Look What’s Coming to Orlando in 2017

Orlando Travel Attractions 2017

Orlando is one of my favorite destinations. Since I live in South Carolina I can pop down to Orlando for a long weekend, for special events and to visit friends. There is so much more to Orlando than theme parks and 2017 will bring lots of new things for visitors to the area to see. New theme park attractions, a new water park, new entertainment and unforgettable sporting events – 2017 is going to be a great year for family fun and travel to Orlando.

The NFL Pro Bowl game returns to the traditional NFC – AFC conference match up with the inaugural game scheduled at the Camping World Stadium in downtown Orlando on Sunday January 29, 2017. Along with the game the NFL is also introducing a brand new Pro Bowl Week, which will include accessible team practices at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World, along with a variety of youth football and family fun activities across Orlando.

The highly anticipated new addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the recreation of the mythical world Pandora, which is the largest expansion in the history of Animal Kingdom. This AVATAR-inspired land is a visual experience of floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests, and soaring Banshees for guests to see, hear, and touch. In addition, Pandora includes a family-friendly attraction called Na’vi River Journey. Take an adventure and set out in a canoe to explore a mysterious, sacred river hidden within the bioluminescent rainforest. Gaze your eyes upon the exotic glowing plans, amazing creatures, and even experience an encounter with a Na’vi shaman!

universalUniversal Orlando Resort is well underway with building a new water park opening in 2017, called Volcano Bay. This new breathtaking water park will offer innovative, thrilling attractions, peaceful moments of relaxation, and an entirely new guest experience. A highly themed, completely immersive environment is planned, inspired by postcard-perfect tropical islands. The new park will be located within Universal Orlando Resort, just south of the Cabana Bay Beach Resort.

Universal Orlando Resort announced a new ride set to open in 2017: “Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon”. The ride will invite guests to join the Tonight Show’s studio audience on the ultimate race through the streets-and skies-of New York City, from the deepest subway tunnels to the tallest skyscrapers with colorful characters, famous landmarks and more from the mind of Jimmy Fallon.

As virtual reality continues to grow in popularity, SeaWorld Orlando will be the first in Florida to apply the technology to a roller coaster ride experience. Beginning next summer, guests can have the option to wear specially designed headsets and take part in an digitally immersive deep sea mission and encounter mythical sea creatures, including the Kraken itself. The ride vehicle itself will also be getting a facelift with the debut of the new experience in the summer of 2017. Better get Kraken!

Enhancing the way that guests can see the park’s youngest dolphins, SeaWorld’s Dolphin Nursery will also get new enhancements next year. Guests will be able enjoy above water and under water viewing of the baby dolphins and nursing mothers through newly installed acrylic windows designed for young children to get up close and personal encounters. Included in the expansions will be all new educational and conservation elements.

One of the most exciting restaurants at Disney Springs is nearly ready to open! The Edison is currently under construction inspired by The Edison venue in Los Angeles, which has a lavish “Industrial Gothic” style restaurant and bar. The Disney Springs location will replicate the themed 1920s-period power plant for a nighttime destination recreating era of invention and imagination. In addition, it will have classic American food, crafty cocktails, and live entertainment such as cabaret and musical acts.

Orlando’s newest family-friendly raft attraction will be located at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park, which is set to be among one of the longest in duration at any Disney water park. This new high seas adventure is called Miss Fortune Falls. Once aboard their treasure rafts at the entry point, guests will take an adventure through Captain Oceaneer’s past right before they plunge into a white-water rafting voyage! Guests will see rare artifacts that Miss Fortune collected on her many worldwide treasure hunts!


Coming to LEGOLAND Florida early next year is a new immersive land and dark ride. LEGO NINJAGO World is where guests can live their ninja LEGO adventures. The interactive ride will include opportunities for gests to blast fire, lightning and ice with their hands.

New over-night accommodations are coming to LEGOLAND Florida. Opening spring 2017, LEGOLAND Beach Retreat will feature 83 single-story duplexes. The property will include a themed pool, sandy play area and new restaurant.

