When Universal Orlando made the hard decision to cancel their most popular event of the year, Halloween Horror Nights, their fans were heartbroken. But earlier this week we got some surprising news that they were going to have two of the HHN houses open during during normal park hours this weekend. Right now it is not publicly announced that they will continue these houses after this weekend, but we are certainly hoping they will. Today was a fantastic reminder of how much we love HHN!
It is important to know, you will want to arrive to the park early because the line is very long. Today it wrapped down CityWalk all the way to Islands of Adventure (which was also a pretty long line because of trick or treating). There were people who arrived as early as 6:00 am to ensure they got into the park. You are also going to want to make sure you are familiar with the Universal Orlando mobile app before arriving as well as their virtual que system since you have to obtain a virtual que time in order to enter either of the two houses. The park opened at 9:00 am and by 9:30 am the houses reached capacity for the day. They do not offer a stand by line so if you miss getting into the virtual que you will miss out on the houses. I would also like to mention both parks reached capacity by 11:00 am.
We were lucky enough to obtain our spot in the virtual que for both houses, The Revenge of The Tooth Fairy and Universal Monsters: The Bride of Frankenstein Lives. We were very impressed on how well they are doing with social distancing and keeping up with safety and health precautions. Outside while on line they have markers on the ground for the spacing of 6 feet or more between you and the other parties. At the beginning of the house a team member will provide you with hand sanitizer that you must use. There was talk earlier that before entering a house, guests were given a glowstick to to help team members recognize where one party started and one ended, however we did not obtain one in either of our times visiting the houses. That being said, inside each house, each team member was really good about making sure to stop us for a bit until there was no one in our eye sight. They also wore masks as well as face shields. The Scareactors wore masks that went with their costumes and had plexiglass installed between themselves and the guests. But even with the plexiglass, don't be fooled, it is still just as scary!
For those missing the HHN fun "treats" consider visiting the Skeleton Bar which is housed inside of Cafe La Bamba. You are also able to just walk through the experience if you did not want to order anything. The food and beverage offered at the Skeleton Bar are listed below. We sampled each one of the speciality drinks and enjoyed all three of them. Be warned, the Mango Inferno was pretty spicy (with a jalapeno topper) it may not be enjoyable for everyone.
Bloody Charred Tandoori Skewer: $8.99 curry marinated chicken, mango and radish slaw, pineapple tamarind sauce
Incantation Shrimp Cocktail: $9.99 spiced cold poached Gulf shrimp, horseradish cocktail
Screaming for S’Mores Fries: $6.99 sweet potato fries, marshmallow, dark chocolate chips, crumbled graham crackers
Vegan Jack’Dup Mac: $8.99 cavatappi pasta, plant-based sausage, mushrooms, basil pesto, bell peppers, tomatoes, dairy-free cheese, artisan crostini
Frozen Candy Corn: $5.50 non-alcoholic candy corn flavored frozen beverage topped with whipped cream and sprinkles
Circus Peanut: $12.50 Skrewball peanut butter whiskey, Bols creme de banana, Campari, orange juice
Mango Inferno: $12.50 El Jimador Blanco, Mango Juice, yellow curry powder, lime juice, agave nector, salt
Loup - Garou: $12.50 Pussers British Navy Rum, Cruzan Dark, pineapple juice, honey, chamomile tea, lemon juice, pimento bitters
The infamous HHN Tribute Store opened earlier this month but just recently added a Beetlejuice room which is so much fun. There is a lot of great HHN merchandise inside. Watch our video walk through below.
There is HHN merchandise sprinkled around the park, including fun Beetlejuice merch. It makes you think there was a good chance Beetlejuice would have been a house this year. They also have some yummy Fall/HHN donuts over at Voodoo Donut in CityWalk just outside of the park. We decided to grab some goodies to enjoy back in the room!
Today was a good day. We are really hoping that an announcement comes later this week that Universal Studios will be extending the houses through the next few weeks. For those of you going tomorrow, get some rest tonight and make sure to get there nice and early.
