It is no surprise that many guests love Disney's Magical Express transportation feature that Walt Disney World has offered for many years, making it easy and affordable to get from the Orlando International Airport to their on property Disney Resorts. It certainly has been a great selling feature of staying onsite since it was offered complimentary. However, today Disney surprised us with an announcement that after this year, they will no longer offer the free shuttle service in 2022. At this time we have no news on what, if anything, will replace this service (such as the high speed train with a station on Disney property possibly coming in 2022) but when we do you will be the first to know! For now, let's all enjoy our time on the Magical Express this year and look forward to many great new things to come!
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it is no secret more and more people are now traveling with food focused driven experiences and what better place to visit than Universal Orlando Resorts for great food and drinks! Now before you say to yourself "Theme park food isn't anything special" take sometime to review our full day Universal Orlando Resort Foodie Guide. We are in love with their dining and snack options and think everyone needs to be well informed on their delicious options! We have broken our full day food guide into two parts, Universal Studios Florida as well as Islands of Adventure. But don't take our word for it, spend the day following our guides so you can find out first hand how great Universal Orlando dining really is. You can thank us later!
Before you start your day make sure to download the Official Universal Orlando Resort App. This can be very helpful for planning out your meals as hours can vary for each restaurant. You can also link your preferred method of payment and use it for placing Mobile Food and Drink Orders from select restaurants. You can even attach your dining plan to the app for the ultimate convenience.
BREAKFAST AT THE LEAKY CAULDRON
What is that saying, "Breakfast is the most important meal of they day?" We agree and that is why we suggest you start the day at The Leaky Cauldron over in Universal Orlando's Diagon Alley. It is based on the small, grubby-looking pub and inn that Harry Potter stayed in for several weeks over the summer before heading off to Hogwarts for his third year. The food and theming here is top notch. If you are a Harry Potter fan you can order up yourself a Traditional English Breakfast just like he would have. The platter is served with fresh scrambled eggs, sausage links, black pudding, English bacon, baked beans, grilled tomato, sautéed mushrooms, and breakfast potatoes. It is currently priced at $17.99 and while this platter is quite fun for many, they do offer a Pancake Breakfast (pictured above) for those who are a little on the finicky side. This platter comes with three fluffy buttermilk pancakes, crisp bacon, and sausage link, with butter croissant and is also priced at $17.99. The quality of the food as well as the quantity given is a win win for everyone.
We recommend trying a warm Butterbeer with your breakfast earlier in the day since Orlando can heat up pretty fast. It is the perfect pairing with your breakfast in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!
After breakfast you can wander around the nooks and crannies of Diagon Alley and maybe even grab some Earl Grey & Lavender ice cream at Florean Fortesecue’s Ice Cream Parlour to enjoy underneath the flames from the fire-breathing dragon atop Gringotts bank. Remember, this is a "Foodie Guide" and you want to make sure you are going out of your comfort zone and trying new and fun things! After spending sometime exploring the area head over to the San Francisco's Fisherman's Wharf area of Universal Studios Florida for you next stop.......LUNCH!
LUNCH AT LOMBARDS SEAFOOD GRILL
Can you say "Lobster Roll?" We are from the Jersey Shore so we know good seafood when we see it and Lombards Seafood Grill does not disappoint! While this amazing sandwich usually comes with a Dijon mayonnaise sauce, our agent Victoria Redwine likes to get hers without the mayo and replaces it with butter. The amount of lobster meat and the actual quality of it goes well above what you expect at a decent seafood restaurant let alone a theme park. It also comes with a side of housemade potato chips that are out of this world. Since Lombards is situated on the park’s main lagoon, it has some great views from their private dining rooms upstairs that also offer balconies over looking the park, truly making the dining experience an A+.
