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SATURDAY SIX: 6 Reasons We Love FRONTIERLAND at Disney’s Magic Kingdom

by on November 18, 2017
Filed under: Magic Kingdom, Saturday Six 4 Comments

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at FRONTIERLAND at Disney’s Magic Kingdom! When Walt Disney created Disneyland in 1955, the genre of Westerns in American pop culture was in its heyday. John Wayne was a giant movie star, Gunsmoke had just started on TV, and Disney itself had a giant hit on its hands with the Davy Crockett series. So it was only natural that one of the lands in the world’s first theme park would be based around the concept of the Old West. The original Frontierland in Disneyland contained few traditional attractions as we know today, and instead was a much more open concept that allowed guests to explore the wilderness  with – believe it or not – the use of stage coaches and even pack mules. Over the years the theme of Frontierland would evolve, including the additions of two of the most beloved rides in any Disney land. Today we’re going to take a look at our favorite parts of this incredible land in Walt Disney World, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Country Bears Jamboree

When Walt Disney World opened in 1971, there were no actual rides in Frontierland. The Walt Disney Railroad went through the area, there was a Davy Crockett canoe experience, and there was the Country Bears Jamboree. Now, if you were to go to the Magic Kingdom today, the one attraction that would never have a chance to be built is Country Bears. Even with massive changes to the show over the years, the show is what many guests would consider “politically incorrect.”  For me personally, Country Bears – along with Enchanted Tiki Room and PeopleMover – is one of my favorite things to do in any theme park because of its charm. Unlike what we are going through today, Country Bears doesn’t have an IP shoved into it in order to sell more merchandise. It is old school Disney at its best, amazing animatronics doing a show with humor and catchy songs. In fact, when Country Bears first opened it was so successful that it became the first original attraction in Florida to be replicated out in Disneyland. Pro Tip: Check your times guide and be around for the Hoedown Happening that takes places outside the Country Bears Jamboree. Here guests get to “hoot and holler” with Disney characters and Cast Members as they dance to music.

Country Bear Jamboree. (photo by Hunter Underwood)

Country Bear Jamboree. (photo by Hunter Underwood)

Bear claw marks inside waiting area of Country Bears. (photo by Hunter Underwood)

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Black Top Craft Burgers Coming to Downtown Disney

by on November 17, 2017
Filed under: Disneyland (CA), Recent News

Black Top Craft Burgers

©Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer

A fantastic new restaurant, known for their crazy shakes and award winning burgers, is coming to Downtown Disney in the Disneyland Resort. Black Top Craft Burgers is creating a customized concept for its Downtown Disney District location which will be found across from Catal and the Uva Bar. The restaurant will offer a casual vibe reminiscent of a classic American luncheonette with a distinctly New York feel, (given that the restaurant originated in New York) and it will feature both indoor and outdoor seating.

“We can’t wait to share the magic of Black Tap with guests from all over the world,” says Black Tap owner and Michelin Star awarded chef Joe Isidori. “From delicious burgers to awesome CrazyShake milkshakes, Black Tap will be the cherry on top of an incredible experience at Disneyland Resort.”

Black Tap’s menu will include burgers ranging from the classic All-American to The Vegan Burger. In addition, their specialty “CrazyShakes” will boast over-the-top decorations and flavors, such as The Cotton Candy Shake and The Bam Bam Shake.

Black Tap Craft Burgers is slated to open at Disneyland Resort in the winter of 2018.

Thanksgiving Options at Disney Parks

by on November 17, 2017
Filed under: Disneyland (CA), Recent News, Walt Disney World (FL)

©Disney

Wow! Can you believe that we are less than a week away from Thanksgiving?! If you’re going to be spending the holiday in the parks, you will have a number of places where you can choose to dine and grab a traditional (or even non-traditional) turkey meal.  They include:

 

Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom

  • Liberty Tree Tavern
  • Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Cafe will offer turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce and gravy

Epcot

  • Sunshine Seasons will offer turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans and cranberry sauce
  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
  • Biergarten
  • Coral Reef Restaurant
  • Le Cellier Steakhouse

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Disney Cruise Line Weekly Preview — Week of November 18

by on November 17, 2017
Filed under: Disney Cruise Line, Weekly Preview

The Disney Cruise Line Preview is brought to you by Storybook Destinations. Storybook Destinations specializes in Disney travel, is consistently highly rated by our readers, and is owned by our own blogger extraordinaire, Tammy Whiting. Storybook also offers free subscriptions to TouringPlans to clients with qualified bookings.

Ahoy, mateys! I’m Heather, and I’ll be bringing you the up and coming on all things Disney Cruise Line. Glad to have you aboard, and away we go with this week’s preview!