To book your next visit to Universal Orlando Resorts reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner by clicking here!
With many events in Walt Disney World being cancelled for the remainder of the year due to the pandemic, we were really looking forward to spending some time at the Taste of Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, even with it being slightly watered down. After such unpleasant times, we looked forward to spending time together with family, enjoying some good food and great drinks (maybe too many great drinks). After all, making those memories with family is what is most important to many of us these days.
Below you see the World Showplace Pavilion. This large indoor area typically hosts private events but right now it is home to four booths and some festival merchandise. It is a lovely break from the heat and holds quite a nice amount of tables to enjoy your food. While at your table dining you are able to remove your mask. The four booths housed inside are Festival Favorites, Desserts and Champagnes, Appleseed Orchard, and Mac & Cheese. While we were here we opted for the Lobster Macaroni & Cheese which was SO good! For you lobster fans, it had huge chunks of lobster meat and was a great value. We also tried the Gourmet Macaroni & Cheese. Topped with herbed Panko this was also very delicious and super flavorful. For our beverages, we went with Raspberry Lemonade Dry Cider from the Appleseed Orchard booth and Bleu Spectrum: Blanc de Bleu Cuvée Mousseux with Boba Pearls (both were a little too sweet for us). Side note, the Mac & Cheese is filling and rich, it is best to start out with this when your really hungry.
One of my personal favorite stops during the International Food and Wine Festival is the France pavilion. Today we decided on the Tarte-Tropezienne and the delicious La Vie en Rose Frozen Slushy to wash it down with. Both yummy just as you would imagine and the Tarte was small enough not to feel sick afterwards.
We also always enjoy our drinks whenever we are at the Japan pavilion. Today we sipped on the Strawberry Nigori Sake and the Furano Martini, both were very refreshing and light which was a good thing since we were pretty full.
Some fun beers we sampled were A Wake Coffee Blonde Ale over at the Hops and Barley booth, and a Hacker-Pschorr Hefe Weisse Naturub from Germany. They always hit the spot on a hot Orlando day! A little later on we stopped by the booth in the Italy pavilion and tried the Prosecco and the Italian Margarita. Even later in the day we splurged for the Iniskillin Ice Wine over in Canada which we have had before and are absolutely obsessed with! It is an expensive little glass of wine at $14.00.
By now you must be thinking, how in the world are you still walking around after all of those drinks? We also made time to eat in between too! Remember we started in the World Showplace with that Mac & Cheese which was very rich and filling so we finished the day with some really great bites!
Below you will find a Pork Tostada with a classic Margarita from Mexico which was good but definitely a "bite", a Mongolian Beef Bao Bun which was a better value with really yummy tender meat from China and lastly Piri Piri Skewered Shrimp with Citrus-Scented Couscous from the Africa booth which was totally the best value and was one of our favorites of the day.
We really enjoyed ourselves, the food and the drinks during our time at the Taste of Epcot Food and Wine Festival. There is no denying that this year is different however with a new perspective on life, only having one of them, we want to make those memories count more than ever! This year is Epcot's longest running Food and Wine Festival so there is still plenty of time for you to create your own tasty memories with your loved ones.
To book your next Walt Disney World vacation, reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner today by clicking here!
This year has been strange with lots of changes in how we typically enjoy a visit to Walt Disney World, but we have some wonderful news that will get you excited to visit the "Most Magical Place On Earth" this holiday season! From Nov. 6th- Dec. 30th, you will be able to enjoy festive décor, themed merchandise, seasonal food & beverage offerings and entertainment all across the Walt Disney World Resort. Holiday magic will be in full force at the four theme parks and Disney Springs, and Santa Claus will make time for special pop-up appearances at each location, waving and exclaiming holiday wishes to all.
