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25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 22: “Carl’s Combo” at Rose & Crown

by on December 22, 2014

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The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY TWENTY TWO: “Carl’s Combo” at Rose & Crown (Epcot)

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A “Carl’s Combo” (half Bass Ale followed by half Bass Ale) at Rose & Crown. (photo by Brandon Glover)

 

One of our absolute favorite places to get a drink at Walt Disney World is at the Rose & Crown pub in Epcot’s World Showcase. With a terrific atmosphere and several of our favorite brews on tap, Rose & Crown is the perfect spot for a quick pint and an order of fish and chips. One of the things that separates World Showcase from any other environment in the Orlando theme parks is that the Cast Members are from the specific countries, giving guests authentic interactions with different cultures. While service at Rose & Crown is terrific across the board, bartender Carl is a standout and one of the most memorable CMs on property. With a warm smile, great conversation, and how-did-he-do-that bar tricks, Carl gives just about every guest a magical moment so we are nominating today’s drink in honor of him with Carl’s Combo. On the menu, you’ll find it listed as the Grand Imperial Pint, but longtime Rose & Crown guests know this half Bass Ale/half Stella Artois by its rightful name, Carl’s Combo.

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Menu Monday: Infant Friendly Dining at Walt Disney World

by on December 22, 2014 1 Comment

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BiergartenOne of the (many) reasons I love Walt Disney World is because the parks are so family friendly. There are some vacation destinations where bringing a baby would be impossible. At Disney, even the dining is suitable for all ages.

Having a young one of my own, I know the insecurities that come with bringing an infant to a restaurant.

Will she get fussy? What if she cries? How will I entertain her?

Quick service dining is one thing, but enjoying a nice sit-down meal is quite another. So with that in mind, i’ve provided a list of my favorite infant-friendly restaurants within the four parks.

Note: When making your dining reservation, be sure to include your child into the final number. Disney counts per spot at the table, not just who is eating.

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Pictures and Video: Frozen Freeze the Night Dance Party at Disney California Adventure

by on December 21, 2014

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You’re in Disney California Adventure, you’ve spent the day watching the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration stage show, meeting Anna and Elsa at Character Close-Up: Anna & Elsa Royal Welcome, seeing Olaf the friendly snowman, and browsing the variety of Frozen merchandise in the various shops around the resort. But now it’s nighttime, you think to yourself “How do also experience things related to Frozen after the sun is down?” Disney has your back with Freeze the Night! A Family Dance Party. It’s a dance party, the fourth one in fact, to hit DCA (after Glow Fest, ElecTRONica, and Mad T Party). But this time it’s a bit more family friendly; that basically means less booze, but there’s still some booze. The show starts daily at 6 PM with an introduction from the hosts C.C. and Feren who assure you, “It’s the coolest place to be.” What else does Freeze the Night feature? Let’s take a look at the pictures and video below:

 

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One of the highlights is the Marshmallow meet and greet. He seemed to be very popular.

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25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 21: Maelstrom Margarita at La Cava del Tequila

by on December 21, 2014 2 Comments

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The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY TWENTY ONE: Maelstrom Margarita at La Cava del Tequila (Epcot)

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You are the not the first to drink this, nor will you be the last. Maelstrom Margarita at La Cava del Tequila. (photo by Brandon Glover)

 

One of the biggest stories of the theme park year was Maelstrom being shut down to make room for a ride based on the movie Frozen. News of the change became a worldwide trending topic on Twitter with guests from across the globe posting their own #SaveMaelstrom pics. Opening in July of 1988, many WDW guests have never known an Epcot without Maelstrom. Norway’s neighbor in World Showcase is Mexico, home of La Cava del Tequila. Paying tribute to the beloved attraction, La Cava unveiled the Maelstrom Margarita. This new drink is one of the few bright spots of this entire ordeal, so let’s raise a toast to one of the most unique rides in Disney history. Here’s to the Vikings, trolls, polar bears, oil rigs, and even the six minute Spirit of Norway film most of us walked by without watching. You are all in our hearts forever, and shall not be forgotten.

Ingredients: Premium Ambhar Tequila blanco, mango puree, orange liquor, and agave nectar. Served with blueberries, habanero peppers, basil and Tajin chili powder on the rim. (The rumored secret ingredient of a dash of tears from a Disney fanboy has not been confirmed.)

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Cast Member Chronicles: Melissa’s Disney College Program Experience

by on December 21, 2014 3 Comments

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Photo - DisneyMelissa is a friend of mine who completed the Disney College Program in January 2013. She had nothing but wonderful things to say about it, so I decided to pick her brain and ask her to share the experience with all of you. For more information about this program, check out my girl Trista’s post here.

Okay ready? Let’s get started!

Walt Disney World has always held a special place in Melissa’s heart. Growing up, her family made several visits and each time was as spectacular as the last. She first heard about the Disney College Program (or DCP as I will refer to it) from her older sister, who had spent a semester there years previously. With her love of Disney blazing like a hunka hunk of burning love, she made the easy decision to apply.

In the Fall of 2012, she began the application process. Step one involved filling out a general application, mostly requesting education and work experience. There was also a section where she was asked to rate different job roles on a 1 to 5 interest scale. Melissa had experience in the restaurant business, so she felt Food and Beverage would be the best fit. From there, things moved very quickly. Step two was a mere two days later, when a representative from Disney requested an online interview. A few days after that, Melissa had a phone interview. One week later, she was a future employee and student of the Disney College Program!

