Recent News

More Details About Two New Downtown Disney Dining Establishments for Walt Disney World

by on July 6, 2015

Today, I am here to share some updated information about two of the new Downtown Disney/Disney Springs dining establishments; one of which has opened already and one which is to come in the future.

Let’s start with the one that recently opened. Tea Trader’s Cafe by Joffrey’s has officially opened its location this week in The Landing and can be found near The BOATHOUSE.

©Disney

©Disney

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New Backstage Experience at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

by on July 2, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Are you a foodie family? Then you should consider taking part in the brand new Disney Family Culinary Adventure experience at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. During this interactive evening that lasts approximately four hours, guests will be able to prepare and cook a five-course dinner to be served in the kitchen. The Disney Family Culinary Adventure is aimed for the whole family, beginning with guests age 9 or older and the tour can accommodate up to 30 guests.

Experiences can include learning how to make pasta from scratch, roll sushi, or make farmer cheese.

Upon arrival in the kitchen, guests will be broken into groups and assigned a portion of the meal, which they’ll prepare with the aid of a Chef.  Teams will regroup to introduce their menu item before sitting down to a wonderful group dinner. At the conclusion of the adventure, guests will be presented with a cookbook signed by the Chefs and a white Chef’s hat. In addition, beer and wine are included for Guests 21 years and over.

Also on hand will be a Disney PhotoPass photographer who will capture photos of the group during the experience.

This will be taking place at the Convention Center at the resort, and guests should check in for the event on the second floor of the Convention Center, near Atlantic Room B. The program is planned two evenings a week (days vary), starting at 5:00 p.m.

This experience costs $175 per adults and $125 for those ages 9-12.

 

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DisneyQuest Will Close at Downtown Disney

by on June 30, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Bye bye Cyber Space Mountain. See you later Buzz Lightyear’s AstroBlasters. Sayonara Virtual Jungle Cruise. DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park will be officially closing its doors sometime in 2016. The extremely dated video and virtual game center which featured 5 floors of virtual worlds, 3D encounters, and classic video games will be making way for the recently announced NBA Experience.

NBA Experience will feature hands-on activities that put guests right in the middle of the NBA action, creating an immersive experience of both the game and its players. Guests will enjoy unique NBA video productions, a restaurant, and a store.

DisneyQuest opened in 1998 in Downtown Disney’s West Side and was originally supposed to become a chain, however, the idea didn’t take off like Disney had hoped.

There has been no official closing date announced, so I’ll make sure to keep you posted in the future.

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The Magic of Disney Animation to Close at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on June 29, 2015

Copyright Disney

Copyright Disney

One more attraction will close its doors at Disney’s Hollywood Studios later this July. The Magic of Disney Animation will be closing on July 12. This impacts not only the meet and greet opportunities with Mickey, Minnie, Baymax and Hiro, but also means that guests may no longer view the video featuring Mushu from Mulan teaching guests about the animation process or access the Animation Academy.

Guests will still have the opportunity to meet Mickey and Minnie at the park in yet-to-be-disclosed locations; however, Hiro and Baymax are unlikely to make the move to another location. (The Incredibles meet and greet quietly left the area earlier this month.)

The Animation Gallery will remain open until late August.

This is just another closure in a long line at this park lately, starting with The American Idol Experience, the Studio Backlot Tour, The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow, and more. Of course all of this appears to be ahead of the impending Star Wars announcement (and one would assume additional changes); however, I think many are getting exceptionally frustrated (I can’t be the only one) with the number closed attractions combined with no knowledge of what is actually coming to this theme park.

I am anxiously waiting for an announcement of whatever is in store for Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

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Selfie Sticks Now Banned Across Walt Disney World Property

by on June 26, 2015

IMG_8629

©Seth Kubersky

Due to safety concerns, selfie sticks (the extendable poles where you can attach a phone or a camera to the end) are now banned property-wide across the Walt Disney World Resort. This means you cannot use them at the theme parks, the water parks or DisneyQuest Interactive Theme Park. This new rule will go into effect on June 30.

Guests who attempt to bring selfie sticks into the park will be stopped at bag check and they will be escorted to Guest Relations where the device will be tagged and the Guest will be given a claim ticket to retrieve it upon exit. For those who get caught using a selfie stick in a park, a Cast Member will escort the guest to a regional Guest Relations area where the device will be tagged and a claim ticket will be given to the guest. Again, the Guest will be able to claim their selfie stick as they exit.

All guests must relinquish their selfie sticks, they cannot simply put them away if a Cast Member approaches them about it.

Recently, Disney banned selfie sticks on attractions, however, it seems that more drastic measures needed to be taken regarding these devices.

What are your thoughts on the ban? Do you think it’s a good idea or were you a fan of the selfie stick?

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Independence Day Will Be a Blast at Walt Disney World

by on June 23, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

If you will be visiting Walt Disney World during the Fourth of July weekend, you will have a lot of fun activities in store! It will be a magical two day celebration to honor America’s Birthday! (It will not be a salute to all nations, but mostly America. This will be a full blown salute to America!)

For those who are looking to celebrate the holiday with blowing stuff up, you will be covered with fireworks on both Friday, July 3 and Saturday, July 4.

  • The Magic Kingdom will show “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” at 10:00 p.m.
  • At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Coolest Summer Ever Dance Party will segue into the “Rockin’ Fourth of July Celebration” fireworks show.  It will be a rock n’ roll tribute across America. The DJ will start at 5:45 p.m. and the fireworks will start at 10:15 p.m.
  • Epcot will have a special Fourth of July tag at the end of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, which will take place at 9:00 p.m. In addition, you won’t want to miss the special Fourth of July concert from Voices of Liberty at the America Gardens Theatre at 12:30 p.m., 1:45 p.m., and 3:00 p.m.  They will then move inside the American Adventure Pavilion for shows at 4:15 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.  Oh and don’t miss Don’t Look Back, a Boston tribute band who will be performing at the America Gardens Theatre at 5:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7:45 p.m., and 9:00 p.m. Guests will also be able to meet patriotic characters throughout the day.