Attention all American soccer, football if you prefer, fans! One of the leading teams in Major League Soccer will be getting their very own multipurpose Soccer Stadium right before the 2017 Major League Soccer season. It will be located in downtown Orlando around the corner from the Amway Center, which is quickly becoming an epic entertainment center! The new soccer stadium will seat 19,500 fans and serve as home to the Orlando City Lions soccer team.

Orlando’s continued expansion of leisure resorts welcomes the Margaritaville Resort Orlando with much enthusiasm! This massive waterfront destination resort is a welcomed addition to Central Florida’s thriving attraction and tourism scene. This resort is unique in that it not only boasts a 187-room hotel but also 1,000 Margaritaville-themed vacation homes, 550 condominiums, 300 timeshare units, 30,000 square-feet of function space, 170,000 square feet of festive retail space, a dining and entertainment district, a 12-acre water park, a wellness center, miles of fitness trails and a destination water taxi system. The resort will also host destination weddings. Once you arrive you will never want to leave.

The new openings continue even after 2017. Get a sneak peek at what’s coming to Orlando in 2018!

A new entertainment complex on I-Drive, is set to break world records by bringing the world’s tallest roller coaster to Orlando in in 2018. The 570-foot-tall (174 meter) structure will be the tallest in Central Florida, and feature the first Polercoaster, a vertical ride dubbed the Skyscraper, weaving in and around the whole tower on coaster-length tracks. The SKYPLEX tower will also offer views of the city via an observation deck, restaurant and lounge at the top. Additionally, a second ride, called Skyfall, will be the world’s tallest drop ride once it opens, rising up to 460 feet (140.2 meters) and then dropping riders at 90 miles (144.8 km) an hour.

Universal Orlando Resorts reeves up the thrills with the new action-packed ride experiences inspired by one of the most successful film franchises of all time, The Fast & Furious! The official name is “Fast & Furious: Supercharged” and will join its remarkable lineup of attractions in 2018, adding to the unprecedented growth of the destination.

Westgate Resorts to Give Away 1,000 FREE Orlando Vacations to Military Families on Veteran’s Day

Westgate Free Vacations Military Families

Westgate Resorts will dedicate an exclusive weekend in May at Westgate Town Center in Central Florida to honor U.S. military who have recently served in combat and Gold Star families

For the sixth year, Westgate Resorts and CEO David Siegel are continuing the company tradition of honoring our U.S. military personnel and their families by giving away 1,000 free vacations on Veteran’s Day. For the first time, the complimentary vacations will be part of an exclusive weekend-long celebration at Westgate Town Center in Central Florida from May 5-7, 2017. The free vacations are specifically for current active duty military personnel who have served in combat and their families, as well as Gold Star families. Eligible candidates can register at www.WestgateSalutes.com starting at 9 a.m. EST on Nov. 11.  

All eligible military personnel and families will receive complimentary accommodations in a spacious villa, access to special activities and events including live entertainment, a pair of passes to Westgate Town Center’s Shipwreck Island, the resort’s exclusive on-site waterpark, as well as access to resources that support veterans, all free of charge.

“We owe so much to our U.S. military and their families. Our desire is to give those active military personnel who have served in combat a chance to spend some quality time with their loved ones,” said Siegel. “Dedicating a special weekend to these men and women who have served on the front lines allows us to really go all out and give them and their families the special attention and recognition they deserve.”

Beginning November 11 at 9 a.m. EST, the first 1,000 eligible service members who complete the online military appreciation form at www.WestgateSalutes.com and place a fully refundable $75 deposit will receive a complimentary three-day, two-night vacation for up to four people at Westgate Town Center May 5-7, 2017.

With the addition of this year’s families, Westgate has honored our nation’s heroes with more than 23,000 free room nights for military families over the past six years.

In addition to the 1,000 complimentary vacations, Westgate Resorts will offer a special 25 percent savings on Veteran’s Day for rooms across their entire portfolio of 28 properties for all U.S. military veterans. For more information, visit www.WestgateSalutes.com.

