Universal Orlando testing new Virtual Line

Universal Orlando testing new Virtual Line

Universal Orlando has started testing a new system for getting a Virtual Line pass for Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike Adventure. They will be testing this new system through the end of July and so far it is only for one ride.  Follow these steps to make your Virtual Line pass.  Steps 1-5 only need to be completed once. 

  1. Activate your Virtual Line account at https://vltest.universalorlando.com/#.  For a smoother in-park experience, make your account before you go.
  2. Select your party size
  3. Enter your email and password- you can use your Universal account information if you already have an account for the app.
  4. Click accept and log in/create
  5. Review your selections and click confirm
  6. Click on the attraction you want to reserve
  7. Click get on and receive the time to come back

When it’s your time to go back, go to the ride entrance and click on the attraction.  That will bring up your QR code for the team member to scan.

July 7, 2021 was the first day they had this new system and it is working better for everyone.  The old system filled up quickly at the set times they released passes.  The current system allows you to make reservations at any time throughout the day and also has times that the passes expire making it flow better.  You do have to physically be in the parks, not just nearby like the previous system.

Kelly Van Eerden

Universal Orland Resort Expert

Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Updated Mask Policies

Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Updated Mask Policies

As of May 15, 2021, both Orlando theme parks have relaxed their mask guidelines. This information is current as of today, May 15, 2021 but is subject to change.

Walt Disney World

Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) and Cast Members. Please bring your own face coverings and wear them in all indoor locations, except when actively eating or drinking while stationary and maintaining appropriate physical distancing. Face coverings are optional in outdoor common areas at Walt Disney World Resort, but are still required upon entering and throughout all attractions, theaters and transportation.

All face coverings (whether disposable or reusable) must:

  • Be made with at least 2 layers of breathable material
  • Fully cover the nose and mouth and secure under the chin
  • Fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face
  • Be secured with ties or ear loops and allow the Guest to remain hands-free

At this time, based on guidance from health authorities, neck gaiters, open-chin triangle bandanas and face coverings containing valves, mesh material or holes of any kind are not acceptable face coverings.

Costume masks are also not considered appropriate and are prohibited from being worn, in alignment with our existing rules.

Face coverings may have an integrated transparent plastic panel to aid in viewing the wearer’s mouth. These face coverings must:

  • Be a fabric face covering featuring a solid plastic panel containing no openings that is attached to the fabric on all sides using tight knit stitching
  • Meet all face covering requirements listed above

The use of face coverings is not a substitute for physical distancing.

Face Coverings Throughout Walt Disney World Resort

Face Covering RequiredFace Coverings Optional
Upon entering and throughout all attractions
All theaters, including theater entrances
All transportation, including transportation entrances
All indoor locations, including restaurants, except when actively eating or drinking while stationary
Outdoor common areas
Pool decks

Universal Orlando

We’re excited to enhance your Universal experience with the latest safety updates from local health and government officials.

  • Face coverings are not mandatory while outdoors.
  • Face coverings are still required in all indoor locations including shops and restaurants.
  • Face coverings are required at all attractions—from the moment the queue begins until the exit of the experience.
  • Guests must still provide their own face covering.
  • Social Distancing between travel parties remains at three feet (1 meter).

As always, we remain focused on maintaining the highest cleanliness and sanitization standards.

Universal Orlando Resorts

Universal Orlando Resorts

Universal Orlando Resort is known for action and thrills, but did you know that they also have 8 amazing resorts you can stay at, right in the middle of the action? Plus all guests staying at onsite resorts get Early Park Admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter one-hour before the parks open, whether you’re staying in one of the most luxurious rooms onsite at a Premier Resort, or staying in a family-suite at one of the budget-conscious Endless Summer Resorts in the Value category.  When you shop in the parks, guests at any of the onsite resorts can send the packages back to your resort so you don’t have to carry around your purchases all day.  

With theming and room types to suit all groups and budgets, there’s a resort for everyone at Universal Orlando Resort. How would you like to stay in an Italian fishing village? Or maybe you’d prefer to stay somewhere where the latest technology is? When you visit Universal Orlando Resort, these are just two of the several amazing resort options you’ll have to pick from… let’s check them all out!

