This year I am inviting all of my theme park fans to join me on a fun holiday journey through the major theme parks in Orlando, Florida. Each day I will post a video on Facebook sharing one of my holiday experiences in the parks at Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando. Find me on my Facebook pages at: www.Facebook.com/MelissaAndTheMouse www.Facebook.com/PixieDustAdventures
Disclosure: I am not a professional cinematographer. All of the videos were taken by me & are directly from my experiences. No fluff, no fancy editing, you will feel like you are right there beside me. 🙂
Let me help plan the details of your Walt Disney World Holiday Vacation!
Which hotel is the right fit for your family? Where to dine, attractions, crowds and all that goes along with planning a vacation is a lot to think about. With a Disney-focused travel agent by your side, you can plan as much or as little as you desire. My planning assistance all comes at NO additional cost to you and is based on countless hours of personal experience.
Receive a welcome packet when you book, with park information & a custom planning calendar.
Dining reservation assistance. Let me help you make your dining reservations for those popular Disney Restaurants. *based on availability
Fastpass+ assistance. Undecided on which attractions are the best for your family? I’m happy to help you plan to utilize your Fastpasses to your advantage and will also provide assistance making those reservations *based on availability
Itinerary plans and printed itinerary with added suggestions to optimize your day and your experiences.
Fee-Free Planning. All of my planning assistance is complimentary when you book your trip through me, you will get all of the services that Disney offers, plus the personalized service that I offer.
Custom Client Portal – I always like to stay on top of the newest technology and once you are booked, we can set up a free client portal where we can share documents & you can view details about your vacation.
Help planning visits to other Orlando area attractions outside of the Disney theme parks. If you are considering adding other Orlando attractions to your vacation, why not get assistance of someone who is local and been there?
You get all of this complimentary planning, and more, when you book your Disney vacation through Melissa of Pixie Dust Adventures (me). Click here to visit my website & fill out a quote form, or contact me so we can set up a time to chat about your dream vacation.
Thank you for reading. My name is Melissa and I am a Disney fanatic, I’m also a travel agent. You will find me almost every weekend in one of the Disney theme parks with my family exploring all of the newest things that Disney has to offer. Melissa Mathies – Pixie Dust Adventures www.PixieDustAdventures.com Melissa@PixieDustAdventures.com
If you love scary, then you will love this year’s Halloween Horror nights at Universal Orlando. The theme this year is Stranger Things and when you buy your tickets by June 6th, 2018 you can get an additional night free.
It’s the best way to experience the World’s Premier Halloween Event. Come any one event night and get another night free (both nights must be Sunday-Friday).
Online offer only – select mobile delivery at checkout so you can print your tickets and go straight to the front gate. Limited time offer. Advance purchase required.
Valid any two of the following nights: SEPTEMBER
14, 16, 20, 21, 23, 28, 30 OCTOBER
3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 17, 18, 19, 21, 24, 25, 26, 28, 31 NOVEMBER
Express Pass and other options are not currently available, but can be added to the tickets when those options are released.
My name is Melissa and I love Universal Orlando. They are constantly coming up with new & innovative attractions & shows. Living only 45 minutes from the parks, I visit frequently and am happy to help you book and plan your next vacation based on countless hours of education and personal experience. My expertise comes at no added cost to you when you book your next Universal vacation through me. It all starts with a free, no obligation quote.
For a limited time, May 27-July 4, 2017, Guests staying at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels can explore Pandora – The World of Avatar beyond regular Park hours.
Nightly Extra Magic Hours will take place from 11 p.m.-1 a.m. only in Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park. This offering will provide Guests with an additional opportunity to enjoy everything Pandora – The World of Avatar has to offer – including navigating a mystical river, flying on a back of a banshee and walking under floating mountains. Please note valid Theme Park admission and a Resort ID are required.
