Recent News

NBC Sports Grill & Brew Opening Fall 2015 at Universal Orlando CityWalk

by on June 1, 2015

NBC Sports Grill & Brew Citywalk

Concept art for CityWalk’s new NBC Sports Grill & Brew (image via Universal Orlando)

We’ve been watching the construction and following the permit filings for months, but now it is finally official: NBC Sports Grill & Brew is coming to Universal Orlando CityWalk, on the site of the former NASCAR Sports Grille.

The new venue was announced at an industry convention last night, and publicly revealed today via the following Youtube video:

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Changes Coming to the Disney Dining Plan Beginning May 31

by on May 29, 2015

Disney Dining PlanLove it or hate it, the Disney Dining Plan is a very popular part of many people’s Walt Disney World vacation. Many like the fact that everything is pre-paid, as well as the ease of using the system.

With that being said, Disney will be making a few minor changes, based off of guest feedback, to the program. These changes will allow guests more flexibility and choice in using entitlements,  including substitutions, who can use meal entitlements, and expanded snack offerings.

Let’s take a look at this piece by piece, starting with the changes to the table service entitlements.

  • Guests who do not want a dessert will now have the ability to substitute that dessert choice for either a side salad, a cup of soup, or a fruit plate. Do keep in mind that this is only available upon request and substitutions may be limited. Guests will not be able to select an appetizer option instead.
  • Guests will not be restricted on the number of meal entitlements that may be used in one dining experience. For example, if you had are a family of four and you have the dining plan, but you meet your parents at dinner and they do not have the dining plan, but you would like to use your extra credits to buy their meal, you now have the ability to do so.
  • Those guests on either the Deluxe, the Premium, of the Platinum Dining Plans will now be able to mix their adult and child credits. This means that if a guest on the dining plan has two adults and two child meal entitlements, they may choose to select four adult entree options, if they would like. Those on the regular Disney Dining Plan will not have this option and a child entitlement must still be used for a child meal.

Let’s take a look at the changes being made at the the Quick Service location changes.

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2015 Eat to the Beat Concert Series Artists Announced

by on May 29, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Earlier this week, I gave you some preliminary details about the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival, including information about five new artists that would be joining this year’s Eat to the Beat Concert Series festivities.  During this concert series, bands and solo artists perform some of their most popular songs nightly.

Well today, Disney released the full concert series schedule. In addition to the new artists (which include Tiffany, Chaka Kahn, the S.O.S. Band, Everclear and Maxi Priest), many favorites will be returning, including Air Supply, Boyz II Men, Hanson, and Dennis DeYoung.

This year’s schedule is as follows:

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Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes – 5/29/15

by on May 29, 2015

Wow! It’s been a long time since I brought you the latest Newsworthy Notes for Walt Disney World. But that all changes today! I am back with those little nuggets that can help you navigate your next Disney vacation a little bit better. There’s quite a few great nuggets again, so let’s get to them!

  • The big news is that a new grab and go food and beverage location is being constructed in the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  It will be located where guests could previously get their FastPass tickets for Expedition Everest. No details are known about the location other than the fact that it will open in the fall.

Hoypoloi

  • At Downtown Disney, Hoypoloi has officially closed. The shop has made way for the United World Soccer store to return. (Wait…wasn’t that supposed to be temporary?) For guests looking for Hoypoloi merchandise, you’ll be able to find it at their sister store, Pop Gallery, which is located on the West Side. The United World Soccer store will transition from its current kiosk location found on the West Side into its new store in July.

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A First Look at the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

by on May 28, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Is fall your favorite time to visit Walt Disney World? It is mine! Part of the reason is the Halloween festivities, but the other part is the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and this year is slated to be bigger than ever because it’s the 20th anniversary! The festival, which is famous for offering delicious small bites, tantalizing beverages, educational seminars, a concert series, signature dinners, tasting events, and celebrity chefs, will take place this year from September 25 through November 16 and will once again be sponsored by Chase.

To help celebrate the 20th year of the extremely popular event, there will be new wine tastings, rockin’ parties, and culinary experiences built around the 20-year milestone. Oh, and this year, Chef Remy from Ratatouille will invite guests to join a culinary scavenger hunt. How fun!