Universal Orlando Premier Resorts

When you stay at one of the three Premier Resorts, you’ll get a few added perks that you won’t receive at the other resorts onsite. The biggest benefit to staying is having access to the Unlimited Express Pass which allows you to bypass the regular line at Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida.  Another advantage to staying at a Premier Resort is the proximity of these resorts to all that Universal Orlando has to offer.  They are within walking distance and have a water taxi that drops you off in CityWalk near the gates of Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure.

For an extra perk, stay in a club level room at a Premier Resort for complimentary continental breakfast, afternoon snacks, hot and cold Hors d’oeuvres, coffee, water, and soft drinks and more!

Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

Want to come back to a relaxing Italian fishing village after a day at the parks?  Portofino Bay will be just the place to come back after a fun packed day at the parks. This resort will make you feel like you’re actually spending time in Portofino, Italy with sports cars, Vespas, outdoor cafes and shops on the breathtaking piazza.  Portofino Bay has 3 separate pools to choose from; you can have your choice of lively or calming pools, depending on your mood.  There are 9 different restaurant options to choose from including one serving gelato to help enhance your Italian experience. For a unique experience to treat the kids while still enjoying the Premier Resort experience, you can book a Minion-themed kid suite. 

Loews Royal Pacific Resort

Immerse yourself in a Polynesian paradise when you stay at Loews Royal Pacific Resort.  From the recently updated lobby to the island themed rooms, you’ll feel like you are actually in the South Sea.  Royal Pacific has 5 different restaurants to choose from that will offer a variety of food to enjoy including a market to grab your food on the go.  The pool has cabanas to rent for a day if you’re looking for something different on your day off from the parks.  The pool area has a stationary boat with a fun splash area for families to enjoy. The pool area at this resort does not have a slide.  

Hard Rock Hotel

Stay where the rock stars stay and live like royalty.  At Hard Rock Hotel, you can feel like a rock star with great service and memorabilia all over the place.  The theming even extends to the pool where you can listen to the tunes underwater while you swim.  The pool offers cabana rentals to relax and recharge in during the day and has a slide for the kids (and you!) to enjoy.  Hard Rock has 5 great options for dining including The Kitchen which you will not want to miss;  The desserts here are some of the best!  Hard Rock Hotel is the closest of all of the resorts to the parks.  It’s about a 5-10 minute walk to the entrance of Universal Studios Florida.

Preferred Resort

This level currently has only one resort, Loews Sapphire Falls Hotel.  A short walk from Royal Pacific, Sapphire Falls also has water taxis as a perk for staying here.  Another perk is you won’t need to worry about hopping on a shuttle to get to Volcano Bay — you’ll be able to walk there in just a few minutes.

Loews Sapphire Falls Hotel

Step foot into the Carribean while staying at Loews Sapphire Falls Hotel. From the moment you enter the lobby, you feel like you are walking into a Carribean island ready to relax and recharge. Beginning May 19, this hotel will be open to guests again. Here, you can spend a day at the 16,000 square foot pool. This pool has a water slide, cabanas to rent and a sandy beach to enjoy. There are four different restaurants at Sapphire Falls, including Strong Water Tavern which serves rare vintage rums. 

Prime Value 

Does the thought of being able to walk to an amazing water park sound like something that would peak your interest? When you stay at a Prime Value Resort, you won’t need to worry about hopping on a shuttle to get to Volcano Bay — you’ll be able to walk there in just a few minutes. From these resorts, you will be able to grab a shuttle to CityWalk where you can shop, eat, and enter Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios Florida.

Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort

Take a step back in time to the 1950s and 60s at the Cabana Bay Beach Resort. There are many different activities to do at this resort, from bowling to picking time at your favorite pool, there’s enough for everyone to enjoy. There are two different pool experiences you can choose from, the lazy river and the Cabana Courtyard. The Cabana Courtyard pool Sihas a slide to enjoy and cabanas you can rent for the day. At Cabana Bay, there are six different restaurants, but the star of the show is Bayliner Diner where there is something for everyone. 

