going to be Beetlejuice but have yet to announce any of the five themed "Scare Zones". Along with their spooky merchandise that you can find in their official Tribute Store, and the neat themed food and beverages, this is an event we have always been fond of. If you are a movie buff, a fan of horror, or just go nuts over Halloween this is a MUST DO event for you! Since they will also be celebrating their 30th anniversary (they had to skip it last year) and this event is always popular you will want to buy your tickets before they sell out. Reach out to your Starstuff Travel Planner today for more information!