DINNER AT MELS DINER
Cruise over to Mels Drive In and prepare to rock around the clock at this 50s drive-in that is inspired by the movie American Graffiti. Decked out with classic juke boxes and shiny vintage cars, this is really just a fun place to eat. This is considered a quick service dining option so you can mobile order and then find yourself a seat. One of the biggest draws of this restaurant is the amount of food you can actually get when your on the Quick Service Dining Plan. Pictured above you see the Cheeseburger Combo Served with fries and a regular shake, plus a water. On the Quick Service Dining Plan this whole entire combo including the water counts as one QS meal, leaving you still with an extra beverage and snack for the rest of the day. The price for this one meal alone without the dining plan is currently $15.99 but for a few dollars more, $27.68, you can actually purchase the QS Dining Plan for the whole entire day. This makes Mels our favorite place to eat when we have the Quick Service plan because of the great value of their meals.
DESSERT AT BIG FIRE GRILL
We never visit Universal Orlando without stopping by to pay homage to the Tableside S'mores at Big Fire Grill over on CityWalk. This is the absolute best way to end a long day in the parks. This devine dessert comes with homemade marshmallows (as well as regular ones), graham crackers, chocolate, and peanut butter cups and allows you to enjoy this camp side activity from the comfort of your own table. Nothing impresses kids and even adults like this neat dessert Big Fire offers. This set up currently costs $16.00 but you can also purchase additional portions for $8 a piece.
SNACK VOODOO DONUT
Chances are your going to have to walk right past Voodoo Donut in order to leave the park, so there is no excuse to not stop and grab one for the road (or even for breakfast in the morning). The shop is funky and so are the donuts. You are not going to find anything run of the mill about their goodies here. They are edgy but also delicious and many times through out the year Universal Orlando will have their own themed donuts to purchase like during Halloween Horror Nights or Annual Pass Appreciation Days.
At Universal Orlando food and drink is an adventure to be experienced and shared just as much as the attractions themselves. Hopefully, you have found some dining inspiration to thrill your inner foodie as you plan for your next vacation at Universal Orlando Resort. When you are ready to book that next adventure, reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner by clicking here!
Whether you have been planning a lengthy family vacation or just a quick weekend trip, it can be very stressful when things do not go as planned. Our number one tip to clients is to set realistic expectations that leave room for spontaneous magic but also for real life events that can still happen while you are traveling. I was very well reminded of this exact situation when me and my sons were headed to Walt Disney World for a quick weekend trip to regroup and bond. Even having been a travel professional for years, I am still learning we are not in control of how the day unfolds sometimes. You just have to stay positive and learn how to roll with the punches.
The start of the weekend was slated by one of my sons missing the flight which meant he would not be attending our trip. That could have been enough to start on the wrong foot but I was thankful I was going to now have that extra special time with my youngest and we moved on with our day. After arriving to the airport and boarding the plane, we had technical difficulties and sat on the runway for an extra hour that was cutting into our small amount of time we had for a quick weekend trip. I tried to remind myself how thankful I was that they were able to fix the issue and that we were even able to get away for the weekend period. When we arrived to the airport we jumped into a taxi to head to our resort. On the way to the hotel, our taxi broke down on the side of the road where we waited over two hours for another driver to come and pick us up. At that point, I knew it was too late to visit Epcot and I was nervous after such a long day of complete "failures" it was going to be too hard to turn the weekend around into a positive experience. This is where I needed to accept that we are not able to control everything, but there is a lot we can control, such as our thoughts, actions and how we continue with our day. Below are five great Jedi mind trick to make sure you do not self sabotage your special time no matter what happens.
5 Jedi Mind Tricks For Staying Sane
For more great tips and tricks on traveling, make sure to reach out to one of our Starstuff Travel Planners by clicking here!
Things are changing ever so quickly and at any point this list can be null and void with the information depicted, but as of today, December 21st. 2020, it is up to date. Please make sure to contact a Starstuff Travel professional for the most accurate information about traveling. Each planner is taking extra measures to educate themselves with all forms of travel protocols and destination safety and health precautions on a daily basis.