Universal’s Aventura Hotel

Experience all the latest technology at the Aventura Hotel. Starting on July 1st when it reopens, take a look at the amazing views this resort has to offer of all three of the Universal Orlando theme parks. Aventura Hotel has four different dining experiences including Bar 17 Bistro which boasts amazing views from the rooftop of the hotel. This modern resort may be more suited for older kids and adults and has the smallest pool on property. It does however offer a small splash pad for younger children. 

Value Resorts

Looking for a little extra space on a smaller budget? Staying at one of the two hotels within the Value Resort category can accommodate families with up to 6 people without breaking the bank. And you’ll still have the complimentary shuttle around Universal Orlando Resort and Early Park Admission to get you into the Wizarding World of Harry Potter one-hour before the parks open. 

Endless Summer- Surfside Inn and Suites & Dockside Inn and Suites

If you love the water and a good deal, these resorts will be a perfect fit for you. Surfside is a smaller surf-style resort, while Dockside is a larger beach-themed resort. At Dockside, you can find two different pools, a children’s play area, and beaches. Surfside has one surfboard-shaped pool. The biggest benefit of these resorts is the two-bedroom family suites. They offer one room for the parents, a mini kitchen with a picnic table to eat at, and two other queen beds for the kids. They each offer one main quick service restaurant, pool bars and pizza delivery. An added bonus at Surfside is the amazing view of the lake. Surfside is set to re-open on May 4.    

Want to learn more about the resorts? Come join my Universal Groups on Facebook:

Portofino Bay: https://www.facebook.com/groups/universalportofinobayfans

Royal Pacific: https://www.facebook.com/groups/royalpacificfans

Hard Rock: https://www.facebook.com/groups/hardrockorlandofans

Sapphire Falls: https://www.facebook.com/groups/universalsapphirefallsfans

Cabana Bay: https://www.facebook.com/groups/cabanabayfans

Aventura: https://www.facebook.com/groups/universalaventurafans

Endless Summer Resorts: https://www.facebook.com/groups/endlesssumerresortfans

Kelly VanEerden

Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Studios Orlando

Loews Royal Pacific Resort at Universal Studios Orlando

On my most recent trip to Universal Studios Orlando, I stayed at the Loews Royal Pacific Resort. My main reason for choosing this resort initially was that Universal’s Unlimited Express Pass is included with your stay. Skipping the lines allowed us to maximize our time in the parks; its inclusion with the resort stay is a genuinely nice perk. Express passes can be purchased daily, but they were more expensive than upgrading our resort to Royal Pacific. 

The resort vibe is that of a South Pacific island paradise. From the open-feeling lobby with its reflecting pool and cute elephants, lush gardens surrounding the outdoor guest areas, to elegantly decorated guest rooms, the entire resort offers an exotic feel right in Orlando. 

COVID-19 procedures were smooth, easy and we felt very safe throughout our stay. Upon entering the gorgeous lobby, a team member is there to take your temperature and issue you a wristband for the day. Each day guests must have their temperature taken and receive a wristband – this procedure lets everyone know you are healthy and affords you access to all areas of Universal Orlando – three theme parks, CityWalk, and resorts. 

Accessing CityWalk, Volcano Bay, Islands of Adventure, and Universal Studios theme parks was as simple as boarding a boat or taking a 10-minute walk. The boat ride was convenient, fast, and fun! Our captain shared funny anecdotes with the passengers and shared their favorite tips about Universal.  Taking the path option was a relaxing stroll along the waterway through tropical plants and flowers. The greenery and water provide a relaxing contrast to the theme parks after a long day of fun! 

Being so close to the parks provided more options and flexibility for our day. We were able to easily access early park admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter as well as head back to the resort mid-day for a rest and some pool time if we wanted. 

There are several restaurants and food offerings at Royal Pacific. From table service to quick options and a coffee shop in the lobby, there is something to meet every need.  Additionally, the resort areas were well marked and directions easy to navigate. Signs were easy to see, read, and follow – making knowing where to go a breeze! 

