Your subscriptions support new blog articles and research. Please consider

subscribing.

today.


A Review of the Pirate’s League at Magic Kingdom

by on July 26, 2015 10 Comments

2015-06-24 at 08-53-17My family and I recently returned from a trip to Walt Disney World during which we had the pleasure of celebrating our son’s fourth birthday. During the intense, Disney-encouraged planning stages of the trip we were faced with the dilemma of how to make it special…okay, more special than having a birthday at Disney World, which is already kind of a big deal. Since we are character meal fiends, it wouldn’t be special enough just to add another one (although we did a whopping 7 on a 10-day trip, including two on the big day). What we settled on was the Pirate’s League at the Magic Kingdom, something we’ve seen the results of, but never tried ourselves.

Of course, part of the reason we never went total pirate was because we didn’t know how our son would handle the makeup involved in turning into a full-on scurvy dog. The other reason was because our daughter, who is 6, has been asking about the immensely popular Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for some time now. Luckily, that desire was waylaid by the discovery of the mermaid packages at the Pirate’s League, but I’m getting ahead of myself — let’s walk through the experience.

Read the rest of this entry »

SATURDAY CLASSIX: Six “Secrets” of the Hard Rock Cafe Orlando

by on July 25, 2015 1 Comment

This week’s SATURDAY CLASSIC looks at Six “Secrets” of the Hard Rock Cafe Orlando. Located in CityWalk, directly between Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure, the Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando is the largest Hard Rock in the entire world. With a giant collection of memorabilia that is second to maybe only the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, this particular Hard Rock venue is a dream come true for music lovers. Let’s take a look at the top six “secrets,” shall we?  (Remember, clicking on any picture will open it up in full size)

# 6– A piece of the Berlin Wall sits outside

HRC_Berlin_Wall

A segment of the Berlin Wall

This is one item that many guests haven’t noticed even if they have been to the Hard Rock Cafe many times. On the side of the building, on the walk way which leads to the Blue Man Group, sits a piece of the actual Berlin Wall. An amazing piece of history, the Hard Rock has one the few pieces of the Berlin Wall that you can see in America. There is a strong relationship between rock n’ roll and the fall of communism in the 1980s, with this slab of the Wall being a reminder of that. In related trivia, the Hard Rock Cafe in Munich, Germany has a guitar on display that was actually carved from a piece of the Wall. Read the rest of this entry »

SATURDAY SIX: Six Best Restaurants at Universal’s CityWalk

by on July 25, 2015 7 Comments

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Best Restaurants at Universal’s CityWalk. Over the last 18 months, CityWalk at the Universal Orlando Resort has undergone an amazing transformation by opening seven new dining locations. These new venues combined with the locations already onsite make for one of the best places in Orlando to experience a wide variety of unique dining. Today we are going to look at the Very Best restaurants in CityWalk and to do so we consulted a blue ribbon panel comprised of Universal podcasters and bloggers. Their votes have been tabulated, and let’s begin the countdown of good eatin’ starting with…

# 6 – Antojitos

Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food is a postmodern tribute to Mexican street culture featuring a large open kitchen framed by graffiti graphics and eye-catching neon. The downstairs area has a central bar with surrounding booths fashioned from reclaimed wood and metal. This area can get very noisy, so if you want a quieter meal, ask for one of the private rooms upstairs. Or, grab a seat on the patio or balcony to watch the CityWalk crowds go by. With the best selection of tequila this side of La Cava del Tequila, Antojitos is at it’s best while sipping on a strong margarita and enjoying house made guacamole. The restaurant has several features that are pretty much unforgettable; several tables which look like giant bird cages, a wall of tattooed plastic baby dolls, and a multi-colored mission-style facade. While I was apprehensive about that vibrant color scheme when seeing the original concept art, I find myself drawn to this area because of the eye catching colors and the huge weather vane sitting at the top. One of the most fun parts of the restaurant is the mariachi band that will alternate between traditional Mexican music and covering popular songs from today. It’s fantastic! Antojitos was the first restaurant in CityWalk to be a Universal creation and they nailed it.

Antojitos_glover

Antojitos Authentic Mexican. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Antojitos_seth

Empanadas Tres Marias at Antojitos. (photo by Seth Kubersky)

Read the rest of this entry »

Disney Introduces New Tour – Escape to Walt’s Wilderness

by on July 24, 2015 1 Comment

©Disney

©Disney

Are you a fan of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort? Or do you really enjoy the outdoors? Well, then I have the tour for you with the brand new, Escape to Walt’s Wilderness Tour. This experience gives Guests a glance at the natural surroundings that became the perfect setting to accommodate Walt Disney’s grand dreams.

The adventure begins at Disney’s Contemporary Resort Marina where tour guides will take guests on-board pontoon boats for an eco-history tour of Bay Lake.

After arriving at Disney’s Fort Wilderness, Guests will head to the shore of Marshmallow Marsh for breakfast on the beach beside a giant bonfire and a enjoy camp-style breakfast that will include locally-sourced citrus salad, egg frittata, cinnamon rolls, biscuits, granola, coffee and juice. From there, the group will travel by horse-drawn wagon to the Settlement and Pioneer Hall and then will make their way over take part in an archery opportunity. (It’s time to get your inner Merida flowing!) Guests will also take a walk along the railroad tracks to learn more about Walt’s fascination with trains. Finally, Guests will head to the Tri-Circle-D Ranch horse barn to meet the celebrity horses who live and work at the Walt Disney World Resort.