In addition, Guests staying at select Walt Disney Resort hotels can reserve Disney FastPass+ selections for attractions, including those in Pandora – The World of Avatar, up to 60 days prior to check-in beginning March 24, 2017. Disney FastPass+ service will be available at the two attractions within Pandora – The World of Avatar during regular Theme Park hours. Guests may select only one of these two attractions in their first set of Disney FastPass+ selections, subject to availability.
There’s so much excitement surrounding the debut of this world beyond belief, guests should take advantage of Nightly Extra Magic Hours to visit Pandora – The World of Avatar. Then, they can reserve Disney FastPass+ experiences to enjoy the rest of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park during regular hours.
*Valid Theme Park admission required. FastPass+ attractions and entertainment experiences, the number of selections you can make and available arrival windows are limited. Certain features and benefits require online registration.
Thank you for reading. My name is Melissa & am I am Disney addict; I am also a travel agent. You will find me almost every weekend in one of the Disney parks with my family exploring the newest attractions. If you would like to plan a journey to Pandora, I can assist you & no additional cost. That’s right, I don’t charge any fees to book & plan your Disney vacation. It all starts with a free quote.
Melissa Mathies – Pixie Dust Adventures
Be among the first to experience Loews Sapphire Falls Resort and enjoy a free $150 hotel dining credit*!
Minimum 4-night length of stay. Book by 5/31/16 Travel 7/14/16 – 12/15/16.
Offer not valid 11/23 – 11/26/16.
If this offer is not right for you… visit my Universal Special Offers page for ALL of the current Universal offers: CLICK HERE
My name is Melissa and I am a travel agent; I can help you book and plan your next Universal vacation at no additional cost to you and it all starts with a free quote. I have personally experienced several of the Universal Resorts as well as the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Be sure and check out my other blog articles (www.PixiePointers.com) and Pinterest page (www.Pinterest.com/PixieAdventures) for Universal tips and tricks.
Weather you have grown up reading the Harry Potter books, are a new fan or are just curious about all the hype, the Celebration of Harry Potter packages at Universal Orlando are not to be missed. They include exclusive, Harry Potter, opportunities that you may not otherwise be able to experience. Some of the fan favorites are film talent Q&A sessions, special panels and demonstrations, A Celebration of Harry Potter Expo and more…
A Celebration of Harry Potter™ is an unforgettable event where the magic of Harry Potter™ continues, and it’s only at Universal Orlando Resort.
If you are interested in one of the packages below, don’t delay in booking. The Premium Celebration vacation packages have already sold out.
My name is Melissa and I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I have traveled on the Hogwart’s express and survived Gringott’s Bank; I am also a travel agent with Main Street Adventures. Booking your Universal package through me costs nothing extra over booking directly through Universal and you get my planning assistance and recommendations, from personal experience, at no added cost. It all starts with a free quote: http://www.PixieDustAdventures.com Melissa@PixieDustAdventures.com
LIMITED QUANTITY · WILL SELL OUT QUICKLY
ON SALE NOW
CELEBRATION VACATION PACKAGE INCLUDES:
3-Night Hotel Accommodations
3-Day Park-to-Park Admission Ticket^ to both Universal Orlando theme parks
Exclusive Evening at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ with desserts and one complimentary Butterbeer™ – one per person (Friday)
Special themed Welcome Parcel§ – one per package
Special Guest access to the A Celebration of Harry Potter™ Expo (Friday-Sunday)
Special Guest access to select Panels and Demonstrations (Saturday-Sunday)
Exclusive Talent Q&A session with select Harry Potter™ film talent
Early Park Admission◊ to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter™ one hour before the theme park opens
Breakfast at the Three Broomsticks™ in Hogsmeade™ – one per person
Commemorative Merchandise Elements from A Celebration of Harry Potter™ – one per person
Access to select Live Entertainment^^ at Universal CityWalk®
If you’ve ever dreamed of taking a turn down a dark alley and ending up smack in the middle of a Harry Potter novel, the Wizarding World of Harry Potter is the right place for you. Universal has done an amazing job of capturing every detail in this truly immersive land; no sight, sound, smell or taste has been forgotten. This is a ‘must do’ experience for every Harry Potter fan.