There is more than just the holidays to celebrate right now. Disney Travel News just announced the dates for the Taste of Epcot's International Flower & Garden Festival for the upcoming year and that has us all itching to get through the winter and dive right into spring! With garden-fresh cuisines, creative gardens and unforgettable topiaries, this vibrant festival combines the freshest flowers and flavors from around the world and starts on March 3, 2021. With more than 20 delectable stops, World Showcase will play host to the festival’s Outdoor Kitchens and other food & beverage locations, offering a smorgasbord of flavors and beverages that you can enjoy all the way until July 5th.
Gardeners of all ages will be invited to participate in Spike’s Pollen Nation Exploration – a springtime scavenger hunt starring Spike, the buzzzz-iest honeybee at Walt Disney World. And, Guests will “bee” on the lookout for festival-specific merchandise throughout the park.
With the 50th anniversary coming up in 2021, this is a very big year for Walt Disney World. Now is the time to make sure to secure your families reservations. To obtain more information on the Taste of Epcot's International Flower & Garden Festival or to book your trip, reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner by clicking here!
It is no secret that Epcot is known for its year round festivals, and the Festival of the Holidays is one of our favorites! This specific festival features culinary traditions from countries around the globe. With special seasonal recipes scattered throughout the World Showcase, fun holiday entertainment AND a Holiday Cookie Stroll, there is nothing not to love about this time of year in Epcot. While there are many Holiday Kitchens set up in the World Showcase, below you are going to find just a few of our favorites from this year.
We always love a good Salmon recipe so we were drawn to the L'Chaim! Holiday Kitchen over between Morocco and France. Here we were excited to try the Smoked Salmon Potato Latke. At first glance I did not think it was going to be to filling however it pleasantly surprised me. This yummy dish with sour cream and capers was just $5.00. We should also mention the Sufganiyot (mini jelly filled donuts) were a great runner up as our favorite at $3.50.
We finished up and moved onto the Yukon Holiday Kitchen which you can find over in Canada. Here we really loved the Seared Scallops with Parsnip Silk, Apple Chutney, and Hazelnut Croquant. The scallops were tender and the flavor was spot on and for $6.00 we thought this was a win. Since this was our second seafood choice we also decided to try the Beef Bourguignon with Crushed Potatoes. The beef portion was very generous and easy to call a favorite at just $5.75.
Our third and final favorite selection was over at the Mele Kalikimaka Holiday Kitchen. This is no surprise since Hawaii is one of our favorite destinations on the planet, were always up to snack on some delicious Hawaiian fare. For $6.00 we tried the Lomi Lomi Salmon with Tomatoes, Onions, Salmon Roe, Yuzu Mayonnaise and Yucca chips. If you love raw fish, this dish is a must when you visit, the only thing I could say negative was I wish the portion was a little larger because I loved it so much. We also tried the Kalua Pork with Okinawa Purple Sweet Potatoes with Mango Salad. Not only was the presentation very pretty but the pork was delicious and was not dry. As you know, it can be hard to find a pork like this that is not dry. The pork dish was $5.25 and was a generous portion
The festival also has some great holiday merchandise this year. Below you will find our two favorite holiday merchandise pieces. The first, a holiday jersey featuring Chip and Dale with some comfy fleece type material on the bottom and the second piece is a delightful cookie jar that features the "Holiday Cookie Stroll" verbiage that will remind you of your time chomping on some of the sugary goodness while visiting Epcot during the holidays.
If you would like to obtain more information on visiting Epcot during the Taste of International Festival of the Holidays then reach out to a Starstuff Travel Planner here!
The holiday season at the Orlando theme parks is a very special time to many of us. The decorations are up, Christmas music is playing, and it is a great jump start to the most wonderful time of the year. To be completely transparent with things being so different, we were not sure what to expect from any of the destinations in Orlando this year, but Universal Orlando knocked it out of the park with their holiday fun! Today we are going to talk about our time participating in the Universal Orlando's 2020 Holiday Tree Hunt.
