Holiday Events in Orlando For 2019

Can you believe that we’re almost at the end of 2019? The holidays are vastly approaching and holiday events in Orlando are popping up at every corner. It’s truly the most wonderful time of the year, to travel of course.

We took the liberty of narrowing down the BEST holiday events in Orlando for 2019, so if you’re planning your vacation as we speak, keep reading along for your next go-to attraction!

Theme Parks

You didn’t think we’d skip our area theme parks, did you? With Walt Disney World® Resort, Universal Orlando Resort, SeaWorld, and more all in Central Florida, there’s an ENDLESS list of events that have the sleigh bells ringing and the jingle bells jamming. From Christmas to Haunnakuh, there’s something for everyone to get into the holiday spirit.

Walt Disney World® Resort

Magic Kingdom® Park – The most iconic of them all, the Magic Kingdom® Park is hosting its annual Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party! On select nights from November 8 to December 22, 2019, experience a holly jolly Christmas dazzled with thousands of Christmas lights, a festive holiday parade, a fireworks display that fills the night sky with cheer, and the list goes on. Collect your cup of hot cocoa and stroll down the picturesque Main Street U.S.A. and experience a magical Christmas like no other.

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Epxot® – Lucky for all of us, Epcot seems to have exciting events year-around! If you’re planning on traveling to Orlando within the next month, you can experience the 2019 Epcot® International Festival of the Holidays. At select times nightly from November 29 through December 30, enjoy special kiosks situated around the World Showcase while admiring the lights that decorate the countries and the twinkling Christmas tree.

Learn of the biblical tale of a savior born in Bethlehem from a celebrity narrator as they are accompanied by a choir and a 50-piece orchestra. The spirit of Christmas comes alive on stage through the Candlelight Processional at the world showcase at this yearly Epcot® tradition.

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Universal Studios Florida – Get ready for the merriest time of the year with Universal’s Holiday Parade featuring Macy’s! Don’t be saddened if you cannot make it to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in NYC, because Universal Studios Florida is here to share it with you all season long. On select days from November 19 and December 30, gaze at the merry and mayhem as Minions join the infamous Santa Claus and other popular characters as they float down the streets of the park.

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If you’re more of a “witchcraft and wizardry” kind of human, celebrate the holidays as London and Diagon Alley get dressed in festive décor and deliver seasonal treats that embrace the spirit of the Christmas.

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Universal’s Islands of Adventure – The Grinch, Harry Potter, whichever appeals to you most, you’re sure to find it here for the holidays! At the Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular, travel through Seuss Landing as it dazzles the walkways with Christmas charm, and maybe even meet the Grinch himself for the most “grumpy” Christmas photo and autograph of the season (we mean this in the best way, we promise).

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Keep walking toward the back of the park to find yourself surrounded by Christmas galore inside of Hogsmeade. As the sun goes down and the stars are high in the sky, keep looking up at the Hogwarts Castle as you’re in for quite the presentation. Revel in the dazzling projection of holiday magic during The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle. It’s definitely one of the merriest shows around.

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SeaWorld Orlando – Travel through over 3 MILLION lights, experience six sensational shows, and more at SeaWorld’s Christmas Celebration. From November 23 through December 31, see the park transformed into a wonderland like no other as holiday cheer lights the way. Meet Santa Claus and other festive characters and join your friends at Sesame Place for a magical, ALL-NEW Sesame Street Holiday Parade. There’s so much to do with so little time, so make every winter wonderland moment count at SeaWorld.

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Busch Gardens TampaYes, we know we said Orlando events, but we HAD to throw in Tampa for a second! Every night from November 16 through January 6, experience the magical Busch Gardens Christmas Town, voted USA Today’s “10 Best Theme Park Holiday Event”. This yearly wonderland features a Christmas Town Village with Yuletide carols, delightful shows with twinkling lights, and exciting meet & greets with some of your favorite holiday characters. Closing times may vary, so be sure to check out the website for all event times!

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Around Orlando

If you’re looking for something other than a day at the parks, there’s plenty around Orlando to enjoy! Despite maintaining a warmer climate, Orlando is a prime place to be to celebrate the holiday season, both budget-friendly and free.

Now Snowing – There’s always a magical aura inside the town of Celebration, and during the holidays, the magic truly comes to life. From November 30 through December 31 and just minutes from Walt Disney World® Resort, Now Snowing features hourly presentations of faux snow, holly jolly train and carriage rides, plenty of entertainment, and special photo-ops with both Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

Don’t forget your ice-skating techniques because you’ll need them here on the synthetic rink. $10 for 30 minutes is one of the few things you’ll have to spend any money on at this event, and skates are also included!