The team at Royal Pacific is there to assist in anyway they can. The Ticket Pick-Up/Guest Services window right in the lobby makes picking up your tickets easy. No need to wait in long lines at the park entrance! You can get your tickets at check-in and head right over to the parks to begin your vacation.

Ready to experience the fun of Universal Orlando? Let’s start planning today!

Andrea Trelles

Black Friday and End of Year Travel Deals

Black Friday and End of Year Travel Deals

We’ve been working hard to round up some of the Black Friday/Cyber Week deals that have been released, as well as deals that will make you look like a hero when you surprise your family with their next vacation as their holiday gift!! Here are some of the amazing travel deals you can find in the coming days and weeks. One of our skilled travel agents would be happy to help you choose the best vacation for you and your loved ones.

Walt Disney World Resort

Save Up to 35% on Rooms at Select Disney Resort Hotels in Early 2021
Available to book now through March 15, 2021 for most nights January 3-April 17, 2021

Disney Visa Cardmembers: Special Rates on Select Rooms at Select Disney Resort Hotels
Available to book through February 28, 2021 for most stays through February 28, 2021.

Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa in Ko Olina, Hawai’i

Save up to 30% on select rooms at Aulani Resort for stays of 5 consecutive nights—valid from January 4, 2021 through March 11, 2021. Book through March 7, 2021. Book by December 1 to enjoy a $250 Resort Credit for stays of 5 consecutive nights, or a $150 Resort Credit for stays of 4 consecutive nights.

Disney Cruise Line

25% off prevailing rates as quoted by Disney Cruise Line by booking Verandah Category with Restrictions (Category VGT):

3-Night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral (Disney Dream)
March 26, 2021 | April 30, 2021 | May 7, 2021 | May 14, 2021 

4-Night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral
Disney Dream: March 22, 2021 | May 10, 2021
Disney Fantasy: May 29, 2021 

7-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise from Port Canaveral (Disney Fantasy)
March 20, 2021 | April 17, 2021 

7-Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Port Canaveral (Disney Fantasy): April 10, 2021 

25% off prevailing rates as quoted by Disney Cruise Line by booking Oceanview Category with Restrictions (Category OGT):

4-Night Baja Cruise from San Diego (Disney Wonder): April 7, 2021

25% off prevailing rates as quoted by Disney Cruise Line by booking Inside Category with Restrictions (Category IGT):

4-Night Baja Cruise from San Diego (Disney Wonder): April 26, 2021 

5-Night Baja Cruise from San Diego (Disney Wonder): April 2, 2021 

Universal Orlando Resort

Ticket Promo: Buy 2 Days, Get 3 Days Free – available for 2 park base tickets as well as park-to-park tickets. Book by 1/6/21 | Travel by 8/31/21

Save up to $800 Package
4-night minimum stay at any of the on-site resorts at Universal Orlando; 2-park, 2-day park-to-park and get 3 days free. Book by 1/6/21 | Travel by 8/31/21

Black Friday Sale – Save up to 40%!!
4-night minimum stay at Cabana Bay Resort – Deposit due upon booking (no courtesy holds). Available Sunday-Thursday (Friday and Saturday night will not be discounted); 2-park, 2-day park-to-park and get 3 days free

Available for booking 11/27/20 *will be very limited and likely to sell out quickly*
Travel Windows: 11/29/20-12/25/20 ** 1/1/21-3/25/21 ** 4/11/21-4/30/21

Sandals and Beaches 

Thanksgiving Sale
Book any qualifying Sandals or Beaches Resort vacation of 6 or more paid nights and receive a pair of Waterford Elegance Collection Wine Glasses when you book by November 26, 2020. Travel through December 26, 2021. Blackout dates may apply. Trip must be registered within 72 hours of booking to qualify. Combinable with other Sandals and Beaches promotions (such as 7-7-7). 

