Travel News of the Week

Theme Park News


Disneyland Resort


Disneyland Resort is introducing the new Disneyland Resort Magic Key Program, their new Annual Passholder program going on sale beginning August 25, 2021. This new Magic Key program provides reservation-based admission to one or both Disneyland Resort theme parks where you’ll make memories visit after visit. There are 4 Magic Key types featuring a variety of admission days, pricing options, experiences, and savings on food & beverages and merchandise. You can select the Magic Key pass that’s of most value to you.


Dream Key $1,399

  • Reservation-based admission to one or both theme parks every day of the year.

  • Hold up to 6 theme park reservations at a time for different dates

  • Up to 20% off select merchandise

  • Up to 15% off select dining

  • Standard theme park parking included (excluding blockout days)

Believe Key $949

  • Reservation-based admission to one or both theme parks most days of the year.

  • Hold up to 6 theme park reservations at a time

  • 10% off select merchandise

  • 10% off select dining

  • 50% off standard theme park parking (excluding blockout days, and available for purchase at Mickey & Friends Parking Structure, Pixar Pals Parking Structure and the Toy Story Parking Area)

Enchant Key $649

  • Reservation-based admission to one or both theme parks select days of the year.

  • Hold up to 4 theme park reservations at a time

  • 10% off select merchandise

  • 10% off select dining

Imagine Key $399

(Only available for Southern California Residents living in zip codes 90000 to 93599)

  • Reservation-based admission to one or both theme parks select days of the year.

  • Hold up to 2 theme park reservations at a time

  • 10% off select merchandise

  • 10% off select dining

How to Use a Magic Key pass:

  1. Step 1: Access Calendar

  2. Step 2: Make a Reservation

  3. Step 3: Review and Confirm Your Visit

To enter a theme park, each Magic Key holder must have a theme park reservation in addition to a valid Magic Key pass. Park reservations are limited, and subject to availability, public health orders, and applicable pass blockout dates, and are not guaranteed for any specific dates or park. Park offerings are not guaranteed.


The ability of Magic Key holders to make and hold park reservations will be impacted by the “no show” policy. Magic Key holders who are a “no show” for 3 reservations in a 90-day window will be unable to make new park reservations for 30 days.


photo credit: Disney Destinations

More dining options are opening for Disneyland Resort guests.

  • Princess Breakfast Adventures at Napa Rose Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa will again be delighting kids (and adults!) with everyone’s favorite Disney Princesses when it opens on August 26, with booking available August 11.

  • Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar at Disneyland Hotel will start taking reservations for lunch and dinner beginning August 11, with the first reservation date August 15.

  • Carnation Café at Disneyland Park, opening September 16, is all about classic comfort food. Guests can start their morning with Mickey waffles, and for lunch (and dinner!), enjoy some of Walt’s favorite chili or Chicken fried Chicken.

  • Goofy’s Kitchen at Disneyland Hotel will welcome Guests back starting August 18. Although Goofy and Friends will not be hosting at the reopening, they will be returning at a later day.

  • Minnie & Friends for breakfast at Plaza Inn at Disneyland Park opens on August 12, with booking available August 11. Rise and shine for “Minnie & Friends – Breakfast in the Park,” an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet at Plaza Inn. Join Minnie and some of her favorite Disney pals while dining on hearty breakfast classics.

Walt Disney World


Opening spring 2022 at Walt Disney World Resort, Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will be a two-night, immersive adventure in a galaxy far, far away that goes beyond anything Disney has created before.


Guests can be the hero of their own Star Wars story, about their planet-side excursion to Batuu and how this new experience complements and enhances a visit to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and so much more.


  • The adventure will begin at the Galactic Starcruiser Terminal at Walt Disney World, where Guests will enter a launch pod and head out into space.

  • Dining experiences will be out of this world and presented in unexpected ways.

  • On night one, there will be a show by a galactic superstar to entertain guests.

  • Guests will be trained in bridge operations and how to fight with a lightsaber.

  • Guests will go to Batuu in a special transport which will travel to Black Spire Outpost in Disney's Hollywood Studios while keeping them immersed in the story.

