Disney World excels at keeping their parks fresh, fun and entertaining! This year is no exception, as the park is bursting at the seams with activity. With that in mind, it’s time to discuss what’s new and what’s next for Disney World Theme Parks.  To get the scoop on new attractions at Disney World for 2017, read on.

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Enjoy a VIP viewing of the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks at the end of your Highway in the Sky excursion.

Highway in the Sky Dine-Around

Open Now

Disney offers more than just character attractions and thrill rides. In fact, it’s an excellent place for foodies too! Experience the thriving food scene at Disney World Resort on the Highway in the Sky Dine-Around. It features priority boarding on the monorail, with stops for cocktails (Disney’s Contemporary Resort), appetizers (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort), dinner (Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa), and dessert (Disney’s Contemporary Resort). The night is capped by a viewing of the Magical Kingdom’s “Wishes Spectacular” from the Contemporary’s observation deck. Available on Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.

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River of Light is an amazing new show sure to captivate audiences.

Rivers of Light

February 2017

Another element that will make Animal Kingdom a day and night experience is the addition of Rivers of Light. The innovative experience opened on February 17, 2017, and takes place on Discovery River. The show will combine live music, floating lanterns, water screens, and swirling animal imagery. As night show, it will become the perfect ending to a full day of fun at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

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The Na’vi River journey will be unlike any other Disney adventure–ever!

Pandora: The World of Avatar

May 2017

As one of the most anticipated new attractions at Disney World in recent years, Pandora already has an eager fan base chomping at the bit to experience this one-of-a-kind world. Soon enough, they’ll get their chance!

Pandora comes to life at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on May 27, 2017, right in time for Memorial Day Weekend. The immersive fantasy world will envelop guests in the world of Avatar, inspired by James Cameron’s epic film Avatar. Floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforest, and a banshee flying attraction, as well as after dark entertainment, will immerse guests in the world of Pandora.

Highlights include:

Avatar Flight of Passage: Fly high above the jungles of pandora on a Mountain Banshee.

Na’vi River Journey: A family-friendly boat ride through the bioluminescent rainforests of Pandora.

Satu’Li Canteen: Explorers can recharge at this canteen, the main dining location within Pandora.

Pongu Pongu: The go-to place for drinks and snacks.

Windtraders: An all-encompassing gift shop for all things Na’vi.

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©Disney/Lucasfilm Ltd. © & TM Lucasfilm Ltd.

Star Wars Tour

Spring 2017

New attractions at Disney World don’t stop at the Animal Kingdom. Disney’s Hollywood Studios is opening an all-new Star Wars Guided Tour. The 7-hour experience is an immersion into all things Star Wars and is offered on Mondays and Saturdays only. Character greetings, themed dining, ride experiences, insider tours, a dessert party and VIP viewing of Star Wars: A Galactic Spectauracular are among the highlights. This new experience comes on the heels of several new Star Wars attractions that debuted in December 2016. Among them, the onstage showcase “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away.”

Even more Star Wars themed lands are in the works for Hollywood Studios, so stay tuned!

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Miss Fortune Falls features a treasure hunt through raging river rapids.

Miss Fortune Falls

Spring 2017

New attractions at Disney World also extend to their waterparks. Over at Typhoon Lagoon, guests are treated to an all-new family-style raft adventure. It’s themed after Captain Mary Oceaneer, who legend has it, was a treasure hunter who roamed the seven seas until a rogue storm marooned her vessel at Typhoon Lagoon.

The ride starts gently enough, as treasure rafts make their way through the open waters. But then, they plunge into a whitewater adventure! At two minutes long, this excursion is set to be one of the longest at Disney’s Waterparks.

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Concept art of the revamped Planet Hollywood Observatory at Disney Springs.

Disney Springs

Throughout 2017

In 2017, the transformation of Downtown Disney into Disney Springs continues. This year the expansion is focused on food, with a bevy of new restaurants opening.

Paddlefish: Taking over the former Fulton’s Crab House location, Paddlefish offers a sleek and modern spin on a steak and seafood house. Menu options include a build-your-own-boil, while the rooftop lounge will offer a special late-night menu as well as fantastic views of the water and Disney Springs.

Planet Hollywood Observatory: Out with the old and in with the new! This reimagined concept takes the old dome of the Planet Hollywood Restaurant, and transforms it into an observatory focused on a different kind of stars–the celestial ones! However, the interior still feature a ton of movie memorabilia, video screens, and music, so you can still get your pop culture fix. The menu, created by celebrity chef Guy Fieri, puts an out-of-this-world spin on everything from burgers to cocktails.

The Polite Pig: Orlando locals love The Ravenous Pig. The Polite Pig, serving as it’s sister restaurant, offers the same scrumptious Florida cuisine. Wood-fired and grilled meats are their signature, as is an impressive beverage program that serves all drinks on tap–even wine!

Wine Bar George: Speaking of wine, at Wine Bar George master sommelier George Miliotes creates a unique place to sip, sit and eat. Infused with the themes of a winemaker’s estate, the vibe is very warm and cozy. Small plates dominate the menu as wines have a starring role. And, with over 100 to choose from, every palate will be pleased.

It’s Going to Be a Great Year

This is the latest update on new attractions at Disney World for 2017. As always, Reserve Orlando will keep you updated on all that’s happening in Orlando, Disney World and beyond.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Searching for a break from the winter blues? Head to the Sunshine State! It’s the perfect place to play this spring, as there are endless things to do. From character-filled daydreams at Disney World to adventure-themed thrills at Universal Orlando Resort, attractions cater to families with kids of all ages. Need a nudge to get your spring break started? Read on to find things to do during an Orlando Spring Break.

