Walt Disney World (FL)

Where to Find “Real” Sweet Tea at Disney World

by on October 13, 2014

Starbucks Shaken Sweet Tea

Starbucks Shaken Sweet Tea

If you’re from the South, you know that there’s a big difference between sweetened tea and “real” sweet tea; and if you have been to Disney World, you also know that it can be quite a challenge to find this Southern staple.

Now for those of you who don’t know, “real” sweet tea is Black Tea that is brewed with sugar while it’s still hot, as opposed to adding the sugar later. This process creates a smooth, blended sweet taste and consistency that can’t even compare to fruit flavored tea or the Gold Peak Tea found throughout the parks and resorts.

But if you’re like me, and sweet tea is your go-to refreshment after spending the day trekking through the parks, I have uncovered a few places at Disney World where you can enjoy a Southern-style Sweet Tea!

Starbucks – Starbucks locations have been opening up all throughout Disney World this past year, beginning with the Main Street Bakery at the Magic Kingdom, then Fountain View at Epcot, followed by two locations at Downtown Disney, and soon, a new location at Hollywood Studios. Now I know that Starbucks is all about coffee; but for me, it’s also a go-to for a sweet tea fix. Each Starbucks at Disney World now serves a Shaken Sweet Tea, which has all the flavor of real, Southern Sweet Tea. Plus, the variety of Starbucks locations means that I can grab a sweet tea almost anywhere at Disney World now with prices ranging from the smallest size at $1.99 to the largest at $3.29. Check out the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street Bakery’s menu here!

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Menu Monday: AMC Dine-In Theatre at Downtown Disney

by on October 13, 2014

IMG_0135Hi everyone! By request, I’m stopping by with another Menu Monday to tell you all about the AMC dine-in Theatre at Downtown Disney. Anyone that has read my park reports knows I’m a fan of sloshing through Disney World in the rain. It might come as a surprise that another one of my rainy day favorites is visiting the AMC dine-in Theatre. Not to mention it makes for a great date night!

This past weekend I stopped by for a movie because a storm was coming and I hadn’t packed my rain gear. Since it was before noon, the parking situation was simple, but you should know that parking can be very difficult to find these days if you stop by later. It’s very simple to park at Saratoga Springs and stroll over. At the guard shack just tell them that’s your plan and they’ll direct you to the best parking. There’s nothing sneaky about it. With the limited parking available at Downtown Disney right now they’re encouraging you to find parking at a nearby resort.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Cast Member Chronicles: Chef Kevin Marshall

by on October 12, 2014

Photo Credit - Derek Burgan

Crystal Palace

I met Chef Kevin Marshall at a dinner party while visiting Orlando this past September. He is a friend of my Uncle Keith, and was gracious enough to share his culinary talents as our personal chef for the evening. As he prepared a scrumptious feast for us, I interviewed him about his diverse and fascinating career at Walt Disney World.

In June of 1989, he was a man fresh out of tech school. He applied at Walt Disney World, but soon learned there was a hiring freeze for positions he originally desired. Because he had previously managed a Wendy’s restaurant, he was offered a job in food and beverage at The Crystal Palace. As part of the culinary staff, he moved around to different positions, soon cooking alongside professional Disney chefs.

While working at the Crystal Palace, he and two other coworkers were asked to carve a 700 lb pumpkin for Halloween. They were told to carve and hand paint the ‘Blustery Day’ scene from Winnie the Pooh. It took two weeks of overtime and 90 man hours to complete this masterpiece. It was displayed outside the restaurant, surrounded by bales of hay to prevent guests from touching it. One day, a Cast Member saw a little boy ignoring the bales and and putting his hands on the carved image of Pooh. Originally thinking the boy was causing mischief, the Cast Member told the boy to refrain from touching the pumpkin. As it turns out, the little boy was blind. He never knew what Pooh and his friends looked like. From the carving, the boy was able to feel and learn the character shapes. It was his own personal braille pattern. Kevin said it made all his hard work truly worth it and is a memory that touches him to this day.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Disney Offering One Day Memory Maker Option With Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

by on October 10, 2014

Disney PhotoPassFor those who love photographs, there is a great new option for you if you’ll be attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom. Disney is currently testing an option where guests can purchase a one-day Memory Maker that can be utilized during the evening’s events. This one day Memory Maker costs $39 and is added to a party ticket.

As a nice bonus, not only will guests be able to have any photo taken by Disney PhotoPass photographers during that evening’s party, but they will also be able to digitally download any photo taken that day – not just during the party hours. This includes photos taken at select dining establishments, as well as any on-ride attraction photos.

To purchase this one-day Memory Maker option, guests can visit a ticket booth at the Transportation and Ticket Center, and for those who’ve already purchased tickets but still would like to purchase this fun option, you can still add it on the evening of your party.

 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes – 10/10/14

by on October 10, 2014

Happy Friday! Who is ready for more Newsworthy Notes? If you’re visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom or wanting to visit Typhoon Lagoon, I’ve got some news you should definitely read!

