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Halloween 2020 at Universal Studios Orlando

Halloween 2020 at Universal Studios Orlando

Halloween 2020 at Universal Studios & Islands of Adventure

We recently had the opportunity to visit Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure to experience all of their incredible Halloween themed festivities. When it comes to Halloween, Universal truly goes above and beyond. 

Although Universal’s annual Halloween Horror Nights event was canceled this year, Universal still has plenty of spooky activities and entertainment around the parks for guests to enjoy. For the first time ever, Universal has two haunted houses running daily, and trust us when we say these haunted houses are not for the faint of heart! 

Haunted Houses

Revenge of the Tooth Fairy 

A pop-up book about the tooth fairy seeking revenge on a little boy who refuses to give up his teeth. Universal describes this house as “a darker ritual to the innocent traditions of the tooth fairy”.  Each room features gruesome depictions of unfortunate victims of the tooth fairy, many of them missing parts of their mouth or head, and we were impressed by how realistic some of them looked. We also suffered many jump scares as we went around corners to find the terrifying tooth fairy waiting to jump out at us!

The Bride of Frankenstein Lives

Derived from the popular “Universal Monsters” house from last year’s Halloween Horror Nights, this house is not quite as intense as the tooth fairy house, however it is thrilling in its own way. This creepy love story follows the bride of Frankenstein as she emerges from the shadows and does whatever it takes to revive her beloved Frankenstein. As you enter through a narrow hallway, the first room opens up to creepy castle ruins, where the Bride of Frankenstein lurks up above and screams for the loss of her true love. As we walked through the house, we witnessed the various ways she tried to resurrect him, including sacrificing three different Brides of Dracula to her schemes. Her victims repeatedly gave us quite the scare by lunging at us out of the darkness or screaming from behind a closed door. The detailed sets and horrifying costumes in this house made it a new favorite of ours! 

 

 

 

Universal’s Scarecrow Stalk Scavenger Hunt

Inside Universal

If you’re looking for a less scary way to celebrate Halloween at the park, we loved Universal’s Scarecrow Stalk Scavenger Hunt. Simply request a free scavenger map at any merchandise location, and you’ll be on your way to hunting down 13 unique scarecrows and skeletons, hidden throughout the park. If you have a keen eye, you might even spot some fun Universal easter eggs. If you can find all 13 scarecrows, head to Studio Sweets or San Francisco Candy Factory to pick up a special reward. We had a blast hunting down each of these spooky creations! 

 

 

 

 

Trick-or-Treating

If you are visiting the parks with little ones, or would like to skip the Haunted Houses all together, Trick-or-Treating is a great way to explore the park and still get in the Halloween spirit. 

Children 12 and under can dress up in their favorite Halloween costumes and collect treats at 10 different locations throughout Islands of Adventure.

Special Trick-or-Treating bags are provided by Universal and each participating location will be designated by a pumpkin sticker on the door or window. 

Halloween Horror Nights Tribute Store

This spooky shop is an attraction in its own right, featuring multiple themed rooms decked out with detailed decorations, Halloween-themed snacks, and, of course, plenty of Halloween Horror Nights merchandise. Once you enter through the castle ruins, you’ll find yourself wandering through iconic scenes from Beetlejuice, Dr. Frankenstein’s Laboratory, a creepy pumpkin-themed zone, and even a haunted Bakery. As you walk between rooms, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for posters from all 30 Halloween Horror Nights events. You may have to wait in an additional line to get into the Bakery, but it’s well worth it for a peek at their beating gummy hearts – you truly have to see them to believe them! There are plenty of other Halloween themed snacks located throughout Universal, such as “Franken Fried Chicken”, specialty donuts at Voodoo Doughnut, and spooky cocktails at the Skeleton Bar.

Although the parks are very different this year than they were last year, we had an absolute blast celebrating Halloween at Universal Studios. We are so excited to see what the Holiday season will bring in the next couple of months. Stay tuned and follow us on Social Media for more fun park adventures!

Are you planning a trip to the theme parks? You can reach us by phone @ (407) 636-2390 or by email at info@myviptour.com

 

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2021 Walt Disney World Resort Reservations Now Available

2021 Walt Disney World Resort Reservations Now Available

2021 Walt Disney World Resort Reservations Now Available

Walt Disney World Resort Reservations are now available through December 31st, 2021! We know so many families have been waiting for this moment since canceling or rescheduling their 2020 trips due to Covid-19. If you are not traveling to the parks this year, but would like to next year, now is the time to get started! 

