Walt Disney World (FL)

Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: December 18, 2014

by on December 18, 2014

1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re visiting the Disney’s Art of Animation Resort to check out a Cars suite. Then we’re stopping in the Magic Kingdom to see some parade taping fun, eating at Liberty Tree Tavern, and playing in the park. Lastly, we’re heading to Downtown Disney and even dropping by Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort! Phew – I’m tired already! Let’s get going! :)

I was really looking forward to checking into our Cars suite. I’d previously stayed in The Lion King section, but since I love Cars Land I thought this would be my new favorite. After a stop by the front desk to switch rooms (we’d been in The Little Mermaid section earlier in the week), we were off to the races. Or were we? You’ll have to read more to find out! 

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

STK Orlando Announced for Disney Springs

by on December 17, 2014

STK707059The rumors were indeed true…a new restaurant, brought to life by The ONE Group, called STK Orlando will be taking residence in the new Disney Springs.

STK Orlando will blend a modern steakhouse with a chic lounge to make for a superior fine dining experience. The restaurant will feature two dining floors, including a main level and the only rooftop dining venue in Disney Springs, plus a lounge that will feature a DJ who is on hand to create an electric vibe.

“We are thrilled to join the Disney Springs family with the launch of STK Orlando,” said Jonathan Segal, CEO of The ONE Group. “The combination of an innovative menu and high-energy atmosphere has driven the success of STK, and we believe it will be an ideal addition to Disney Springs, and will help further cement its status as a place for friends and family to gather for fine dining and entertainment.”

In addition to steak, STK’s other specialties include dishes like Parmesan Truffle Fries, Lil BRG’s, Shrimp Rice Krispies, Sweet Corn Pudding, and Jump Lump Crab Salad.

There are multiple STK locations worldwide, including New York, Atlanta (hmm…a research trip may be in order), Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Washington DC, Miami, and London.

The restaurant will open in The Landing section of the updated shopping and dining complex in Spring 2015.

Two additional restaurants have officially been announced for Disney Springs–Morimoto Asia and The BOATHOUSE. With the first deadline date for Disney Springs rapidly approaching (Spring 2015) I would expect we’ll be hearing details on additional new restaurants and shops slated to open with the first phase of Disney Springs’ re-branding soon.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

My Disney World Christmas Vacation Traditions

by on December 17, 2014

The most magical place on earth gets a little more magical around this time of year when the parks and resorts deck the halls with holiday finery and give Disney fans a reason to take one more Walt Disney World vacation! My family and I love to take a trip to Disney World around the holidays, and we have created a few festive traditions over the years. Check out a few of my Disney World Vacation Christmas Traditions.

Downtown Disney's Days of Christmas Store

Downtown Disney’s Days of Christmas Store

Buying a New Ornament

It just wouldn’t be right to leave Disney World around Christmastime without a new ornament to add to our tree. My favorite place to shop for ornaments is the Ye Olde Christmas Shoppe at the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square. I love how it feels like we’re walking through an old, colonial home. For a wider variety of Christmas décor, we like to drop by Disney’s Days of Christmas Store at Downtown Disney, where it really does feel like Christmas all year round.

Holidays Around the World

Epcot’s World Showcase is one of my favorite corners of Disney World, and I especially enjoy Holidays Around the World this time of year, where performances educate guests about the different holiday traditions of their respective countries. It’s a lot of fun to hear and see how other countries celebrate the holidays. Our favorites would be Father Christmas at the United Kingdom and the Voices of Liberty Dickens Carolers at the American Adventure. The special holiday treats and the chance to do a little Christmas shopping is pretty great too. After all, there’s no chance that what you’re buying as a gift is something someone already has when you shop at the stores in the Norway or China or Morocco pavilions.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Ring in the New Year at Walt Disney World

by on December 16, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

The time is upon us when we are close to bidding yet another year goodbye. Those who are lucky enough to be in Walt Disney World on December 31 can bring in the year 2015 with style by celebrating the festive holiday at either the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, or Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Each park has different fun and exciting activities that will help everyone to celebrate good times. (Come on! Let’s celebrate! Kool and the Gang? Anybody?)

Let’s start at the Magic Kingdom, which will be offering New Year’s Eve fireworks on not one, but two nights! Guests can catch the special fireworks extravaganza, “Fantasy in the Sky” at 11:50 p.m. on both December 30 and 31. (Holiday Wishes will also be performed at 7:30 p.m.)