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Make a Splash at Orlando Water Parks

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Aquatica

Nothing breaks the winter blues better than a day splashing under the Orlando sun. Kick off your snow boots, slip into some flip flops, and bask in the refreshing excitement of Orlando water parks. The choice is yours really, with five aquatic attractions available.

Aquatica is the perfect choice for families seeking both wild and mild thrills, while Discovery Cove puts you thisclose with manta rays, exotic birds, dolphins, and even otters.

Want to learn how to surf? Try the ultimate indoor wave at Fantasy Surf.

Don’t forget about Disney’s Blizzard Beach either. With tickets starting at $58, it’s more affordable than you may think.

See What’s in Bloom at Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

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Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

In the past, Epcot was thought to be the adult side of Walt Disney World. With a focus on global attractions and culinary delights, it’s easy to see why. However, Epcot appeals to kids too. This is especially true during the International Flower & Garden Festival this spring. Held March 2 through May 30, the event features elaborate topiary displays showcasing Disney characters in a splendor of greenery, flowers, and colors. In addition, there are pop-up outdoor kitchens to try and Garden Rocks Concert Series musicians to listen to like Gin Blossoms and The Guess Who.

Experience the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Harry Potter

Wizarding World of Harry Potter

Kids and adults alike are fanatics for all things Harry Potter. At Universal Orlando Resort, immerse yourself in the worlds of Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. Both bring the Wizarding World of Harry Potter to life. At Hogsmeade you can explore the iconic Hogwarts Castle, surrounded by the village of Hogsmeade where you can eat at the Three Broomsticks and find your own magical wand at Ollivander’s. Plus, you can join Harry Potter and friends on The Forbidden Journey for a thrilling adventure filled with magical creatures, a quidditch match and more. Before you board the ride, you tour through Hogwarts Castle, making your way through the familiar classrooms and corridors of Hogwart School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Hop aboard the Hogwarts Express for a trip to Diagon Alley, the newest area withing the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Traipse through the streets of London, browse through shops for wizard robes and quidditch supplies, dine at the Leaky Cauldron, and then ride the heist-themed Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts. Wash it all down with a frothy butter beer!

Catch Spring Training at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports

ESPN Wide World of Sports

ESPN Wide World of Sports

Are your and your kid’s diehard baseball fans? During your Orlando Spring Break, see the action up-close in a spring training game at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports. The Atlanta Braves call the field home for spring, and play some of the best teams in baseball. The St. Louis Cardinals, Baltimore Orioles, and New York Yankees are a few of the ball clubs on tap. See if your team is on the schedule, which runs through April 2, 2016. It’s great way to see your favorite players up close without having to pay Major League prices. Plus, you’ll get the inside, pre-season scoop on your favorite baseball team. Score!

Travel to the Space Coast

Cocoa Beach

Cocoa Beach

Need another Orlando Spring Break idea? One the great things about Orlando is its easy access to the coast. Travel to the Space Coast, and make a day of it by exploring beaches like Cocoa and Melbourne. Add a visit to nearby Kennedy Space Center to get an inside look at the NASA Space program. It’s an extensive attraction that lets parents sneak it a bit of education during their spring break. On top of that, it’s interesting too! Stop for lunch in Downtown Titusville, known for its shopping and dining, and if there’s time take a peek at the animals of Brevard Zoo.

Take to the Outdoors

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Blue Springs State Park: By Ebyabe/Wikimedia Commons

Florida is a known for its man-made theme parks, but there’s a whole lot of family fun found outside in Orlando. During your Orlando Spring Break, trek to Wekiva Island to go boating, canoeing, fishing and kayaking. If you just want to relax and soak up some Florida sunshine, reserve a cabana. It comes equipped with comfy places to lounge, a grill, and a fridge. At Blue Springs State Park you can hike, picnic, swim and even see majestic manatees. Of course, for a little more adventure outside you can opt for an Orlando airboat tour. These high-speed boats put the wind in your hair and place you right in the middle of Florida’s everglades. Be prepared to see an alligator up close! For even more outdoor adventures, head to Forever Florida. They have ziplines, horseback rides, safari tours and more.

Get Ready for the Best Orlando Spring Break Yet

These are some of the best things to do on your Orlando Spring Break. From theme park adventures to outdoor escapes, your family is sure to have an epic escape in the Sunny State. Reserve all of your vacation needs, including attraction tickets and hotel rooms, with Reserve Orlando for the guaranteed best rates and insider insight.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

When you think of an Orlando vacation, what comes to mind? A lot of dollar signs, right? A trip to Orlando can easily add up to far more than you prefer to spend. Between theme park tickets and reserving hotel rooms, it may seem as though a trip to Orlando is out of reach. But did you know that there are several free things to do in Orlando for adults?

You can say goodbye to extravagant theme park prices and get ready for a thrilling, budget-friendly Orlando vacation with these ideas.

Free Things to Do in Orlando for Adults

1. Wander through Disney Springs and Disney’s Boardwalk

You don’t need to purchase theme park tickets or a Walt Disney World hotel reservation to experience the magic of the mouse. Anyone can explore Disney Springs for absolutely free. While you will have to pay to dine or shop, there’s no cost to walk around, see the sights, and take in the magic. Plus, if you’re lucky, you might be able to catch a free festival, event, or entertainment.

Don’t forget about Disney’s Boardwalk, too. This charming part of Walt Disney World® resort is — you guessed it — free to explore. Be sure to visit Disney’s Boardwalk at night and get a glimpse of the fireworks from the theme park.

