Introducing New Up Close Encounters at Rainbow Reef at Aulani Resort

Introducing New Up Close Encounters at Rainbow Reef at Aulani Resort

By: Disney Destinations

Did you know that Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa boasts the only private snorkeling lagoon on O‘ahu? At the serene saltwater lagoon, Rainbow Reef, you can take the plunge and swim up close with Hawaiian reef fish.

Disney is excited to share that Aulani Resort has just introduced two new programs that offer up-close encounters with the dazzling marine life at Rainbow Reef, located in the Waikolohe Valley pool area.

Underwater Explorers is the ideal experience if you want to try scuba diving, but are not scuba-certified. In this two-hour experience, Guests will start with a 25-minute lesson on the basics of scuba equipment, diving and safety procedures. They’ll get to practice the dive skills they’ve learned then enjoy a free swim through the crystal clear waters of Rainbow Reef.

During the dive, you will see colorful marine life, like butterflyfish, angelfish, surgeonfish and tangs. They may even catch a glimpse of one of Aulani’s hidden Menehune (men-neh-HOO-nay). Because Rainbow Reef is a man-made lagoon, it offers a safe, high-visibility environment where you can dive without unpredictable waves or currents.

Underwater Explorers is ideal for scuba beginners, ages 10 and up. Included in the experience are the use of mask, fins and a wetsuit, a complimentary flask and Rainbow Reef fish ID card to take home, and a video of the experience. Cost for the Underwater Explorers program is $189.00 per person, plus tax.

The Rainbow Reef Fish Feeding Experience is a fun way for you to have an up-close interaction and learn about the many tropical fish who call the local waters home. Aulani’s animal programs biologists start with a brief introduction of the fishes in Rainbow Reef. You will see the differences between the many species of fish and learn what the fish eat. For example, some are herbivores, some are carnivores and some are omnivores.

With a better understanding of new fish friends, you will have a chance to feed them while standing on the Rainbow Reef walkway, also a gorgeous photo spot. The fish feeding experience is about 15 minutes and costs $7 per person.

Contact your Castle Vacations Travel Advisor for more information

Disney World Salutes America’s Birthday with Star-Spangled Fourth of July Celebrations

Disney World Salutes America’s Birthday with Star-Spangled Fourth of July Celebrations

PHOTO: Group of friends watching fireworks. (photo via oneinchpunch/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

An all-American red, white and blue fireworks spectacular will bathe the sky this Independence Day at Walt Disney World Resort, joined by live entertainment, scrumptious treats and patriotic pageantry. Here’s what’s in store for Fourth of July 2019:

Magic Kingdom Park – Park Hours: July 3, 8 a.m.-12 a.m.; July 4, 8 a.m.-1 a.m.

—“Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” offers booming fireworks orchestrated to patriotic melodies showering the Magic Kingdom sky on both July 3 and July 4 at 9:15 p.m. Guests can also dance the night away with DJs spinning tunes at a Hoedown Throwdown in Frontierland and an out-of-this-world Galactic Gathering in Tomorrowland. Fans at home can join in the Independence Day celebration by viewing a special July 4 live stream of the dazzling fireworks display on the Disney Parks Blog.

—A fuzzy cast of Muppets – Miss Piggy, Kermit, Fozzie Bear and friends – reenact famous moments in American history in a whimsical way during “The Muppets Present … Great Moments in History.” The live show is performed several times daily near the Hall of Presidents in Liberty Square.

Epcot – Park Hours: 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

— “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” will end its nearly 20-year run on September 30, 2019. So this will be the last chance to experience the patriotic Fourth of July grand finale of this beloved nighttime spectacular. “The Heartbeat of Freedom” fireworks extravaganza will begin immediately following the 9 p.m. “IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth” display.

—A cappella vocal group Voices of Liberty will perform great American tunes during a Fourth of July concert on the America Gardens Theatre stage at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. on July 4. The group also will perform in the rotunda inside The American Adventure pavilion at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.

—Guests can meet favorite Disney characters donning their “Spirit of ’76” patriotic attire at The American Adventure throughout the day on July 4.

—Guests can indulge in themed eats and sips honoring Independence Day throughout the park – everything from patriotic cupcakes and special dining packages to red, white, and blue sangria and a Boom Berry Lemonade.

For more information, contact your Castle Vacations Travel Advisor

Disneyland to Implement Virtual Queue for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Disneyland to Implement Virtual Queue for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

PHOTO: The Millenium Falcon at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge at Disneyland (photo by Brooke McDonald)

The long-awaited Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is opening to the public June 24, 2019. In an effort to ensure an enjoyable experience for all of Disneyland’s guests, the park has put a virtual queuing system in place, which will enable patrons to enter the new land only during the window allotted to their “boarding group.”

Visitors’ assigned boarding groups will save their virtual spot in line so they can enjoy the park’s other attractions while they wait, rather than standing around in line. The new system will be implemented only as needed for crowd control purposes, as interest in visiting the new land is already almost beyond measure.