Resort Packages vs. Room Only Reservations

All resort reservation packages are now available through the end of 2021, with or without the purchase of theme park tickets. You can book your accommodation in two ways:

Resort Packages: When booking a resort package, you are able to reserve your accommodation as well as your theme park tickets for your stay. This pricing comes together in a package and can be modified if needed before your arrival.

Room-Only: A room-only reservation does not include your theme park tickets. Theme park tickets can be purchased separately at a later date.

 

Park Ticket Details 

Walt Disney World is currently offering guests to purchase park tickets along with their accommodations or separately for all dates in 2021. Park Hopper tickets are also currently available, however as the parks are still running as a one-park-per-day limit, Park Hopper tickets are not guaranteed at time of travel.

Please note: If you have purchased your park tickets, entrance into the parks is not guaranteed until you have made park reservations for your specific dates. We highly recommend making your park reservations as soon as your accommodation is booked and tickets are purchased.

 

Resort Availability

There are lots of accommodation options to choose from on Walt Disney World property and where you decide to stay all depends on your schedule, your resort preferences, and resort availability.

Due to reduced capacity on Walt Disney World property, the following resorts are not currently scheduled to open for Fall 2021: 

  • All Villa Properties
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s Boardwalk Inn
  • All-Star Movies Resort
  • All-Star Sports Resort
  • All-Star Music Resort
  • Port Orleans – Riverside
  • Port Orleans – French Quarter
  • Wilderness Lodge
  • Saratoga Springs
  • Old Key West

*The Polynesian Resort refurbishment, including all new Moana themed rooms, will be finished by Fall 2021!

Dining Plans and Dining Reservations

At this time, Dining Plans will remain unavailable to add to resort reservation packages.

According to Disney, a confirmed dining reservation is required for day Guests (those not staying overnight) and is highly recommended for Guests staying overnight at a Disney Resort hotel.

Select dining locations require reservations so make sure to check each of your desired locations for details.

How to Get Started on your 2021 Walt Disney World Vacation

With so many options for accommodations, dining, and attractions, planning a trip to Orlando can seem overwhelming. That is what we are here for! From finding the perfect resort to planning out your entire stay, our team at My VIP Tour and Katie Bean Travels will assist with making sure your families builds unforgettable memories on your upcoming Walt Disney World vacation.

Reach out to our team today to discuss your theme park plans. You can reach us by phone @ (407) 636 2390 or email at info@myviptour.com

    We can’t wait to welcome you to Orlando and help Build Better Memories with your friends and family in 2021. See you real soon!

     

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    Top 5 Reasons to Hire a VIP Guide at the Theme Parks

    Top 5 Reasons to Hire a VIP Guide at the Theme Parks

    Top 5 Reasons to Hire a VIP Guide in the Theme Parks

    Gone are the days where guests can show up to the theme parks with no plan or schedule. With hundreds of resort and dining options, attractions, and fun activities to do around Orlando, it is crucial to have a park expert assisting along the way. Here are Top 5 Reasons to Hire a VIP Guide in the Theme Parks.

    1. Creating the Perfect Schedule – for Everyone!

    Between four Walt Disney World theme parks and two Universal Studios theme parks,  there are over 100 attractions for guests to experience. Trying to organize a schedule where everyone in your group is able to do the attractions that are most important to them can be challenging. Your VIP Concierge here at My VIP Tour will discuss the parks and attractions with you in depth throughout the pre-planning process so they can create the perfect day-to-day theme park schedule for your family.

    Once you are here in Orlando, your VIP guide will navigate your family through the parks in a very specific way so that everyone is experiencing attractions that are suitable for them. We often hear from our families that they expected their children to have fun, but never expected to have just as much fun themselves. Everyone in your family, from little ones to teens, and adults of all ages, deserve to feel the magic of the theme parks with no stress of thinking how to get through the parks and crowds each day. 

     

    2. Shorter Wait Times 

    Shorter wait times are what most families look for when hiring a VIP guide, and that is one of our favorite perks of our service! The theme parks have become so busy over the past few years. The average a guest visiting the parks on their own will wait is about 45-60 minutes for an attraction. Most of the popular attractions will experience a 90 minute or more wait time in the afternoons and during peak season dates. Yikes!