I realize that some people would rather see things firsthand themselves and I don’t want to spoil any vacation with too many photos. I will post photos at the very bottom for those of you that want to see them.
1. Pre-purchase Universal’s Photo Connect Star Card. This card will allow you to download all of your attraction photos as well as any photos that you have taken by the Universal, photographers while you are in the park. Pre-purchasing will save you some money. If you have booked a package, ask your travel agent to assist you in adding this to your Universal package. You can find the details HERE
2. Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringott’s
Located in Diagon Alley, in the Universal Studios Theme park, this is a very popular attraction and there is no line for Express Pass Holders. I would suggest getting to this attraction as early as possible. Guests staying at a Universal Resort are often granted early entry into Universal park before the opening to the general public. You will want to go straight to this attraction first. (must be at least 42′ to ride with an adult)
When you are in the queue for the Escape From Gringott’s attraction, be sure to watch the goblin’s closely; they look so very real. After making your way past the goblins you will go into the basement & will have the opportunity to get your photo taken that will appear with a special Gringott’s Bank boarder and the date you were there. You can view & purchase the photo after the ride and if you have pre-purchased the Photo Connect package you will be able to scan your photo connect Star card & download the photo when you return home.
3. Gringott’s Bank Dragon. The Ukrainian Ironbelly Dragon, on top of Gringott’s Bank, is an attraction in itself. It breaths fire every half hour or so. In order to catch the fire breathing action, be sure to listen for when the dragon starts to growl; she will breath fire shortly after. The Gingott’s Bank Dragon breaths fire that reaches 3,560 degrees Fahrenheit (1,960 degrees celcius). That’s more than 16 times hotter than boiling water! You can feel the heat when you are standing under this dragon. Video Below
4. Catch a stage show in Diagon Alley. Watch one of several shows put on in Diagon Alley. These stage shows are entertaining for Harry Potter fans & also a good way to take a break from the walking & the heat. The current performances are “Tale of Three Brothers” and “Fountain of Fair Fortune”.
5. Ollivander’s Wand Shop / Buy a Wand. You can purchase a wand in Ollivander’s Wand Shop in either Diagon Alley or Hogsmeade. The shop in Hogmeade has a little pre-show that you can go to prior to entering the shop, but sometimes the line for the show can be daunting. If you are interested in being a part of the pre-show, be sure to get there early in the morning to avoid the lines. During this show one little wizard is chosen to test the wands & see which is the perfect match for him or her. Afterward it is their choice if they want to purchase the wand. There are numerous styles of wands and two different types of wands, normal and interactive. The interactive wands come with a map that shows you where to go and how to wave your wand. If you do it just right, you will achieve interesting, animated results.
6. Visit Knockturn Alley. In Diagon Alley you can visit one of the very darkest destinations, Knockturn Alley. You will find the entrance near the Leaky Cauldron restaurant. This alley is a very dark & interesting place to visit, but is really made entertaining by the use of an interactive wand; hold the map up (included with the interactive wand) and watch little figures pop up. If you don’t have an interactive wand, spend some time watching what happens when other people use theirs.
7. Visit the Knight Bus. be sure to visit the Knight Bus just outside of Diagon Alley in London. The Shrunken Head and driver will interact with you for memorable laughter. You can also see the beds on the inside if you peek in the back.
8. Ride the Hogwart’s Express (both ways). You must be sure that you purchase Universal’s Park 2 Park pass in order to be able to ride the Hogwart’s Express. While you are in Universal Studios you will board from the Kings Cross Station in London and travel to the Hogsmeade station in Islands of Adventure Park. The queue really looks like a London train station you can see platform 9 3/4 along with luggage trolleys waiting to be loaded. I must admit that they did a very good job making this train look like it traveled right out of the Harry Potter books. You must experience this ride going both directions. Each has a different show during your travels.