About Westgate Resorts

Founded in 1982 by David A. Siegel, Westgate Resorts is one of the largest resort developers in the United States. Westgate features 28 themed destination resorts with over 13,000 luxury villas in premier locations throughout the United States such as Orlando, Florida; Park City, Utah; Las Vegas, Nevada; Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee; Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; Williamsburg, Virginia; Miami and Cocoa Beach, Florida; Branson, Missouri; Mesa, Arizona; and Tunica, Mississippi. Most Westgate Resorts locations feature a variety of unique restaurant, retail and spa concepts, including Drafts Sports Bar & Grill, Westgate Smokehouse Grill, Edge Steakhouse, Westgate Marketplace & Deli and Serenity Spa by Westgate. For more information about Westgate Resorts, visit www.westgateresorts.com.

* Offer valid as of November 11, 2016, at 9 a.m. EST. Offer available by going online and filling out an availability form at www.WestgateSalutes.com. Based upon availability. Valid military I.D. required upon check-in. A credit card and $75 refundable deposit is required to book the reservation. Deposit is refundable if vacation is canceled at least seven (7) days prior to stay. Only ONE reservation per family. Complimentary vacation limited to four guests. Additional guests may be added as an upgrade. Offer valid for the first 1,000 reservations. No resort fee will be charged. No Resort Preview Required. Not valid for Westgate employees. Upgrades and additional nights available at discounted rate. Two Water Park Passes provided complimentary with offer.

How to Get a 7.3K Disney Vacation for Less Than Half

This post was originally published on PlanningTheMagic.net by Krystel. All photos courtesy of Planning The Magic.

Disney Vacation Half OffDisney on a Budget – How I got a 7.3K Disney Vacation For Less Than Half

I am a huge Disney World Fan. I love everything about Disney World except the price.  We all have heard that planning a Disney Vacation is an investment in family, bonding, emotion even.  With time, and a limited budget, I’ve learned how to get the most bang for my buck.  It’s not about being cheap or missing out on anything, more about getting the most value for your dollar. I know you want to make your Disney vacation affordable and figure out a way to create the perfect Disney vacation budget. I am going to show you how to get more than 50% off your Disney Vacation while not sacrificing anything.

Saving on Disney Hotels

You want to stay at a Deluxe or Deluxe Villa resort, like Grand Floridian, but Disney quotes you $5500 for a room for 7 nights.  Now what?  Rent Disney Vacation Club points.  Disney Vacation Club is Disney’s timeshare program.  Sometimes people don’t go to Disney for a year or two and decide to rent their points.  You can use a service like David’s Vacation Club Rentals to avoid any risk of being scammed. You can get virtually the same accommodations for $1900.  Here is a screen shot right off David’s:Disney Vacation Half Off

Saving on Tickets

There isn’t a lot of money that can be saved when purchasing theme park tickets.  Military discounts are the best discounts out there but a lot of people do not qualify for those.  AAA also has discounts they provide to their members.  My favorite and most efficient to save a few dollars on theme park tickets is UnderCover Tourist.  It is not a huge discount but anything helps and they sometimes have great deals.   You can usually save $10-$20 off the gate price. Please be careful when purchasing theme park tickets.  There are  A LOT of scams out there.  Here is an example of a buy 4-day Disney ticket, get one free:

Disney Vacation Half Off

Saving on Food

Disney does have some dining gems, and luckily with these tips you won’t have to miss out on them. When I go to WDW I like to have breakfast either in the room or on the go.  Breakfast is easily substituted with groceries.  Lunch and snacks you can pack and bring with you.  Also easy with groceries.  I once went to Disney World and didn’t buy groceries, expensive mistake.  Disney allows you to bring food and drinks into the park so I suggest packing water, various snacks, and a lunch item for everyone in the group.  If you aren’t the biggest fan of water you can always get those Crystal Light Lemonade To Go packets.   

You might be wondering how you would get groceries to your resort room.  For starters, every Disney room comes with a mini-fridge at the minimum.  DVC rooms also come with a coffeemaker, toaster, etc.  There are many ways you can make sure you have groceries.  Garden Grocer is a service that will deliver groceries to your Disney Resort. When using this service you do not have to be in your room to receive the groceries.  There is a $40 minimum and $14 delivery fee.  If Garden Grocer is for you make sure to book a date early, they fill up quickly.