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2015 Frozen Summer Fun Starts at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on June 19, 2015

2015 Frozen Summer Fun

Chill out with Olaf and friends during the 2015 Frozen Summer Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (photos and video by Seth Kubersky)

Frozen first hit movie theaters in the fall of 2013, but legions of fans (and Disney’s entertainment department) don’t seem ready to “Let It Go” anytime soon, as we enter a second annual season of Frozen Summer Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We were on hand for the the first day of festivities, which will celebrate the CGI snow princess and pals every day through September 7.

Frozen Royal Welcome Parade

The first Frozen Summer Fun attraction I attended was the new Frozen Royal Welcome, which runs twice a day (currently 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.). It isn’t quite a full fledged parade on the scale of Paint the Night, but boasts far better production values than the typical Hollywood Studios motorcade we’re used to seeing at special events.

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Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes – 6/17/15

by on June 17, 2015

Welcome back to another edition of Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes! The place for all your small, yet important Disney news! It has been a while again since I’ve had news like this to report, but the desk is full of small pieces of paper again, so I figured it was about time to clean off the desk and get the news to you! So, let’s get right to the good stuff!

  • Attention those planning 2016 Walt Disney World vacations! 2016 WDW vacation packages will be released on June 22.
  • Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom is now open during evening Extra Magic Hours.
  • Beginning on July 3, Tony’s Town Square Restaurant will serve guests continuously from 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. as opposed to offering separate lunch and dinner meal periods. The menu will continue to feature Italian specialties including pizza, pasta, and salad.
  • Beginning this week, the bats on Maharajah Jungle Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be offstage for anywhere from 4-6 weeks while the exhibit is refurbished. During the refurbishment, the area will be inaccessible to guests. The Wilderness Explorers bat badge will continue to be distributed in the breezeway outside the exhibit.
  • The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort has new breakfast and lunch hours. The breakfast buffet and a la carte will run from 7:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.  The breakfast buffet only will be available from 11:00 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. Finally, lunch begins at 12:00 p.m.
  • At Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, beginning on July 5, the fitness center, salon and Casitas leisure pool will be closed for maintenance.  During this time, guests can visit the feature pool and the other two leisure pools at the resort. Additionally while the work is being completed, a temporary fitness center will be set up in the Casitas area. This refurbishment work is expected to last until October 12.
  • Guests staying at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will be able to experience poolside service from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily at the Lava Pool Deck and beach.  Guests can choose to enjoy cocktails, flatbreads, sandwiches, kid’s meals, desserts and more delivered right to their spot in the sand.

That’s it for this edition…thoughts?

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Walt Disney World Speedway Closing for Parking Lot Expansion

by on June 16, 2015

On the race track at the Richard Petty Driving Experience ©Rikki Niblett

On the race track at the Richard Petty Driving Experience ©Rikki Niblett

Back in February, we told you about the fact that the Richard Petty Driving Experience would be closing this summer. Well, according to the Orlando Sentinel, now we officially know why! The Walt Disney World Speedway will be closing for…more Magic Kingdom parking.

Disney has filed plans with Reedy Creek about demolishing the Speedway to make room for this expansion of the most popular theme park’s parking lot. At the time of the announced closure of Richard Petty’s Driving Experience, Disney claimed that they would be closing the area due to transportation improvements, so the news that the area will turned into more parking spaces for guests doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

The Richard Petty Driving Experience has been a unique activity for many to participate in. For those who are huge NASCAR fanatics, those who liked fast and exotic cars, and those junior riders who felt the need for speed, this was a great way to get a feel of being out on a true course.

After a deadly accident that occurred a few months ago, the Exotic Car Experience has been tabled, however, the regular Richard Petty Driving Experience and the Piston Cup Junior Ride Along program have continued. The last day for guests to participate in either of those two activities is August 9.

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Video: Farewell to the Original Disneyland Band Castle Show

by on June 16, 2015

original Disneyland Band Castle show

The original Disneyland Band castle show has taken its final bow, but you can relive it with TouringPlans. (Photo and video by Seth Kubersky)

“Now it’s time to say goodbye” to one of the longest-running entertainment offerings in Disneyland history, as the Disneyland Band has disbanded, at least in it’s original form. Weeks ago, an “end of run” notice was filed with the musicians’ union that represents Disneyland Resort employees, notifying members of the historic 16-member marching band that they would have to reaudition for their roles (some of which they’d held for multiple decades) in a newly reorganized Disneyland Band, which will feature “a new sound” and “high-energy choreography.”

The classic Disneyland Band, which has been performing Americana classics since the park premiered in 1955, was originally expected to perform until the new one debuts at Disneyland’s official 60th birthday on July 17th. But (as reported by the “I Support Walt Disney’s Disneyland Band” Facebook fan page) the final performance of the full band under director Kurt Curtis was held on Monday, June 15.

The new Disneyland Band will be slightly larger, and feature 2 members of the original ensemble, while the rest will be redeployed in smaller musical groups (at least through the Diamond Celebration). That’s why I’m so grateful I stumbled into the band’s midday castle show during my recent Disneyland visit. While the microphones weren’t quite cooperating, this complete video of the Disneyland Band castle show should give you an idea why these performances were popular for generations:

In less than a month, we should have our first look at the all-new Disneyland Band, and if you are a fan of modern-day drum corps choreography, you should probably be looking forward to it. If not, keep an eye out for former Disneyland Band members as they pop up in new spots around the parks.

 

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