Sara’s Snippets – September 25, 2014 – Universal Orlando Bound!

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans! Or in this case – Harry Potter Fans?

This weekend a group of MEI-Travel agents – myself included – are headed to the Universal Orlando Resort for some training. We'll be touring the Universal Orlando Resorts, experiencing the theme parks (including the all new Diagon Alley!) and dining in some of the spectacular restaurants. It's a rough job… wink

So I'll be back next week with photos, reviews, and more! In the meantime, check out www.UniversalFanTravel.com to start planning your next trip! 

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley

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Sara’s Snippets – September 24, 2014 – Studio Backlot Tour to Close

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

The Studio Backlot Tour attraction at Disney's Hollywod Studios will close permanently on September 27, 2014. This combination walk-through and ride attraction includes a special effects demonstration with audience volunteers and a tram ride that includes such highlights as props from Disney films such as Pirates of of Caribbean and a thrilling stop in Catastrophe Canyon. 

A portion of this atrraction will become home to Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and play area as part of the Frozen Fun event, scheduled to run through the holidays. No announcement has been made regarding the future of the attraction and its significant footprint in the park. 

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

Studio Backlot Tour at Disney's Hollywood Studios

Photo Courtesy of Disney®

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Sara’s Snippets – September 19, 2014 – Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Tips from AllEars.Net

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans! 

With Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party in full swing, I thought about writing a blog post with tips. Then I saw that our partner AllEars.Net beat me to the punch! You can check out all of their coverage – including tips for families, videos, costume guidelines, and more – in the Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween party section

One tip from me is that there is going to be even more candy given out this year! And that guests leaving the park after the 8:30 Boo to You Parade will be given an extra treat when exiting. (Which means less crowds for those waiting for the later parade!) If you can, stick it out for the later parade. Less crowds means a better seat and a better view of a truly amazing parade. 

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

Photo Courtesy of Disney®

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Sara’s Snippets – ‘Frozen Fun’ Extended at Hollywood Studios

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

Select events featured during the "Frozen Summer Fun" at Disney's Hollywood Studios have been extended through the holidays. The "Frozen Sing Along" and Wandering Oaken's Trading Shop will continue with Wandering Oakens will move closer to the Sing Along location and will be expanded to include a larger play area with real snow!

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

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Photo Courtesy of Disney®

 

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Sara’s Snippets – September 12, 2014 – ‘Frozen’ Attraction to Replace Maelstrom

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

"Arendelle" is coming to Epcot! The "Maelstrom" attraction in the Norway pavilion at Epcot will be replaced with a "Frozen" attraction that will immerse guests in the world of "Frozen" with music and locations from the film. No opening date has been announced for this new attraction. 

Also, starting in early November, Queen Elsa will use her powers to transform Cinderella Castle nightly into an ice palace! 

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

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Image Courtesy of Disney®

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Sara’s Snippets – September 10, 2014 – New Loews Resort Coming to Universal Orlando in 2016!

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

Universal Orlando guests will have a new resort option starting in the summer of 2016 – Loews Sapphire Fall Resort! This colorful and casual Caribbean-inspired resort will be built around a tropical river and towering waterfall and will have over 1,000 rooms and suites. The sand-bottomed pool will include a water slide and pool-side cabana rentals. Enjoy a meal with water views at the resorts table service restaurant! 

Guests of the Loews Sapphire Resort will receive exclusive theme park benefits including Early Admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as well as water taxi and shuttle bus transportation to the Universal Orlando theme parks. 

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

Image Courtesy of Loews®

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Sara’s Snippets – September 4, 2014 – Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Menus

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

For those of us who LOVE the Food & Wine Festival, this is a little like getting a peek at what Santa is bringing for Christmas. The full menus for each booth at the Food & Wine Festival are now available! You can check them out on the Disney Food Blog

I am thrilled to see the return of the crispy pork belly from Brzail and the Kimchi Dog from South Korea (sentimental favorite if not necessarily the best kimchi dog around). I am dying to try the Carne Guisada (Braised Beef) from Puerto Rico, the Grilled Beef Skewer with boniato puree from Patagonia (I am obsessed with boniato, similar to potato) and the Chirasuzushi from Japan. 

What are you looking forward to trying?

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

My son with the menu fromSouth Korea, October 2013 (copyright Sara Varney)

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Sara’s Snippets – September 3, 2014 – Changes to Epcot Entertainment

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

If you are a big fan of Off Kilter, Mo Rockin', the World Showcase Players or the Fife & Drum Corps at Epcot, you may want to get yourselves to Walt Disney World with a quickness as all of these acts will be performing for the last time at Epcot in the coming weeks. 

All new entertainment will be replacing these beloved, long time acts. And while I will miss these acts (especially Mo Rockin', a personal favorite), I am excited to see what is in store! New acts debuting over the next few months will include a traditional Berber music and dance troupe in Morocco, a flag corps in Italy, and a Celtic folk music group in the UK. Given my Irish and Scots heritage, I am especially excited about the Celtic music group! 

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

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Photo Courtesy of Disney®

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Sara’s Snippets – August 28, 2014 – Happy Back to School!

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

It's back to school week here in New England and, like most parents, I am torn between missing my child and sheer glee at having my house back during the day. But for those of you contemplating a trip to Disney, back to school is great news for you. 

Fall at Walt Disney World means lower temps, lower crowds during select dates, more festivties, and often great savings! The Late Fall Offer means you can save up to 30% on select resorts most nights 10/4/14 – 12/23/14. Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party kicks off next week and the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival starts September 19, 2014. 

So to get in on all the fun at the Walt Disney World Resort® this fall, contact your favorite Mouse Fan Travel Planner today. 

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

Photo Courtesy of Disney®

 

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Sara’s Snippets – August 27, 2014 – Villains Sinister Soiree & More

Greetings fellow Mouse Fans!

If you enjoyed "Villains Unleashed" last weekend at Hollywood Studios, just wait for Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party starting next week! More Villains have been added to the character line-up at the Halloween Party including the Queen of Hearts and Jafar in Fantasyland, and The Queen and Maleficent crashing Snow White and Aurora's meet and greet at Princess FairyTale Hall. The Diamond Horseshow Revue is being taken over by "Club Villain" where guests can get down with even more villains. 

In addition, Guests can now enjoy "The Villains Sinister Soiree: A Wicked Takeover of Cinderella Castle" Premium Dessert Party during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party. This event includes preferred viewing for the "Boo to You" parade and "HalloWishes" fireworks show, desserts at Cinderella's Royal Table, hosted by Lady Tremaine and friends, plus exclusive entertainment. The price is $99 per person (ages 3+) and does NOT include the required admission to the Halloween Party. For reservations, call 407-939-5262. (Rumor has it Halloween Night is already sold out!)

Be well and make magic wherever you go!

Sara Varney
Travel Planner

 

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Photo Courtesy of Disney®

 

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