New VOID Experience Center Coming To Disney Springs This Holiday Season

More exciting news Star Wars fans…if the upcoming release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the exciting event Star Wars: Galactic Nights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and the unbelievable new land currently under construction Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge weren’t enough for you, Walt Disney World will soon be home to a new hyper-reality experience…Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire at Disney Springs. Here’s a first look, courtesy of Disney:


Lucasfilm, ILMxLAB and The VOID announced recently the new Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire hyper-reality experience. This ground-breaking experience will open to the public at two in Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort beginning this holiday season, giving Star Wars fans the opportunity to step beyond reality and into a galaxy far, far away. “At The VOID, we combine the magic of illusions, advanced technology and virtual reality to create fully immersive social experiences that take guests to new worlds,” said Curtis Hickman, co-founder and chief creative officer at The VOID. “A truly transformative experience is so much more than what you see with your eyes; it’s what you hear, feel, touch, and even smell. Through the power of The VOID, guests who step into Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire won’t just see this world, they’ll know that they are part of this amazing story.”

ILMxLAB, Lucasfilm’s Immersive Entertainment division, created this first of its kind experience, in collaboration with The VOID. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will plunge guests directly into the iconic Star Wars galaxy. Guests will move freely throughout the untethered, social, and multi sensory experience as they interact and engage with friends, family and Star Wars characters.

“At ILMxLAB, we want people to step inside the worlds of our stories,” explained Vicki Dobbs Beck, executive in charge of the division. “Through our collaboration with The VOID, we can make this happen as guests become active participants in an unfolding Star Wars adventure. By combining Lucasfilm’s storytelling expertise with cutting-edge imagery, and immersive sound from the team at Skywalker Sound, while invoking all the senses, we hope to truly transport all those who experience Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire to a galaxy far, far away.”


501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Will you be experience Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire?
Please leave a comment; I would love to hear from you!

Fall Fun At Walt Disney World

If you are looking for some place to take a fantastic fall vacation, look no further than Walt Disney World. With so much for the entire family to enjoy, there’s no better time to go than now! Here’s everything you need to know to experience a fun-filled time with your friends and family at Walt Disney World this fall courtesy of Disney:


As the summer season winds down, festive fall happenings ramp up at Walt Disney World Resort with standout events, new eateries, and an out-of-this-world land where banshees fly and mountains float. The Vacation Kingdom is the place to celebrate the golden days of the harvest season.

Here’s a look at the fantastical experiences in store this fall throughout Walt Disney World Resort: 

First Fall for Pandora – The World of Avatar

The exotic new land of Pandora – the World of Avatar is a don’t-miss adventure this fall.  It’s where you can soar on a banshee, sail down a sacred river and discover a mystical world of glowing rainforests and floating mountains. Inspired by the epic film AVATAR from director James Cameron, the wondrous new land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is big fun for guests of all ages.

Exotic eats are on the menu at Satu’li Canteen including healthful create-your-own bowls and bao bun pods stuffed with meat or spicy vegetables. Out-of-this world beverages and refreshing treats await at the Pongu Pongu specialty-drink location.

The day isn’t complete without a stop in Windtraders. This fun and immersive retail location offers more than 200 unique merchandise items, so guests can take a little piece of Pandora back home with them. There’s a banshee rookery where you can select your very own banshee. With a digital scan of your face, ACE Avatar Maker lets you create a personalized Avatar action figure. There’s even a handy translator unit that will help you learn how to speak Na’vi. At the shop’s bead bar, you can craft Na’vi-inspired necklaces using feathers and beads, 

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Offers Early Start

Halloween PartyNot-so-spooky ghosts and goblins return earlier than ever with Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party that delights fun-seekers of all ages in the Magic Kingdom. On select nights, the Magic Kingdom will host this guest-favorite event from 7pm to midnight (not included with regular park admission).  Highlights include Mickey’s Boo-to-You Halloween Parade; Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular; Happy HalloWishes Fireworks Spectacular; Disney characters donning favorite Halloween costumes; and treat trails throughout the Magic Kingdom. Plus, partygoers can enjoy dozens of iconic attractions.

The remaining 2017 Party dates: September 17, 19, 22, 24, 26 and 29; October 1, 3, 5, 6, 9, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27, 29 and 31; and November 1, 2017. Advance tickets are $74 for adults and $69 for ages 3-9. Click here for party dates and prices, or call 407-934-7639.