9. Take your photo with the Hogwart’s Express Conductor. Often times you will find the conductor standing beside the Hogwart’s Express, just inside the entrance to Hogsmeade. be sure to stop for a photo and viola, your Christmas card is done.
10. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey Attraction
This attraction is in Hogsmeade in the Island’s of Adventure Park. Although not as new or popular as the Escape From Gingott’s attraction, you will still want to ride this early on. This ride also does not accept the Express Pass. This is a dark motion ride, if you are prone to motion sickness, you may want to close your eyes when you are put up near the screens. Don’t be ashamed, I sometimes have to ride with my eyes closed. (Must be at least 48″ to ride).
The queue for this ride is also very fun & entertaining and there is a ride photo that you can purchase at the end of the ride or add to your Universal Star Card for downloading later on.
11. Ride Flight of the Hippogriff and Dragon Challenge. be sure not to miss these two very different coasters in Hogsmeade, Islands of Adventure Park. They both accept the Express Pass. While the Dragon Challenge is quite an intense coaster and is not for the faint of heart, Flight of the Hippogriff is fun for all ages. See if you can spot the golden egg just outside of the Dragon Challenge queue. Flight of the Hippogriff is worth walking through the line; you can spot Hagrid’s Hut and once you board the coaster the Hippogriff will bow to you before you depart. (Must be at least 54″ to ride Dragon Challenge and 36″ to ride Flight of the Hippogriff) Video below
12. Watch the Frog Choir Perform. Be sure to catch a performance of the Frog Choir on the stage in Hogsmeade. Ask one of the wizards working that day for times of the performances. The Frog Choir is very entertaining to watch and one of our favorite performances in Universal.
13. Enjoy a Frozen Butterbeer. Although they serve Butterbeer warm, cold & frozen, frozen is our favorite way to drink them. You can always grab one from a cart on the street, but what fun is that when you can go into the Hogs Head Bar in Hogsmeade? In the Hogs Head the line is often shorter than at the street carts and it is agreat place to cool off. You can also purchase Butterbeer in the Three Broomsticks Restaurant and the Leaky Cauldron Restaurant. For an added cost you can purchase your Butterbeer in a souvenir mug that is refillable for .99 cents outside of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. The refill price is good for soda and soda is not served in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter because it is a “muggle drink”. We love re-using our souvenir mugs after we get home; it brings back fond memories of our vacation.
14. Have a meal at the Three Broomsticks or the Leaky Cauldron. Be sure to enjoy a wizard meal and the wonderful theming inside one of the restaurants in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. They both look very similar and have similar menus. The Three Broomsticks is located in Hogsmeade and seems to have a larger seating area than the Leaky Cauldron in Diagon Alley. Menu choices consist of things like “Toad in the Hole” and “Bangers and Mash”.
15. Visit the Shops. be sure to explore the shops in both Diagon Alley and Hogsmeade. All are wonderfully themed and really take you inside the, awarding winning, Harry Potter Novels. No purchase necessary just to wonder around inside the stores.
16. Download the Universal Wait Times app before going to the park. This app will keep you updated with ride wait times and closures.
17. Listen for Moaning Myrtle in the Hogsmeade bathrooms.
18. if you dial 62442 (MAGIC) in the telephone booth outside King’s Cross, it will connect you to the Ministry of Magic.
19. Interact with the Wizards hired to work there and be sure to ask them for a picture. Universal has done a wonderful job hiring entertaining wizards to work around the Wizaring World of Harry Potter
20. Relax and have fun!!!!! Don’t sweat the small stuff and be sure to take time to just relax and take in everything that is going on around you.