The Grove’s Winter Wonderland – On Saturday, December 7 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., join The Grove for its free Winter Wonderland celebration full of festive train rides, stilt walkers, face painting from Santa’s little helpers, and REAL snow! It’s a perfect way to experience the cheer of the holidays without breaking a budget!

Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail We love free! Free parking AND free admission welcome you to travel through an endless sight of festive Disney-inspired holiday trees. This location is wonderful for family photos and decorating ideas for your own tree at home.

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Gaylord Palms ICE! Be absolutely wowed inside of Gaylord Palms as you travel through a maze of glistening ice sculptures themed by the beloved classic holiday movie, The Polar Express. Make sure you have your coat and mittens in handy because this chilly experience is one you’ll want to spend PLENTY of time in. Tickets start at $14.99 per child and $28.99 per adult!

 

With all of the holiday activities around Orlando, you’re bound to have a holly jolly getaway with the entire family! Make sure you have all the accommodations ready for your vacation by booking your Magical Vacation Home and get ready for the greatest, merriest, most magical holiday season yet.

 

Until next time, happy holidays, and have a magical day!

Where to Find Characters at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge

BRIGHT SUNS! Welcome to blog three of our countdown to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, opening August 29th at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®! During our visit to the preview event on August 17th, we were lucky enough to find characters throughout our journey through Batuu.

Today, we’re going to show you WHO we saw and WHERE you may spot some of your favorite’s from the movies, here in real life!

(Haven’t read our last blog yet? Make sure you check that out here! Hint: Blue and Green Milk and a galactic bar, anyone?)

The Stormtroopers

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Credit: Magical Vacation Homes

Roaming around Batuu, you may bump into a Stormtrooper, or two, or five. During our visit, we noticed them throughout the land both walking and on rooftops. You have to make sure to look everywhere because they pop up from every nook and cranny.

And don’t be alarmed if they question you about your allegiance, just, make sure you have an answer for them.

Chewbacca

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Credit: Magical Vacation Homes

Well, it DEFINITELY wouldn’t be Batuu if you didn’t see Chewbacca around, and we saw a lot of him. Keep an eye out when you enter Batuu because you may find him most often at the entrance area. We noticed him around the Rebel Outpost interacting with travelers while checking on his landed ship.

Kylo Ren

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Credit: Magical Vacation Homes

Kylo Ren has arrived in Batuu in search of the Resistance. He’s entirely intimidating but we were in awe watching him walk with the Stormtroopers. When we spotted him, he was walking through the Black Spire Outpost just past Savi’s Workshop.

Rey

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Famous for being in Episodes VII through IX, Rey makes many appearances throughout Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. One of our Magical members noticed her roaming around just as you enter Batuu, probably planning her recruitment efforts for the Resistance.

Vi Moradi

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Credit: Polygon

Now we didn’t spot this character until the sun was set, but Vi Moradi is one you’ll want to keep an eye out for. A newer character to most, Vi Moradi was introduced to us in 2017 in the novel, Star Wars: Phasma, and can now be found in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge.

We were caught by surprise as she found us instead of the other way around. Usually, when wanting to meet characters you will go to them. This time around, we were unexpectedly approached, which was a one-of-a-kind experience.

When Vi Moradi found us, she was debating if we were those she could trust as she hid from the Stormtroopers, just before darting off. By the looks of it, you may bump into her just about anywhere as she keeps her guard up and presence hidden (or if you have our experience, she may just bump into you).

Til The Spire!

Ready to spot these characters? Get your Disney Theme Park tickets and get ready for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge! With exactly one week away until the grand opening, we’re thrilled for you all to experience what we witnessed in Batuu.

There’s still time to book your stay with Magical Vacation Homes. We have plenty of villas that are perfect for any party on your future galactic getaway.

We’ll be back tomorrow with our exciting experience on Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run.

 

Until next time, Til the Spire, and have a Magical day!

 

 

*As to Disney artwork, logos, and properties: ©Disney*

We Visit Oga’s Cantina and Taste Blue and Green Milk | Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge Preview

BRIGHT SUNS! It’s blog two on our countdown to Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. This past weekend we were lucky enough to attend an exclusive preview of Batuu. We learned SO much about what this park extension will offer!

Oga’s Cantina and the Milk Stand were definite stand-outs! So we’re here today to tell you what we saw, tasted, and loved about these two VERY important places!