2. Harry P. Leu Gardens

Who said a romantic vacation in Orlando needed to be expensive? The Harry P. Leu Gardens offer Free Admission Mondays throughout the year, meaning you can stroll through the multiple gardens without paying a thing. You’ll embark on a self-guided tour through the mesmerizing gardens and sights which include:

  • The Butterfly Garden
  • The Horseshoe Fountain
  • Lake Rowena Overlook
  • The Idea Garden

 

While at the Harry P. Leu Gardens take the time to smell the roses (literally) and enjoy all that the gardens have to offer for the low price of free.

3. Ocala National Forest

You’ll notice that any of the free things to do in Orlando for adults involve the great outdoors. Trust me, Orlando is home to more than just roller coasters and movie characters. Located just north of Orlando, Ocala National Forest boasts 383,000 acres of forest for you to explore. With more than 600 lakes, rivers, and springs, the state park is the perfect place for those who want an adventure without the price tag. From hiking to boating, you won’t experience a shortage of fun (or funds) when you spend the day at Ocala National Forest.

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4. Drink Up at Orlando Brewing Company

What’s better than a free tour? A free brewery tour. When you visit Orlando Brewing Company, ask your server for a tour ticket. These free tours are first-come, first-serve, so get here early to reserve your spot.

Plus, while you wait for your free tour, why not sample one of the 24 organic crafts beers on tap? Although beer samples are not provided on the tour, you can purchase flights in the tap room. However, purchasing a flight (or two) won’t break the bank. A single flight is only $8 while a double flight is $14.

When it comes to free things to do in Orlando for adults, a free brewery tour and great beer is something we can all raise a glass to.

5. Free Tours and Tastings at Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards

If you’re more of a wine person, head over to Lakeridge Winery & Vineyards. The winery hosts complimentary vineyard tours and tastings seven days a week. Tours run every 30 minutes with a 15-minute video introduction. You’ll then have the opportunity to witness and experience the production process, from growing the grapes to labeling the bottles.

Once you understand what goes into making a superb bottle of wine, you get to taste it! At the tasting table, guests are presented with a wide range of wines to try. As far as free things to do in Orlando for adults go, a free wine tasting sounds phenomenal to me!

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6. Walk Through the Town of Celebration

Did you know that the Walt Disney Company designed a town near their theme parks? Celebration, Florida is a quaint community reminiscent of small town America. Take a walk through the center of town and you’ll notice the various styles of architecture blending together effortlessly to create a community worthy of Disney’s magic.

Throughout this pleasant little town, you’ll find specialty eateries, charming boutiques, and even an event or two depending on when you visit.

7. Lake Eola Park

Nestled in bustling downtown Orlando, Lake Eola Park is a free hidden gem you don’t want to miss. The park is a great place for a romantic stroll under the city lights, a picnic with friends, or taking in the sights before your dinner reservations.

The .9-mile sidewalk loop overlooks the pristine lake, making it the perfect backdrop for any special occasion. When looking for free things to do in Orlando for adults, why not take one of the swan boats out onto the lake or attend one of the many free concerts at the park’s Walt Disney Amphitheater?

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8. Watch Theme Park Fireworks

You don’t have to buy theme park admission to watch the spectacular fireworks shows. One of the top free things to do in Orlando with adults is watching theme park fireworks from anywhere but the theme park.

Bypass the admission price and claustrophobic crowds by watching the fireworks from these spots:

  • Disney’s Boardwalk
  • The right side of the marina at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • The beach at Disney’s Polynesian Resort
  • The Contemporary Resort — make sure you face The Magic Kingdom
  • The Transportation Center at Walt Disney World® resort — take the monorail for free.

 

9. Window Shop at the Mall at Millenia

For those who want a taste of the finer things in life without footing the bill, go window shopping at the Mall at Millenia in Orlando. This mall boasts everything from Armani Exchange to Louis Vuitton. While window shopping won’t cost you a penny, purchasing something from any of these stores will. Spend wisely!

10. Watch a Rocket Launch

If your Orlando vacation lines up with a rocket launch from Cape Canaveral, you’re in luck. One of the coolest free things to do in Orlando with adults is looking to the sky and seeing a rocket launch into space. However, the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex is only an hour away from Orlando if you’d like to see the launches up close. From Orlando, you’ll be able to see the rocket ascending into space, but not the launch itself. Still a cool (and free) experience, nonetheless!

Experience the Many Free Things to Do in Orlando for Adults

From sipping wine at a vineyard to watching the fireworks light up the sky, there are so many exciting and free things to do in Orlando for adults. Plan your vacation with Reserve Orlando to save even more on hotels, attraction tickets, and more.

 

Congratulations! You’re engaged and about to marry the person of your dreams. You’ve eagerly awaited the day when you could say “I’m going to Disney World!” when asked about your honeymoon plans — and that day is here. Whether you want to relive the magic you experienced as a child or it’s your favorite place on planet Earth, nothing can quite compare to a Walt Disney World honeymoon.

Of course, planning a honeymoon can be overwhelming. But don’t worry! Putting together a Walt Disney World honeymoon is easier than you think. Use our step-by-step guide to planning the best honeymoon for you and your significant other at Walt Disney World.

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1) Fund Your Walt Disney World Honeymoon

As with any honeymoon planning process, the first step is to determine your budget. Fortunately, there are multiple ways to enjoy the magic of Disney all within your defined budget.

Create a Honeymoon Registry
Do you really need yet another set of silverware? Of course, not. What you and your soon-to-be spouse need is an exhilarating ride on Space Mountain or a behind-the-scenes tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Forgo a traditional registry for a Walt Disney World registry. From theme park tickets to romantic spa treatments, wedding guests can help make sure you both have the magical vacation you desire by contributing to your honeymoon registry.