Thank you for reading,
My name is Melissa and I am a HUGE Harry Potter fan; I’m also a travel agent and a Universal Parks and Resorts Specialist. Contact me to plan your next adventure to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter; it all starts with a FREE quote and all of my booking and planning services are FREE to you. What are you waiting for? Visit my website or email me today. Melissa Mathies
Pixie Dust Adventures – Destinations by Melissa www.PixieDustAdventures.com
When Universal opened Diagon Alley and Cabana Bay Beach Resort, in the same year, we knew we had to schedule another visit. It has been long overdue that Universal Orlando have a value priced resort as part of their vacation packages. We were thrilled to be able to try it out and October was the perfect time of year for us to visit.
When we pulled into the drive, we were greeted by the bright, tropical sign that was aligned with the retro-theme of the resort.
The lobby is saturated in color and refreshing with well arranged seating and palm trees that grow in the very center.
Although Cabana Bay offers family suites complete with kitchenettes, we opted for a standard room, for our family of 4, on this visit.
The retro style rooms were spacious and bright. The floor to ceiling windows had views of either the parking lot of the pool for an extra cost. There was plenty of space for luggage and even one of the largest closets I have seen in the value class of resorts.
The bathrooms allowed plenty of space with the sink on the outside to better accommodate families on a busy schedule. It is always nice to be able to have one family member in the shower & another able to brush their teeth.
Of course we were hungry after we arrived so we decided to try out the Bayliner Diner. There were multiple food choices and even refillable drink mugs available. There was a plethora of indoor seating as well as comfortable outdoor seating, somewhat near the pool with the lazy river.
Now for our very favorite part of this resort…. the swimming pools.
Cabana Bay has 2 large swimming pools. Both have their advantages. The pool nearest the Bayliner Diner includes a lazy river area and offers movies by the pool at night. The water in the lazy river is warm & a joy to float, play & relax in. You can purchase large float tubes to float in, but we preferred to be down more under the water than floating on top of it. The other pool has a water slide, splash pad and even private cabanas for rent. The water slide is fun for all ages. We stood at the bottom of the slide to greet the kiddos when they got to the bottom. You will get wet by the waterfall at the bottom of the slide.
Each pool had plenty of seating to relax in the sun, with the softest sand I have ever sunk my feet into at a resort pool area. Both pools had a zero entry area where the kids enjoyed wading out for some splash time. Life jackets are provided for your kids free of charge.
Cabana Bay has so much to do inside the resort. After arriving by plane, we easily spent the last half of our day with the entertainment provided at the resort. Not only do they have a large fitness club and game room, they also have a bowling alley.
When it was time to visit the theme parks, the quickest way to get there, from Cabana Bay, was by bus. The buses ran constantly from a single stop at Cabana Bay to a single stop at Universal’s City Walk. From there you walk through City Walk to either of the park entrances. We never had to wait long for a bus to arrive and many times they were lined up waiting to be loaded. One advantage of staying in Cabana Bay, along with the other Universal Resorts, is that we were allowed entry into one theme park an hour before the general public. This is a great time to ride those attractions that will have long wait times later on in the day.
We very much enjoyed our stay at Cabana Bay Beach Resort and will definitely stay here again in the future. The kids are looking forward to what they have declared “the funnest pools in the Universal Resorts”. For more pictures visit my pinterest gallery: https://www.pinterest.com/PixieAdventures/universal-cabana-bay-beach-resort/
A few more details:
Check in time: 4:00pm – If you arrive earlier, you may store your luggage with the bell desk
Check out time: 11:00am – You can request a later check out or store your luggage with the bell desk.
Parking fees, for people staying at Cabana Bay, are $12+tax a night, per car.
My name is Melissa and I am a travel agent with Main Street Adventures. It costs nothing extra to book your next trip through me and you will get all of my planning experience at no additional cost to you. Visit my website or email me for a free, no obligation quote. Melissa@PixieDustAdventures.com http://www.PixieDustAdventures.com