Disney Springs

Paddlefish at Disney Springs Gets Official Opening Date

by on January 25, 2017

©Paddlefish

After months and months of refurbishment work, I can officially tell you that Paddlefish is reopening on February 4!

The Disney Springs restaurant, which is formerly known as Fulton’s Crab House, has been seeing a massive bow to stern transformation. When the seafood-centric restaurant reopens, it will be themed more now after a modern, luxurious yacht and will be an inviting and opulent atmosphere for guests. Paddlefish will offer Guests multiple dining experiences and private event spaces.

While Paddlefish’s main focus will be on seafood, there will also be beef, chicken, vegetarian, and vegan options for Guests to enjoy. Specialties will include oyster shucking bar, Florida stone crab and Alaskan king crab, steaks and chops, as well as classic and curated cocktails. Paddlefish will feature separate lunch and dinner menus.

Here’s a look at some of the dishes you’ll be able to enjoy at Paddlefish:

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Disney Springs to Offer Personal Shopping Services

by on January 24, 2017

©Rikki Niblett

Today, we’re going to add to the list of “exclusive” high-end experiences you can experience at Walt Disney World. Guests will now have the option to take advantage of a personal shopping service.

Melanie Pace, who is a distinguished fashion advisor and has been featured in “Women’s Health,” “Shape Magazine,” and “E! News” is now available for clients and is accepting appointments for those looking to shop at Disney Springs. It is said that she can create looks on with any budget.

The Personal Shopping Session provides one-on-one consulting, fashion recommendations, beauty advice, and special access to Disney Springs retailers.

The Personal Shopping Sessions are $250 per hour and can be booked by visiting melaniepace.com or call 321-377-1337 and ask for a “Disney Springs Style Session”. Small group experiences can also be booked. Appointments will be available on a first come, first-served basis during normal Disney Springs operating hours.

2017 Pro Bowl Week Schedule

by on January 22, 2017

The Pro Bowl Week is a week-long celebration that unites and inspires the entire football community – players, coaches, families, and fans for a full week of activities, challenges, and true football spirit.

During Pro Bowl Week, everyone has the opportunity to participate in or watch a variety of events, including youth football clinics, the NFL Flag Championships, Pro Bowl player practices, skill challenges, sessions for coaches, the Women’s World Football Championships, and a host of other festivities with the best players of the past, present and future.

Many events are taking place at Walt Disney World, and are free to attend. Practices are free and open to the public but fans can register for priority access here. Some events require a Fan Mobile Pass (FMP). 

 

NFL Pro Bowl Practices

 

Pro Bowl Practices at ESPN Wide World of Sports are not only a chance to see NFC and AFC teams in action, but also the epicenter of a three-day football festival. Practice combined with various fan competitions and activities will be open to the public beginning Wednesday, January 25 and concludes on Saturday, January 28.

AFC Team Practice Schedule

  • Wednesday, January 25: 11:45 AM – 12:45 PM
  • Thursday, January 26: 9:45 AM – 10:45 AM
  • Friday, January 27: 11:20 AM – 12:20 PM
  • Saturday, January 28: 9:45 AM – 10:45 AM

 

NFC Team Practice Schedule

  • Wednesday, January 25: 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
  • Thursday, January 26: 11:20 AM – 12:20 PM
  • Friday, January 27: 9:45 AM – 10:45 AM
  • Saturday, January 28: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

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#RockTheDots Event at Disney Springs and Downtown Disney

by on January 19, 2017

#RockTheDots

©Disney

Did you know that January 22 is National Polka Dot Day? Disney is inviting its Guests to #RockTheDots and celebrate the fashion icon that is Minnie Mouse. Guests looking to celebrate should visit Disney Springs in Walt Disney World or Downtown Disney in Disneyland dressed in their polka-dotted attire. During the #RockTheDots event, Guests will be able to take part in unique entertainment, photo opportunities, discounts, and giveaways.