In addition, A photographer will be on hand to capture photos of the group during the experience and for those who have purchased Memory Maker, those photos will be included. If you haven’t purchased Memory Maker, the photos will also be available a la carte on the Disney Photopass website.

This tour is a unique 5-hour experience that is available twice a week from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on select days and costs $109 per person, plus tax. Participants must be at least 7 years of age and availability is limited.

To book or for more information, call 407-WDW-PLAY.

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights Dates for 2015

by on July 24, 2015 1 Comment

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

Let the rejoicing begin! The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights dates have officially been announced for this year’s holiday season. The unique light show which takes place on the Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will occur from November 6, 2015 through January 3, 2016.

Each year, guests marvel as they walk along the street, gazing up at the beautiful lights, made even more spectacular when they start to blink and dance to the musical tracks. It’s great to grab a beverage (my choice is a cup of hot chocolate or coffee…no matter what the temps are…it is Christmas after all) and walk along marveling at the gorgeousness.

In addition,  continuing for 2015, guests who purchase Made with Magic items will see them interact with the lights as these items have been programmed to light up, both matching the colors of your surroundings and flashing to the beat of the holiday music.

For those who are unaware, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights started modestly in Arkansas as each year, Jennings Osborne and his family set up an elaborate collection of holiday lights. Over time, the collection of lights grew until 1995, when the lights were brought to Walt Disney World Resort and have remained ever since.

Oh and the best thing about this spectacular is that it is included in your park admission!

In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of July 24, 2015

by on July 24, 2015

ICYMIHoly cow! There is a ton of stuff that came out this week! It’s been one crazy time, that’s for sure, as we have great stories about sharks, dinosaurs, and more! It’s like a cornucopia of awesome. (Ok…I could do without the dinosaurs…) Let’s get to it!

In Case You Missed It – Disney and Universal Orlando News and Rumors

I came across this very interesting article this week, “What would Walt do? Universal and Disney battle to be US’s best theme park.” It takes an in-depth look at the throw down that’s currently taking place between Disney and Universal. Oh and you may recognize that our very own Seth Kubersky happens to be quoted in it.

What is Disney’s most important franchise according to Variety? I think the answer may surprise you.

Here are 5 attractions that never made it off the drawing board. Which one would you have most liked to have seen come to fruition? Read the rest of this entry »

MyMagic+ and Last-Minute Trips: Planned Spontaneity Advanced Course

by on July 24, 2015 11 Comments

Spaceship Earth MyMagic+

Sometimes you just need a last-minute trip to Disney World.

If you caught my previous article on planned spontaneity and MyMagic+, there is one flaw you might have noticed – it requires that you know far in advance that you are taking a trip to Walt Disney World. So the question is, “How do you plan for spontaneity when you decide to take a trip in the next 30 days?”

Before I launch into my method for planned spontaneity for last-minute trips, I first want to make one tiny thing clear: you don’t have to plan for spontaneity to be spontaneous on a trip to Disney World. (Don’t be alarmed, you read that right.) If you want to go sans FastPass+ and wing it with restaurants, you will still be able to have an awesome time. I prefer to use MyMagic+ to its fullest, and for me that means planning in such a way that I can go off-book about 50% of the time and have a plan the other 50%.  If you’re a planner like I am, then this should be right up your alley.

Read the rest of this entry »

Epcot AtMousePhere: The Music of Future World West

by on July 23, 2015 13 Comments

Copyright 2010 Claire NatWe’re taking things in a different direction in this edition of AtMousePhere. Epcot can be divided all sorts of ways: one way is to divide it into Future World and World Showcase, or you could divide each single pavilion into its own specific section.

For our purpose here, I am going to take a few pavilions at a time and highlight the atmospheric music inside and outside the pavilion. This article is going to focus on the music of Future World West, which includes The Seas with Nemo and Friends, The Land, and Imagination!

Read the rest of this entry »

Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever July 23, 2014: An Evening with Jodi Benson

by on July 23, 2015 5 Comments

Jodi benson best week ever

Spend an evening with Jodi The Little Mermaid Benson in the best Best Week Ever ever! (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

The hyperbolic title of this column is intended to be tongue in cheek, but every so often I truly do experience something that qualifies for the Best Week Ever superlative. Last Sunday night certainly qualifies, since — thanks to a contest conducted by Shelly Valladolid via her Fabulous Disney Babe column on MiceChat.com — I had the once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet a real-life Disney heroine. Part of Your World: An Evening with Jodi Benson at the Bohemian Hotel in Celebration, afforded 60 guests an intimate audience with Jodi Benson, original voice of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, over an excellent three-course meal, as she told stories, answered questions, posed for photos, and (best of all) performed a mini-concert of songs by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken.

Read the rest of this entry »

More Details about the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

by on July 22, 2015 2 Comments

The Hawai'i kiosk at Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

©Disney

Are you ready for fall? Well, if you are, details are abounding now about this year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival! If this is your favorite time of year to visit the parks, like it is mine, you count down the days until you can start making your plans! (I’m drinking pumpkin spice tea to get me in the mood as we speak!)

Well, now, we are only just a little over two months away from opening date, which starts on September 25 and will last a total of 53 days through November 16. What makes this year even more special is it is the 20th anniversary of the event! We’ve already heard some initial details, but we now know things like Marketplace Kiosk menus, special event details, and more.

What’s New?

Read the rest of this entry »