Karisma Hotels & Resorts

Cyber Sale
The Cyber Sale is here, meaning the best rates of the year are available for a limited time. Treat yourself to the getaway you deserve — it’s been quite a year — and enjoy beachfront bliss, soothing spa treatments, Gourmet Exclusive® dining, unique experiences, and more. It doesn’t get any better than our Cyber Sale rates, and they certainly won’t last. So secure your tropical getaway and give yourself something to look forward to. Rates as low as $99 per person, per night. Up to 80% off. Some resorts and/or room types offering up to $1000 in resort credit, as well as $1 swim-up upgrades. Discounts and availability may vary by resort.


Black Friday Sale
Take advantage of riu.com’s Black Friday sale to book your next beach or city vacation. Enjoy up to an extra 15% OFF in all-inclusive beach resorts, or up to 20% OFF* in your favorite city hotel. Book by December 4, 2020 for through Dec 23, 2021. Changes made to reservations after December 4, 2020 will null the promotion. Rates and discounts vary per hotel and travel period according to availability.

Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort

Black Friday – Cyber Monday Sale
Dive into the clear turquoise waters of South Florida and go where the weather’s always warm with our largest annual flash sale of the year! Enjoy up to 30% off guest rooms and suites for stays November 27, 2020 through June 30, 2021. Don’t wait too long – flash sale ends November 30 at midnight!

No minimum length of stay required. Offer subject to availability and blackout dates apply. Full pre-payment is required at time of booking. Payment is refundable without fees if cancelled or rescheduled prior to 72 hours of arrival. Offer cannot be combined with other 3rd party bookings, rate discounts, packages, promotional or group offers.

Margaritaville Orlando Resort

Black Friday-Cyber Monday Sale
You can receive up to 30% off of the retail rate at Margaritaville Resort Orlando and a one-time $50 resort credit when you book on Black Friday (November 27) and Cyber Monday (November 30, 2020)! Plus, for this deal, we will have a flexible cancellation policy. 30% off of the retail rate will also be available to book December 1-4, 2020 (no resort credit offered when booked these dates). Available for travel through 12/30/2021.

Hotel Blackout Dates: 12/26/2020 – 12/31/2020, 2/5/2021, 5/11/2021 – 5/12/2021, 6/4/2021 – 6/6/2021. Cottage Blackout Dates: 6/4/2021 – 6/6/2021. Additional restrictions may apply.

Encore Resort at Reunion 

Black Friday/Cyber Week Flash Sale
You can receive up to 30% off of the retail rate at Encore Resort at Reunion, as well as a one-time $100 resort credit when you book on Black Friday (November 27) and Cyber Monday (November 30, 2020)! Plus we will have a flexible cancellation policy. 30% off of the retail rate will also be available to book December 1-4, 2020 (no resort credit offered when booked these dates). Available for travel through 12/30/2021.

Encore Resort at Reunion is right in the heart of all of Central Florida’s world-class attractions. When you stay at Encore, you get more time to relax and have fun, with free transportation to and from Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and SeaWorld Orlando, which are all just minutes away!

Available through 12/31/2021. Blackout dates: 3/23/2021 – 4/4/2021. Additional restrictions apply.

Royal Caribbean

Cyber Week Sale!!!
Save up to $550 when you book now.  60% off the second guest. Children 12 and under sail free all year long. And “Cruise with Confidence” (for sailings through April 30, 2022): Guests can cancel their reservation up to 48 hours before they sail and receive a Future Cruise Credit. And you’ll get our Best Price Guarantee.

Available for booking from November 24, 2020-December 1, 2020 for sailings starting January 1, 2021 and beyond.

Norwegian Cruise Line

Black Friday Sale 
30% off all ships and all destinations + 5 FREE offers, including FREE Open Bar, FREE Specialty Dining, FREE Excursions, FREE WiFi, and FREE Kids – a total of $2,900 in value! Feel free to Break Free with Norwegian! Must book by November 27, 2020 for sailings starting January 1, 2021 and beyond. 

Carnival Cruise Line

Cyber Blowout Early Saver Sale
Cruises from $65 per person/per day; Reduced deposits as low as $50 per person (deposit may vary by ship); FREE room upgrades!! Must book by November 29, 2020 for sailings through April 2023.