    Our team at My VIP Tour has spent years studying the parks and attractions. Each an every one of our VIP guides goes through an intense training program to learn the in’s and out’s of the parks. With our expertise, and park knowledge, our families typically never wait more than about 15-20 minutes for an attraction throughout the day, leaving more time for rides and fun, and less time waiting in line. 

     

    3. Having a Local Expert

    We are Orlando based, many of us born and raised here, having visited Disney from a young age. Living here and visiting the theme parks daily puts us “in the know”.

    All of the pre-planning is incredibly important when visiting the theme parks, however one of the best perks of hiring a VIP guide is having a local expert in real time while you are on vacation. Our Disney VIP guides are able to visit the parks daily and keep up with every single change that comes our way. We take that knowledge to plan the perfect customized itinerary for each individual family. Our Disney VIP Guides keep in touch with their families throughout their entire stay to make sure they can answer any questions that may arise. Our team of Orlando experts and can make recommendations on dining, other theme parks to visit, and fun activities outside of the parks.

    Your Disney VIP guide will work together with your VIP concierge to cancel or make new dining reservations, book transportation, purchase extra park tickets, and do anything else they can do to help make your stay at the most magical place on earth as magical as it can be!

    4. More than just a VIP Guide

    Short wait times and stress-free planning are an amazing part of our service, however it’s the extra details that really elevate the experience.

    Our VIP guides go above and beyond to create an unforgettable experience for our families from the moment they enter the park until the moment they get back to the resort.

    We love to celebrate special occasions, take candid photos throughout each day, share our extensive knowledge on park history and facts, add in special (secret!) details for the kids, and so much more.

    Our VIP guides quickly become part of the family from day one and do everything they can to learn what is most important to each and every member of the group so they can customize the entire experience.

    5. Our Level of Care

    We truly believe that our level of care is what sets My VIP Tour apart.

    Each member of our team has visited the theme parks from a very early age and knows how special these trips can be. Some of our families plan their once-in-a-lifetime Disney trip with us and some visit with us annually. No matter if it’s your first or 20th trip, our goal is always to Build Better Memories each and every time.

    Our team truly cares deeply about our families and their vacations. From the first phone call with our VIP concierge team to the last good-bye with your VIP guide at the park, your happiness and satisfaction is our number one priority.

    Don’t just listen to us, head to our Trip Advisor page to read reviews from over 700 families who rated My VIP Tour five stars!

    We can’t wait to meet your family and Build Better Memories with you soon!  

      Contact our concierge team today to get started on your next Orlando theme park dream vacation.

      You can reach us by phone @ (407) 636-2390 or by email at info@myviptour.com

       

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      Fall in Love with the Holiday’s at Walt Disney World

      Fall in Love with the Holiday’s at Walt Disney World

      Fall in Love with the Holiday's

      at Walt Disney World

      Summer is officially over, which means our favorite time of year is right around the corner. There is truly something so magical about the theme parks during the Holiday season. This year is definitely different than previous years, however, there are lots of new and exciting things to look forward to in the coming months!

      Fall & Halloween at Magic Kingdom

      News13

        Although Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party has been canceled this year, fall is still such a wonderful time to visit the theme parks.
        From September 15th through October 31st, Magic Kingdom will be adorned with beautiful seasonal decor throughout the park. Characters including Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and pals will wave to guests from a special Halloween cavalcade. You may even see some of your favorite Disney villains along for the ride. Disney is also allowing guests for the first time ever to wear their favorite Halloween costume to the parks to celebrate.

      New Projection Show for Cinderella’s Castle Starting Nov. 6th 

      Each year during the Holiday season, Cinderella’s Castle lights up with over 200,000 beautiful crystal lights that emulate icicles dripping from every angle. This year, in place of the icicle lights, Disney has created an incredible projection show that will run through the evening starting at sun down. According to Disney Parks Blog, “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”.  Get your cameras ready! This new addition will make for an incredible Holiday card backdrop for the whole family.  

      Character Sitings throughout the Parks

      One thing we have truly missed about the parks is being able to meet all of our favorite characters and princesses. This holiday season, however, the Disney parks have created ways for us to see all of our favorites while staying safe with social distancing. Starting November 6th, guests will be able to see special character cavalcades through Magic Kingdom including gingerbread men, elves, reindeer and our personal favorite, the toy soldiers! Guests can also enjoy festive flotillas at Animal Kingdom, Holiday Promenades at Epcot, and Merry Motorcades at Hollywood Studios. Santa Claus will also be available to wave to guests at all four parks and Disney Springs.