Ports of Call (High/Low Temperature, Chance of Rain)

Disney Magic

  • 18 November – New York (54/51, 64%)
  • 19 November – At Sea
  • 20 November – At Sea
  • 21 November – Nassau (86/72, 62%)
  • 22 November – Castaway Cay (79/67, 25%)
  • 23 November – Port Canaveral (73/56, 30%)
  • 24 November – At Sea

Disney Wonder

  • 18 November – At Sea
  • 19 November – Key West (81/71, 8%)
  • 20 November – Nassau (83/79, 40%)
  • 21 November – Castaway Cay (79/74, 62%)
  • 22 November – At Sea
  • 23 November – At Sea
  • 24 November – Galveston (72/62, 25%)

Disney Dream

  • 18 November – Nassau (85/72, 44%)
  • 19 November – Castaway Cay (79/74, 25%)
  • 20 November – Port Canaveral (74/67, 1%)
  • 21 November – Nassau (86/72, 62%)
  • 22 November – At Sea
  • 23 November – Castaway Cay (82/65, 55%)
  • 24 November – Port Canaveral (71/60, 1%)

Disney Fantasy

  • 18 November – Port Canaveral (79/63, 0%)
  • 19 November – At Sea
  • 20 November – Cozumel (82/72, 25%)
  • 21 November – Grand Cayman (82/78, 20%)
  • 22 November – Costa Maya (84/75, 10%)
  • 23 November – At Sea
  • 24 November – Castaway Cay (81/64, 55%)

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Disneyland Preview — Week of November 18

by on November 17, 2017
Filed under: Disney California Adventure, Disneyland (CA), Disneyland Park, Trip Planning, Weather, Weekly Preview

The holidays are here, and there are a few special events as Thanksgiving ushers in some pretty large crowds this week. Read on to learn more in this week’s Disneyland preview.

Special Events and Notes

Photo: @Kenlyy1

The holidays are in full swing at Disneyland! In addition to holiday decor at every turn, the daytime parade has been replaced by A Christmas Fantasy Parade and Believe… In Holiday Magic takes over for the evening fireworks. Also, the holiday overlays for it’s a small world and Haunted Mansion remain in place for the season. Over at Disney’s California Adventure, a couple of Cars Land attractions get the holiday treatment for the first time this year: Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters transforms into Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl, and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree becomes Mater’s Jingle Jamboree. The resorts all get into the spirit as well with holiday decorations, including a gingerbread replica of the Grand Californian in that hotel’s lobby! Make sure you check out Rikki’s preview to learn more about what you can expect for the holidays.

Of particular note is the Festival of Holidays at California Adventure. In addition to food and drink kiosks sprinkled throughout the park, which are always well-received, Princess Elena of Avalor has a special show, and Disney ¡Viva Navidad! will be taking place throughout the Festival. Lots of great stuff happening this season, well worth checking out! Read the rest of this entry »

In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of November 17, 2017

by on November 17, 2017
Filed under: In Case You Missed It 1 Comment

Are you ready for Thanksgiving? I can’t believe we are less than a week away from the holiday! What are you doing to celebrate? I hope that whatever you do, you are surrounded by friends and family.

This week, learn more about the film Coco from the directors, catch the story of The Force Awakens in a fun way, and more!

In Case You Missed It – Disney and Universal Orlando News and Rumors

Three Walt Disney World attractions have won TEA Thea Awards this year during the IAAPA Attractions Expo. Take a look at what won and in what categories.

Wow! The Disney Magic is going to be going through some changes, including the addition of a Tangled themed restaurant! What?! Read the rest of this entry »

Universal Orlando Resort Preview – Week of November 18

by on November 16, 2017
Filed under: Harry Potter, Universal Orlando Resort, Weekly Preview 2 Comments

Hello everyone, it’s my favorite time of the year: Thanksgiving! My turkey is purchased and I’ve assembled a spreadsheet of the start times and temperatures for each dish. At Universal Orlando it’s full steam ahead to Christmas as their holiday entertainment begins this Saturday, November 18th.

Weekly Crowd Levels

With Thanksgiving this week groups are traveling on vacation to Orlando. Monday, Tuesday, and Friday are the busiest days with this coming weekend being the lightest on crowds. Saturday begins Universal’s new Christmas offerings, so expect locals to come out to see the new shows and parade. Additionally our own math wizard Fred Hazelton crunched the numbers and found that crowd levels at the Orlando parks are larger than normal for November.

Detailed crowd level information can be found here.

