Walt Disney World (FL)

Two Restaurants Announced for Disney Springs

by on October 27, 2014

Two brand new restaurants have officially been announced for the Disney Springs revitalization of Downtown Disney.

The first restaurant, which will be brought to life from Japanese master chef Masaharu Morimoto and the Patina Restaurant Group, will be known as Morimoto Asia. The pan-Asian restaurant will include a two-story layout with a fabulous glass entrance, open terraces, a grand hall, private rooms, a long bar, a cocktail lounge, waterside seating, exhibition kitchens, and more. Menu items will include traditional Asian dishes such as Peking duck and dim sum.

New Morimoto Asia Restaurant to Open in Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort

According to Walt Disney World Resort President George Kalogridis, “We’re thrilled to bring Chef Morimoto’s renowned culinary style to Disney Springs as we expand the range of dining experiences for our resort guests as well as local Florida residents.”

Morimoto Asia is expected to open in The Landing (formerly Pleasure Island) in the Summer of 2015.

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Details on the Updated Cinderella Castle Lighting Show – “A Frozen Holiday Wish”

by on October 27, 2014

FCS796642The Holiday Season begins in a little over a week and a half at Walt Disney World! (Wait…what?!) One of the most incredible aspects of Disney’s holiday festivities is the Cinderella Castle holiday lighting show at the Magic Kingdom, which this year will see a change.

For the festive season, Cinderella Castle lights up each evening with more than 200,000 white shimmering lights, causing the castle to appear as though it has been frosted over. The effect is simply stunning, and photos do not do it justice. Prior to this year, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother performed the magic to make the castle shimmer.

However, in 2014 a brand new version of the show features a Frozen twist: “A Frozen Holiday Wish” will debut on November 5. The new show will feature Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and even Olaf; it will end with the traditional castle lighting ceremony, this time with Elsa turning the palace into an icy wonderland.

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Disney Dining: The Smokehouse at Downtown Disney

by on October 27, 2014

With House of Blues still on double secret probation, it was time to try a new venue for lunch while on a recent trip to Downtown Disney. I had intended on trying the menu of one of the four Disney food trucks, but three of them (the ones dedicated to food representing Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and “Magic Kingdom’s around the world”) were not open until 6PM. I met photographer Brandon Glover near Cirque du Soleil on DtD’s West Side, and The Smokehouse was the first place we walked past, so we made the easy decision of just eating there instead of walking all the way back to the Marketplace, where the Animal Kingdom food truck was parked next to World of Disney. (Please note that all pictures in this article can be viewed at full size by clicking on them.)

 

Smokehouse_ribs

A half rack of St. Louis ribs at The Smokehouse (photos by Brandon Glover.)

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Menu Monday: When It’s Hot, Save Some Dosh at Magic Kingdom

by on October 27, 2014

Water Cup

A perfect example of a “Full Package.” Photo by Kristi Fredericks.

Free Water at Disney World?

Hello, again! I have been thinking for a while about a good subject for my next blog and also what wonders of the English Language we Brits use to spring on you; then this suddenly sprang to mind: I know lots of people like knowing they have got the most out of their trip. Well, here is one way to definitely save some money (our Brit slang is “Dosh”). Florida, as everyone knows, is hot. Sometimes I would say it is a little too hot for Brits who are used to 60°F, not 95°F! The $2.50 price for a bottle of water does seem a lot of dosh (money) each time you need a hydration burst, so I decided to share this tip with you. Some of you probably already know that you can walk up to any counter service restaurant, and they will hand over a cup of ice water (pronounced “war-ter”, not “wah-dar”) upon request, but I have used this tip excessive amounts of times, and I have come to learn the best places for you to go and ask for the water. You might be thinking, “What difference does it make?” I can tell you now that un-filtered water is not exactly what you want for a hydration boost. So I have carefully tried and tasted most ice waters from each counter service at Disney and have concluded that some are better than others. With some orders of ice waters you receive the full package with lids and straws, whereas on some they just give you ice. I know, refreshing, but disappointing. The best part of this is that you do not always have to do it. Yes, exhausted parents, I am talking to you. You can sit quietly while your children fetch you water from the counter service opposite in a perfectly safe environment.

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Menu Monday: Cinderella’s Royal Table vs. Be Our Guest Restaurant

by on October 27, 2014

Disney World’s Magic Kingdom is home to two of the most magical dining locations you can imagine: Cinderella’s Royal Table and the Be Our Guest Restaurant. Both are very popular with guests, including myself, because who wouldn’t want the chance to dine in a castle like Disney royalty, right? But which one should you choose on your vacation and which of the two offers the most pixie dust for your buck? That’s exactly what I intend to find out in this Magic Kingdom Dinner Showdown: Cinderella’s Royal Table vs. Be Our Guest Restaurant.

Copyright - Disney

Copyright – Disney

First of all, Cinderella’s Royal Table, located inside Cinderella Castle, is a character meal featuring Disney Princesses at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Breakfast is standard, American fare, while lunch and dinner offer more sophisticated dishes. Touring Plans currently rates this dining destination three stars.