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Pictures: Frozen Fun (partially) Premieres at Disney California Adventure

by on December 20, 2014 2 Comments

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Frozen Fun has invaded Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure.  Mad T Party and Muppet*Vision 3D have been retired in favor of Disney’s newest crop of characters. Frozen Fun doesn’t officially start at Disney California Adventure until Janurary 7, 2015, but some of it did open today in what Disney calls a “sneak peak.” So far only the Olaf meet and greet (but not Olaf’s Snow Fest), Anna & Elsa’s Royal Welcome meet and greet, and Freeze the Night! A Family Dance Party have begun daily operation. On to the pictures:

DSC03278Frozen Fun banners can be seen at the front entrance of Disney California Adventure. The actual Frozen Fun area is located inside Hollywood Land.

DSC03264As you approach the Frozen Fun area you’ll notice many reused props from the recently retired Mad T Party. They pretty much just repainted them to make them look “frosty.”

Many more pictures after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Pictures and Video: Frozen’s Arendelle Castle added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

by on December 20, 2014

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Breaking news: Frozen is a popular movie. I know, shocking, right? Disney has added elements from the popular film to one of the most beloved attractions in Disneyland‘s history. Luckily, it turned out really nice. I know some people are suffering from a bit of Frozen overload, but Storybook Land is an all time classic, and it’s nice to see it get a little love. Arendelle did replace the windmills from the 1937 film The Old Mill, and while it is a bummer to lose them, it at least makes the ride a little bit more relevant to younger generations. That will make the ride more popular, which will then cause more people to experience this wonderful attraction.  On to the video and pictures:

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Arendelle is immediately visible after you exit Monstro at the beginning of the ride.

More pictures after the jump:

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Pictures: Olaf Meet and Greet Premieres at Disney California Adventure

by on December 20, 2014 2 Comments

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Before he was just a cartoon character, a digitally created image on the screens of our TVs, phones, and computers. Not any more! Now you can meet Olaf the snowman in the flesh, er snow, at Disney California Adventure. It’s part of the Frozen Fun promotion going on now until May. Later in January he’ll have a dedicated meet and greet spot inside Olaf’s Snow Fest, but for now he’s meeting and greeting outside under the sun. I hope he doesn’t melt! (Ahem, is this thing on?) Today I braved a brutally cold Southern California winter morning, where temperatures hovered around 60 degrees, to bring you these pictures. You’re welcome, Internet.

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There he is! As you can see, Olaf has a wide range of motions. He can hold his arms out!

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25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 20: Dragon Scale and Wizard’s Brew at the Hopping Pot

by on December 20, 2014

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The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY TWENTY: Dragon Scale and Wizard’s Brew at the Hopping Pot (Universal Studios Florida)

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Dragon Scale brew inside Universal’s Diagon Alley. (photo by Brandon Glover)

 

We’re getting closer and closer to Christmas Day, so it is no surprise that some heavy hitters of the theme park drinking world are starting to come out. As we begin our final countdown to the big day we have our very first dual nomination, Dragon Scale and Wizard’s Brew at The Hopping Pot. Just as the Hog’s Head Brew is exclusive to Hogsmeade Village, Dragon Scale and Wizard’s Brew can only be found inside Diagon Alley. Dragon Scale is a malty lager, making it a great choice in the Florida heat, whereas Wizard’s Brew is a sweet stout, with flavors of chocolate and coffee. The beer tap for Dragon Scale has a dragon draped around it, similar to the iconic one standing atop Gringotts Bank, and is one of those fantastic details that sets the Wizarding World apart from lands in any theme park.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Disney Gifts Santa Can Bring Back to the North Pole (AKA The Best of the Disney Outlet Stores in 2014)

by on December 20, 2014 5 Comments

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This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Disney Gifts Santa Can Bring Back to the North Pole (A/K/A The Best of the Disney Outlet Stores in 2014). Some readers of this weekly column may not know that we also have The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! where every single month we brave the insanity of the Orlando Premium Outlet parking lots to cover the two Disney outlet stores (more info on them – including addresses – at the end of the article.) While some Christmas dreams do come true, such as Ralphie Parker getting his official Red Ryder BB gun and Your Humble Author getting a Han Solo blaster back in the day, others deserve to go straight to the Island of Misfit Toys. Today we will take a look at some of those very items, starting with…

 

# 6 – Luigi’s Flying Tires: The Toy

My eyes lit up like a Christmas tree seeing this toy hit the Outlet shelves. In theory, Luigi’s Flying Tires should have been one of the coolest rides at any Disney park. It used popular characters from the Cars franchise in what amounts to a hovercraft ride mixed with bumper cars. How great is that? Turns out, not that great. For many guests, the degree of difficulty in learning how to control the tires was too much within the short ride span, and that combined with the long wait time (due to the limited capacity) resulted in some very unfavorable reviews. The one part of the attraction that did receive positive reaction – the humongous beach balls on the course which provided a striking visual and the ability to knock them into other guests – was taken away mere weeks after Luigi’s debut. It is rumored that once Flying Tires goes down for refurbishment in early 2015, it will never come back as the ride it currently is and instead will be changed into something different. But, at least we’ll have our Luigi’s Flying Tires toy to remember it by (batteries, and joy, not included.)

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Next year we want to see Stitch’s Great Escape: The Board Game.

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