  • Visitors can choose to be as casual or as in-depth into the experience on board as they wish. Guests may be in full costume.

  • Meet some familiar favorite characters as well as some new characters on the ship.

photo credit: Disney Destinations


Beginning in October, Guests staying at Disney Deluxe Resort Hotels or Disney Deluxe Villas and other select hotels can enjoy extended evening hours—experiencing select attractions, shops and dining after regular park hours—in select theme parks on select nights.


For extended evening hours, you’ll need a valid Resort ID, valid admission and a theme park reservation for the same park on the same day. (Or a ticket or annual pass with the Park Hopper option, provided you entered the park where you made your reservation earlier in the day.)


Current Schedule for Extended Evening Theme Park Hours

Schedule is subject to change. More dates to be added.


Universal Orlando Resort


Universal Studios is celebrating the 30th anniversary of Halloween Horror Nights this year, and as a special tribute the 5th house has been announced, Halloween Horror Nights ICONS: Captured!


Guests can meet some of the most terrifying characters from 30 years of Halloween Horror Nights. Together in one house for the first time ever, Jack the Clown, The Storyteller, The Caretaker and many more have joined forces – some newly risen to true Icon status – to form a monstrous Hell of Fame. You will step through Fear’s lantern and into the ever-evolving worlds of each Halloween Horror Nights Icon, encountering tormented victims as well as each Icon’s demonic super fans. You’ll experience the horror of each legendary Icon’s uniquely twisted style of cruelty and discover who reigns supreme as the most evil of them all – it’s different each time you visit.


photo credit: Universal Parks & Resorts


Busch Gardens Tampa Bay


Another of the five haunted houses featured for Busch Gardens Tampa Bay Howl-O-Scream has been announced. "The Forgotten" is where dark discoveries await in the underground vampire realm. Victims will be drawn into a hidden world beyond the rubble and rocks of an unsuspecting quarry, where dark secrets lurk in the shadows. Just beyond a hidden gutter entrance, the legend of the human uprising is revealed as a swarm of starving vampires plot their imminent revenge. Will those who enter return to the world of the living or are they destined to become the newest minion of the Forgotten army?

photo credit: SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment

Busch Gardens Bier Fest will be happening August 13th through October 31st. Each weekend, park guests can toast delicious brews and coast on epic thrill rides at Busch Gardens’ beer-inspired food festival.


During the 4th annual Bier Fest event, guests can sip seasonal beverage offerings and savor new recipes featuring fan-favorite breweries. Beer flows through the park on an all-new beer trail, weaving between iconic coasters, local live music and fascinating animal habitats while incorporating fan-favorite restaurants, outdoor event cabins, and the new Giraffe Bar. Toast to new adventures every Friday, Saturday & Sunday, plus Labor Day.

Bier Fest is included with park admission. Food & Beverage available at an additional cost.


SeaWorld Orlando


SeaWorld Orlando has announced a 3rd Haunted House for their 1st Howl-O-Scream event. In "Captain's Revenge," a tempting and terrifying force has possessed those who once labored aboard this vessel. Against every warning, you descend into its dank underbelly in search of the captain who swore revenge on you. What grisly horror lurks around the next dimly lit corner? Creaks and groans fill the musty air. You’re surrounded by what remains of the ill-fated crew. It’s time to find a way out…before they find permanent quarters for you.


SeaWorld San Diego


Face your fears during SeaWorld San Diego’s 1st Howl-O-Scream event this fall on select nights September 13th to October 31st. Do you have the will to survive the three horrifying haunted houses? There’s no turning back as you brave dark passageways and round dimly lit corners, hoping you can avoid what’s lurking in the depths. The legends are true, the fear is real, and the only way out of these houses is through.


In "Nightmare Experiment," this lab's secret project has descended into chaos, with the experiment's subjects driven into their worst nightmares by the sadistic staff. You could end up as the next volunteer, if you can't find an escape before The Doctor finds you.