At Disney Springs, Guests who visit should first stop and pick up a commemorative button. Those dressed in polka dots can grab one at the following locations:

  • The Welcome Center
  • Marketplace Co-Op
  • Tren-D
  • World of Disney
  • Disney’s Wonderful World of Memories
  • DisneyQuest
  • Select participating retailers

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Characters in Flight at Disney Springs to See Update

by on January 2, 2017

Characters in Flight

©Rikki Niblett

This past weekend, I was visiting the Walt Disney World Resort for the holidays and one of the spots I’ve been heavily frequenting is Disney Springs. While exploring, I quickly noticed that the Characters in Flight balloon was looking exceptionally faded and thought that it would need to be refurbished again soon.

Looks like I wasn’t the only one who thought so. Characters in Flight, which is operated by Aerophile will be closed for refurbishment from January 9-13. When the Disney Springs West Side attraction reopens, it will feature an all new look.

Characters in Flight allows Guests to ascend 400 feet in the air over Disney Springs in a tethered helium balloon. Guests are able to get a 360-degree view of the Walt Disney World Resort.

The last time the balloon was updated with a new look was back in 2012.

SATURDAY SIX: Six Things We Can’t Wait To See in 2017

by on December 31, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Things We Can’t Wait To See In 2017! 2016 was another unbelievable year in the theme park world, containing a wide mix of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly. 2017 is already shaping up to be even more amazing. We have a new immersive land that promises to eclipse what Disneyland has done with Cars Land and Universal with Diagon Alley, a new President being added to the Hall of Presidents, and the first of its kind “water theme park.” If that doesn’t get your blood pumping about the next 12 months you may actually be a Host from Westworld, but for the rest of you, here’s some of the things we can’t wait to see, starting with…

 

# 6 – Pandora: The World of Avatar (Animal Kingdom)

Our long national nightmare is almost over. First announced on September 20, 2011, Pandora: The World of Avatar is nearing completion. Disney is saying “Summer 2017” for this new land, and is going on record saying it is the most immersive area in any theme park. Just from what we can see from what rises over the construction walls and the Blogger-In-The-Sky helicopter camera shots, the land does look STUNNING. The info we’ve been given on the bioluminescent plants in the area along with the experience in the Na’vi River Journey make both seem like “wow” moments. Last year, this fine blog did question what Pandora will be doing in the areas of food and merchandise, two extremely important factors a theme park land needs to deliver on to satisfy its Return On Investment (ROI). These are also two areas that Disney has not released much info on for Pandora. We all know that Avatar the movie – by far and away the most financially successful film in the history of cinema – never really figured out a way to get its fans to buy merchandise the way that Star Wars, Marvel, Harry Potter, and even Star Trek have.

The Flying Mountains of Pandora. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

Na’vi River Journey. (photo courtesy of Disney Parks and Resorts)

One of the most exciting things about Pandora is that it appears the land will be using projection mapping on its incredible rock work. This is something that has never been mentioned by Disney over the course of the Pandora project, but Johnny-on-the-spot bloggers have seen this technology being tested. Your Humble Author thinks projection mapping is one of the areas that Disney is heads and tails above anyone else in the industry right now. Whether on the castle in the Magic Kingdom, the Great Movie Ride facade in DHS, or the jaw dropping Tree of Life Awakens shows at Animal Kingdom, Disney’s use of projection mapping in the parks is amazing.

What looks to be testing for projecting mapping on the rock work in Pandora. (photo by @Blog_Mickey)

# 5 – Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon (Universal Studios Florida)

Last year Universal fans lost Twister…Ride It Out! along with its Bill Paxton performance that was so mailed in he should have put a stamp on it. In Twister’s place will be the upcoming Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon. One of the most underrated aspects of this change, is that the attraction takes place in the New York area of Universal Studios Florida, so it is a perfect fit. There are many who do not like Fallon’s broad sense of humor, but his Late Night TV dominance shows there is most likely a much larger group of people who love what he brings to the table (Your Humble Author included). While there have been some debates on how the “flying theater” ride mechanics will actually work, one thing we do know is that Universal is trying something truly different with how people experience the attraction’s queue.