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New Raptor Encounter Now Open at Islands of Adventure’s Jurassic Park

by on May 27, 2015

New Raptor Encounter Islands of Adventure Jurassic Park

Take a dino selfie at the new Raptor Encounter in Islands of Adventure’s Jurassic Park (photos and video by Seth Kubersky)

While Disney was loudly kicking off their Coolest Summer Ever promotion with bicoastal 24 Hour parties, Universal Orlando quietly opened a new attraction over Memorial Day weekend with little fanfare, as the new Raptor Encounter debuted in the Jurassic Park area of Islands of Adventure. Conventional wisdom says that, while Universal makes excellent thrill rides, Disney dominates the meet and greet experience. But much like the Transformers meet and greet in Universal Studios Florida, this innovative dinosaur photo op flips that expectation upside down.

The new Raptor Encounter is located outside of the Jurassic Park Discovery Center, in an unused area that was formerly the entrance to Triceratops Trail, a long-defunct walkthrough attraction. Guests approach a fenced-in holding pen that has been built to contain a live velociraptor, who has been trained just well enough to pose briefly for photographs between snaps and screeches.

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New Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Show to Debut this Year

by on May 27, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

If you love Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, you’ll have one new thing to experience at this year’s event and I have to tell you, I’m super excited for this one.

The Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular will bring the fantastically evil Sanderson Sisters (from that favorite cult Halloween favorite, Hocus Pocus) to the Castle stage where they will run amuck (amuck, amuck) at this fun party.

With the help of the Disney villains, the three sisters, Winifred, Mary, and Sarah will conjure the ultimate Hocus Pocus Party Potion and “cast a spell on you.” The show will also feature appearances by Dr. Facilier, Oogie Boogie, Maleficent, as well as other favorite baddies. To round things out there will be dancers, projections, and special effects. The show will be replacing the Villains Mix and Mingle.

The whole stage show sounds like a blast. I’ve got my vintage Madonna costume ready because I’m ready for this sisters to perform their magic on me.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party takes place on select nights at the Magic Kingdom, September 15 through November 1.

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Harambe Market to Open May 23 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

by on May 20, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

For those of you traveling down to Walt Disney World this weekend, you may want to make a stop over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to enjoy the newest dining establishment on property. Harambe Market is slated to open in the Africa section of the park on May 23.

This new quick service/merchandise location will feature four different walk-up windows that will feature a wide variety of street market, African-inspired dishes and beverages for Guests to enjoy. They include:

  • Kitamu Grill: offering skewered chicken and a kabob flatbread sandwich.
  • Famous Sausages: features a corn dog, inspired by a South African sausage called a boerewors, dipped in curry-infused corn batter.
  • Chef Mwanga’s: specializes in a spice-rubbed karubi rib with green papaya-carrot slaw.
  • Wanjohi Refreshments will offer unique African-inspired beverages

The area will provided seating for over 200 under shaded canopies in the open air dining area to relax and eat.

Harambe Market’s backstory is that the area was built around a Colonial-era train depot complete with a 1960s water tower. Guests will be able to see pieces of that story, including the water tower on their visit.

This new addition to the park also includes a new pathway to Asia for Guest convenience from Africa to Bradley Falls and the Asia section of the park.

I am certainly excited to try out these brand new offerings and I think they make a wonderful addition to a fantastic area of the park already.

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13 New Retail and Dining Establishments Announced for Disney Springs

by on May 15, 2015

Disney Springs

©Disney

Today some exciting new tenants were announced for Disney Springs, as the transformation from Downtown Disney continues. 13 new shops, 8 of which are retail-based will be coming to the area. It is an eclectic bunch of establishments, for sure.

These new shops are set to open in both The Landing and the Town Square sections of the shopping and dining district.

The new shops are:

Zara: Zara is known for its men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and accessories, and how it expertly interprets current fashion and style trends of the season, delivering original designs to the consumer in a matter of weeks.

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Chef Mickey’s to Begin Serving Brunch

by on May 15, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Are you a fan of Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort? Well, if you are, you’ll now have one more chance to dine at the popular restaurant here in the future. You see, beginning May 31, brunch will begin being offered to Guests. (Previously only breakfast and dinner were offered.)

Brunch will take place daily from 11:30 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. and will include all your favorite breakfast items (yes, that includes Mickey Waffles) plus soup; salads including Caesar, seafood, fresh broccoli, antipasto, chicken and Caprese; barbecued ribs; seafood étouffée; and baked salmon. Rounding things out will be the ice cream bar and Contemporary bakery sweets.

Reservations for brunch at Chef Mickey’s can start being made as of May 22. You can do it via the Walt Disney World website or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

This is great news as it’s often difficult to obtain a reservation for Chef Mickey’s, so it gives fans just one more chance to get to dine with the mouse!

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