How to bring groceries to WDW could be a post all in itself.  You can bring groceries with you whether that is in your trunk or inside a checked piece of luggage.  You can use Amazon and have them deliver groceries to your resort.  You do not have to be around for this either, you would just pick up at the front desk.   Most resort stores will have the basics as well but it will be a lot more expensive.  

Save your food budget for places you can’t miss.  Maybe a character dinner or you want to try out Be Or Guest Restuarant.  If you go to WDW often I am sure you have a favorite snack…..or two.

Here is what the savings we found looks like:

Disney Vacation Half Off

Cost without Savings – Approximately $7300

Cost with Savings – $2700

Total Saved:  $4670

I just showed you how to save more than 50% off your Disney Vacation.  Well… what are you waiting for?  Go plan that vacation!!

I hope I provided a lot of value for you here.  For more you can check out my eBook – Disney World on a Budget.  Let me know what you think in the comments below!

krystelMy name is Krystel, and I am here to share the joy Disney gives me. If you want to learn more about planning the perfect Walt Disney World Vacation visit Planning The Magic. I’ve spent a lot of time creating the perfect Disney On A Budget eBook because I really want everyone to have a magical vacation within reach.

25 Ways to Save on Disney Souvenirs

This post was originally published on PlanningTheMagic.net by Krystel. All photos courtesy of Planning the Magic.

Our quest of going to Disney on a budget continues… 

Save Money Disney Souvenirs

Buying souvenirs at Disney is one of the most overlooked aspects of someone’s trip budget.  Does that hold true for you?  Take a look at these 25 budget-friendly WDW souvenirs to effectively plan your Disney vacation on a budget.   

 Number 1: Magnets

Magnets are awesome souvenirs that you can find in most WDW retail stores.  You can’t buy the ones that they have at WDW at local stores or online.  What I like most about the magnets: that they are super inexpensive and very good looking.  


Number 2: Keychains

Again – keychains are going to be a great “Disney on a budget” souvenir and more importantly you are taking a little bit of the magic home with you that you can carry around on a daily basis. I use my magnets, keychains, and mugs to keep patient until the next trip.  That brings us to the next item: Mugs


Number 3: Mugs

Are you an avid coffee drinker like me?  How about tea or hot chocolate? I have a fascination with having a collection of different types of mugs and what is great is that I can get really nice ones under $10 if I look hard enough.



Number 4: Mickey/Minnie Ears

You can’t go to Disney and not get a pair of ears.  They come in all shapes and sizes, different themes etc.  Though at first, the price tag might not seem to Disney on a budget friendly, you can purchase them once and never again, just bring them back with you every time you go to Disney.


Number 5: Pressed Pennies

My girlfriend is obsessed with these and for good reason.  You can find pressed penny machines all over the parks from 51¢ to $1.01, talk about Walt Disney World on a budget!  Pressed pennies are cheap and it’s an adventure to look out for and find the machines.


Number 6: Create your own Shadowbox

Shadowbox… must I say more?  This is a simpler, cheaper scrapbook.  Why wouldn’t you do this?  In here you can put anything from the free guides, pressed pennies, to any celebration pins you get.  What are celebration pins you ask?


Number 7: Celebration Pins

Celebration pins are free pins that Disney gives you for a specific celebration.  This can be a birthday, anniversary, just married, etc.  Here is the one I just got for my birthday.  Again this is “Disney free.”

birthday pin

Number 8: Antenna Toppers

If this is your type of thing then go for it, I know you have seen those cute mickey antenna toppers before!


Number 9: Shots anyone?!


Number 10: Disney Pins

I will start this with a warning.  Some pins can be very expensive.  Basically, the nicer and more elaborate – the more expensive they are.  However, those are unnecessary and not what we are looking for.  Look for the multi-pack mystery boxes.  You can find inexpensive pins that go well with planning your Disney vacation on a budget.  The ones below are from my personal collection.


Number 11: Disney Lanyards

Lanyards can be purchased from Disney and other places super cheaply.  They also go well with the pins since you can put them on there and where it around. I have a few to just hold my keepsake pins as well as for my water.