Much like how Dumbo at the Magic Kingdom allows kids to play in a themed area until it is time to ride, Race Through New York looks to have things for adults to do while waiting. There will be a woman’s quartet singing songs, a chance to check out classic bits from from Fallon’s Tonight Show run (including Lip Sync Battle), write your own “Thank You Notes” at an interactive desk, and even get a meet and greet with the Tonight Show’s mascot, Hashtag the Panda.

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon is designed to get guests to laugh, and comedy is one thing Universal is very good at delivering on. From the criminally underrated Horror Make-Up Show to the non-stop gags in Springfield USA, be prepared to bring your smile when stepping into Universal Studios Florida.

Race Through New York starring Jimmy Fallon concept art.

Race Through New York Starring Jimmy Fallon in Universal Studios Florida. (photo by @bioreconstruct).

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Keeping Kids Happy at Disney Springs

by on December 7, 2016

Back when Disney Springs was Downtown Disney, it was relatively easy to keep a family happy – park the kids at DisneyQuest while you spend an hour speeding through a few shops and then you’re good to go. However, with the major expansion of the Disney Springs nearly complete, there are now many more points of interest in the area for adults, perhaps making it more challenging to keep youngsters engaged. Here are some ideas for keeping little ones occupied at the expanded Disney Springs.

Movies may be your best option for keeping kids occupied for an extended period.

Movies may be your best option for keeping kids occupied for an extended period.

West Side

  • Shopping: The key draws for kids here are the Super Hero Headquarters and Star Wars Galactic Outpost shops. Bear in mind that these are both relatively small shops, with no activities available other than perusing the merchandise. (Rest in Peace D-Street and your Vinylmation coloring and trading stations.) The only other location of much interest for kids is the Candy Cauldron, a vendor of standard Disney sweets. Again, this is a small shop, mostly good for quick sugar acquisition; however, the open kitchen features a picture window from which you can view cast members decorating desserts. If you happen upon a session of fancy apple crafting, this could be interesting for five or six minutes.
  • Dining: West Side Dining holds little special appeal for kids. One point of interest is the interactive screen at the Starbucks location here. Kids can use their hands here to draw on what amounts to a giant MagnaDoodle.
  • Entertainment: Believe it or not, the West Side’s DisneyQuest indoor arcade is still open. While Disney had reported its imminent closing over a year ago, the plan is now to keep DisneyQuest in operation into 2017. That being said, I can’t recommend this as a diversion for the kiddos. DisneyQuest has a steep cover charge ($39 for kids ages 3-9, $48 for 10 and up). Even with one parent/child pair, you’ll be dropping nearly $100 for some sadly outdated entertainment in an environment that I’ve found to be lacking in Disney’s usual cleanliness. Other more promising options include the AMC movie theater and Splitsville Bowling Lanes. Both these options are reliable ways to beat the heat or pass the time on a rainy day. If the weather is good, you can opt for the Characters In Flight balloon experience, which offers panoramic views of all of Disney World. With Characters In Flight, bear in mind that you may have to hold a short child in order for them to have viable sight lines.

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Disney Springs Introduces New Disney PhotoPass Studio

by on December 2, 2016

Disney PhotoPass Studio

©Disney

Do you love to purchase Disney PhotoPass to capture all of your family’s vacation memories? Well, if you do, you’ll now able able to make a stop at the brand new Disney PhotoPass Studio which has just opened in the Marketplace at Disney Springs!

This location is the perfect place to get your family’s portrait done, as Guests can choose from getting their photographs taken against a standard background or you can even choose to have a virtual background added to your photo that places your family inside some of your favorite Disney scenes.

