Walt Disney World (FL)

Disney Early Morning Magic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on July 12, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

Recently, Disney introduced the idea of Early Morning Magic at the Magic Kingdom. Well it seems that the concept was a good idea, so they are now rolling the idea over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This special event allows Guests to enter the theme park early in the morning before the park opens officially for Guests for the day and allows for the ability to ride attractions that commonly have long waits, as well as enjoy a great in-park breakfast.

During the event, Guests are able to experience Toy Story Mania!, Star Tours – The Adventures Continue and meet favorite characters such as Buzz and Woody at Pixar Place, Mickey and Minnie at Red Carpet Dreams, and Olaf at the Celebrity Spotlight.

Plus, in addition to getting in some some early morning fun, Guests will also be able to enjoy a fantastic breakfast at ABC Commissary. Breakfast will be served from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. Menu items will include:

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TouringPlansTV: Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort + Video

by on July 12, 2016

Photo - Amy FarkasHello.

It’s Angela Dahlgren.

I was wondering if after seven days you’d like to…

Talk about Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort!

I know, I know…I couldn’t resist the Adele reference.

Anyway, if you’re looking to to learn more about this moderate resort at Walt Disney World, check out the video below!

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Epcot Food and Wine Festival International Marketplace Menus Released

by on July 12, 2016

Epcot Food and Wine Festival

©Rikki Niblett

The 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is going to be here before we know it. Information about this year’s events has been coming out lately, what with the announcement of the performers for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series yesterday. But today, I have information about the International Marketplace menus for this year’s event!  (Which let’s be honest…is one of the best parts of the festival. There’s nothing like getting to walk around the World Showcase promenade sampling delicious food and beverages!) Standby favorites will be returning like cheddar cheese soup from Canada and the Kalua Pork Slider from Hawaii, and new dishes, like loaded Greek “nachos” from the Greece Booth, will be delighting palates.

So, let the planning process begin. I’ve got my list started! Here’s what you can expect to experience this year at the Marketplaces for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival:

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Eat to the Beat Concert Series Artists Announced for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2016

by on July 11, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

Details are slowly, but surely coming in about the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival and today, we have the full concert line up for the fantastic Eat to the Beat Concert Series. During this concert series, bands and solo artists perform some of their most popular songs nightly.

In addition to the new artists for this year (which include artists like Wang Chung, Plain White T’s, Jeffrey Osborne, and Toad the Wet Sprocket), many favorites will be returning, including Air Supply, Boyz II Men, Sugar Ray, Hanson, and Dennis DeYoung.

This year’s schedule is as follows:

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We LOVE Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on July 9, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Reasons We LOVE Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This July we’re celebrating Walt Disney World here on the SATURDAY SIX. While we looked at Animal Kingdom last week, today we’re going to turn our gaze over to the park which many insiders agree was created solely as a preemptive strike against the upcoming Universal Studios Florida, the one and only Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

DHS_carey

Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (photo by Brian Carey)

Right now Hollywood Studios is in the middle of a transition stage, as two mammoth properties in Star Wars and Pixar’s Toy Story have begun their major expansion inside the park. However, Hollywood Studios still contains some of the most unique dining experiences in any Disney park, amazing streetmosphere, several of WDW’s most thrilling attractions, and two of the best nighttime spectaculars in Florida. In short, we love Hollywood Studios. But what do we love most about this park? Well, sit back, grab a carrot cake cookie , and let’s start our countdown with…

# 6 – The Citizens of Hollywood

The dedication plaque for Hollywood Studios (originally known as Disney-MGM Studios) includes a line from former Disney CEO Michael Eisner that reads: “We welcome you to a Hollywood that never was – and always will be.” The dedication also refers to the park channeling classic Hollywood as a state of mind, rather than trying to pinpoint a specific time and place. Nowhere is this more evident than the incredible Citizens of Hollywood who roam the thoroughfare of the park. Completely committed to their particular character, the Citizens of Hollywood are an improvisational comedy troupe who have a lot of fun with guests and every interaction is unique. You’ll find policemen writing tickets, aspiring starlets auditioning for their big role, maintenance crews stumbling around a job, and much more. The Citizens, along with the evocative theming of both Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard, combine to wonderfully recreate the Tinseltown none of us ever knew but always imagined. Quality streetsmosphere such as the Dapper Dans at the Magic Kingdom or The Citizens in Hollywood Studios separate Disney from all their competitors, as no one else can even approach this high level of show.

DHScitizens_eviestarlight_carey

Citizen of Hollywood, Evie Starlight. (photo by Brian Carey)

DHScitizens2_glover

Ben Appetit and Dara Vamp. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party Has New Location

by on July 8, 2016

Star Wars Launch Bay - Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party

©Rikki Niblett

Are you planning on attending The Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party? Well beginning July 10, the dessert party will be taking place at the Star Wars Launch Bay in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Guests participating in the dessert party will check in at the Star Wars Launch Bay entrance. From there, they will be able to take part in photo opportunities, see the exhibits inside the Launch Bay, as well as take part in the character meet and greets. During the dessert party, Guests will get to enjoy Star Wars-themed desserts, like the R2-D2 and Darth Vader cupcakes, flatbreads, and dips. Guests will also receive a souvenir Chewbacca stein.

One thing to keep in mind is that the Star Wars Launch Bay will remain open to all day Guests, however, dessert party Guests will be given a wristband and will have reserved space at the base of the Cantina steps.

Once Guests have enjoyed their dessert party treats, they will be escorted from the Star Wars Launch Bay to the VIP viewing area for the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks show.