Thank You Sale
In the spirit of giving, we have extended our Double Upgrade offer and added a little something more to ignite your wanderlust. With our new Thank You Sale, enjoy up to $1,000 in onboard credit, plus a complimentary two-category stateroom upgrade on select sailings when you book by December 5, 2020 for select 2021 sailings.

Palace Resorts

Gather Everyone for the Holidays

Give the best holiday gift t—exclusive 2-for-1 savings for stays December 22 through January 3. Set the scene: You and those you love celebrating the season wrapped in all-inclusive luxury, enjoying fine cuisine, premium beverages, amazing entertainment every night, and a resort specially decorated for the holidays.

  • Kids & Teens Stay Free at Select Resorts
  • Free Airport Transfer at Select Resorts
  • 250+ Preventive Health Measures at Every Resort

You can use both rooms at the same time, or you can enjoy your free room to try out one of our other fabulous resorts on a separate vacation. What’s more, you can even gift their second room to someone they love. And don’t forget about Purely Palace, our comprehensive sanitation program with more measures in place to assure everyone’s health and safety.
Book by December 4, 2020/Stay Through January 3, 2021.

Atlantis Paradise Island Bahamas
Atlantis, Paradise Island, | Atlantis Resorts | The Bahamas

Cyber Week Sale
2021 Rooms for $202.10 – plus Book Now, Pay Later! No deposit due at time of booking!! Pay just $202.10 per night for stays at The Royal at Atlantis for stays of 2 nights or more. Offer available for select room types and is based on availability. Book by December 1, 2020. Available for travel December 10, 2020-November 30, 2021. 

festive street Locorotondo Christmas markets in Italy
It’s here! Enjoy BIG savings of up to $650* pp across our “Best of” trips on all 2021 departures. Now is the time to book your 2021 trip with us, with our risk-free, flexible booking conditions and the added assurance of knowing your wellbeing is our priority.

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that the availability and terms of any of the above deals are subject to change at any time. Please check with one of our travel agents for the most up to date availability.


A big shout out to Aly Hirst for rounding up the best deals!!
Top 10 Reasons to Use a Travel Agent

Top 10 Reasons to Use a Travel Agent

Now, more than ever, travelers are seeking assistance from travel professionals with planning their future vacations. With so much uncertainty in the world, having an expert in your corner helping you every step of the way not only helps to give you peace of mind when planning your trip, but it also ensures that you will be able to rest easy knowing that  your Travel Agent has thought of everything for you.

So, why should you use a Travel Agent?

  1. You won’t pay anything additional for your vacation package when you book with a Travel Agent versus booking your vacation directly through the destination. Utilizing an expert that can personalize your entire vacation is truly invaluable; the expertise and knowledge you’ll gain from using an agent will help ensure your vacation is as relaxing and worry-free as possible!
  2. Using a Travel Agent is a huge time-saver! There are way more important things you could be doing than wasting time comparing prices on countless confusing travel websites.
  3. Travel Agents have access to quickly find deals and special offers that may not be clearly visible for you to find in your searches.
  4. You can’t beat the customer service when you book with a Travel Agent. You’ll never get an automated answering service when you call your Travel Agent. Need suggestions or help sorting something out? You’ll get through to your agent a lot quicker than you would if you booked through some of those websites you search through. And your agent will do everything they can to help you get what you need, stat!
  5. Your Travel Agent will be your main point of contact from the time you start planning until after you return from your trip. They can also be as much (or as little) involved in the planning process as you’d like them to be.
  6. Not sure where you want to travel? Your Travel Agent will help you come up with some great ideas for destinations, while also keeping your budget in mind.
  7. Your Travel Agent will follow up and follow through to see that all of your special needs and requests are met whenever possible, as well as make sure you are aware about any deals that you may be entitled to.
  8. When you use a Travel Agent, you can rest assured that in the event something goes wrong on your trip or you have an emergency requiring last minute changes, your Travel Agent will be there to do the legwork for you so you don’t need to worry about any of that.
  9. Most online travel booking sites require you to pay your entire trip cost up front, regardless of when you book. When you book with a Travel Agent, you may be able to set up a payment plan to make smaller payments over time.
  10. Travel Agents love what they do and truly value your business!

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