"Simon's Slaughterhouse" will put guests in an abandoned meat-packing plant with a sordid history. Don't let Simon the Butcher meat you in the end.


In "Death Water Bayou," see if you can escape the black murky waters of your nightmares only to fall under the curse of the evil swamp witch.


If you are brave enough to survive the houses, beware of the seven scare zones and four roaming haunts. Guests can also find zombie DJs and party zones that are perfect for a dance break between frights.


Howl-O-Scream is intended for a mature audience. Howl-O-Scream is a separately ticketed night event that is not included with regular SeaWorld park admission.


Cruise News


Royal Caribbean Cruise Line


Royal Caribbean International announced that its complete lineup of ships will be sailing by spring 2022. Spanning cruises from the Big Apple to the Down Under, the next group of returning ships and itineraries will begin to safely set sail in September with Oasis of the Seas’ first sailing from the New York area – a 7-night itinerary to the cruise line’s private island destination, Perfect Day at CocoCay, The Bahamas. The cruise line’s continued comeback builds on its months-long success in delivering memorable and safe cruise vacations across Alaska, Asia, The Bahamas, the Caribbean and Europe, and each ship now returning will cruise with the health measures that have safeguarded the well-being of guests, crew and destination communities to date.


Upcoming 2021-2022 Adventures

  • Oasis of the Seas – 7-night Bahamas cruises from Cape Liberty, New Jersey, starting September 5; and 7-night Eastern and Western Caribbean itineraries from Miami, beginning November

  • Liberty of the Seas – 7-night Western Caribbean cruises from Galveston, Texas, starting October 3

  • Serenade of the Seas* 4- and 5-night Western Caribbean cruises from Tampa, Florida, starting October 16; and 7-night Caribbean itineraries, beginning December

  • Explorer of the Seas* – 7-night Southern Caribbean sailings from San Juan, Puerto Rico, starting November 7

  • Navigator of the Seas 3-, 4- and 5-night Catalina Island, California, and Ensenada and Cabo San Lucas, Mexico cruises from Los Angeles, beginning November 19

  • Grandeur of the Seas – 7- and 14-night Southern Caribbean sailings from Bridgetown, Barbados, starting December 5

  • Ovation of the Seas – 2- to 10-night domestic itineraries in Australia from Sydney, beginning December 13

  • Brilliance of the Seas – 4- and 5-night Bahamas and Western Caribbean cruises from Tampa, starting December 16

  • Enchantment of the Seas – 8-night Bahamas sailings, and select 12-night cruises to the Southern Caribbean from Baltimore, starting December 23

  • Vision of the Seas – 10- and 11-night Southern Caribbean itineraries from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, beginning January 24, 2022

  • Voyager of the Seas – 7- and 9-night cruises in Northern Europe from Barcelona, Spain, starting April 15, 2022

  • Radiance of the Seas – 7-night Alaska sailings from Vancouver, Canada, beginning April 29, 2022

  • Rhapsody of the Seas – 7-night Mediterranean and Greek Isles itineraries, sailing from Rome starting May 23, 2022

Last week, Royal Caribbean introduced a revised COVID-19 testing requirement for guests that are sailing from the U.S. on cruises 5 nights or longer. Every guest age 2 years and up must now provide a negative PCR or antigen test result taken no more than 3 days before their sailing, regardless of vaccination status. This expands upon the test requirements that existed for unvaccinated guests, to create an extra layer of safety for all guests and crew.


Starting with August 12th U.S. departures, they are again expanding this protocol. This testing requirement will now apply to all cruises departing the U.S. regardless of cruise length. It will be in effect until August 31st and is subject to change including extension. They will be emailing impacted guests, primarily those onboard three and four night sailings departing Florida, with this testing protocol revision today.


AmaWaterways


AmaWaterways will only be welcoming guests fully vaccinated against COVID-19 on board their ships, effective immediately. Guests must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 within at least 14 days prior to departure for Pfizer, Moderna or AstraZeneca or within 28 days prior for Johnson & Johnson. In addition, they strongly recommend all guests take a PCR test within 72 hours prior to departure and bring documentation of a negative result with them on their sailing, as a precautionary measure.   