Number 12: Free crafts at Epcot


Number 13: Epcot Passport

Purchase a passport kit at most Epcot retail locations for approximately $11. This kit includes a blank passport and stamps for each of the World Showcase countries.  Stop at the Kidcot stations to learn about that specific country and receive your stamp.  Not only does this fit perfectly with going to Disney on a budget but it is also something that will entertain your kids at Epcot.  If you’ve been then you know how hard that can sometimes be.


Number 14: Did someone say $1?!

If you have a Dollar Tree or even Family Dollar near you, then you know how many Disney items they carry.  They are great buys for kids and can be in place of any of the expensive items at the parks.  $1 surpasses Disney on a budget, don’t you think?  Road trip fun anyone?


Number 15: Disney t-shirts from a superstore

When you get to Disney you will see everyone in their latest Disney gear.  Families in matching shirts, you name it.  Head over to Walmart or Target to get a nice Disney shirt for less.  Don’t pay exorbitant prices at the parks!


Number 16: Mr. Potatoe Head

Head over to the Once Upon a Toy store and build your Mr. Potato Head – this is inexpensive and an adventure in itself.  For the “Disney on a budget” option buy the actual head elsewhere and only worry about the parts at Disney.  Here is an amazon link.


Number 17: Autograph book

Autograph books are fantastic “Disney on a budget” keepsakes.  I have had the same one for a long time.  Occasionally I’ll get newer signatures but usually,  I keep it as a memento.  These can be purchased at Disney, Walmart or can even be made.


Number 18: Disney Sales

This is a big one and one of my favorites.  I get an email from the Disney Store every day outlining their sale of the day.  Usually, it is mediocre but sometimes it is fantastic.  I recently purchased a bathing suit set for a baby (swimsuit, towel, hat, etc) for less than $20.  See an actual sale below and another example from a Facebook post I put up.



Number 19: Disney Outlet Stores

Is it weird that I go to the Disney outlet just for fun?  I do.  I just scored the cup below for $4.99.  Now I will take it with me to Disney to be used at the parks.  You will be amazed what you can find at the outlets.



Number 20: Christmas Ornaments

Disney Springs has a 365 Days of Christmas store.  Head there for yourself to see the amazing ornaments that are beautiful and inexpensive.  I have more than a dozen and wish I had more.  Here is my favorite out of my collection.


Number 21: Disney Pens or Pencils

No need to buy this as the hotel will come with a free pen and pad of paper. However, they can also be Disney on a budget friendly gifts!


Number 22: Hand Sanitizer Holder



Number 23: Vinyl Figures

Have you heard of Vinylmation?  Well these vinyl figures are adorable, addictive, and perfect for Disney on a budget.  Just don’t buy too many of them!


Number 24: Rolling backpack

Pretty self-explanatory.  Good for a plane drive or road trip and can be purchased for under $20 from Walmart, Target, etc. Any kid would love this Disney on a budget gift!



Number 25: Disney Beach Towels!





I know I said 25 but I just couldn’t help adding this bonus!

Number 26: Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom Game

Sorcerers of the Magic is a free game that can be played at Magic Kingdom. Click here for more details. Keep your trading cards as keepsakes and put them in your inexpensive shadow box. Talk about adventure!

krystelMy name is Krystel, and I am here to share the joy Disney gives me. If you want to learn more about planning the perfect Walt Disney World Vacation visit Planning The Magic. I’ve spent a lot of time creating the perfect Disney On A Budget eBook because I really want everyone to have a magical vacation within reach.

Do You Know the Walt Disney World Park Rules?

Walt Disney World Park Rules

Did you know that there is a long list of rules that guests are expected to follow when visiting Walt Disney World Resort? Unfortunately, in the world we live in, rules are necessary. I have seen Casts Managers at Walt Disney World quietly enforce rules on occasion. They do it quickly and without much fuss. The top priority is always protecting the safety and comfort of all guests. The list is pretty long but many of the items listed are common sense.

I have done screen shots of the rules as they are printed on the Walt Disney World Resort website. I wanted to be sure to not make any errors or omissions by re-printing.

Walt Disney World Park Rules


Walt Disney World Park Rules

Walt Disney World Park Rules

Walt Disney World Park Rules

There is also an additional page on the website with a longer list of prohibited items.

Walt Disney World Park Rules