Walt Disney World (FL)

Walt Disney World Preview — Week of November 25th

by on November 23, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving! Or Happy Thursday for my non-American friends! We’ve got changes to Disney’s Magical Express and more, so keep reading!

Special Events

  • IMPORTANT: Changes have been made to Disney’s Magical Express (DME) pick-up times! Due to new TSA protocols, DME will pick you up from your Disney resort hotel anywhere from 3 hours and 45 minutes to 4 hours and 15 minutes prior to your flight time. Read Rikki’s article for more details!
  • The SpectacuLAB has opened inside Innoventions at Epcot! This show is hosted by two REAL scientists who conduct experiments while educating you on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education.
  • Ale & Compass Restaurant opens today! This establishment replaced Captain’s Grille and is located at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort.

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Changes Made to Disney’s Magical Express Pick-Up Times

by on November 20, 2017

Disney's Magical Express

©Rikki Niblett

If you are someone who is going to be using Disney’s Magical Express when visiting Walt Disney World this holiday season, you are going to want to take notice of an important update.

Due to security enhancements from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Orlando International Airport (otherwise known as MCO) has updated their advisory times and is recommending that travelers arrive at the airport earlier than they previously were supposed to. Guests flying out of MCO are now supposed arrive at least three hours prior to their scheduled departure time.

This means that there is now a change in the departure times for Disney Magical Express resort motorcoaches. Disney’s Magical Express will now be scheduled to pick up Guests approximately four hours prior their scheduled flight departure time for both domestic and international flights. This means that Guests may have a motorcoach departure time ranging anywhere from 3 hours and 45 minutes prior to flight time, to 4 hours and 15 minutes prior to flight time. This change has been enacted so that it will ensure the Guest’s luggage arrives at the aircraft in time for their scheduled flight departure time.

In addition, Guests using the Resort Airline Check-in service must now check in for their flight at least four hours prior to their scheduled departure time. Also, the Resort Airline Check-in desks at Walt Disney World Resort hotels will operate 4:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. daily.

Keep in mind that this is currently only a temporary measure. The Walt Disney World Resort is working closely with Orlando International Airport. This process is currently expected to be in place through early January 2018.

 

Four Places to Watch Thanksgiving Football at Walt Disney World (Besides ESPN Club)

by on November 20, 2017

Thanksgiving, the most festive and gluttonous day in between Halloween and Christmas, is a holiday steeped in family and tradition. For some that tradition includes dressing up like pilgrims and bringing an entire turkey dinner into the Main Street Railroad Station. For many others, the traditional Thanksgiving celebration includes the ubiquitous background noise of American professional football. Specifically, the annual battles between the Detroit Lions, Dallas Cowboys, and whichever other random teams are forced to skip a holiday and play football on short rest. Seriously though, football is as much a part of Thanksgiving at the Parade, the turkey, and the giant stack of Black Friday advertisements in the morning newspaper. This leaves many people to ask us “where is the best place to watch Thanksgiving football at Walt Disney World?”

A typical Thanksgiving meal at Walt Disney World. This one in particular is at Sanaa.
Credit: Tammy Whiting

There are a few obvious choices. First of all, as you already know, the Thanksgiving games are broadcast on the major networks and are available on the televisions in all Walt Disney World Resort hotel rooms. So staying in your room for the game (or games) of choice is an easy, yet also a potentially boring and lonely option. There is also the Boardwalk Resort’s ESPN Club, the standard sports destination on property. The main problem with the ESPN Club is the crowds, especially on an NFL football day during an extremely busy time at the Resort. Moreover, both of these options are neither festive or particularly inventive. To remedy this we’ve come up with our list of four other places to watch Thanksgiving football at Walt Disney World.

The criteria for making our list was threefold: an establishment must have televisions on site capable of tuning into a football game, it must serve something that can reasonably constitute a Thanksgiving dinner, and it must have come to the mind of this author. Seriously. I don’t know everything. (Don’t tell my wife!) If you’ve ever done Thanksgiving sports viewing at Walt Disney World and know of some spots not mentioned, please chime in down below in the comments or on Facebook.