Guests are required to complete a Pre-Cruise Health Questionnaire 7-14 days prior to sailing and upload a copy of your vaccination card 7 days prior to the beginning of your AmaWaterways purchased services. Boarding will be denied without digitally completing this form prior to departure from home.


Disney Cruise Line


There’s more magic on the horizon for Disney Cruise Line Guests ages 18 and older next summer! There are brand-new ways for adults to pamper and play, sip and swim, escape and indulge aboard the Disney Wish, which is being purposefully designed with adults’ vacation needs in mind – including more relaxation, more variety, more accessibility and more storytelling than ever before!


  • Disney Cruise Line’s first-ever outdoor spa retreat, complete with whirlpool spas, plush loungers and plenty of space for open-air yoga sessions. This open-air oasis is a brand-new extension to our signature Rainforest experience, which has been reimagined for the Disney Wish to provide even more ways to relax and rejuvenate. The Rainforest will introduce the fleet’s first ice lounge, allowing Guests to combine thermal therapies, which promotes both physical wellness and tranquility. It will also include Guest-favorite elements like heated ergonomic loungers; sensory spa showers; and sauna, steam and dry chambers.

  • Untangled Salon and Hook’s Barbery, our first standalone salon and barbershop experiences, each inspired by a classic Walt Disney Animation Studios film. At Untangled Salon, Guests can let their hair down (and have it styled any way they want) in a light and airy environment that is perfect for pampering. In addition to haircuts and styling, the menu of services at Untangled Salon will include manicures, pedicures, teeth whitening and skin treatments.

  • Hook’s Barbery will be a unique twist on a traditional European men’s salon, offering cuts, shaves, and nail and skin care. Not only will Hook’s Barbery provide salon and barber services, but it will also boast the ultimate toast to a pirate’s life: a hidden bar!

  • Keg & Compass is a pub that celebrates the adventure and romance of the sea, designed in the rustic architectural style of a late 1800s Norwegian sailor’s map room and drawing inspiration from the rich folklore of Norse seafaring. This casual setting will be the perfect place to kick back and watch live sports, news and major broadcast events while sampling a specialized selection of beers, including three custom craft brews available exclusively aboard the Disney Wish, along with an assortment of liquors, wines and cocktails.

  • Nightingale’s is a refined piano bar inspired by Cinderella’s lyrical rendition of “Sing Sweet Nightingale” in the 1950 film, offering an extensive menu of fine wines, bubblies and hand-crafted cocktails. This vibrant lounge will be a thematic extension of the fairytale-inspired Grand Hall from which it stems, with large doors that allow the twinkling tunes to spill out across the atrium, inviting passersby to stop and stay for a while.

  • The Bayou is an informal lounge themed to “The Princess and the Frog.” Flourishing with magnolia blossoms, lily pads and a canopy of twinkling fireflies overhead, this space will evoke the magical marsh where Tiana and Naveen take refuge in the film. This centrally located venue will offer creative cocktails, specialty coffees and signature beignets in a lively, social atmosphere complete with live entertainment and musical performances.

Untangled Salon, photo credit: Disney Destinations

Beginning August 4, 2021, a temporary final payment extension was added to Disney Cruise Line sailings through Jan. 31, 2022. As part of this policy, they are temporarily extending final payment until 60 days prior to sailing for Guests booked in unrestricted stateroom categories.


Atlas Ocean Voyages


At Last, Atlas Ocean Voyages’ first, newly constructed expedition ship World Navigator has launched on August 4th. Designed for discerning, fun-seeking travelers, World Navigator brings guests on all-inclusive, luxury adventures to remote and captivating destinations around the world and serves up regionally inspired gourmet cuisine; unlimited premium wines and spirits, international beers, and specialty coffees; and a choice of a complimentary land excursion at every port. Atlas’ All Inclusive All the Way promise also includes complimentary round-trip air travel and ground transfers for a complete and seamless luxe-adventure voyage. As one of the most anticipated new ships of the year, World Navigator is Atlas’ first newly constructed small ship, appointed in retro-chic elegance, for an immersive and personalized travel experience. World Navigator is sailing seven- to 12-night Egypt and Greek Isles voyages for her inaugural summer 2021 season and reposition via the Mediterranean, Caribbean and South America to sail nine- and 12-night expeditions in Antarctica.