(Haven’t read the first blog yet? Make sure you check that out here! Hint: We talked about building some really cool stuff!)

Oga’s Cantina

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We’ve got to admit, seeing Oga’s Cantina in person felt entirely surreal. We’ve read about it online and browsed through many photos of it for sure. But to actually stand there, ready to walk in, we felt like we won the grand prize.

Oga’s Cantina is the “It” spot for bounty hunters, smugglers, and others (now, including you). Take a moment to break away from the walkways of Batuu and refuel on an assortment of food and drink. Gather around with others at the bar or in your own private booth before heading out to take on your next journey through the galaxy. Ogas-Cantina-Bar.jpg

When we walked in, we were greeted by dim lighting, upbeat music, and a very lighthearted atmosphere. For those who are always in search of the next great bar, this hangout spot takes the cake.

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Unusual(ly Good) Drinks and Eats

At the time of our preview, we were not able to purchase anything. However, that didn’t stop us from sneaking a peek at the menus. We took a look at what galactic offerings will be featured on the grand opening and we think you’re all going to like the selection.

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As you can see in the slideshow above (feel free to pause and flip through photos if you want to see a particular menu), there’s really something for everyone. From hot to cold beverages, to even non-alcoholic drinks and snacks, everyone in your party will leave Oga’s Cantina satisfied. Pricing per item varies, with the low-end looking at $4 for a double espresso, up to $85 for the Rancor Beer Flight.

But regardless of pricing, each concoction on the menu looks very promising. And, food for thought, we did have the opportunity to sample the Jedi Mind Trick. This drink sells at $16 and is created with grapefruit & rose vodka, velvet falernum bols blue curacao, white grape and lime juice, and grapefruit bitters. We found it to be the PERFECT combination and a definite buy when you decide to visit.

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Get ready for your intergalactic travel at Oga’s Cantina! Reservations are now available, so go ahead and reserve your spot at this must-visit bar.

The Milk Stand 

How could we talk about one drink location without diving into the Milk Stand? The go-to beverage for all of Batuu (and Luke Skywalker) has to be the blue and green milk (and it’s all vegan). We tried both of these delicious options and were very surprised by the flavor!

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Blue milk (left) and green milk (right) samples served at the Milk Stand at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Disney’s Hollywood Studios®.

With the consistency of an icy smoothie (PERFECT for those hot, Florida days), the blue milk’s (left) rice and coconut milk-based drink is sweet and fruity. The green milk (right) tasted like a cup full of springtime with a dash of citrus. If we HAD to pick, we’d go blue, but for citrus, fans should definitely aim for green! It’s the summer beverage we’ve been needing! Milk-Stand-Menu.jpg

If you’re over 21, try either milk with a dash of rum (for blue) or tequila (for green). Non-alcoholic milk runs at $7.99 and $14 with alcohol. And if you’re one to collect souvenir items, you can ask for your (non-alcoholic) milk of choice in the Bubo Wampa Family Farms Sipper! These can be purchased for $24.99 at the Milk Stand.

Til The Spire…

So, what are you waiting for? Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge may not open until August 29th, however, it’s never too early to purchase your Disney Theme Park tickets! Get them early and get prepared to travel to Batuu for an out of this world galactic journey.

And after your journey back from Batuu, look no further than Magical Vacation Homes for your magical galaxy villa. Our homes are perfect for the Orlando vacation and close by to all things Star Wars.

We’ll see you tomorrow when we talk about Chewbacca, Stormtroopers and other galactic friends.

 

Until next time, Til the Spire, and have a Magical day!

 

*As to Disney artwork, logos, and properties: ©Disney*

*Oga’s Cantina may require a reservation. For Milk Stand and Oga’s Cantina, prices subject to change. Food and drinks subject to availability.

Let’s Boo This! Get Ready for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2019

 

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It’s hard to believe that Halloween is less than 90 days away, but for those of you who CANNOT wait any longer, the Magic Kingdom® Park is here to help. On select nights from August 16 – November 1, 2019, get ready to boo your way through Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party!

Set your sights on the friendliest frights this Halloween season with spells from the Sanderson Sisters, lurking pirates, and an all-new fireworks display from your favorite skeleton. The yearly tradition is bringing back its fan favorites, however, you will be in for some new boo’s around the park. Trick or treating is a must, and getting decorated in your favorite costume is essential. But, what other fun things will be happening on these all-hallows-nights?

Keep reading to find out what you’re in for at this exciting nighttime spectacular.