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Thanksgiving Options at Disney Parks

by on November 17, 2017

©Disney

Wow! Can you believe that we are less than a week away from Thanksgiving?! If you’re going to be spending the holiday in the parks, you will have a number of places where you can choose to dine and grab a traditional (or even non-traditional) turkey meal.  They include:

 

Walt Disney World

Magic Kingdom

  • Liberty Tree Tavern
  • Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Cafe will offer turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, cranberry sauce and gravy

Epcot

  • Sunshine Seasons will offer turkey with gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans and cranberry sauce
  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall
  • Biergarten
  • Coral Reef Restaurant
  • Le Cellier Steakhouse

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Walt Disney World Preview — Week of November 18

by on November 16, 2017

Can you believe the holiday season is right around the corner? Where has this year gone? The holidays mean lots of exciting events are coming your way at Walt Disney World.

Special Events

  • Disney Springs has a wide variety of holiday events going on, including the expanded Tree Trail, and select stores will also have Black Friday sales and special offerings. Although the full list hasn’t come out yet, you can see our review of last year’s Black Friday here.
  • It’s a holiday miracle! Choza de Margarita, the margarita stand at Epcot’s Mexico pavilion, is finally open. Check out our review of the drinks and food here.
  • More details are coming out about Star Wars Galactic Nights, a hard-ticket event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on December 16. If you want to attend, make sure to get your tickets right away as this event will sell out.

 

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Choza de Margarita: Upgraded Margarita Mecca Now Open

by on November 15, 2017

The new Choza de Margarita stand at the Mexico Pavilion is located on the World Showcase Plaza side of the pavilion's central pyramidThis past Monday, the long-awaited Choza de Margarita stand outside of the Mexico pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase opened to much fanfare (and whistling… more on that in a second). Relocated from the Norway side of the pavilion’s central pyramid to the World Showcase Plaza side, this will be the new permanent home for “quick service” margaritas (as opposed to the more intimate setting of La Cava del Tequila, which has been slammed with patrons during the last few months to account for the missing stand).

Much larger in size and scope, the new Choza de Margarita stand exhibits a bit of smart, practical design on Disney’s part – the stand allows room for a line that will not impede traffic through the World Showcase promenade, and also has a good amount of room after you pick up your treats to stand or sit and enjoy them outdoors before heading off to your next destination. Another great part about the new stand? They have tons more offerings now, featuring options ranging from the traditional machine-spun frozen margaritas from before, as well as higher-end signature margaritas more akin to La Cava’s offerings (previously the stand only offered one of these a month), and even several snacks!

The frozen margaritas featured on the menu are mostly the same recipes and results as before – strawberry ($10.50), lime ($10.25), and passion fruit/mango ($10.25), or you can go for the Fiesta margarita ($10.50), a combination of all three flavors, which also comes with a lot of celebratory Cheery Cast Members make signature margaritas to orderwhistling and singing from Choza’s Cast Members. There are also a few beer options (Dos Equis Ambar, Cerveza Pacifico, and, for the Bloody Mary-style drink lovers, a Michelada).

The more interesting options come from the “Signature Margaritas” section of the menu, though. Ranging from $14-14.50 (a bit pricy, in my opinion, but in line with La Cava’s indoor pricing and quality), you can order three specialty drinks assembled to order featuring higher-end spirits and more complex flavors:

  • Acan grapefruit, featuring Tequila Casa Noble blanco, grapefruit liqueur, elderflower cordial, lemon, cardamom bitters, and ginger beer
  • Lime cucumber, featuring Tequila Avion blanco, fresh cucumber juice, orange liqueur, agave, and Tajin chili rim
  • Guava pink peppercorn, featuring Mezcal Zignum reposado, guava nectar, grapefruit liqueur, lime, Peychaud’s bitters, and pink peppercorns

The Acan Grapefruit Signature Margarita and the Lime Cucumber Signature Margarita from Choza de MargaritaOf course, I had to try out a few of the new drinks and snacks (all in the name of research, right?). First up, I sampled the Acan grapefruit, which sounded like a light option, perfect for a hot day. This margarita is on the sweeter side because of the elderflower, but the ginger beer brightens up the tequila and the floral cardamom, balanced well with the acid of the grapefruit flavors and the lemon juice. All in all, this was a very smooth sip, and perfect for those who prefer their margaritas with sweet/sour contrast.