Over at Epcot, you’ll be able to celebrate in World Showcase, with bands, DJs, and more! Dance under flame effects and a smoke-billowing dragon in China; dance to a British blast to the past in United Kingdom; jam to Euro-pop and watch as lasers fly in Italy; on the America Gardens Stage, groove to a Latin band or party with a DJ; finally, enjoy a DJ and light show at the Future World Fountain Stage. The evening will wrap up with IllmiNations: Reflections of Earth. There will be two showings of the fantastic show: one at 6:00 p.m. and one at 11:40 p.m. The 11:40 p.m. showing will also feature a special tag and countdown to ring in the New Year.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Video: 2014 Epcot Hanukkah Celebrations at the American Adventure

by on December 16, 2014

2014 Epcot Hanukkah

Celebrate the Festival of Lights with the 2014 Epcot Hanukkah show (photos and video by Seth Kubersky)

Whether you call him St. Nicholas, Father Christmas, or Pere Noel, there are plenty of opportunites at Walt Disney World to get up close and personal with Santa Claus, especially during Epcot‘s Holidays Around The World event. I love all of the extra seasonal entertainment Epcot adds to World Showcase each year, but as a “member of the tribe” I was especially excited to see the 2014 Epcot Hanukkah celebrations at the American Adventure pavilion.

This year, Epcot’s Hanukkah entertainment includes a storytelling show about the Festival of Lights, staged outside the American Adventure pavilion. This year’s Hanukkah show features new songs, and you can get a free “gelt” chocolate coin at the end!

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Disney World Crowd Report – December 7 to 13, 2014

by on December 16, 2014

Crowds at Walt Disney World stayed below average all week with only Saturday reaching a resort-wide level ’5′ on our scale. It seems that our recent adjustments to the crowd predictions are paying off. We saw all predictions come in within two index levels of what we observed except two last week.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the Touringplans.com Disney World Crowd Report:

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 15: Burnt Orange at Todd English’s bluezoo

by on December 15, 2014

The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY FIFTEEN: Burnt Ornage at Todd English’s bluezoo (Walt Disney World Dolphin)

bluezoo_burnorange2_glover

Fire and Ice: Frost-bitten rum cider and a Burnt Orange at Todd English’s bluezoo. (photo by Brandon Glover)

 

One of the true best kept secrets at Walt Disney World are the bars and restaurants at the Swan and Dolphin hotels. Todd English’s bluezoo at the Dolphin has hands-down the most creative menu on property, specializing in unique drinks that taste as good as they look. Today we are going to spotlight the Burnt Orange. Ingredients: Herradura blanco tequila infused with brûléed orange and muddled with agave nectar, Grand Mariner, and orange juice. Topped with a flaming orange. The brûléed orange, that is spectacularly lit aflame, contains a special sugar created by the restaurant’s pastry chef, which then becomes part of the Burnt Orange’s flavor profile when drinking. The Burnt Orange is one drink worth going out of your way to try, but it is just one of the many headliners on the bluezoo bar menu.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Video: 2014 Epcot Kwanzaa and Morocco Holiday Celebrations

by on December 14, 2014

2014 Epcot Kwanza

Celebrate Kwanza and the holidays of Morocco at Epcot from the comfort of your couch. (Photos and video by Seth Kubersky)

Happy holidays again from Epcot’s World Showcase! During my recent visit to see this year’s Holidays Around the World events — including the Hanukkah show at the American Adventure — I also stopped to see some seasonal celebrations not devoted to Judeo-Christian holy days. As you can see from the videos below, the 2014 Epcot Kwanzaa celebrations and Moroccan holiday performances are every bit as entertaining and educational as their Christian and Jewish counterparts:

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 14: Hog’s Head Brew at the Hog’s Head

by on December 14, 2014

The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY FOURTEEN: Hog’s Head Ale at the Hog’s Head (Islands of Adventure)

HogsHeadBrew

Hog’s Head Ale.

 

Our latest entry comes from the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade Village.  Hog’s Head Brew is exclusively made for Universal by the Florida Beer Company. The brew is amber in color, with a slightly off-white head. The taste is surprisingly good for a theme park beer, with hints of a good Scottish ale while having a crisp taste. The Hog’s Head pub itself is ripped straight out of the pages of JK Rowling’s novels, and also played an important role in the film series as it was where the Hogwarts students formed Dumbledore’s Army in Order of the Phoenix.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

The Disney Dream (Literally!)

by on December 14, 2014

streetshowIt is something that we have all probably done sometime in our Disney lives: have a Disney dream while you’re sleeping.

Sometimes, the dream is you in a strange hybrid Disney movie with real life mixed in. Sometimes it’s a dream derived from something at the Disney Parks. And in other ways it’s just a crazy mixed-up dream with a little Disney thrown in.

I had an incredibly vivid dream a couple of weeks ago that took place in Walt Disney World and featured some interesting new ideas that came out of the subconscious of my mind. But when I woke up and thought them through, I was thinking of ways those features in my dream could actually work in the parks.

I am going to tell you my Disney dream, and explain how some of those thoughts could be implemented in a Disney Park.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print