You will need to purchase the special brochure that you see below for a small fee of $9.95. This map includes the locations of all 16 themed trees featured inside both parks as well as Universal CityWalk. Once you have completed the map and received all 16 stamps, you receive a complimentary ornament. So although you are paying a fee for the map, you are essentially paying for the ornament you receive at the end and having a great time while trying to obtain it.
You can easily follow the map to get from one tree to the next even if you are unfamiliar with the parks layout. We personally started in Islands of Adventure and if you have a Park to Park ticket like we did, you can easily go between parks through a small walk way they had set up in Seuss Landing or on the Hogwarts Express. You can also walk into CityWalk and obtain your two stamps in between visiting both parks which is what we did.
The trees are specifically themed for each area of the park you are in when you find them. Our favorite tree from Islands of Adventure was the Grinch themed tree found in the Mulberry Street Store. Our favorite holiday tree in Universal Studios Florida was the SpongeBob SquarePants tree found in the SpongeBob StorePants store. Please enjoy the photos of the trees as we found them along the way below.
Islands of Adventure Holiday Trees
Treasures of Poseidon
Marvel Alterniverse Store
Mulberry Street Store
Islands of Adventure Trading Company
Island Market and Export Candy Shoppe
Universal Studios Florida Holiday Trees
Universal Studios Store
Shrek's Ye Olde Souvenir Shoppe
Silver Screen Collectibles
Holiday Tribute Store
CityWalk Holiday Trees
Toothsome Chocolate Emporium, CityWalk
Universal Studios Store, CityWalk
We had a great time running around trying to find the trees and reviewing all the detail on them, they are really neat to look at. We love the ornament we received at the end because we will always have that special souvenir that will remind us of our adventure in Universal Orlando for Christmas 2020. This event is happening until January 3rd, 2021.
If this is something that you would like to do with your family to celebrate the holidays, reach out to a Starstuff Travel planner today by clicking here!
Right now everyone is dreaming about being pampered and I would love to share some insider info I have from Le Blanc Spa Resorts Los Cabos where you are pampered and catered to the whole time you are vacationing there. When you close your eyes and fantasize about being somewhere dreamy this is the place you are visualizing!
Airport transfers are included in any stay 4 days or more and are provided by some of the most luxurious vehicles (by the way, Le Blanc Spa Resort is an adults only all inclusive property). It is just a quick 20-30 minute drive from the airport to the resort. On the way to the hotel we were in a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter type van and headed back to the airport we were in a Cadillac SUV, feeling like a VIP all the way.
When you arrive at the property you’ll be greeted with welcome cocktails, a warm lavender infused neck pillow and 5-star type service by the friendly staff members. The entire resort is fashioned with immaculate white marble floors and subtle décor with an amazing fragrant smell you will want to bottle up to bring back home (in fact you can actually purchase their signature scent in the gift shop). You are then brought to your room by the bellman and introduced to your butler. Every single room here at Le Blanc includes butler service. Our butler Karla introduced us to the Le Blanc app on our phone, then went over the features of our room such as our aromatherapy machine, the bathtub, the pillow menu (I meant it when I said you were pampered) as well as tons of informative details you need to know to be able to relax and enjoy as much as possible. She even offered to set a scheduled bath time daily where she would come in and prepare a bath and include fresh cut artisan soaps of our liking. I truly felt like a Kardashian while we were staying here. Below you will find a video tour of our room.
The whole property here at Le Blanc is stunning. I love the natural scenery they have scattered around as well as the view of the mountains here on the dramatic coast of Mexico. There are several large pools including an infinity pool overlooking the beach, as well as many lounge and relaxation areas featuring swings, daybeds and cabanas. Like most other resorts in this area, they do not have a swimmable beach. If you want to be able to swim during your vacation you can visit Le Blanc Spa Resort in Cancun.