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2017 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Video Tour

by on November 15, 2017

Hello and Happy Holidays!

Maybe it feels a little bit early to be celebrating, but not at Disney World where Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party began last Friday. I was there and had a great time despite the sold out crowds, but rather than write my normal hundreds of words about it, I spoke at a camera for several hours on end! Luckily I managed to edit it down to just under 17 minutes where you get to see bits of every show, the parade, the fireworks, and lots of random things throughout the night. Enjoy, and maybe check out the rest of our YouTube page when you’re done.

Thanks for watching.

Reservations Now Open for Ale & Compass Restaurant at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

by on November 14, 2017

Ale & Compass

©Disney

Back in the summer, I let you all know that Captain’s Grille would be becoming a new restaurant called Ale & Compass. The restaurant will be officially opening on November 26 and reservations can now be booked!

Ale & Compass will offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner choices and will continue to be a table service dining location. Ale & Compass will feature a decor that is inspired by a lighthouse and the main focal point will be an on-stage hearth oven. The menu itself is inspired by all the great restaurants found in the New England area.

Breakfast will include dishes like a Breakfast “Pie” with Sunny–side Egg, House-made Bacon, Ham, Provolone, and Arugula; Grilled Oat Cakes with Apples, Dried Fruit, and Maple Syrup; Salted Caramel-Apple French Toast; and Blueberry-Bacon Pancakes.

For lunch, options include various Hearth Oven Pies; Maine Lobster Roll; House-made Bacon and Vermont Cheddar Burger; and for vegans, a Protein Bowl made with Vegan Italian Sausage, Quinoa, Sweet Potatoes, and Broccoli Rabe with Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce.

For dinner, choices are a Coastal Clambake with a Half Maine Lobster, Clams, Corn, and Potatoes; Fried Chicken and Waffles; Smoked Barbecue Pork Chop; and Four-Cheese Ravioli.

In addition, the Ale & Compass Lounge has been expanded and beautifully re-imagined and will also be open to guests beginning November 26. The lounge will offer a variety of original and classic cocktails, as well as an extensive lists of New England and local beers and wines. The lounge menu offers lighter bites such as Caramelized Leek and Chorizo White Clam Hearth “Pie,” Oven Roasted Oysters, and Parker House Rolls with spreads of Bacon Jam, Pub Cheese, and Smoked Trout.

For reservations, call 407 WDW-DINE

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World with Even More Options

by on November 14, 2017

New Year's Eve

©Disney

If you’re looking to bring in 2018 in style, celebrating New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World is a great way to do it. In addition to previously mentioned parties at both Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, there are two other options to choose from that were just announced.

First, Guests can spend the evening at the Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s BoardWalk with a New Year’s Eve Bash. Here’s you’ll experience rockin’ music and tasty treats. Guest will be able to enjoy things like soft pretzels, churros, and other sweet and salty snacks. In addition, you can celebrate the new year with complimentary party hats and horns, a view of Epcot’s fantastic New Year’s Eve fireworks, as well as a champagne toast at midnight. The party begins at 9:00 p.m. and guests must be 21 years or older.

Or, say you’re looking for something a little more posh. Consider the Flying Fish at Disney’s BoardWalk for Dinner and Dancing Under the Sea. Guests can enjoy a cocktail hour beginning at 7:00 p.m. with hor d’Oeurves and a gorgeous seafood display. Then you’ll be seated for a family-style dinner spread with sustainable seafood offerings and accompaniments. There will also be a complimentary character artist drawing throughout the night and you’ll have the opportunity to dance all night long to the tunes of a live 3-piece jazz band. At midnight, you’ll get to toast with champagne. Guests of this event will also have the opportunity to hop on over to the Atlantic Dance Hall to enjoy the Epcot fireworks and additional midnight festivities. Guests who attend this event must be 21 years or older.

For reservations, for either of these events, call (407) WDW-DINE.

 

 

Back to the Basics: MagicBands + Video

by on November 14, 2017

It’s been a while since I’ve filmed a Back to the Basics episode, so here’s a new one!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with MagicBands and how they work, I hope this video gives you a proper overview.

…and if it doesn’t, than I’ll either have to step up my game or rethink my career choice. The pressure is on Angela. Don’t screw this up!

Enjoy!

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