Atlas Ocean Voyages is a luxe-adventure expedition cruise brand designed for discerning, fun-seeking travelers to immerse in unique and awe-inspiring moments in remote and captivating destinations. At 9,930 GRTs, the ship fosters a refined and convivial ambience and is Polar Category C- and Ice Class 1B-certified. World Navigator will be joined by sister-ships World Traveller and World Seeker in 2022 and World Adventurer and World Discoverer in 2023.


Carnival Cruise Line

Carnival’s restart of cruising from the U.S. last month has been successful, guests and crew are excited to be sailing again, and more ships are returning to service over the coming weeks. As always, their primary commitment is to the health, safety and well-being of guests, crew and the communities they bring their ships to. Carnival has temporarily updated their testing requirements and mask requirements for sailings up to and including 10/31/21.

  • Effective with cruises departing on Saturday, August 14, they will require ALL fully vaccinated guests to produce a negative viral COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) taken within 3 days of their embarkation on all Carnival Cruise Line sailings.

  • Fully vaccinated guests will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test along with proof of full vaccination upon arrival in the terminal and can then proceed on board. Please note that testing in the terminal will not be available for vaccinated guests. They will not be able to accommodate guests without proof of a negative test.

  • Guests who are not fully vaccinated and have received an approved exemption request from Carnival, will continue to follow all requirements and guidelines as mentioned in prior guest communications.

  • Carnival Pride 14 day Journeys Cruise (10/31): As previously communicated, vaccinated guests on this cruise are required to take a PCR test between 72 and 24 hours of the sailing date and present their negative results at embarkation in addition to proof of vaccination.

In addition to testing requirements, they are also making adjustments to their onboard mask policy effective with cruises beginning this Saturday, August 7 through and including 10/31/21, as follows:

  • First, they strongly encourage all guests to wear face masks when indoors, particularly guests who are unvaccinated including children under the age of 12 who should wear masks in public areas, except when eating or drinking.

  • All guests age 2 and older will be required to wear face masks in elevators and in designated indoor entertainment areas, all retail shops, and in the casino, except when eating or drinking.

  • Guests will be required to wear face masks prior to being seated in the main dining rooms and in the Lido Buffet area and occasionally in other designated areas where larger number of guests may congregate.

  • As a reminder, masks are required during embark and debark in the terminal, and masks should also be worn during the debarkation process on board.

  • Carnival Pride 14 day Journeys (10/31) Cruise will receive a separate communication to update guests on the mask wearing policy.


Avalon Waterways


Avalon is happy to announce the return of their European river cruises for fully-vaccinated travelers from the United States beginning on July 27, 2021. Below is their planned start date with a limited roll-out of select cruises per river:

  • Seine - July 27

  • Rhine - August 7

  • Danube - August 10

  • Rhône - August 31

  • Moselle - September 10

Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination is required for international travel, and beginning September 1, for all 2021 travel, including domestic.

In the World News


Grenada


Effective July 31, 2021, all travelers entering Grenada are required to be fully vaccinated. This new requirement does not apply to citizens and residents of Grenada or persons 13 years and under. Travelers 6 years and over must present their negative RT-PCR test on arrival in Grenada.


Fully vaccinated travelers quarantine for up to 48 hours at their approved accommodation whilst awaiting the results of their PCR test. If unvaccinated, travelers will be required to quarantine for up to seven days and will have their PCR test done on day five at their quarantine accommodation.


Persons 13 years and under travelling with a fully vaccinated party will also benefit from the reduced quarantine period of up to 48 hours. Children over 14 years who are unvaccinated will be required to quarantine for up to 7 days with their travel party.


Switzerland


Switzerland is open to fully vaccinated travelers from the U.S.