The property here at dusk is lit with thousands of twinkle lights, candles, lanterns and outdoor fire pits that create such a beautiful ambience. They also have fantastic entertainment during the evening as well for those that like to enjoy a good night out.
Please take a moment to enjoy the property tour video below we have created from our stay on property.
There are many amazing restaurants at this resort and every single one of them is to rave about. That being said, one of our favorite things to do when we were visiting was to take advantage of the 24 hour room service menu. There is nothing like eating lasagna in your comfy robe while sitting on your balcony watching the sunset after a long day.
The spa was amazing. I loved the water journey as well as the hydrotherapy before my deep tissue massage. I also really enjoyed having a spa butler to aid me in the hydrotherapy and water journey correctly and explain why I was doing what I was doing. You can take advantage of them as well when you book a spa treatment, otherwise you can pay to utilize it.
This trip to Le Blanc was one of our favorites to date. We had one complaint, and that is now that we have been so spoiled we are having trouble enjoying ourselves at other hotels we visit! If you want to be spoiled too, let one of our Starstuff Travel Planners help you today by clicking here.
When you are traveling to an airport out of the country that you have never been to before, wouldn't it be nice to have a friend greeting you and instructing you what the procedures are and what to expect next? Well, that can actually be done when traveling to Montego Bay's Sangster International Airport (as well as Kingston airport).
When we arrived into Montego Bay our Club Mobay rep met us right outside of where we deplaned holding a sign with our name on it. It was so calming to know we had someone awaiting our arrival and that she was so easy to find holding a sign with our name on it. She then explained we needed to get our temperature taken and then had to proceed to a quick health screening. After the health screening she walked us to the customs area and once we were cleared she brought us to the Club Mobay Lounge. They normally have snacks out for the taking but since we are in the middle of a pandemic they will come and take your snack and drink order. They also offer complimentary wifi for those who want to get some work done before heading off to their vacation. Afterwards our rep checked us into our transportation and we were on our way to our resort.
Upon our departure to head home, we checked into the Fast Track check in desk once we were all checked into our airline. They gave us a ticket and advised that after security screening head to the lounge which is across from gate 12. The lounge here also offers an unlimited open bar and many food options. It is large, with many flat screen t.v.s and places to charge up your electronics. Again, also offering complimentary wifi to check on your emails if you decide to head back to reality a little early.
For the price, the value is incredible. We highly recommend utilizing the service they offer round trip. The only downside is they do not offer this everywhere we travel!
To book Club Mobay, reach out to us at Info@Starstufftravel.com
I could tell you about the beautiful Seven Mile Beach with white powdery sand and crystal turquoise waters. The dramatic sunsets, the many different room categories, the relaxing soaking tubs, but what we learned here during our time at Sandals Negril is that, in the end, it's the people here that actually make your time special.
From the time we reached the Sandals lounge at the airport, till the time we headed back, the staff at the property treated us like we were family members. They remember your name, they remember what you like to drink, and they really take the time to get to know you which makes you feel like your the only one on vacation at this property!
There was never a time we came across someone that was having a bad day or did not treat us like we were a guest in their home. It is that special touch you can only find at Sandals and Beaches resorts. The treatment you receive when your on vacation here is comprable to no other.
They also have phenomenal entertainment on property. I mean, the kind of entertainment you would pay money for back home. They spare no expense to keep guests here happy, relaxed and entertained. The events team here works hard and you can appreciate all that they do.
If you are looking for a complete experience and not just a room on the beach, than a Sandals/Beaches vacation is for you. These people truly care about your time here, they are going to look after you like you have never seen before on your time away. When you leave your not just sad your vacation is ending, your disappointed to leave your new friends. This shows you why there are so many repeat guests that come back year after year.
To book your next Sandals/Beaches vacation, reach out to us at Info@Starstufftravel.com