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Julia’s Best Week Ever, November 16, 2017: A Most Merry (Merriest?) Night

by on November 16, 2017
Filed under: Best Week Ever, Christmas 2 Comments

Family achievement unlocked. Our daughter spent her first overnight weekend campout this past weekend, and so that meant her mom and dad were child-free for more than 24 hours. On a whim, I had entered a Disney Parks blog contest for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tickets and I won. (I’m wondering just how random it is, but I can’t complain–and I have no need to enter next year, but plan to save my luck for that eventual lottery win.) This time, I didn’t have to spend an extra $100 so that we could go as a family, and after looking at the list of events for the evening, our daughter said that it wasn’t her thing–but we were happy to try it out for her! After we dropped her off with her troop leaders, we made our way to the Magic Kingdom.

 

We arrived a while before the party started and grabbed a quick bite to eat at Columbia Harbor House before making our way back to Main Street. My primary goal was to get the special Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom card, so we were waiting by the fire station when the party started….and it started snowing!

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Walt Disney World Preview — Week of November 18

by on November 16, 2017
Filed under: Walt Disney World (FL), Weekly Preview

Can you believe the holiday season is right around the corner? Where has this year gone? The holidays mean lots of exciting events are coming your way at Walt Disney World.

Special Events

  • Disney Springs has a wide variety of holiday events going on, including the expanded Tree Trail, and select stores will also have Black Friday sales and special offerings. Although the full list hasn’t come out yet, you can see our review of last year’s Black Friday here.
  • It’s a holiday miracle! Choza de Margarita, the margarita stand at Epcot’s Mexico pavilion, is finally open. Check out our review of the drinks and food here.
  • More details are coming out about Star Wars Galactic Nights, a hard-ticket event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on December 16. If you want to attend, make sure to get your tickets right away as this event will sell out.

 

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Choza de Margarita: Upgraded Margarita Mecca Now Open

by on November 15, 2017
Filed under: Dining, Drinking, Epcot, Walt Disney World (FL) 1 Comment

The new Choza de Margarita stand at the Mexico Pavilion is located on the World Showcase Plaza side of the pavilion's central pyramidThis past Monday, the long-awaited Choza de Margarita stand outside of the Mexico pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase opened to much fanfare (and whistling… more on that in a second). Relocated from the Norway side of the pavilion’s central pyramid to the World Showcase Plaza side, this will be the new permanent home for “quick service” margaritas (as opposed to the more intimate setting of La Cava del Tequila, which has been slammed with patrons during the last few months to account for the missing stand).

Much larger in size and scope, the new Choza de Margarita stand exhibits a bit of smart, practical design on Disney’s part – the stand allows room for a line that will not impede traffic through the World Showcase promenade, and also has a good amount of room after you pick up your treats to stand or sit and enjoy them outdoors before heading off to your next destination. Another great part about the new stand? They have tons more offerings now, featuring options ranging from the traditional machine-spun frozen margaritas from before, as well as higher-end signature margaritas more akin to La Cava’s offerings (previously the stand only offered one of these a month), and even several snacks!

The frozen margaritas featured on the menu are mostly the same recipes and results as before – strawberry ($10.50), lime ($10.25), and passion fruit/mango ($10.25), or you can go for the Fiesta margarita ($10.50), a combination of all three flavors, which also comes with a lot of celebratory Cheery Cast Members make signature margaritas to orderwhistling and singing from Choza’s Cast Members. There are also a few beer options (Dos Equis Ambar, Cerveza Pacifico, and, for the Bloody Mary-style drink lovers, a Michelada).

The more interesting options come from the “Signature Margaritas” section of the menu, though. Ranging from $14-14.50 (a bit pricy, in my opinion, but in line with La Cava’s indoor pricing and quality), you can order three specialty drinks assembled to order featuring higher-end spirits and more complex flavors:

  • Acan grapefruit, featuring Tequila Casa Noble blanco, grapefruit liqueur, elderflower cordial, lemon, cardamom bitters, and ginger beer
  • Lime cucumber, featuring Tequila Avion blanco, fresh cucumber juice, orange liqueur, agave, and Tajin chili rim
  • Guava pink peppercorn, featuring Mezcal Zignum reposado, guava nectar, grapefruit liqueur, lime, Peychaud’s bitters, and pink peppercorns

The Acan Grapefruit Signature Margarita and the Lime Cucumber Signature Margarita from Choza de MargaritaOf course, I had to try out a few of the new drinks and snacks (all in the name of research, right?). First up, I sampled the Acan grapefruit, which sounded like a light option, perfect for a hot day. This margarita is on the sweeter side because of the elderflower, but the ginger beer brightens up the tequila and the floral cardamom, balanced well with the acid of the grapefruit flavors and the lemon juice. All in all, this was a very smooth sip, and perfect for those who prefer their margaritas with sweet/sour contrast. Read the rest of this entry »