      Minnie Mouse to Host Seasonal Dine at Hollywood & Vine

      We are so excited to see character dining slowly returning to the parks. Starting November 6th, Minnie Mouse will host a seasonal dining experience at Hollywood & Vine located at Hollywood Studios park. Santa Goofy will also be in attendance along with some of Minnie’s other friends. The characters will not be available for personal photos, however will be available to wave to guests and pose for photos.

      Celebrate the Holiday’s at Disney Springs

      If you are heading to the theme parks this Holiday season, make sure to stop by Disney Springs. Disney has announced that the “elaborately-decorated Disney Christmas trees are spread throughout this retail, dining and entertainment destination”. These beautiful trees will be displayed all throughout Disney Springs, which is perfect for an unplanned afternoon, or evening after a busy day at the parks. Another special addition to Disney Springs this year will be a magical snowfall throughout three of the main areas: The Landing, Town Center, and West Side.

      Jock Lindsey Hanger Bar will transform into Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar with returning holiday decor and a limited-time festive menu for guests to enjoy this Holiday season.

        Stay tuned for more Walt Disney World and Universal Studios updates in our October newsletter. You can also stay up to date on all park and resort information by following us on Facebook and Instagram.

         

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        Cooking Around the World Showcase – Pan Fried Noodles from the Japan Pavillon

        Cooking Around the World Showcase – Pan Fried Noodles from the Japan Pavillon

        Cooking Around the World Showcase - Pan Fried Noodles from Japan Pavillon

         The next stop on my culinary adventures around the World Showcase is Japan. I am not going to lie, this one made me nervous. Would I have the right cooking equipment? Was I going to be able to find all of the ingredients I needed? Have no fear! I am happy to report back that my dish of Pan Fried Noodles was a huge success and a big hit with the family.

        Pan Fried Noodles

        Japan Pavillon
        Teppan Edo

        Out of the three sit down dining options located in Epcot’s Japan pavilion, Teppan Edo, Tokyo Dining, and Takumi-Tei, Teppan Edo is truly the star. Teppan means “iron griddle” in Japanese, so the name is very fitting for this hibachi style dining experience.  My family and I have been dining here for as long as I can remember. It is especially my husband’s favorite as he studied Japanese in college. Depending on the size of your party, you will be seated alone, or with a combination of other families all around a large flat top grill. Here your chef will cook your dinner with flair and serve an amazing meal along with a show. The recipe I used to recreate Teppan-Edo’s delicious noodles is by Dinner at the Zoo and can be found here.

        Ingredients:
        4 servings

          

        • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
        • 1 cup shredded carrots
        • 1/2 cup white onion
        • 1/2 cup green onions 
        • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
        • 12 ounces cooked fresh noodles 
        • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
        • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
        • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
        • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
        • 1 cup bean sprouts
        • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

        Directions:

         
        1. Heat 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil over medium high heat in a large pan. Add the carrots and white onions to the pan. 
        2. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are softened.
        3. Add the green onions and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Remove the vegetables from the pan, and cover to keep warm.
        4. Rinse the noodles under hot water to separate them.
        5. Heat the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil in the pan. Add the noodles and cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until browned and crispy on the edges.
        6. Add the vegetables back to the pan.
        7. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of cold water.
        8. Add the bean sprouts to the pan, and toss to combine.
        9. Add the sauce to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until sauce has just thickened and bean sprouts have wilted.
        10. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and additional green onions if desired, then serve.

         

        Since this meal did not require too much cooking on the stovetop, my little ones were able to be a lot more hands-on, which they loved!

        The veggies that this recipe calls for are shredded carrots, white onion and bean sprouts. I chose to shred the carrots and onions at home with my grater. However, you can buy them pre-shredded at the grocery story if you prefer.

        The kids got to shred the carrots and onions and mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce. Mom stepped in when it was time to start cooking.

        One tip I found online that turned out to be my saving grace was buying precooked noodles, which you can find in the international isle of your grocery store.

        Since these noodles come precooked, all you need to do is rinse them and throw them in the pan and voila! The longer you keep the noodles in the fry pan, the crispier they get. The texture is needed in this dish so that everything is not too soft.

