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.
Recently, the Magic Kingdom rolled out a brand new Welcome Show that takes place on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage. Because of this, Guests are now able to enter the Magic Kingdom and stroll through Main Street U.S.A., savoring the atmosphere, taking photos, and grabbing a quick breakfast. While most immediately head to the Main Street Bakery for their Starbucks coffee, Disney has introduced a few new locations that will be serving up some unique breakfast options.
Casey’s Corner will be serving up muffins, bagels, and a croissant doughnut. But if you’re looking for something a little more interesting, they will also be offering corn dog nuggets and the hash brown dog. The hash brown dog features hash browns, bacon, Cheddar, onion straws and chipotle-ranch. One thing to note is that according to the Disney Parks Blog, breakfast options at Casey’s Corner will stop being served at 11:00 a.m.
Beginning today, a brand new test is taking place until February 22 at the Magic Kingdom called Disney Dine-on-the-Go. Guests can purchase Disney Dine on-the-Go, which provides each Guest with two one-day, quick-service meals.
This new meal deal includes one lunch quick-service entrée and one non-alcoholic beverage that’s good until 4:00 p.m., and one dinner quick-service entrée and one non-alcoholic beverage that’s good after 4:00 p.m. (Keep in mind that with both meals, dessert is not included). Lunch certificates may only be used before 4:00 p.m. and dinner certificates may only be used after 4:00 p.m.
The Walt Disney World Resort is celebrating its 45th anniversary; and while a number of attractions and experiences from the resort’s early days are still be enjoyed all these years later, the resort has been no stranger to change. When I think back on my childhood visits to Walt Disney World, a few things come to mind that kids today will never experience… or even believe! Like what? Well, let’s take a look at just a few Disney World Experiences Kids Today Will Never Understand, shall we?
Cinderella Castle Was Once a Cake
Walt Disney World rarely gives their icons makeovers nowadays. For this year’s 45th Anniversary, a banner appeared on Cinderella Castle for like five minutes and then vanished. Disney even forgoes the popular holiday layovers that some Disneyland Park attractions are given each year.
This is why Cinderella Castle’s sugary pink makeover for the resort’s 25th Anniversary is a little hard to swallow in retrospect.
Yes, on October 1, 1996, Cinderella Castle was transformed into a pink and white cake decked with an assortment of candies! My seven year self loved it, but let’s just say others did not…
Regal Cinderella Castle remained a cake for 15 months, and that is just one of the Disney World experiences kids today will never understand or experience!
PUSH in Tomorrowland (photo credit Scott Sanders – Disney Cruise Line Blog)
For many years, the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland was home to a mobile, interactive trash can appropriately called PUSH. Now I know what you’re thinking, kids. But trust me, PUSH was a rock star. PUSH would talk and tease guests and treat any trash you disposed in him as a tasty snack.
Sadly, PUSH can no longer be found at Walt Disney World these days, but he is one Disney World experience I hope may return one day.
Mulan Was Drawn at a Disney Park
Disney’s Hollywood Studios, originally known as Disney-MGM Studios, was intended to be a theme park and a functioning production studio.
The studio element of the park eventually disappeared; but back in the day, live action and animation both took place at the park. In fact, park guests were once able to watch Disney animators working on films like Mulan, Lilo and Stitch, and Brother Bear at the Magic of Disney Animation pavilion.
One of the Disney World experiences kids today will never understand is the struggle of a Disney World Vacation before FASTPASS. Not until 1999 was the original FASTPASS paper ticket system introduced to Walt Disney World, offering relief from lengthy wait times and non-interactive queues in the pre-smartphone years.
Today, Walt Disney World guests enjoy FastPass+ where guests can book their FastPass+ reservation online or through the MyDisneyExperience app. This second generation system guarantees a short wait for a favorite headlining attraction, even before a guest arrives on property. It’s a luxury my childhood self never could have imagined!
Welcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando.
Can you believe 2016 is already over? Think about where we were a year ago at this time. There was no such thing as tiered ticket pricing, there were no cabanas in the Magic Kingdom, Tom Staggs was still with Disney, and we were all waiting for Rivers of Light to debut in Animal Kingdom. Well, at least some things never change.
I want to say up from that this month’s edition of the Outlet Report is a slightly shortened, and the reason for that is during December the Disney Outlet Stores become busier than the Magic Kingdom on a phased closure day. It’s just not fun. Both of us managed a trip in, but ran out screaming in short order. Now, I was going to make Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo go back on Christmas Eve in order to get a first hand report of the carnage, but Head Honcho Len Testa told me that would break several treaties in the Geneva Convention. First they take away water boarding and now this… maybe this generation has gone soft after all.
However, there is no rest for the wicked, and since December is my favorite month of all, I personally had a lot of fun outside of the Outlets. Myself and TouringPlans TV’s own Brian McNichols put out a new episode of the critically acclaimed Pardon the Pixie Dust podcast. While over on Twitter I did a 25 day unveiling of the Theme Park Blogger Advent Calendar as well as drawing many DerekDoodles for a good cause.