SPOOK-tacular Shows

Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular

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The Sanderson Sisters are BACK, and they are ready to put a spell on you at their Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular show! Meet the three witches and plenty of other villains, like Dr. Faciliar, Maleficent, and Oogie Boogie, just to name a few. Fall under the spell of the on-stage entertainment.

And we promise, you didn’t drink a potion, this show is just THAT alluring.

Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular

Get ready for the NEW fireworks spectacular, exclusive to the event! Watch the sky light up as your friendly skeleton, Jack Skellington, hosts the show.

Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy have been spirited away to a mysterious haunted house. What they may encounter is a mystery,  but expect a sinister gathering of familiar villains during the performance.

Mickey’s “Boo-To-You” Halloween Parade

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There are spirits, villains, and other frightening spooks haunting Main Street U.S.A® at Mickey’s “Boo-To-You” Halloween Parade. This spellbinding parade will include a visit from the spectral Bride, the haunting Hitchhiking Ghosts, and many other frightful friends. You do not want to miss this exclusive parade, we promise you that!

Halloween-Themed Rides

Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor®

Cackle your way into Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor® this year with the all-new attraction segment! Gather around and interact with your favorite monsters as they learn about the traditions of Halloween. It will surely be a ghoulish time.

Mad Tea Party

“We’re all mad here”, especially during Halloween! Hop into your teacup for the Mad Tea Party, and you’ll be in for exciting spin through special lighting and music effects, exclusively designed for the nighttime event.

Space Mountain®

Zoom through complete darkness as a new, “hard-rockin'” soundtrack blasts at this wild indoor coaster! Space Mountain® will also be themed for the select-night events, giving thrill-seekers an eerie adventure of a star-less galaxy.

Pirates of the Caribbean®

Beware of what may be lurking around the corner, you may bump into a pirate, or two. These live pirates will be searching for their treasure as you cruise through in your boat. Look out for some possible scares and some skeletons here and there, you’re in for quite the adventure!

 

Trick-Or-TREAT Your Tummy!

Of course, your night isn’t complete without a treat bucket full of your favorite goodies! Travel around the different lands throughout the park and build your own yummy collection.

However, if you’re ready to feast your fangs into more than just the candy, try out one of the exciting, themed dessert parties! There are two to choose from that offer stunning views of Disney’s Not-So-Spooky Spectacular (which can be found here and here).

If you’re looking to dine with a certain villain, the infamous Cruella De Vil has ghoulish dishes and mouth-watering desserts that will enhance your evening of scares and sweets! It’s a dinner party that will be a must-visit for guests!

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The Spooky Evenings Are Quickly Approaching…..

And we promise that they will be worth attending. Admission for this separately-ticketed event is available now, so get yours while you can! Space for each select night is limited, so we suggest planning out your trip in advance!

If you’re needing a place to stay for your next spooky visit, check out our Magical Vacation Homes and book your perfect vacation villa today!

Until next time, have a magical day (and a frightful night)!

 

 

*As to Disney artwork, logos, and properties: ©Disney*

Magical Dining Month 2018

Magical Dining Month 2018 is returning to Orlando area restaurants! Starting August 24th and lasting every day until September 30th, 2018, Magical Dining Month serves up opportunities to enjoy three course meals at 100+ of Orlando’s best restaurants for $35 plus tax and gratuity. This is an exciting event for both tourists and locals!

A Great Selection

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Restaurants are located all around the greater Orlando area, and you can see them divided based on location. Districts include the Disney/Lake Buena Vista Area, Universal/CityWalk, Convention Center Area, and Downtown, so there are many options. See the full list of 100+ Restaurants HERE!

Support Local Charities

This event is put on by our friends at Visit Orlando, and a portion of each meal purchased for Magical Dining Month goes toward a different local charity each year. This year, proceeds go toward Best Buddies and Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida. A great way to give back to two great causes and support local businesses at the same time!

Enjoy Magical Dining Month 2018

Visit Orlando Magical Dining Month 2018

Magical Dining Month 2018 is one of the most anticipated events of the year, so reservations are highly encouraged to ensure that you’ll be able to participate. There’s no limit to how many times you can enjoy Magical Dining meals, so use this amazing event as an opportunity to try out new restaurants.

If you’re looking for some great recommendations, all of our Magical staff members are locals and Orlando experts! We all have a favorite local Orlando restaurant and love to share advice with our guests.