Travel Off-Peak, If Possible
If possible, travel to Walt Disney World during an off-peak time of the year. To avoid the crowds and take advantage of seasonal prices on flights, plan your honeymoon during these specific times:

  • Second week of January through mid-February
  • First three weeks of May (before the school year is over)
  • Late August and entire month of September
  • Mid-November through mid-December (except the week of Thanksgiving)

 

If these times aren’t possible, no worries! There are plenty of other ways to plan an affordable Walt Disney World honeymoon.

Skip the Park Hopper Pass
A Park Hopper pass allows you both to visit multiple Walt Disney World resort theme parks in one day. While this is a nice convenience, I recommend forgoing the park hopper pass on your honeymoon. You’ll want to slow down, and savor every moment, which is hard to do when you’re racing from park to park. This additional pass can cost anywhere from $50-$60 per person in addition to park admission. To save money, visit one park per day and use your free time for extra magical experiences such as shopping at Disney Springs.

Book a Year in Advance
It is recommended that couples book their honeymoon to Disney World a year in advance. This enables you and your significant other to have guaranteed lodging, tickets, dining reservations, and take advantage of the best possible rates.

Be Flexible with Your Itinerary
While I just told you to book a year in advance, one of the best ways to stretch your honeymoon budget is to be flexible. For example, arranging your travel days according to the cheapest airfare is always a good idea if you are able to be flexible. Also, being flexible in your itinerary is a good idea as it allows you to take advantage of extra experiences and unexpected opportunities throughout your Walt Disney World honeymoon.

Once you’ve set your budget, launched your honeymoon registry, and know how to save, it’s time to start the reservation process.

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2) Choose a Hotel or Resort

The Walt Disney World resort property is home to several hotels and resorts. From budget-friendly hotels to extravagant resorts, you have a wide range of lodging options to choose from.

Depending on your Walt Disney World honeymoon budget, you have three options:

  1. Book a hotel room at one of the budget resorts.
  2. Reserve a room at a resort offering premium amenities, but still within budget.
  3. Go all out and get a room at one of Disney’s top-tier resorts.

 

The budget-friendly hotel option for guests are Disney’s All-Star resorts. While the price of these rooms is enticing, keep in mind that the hotel property is geared towards families and children. This means that the pool, dining area, and resort lobby will be filled with families. Just remember, you aren’t going to Walt Disney World for the hotel room. If you plan to spend most of your time outside of the hotel room, this is a great option for budget-conscious honeymooners.

Upscale Walt Disney World resorts that won’t break the bank include:

 

These resorts are well within a honeymoon budget but offer a wide range of premium amenities and activities onsite.

On the other hand, if you and your new spouse want to reserve a room at the top Walt Disney World resorts, check out these options:

 

While at your chosen Disney resort or hotel, don’t forget to ask a cast member about “In-Room Celebrations”. After a long day at the theme parks, you can have a surprise bouquet of flowers or other gift waiting in your room.

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3) Make Your Dining Reservations

Everyone knows that the restaurants at Walt Disney World resort are outstanding. If there’s a specific restaurant you and your future spouse want to dine at during your honeymoon, make your reservation ASAP. In fact, it is recommended that newlyweds make dining reservations up to 180 days in advance to secure a table at the restaurant they desire.

Quick insider tip: Make sure you have reservations for a late dinner at California Grill, located on the 15th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. You can watch all 3 theme park fireworks shows from this restaurant while enjoying a meal. The viewable fireworks schedule is as follows:

  • IllumiNations at Epcot: 9:00 PM
  • Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios: 9:30 PM
  • Wishes Nighttime Spectacular at Magic Kingdom: 10:00 PM

 

Between the food and the views, dining at California Grill is a “do not miss” experience while enjoying a Walt Disney World honeymoon.

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4) Figure Out Transportation

When planning your honeymoon to Walt Disney World, your first thought might be to procure a rental car. However, think of all the costs associated with renting a car: gas, parking, insurance, and on. A rental car will eat through your budget in an instant. Instead, rely on the transportation options provided by Walt Disney World resort.

Disney’s Magical Express provides guests with transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport and guests can use the monorail or bus system to get around Walt Disney World resort. No need for a rental car, a taxi, or an Uber. This means you only have to figure out your flights. Easy enough!

Walt Disney World attractions lifestyle shoot. April 2013. Photographer: Cynthia Perez

5) Purchase Theme Park Tickets

Now onto the main reason you chose a Walt Disney World honeymoon — the theme parks! If not already taken care of by your honeymoon registry, it’s time to purchase your tickets to the Walt Disney World theme parks. Be sure to check Reserve Orlando for discount tickets to all four theme parks and more.

Now that you’ve procured your tickets, use these tips to make the most of your honeymoon in the theme parks:

Utilize FastPass+
Dying to ride the Haunted Mansion? Anxious to finally try the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train roller coaster? Unfortunately, so are hundreds of other guests. Bypass the sprawling attraction lines with FastPass+. Using the My Disney Experience app (which you both need to download!), select your top three rides or shows and create your reservation. When the reservation time approaches, head back to the ride and enjoy!

Use these extra tips from Reserve Orlando to take advantage of all that the My Disney Experience app and FastPass+ have to offer.

Visit on a Weekday
As you might have guessed, weekends at Walt Disney World theme parks are overcrowded. Visit the theme parks on weekdays to eliminate some of the crowd congestion and lines. With fewer crowds, you and your spouse can experience all the theme parks have to offer during your Walt Disney World honeymoon.

