Recent News

Tables in Wonderland Changes To Take Place August 1

by on July 29, 2014

tables in wonderland logo

©Disney

I wrote about this last year, but I wanted to remind everyone. (I did write about it a year ago…so I am sure you’ve likely forgotten.) Effective Friday, August 1, the discount card, Tables in Wonderland will be seeing some changes.

One major change is that a couple of select restaurants will see the the addition of a few more blackout dates. These dates will include–November 23-29; December 21-27; March 8-April 4, 2015; and May 31-June 20, 2015. The restaurants that will be impacted are:

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Chase Lounge Returns for 2014 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

by on July 29, 2014

Chase Lounge at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

Chase Lounge at the American Adventure Parlor for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival

For the third year in a row, thanks to Chase’s sponsorship of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, the exclusive Chase Lounge will make a return. The lounge will be located, once again, at the American Adventure Pavilion, in the American Adventure Parlor, which is located on the third floor, with its entrance found between the attraction and the gift shop.

The lounge allows guests to have a seat, relax, recharge electronics, grab a complimentary soft drink, read a magazine, check out the interactive festival map, grab a Discovery Passport, and – most importantly – soak up some much needed air conditioning! (Touring and eating around World Showcase gets HOT!) During last year’s festival, beer and wine were also available to purchase; there is no word  yet on whether that option will return this year. Also, in previous years guests could obtain preferred viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth and Eat to the Beat concerts as long as wristbands (which were distributed on a first come, first served basis) were available. No word yet on if that will be available for guests, either. I’ll make sure to keep you posted.

Chase cardholders must present a Disney Visa Card to gain access (though in the past any Chase card would work for entry, and, of course, Epcot theme park admission is required), and each card member may bring up to nine guests. The Chase Lounge will be available from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday during the Festival. Do keep in mind that the lounge often reaches capacity, and when it does, will move to a one person out-one person in system.

I visited the Chase Lounge last year, so if you are curious about how it works, make sure to read my post.

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A New Haunted Mansion Gift Shop To Debut This Fall at the Magic Kingdom

by on July 28, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

I hinted at it being true a while back, but today the Disney Parks Blog made it official: The Haunted Mansion will indeed receive a gift shop (finally!) in Magic Kingdom‘s Liberty Square. The store will be located right near the attraction, in the location of the Yankee Trader store, which closed for refurbishment today. (Bye bye, Smuckers jams and jellies!)

The new merchandise location is slated to open officially this fall, drawing inspiration from Madame Leota herself, and will include a whole slew of hauntingly good merchandise for Haunted Mansion fans to purchase. (On my next trip, if the majority of my money is going to be spent at the Marketplace Co-Op at Downtown Disney, the rest of it will now officially be spent here. Basically, bye bye money.)  It’s been heavily rumored that this new store will also feature an on-ride photo pickup location.

While Disney didn’t announce an official reopening date, it is expected that the new store will debut on October 1, just in time for Halloween!

Stay tuned for more details as they get released!

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2015 Disney Dining Plan Information Released

by on July 28, 2014

Disney Dining Plan

©Disney

Earlier today, it was mentioned by Len on the TouringPlans forums that the 2015 Disney Dining Plans informational brochures had officially been released in PDF format. (A quick heads up: the 2015 Vacation Packages will be available starting on Wednesday, July 30.)

The actual details of the 2015 Disney Dining Plans haven’t changed from 2014, meaning that guests will still receive the same number of entitlements that were available under the 2014 Plans. RapidFill refillable mugs will also continue to be offered with the 2015 Disney Dining Plans.

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Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes – 7/28/14

by on July 28, 2014

I’m back with all the great little Disney planning details that I think you need to know!  There’s quite a few little nuggets that have passed through my desk, so enough with this chit chat, yick yack, and flim flam; let’s get on with it!

  • As always, we’ll start with refurbishments. This time I only have one to let you all know about. The Magic Carpets of Aladdin at the Magic Kingdom will be closed for a brief refurb this Fall from November 10 – 21, reopening on November 22.
  • The WonderGround Gallery, which can be found at Disneyland Resort’s Downtown Disney, now has a presence at the Marketplace Co-Op in Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World.
  • The Epcot After Hours Wind Down event has been extended. The extra experience, which takes place after Illuminations:Reflections of Earth on select nights, will now last until November 9. The event was originally supposed to run until September 15. The After Hours Wind Down includes a menu featuring a selection of appetizers and one beverage flight. The price is $35 per person, per location. A cash bar option is also available.

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Epcot Food and Wine Festival International Marketplace Menus

by on July 25, 2014

Roasted Verlasso Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri from the new Patagonia Marketplace ©Disney

Roasted Verlasso Salmon with Quinoa Salad and Arugula Chimichurri from the new Patagonia Marketplace ©Disney

The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is rapidly approaching! We are only two months away from opening date, which has been moved up this year to September 19. And the Festival lasts until November 10! That means that guests who enjoy this event will have 53 full days worth of delicious delicacies and wonderful beverages!

Of course, the most popular part of the Food & Wine Festival has to be the International Marketplace booths, which are scattered throughout World Showcase. This year there are more than 25 different booths you can choose to stop at to try a cornucopia of cuisines. The event is a food lover’s paradise.

Today, I share with you the menus of each Marketplace. I’m starting to figure out my list of where my must-stops will be, and I bet you will be too!