From the U.S. (by air):

  • Requirement to be fully vaccinated within the last 12 months

  • OR recovered from Covid-19 (official proof needed; such as positive Covid-19 test result) within the last 6 months

  • OR a negative Covid-19 PCR test (not older than 72 hours) or a negative rapid antigen Covid-19 test (not older than 48 hours)

  • Children and young adults below age 16, when accompanied by an adult who adheres to the before stated regulations, do not have to show proof of vaccination or a negative test. Between the age of 16 and 18, a negative test is needed to board a plane and to enter Switzerland. Regardless of their age, when traveling on their own, a proof of vaccination or a negative Covid-19 test is required to enter the country.

  • Travelers must complete the online form of the Federal Office of Public Health FOPH.


Curaçao


Sandals Resorts International (SRI) unveils new details for its flagship brand’s highly anticipated 16th resort and the company’s first venture into Curaçao, the newly named Sandals Royal Curaçao. Reservations are open for booking.


Situated on 44 acres within the Santa Barbara private estate, an exclusive 3,000-acre protected preserve, Sandals Royal Curaçao will authentically intertwine natural world wonders - desert, ocean, mountains, and shoreline - with the resort experience. Here, couples will discover the beauty and geographic diversity of Curaçao, known for its adventurous terrain, pristine beaches, limestone caves and vibrant capital city Willemstad, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, while still indulging in the Luxury Included® Vacation experience Sandals Resorts is renowned for.


Slated to open April 14, 2022, Sandals Royal Curaçao is conveniently located just 15 miles from the airport. Its admirable west-facing position captures the allure of one of the Caribbean’s most spectacular sunsets, offering guests a visual treat. With 351-luxurious rooms and suites in 24 room categories, Sandals Royal Curaçao will have more all-inclusive luxury options than ever before, including two new signature suite categories, the Awa Seaside Butler Bungalows and Kurason Island Poolside Butler Bungalows, complete with Tranquility Soaking Tubs™, private pools, butler service, and sporty and stylish convertible MINI Coopers complimentary for guests to drive while exploring the island.


Sandals Royal Curaçao will be home to the brand’s first Dos Awa infinity pool with views overlooking the sea and the rugged mountain landscape, and The Duchess, Sandals’ first-ever floating restaurant and bar, constructed from a 92-foot authentic Dutch ship. With nine on-site 5-Star Global Gourmet™ restaurants (eight of which are new and exclusive to Sandals Royal Curaçao), guests will indulge in international flavors from a melting pot of global cuisine, including an authentic wine and Dutch cheese bar. Couples can also dine on-the-go at three new beachside gourmet food trucks offering traditional Curaçao fare, Spanish tapas, and Asian fusion, or grab a drink at any of the resort’s 10 unique bars.


photo credit: Sandals


Hawaii


Wailana Pool, formerly an adult-only pool, is now a family pool at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa.


Located off the beaten track, the tranquil Wailana Pool is separated from the excitement of the main pool, allowing Guests to relax and unwind.


Meaning “calm waters,” highlights of the Wailana Pool area include a rock wall, water features and tropical greenery offering sanctuary from the bustling Waikolohe Valley area. Additionally, the adjacent Wailana Pool Bar serves a full bar menu and island-inspired lunch bites.


photo credit: Disney Destinations


The Globus family of brands is happy to announce that they’ve resumed international operations to destinations on Globus and Cosmos for fully vaccinated travelers, with plans for Monograms next month. Globus and Cosmos currently have many tours and dates available for summer and fall travel as European countries and international destinations continue to confirm that U.S. residents can travel freely.


As of now, countries open to American travelers with available tours and summer travel dates vary by brand:

  • Globus and Cosmos: Globus and Cosmos are now offering hundreds of available 2021 departures to European countries as well as domestically.

  • Monograms: Monograms is happy to announce that they’ve resumed international operation to select destinations starting in July, and they anticipate that international travel access for guests from the United States will expand in the coming weeks, including summer 2021 travel.

Proof of full COVID-19 vaccination is required for all international travel, and beginning September 1, for all 2021 travel, including domestic.





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