Disney Springs Welcomes Terralina Crafted Italian

The foodie scene continues to grow at the ever-evolving Disney Springs with the fall opening of Terralina Crafted Italian, a new dining experience curated by James Beard Award-winning Chef Tony Mantuano. Operated by Levy Restaurants, this new dining location will feature dishes inspired by Mantuano’s adventures in Italy’s Lake District. This entirely new restaurant is being built in the location formerly occupied by Portobello Country Italian Trattoria

Terralina’s menu will present authentic Italian cuisine cooked in Chef Tony’s signature olive oil imported directly from Italy. The restaurant’s wood-burning oven will fire up a selection of artisanal, hand-tossed pizzas and fresh vegetable dishes. Fan favorites from Portobello Country Italian Trattoria such as the antipasti platter and signature pasta dishes will remain on the menu alongside new additions such as mussels and pork chops. For more information or to make reservations call, 407-WDW-DINE.

22nd Annual Epcot international Food & Wine Festival Expands

A record 75-day festival overflows with culinary events, celebrity chefs, seminars, musical acts and workshops, during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival now through November 13, 2017.

Celebrated for its creative tapas-sized dishes and inspired sips, high-energy entertainment and premium signature dinners and tastings, the festival will sizzle with a more than 35 specialized marketplace – celebrating 35 years of Epcot. Guests can pair wines, beers and ciders with delicious tastings as they stroll World Showcase Promenade and Future World.

Celebrity and Disney chefs will present culinary demonstrations, and beverage experts will host daily wine tastings and seminars (additional charges apply), ABC’s “The Chew” returns to Epcot to tape a week’s worth of shows October 4 – 6.

This year’s festival will also spotlight inspired dishes geared towards kids and offer scavenger hunts and culinary demos designed for the whole family.

Some 32 musical acts are set to perform during the popular Eat to the Beat concerts with returning fan favorites Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Air Supply and 38 Special, plus newcomers The Hooters, 10,000 Maniacs and Kenny G. Guests can call 407-WDW-FEST or click here for more information.


501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Will you be visiting Walt Disney World during the fall?
Please leave a comment; I would love to hear from you!

Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels Offering Special “Fall Into Magic” Rates Through October 9, 2017

If you’re looking for a fantastic way to enjoy a fall getaway this year, check out the amazing deal being offered by the Disney Springs Resort Area hotels now through October 9, 2017!


There is still time to make plans to experience the special events being conducted at the Walt Disney World® Resort in Central Florida this summer and fall, such as the Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival at Epcot®, Eat to the Beat Concert Series at Epcot®, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom® Park, and Disney Night of Joy at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. It also is a great time to see the incredible all-new Pandora – The World of Avatar®, which just opened in May at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park, and to experience the significantly expanded Disney Springs®.

A great way to experience these events and new offerings is by taking advantage of the special “Fall into the Magic” room rates that are being offered by the seven Disney Springs® Resort Area Hotels for stays from now through October 9, 2017. In addition to the outstanding special events, the special hotel rates provide the opportunity to take in such exciting new offerings at the Walt Disney World® Resort as Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®; Frozen Ever After and Soarin’ Around The World at Epcot®; Kilimanjaro Safaris® and the nighttime spectacular Rivers of Light for a full day to night experience at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park; and also new this summer Happily Ever After, the largest projection and fireworks show in Magic Kingdom® Park history.

The immersive, awe-inspiring Pandora – The World of Avatar® at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® features truly stunning floating mountains, cascading waterfalls, and a lush rainforest complete with glowing fauna and flora. Impressively, this sprawling new land makes you feel as if you are transferred light-years away to Pandora. Among the offerings are Avatar Flight of Passage, an exhilarating 3D ride that takes you on an expedition on the back of a powerful winged mountain banshee to see the beauty and grandeur of Pandora. Also not to be missed is the family-friendly Na’vi River Journey, a scenic boat ride down a mysterious river, through caves, and lighted by a bioluminescent forest.

Plus, you can experience the many unique venues at the dramatically transformed Disney Springs® area, formerly known as the Downtown Disney® Area. Inspired by Florida’s charming towns and natural beauty, and boasting a picturesque waterfront setting, the vibrant Disney Springs® offers a high-quality diverse mix of shops, an impressive variety of new upscale and casual dining options, and outstanding live entertainment options, currently with 130 establishments.