 

Africa

Food Beverages
Beef tenderloin tips berbere style with okra, jalapeños, tomato and pap MAN Vintners Chenin Blanc
South African bobotie with turkey and mushrooms (gluten free) Fairview Pinotage
The Wolftrap Red: Syrah, Mourvèdre and Viognier

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Epcot International Food and Wine Festival Premium Events Information

by on July 25, 2014

A Taste of The World

©Disney

Are you excited about this year’s Epcot International Food and Wine Festival? It is my favorite time of year at Walt Disney World, so you can bet I’m excited. If you’re anything like me,   you want to know all the details of the Festival so you can start your planning! (And I would suspect you are like me; you’re reading this post).

For those of you who love to take part in the Festival’s Premium Events, they go on sale next week, Thursday, July 31. Make sure you have those dialing fingers ready, cause a lot of these events go fast!

There are a TON of events that take place during this event and there’s really something for everyone, whether you’re skilled in the art of fine dining or a you are a complete novice, like me. They also have different events with everyone’s budget in mind too. So, if you’re excited, I’m excited! Let’s get into it!

There are quite a few new events scheduled to take place for this year’s Festival. They include:

NEW – Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – Boot Camp Series

During the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – Boot Camp Series, you will discover the inspiration to create, based off of instruction from an expert in this 2-hour event. The event will take place in the World ShowPlace Events Pavilion East Hall on select Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Cost is $119 per person. The boot camps include:

  • Food and Wine Pairings 101 (September 21)
    Hosted by Andrea Robinson – Master Sommelier
  • Chocolate (October 5)
    Hosted by Erika Davis – Graycliff Chocolatier
  • Cake Decorating (October 12)
    Hosted by Gabrielle Parisi – Carlo’s Bakery
  • Pickling 101 (October 19)
    Hosted by Allen Susser – Chef Allen’s

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Disney Offers U.S. Military Special Tickets and Resort Rates

by on July 22, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

In honor of our troops, both the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Resort will not only be offering U.S. Military special discounted room reservation rates, but they are also offering them promotional military ticket options.

The brave men and women who serve our country can purchase specially priced tickets from August 25, 2014, through September 30, 2015 for both Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort. (Disneyland tickets can actually be purchased through October 1, 2015.) These special tickets may be purchased by active and retired U.S. military personnel (which includes active and retired members of the U.S. Coast Guard, National Guard and Reservists). Active and retired U.S. military personnel can purchase the Disney Military Promotional Tickets for not only themselves, but also up to five additional family members or friends. Keep in mind that there is an expiration date for these tickets; they must be used by October 3, 2015, and they are non-transferable. Valid military identification will be required for purchase and use.

At Walt Disney World, there are three different Military Promotional Ticket options, which include:

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Walt Disney World To Hold ESPN Fantasy Football Convention

by on July 15, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

Are you ready for some football? It seems so weird to ask in JULY, but football season is just around the corner, and this year Walt Disney World is getting in on the fantasy football fun.

Over at ESPN Wide World of Sports, from August 22-23, Disney will be holding the inaugural ESPN Fantasy Football Convention. (For those who follow along with my In Case You Missed It posts, you may have seen me mention the event was taking place about a month ago.)

The convention sounds like a dream for those who love their fantasy football. The festivities will include events such as the exclusive ESPN Tailgate Party, where guests can mix and mingle with ESPN talent, like Matthew Berry, Adam Schefter, Chris Mortensen, Tim Hasselbeck, Stephania Bell, Trey Wingo, Robert Flores and Sara Walsh. The Tailgate Party will also feature the first ever ESPN Chili Bowl. (Yum!) Here chili will be prepared by world class chefs from around the world, and guests can judge which is the best of the best. (I’m ready to vote now…my spoon is currently in hand.)

The next morning, things will kick off with a breakfast that features characters dressed ready to catch the pigskin. Guests can also witness a live broadcast of Fantasy Football Now, which will be aired on ESPN2, plus they can take part in a post-broadcast Q&A session. The evening will end with an opportunity to participate in a live fantasy football draft, where this season’s winner will receive a customized trophy!

The event costs $349.00 per person to participate, and registration is now open at the ESPN Wide World of Sports page.

Who do you want on your fantasy team?

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Trattoria al Forno Restaurant To Open at Disney’s BoardWalk

by on July 15, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

While it’s well known that Kouzzina by Cat Cora is slated to close this fall (its last day of operation is September 30), what we didn’t know and have all been waiting to hear is what new restaurant was going to take its place.

Well, wait no more! Disney has officially announced that a brand new Italian restaurant, called Trattoria al Forno will be opening sometime this December at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn.

This brand new restaurant will serve up delectable, Old World-inspired dishes, showcasing dishes from the different regions of the country. Menu items will include Neopolitan-style pizzas, Bolognese with house-made cavatelli;  whole roasted fish with roasted vegetables; semolina tagliatelli carbonara; grilled steak; a seasonal risotto; pork chop alla Milanese; chicken breast alla Parmagiana with tagliatelle pasta; shrimp with garlic, capers and anchovy butter with polenta;  baked lasagna; slow-cooked lamb shank with polenta; ruffled campanelle pasta with green beans, roasted potatoes and Genovese pesto; and eggplant rollatini.  

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