Now, what did Julia and I find when we did briefly step into Mordor the Disney Outlet Stores? Let’s check it out!
First up was a good one. You’ll remember last month I pulled my hair out seeing a May the 4th Be With You R2 droid at the Outlets that I had picked up earlier in the year at full price in Disney Springs. Well, this month brought the special Halloween figure, R2-BOO, which I did not buy at the stores. Jackpot! Originally $12.99, reduced to $4.99.
R2-BOO. (photo by Julia Mascardo)
In 2015 Disney went all in on hand sanitzers, creating a whole bunch of them. Each one holds 1 0z of hand sanitizer, which is just about the amount you will need if your kid wipes his hand on that “honey wall” in the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh queue. This year brought even more designs. The bottles originally were $8.85 each, but these were reduced to just 99cents. Picked one up at that price. For $9 I’ll take my chances with the germs.
Mickey Hand Sanitizer
More Disney Infinity stuff hit the Outlets. Disney stopping the entire system cold earlier this year was a shocker, and even made the special SATURDAY SIX: IN MEMORIAM article for this year. Here is Mulan, and even more unbelievably, the character “Time” from the AliceThrough the Looking Glass movie. Maybe this line needed to be put out of its misery after all. Originally $13.99, reduced to $6.99.
Also appearing were Disney Infinity Power Discs that were originally $9.99, now $4.99. Now I have picked up some of the Disney Infinity figures, even though I have never played the game, because I absolutely adore that cartoonish art style throughout the line. It’s like an awesome shared Universe line-up that has everything from The Incredibles to Pirates of the Caribbean to iconic Disney parks characters. Basically it’s like if Marvel Studios worked with Warner Bros to make an Avengers/Justice League film. Anyway, I was going to take a jab at why anyone would buy these power discs, but they seem to be almost the exact same shape and size of the ridiculous “pogs” I grew up with and bought way too many of.
Disney Infinity Power Discs (photo by Julia Mascardo)
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.
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).
If you are a fan of the Magic Kingdom Welcome Show, 2017 will bring some new changes. Beginning January 9, Guests will be able to experience a new way to start their day.
Previously Guests would wait in front of the Main Street Train Station to catch the show. This would often cause backups though, especially on busier days.
To help alleviate some of the congestion, Guests will be allowed to enter Main Street, U.S.A. ahead of the park’s scheduled opening time. Guests will have the opportunity to savor the atmosphere, take photos, or grab a quick breakfast. Then at park opening, Guests will be able to experience a brand new Welcome Show that will officially open the park for the day on the Castle Forecourt Stage. During the new Welcome Show, a Royal Herald will appear to deliver a proclamation and welcome a few of your favorite Disney characters to the stage and officially opening the park for the day.
The final performance of the current Magic Kingdom Welcome Show will take place on January 8.
It’s the most hectic time of the year! Walt Disney World is getting ready to celebrate saying goodbye to 2016 and hello to 2017 in a way only the resort knows how to…with an explosion of fireworks!
At Epcot, Guests will be able to enjoy two different showings of Illuminations: Reflections of Earth. At 6:00 p.m., you’ll be able to catch the show with the beautiful and touching holiday tag. Then, beginning at 11:40 p.m., get ready to usher in 2017 with a show that’s unlike any other.
In addition, Epcot will feature DJs in both Future World and World Showcase. They will be found from 7:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. at the following locations:
the Future World Fountain Stage
China – flame effects and smoke-billowing dragon
United Kingdom – British Invasion
Italy – Euro-pop and lasers
Japan – “Silent Groove” party
America Adventure – America Gardens Theatre Stage, joined by a Latin band
It started with Be Our Guest Restaurant back in 2012, and now, due to Guest demand, it’s rolling out to other Magic Kingdom table service restaurants. Beginning December 23, four more dining establishments will begin selling beer and wine.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Guests will be able to purchase an alcoholic beverage during lunch and dinner at Tony’s Town Square, Liberty Tree Tavern, Jungle Skipper Canteen, and Cinderella’s Royal Table. Beverages will only be sold in the restaurants; there will be no to-go orders available.
Beverages that will be available will fit the theme and cuisine of each restaurant. For example, Tony’s Town Square will offer Italian wines and beers; Liberty Tree Tavern will serve beer, cider, and domestic wines that match with the Thanksgiving-themed cuisine; Jungle Skipper Canteen will offer beverages with a global appeal to pair with its worldly menu; Cinderella’s Royal Table will continue with the posh theme by serving champagne and sparkling wine.
Many had wondered, myself included, if the addition of beer and wine at Be Our Guest Restaurant would lead to additional Magic Kingdom restaurants introducing alcohol into other restaurants. Seems that’s now the case.