Set amid beautiful open-air promenades and bubbling springs, Disney Springs® features four distinct outdoor neighborhoods:  The Landing, Town Center, Marketplace, and West Side. Among the many new offerings that are open at Disney Springs® are such dining options as Planet Hollywood Observatory, Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless’ Frontera Cocina, Paddlefish (situated on an iconic paddleboat), renowned Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’, Morimoto Asia, and STK Orlando. Among the many other offerings open at Disney Springs® are:  World of Disney® store, AMC Movies at Disney Springs 24, The Art of Disney, The LEGO® Store, Build-A-Dino® by Build-A-Bear Workshop®, Disney Design-A-Tee, Disney’s Candy Cauldron, Disney’s Wonderful World of Memories, and Once Upon a Toy.

Featuring an ideal location in the Walt Disney World® Resort, the seven Disney Springs® Resort Area Hotels are within an easy walk to Disney Springs® and also provide shuttle transportation every 30 minutes to all four Walt Disney World® Theme Parks, two water parks, and at night to the Disney Springs® area.

Plus, as a bonus, guests at these hotels also receive the “2017 Disney Springs® Passport” booklet that features exclusive discounts and specials from Disney Springs® merchants on entertainment, shopping and dining. Among the coupons featured in the booklet are discounts and special offers at House of Blues® Restaurant, Rainforest Café® at Disney Springs® Marketplace, T-REXTM, Ghirardelli® Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop, American Threads, and Sephora.

The Disney Springs® Resort Area Hotels’ “Fall into the Magic” room rates for stays now through October 9, 2017 are:

  • B Resort & Spa – Disney Springs® Resort Area – rates from $79 per room, per night
  • Best Western Lake Buena Vista – Disney Springs® Area – weekday rates from $65 per room, per night
  • DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando – Disney Springs® Area — rates from $99 per suite, per night
  • Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace – Disney Springs® Resort Area – rates from $99 per room, per night
  • Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista – Disney Springs® Resort Area – rates from $79 per room, per night
  • Holiday Inn Orlando – Disney Springs® Area – rates from $75 per room, per night
  • Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista — Disney Springs® Resort Area – rates from $72 per room, per night.

For additional information, visit DisneySpringsHotels.com. The special rates are available for stays now through October 9, 2017, based on availability. Some blackout dates may apply, and availability may be limited. The rates do not include the Resort Services Fee or daily parking fee (if applicable), taxes or gratuities. The offer is not valid with any other special offers, promotions, existing reservations, or for groups.

Halloween PartyVisiting also provides the opportunity to take in such special events as:

  • Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom® Park, from August 25-November 1, 2017
  • Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival, from August 31-November 13, 2017 at Epcot®
  • Eat to the Beat Concert Series, from August 31-November 13, 2017 at Epcot®
  • Disney Night of Joy, on September 8 and 9, 2017 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

Note that some events require a separately priced ticket.

Other benefits of staying at one of the seven Disney Springs® Resort Area Hotels include:

  • The ability to purchase Disney Theme Park admissions at each hotel
  • Advance tee times and discounts at all Walt Disney World® Resort golf courses
  • Disney Merchandise store located in each hotel
  • The ability to book advance dining and dinner show reservations for all restaurants across the Walt Disney World® Resort.

Disney Springs® Resort Area Hotels includes:

  • B Resort & Spa – Disney Springs® Resort Area — the stylish resort opened in June 2014 with 394 newly renovated guest rooms, the full-service B Indulged® AVEDA Spa, and features American Kitchen Bar & Grill
  • Best Western Lake Buena Vista – Disney Springs® Area – the 18-story, 325-room resort overlooks scenic Lake Buena Vista and the Walt Disney World® Resort, and offers two restaurants, a lounge, and wireless internet
  • DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando – Disney Springs® Area — the luxurious and recently renovated resort hotel features 229 spacious suites, and is the only all-suite resort hotel in the Disney Springs® Resort Area
  • Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace – Disney Springs® Area the 27-acre, newly renovated hotel features a beautifully redesigned pool area with four pools, seven restaurants and lounges, spa, and a Character Breakfast every Sunday
  • Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista – Disney Springs® Area — the closest hotel to Disney Springs®, the resort offers two pools, a Disney Character Breakfast each Sunday, seven restaurants and lounges (including Benihana® Steakhouse), and 24-hour fitness center
  • Holiday Inn Orlando – Disney Springs® Area — offers the ideal setting to stay and play, featuring modern Florida décor, a beach entry swimming pool, and complimentary Wi-Fi in all guest rooms and public areas.
  • Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista — Disney Springs® Resort Area — featuring Disney Character Breakfast 3 days a week, 394 guest rooms, six dining options, and the Oasis Aquatic Pool Playground with interactive water features.