The dessert party costs $69.00 for adults (ages 10 and up) and $39.00 for children (ages 3-9).

The Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party can be booked now by calling 407-939-3464.

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New Entertainment Act for Morocco Pavilion – Musique Aramenco

by on July 8, 2016

©Disney

©Disney

Another new entertainment act is now gracing the stage at the Morocco Pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot.

Musique Aramenco will perform with a fusion of traditional and popular dance music from the Southern Mediterranean and Northern African areas. The show will include the darbuka drum, violins, and a belly dancer.

Musique Aramenco appears five days a week and will perform on the Moroccan stage for a limited time.

 

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Frontera Cocina Dining Review

by on July 8, 2016

As construction walls start to come down all around Disney Springs, the list of new dining venues around the Town Center area continues to grow. The newest restaurant added to the mix is Frontera Cocina, the most recent location in a string of modern Mexican eateries from celebrity chef Rick Bayless. Located next to the new Disney Springs Guest Relations location, across from Sprinkles Bakery, this restaurant focuses on freshly-made classic Mexican cuisine in a casual table-service setting. I dropped in during opening week to try out a few dishes and get a feel for what is sure to be a very popular location in Disney Springs and all around Walt Disney World. Frontera Cocina is open from 11:00 AM daily (closing hours vary, so be sure to check before a late dinner), and for now, works on a walk-up seating basis (reservations are available now on OpenTable for seatings starting July 21st; “soon” on My Disney Experience). I chose to beat the rush this particular day by grabbing a table for an early dinner after strolling around some of the newly-opened shops nearby.

The menu here’s not enormous, but has a pretty wide variety of options: lots of shareable appetizers, a few reasonably-priced tacos and tortas (sandwiches) that look perfect for lunchtime/lighter dining, and plated entrees and sides that are priced similarly to most Disney non-signature table service restaurants (like The Wave or Captain’s Grille). First impressions were two-fold: the menu, while modern-leaning, is still pretty accessible to most diners accustomed to pure neighborhood Tex-Mex; secondly, I had absolutely no idea what to order, because everything sounded fantastic. Luckily, my server was quick to point out both the house specialties and her own personal favorites from the dishes she’d been sampled thus far. First, though, I had to settle on a cocktail from their extensive menu. Options here include the incredibly popular avocado margarita, straight from Epcot’s La Cava del Tequila, but I was looking for something I’d not yet tried and couldn’t get elsewhere – luckily, that fits most of this menu, due to the specialty spirits used, many of which are specific only to Frontera Cocina and La Cava. House specialties on the menu include the agave flights, the Frontera margarita, or the slightly-spicier version that is blood orange & jalapeno flavored.

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A Look at the Refurbished Fort Wilderness Cabins

by on July 7, 2016

The cabins at Fort Wilderness went through a refurbishment that began in fall of 2015 and was completed in early 2016. To learn all the great things about the cabins you can read my blog post from last year. In this post I will give you a glimpse of the changes that have been made to the cabins.

The most dramatic upgrade is in the kitchen, which has been completely replaced. The stove is gone with a two burner stovetop and a microwave/convection oven combination as the new cooking area. At the end of this post, I will share my experience cooking in the oven.kitchen

The bathroom got new cabinets and countertops. The bathtub is fiberglass.

sink

The bench at the dining table now has a back cushion. The murphy bed was replaced with a large TV and a six drawer dresser. The sofa has been replaced with a larger double size sleeper sofa. The child’s table and chairs are gone. The window coverings have also been updated.

living_room

 

sofa bed

With the refurbishment, the pantry and a small TV were removed from the side of the kitchen. The new space seems to be missing something, like maybe a side table was supposed to be there.

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Tiffins Introduces New Lunch Offerings

by on July 6, 2016

Tiffins

©Rikki Niblett

If you have been curious to try the all-new signature restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Tiffins, you now have a great opportunity to do so.

A brand new lunch menu has been introduced for the restaurant which features small portions of some of Tiffins’ most popular dishes. From 11:30 p.m. until 3:30 p.m. each day, Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy the Taste of Tiffins options. This offering allows Guests to explore the standout dishes from this restaurant. Guests can choose from a pairing of two different options, alongside a Jade rice blend for $28.00, plus tax and gratuity.

Options that Guests can select from include: flash-fried blue mussels, black-eyed pea fritters, crispy Yellowtail Snapper, sustainable fish crudo, 72-hour beef short rib, salad of roasted baby beets, market vegetable curry, marinated grilled octopus, Chermoula-rubbed chicken, or the masa and pulled pork tamale. (My suggestions…the octopus and the beef short rib. I’ve tried both and they were both excellent!)

In addition, a light bites menu has been introduced as well, including:

  • Archaeologist Salad ($12.00)- Spring Vegetable Variations, Pumpernickel Soil, and a Champagne Vinaigrette
  • Tiffins Signature Bread Service ($10.00) – Pomegranate Olive Oil, Harissa Yogurt, Zhough Yogurt, Black-Eyed Pea Hummus
  • House-made Head Cheese and Chicken Liver Pate ($14.00) – Goji Berry Chutney, Accouterments, Whole Grain Mustard
  • Lobster-Popcorn Thai Curry Soup ($13.00) – Basil Emulsion, Popped Sorghum

Should you choose, you still do have the option to order off the regular, all-day menu at lunch, as well. The choice is yours, but I think this new offering is certainly a great way to sample some great dishes without over-stuffing yourself during the lunchtime hours.

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