Purchase a PhotoPass
While at the theme parks, you’ll find yourself trying to get the perfect picture of you and your significant other. Instead of asking a stranger to do it, let one of Disney’s pro photographers help! With a PhotoPass, photographers will help you capture lifelong memories of your Walt Disney World honeymoon. You can then access your images on the My Disney Experience app and cherish them forever by downloading and printing or sharing with friends and family.

Let Cast Members Know It’s Your Honeymoon
Trust me – you’re in store for a treat once Walt Disney World cast members find out you’re on your honeymoon. From free dessert to complimentary souvenirs and more, you’re in for a great surprise. In addition, it’s super fun to wear bride and groom Mickey ears. You’ll hear congratulations from everyone which makes your honeymoon that much more special.

Go Behind-the-Scenes
Enjoy a unique honeymoon experience by reserving your spot for one of the exciting behind-the-scenes tours. Each theme park offers a vast array of tours, but my personal recommendation is the Keys to the Kingdom tour at Magic Kingdom. During this legendary tour, you’ll have access to the mysterious underground tunnels, learn about Mr. Walt Disney and his vision, and more.

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Time to Plan Your Walt Disney World Honeymoon

Before you dive into your planning activities using this step-by-step guide, let me leave you with a bit of last minute advice:

  • There’s more to Walt Disney World than the theme parks. Visit Disney Springs, go to the spa, play a round of golf!
  • Remember to get a customized souvenir from your Walt Disney World honeymoon.
  • Slow down and enjoy your honeymoon! You want to create lasting memories. There’s no need to rush!

 

Lastly, don’t forget to rely on Reserve Orlando for discounted Walt Disney World tickets, premier lodging, and insider advice. Now, stop reading this article and start planning your Walt Disney World honeymoon!

 

It’s hard to plan for New Year’s Eve with kids. You want to do something, but what? I’m here to help! Here are a few affordable and free family New Year’s Eve celebrations in Orlando.

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Celebration Town Center
If you have little ones you know won’t make it to midnight, visit Celebration Town Center. Technically, an official New Year’s Eve party isn’t planned. However, there are still a lot of festive things to do for families. “Now Snowing” is Central Florida’s premier snowing event, featuring a snowfall program, ice rink, strolling characters, photos with Santa, horse drawn carriane rides, and more. There is a small fee to skate, but all of the other experiences are free!

Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo
Ring in the New Year family-style with a “Noon Year’s Eve” daytime Celebration at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo. Join in the festivities with live entertainment, games and activities, character appearances and more. Watch a giant countdown clock and welcome the New Year with noisemakers, hats and a juice toast. Activities are included with paid Zoo admission or Zoo membership. Held from 10:30am-1:00pm.

Dave & Buster’s
Families can eat, play and party on New Year’s Eve at Dave & Buster’s. Family packages are available starting at $30. All packages include an appetizer buffet, soft drinks & play in the Million Dollar Midway.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Ring in 2017 with live entertainment, champagne toasts and top notch parties. Orlando New Year’s Eve celebrations for adults are festive, fun and located at some of the hottest venues in Central Florida. To find out more about Orlando New Year’s Eve parties, read on.

Orlando New Year's Eve Celebrations for Adults

Universal Orlando Resort
Both parks—Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure—are open from 8am to 1am on New Year’s Eve. Party zones will be set up throughout the parks, with DJs, character appearances and fireworks at midnight planed. A midnight coaster ride sounds like a thrilling way to welcome 2017.

NYE ThinkstockPhotos-493374134Eve at Universal CityWalk
CityWalk pulls out all the stops for its New Year’s Eve celebration. The jam-packed party feature six unique party zones with signature drinks, six popping night clubs with live music and unlimited gourmet cuisine, and access to Orlando’s biggest outdoor dance floor. DJ M-Squared is returning for a third New Year’s Eve at CityWalk, and will bring is genre-fusing mixes with him. Tickets start at $139.99.

Wall Street Plaza
This annual December 31st Block Party is downtown Orlando’s largest New Year’s Eve event. Rock in the New Year with live music and an outdoor lighted dance floor. Plus, DJ Draven is returning to keep the party going all night long. The Wall Street Plaza party kicks off at 8pm. Ticket are $30.

Blue Martini NYE 2017 Celebration: A Casino Royale Gala
Book a New Year’s Eve special table for your own party then dance the night away with live entertainment. An open bar (beer and wine only) will be available from 8-10pm. In addition, there will be a live band at 8pm, balloon drop at midnight at live DJ from 1-2am. Tickets start at $70, and reservations are required.

NYE Champagne ThinkstockPhotos-463795637Funky Monkey Bistro & Bar
Hosted by Danielle Hunter and featuring the talents of Chantal Reshae, David Freklz Hunter, and many more, this party includes a $75 prix-fix menu. A sushi bar with a live sushi roller and champagne bar with unlimited champagne are highlights. Reservations are required. Call 407-418-9463.

Church Street New Year’s Eve Block Party
Orlando’s biggest street party is one Church Street New Year’s Eve. Watch the world-famous “Orange Drop” 60-feet in the sky and spectacular fireworks, as well as DJs spinning tunes, a video wall, and a live simulcast of Times Square. The party starts at 8pm. Minimum age for entrance is 21.

New Year’s Eve Celebration starring Kristin Chenoweth
Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts will be have Kristin Chenoweth, along with special guest Cheyenne Jackson, host an elegant New Year’s Eve Celebration. Doors open at 8pm, with the show starting at 10pm. An after party will be held until 2:00am in the lobbies of the art center. Tickets start at $110 and include show, two drink tickets, and champagne at intermission, party favors, after-party entertainment and after-party desserts. Call 844-513-2014 for tickets.