With nearly 30 food and beverage outlets and restaurants, over 3,700 rooms and an array of amenities, the Disney Springs® Resort Area Hotels offer a rate, space and menu to please every guest. Located in the heart of the Disney Springs® area, these properties are within walking distance of exceptional shopping, dining and entertainment venues. Visit DisneySpringsHotels.com.


501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Considering a fall getaway?
Which Disney Springs hotel do you like best? Please leave a comment!

Try These New Summertime Eats And Drinks At Disney Springs

Maybe it’s because it’s lunch time as I write this or maybe it’s because these pictures are incredible, either way I’m ready to try some of these delicious new summertime eats and drinks that are being offered for a limited time from some of the top spots around Disney Springs. If you weren’t hungry or needing an icy cold drink before, you will be soon!

Dockside Margaritas

First up, and one of my personal favorites, Dockside Margaritas. This fun waterfront location is a perfect stop for live music (from about noon until 10:15pm nightly) and ice cold drinks. Of course they have the classic margaritas and Disney specialty drinks, but on Thursdays from now through September 28, you can get some of the famous Pleasure Island cocktails including Kungaloosh from Adventurer’s Club and Bell Bottom from 8 Trax for only $9 each (non-alcoholic only $5 each).

The BOATHOUSE

The BOATHOUSE is another gorgeous waterfront spot for a quick drink or a full meal. This summer, in addition to their long list of cold drinks, they’ve added three new dishes. There are two new entrees to try…an herb-marinated grilled shrimp with smoked jalapeño grits, cornbread and house made jalapeño jelly and a house-smoked beef brisket au jus sandwich with spicy giardineria. If you still have room, they’ve got you covered with a coconut bread pudding souffle with roasted pineapple and rum caramel sauce for dessert.

B.B. Wolf’s Sausage Co.

If you’re looking for a quick bite, head on over to the B.B. Wolf’s Sausage Co. kiosk and try their new Latin Dog, topped with chipotle mayo, corn salsa and queso fundido or if you’re feeling indecisive, get their 3 Little Pigs Trio that includes Reuben, bacon-wrapped with black bean salsa, and chili cheese topped mini sausages with a side of homemade pickles for only $10.39.

The Polite Pig

Growing up in Kansas City, you know any place that serves up barbecue is going to be high on my list. The Polite Pig has added five new bourbon flights this summer, along with a BBQ cheddar sausage hoagie and a mouth-watering double layer chocolate cake.

STK Orlando

Stop by STK Orlando to take advantage of their new happy hour menu, available Monday through Friday from 4:00pm to 6:00pm, that includes small bites such as BLT bruschetta or BBQ rib fingers for only $6 each along with beer and well drinks for $4.

Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’

Last but definitely not least, we have Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’. With so many new summertime additions on this menu including Ham, Ham & Jam, three cheddar drop biscuits with ham, blackberry fig jam and pimento cheese, a hangar steak with southern succotash, a watermelon salad with heirloom tomatoes, crispy ham, feta cheese and candied pecans, and a Chef Art Burger with Art’s special secret sauce, you may have to hit this place more than once.

501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

What do you think of these new summertime menu additions?
Please leave a comment; we would love to hear from you!

Summer Fun At Walt Disney World

If you are looking for some place to take an end-of-summer vacation, look no further than Walt Disney World. With so much for the entire family to enjoy, there’s no better time to go than now! Here’s everything you need to know to experience a fun-filled time with your friends and family at Walt Disney World this summer courtesy of Disney:


This summer season, guests can discover a magical mix of new and unforgettable experiences throughout Walt Disney World Resort, with an all-new land and evening show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a dazzling new show at Magic Kingdom Park, epic entertainment at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and world-class dining at Disney Springs.

Here are the exciting new ways guests can explore Walt Disney World Resort this summer:

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Guests can travel to an otherworldly destination this summer: Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. This new land gives guests the chance to explore a mystical world of bioluminescent rainforests, floating mountains and soaring Banshees. In collaboration with filmmaker James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment, Disney is bringing to life the fantasy world of Pandora, inspired by Cameron’s epic film AVATAR.