The Disney PhotoPass Studio also features new viewing stations so that you can preview, purchase, and print your vacation memories that have been linked to your My Disney Experience Account.

Photos taken at the Disney PhotoPass Studio will be linked to your My Disney Experience account and are included as a part of Memory Maker.

Guests need not make reservations for the Disney PhotoPass Studio, so show up and make some memories with your family!

A Recap of Black Friday at Disney Springs: Boom or Bust?

by on November 28, 2016

Spoiler Alert: This is not the kind of crowds that Disney Springs merchants were hoping for.

Spoiler Alert: This is not the kind of crowds that Disney Springs merchants were hoping for.

This year, with a wide variety of new stores opening throughout Disney Springs, it wasn’t a huge surprise that Disney Springs announced that it would be getting into the holiday shopping spirit with its own Black Friday sales.

In conversations with one of the merchants, the consensus was that neither the merchants nor Disney had any idea whether or not this would be successful. And although I’m anti-crowds and an anti-“stuff” semi-minimalist, I wanted to see exactly how Black Friday at Disney Springs would compare with the stories you see on the news. Full disclaimer: I have never door-busted any stores for Black Friday in my life, but have had a few years of experience as a sales floor manager at Target way back in my youth and got to see the best and the worst of Black Friday behavior. There were a couple items that I was looking to purchase for some family members this year, and so if I could get a small discount on them, I’d be happy with that as well. Just to say we’ve had the experience, we decided to rope drop the Black Friday event at Disney Springs.

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TBT: Six Reasons for Theme Park Fans to Give Thanks in 2015

by on November 23, 2016

Greetings! TouringPlans.com Blog Manager Brian here to welcome you to the continuation of TBT: Throwback Thanksgiving week here on the blog. All this week we will be revisiting a few wonderful Thanksgiving-related posts from the past. This wonderful entry from 2015 highlighting the six things that Derek Burgan gave thanks for during that year.

Make sure you come back Thursday at 9:00am for this years items to give thanks for!

 

This week’s SATURDAY SIX  is our annual Thanksgiving Special and takes a look at Six Reasons for Theme Park Fans to Give Thanks. 2015 was another great year to be a theme park fan, and for this Thanksgiving we are going to take a quick break from all the turkey, football games, and Black Friday planning to count our blessings and thank the parks and resorts we love so much. So, for one day only, we ask that all Disney and Universal fans put aside their differences and spend a moment appreciating all the wonderful things that we can share together, starting with…

# 6 – Selfie Stick Ban at Walt Disney World

SelfieStick_Partners

no_more_selfie_sticks_pamphlet_sethIf you noticed any #Millenials or narcissists wearing black armbands this summer, it was because after banning selfie sticks on Disney attractions earlier in the spring, Walt Disney World completely banned the use of selfie sticks at the parks. Seemingly out of nowhere, the edict came down right after another high profile news story of Disney California Adventure’s California Screamin’ roller coaster being stopped mid ride because of a guest using a selfie stick. On June 26th, WDW guests were given a pamphlet at the parking plaza explaining the selfie stick ban, signage was displayed on the walkways to the parks along with bag check explaining the new policy.

The selfie stick ban was definitely a controversial move to be sure. Universal had earlier become more strict on preventing selfie sticks on rides, but Disney outright stopped people from even entering the park with them. Now we joked earlier about only kids and narcissists using them, the truth is that selfie sticks have become increasingly popular across almost all demographics. While people using selfie sticks inside the parks can be a nuisance, they were starting to become a serious safety factor on attractions. You may have seen what is called an Envelope of Protection as Imagineers test out the attractions. This device makes sure that all the attractions are safe for every rider, basically simulating the possible reach of every guest in the ride vehicle. This is why while it may seem like your may lose your arms in Space Mountain if you hold them up during the ride, but in actuality you are nowhere close to hitting anything. What the Envelope of Protection doesn’t take into account though, is guests holding on to anything that extends their reach.

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