New Year ThinkstockPhotos-78820594Cuba Libra
Put a little spice in your New Year’s Eve plans! Cuba Libre will have an open bar from 10pm-12am, live entertainment, a balloon drop, champagne toast, and so much more. Reservations are suggested. Event is for ages 21 and over only. “¡Feliz Año Nuevo!”

Five Star New Year’s Eve

Party all night at this Brazilian dance party, featuring world-class DJs and fireworks. General admission offers a full-service open bar with beverages, beer, vodka, whiskey and Prosecco. Guests are asked to dress in white and gold, in keeping with the Brazilian theme. Bonus: Child card will be provided at the event. Ticket packages start at $290.

Howl at the Moon
The dueling piano bar on International Drive is offering a gourmet buffet, champagne toast and party favors on New Year’s Eve starting at $75 per person. For only $25, though, your’e guaranteed entry, a champagne toast at midnight and party favors. Other ticket options are available. Guest must be 21 and over for entry.

NYE ThinkstockPhotos-78818827Atlantic Dance Hall
Swing in the New Year at Atlantic Dance Hall with a live big band, fun and high spirits. Party hats and horns, a viewing of the Epcot fireworks at midnight, and champagne toast are included in the cost of admission ($42/per person). Doors open at 9:00 p.m. Guests must be 21 years or older with valid ID to enter. For reservations, call (407) WDW-DINE.

As you can see, there’s a lot of parties planned for December 31, 2016. Choose which New Year’s Eve celebration for adults you’d like to attend. Then, begin your own countdown to this special night. 2017 will be here soon!


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

rsz_disney_cmasRinging in the New Year at Disney World is fun at all four theme parks. Here is a park-by-park guide detailing Disney World New Years Eve, complete with park hours and times for special shows and events.

Note: Disney World New Years Eve details for 2016 have not yet been released.The information below is from last year, just to give you an idea of what may be offered.

Magic Kingdom

  • Park is open 8:00am – 2:00am; Extra Magic hours 7-8am
  • Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas Parade: 12:00pm & 3:30pm
  • Main Street Electrical Parade: 7:00pm
  • Holiday Wishes Fireworks: 7:30pm
  • Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks: 11:50pm
  • New Year’s Countdown Fireworks at 11:40pm
  • A DJ dance party in front of the castle and Celebrate the Magic projection show are also scheduled. Check showtimes upon arrival at the park.

 

Tips: The Magic Kingdom is the busiest of all the Disney Parks, and they host the most kid-friendly New Year’s Eve celebration. Luckily, you can experience the same events on December 30 complete with the midnight countdown. Think of it as a rehearsal for the big night on the 31st! If you do plan on a December 31 visit, arrive before 10:30am as parks will fill to capacity early. Fireworks for the Magic Kingdom show are a spectacular sight. They are shot over the castle and all around the park perimeter. Even the countdown to midnight is done in fireworks forming numbers in the sky. If you’d like to view the show outside the park, the observation deck on the 4th floor of the Contemporary Resort, beaches of the Polynesian Resort, marina dock at The Grand Floridian and restaurants such as Califronia Grill and Narcoossees offer fantastic viewing spots. Please note alcohol will not be available at Magic Kingdom NYE celebrations, excluding beverages served with dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant.

Epcot Meg (150)Epcot

  • Future World: 8:00am – 1:00am
  • World Showcase: 10:00am – 1:00am
  • IllumiNations Peace on Earth holiday version – 6:30pm
  • IllumiNations New Years Eve version with Countdown & Fireworks – 11:40pm
  • DJ dance parties will take place throughout the park. Check for time party times upon arrival at the park.

 

Tips: The Midnight Fireworks show at Epcot features a special salute to each country, with dazzling fireworks lighting up the sky over each pavilion, accompanied by traditional music. Epcot is a wonderful place for adults to ring in the New Year. Live DJ dance parties are hosted throughout the park at places like the Fountain Stage at Future World and America Gardens Theatre at World Showcase, as well as courtyards at Italy, United Kingdom and China. , and temporary bars are set up on the promenade, usually at Mexico, China, Italy, Germany, American Adventure, Japan, Morocco, France and Canada. All dance party locations also have free noisemakers and party hats.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Park is open 8:00am to 12:00am; Extra Magic Hours until 2:00am
  • Fantasmic!: 8:00pm & 9:30pm
  • Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular: 12 a.m.
  • Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! : 9:00 p.m.

 

New Years 106522367Tips: To get the best viewing spot for Disney’s Hollywood Studios Fireworks find a spot on Hollywood Boulevard facing The Great Movie Ride. The fireworks show is shot from the roofs of the buildings surrounding that area. This park is generally less crowded than Epcot and Magic Kingdom. Plus, temporary bar kiosks are set up throughout the park.

Animal Kingdom

  • Park is open 8:00am – 8:30pm
  • No specific celebrations are planned at Animal Kingdom

Disney Springs (Formerly Downtown Disney)

  • Disney Marketplace: 8:00am – 1:00pm
  • Shopping: 8:00am – 2:00am
  • West Side: 8:00am – 2:00am
  • Cirque du Soleil: 6:00pm and 9:00pm performance. The show features a special NYE finale.
  • Splitsville Luxury Lanes will have NYE specials
  • Raglan Road is hosting two NYC bashes in one night. Raglan Road rings in the Irish New Year at 7 p.m. and again at Midnight. Live Irish music and the award winning Raglan Road Irish Dancers are featured. A complimentary champagne toast welcomes 2017. Call (407) 938-0300 for additional info or to make reservations.