Are you currently planning your Orlando vacation and want to experience amazing events like Magical Dining Month and other amazing Orlando attractions and theme parks? Check out Magical Vacation Homes and find the perfect vacation rental for every type of vacation. Head to our website or call our reservations team toll free at and book your Magical vacation today!

Windsor Hills Water Park Now Open!

A brand new splash park and water slides just opened at Windsor Hills! Windsor Hills Resort, located only two miles from Walt Disney World, opened their brand new multi-million dollar water park in August 2018. This new Windsor Hills Water Park features a splash pad area and two dueling water slides! The water park area is open for all Windsor Hills Resort guests staying in a vacation rental, as well as Windsor Hills owners.

Splash Park

The Kids Zone splash park features splashing fun for kids of all ages. The large climbing structure features a water wheel designed to soak the whole area, as well as two smaller water slides for the little ones. The whole splash zone is surrounded by water cannons and surprise spray flowers to ensure that you will stay cool in the Florida sunshine.

Dueling Water Slides

Head over to the two dueling water slides for 23 feet of spiral sliding fun! Race your family and friends to the finish on these state-of-the-art slides. Each slide is a different exciting riding experience.

Resort Amenities

Windsor Hills Water Park

In addition to the new splash park and water slides, Windsor Hills Resort opened up a new oval hot tub for total relaxation and new expanded deck space. All of these amenities, including the Double Olympic Size Pool, Tennis Courts, Castle Playground and Community Clubhouse (including 40 person movie theater!), are included in your reservation and free to use when you stay in a Windsor Hills rental!

Stay at Windsor Hills

Magical Vacation Homes 3 bedroom condo rental in Windsor Hills resort

Check out our amazing selection of Windsor Hills Rentals, from value 2 bedroom condos to luxury 5 bedroom homes, all of them located only miles away from Walt Disney World! Vacation Fun, pictured above, is a new 3 bedroom condo with luxury furnishings and a custom kids bedroom, starting at only $89 a night!

If you’re planning your next Orlando family vacation and want to talk to someone about booking a vacation rental, our reservations team is happy to assist! Contact them by email at reservations@magicalvacationhomes.com or by phone at 

Until the next blog post, we hope you have a magical day!

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Celebrating Disney Photopass Day 2018

Here at Magical Vacation Homes, we know that capturing your magical memories is an essential part of your vacation. From Snapchat selfies to professional family portraits, everyone has their own favorite way of documenting their trip. If you’re headed to the Walt Disney World Resort Theme Parks on your Orlando vacation, chances are you will see PhotoPass photographers taking pictures of you with characters or in front of landmarks like Cinderella’s Castle. Keep reading to learn more about Disney Photopass Day 2018 and how to submit your Orlando vacation photos for your chance to win a free 7 night stay in a magical rental home.

Disney PhotoPass Day 2018

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Disney PhotoPass Day 2018, happening Sunday, August 19th, 2018, is a great way to celebrate this awesome service to have professional photos taken of your family on vacation. If you will be in the theme parks on August 19, 2018, there will be some unique photo opportunities to celebrate!

Special photo ops include rare characters, like meeting Pinocchio in Magic Kingdom, or some villains like Cruella de Vil and Jafar at Epcot. There will also be special photo props and “Magic Shots” to enhance your fun family vacation photos. Start your day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park for some awesome Pixar photo props from Up and Finding Nemo, then head to Hollywood Studios at night for a special Beauty and the Beast light painting photo opportunity.

This special event has photo opportunities starting at park open in the morning at 9 am and lasting until 8 pm, but be sure to check each park’s times guide for special character meeting times.

#MagicalStays Photo Contest

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Can’t join us at the Disney Theme Parks for PhotoPass day? No need to worry, you can still join in on the photo fun by sharing your Orlando vacation memories with us for our #MagicalStays Photo Contest! The winner of this Magical Contest will receive a FREE 7 Night Stay in RVH_520, The Fun House at Reunion. Enter for your chance to make more magical memories here in Orlando in this amazing house with custom kids bedrooms, a super home movie theater,

Enter our contest by submitting your photo HERE, or heading over to our Facebook page to enter! Vote for your favorite Orlando area vacation photo once a day until September 30th, 2018. Share with friends and family to get as many votes as possible to win your 7 night stay at The Fun House at Reunion!

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Here at Magical Vacation Homes, we know what it takes to make your vacation extra magical. If you’re looking at planning your Orlando vacation and are looking for advice on where to stay, contact our Reservations Team either by phone at 1-866-991-3158 or email reservations@magicalvacationhomes.com.

Until the next blog post, we hope you have a magical day!

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