Archive for September, 2012

2012 Epcot Food & Wine Menus and Prices Available Now

by on September 28, 2012

We’ve finished entering every food item from every kiosk into our menu system for the 2012 Epcot Food & Wine Festival. See all the menus here.   Every menu is searchable, and we’ve included information on which items count as snacks on the Disney Dining Plan.

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Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Photography Tips

by on September 27, 2012

Ever left Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party with some ghoulishly bad photos? Blame ghosts. Or evil-doers. Or something of that sort. Whatever you do, don’t blame yourself! (But who would do that?! It’s not the American way!) If you’ve had trouble taking photos during Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, not only are you not alone, and chances are, it’s really not your fault. Between the harsh artificial lighting and nighttime darkness during the event, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party presents the most challenging circumstances for outdoor landscape-style photography at Walt Disney World. That lighting really adds to the great ambiance during the Party, but it wrecks havoc on our camera sensors.

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What’s in My Disney World Hotel Room?

by on September 26, 2012

So you’ve booked a stay at a Walt Disney World resort hotel. Yay you! You next thought may be to wonder what you might expect to find when you walk into your hotel room.

The quality of in-room amenities will vary depending on where you stay, but all of the Walt Disney World resorts have some basic room features in common. Here are the basics that every Disney World resort guest will encounter, no matter where they’re sleeping.

Every room has a TV. This one is at the Caribbean Beach Resort.

At least one television with remote control.

    Suites and multi-room villas will have more than one TV.

Free wireless internet.

    This long-awaited feature is a relatively new addition to the Disney hotels. There is Wi-Fi in the guest rooms as well as in the hotel lobbies and other public areas. The signal is not always top notch, but it’s a huge step forward over the former $10 per day wired internet situation that existed as recently as early 2012. Full Wi-Fi coverage in the parks is on the way as well.

At least one telephone.

    Suites and multi-room villas will have more than one phone.

Ice bucket.

    There are free ice machines available at all the Disney resorts.

A refrigerator.

ALL Walt Disney World hotel rooms now come with a small refrigerator in the room at no extra charge. Gone are the days of paying for fridge rentals in the value resorts.

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What Makes Epcot So Special?

by on September 26, 2012

This week you’ll probably see a lot of blog posts around the Disney community about Epcot as we gear up for the 30th anniversary of this amazing park. Today I’d like to take a look at Epcot since it is my favorite park, but it may not be the angle you’re expecting. I’m a relative newcomer to Disney World fandom. I hadn’t been to Florida between the ages of 4 and 22 so I don’t remember a lot of the things some of the die hard Epcot miss. I know a fair amount about the history of Epcot, but I’m not an expert on the subject by any means. So, instead, I’ll be writing all about what makes this my favorite park today and I’ll throw in some tips for touring too. There is something majestic about this park for me. So what makes Epcot so special?

Atmosphere: Although Horizons is gone I still feel a sense of “if we can dream it, we can do it” around Epcot. I’m not sure if it’s the architecture or the music in Future World, but I always feel uplifted when I walk through the main gates. Over in World Showcase, I just adore the celebration of culture brought to life through the designs of the imagineers. As an added bonus the gardens in Epcot are some of my favorites anywhere.

Attractions: There are some really great headliners here, but I also really appreciate some of the less popular attractions too. Sure, I love to ride Soarin’, but I don’t always love getting there for park opening to get a Fastpass. I go to Disney World so often that I’m just as happy riding Living with the Land without having to wait in a huge queue. I also like to be reminded of how revolutionary this park was with a journey through time on Spaceship Earth. While, I’m not as in love with the current version, I still have a soft spot for the smell of Rome burning. And in World Showcase I’ll take in the American Adventure for a good cry. Epcot is so much more than Test Track, so take advantage of all it has to offer!

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Vegan Dining at Roaring Fork

by on September 25, 2012

Roaring Fork
5 Bunches of Kale

Maybe you’ve just finished a long bike ride around the trails at the Fort Wilderness Resort and Campgrounds, or you’re just hungry for one of the best quick service options on property. If either of these is the case, you will find yourself stumbling into Roaring Fork at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

Roaring Fork might only have one vegan option on its menu, but it’s a delicious one! The sandwich formerly known as the “Vegetarian Quinoa Wrap” recently went through a name change, and a minor attitude adjustment. Now called the “Mediterranean Wrap,” the item is no longer made-to-order at the sandwich station. It is, instead, found pre-packaged in the refrigerator between the sandwich station and grill area.  The plus? You’ll never have to wait for your meal! The minus? You no longer receive the choice of Cucumber Salad or House-Made-Chips on the side, like the other made-to-order sandwiches on the menu. Bummer!