Be Our Guest, however, is only open for lunch and dinner; but the two different mealtimes offer different experiences. At lunch, Be Our Guest is a quick service restaurant where you order your food ahead of time with a Cast Member or at a kiosk and then choose your own table. The menu is centered around soups and sandwiches. At dinner, the dessert menu remains the same, but Be Our Guest becomes a table service restaurant offering a traditional, sit-down restaurant experience. Touring Plans currently rates this dining destination four stars.

Challenge #1: Price

Cinderella’s Royal Table is unique in that the menu is prix fixe. This means there is a set price for your meal, but you choose which selection of dishes you prefer. An average price for an adult meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table is currently around $70 per person and $45 per child.

Dinner at Be Our Guest offer a more typical dining set-up with individual prices for each menu item. To offer a price comparison to Cinderella’s Royal Table, if I were to order a soft drink, an appetizer of Potato Leek Soup, the Grilled Strip Steak, and then the Grey Stuff for dessert, my bill would average to about $50.00 per person. A kid’s dinner consisting of a drink, a garden salad for an appetizer, the Beast’s Casserole (macaroni and cheese), and the Grey Stuff for dessert would cost around $10 to $12.

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Magic Kingdom AtMousePhere: The Music of Fantasyland

by on October 26, 2014

newfantasylandSo much has changed in Fantasyland over the past three years that it was impossible for me to write an article talking about the music, since I didn’t know the new music! Luckily, I timed this post to follow my trip to Walt Disney World so that I could wander around Fantasyland and get the lay of the…land.

Obviously, the music of Fantasyland derives greatly from the various fantasy movies that Disney has put out. That’s not to say that the instrumentation is directly from the movies themselves. Sometimes the music is taken from the setting of a movie. Other times themes are explored in a different way. And in a few areas of New Fantasyland, there isn’t any music at all! Let’s take a walk through a much-improved area of Magic Kindgom park:

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The Sorcerer’s Hat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to be Removed

by on October 24, 2014

Sorcerer's Hat at Disney's Hollywood Studios

©Disney

All day, I’ve been seeing the rumors, but it now appears to be official! The iconic Sorcerer’s Hat at the end of Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Chinese Theatre at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is being removed.

The Sorcerer’s Hat was introduced into the park in 2001 as a part of the “100 Years of Magic” celebration, which honored Walt Disney’s 100th birthday and was initially supposed to be temporary. According to Disney, the hat was built as a representation of the magic of show business and the entertainment wizardry of Disney that is captured throughout shows and attractions at the park.

Not a lot of news has been released about the removal, but it certainly appears that big changes are on tap for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, with multiple attractions closing over the past few months. Just today, it was announced that The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow is also closing.

Disney has not announced a date for the removal of the Sorcerer’s Hat; however, rumors are indicating that work will begin sometime in early 2015 (likely January).

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“The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Close

by on October 24, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

The lackluster attraction “The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is slated to close for good; its last day of operation is November 6.

The interactive attraction takes guests through different pirate adventures in a room designed like a pirate’s cave lair. The attraction was pretty poorly presented and included sections where guests were supposed to chant and stomp their feet, which seemed to be geared more towards very young children. The show also featured somewhat scary confrontations with skeletons, singing mermaids, and a Kraken, all utilizing state of the art technology.

Over the past year the attraction also featured an unusual queuing process where guests would obtain a paper ticket with a specific show time printed on it. Guests would then return about 10 minutes prior to the show time.

The walk-through show opened in December 2012, replacing the “Journey into Narnia: Prince Caspian” attraction. Currently there has been no announcement of what may be taking the place of “The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow” attraction.

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How Much Do Toiletries and Sundries Cost at Disney?

by on October 24, 2014

Despite copious planning with packing lists, it’s all but inevitable that mishaps will occur when traveling. Little Billy gets a fever during your trip and you neglected to bring the Children’s Tylenol. You thought you husband was packing toothpaste and he thought you were, so now you have none. You accidentally left your sunscreen at the pool yesterday and are now about to be burned to a crisp by the thousand degree sun.

IMG_7076

All of these problems are easy to solve at Walt Disney World and on Disney Cruise Line. (Disneyland’s close proximity to the external world makes access to replacement items less of an issue there.) The ship and hotel gift shops are well stocked, with most categories of personal care items represented. So while you won’t be totally left in the lurch in any of the above situations, you will likely pay a premium purchasing these personal care basics at a Disney location rather than at home. But how much of a premium will you be pay? Let’s investigate…

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Disney World Crowd Report – October 12 to 18, 2014

by on October 24, 2014

Wait times were up last week resort-wide, especially at Disney Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. Partially due to increased crowds and partially due to operational changes such as a temporary closing of Pirates of the Caribbean, the permanent closing of Backlot Tour and experiments with Fastpass Plus-only attractions. Animal Kingdom crowds came in at expected levels or lower all week so it is unlikely that attendance is up significantly.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week:

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