Disney’s Awaken Summer Event—The Grand Finale

Disney’s Awaken Summer Event—The Grand Finale
By ATD’s Florida Experts, Susan and Simon Veness
The final day of Disney's Awaken Summer media event...
As working media at Awaken Summer, our days ran from 8am until almost midnight, with non-stop touring, a quick lunch, more theme-parking, a leisurely dinner, then back at it for the night time entertainment. Sounds like your holiday touring, doesn’t it? But there were a few things that made it extra special, and you can build them into your plans, too.
After four full days in the parks it was time for some serious pampering. We had experienced the large-scale attractions, just as guests on holiday do; we had seen all the new offerings coming up in 2016; and now we were rewarded with a sumptuous signature-dining meal at Mediterranean-inspired Citricos in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. But the luxury didn’t end there.
Dinner ended just in time for our Wishes Cruise, taking our entire group out on Seven Seas Lagoon in three pontoon boats, complete with snacks, drinks, and champagne. We cruised around one of the lake’s islands, past the Polynesian Resort, and lined up with other cruise boats just as the first strains of Wishes began and that iconic white flare cascaded across the sky.
The show’s music surrounded us, compliments of an onboard synchronised speaker, and with a gentle breeze off the lake making a refreshing change from the heat of the day, we relaxed, sat back, and immersed ourselves in fireworks story-telling, as only Disney can do.
Wishes fireworks
Luxurious? You bet! Something only VIPs can do? Not at all! While it is true Wishes cruises are in high demand, with a limited number of boats, holiday-makers can book 90 days in advance on 407-WDW-PLAY (939-7529), and the savvy ones do it as soon as the reservations department opens at 7am/noon UK time (and now, you’re one of the savvy ones). Celebrating a special event? Your pontoon can be decorated accordingly. Want a butler or private dining? It’s yours. Feel the need to go all-out? Book the 52-foot Sea Ray Grand 1 Yacht and be the VIP you were meant to be!
The next night we were treated to an IllumiNations dinner and dessert party at Epcot’s United Kingdom pavilion. And, because the “Disney magic” was following us around all week, the weather was absolutely perfect for an al fresco buffet, with a full bar and a superb spread.
After dinner we retired to the lower terrace for coffee, champagne and dessert. And that’s where your next holiday ‘extra’ comes in. The IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party ends an Epcot day perfectly, with sweet treats inspired by World Showcase countries, plus sparkling wine, coffee, tea, and soft drinks. 
Viewing the show from a terrace right on World Showcase Lagoon is an experience you’ll never forget. With no crowds and no obstructions, every element of the show is visible, and the proximity gives you the feeling of being in the show as much as observing the show. It’s an indulgence that won’t set your budget back too far, and could well be the most magical memory of your holiday. 
After such pampering, we had only one more element of the event to wrap up, starting with breakfast in the ‘hidden lounge’ of The Attic at the Boardwalk Resort the next morning, and a final video session featuring our thoughts on the entire event. 
You can view our video and Disney’s Awaken Summer album, covering the whole week, when you LIKE our Facebook page, Veness Travel Media. We’ll put the video up once we receive it from the editing department, so in the meantime, head on out and make those speciality cruise bookings!
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