The wrap features red pepper hummus, seasoned quinoa, lettuce, tomatoes, and zucchini tucked together in a cozy spinach wrap. If you’ve enjoyed it before, there has also been a slight recipe change, too! The pinto bean hummus of yester-wrap had a unique spicy kick to it, and a lot of flavor. The new red pepper hummus is very mild, and not as tasty as its predecessor. The quinoa/hummus combo still makes for a great, and filling sandwich even without the side item. This choice is also a departure from the usual quick service vegan fare (aka veggie burgers), so it’s a great option if you’re looking for a little variety during your visit.

Venture over to Wilderness Lodge next time you’re in the area, and let me know your thoughts on these changes to my favorite on-property sandwich!

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Food & Wine Festival Kick-Off Meet

by on September 25, 2012

Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival begins this weekend and we want to start it off with some of you! TouringPlans.com will be hosting a meet for a very small number of people in World Showcase on Sunday September 30, 2012.  We will meet in the outdoor seating of the American Adventure pavilion at 11:30 am. People who make it into the event will be provided with a food item of their choice from one of the nearby Food & Wine booths and a beverage.

The gathering will be pretty small and guests need to email to get a spot.  Only 12 people (each with a plus one) will be accepted.  Others who do not make it in can still stop by and hang out, but we will not be providing food.

Email: scarlett@touringplans.com. You will get a response letting you know if you made it in or not.  Good luck!

 

Update: The meet is now full!  Thanks to everyone who signed up. Remember, you can still stop by and hang out even if you weren’t officially accepted into the meet.

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A New Kind of Attraction: Enchanted Tales With Belle

by on September 25, 2012

Many of you are no doubt aware that New Fantasyland at The Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World is scheduled to open on December 6. You may also be aware that previews (also known as…well, opening) start November 19. What you may not be aware of is that there is a chance to see part of New Fantasyland right now.

Enchanted Tales with Belle began testing in late August starting with Cast Members (where it was wonderfully detailed in this post). A week or so later the tests expanded and Disney began allowing plain old guests into the attraction. For some reason, they even allowed me in there (I guess their persona non grata list was not updated). I have no facts to back this up (and I’m way too lazy to look), but this seemed like a long time in advance to be testing an attraction. I realized why they began testing as soon as I saw it.

This is an attraction unlike any other at Disney World. The unimaginative would dismiss it as a simple meet and greet like the Mickey Mouse one set up at the Town Square Theater. The slightly imaginative would compare it to the former Rapunzel and Eugene (a.k.a. Flynn Rider) meet which began with some interactivity. Both would be wrong.

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Magic Kingdom Quick Bites

by on September 24, 2012

There have been a couple of smaller news items that have come out of the Magic Kingdom over the past few days that we wanted to make sure to share with you all!

First off, Disney announced that there is going to be a new addition to Pirates of the Caribbean, found in Adventureland. Disney didn’t announce what they addition actually was, but they did say that the work will be done overnight. Do keep in mind, Pirates has a one day closure on Tuesday, October 9, 2012. It is assumed this has something to do with the addition.

The second piece of information is that Big Thunder Mountain Railroad in Frontierland will soon have an interactive queue. No word on what changes will be made; however, this work will also be done overnight. There are no closures scheduled for Big Thunder.

 

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Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – A Primer

by on September 24, 2012

This weekend begins my favorite time of the year in Walt Disney World – the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. For six glorious weeks, epicurean delights of all shapes and sizes abound throughout Epcot, and people like me who love to eat and drink are in hog heaven. But don’t let the name fool you, this is not necessarily some fancy foodie expo. No, the Food & Wine Festival is as accessible for every day burger and fries people as it is for those who love to eat sweetbreads and truffle oil.

Everyone's happy at Food & Wine

But what is the Food & Wine Festival? The basic idea is that it’s celebration of foods from around the world, displayed throughout Epcot’s restaurants, walkways, and the Festival Center. The details are a little more than that, and show you how you can make the most of the festival. So let’s dig in, shall we?

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What to Expect from 2012′s Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland

by on September 24, 2012

Mickey’s Halloween Party is the Disneyland is a special extra-ticket event held select nights at Disneyland during the Halloween season. The party includes a special fireworks show featuring a fly by of Zero (instead of Tinker Bell), a costumed character cavalcade,  trick-or-treating, dance parties, and more.

 

When/Where is the Halloween Party? 

Mickey’s Halloween Party takes place in Disneyland on select nights in the fall, typically running from late-September until Halloween. In 2012, the party dates are September 28, October 2, 5, 9, 12, 15, 19, 23, 26, 29, and 31.

Tickets for Mickey’s Halloween Party typically become available in July.

What time is the Party?

Officially the Party runs from 6 pm on some nights and 7 pm on others. The party runs until 11 pm or 12 am, depending on the night. Guests with valid Halloween party tickets may enter the park up to three hours prior to the event’s start time.

Will I need a special ticket to get into the Party?

Yes. Admission requires buying a separate ticket just for this event. It’s not included in any regular theme park tickets or annual passports.

How much do the Party tickets cost?

There’s a range of pricing including discounts for buying in advance. The official Disney website lists the following prices:

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