        The best part of these noodle is that it can easily be a side dish or a main course! We decided to cook up some chicken to mix in with the noodles for the first night. For night two, we had the noodles as a side dish.

        To make your Japan experience even more authentic, open a bottle of sake and bring out the chop sticks! We have sets that we purchased from the gift shop located directly underneath the restaurant.

        All in all, this dish was much easier to make than I anticipated. Cooking it myself may not have been quite as fun as watching it made hibachi-style at Teppan-Edo, but this recipe is definitely one we will be making more often.

        I planned on making the green tea mousse cake from Teppan-Edo’s dessert menu as well, however, it was not as easy or as successful as the noodles. It is The Japan Pavilion that has had me conceding that I am a much better cook than I am a baker!

        Enjoy! (Tanoshi!)

        Follow us on social media so you can follow our Cooking Around the World Showcase journey. Next week, we are recreating a special dish from Italy! Can you guess which one we chose?

        About Me
        Hi everyone! My name is Kara and I am so excited to help you plan a magical Disney vacation. My love of Disney started during my very first trip there in March of 1994. Disney quickly became my family’s “happy place”. There was never any question, when it was time for a vacation, we packed our bags and headed to the most magical place on Earth. Nowadays, it is extra special for me to experience the Disney magic again through the eyes of my 4 year old son, Liam, and 2 year old daughter, Jennie. Seeing their eyes light up when Mickey and Minnie pass by and seeing their faces all sticky from Mickey ice cream bars make special memories that only Disney can bring. I can’t wait to help you build those memories together as a family!

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        Johnson Family VIP Tour Experience

        Johnson Family VIP Tour Experience

        Johnson Family VIP Tour Experience

        The Johnson Family

        Dallas Johnson and his family are some of Disney’s biggest fans, so it is always such a pleasure for us to plan their trips. At My VIP Tour, we have always said that Disney World is about so much more than just the rides, it’s all of the extra magic that happens in between. The Johnson family couldn’t agree more. Check out our interview with Dallas below. We love his enthusiasm and we are so grateful for the continued support of him and his family over the years.

         

         

         

        MVT: Most parents say that Disney vacations are all about the children, but what are some ways that YOU enjoyed the parks? As a parent, what did your VIP guide do to ensure that you were having an easy, stress-free experience with your children?

        Dallas Johnson: OH goodness.. all about the kids? Yeah love to see their faces light up.. but Monica helped us make this about us too by taking photos for us.. letting my wife and I ride rides together and letting us act like kids again.. it was amazing.

        MVT: Magic Kingdom is the “Most Magical Place on Earth” and we can think of many reasons why! Is there a certain attraction that you and your family can’t wait to experience again?

        DJ: All of it.. it’s more than a theme park to us.. it’s a feeling of escaping reality for a while and all of us being kids just enjoying the atmosphere, wonder, music, rides, smells. All of it.. it’s amazing.

        MVT: Between My VIP Tour and its affiliate company Katie Bean Travels, we are able to create unforgettable experiences like the one you had in Orlando all over the world. Where are you dreaming about taking your next family vacation and would you find value in using your vacation planning services outside of Orlando?

        DJ: Oh man.. I want to get back to Hawaii sometime soon with the family.. or a Mediterranean cruise. Those are the two things I want my kids to experience. And of course I would be interested in using Katie Bean Travels.

        MVT: As parts of the US and other countries begin to open up again, many people are wondering if it’s safe to travel. When do you think you and your family will be ready to vacation again?

        DJ: Fall 2020, Spring 2021.

        My VIP Tour: One of our favorite aspects of planning Disney vacations is that while the trips themselves may fly by, we often make vacation memories that last a lifetime. What memory from your trip to Orlando will always make you look back and smile?

        DJ: The thing I will remember from my last vacation is how relaxing it was. We literally put everything in VIP’s hands and we just sat back and relaxed.

        MVT: What would you say to a friend who was thinking about using My VIP Tour’s vacation planning services for their next trip?

        DJ: DO IT! There should be NO decision process. If you are looking for a team that will make your vacation process easy and relaxing and truly make your vacation enjoyable.. use My VIP.

        Ready to begin your own experience with My VIP Tour?
        Click on the button below and one of our VIP concierges will reach out to you shortly!

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        Best Places to Eat at Disney World

        Best Places to Eat at Disney World

        Just by its name, you already know that this place is named one of the best places to eat in Disney World has to offer. Aloha Isle is one of Adventureland’s gems