 

All three districts within Downtown Disney will have DJ dance parties, live entertainment, Disney food trucks, plus wine, beer and cocktails will be served.

New Years 455259861Disney World Resorts

Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s Boardwalk Resort
Swing to the sounds of a live big band from 8pm-2am. Party hats and horns, and champagne toast are included with admission, as are viewing of the Epcot fireworks at midnight. Upgrade to VIP admission for access to the second floor dance club with guaranteed seats, access to private balcony for viewing of Illuminations and complimentary desserts.

California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort
This elegant affair is pricey ($625 per person!) but promised to be a memorable NYE experience. The gala features elaborate food stations, complimentary alcoholic beverages, appearances by Disney characters and spectacular views of the Magic Kingdom’s fireworks.

Narcoose’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort
There are two NYE dinner celebrations planned at Narcoose’s:

Early Dinner: Seating is between 5:00 p.m. and 5:45 p.m., and price is $159.75 for adults and $74.55 for children, prepaid (tax and gratuity included).

Late Dining Event: Seating is between 8:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Price is $317.48 for adults and $118.28 for children, prepaid (tax and gratuity included).

Victoria & Alberts at Disney’s Grand Floridian
A ten-course New Year’s Eve meal, featuring eight courses and two desserts, paired with nine wines, is hosted at Victoria & Alberts. The meal is prepped by lauded Chef Scott Hunnell. The meal with wine and gratuity will be $375 plus tax. You should know that guests must to be older than 10 years of age to attend and older than 21 to be served alcohol.

As you can see, there are plenty of special events planned for New Year’s Eve at Disney World Orlando. Plus, all events are included with the purchase of Disney tickets.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

SeaWorld is the only place where real and amazing live. Through every experience at these aquatic theme parks, guests are encouraged to connect with the sea. As a result, exciting rides, amazing shows and up-close encounters are made that much more captivating. Not only do you connect with the wonders of the ocean, you care about them.

To highlight SeaWorld’s commitment to animals all over the world, as well as their guests, Reserve Direct invited two families to visit the park as part of our SeaWorld: One Park, Two Ways campaign. Discover all the fun and educational experiences they had as they explore the real, amazing aspects of SeaWorld Orlando and SeaWorld San Diego.

We sent Krystal, from Sweet Sunny Days, to experience SeaWorld Orlando. Additionally, Shelby from OC Mom Blog, toured SeaWorld San Diego. During their time at the park, we invited each blogger to exclusive, behind-the-scenes activities at the park. Don’t worry—you can have this kind of access too. They’re all part of SeaWorld’s efforts to educate visitors on their conservation efforts. Interactive and engaging, they add the real to any day at SeaWorld. And  yes, it’s pretty amazing!

Discover more about these parks with our recaps below.

SeaWorld Orlando

Real

Meet a Dolphin
At the Dolphin encounter get up-close to bottlenose dolphins. Not only will you get a chance to touch the dolphins, you learn about how SeaWorld’s animal team cares for these clever animals.

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Explore the Aquariums and Rescue Areas
Did you know nearly all of SeaWorld Orlando’s attractions have special aquariums showcasing a variety of aquatic life? During Krystal’s visit, her family was able to discover another side of SeaWorld at Sea Garden. This section of the park is home to rescue animals ranging from eagles to spoonbills, as well as close-up, one-of-a-kind encounters.

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Behind the Scenes Tour
At the Behind the Scenes Tour, you’re able to touch a shark and interact with a penguin. As a result, it was Krystal’s favorite activity at the park.

Amazing

Ride the Trio of Roller Coasters
SeaWorld Orlando packs more of an adrenaline punch than any other SeaWorld park. Thrill seeker will love Mako, Manta and Kraken.

Shamu’s Happy Harbor
A haven for children and parents, Shamu’s Happy Harbor has pint-sized attractions for kids and plenty of seating for parents.

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One Ocean Show
Killer whales are the focus of One Ocean, a show that connects the majesty of these ocean creatures with an overall message of conservation.

Want to learn more about Krystal’s day at SeaWorld Orlando? Read her full article at Sweet Sunny Days.

SeaWorld San Diego

Real

Touch a Bat Ray
Did you know bat rays are closely related to sharks? Their skin is also super smooth. Find out for yourself with these real (and free!) experience.

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Dolphin Encounter
At the Dolphin Encounter, Shelby and her family were able to touch and feed dolphins. This was the highlight of their day!

Behind the Scenes Tour
SeaWorld San Diego has a strong rescue operation—over 900 animals have been helped this year alone! On this behind the scenes tour, get an inside look at how these recovery missions work as well as the animals they help rescue.

Amazing

Pet’s Rule Christmas
Shelby’s family loves household pets, which made this show an easy favorite. This another show you can also see year-round, when it’s simply Pet’s Rule. Same antics, less holiday music!

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Dolphin Island Christmas
Dolphins and pilot whales get into the Christmas spirit during this festive show. Not visiting during Christmas? Don’t worry. Dolphin Days showcases the same beautiful animals in the regular season.

Christmas Experiences
SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration is truly amazing. Kids love the meeting Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. Plus, you can’t resist the magic telling Santa what’s on your wish list this year.

To discover more of Shelby’s day at SeaWorld San Diego, read her full blog post at OC Mom Blog.

As you can see, SeaWorld is one park you can easily discover in two ways: real and amazing. Experience the park for yourself, on us!

A special thanks to our hotel partners, Holiday Inn Resort Orlando and Doubletree Hotel San Diego Hotel Circle, for sponsoring hotel stays for both of families.

 

SeaWorld theme parks continues to keep things fresh and innovative by introducing new rides, events and activities every year. What’s new at SeaWorld Orlando 2017? Read on to discover more about this Central Florida theme park.