Park guests will need to download the Disneyland app prior to arrival and check the app or the park’s digital signage on the day of their visit to see if they need to sign up for a boarding group in order to visit Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Boarding group requests will likewise be submitted through the app, after entering the park.

Visitors can link their tickets together through the app to request the same boarding group for their entire party. Those with push notifications enabled on their phones will be notified when it is time to enter the land, or they can check the park’s digital signage to see which boarding group is currently being admitted. Guests have up to two hours once their boarding group is called for admission to enter.

Those without access to the app may also obtain a boarding group with their park admission tickets at select Disney FASTPASS Service locations, such as Haunted Mansion, Indiana Jones Adventure, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain or near the Matterhorn Bobsleds.

While Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will no longer require a reservation to access the land beginning June 24, Savi’s Workshop and Oga’s Cantina, which have very limited capacities, will require a reservation. Reservations for these experiences can be made same-day, beginning at 7:00 a.m., with a valid credit card.

Those with bookings for these two venues will also be granted access to the land itself at the appointed time, so they will bypass the need to join a boarding group (if applicable on that day).

For more information, contact your Castle Vacations Travel Advisor

Alaska Airlines Unveils Toy Story-Themed Livery

Alaska Airlines Unveils Toy Story-Themed Livery

Alaska Airlines unveiled a special-edition aircraft Friday that celebrates the release of Disney and Pixar’s Toy Story 4 on June 21.

The Toy Story 4-themed aircraft is Alaska’s second livery to feature Pixar’s characters and is decked out with toys from the Toy Story 4 world. The plane was revealed to a crowd at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport by Alaska’s own Chief Football Officer Russell Wilson.

Alaska revealed a video on YouTube of the aircraft coming to life:

Guests of all ages will be eager to toy with an adventure after hearing the buzz around our new Toy Story 4 livery,” Alaska’s managing director Natalie Bowman said in a statement. “Many of us have grown up following the iconic characters, and we’re happy to take the toys to new heights, sharing the playful, heartwarming imagery with travelers across our coast-to-coast network––and beyond.”

Travelers will be able to see Woody, Buzz Lightyear and Bo Peep on the fuselage, while the film franchise’s new toy Forky appears on the winglet so passengers can see him when peering out the windows of the aircraft.

The unique design is a collaboration between Disney and Pixar and Alaska Airlines, and the Toy Story 4-themed Boeing 737-800 is now flying throughout Alaska’s route network.


Dress Code Being Enforced at Disney for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

Dress Code Being Enforced at Disney for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge


Travelers heading to Disney to experience Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will need to be aware of the updated costume policy for the Disneyland Resort.

The influx of Star Wars fans has resulted in a heavy dose of cosplayers entering the park, but there are limitations on what guests are permitted to wear inside the facility, including no full costumes for visitors 14 years of age or older.

Star Wars fans of all ages will be permitted to dress in outfits inspired by the movie franchise, but there are rules, including piecing together traditional clothing items to pay tribute to characters and wearing outfits inspired by the villagers of Batuu.

As for what is not permitted, all robes, military-style attire, masks, face paint, elaborate headwear, blasters, body armor, helmets and kneepads have been banned by Disney, even if the items are Star Wars-themed.

For visitors at Disneyland, external communications director Kevin Rafferty Jr. revealed that “some of the items sold in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge cannot be worn inside the land.” Guests need to be aware of the dress code in order to enjoy the experience fully.


For more information contact us at

From the Castle Kitchen: Kids in the Kitchen: Hidden Mickey Pizza

From the Castle Kitchen: Kids in the Kitchen: Hidden Mickey Pizza

Welcome to behind the Castle wall! After a long day of planning magical Disney vacations – I enjoy reconnecting with my family and creating semi-nutritious, quick and easy meals. We often modify this classic with homemade sauce or cauliflower crust (for the diabetic of the house – but, when he’s not home, we loosen up and enjoy carbs!)  😉

We went the super quick route with ready made pizza dough and sauce.


From the grocery store, you will need:

  1. Refrigerated pizza dough
  2. Prepared pizza sauce
  3. Shredded mozzarella
  4. Pepperoni (regular and mini sized)
  5. Black olives
  6. Assorted Veggies (green peppers and cherry tomatoes are our favorites… and also were eaten prior to photo)…. **Don’t leave your ingredients unattended with children on school break because they eat everything in sight…

Shape dough  into a large pie and “personal” pizza ears with individual toppings. (We used our much loved pizza stone- but, a well oiled baking pan will  work well too!) Arrange “Hidden Mickey’s” of pepperoni, peppers, olives (and tomatoes if your souse chef doesn’t eat them all before you have the chance to apply them or even photo them in this case).

Bake pizza according to package directions and enjoy!  (If you plan to Facebook and wait for your pizza to cook… set a timer to avoid the extra crispy texture…whoops!- still good!!)

If you make a “Hidden Mickey Pizza” with your family- let us see the pics!! Share or tag us on our Instagram and Facebook!


We made Mickey Shaped Pretzels with the leftover dough!  Check back next week on how we did it. (Also, super easy and quick and fun for little chefs)!