  • The Affection Section petting zoo area at Rafiki’s Planet Watch at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be closed for refurbishment until November 10, reopening on November 11. Guests will still be able experience the other animal encounters at Conservation Station. Also, at the Out of the Wild shop, they are now offering some food items, including things like fresh fruit cups, hummus, and apples with caramel, and ice cream treats. This is good news, considering Rafiki’s Planet Watch previously had no snack options at all.
  • For those who are unaware, currently all guests wishing to visit Typhoon Lagoon after 2:00 p.m. must go to Epcot and transfer to a bus which will take them to Typhoon Lagoon. (This is being done to accommodate Disney Springs construction.) This means that Magic Kingdom resort hotel guests who currently want to visit the water park must go to Epcot via monorail (transferring to the Epcot monorail at the Transportation and Ticket Center) and then transfer to the bus taking them to Typhoon Lagoon. However, from October 12-25, Disney will be offering a bus route that will give guests the option to be transported from the Magic Kingdom resorts, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, to Epcot. From there, the guests will be able to hop on another bus to transfer to Typhoon Lagoon. This route will only be in service daily from 2:00 p.m. until Typhoon Lagoon closes for the evening. Guests will also still be able to utilize the monorail to make the journey to Epcot and then transfer to the water park if they choose. Typhoon Lagoon will be closing for its annual refurbishment October 26, which will last until January 3, 2015.
  • Due to maintenance work, the Hess gas station located near Disney’s BoardWalk Inn will be temporarily closed beginning October 13. The project has no official end date, but it is expected to last approximately three weeks. The other Hess gas stations found on property will remain open.

That’s it for this installment. Thoughts?

 

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Friday Face Off – Aging Attractions

by on October 10, 2014

Running a theme park has to be a dicey experiment. The more a park works to stay current, the older the older attractions tend to look. While many attractions retain their charm throughout the years, many others tend to feel dated pretty quickly. Attendance drops, lines decline, and parks decide to refresh the attraction through refurbishment, rebuilding, or demolition. Today, let’s look at a few Disney and Universal attractions, and throw them down in a Friday Face Off – Aging Attractions. Universal’s Jurassic Park River Adventure vs. Disney World’s Dinosaur and the recently-deceased Maelstrom.

Here to save the World?

Here to save the World?

First, I’ll beat the dead horse that was Maelstrom. Relax, people. Relax. Don’t get me wrong: I’m disappointed that Maelstrom will be re-created into a Frozen attraction, but I don’t think it’s any great loss. Those crying over its demise will no doubt rue the day that Captain EO eventually is mercifully put out of its misery.

On a side note, I truly believe that Disney Cast Members are punitively placed to work there. I mean, how COULD this be such an epic failure? Spielberg? Coppola? Space? Michael Jackson? Dancing? Puppets? I can remember being there in 1986 – sporting the mullet, most certainly, and seeing the preview posters for the upcoming Captain EO film, and being disappointed that Captain EO didn’t premiere until that fall. We were out of the Disney World environment until 2009, when we saw Honey, I Shrunk the Audience. Then we returned in 2013 for our visit to the Return of Captain EO. Let me tell you how that trip went.

When we entered the queue area, we encountered the most seriously working – and for the most part completely clueless – Cast Member employed at the Disney World property.

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Unexpected Disney Souvenir: Shoes

by on October 10, 2014

photo_2

When you think about Disney parks souvenirs, the products that typically come top of mind include t-shirts, ear hats, and plush toys. While these are certainly all easy-to-find items, another surprisingly prevalent product in the parks is shoes. These range from inexpensive flip-flops to performance athletic equipment, and everything in between.

In addition to being a fun souvenir, many of the shoes sold in the parks can fill the gap if emergency strikes and your luggage is lost or if Little Billy decides that your vacation sneakers are the perfect place to store the leftover half of his Mickey bar.

Here’s a sample of what was available in the parks and resorts in early autumn 2014. The exact designs do change from time to time, but the range of styles and price points generally remains consistent.

BASIC FLIP FLOPS

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: October 9, 2014

by on October 9, 2014

1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re visiting Epcot to say goodbye to Maelstrom and have more fun at Food & Wine Festival. Then we’re heading over to the Magic Kingdom to see what’s new there and ending with a view of Happy HalloWishes from the ferry boat dock. Sounds like fun, right? Let’s go! :)

Walking up to Maelstrom this weekend it was very obvious that a cult following had shown up to see the final days of this classic ride. I didn’t try getting near the ride on Sunday but we stopped by Saturday and found the line already 60 minutes long! Luckily I had planned ahead with FastPass+ or I don’t think we would have ridden one last time.  If you’d like to ride one last time along with me then please click to read more! :)

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Disney World Crowd Report – September 28 to October 4, 2014

by on October 8, 2014

Last week was a great week for low crowds across Walt Disney World, especially Monday through Friday. Magic Kingdom Crowds stayed relatively low and were particularly low on days when that park hosted an evening Halloween Party.

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

Read the rest of this entry »

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print

Be Our Guest Restaurant Lunch Currently FastPass+ Only

by on October 8, 2014

Be Our Guest Restaurant FastPass+ sign

Looks like currently the Stand-by Entrance is no more.

If you not staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel and want to dine at the Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest Restaurant for lunch, it appears that you are out of luck for the time being. The extremely popular New Fantasyland restaurant is currently only seating guests who have made a FastPass+ reservation during lunch hours, when the restaurant functions as a counter service location. These reservations are only available to guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel. Walk-ups will not be allowed for the restaurant until further notice, with no end date in sight.

Previously Disney tested handing out paper “return tickets” to standby guests. This test left many guests out of luck, as tickets were often snatched up quickly first thing in the morning.

Be Our Guest Restaurant is still a table service location at dinner and absolutely requires guests to make Advanced Dining Reservations in order to dine during the evening hours.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • Pinterest
  • Print