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©SeaWorld Parks

Electric Ocean
Summer 2017

For 2017, SeaWorld Orlando is presenting an all-new end-of-day spectacle. Electric Ocean will feature bioluminescent lighting, music and pathway entertainment – immersing guests in a glowing sea of wonder.

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©SeaWorld Parks

Kraken® Virtual Reality (VR)
Summer 2017

Get ready to experience Kraken in a whole new way at SeaWorld Orlando 2017. The park will debut its first digitally enhanced ride experience as the legendary Kraken roller coaster is transformed into a virtual reality (VR) coaster experience.  This thrill ride will be the only VR coaster experience in Florida.

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©SeaWorld Parks

Dolphin Nursery, SeaWorld Orlando
Summer 2017

SeaWorld Orlando’s Dolphin Nursery will become more interactive in 2017. Guests will have the opportunity to see mother and baby dolphins up close via large-scale acrylic windows. Even better, there will be multiple levels providing children a face-to-face perspective with calves.  New slide out areas and a lifting floor will allow for easier access to mom and baby for the veterinary and animal care teams, and multi-purpose digital displays will allow SeaWorld educators to share information.

seaworld-rudolph-facebook

SeaWorld/Facebook

Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer & Friends
2016 Christmas events, continuing in 2017

Beloved Christmas character Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and friends, including Clarice, Bumble, the Abominable Snow Monster and Yukon Cornelius, and Rudolph-themed attractions will be making their debut as part of the 2016 Christmas Celebration™ at SeaWorld Orlando, San Antonio and San Diego, and Christmas Town™ at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Williamsburg, Virginia.  Rudolph & Friends will return for the 2017 season, with additional Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer-themed experiences for families to enjoy the Christmas spirit even more.

In 2016, SeaWorld Orlando added Mako, an all-new hypercoaster named for one of the ocean’s fastest known sharks, to its attraction line-up. It is Orlando’s tallest, fastest and longest roller coaster. It has quickly become a fan favorite, and is part of SeaWorld’s ongoing journey to stay at the forefront of the thrill ride game in Orlando.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.

Busch Gardens has a full line-up of festivals planned for 2017. The festival season kicks off with the Real Music Concert Series, and includes an all-new spring time festival–the Sesame Street Safari of Fun Kids’ Weekend. Curious about what else is planned? Take a look at what is happening during Busch Gardens Tampa events in 2017.

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Fireworks during Summer Nights, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay/Facebook

Real Music Concert Series
January 9-March 4

Busch Gardens’ longest-running concert series returns Mondays through Fridays from January 9 to March 4 with live music that spans six decades, from the 1950s to today. Musical fare includes swing, blues, pop, jazz and rock ‘n roll. Lineup includes:

Jan.9-14: Shirley Alston Reeves (Original lead singer of The Shirelles)
Jan. 16-21: The Diamonds
Jan. 23-28: The Platters
Jan. 30-Feb. 4: Fernando Varela
Feb. 6-11: Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone
Feb. 13-18: Beginnings: The Ultimate Chicago Tribute Band
Feb. 20-25: Micky Dolenz
Feb. 27-March 4: Lee Greenwood

Food & Wine Festival
Saturdays and Sundays March 4-April 30

Next spring, Busch Gardens’ Food & Wine Festival returns with wild flavors and concerts for every taste. The park will be tempting guests with a variety of cuisine, wine, craft beer and live entertainment on Saturdays and Sundays from March 4 through April 30. Food and beverage is not included, but is available for an extra fee.

Sesame Street Safari of Fun Kids’ Weekend
May 6-7, 13-14

This event was designed with kids in mind. Yhe Sesame Street® Safari of Fun events feature animal encounters, parades, dance parties and even a few special guests. The first weekend will feature the cookie connoisseur himself, Cookie Monster and the second weekend will include a scavenger hunt for Ernie’s Rubber Duckies throughout the Safari of Fun play area. In addition, character parades will happen at the top of every hour.

Jack Hanna Weekend
May 27-28

Join “Jungle Jack” Hanna for two days of wild animal shows, autograph signings and special meet-and-greets when he visits Busch Gardens. The internationally-known animal expert will share animal facts and his travel tales during animal shows at the Stanleyville Theater.

Summer Nights
June 16-August 6

Busch Gardens Tampa events include the signature Summer Nights festival. It returns with more heat, featuring an end-of-night show packed with live musicians, singers, dancers and artists from around the world. Plus, summer nights are a great time to cool off with the rush of Busch Gardens’ world-class thrill rides.

Howl-O-Scream
September 22-October 29

Prepare to be scared at Busch Gardens’ annual Halloween event. Guests are treated to elaborate haunted houses, immersive themed Terror-tories ™, and darkly entertaining live shows.

Sesame Street Safari of Fun “Halloween” Kids’ Weekends
October 21-22, 28-29
Sesame Street® Safari of Fun is hosting a Halloween party on the last two weekends of October! Enjoy festive arts and crafts, trick-or-treat candy stations and a hay bale maze.

Christmas Town
November 6-December 31
Unwrap a beautiful family tradition at Christmas Town, one of the premiere Busch Gardens Tampa events perfect for celebrating the holiday season. Busch Gardens transforms into a holiday wonderland of Christmastime entertainment and attractions, holiday shopping, treats and more than a million twinkling lights.


Ashley is Reserve Direct’s travel expert, visiting Orlando to find the best travel tips, money-saving deals and insider information. With over 10 years of experience in first-hand-travel adventures, she shares her stories, advice, and current events to help you stay in the know.