Guests can discover two main adventures. Avatar Flight of Passage sends guests flying above the jungles of Pandora on a Mountain Banshee, and Na’vi River Journey, is a family-friendly boat ride that sails down a sacred river hidden within a glowing rainforest for an unforgettable encounter with a Na’vi Shaman.

Hungry adventurers can recharge at Satu’li Canteen, the main dining location in Pandora, or Pongu Pongu, a drink kiosk with a design as eclectic as its expat owner. Shoppers can stock up on Na’vi cultural items, toys, science kits and more at Windtraders.

And after the sun sets, Disney’s Animal Kingdom guests can discover rich new experiences throughout the park, starting with the new nighttime show, Rivers of Light. This visually stunning after-dark experience celebrates the majesty of nature and the connection between animals and humans. It’s a dramatic visual blend of water, fire, light and imagery all choreographed to an original musical score.

Magic Kingdom Park

 Guests are being treated to one of the most elaborate fireworks displays ever created – a brand-new show called “Happily Ever After.” It features the latest in fireworks, pyrotechnics and projection technology, plus fresh animation, and a new musical score and theme song.

“Happily Ever After” takes guests on an inspiring journey filled with heart and humor, as Cinderella Castle itself becomes part of the story. Dazzling projections bring heartfelt Disney stories to life on and around the iconic castle. The 18-minute spectacle features moments from beloved Disney films such as “The Little Mermaid” and “Aladdin,” as well as modern blockbusters “Moana” and “Zootopia.”

“Happily Ever After” is presented nightly, with show times varying based on park hours.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

A new limited-time concert event debuted this summer. “The Music of Pixar LIVE! A Symphony of Characters” showcases memorable music from Pixar Animation Studios films, with appearances by beloved Disney•Pixar characters. A live orchestra provides the soundtrack for this 40-minute concert that is presented three times nightly at Theater of the Stars (following regular daily performances of “Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage”). The show also includes appearances by Woody, Jessie, Mike and Sulley, the Incredibles and more.

Day or night, new Star Wars experiences are immersing guests in the world of this iconic saga. Guests can now interact with BB-8, the loyal droid from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” as well as other Star Wars characters inside Star Wars Launch Bay. New authentic props from “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” are also featured in Star Wars Launch Bay, and the new AWR Troopers from “Rogue One” now appear in the daytime stage show “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away.”

Disney’s Water Parks

Guests can cool off on a whitewater adventure aboard Miss Adventure Falls, a brand new family-style raft attraction at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park. Guests are immersed in the story of Captain Mary Oceaneer, a treasure hunter who roamed the seven seas in search of undersea artifacts – until a rogue storm marooned her ship and treasures at Typhoon Lagoon.

At Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, the “Frozen” Summer Games return until August 13, 2017. Kristoff and Olaf are available for a special character greeting and photo opportunity, making Blizzard Beach the only place where guests can meet Kristoff at Walt Disney World Resort. During the friendly competition, guests are able to participate in ice-pail relays, a snowball toss and much more snowy fun.

Disney Springs

The culinary scene at Disney Springs continues to evolve with more exciting food and beverage locales, including The Polite Pig and Paddlefish, both open now.

Featuring modern barbecue cuisine prepared in an open kitchen, The Polite Pig serves up Southern sides like mac-and-cheese and smoked corn and a hearty selection of craft beers and cocktails. There’s also a bourbon bar offering more than 50 selections. The Polite Pig is the newest concept from award-winning Orlando Chefs James and Julie Petrakis who own local favorite restaurants The Ravenous Pig and Swine & Sons.

Guests can also step aboard Paddlefish, Disney Springs’ iconic 1800’s paddleboat that’s been reimagined into a modern yacht experience. Paddlefish offers guests a delectable menu of fresh seafood, steaks and chops for lunch and dinner, as well as a delectable Sunday brunch. A new rooftop lounge serves up a late-night menu as well as fantastic views of the water and Disney Springs.

Disney Resort Hotels

Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort is now open as the newest Disney Vacation Club Resort. Inspired by the legendary mining and railroad history of the Pacific Northwest, guests can come “home” to rustic elegance with these new studios, villas and waterfront cabins.

At Disney’s BoardWalk, there’s an enchanting new dining experience at Trattoria al Forno, the Bon Voyage Breakfast, featuring beloved Disney characters including Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Ariel and Prince Eric. Guests can make reservations by clicking here or by calling 407-WDW-DINE. Cost is $34 for adults and $20 for children.


501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Will you be visiting Walt Disney World before summer is over?
Please leave a comment; I would love to hear from you!