You will be delighted by the sight of festive flotillas at Disney's Animal Kingdom, holiday promenades at Epcot and merry motorcades at Disney's Hollywood Studios. Character cavalcades at Magic Kingdom Park will take on a special holiday twist, with Christmas friends on festive floats in their holiday finest. Gingerbread Men? Check! Elves and Reindeer? Check, check! And the Toy Soldiers will join the Main Street Philharmonic as they march through Magic Kingdom Park, bringing musical holiday cheer for all to hear.
When night falls, special projection effects will give a festive look to Cinderella Castle this year, providing a colorful backdrop for your photos. The appearance of the iconic castle will be transformed with a rotating series of designs including a whimsical Christmas sweater and a regal overlay of red, green and gold ornamentation. This will be in place of the Castle Dream Lights. Other holiday experiences that draw big crowds will be on hiatus this year as well, such as Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party and Candlelight Processional at Epcot. We will miss these experiences, but we’re so glad to be able to have some holiday magic in other creative ways to look forward to!
Of course, the holidays wouldn’t be complete without enjoying a meal among friends and family. Minnie Mouse will be hosting a yuletide gathering for all her friends at Hollywood & Vine at Disney's Hollywood Studios starting Nov. 6. Santa Goofy will be there, along with Minnie and more in their holiday best.
Shifting gears to Disney Springs (one of our favorite "adult places" in WDW), You will discover Christmas around every corner as you come across a collection of elaborately-decorated Disney Christmas trees spread throughout this retail, dining and entertainment destination. In the evening, those visiting areas within Town Center, West Side and The Landing will encounter a magical snowfall, adding an extra touch of wonder to their holiday shopping. And to top it off, Jock Lindsey will once again be turning his hangar bar into Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar complete with delightful holiday décor and a delicious limited-time menu filled with festive favorites.
Disney Resort hotels will also be decked out for the holidays, with their lobbies featuring iconic trees and other festive flourishes. Sadly, their gingerbread displays will not return to the Resort hotels this year. While we know they are a favorite of people taking in the holiday décor, they’re not able to include those displays due to physical distancing guidelines.
Starting a bit later in the season, on Nov. 27, Disney will celebrate highlights from the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. Holiday kitchens will return around World Showcase promenade with favorites like American Holiday Table featuring Slow-roasted Turkey with Stuffing and Bavaria Holiday Kitchen with dishes like Cheese Fondue in a Bread Bowl.
Those visiting will be invited to step inside World ShowPlace to enjoy the returning group, JOYFUL!, who present a journey through R&B, Gospel, contemporary and traditional Christmas and holiday music. Also, the Voices of Liberty will bring their incredible 8-part harmonies to the America Gardens Theatre stage for a special concert of favorite carols and songs of the season. There are plenty more details about this festival to come, so stay tuned.
With the struggle this year has brought us, we are so excited to close the year out with these new holiday events Disney has announced. There’s a lot of holiday fun to see and do at Walt Disney World even if it is different than what we are used to.
To book your holiday vacation to Walt Disney World reach out to us today at Info@StarstuffTravel.com
Just when you though you heard it all, Disney comes along and makes another announcement for this upcoming Fall season! On September 25th, over in Hollywood Studios, Minnie's Seasonal Dining is set to make its big return and it is going to look slightly different than last time you were there! Enjoy getting into the Halloween spirit while waving and taking pictures of Minnie, Mickey and their friends during Minnie's Halloween Dine while enjoying a monster feast served to your table. it is sure to get you in the mood with lovely Halloween decorations, music and great food!
For our princess fans, you will be pleased to know that on September 24th, you can enjoy dining in Cinderellas Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom once again. Gaston’s Tavern, also in the Magic Kingdom, will return Sept. 4 and the ABC Commissary at Disney’s Hollywood Studios reopens for walk-in quick service for lunch beginning Oct. 8.
If you need any recommendations on which dining experiences will work best for your upcoming Walt Disney World Resort vacation, or to book your trip be sure to reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner!