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A First Look at the 2017 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

by on November 29, 2016 2 Comments

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

©Rikki Niblett

We are just a few months away from the 2017 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival, which kicks off on March 1 and lasts until May 29. (That’s 90 days of gardens, character topiaries, entertainers and food and drink offerings.) This year will feature a number of new things for Guests to enjoy.

To begin with, there will be two new Outdoor Kitchens that will join the thirteen returning dining kiosks. I am excited to learn what these new kitchens will offer, since I love the fresh food and beverages that this festival serves each year.

One of my favorite things about the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival are the topiaries. This year, there will be an all new Belle topiary from Beauty and the Beast. Belle will be a new generation of topiary that will feature facial features, much like Snow White, Anna, and Elsa currently have. She will be seen wearing her famous yellow ball gown.  Read the rest of this entry »

Walt Disney World Introduces New Highway in the Sky Dine Around

by on November 29, 2016 11 Comments

©Disney

©Disney

Have you ever wanted to take part in a progressive dinner at the Walt Disney World monorail resort restaurants? With the brand new dining adventure called Highway in the Sky Dine Around, you’ll be able to do just that.

Guests will be able to enjoy a five-course meal that will include cocktails, appetizers, dinner and dessert and will feature stops at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Plus Guests will receive a VIP guide and a private viewing of Wishes.

The event begins at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, where you’ll check in at The Wave… of American Flavors where you’ll enjoy a specialty cocktail. From there, you’ll head to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort where you’ll enjoy a variety of island-inspired beverages and appetizers. Read the rest of this entry »

ABC Commissary to Offer Fast-Casual Dining

by on November 29, 2016

Photo courtesy of Disney (c)

©Disney

Guests who visit ABC Commissary at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will soon be able to take advantage of a new way to dine. Beginning November 30, the counter service restaurant will now be offering a fast-casual dining experience during dinner. This new dinner offering will include a menu that focuses on made-to-order, healthful, and specialty items.

This experience appears to be similar to one that is currently offered at Be Our Guest Restaurant for lunch. Here’s how things will will work: Guests will place their order at the counter. After placing their order, Guests will receive a pager and be able to find a table while their food is being prepared. Once their food is ready to be served, it will be brought directly to the Guest’s table.

The fast-casual dinner option will be offered daily beginning at 3:30 p.m. Lunch at ABC Commissary will continue to operate as it currently does, as a full counter service option.

 

Loews Sapphire Falls Resort: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

by on November 29, 2016 5 Comments

Sapphire FallsVisiting Universal Orlando for Halloween Horror Nights provided the perfect opportunity to stay in the new Loews Sapphire Falls Resort. Back in July, Dani included a visit to Sapphire Falls in her Best Week Ever series, and I was curious to see if the resort completed most of the last minute touches since then. Here are my first impressions and experiences of Sapphire Falls. To give you a taste of what it’s like to stay at the new resort, we’ll start with ‘great’ and work through ‘good’, ‘average’, and ‘bad’ before finally reaching ‘ugly’.

Great

Staff: When your main competition is Walt Disney World, a company known for its friendly Cast Members, slacking off in the customer service department would be unwise. The Team Members at Sapphire Falls did not disappoint. Every single Team Member, from the luggage service staff to the managers, went out of their way to be friendly, helpful, welcoming, and engaging. Out of all the hotels I’ve visited, including many of the Disney Deluxe resorts, the staff at Sapphire Falls was by far the best I’ve experienced. They genuinely seemed happy to be there.

Read the rest of this entry »

A Recap of Black Friday at Disney Springs: Boom or Bust?

by on November 28, 2016 7 Comments

Spoiler Alert: This is not the kind of crowds that Disney Springs merchants were hoping for.

Spoiler Alert: This is not the kind of crowds that Disney Springs merchants were hoping for.

This year, with a wide variety of new stores opening throughout Disney Springs, it wasn’t a huge surprise that Disney Springs announced that it would be getting into the holiday shopping spirit with its own Black Friday sales.

In conversations with one of the merchants, the consensus was that neither the merchants nor Disney had any idea whether or not this would be successful. And although I’m anti-crowds and an anti-“stuff” semi-minimalist, I wanted to see exactly how Black Friday at Disney Springs would compare with the stories you see on the news. Full disclaimer: I have never door-busted any stores for Black Friday in my life, but have had a few years of experience as a sales floor manager at Target way back in my youth and got to see the best and the worst of Black Friday behavior. There were a couple items that I was looking to purchase for some family members this year, and so if I could get a small discount on them, I’d be happy with that as well. Just to say we’ve had the experience, we decided to rope drop the Black Friday event at Disney Springs.

Read the rest of this entry »

SATURDAY SIX: Third Annual Theme Park Turkeys of the Year

by on November 26, 2016 7 Comments

This week’s SATURDAY SIX is one of our favorites as we present the Third Annual “Turkeys” of the Year. For Thanksgiving this week we took a look back at things both Disney and Universal fans should be thankful for, but today we are going to go the other way. Gather ’round as we continue the fine tradition of awarding six Theme Park “Turkeys” to the craziest, most outrageous, or just downright weird stories of the year, concluding with the coveted Golden Turkey award. Let’s kick off the ceremony with a food situation that blew us away….

# 6 – That Time Disney Charged $12.99 For a “Hurricane Box”

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Art by Juliette Elton (@JulietteElton)

In early October, the state of Florida had its biggest weather scare in almost a decade with the oncoming Hurricane Matthew. Most of the models used by meteorologists had Matthew slamming into the East Coast, and then continuing straight up through the center of the state hitting Orlando. Seemingly playing a weird game of chicken, Disney and Universal both waited until just about the last possible moment to announce their hard ticket events of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Halloween Horror Nights would be cancelled for Thursday, October 6th,  and all the Orlando theme parks would be closed on Friday, October 7th.

With the storm bearing down on Florida, food everywhere was being cleared off the shelves at Walt Disney World. Lines appeared at the hotel food courts that seemed impossible to believe were true (but they absolutely were.) The food court at Port Orleans French Quarter was in the process of being refurbished, and there WDW was offering a $12.99 boxed meal that included a sandwich, an apple, a bag of chips, and a cookie. Pictures of the paltry boxed lunch hit social media and news outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel, with most of the reaction being very unfavorable to Disney.

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In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of November 25, 2016

by on November 25, 2016 1 Comment

ICYMIDid you go Black Friday shopping? Who’s bought all their Christmas presents? I have a few, but need to get a few more still.

Since it’s been a busy week, we’ll just dive right in! Take a look at the changes coming to Hong Kong Disneyland, see the new teaser trailer for Cars 3, and more!

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

What can you buy for the same $700 you would be able to buy a cabana at the Magic Kingdom for? The Orlando Sentinel takes a look.

Curious about the new drone technology being used in Disney Springs’ new holiday show? Learn how fireworks may soon become passe. What do you think of this new technology and its potential use? Read the rest of this entry »

2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Dates Announced

by on November 25, 2016

Epcot Food and Wine Festival

©Rikki Niblett

This year’s Epcot International Food and Wine Festival has just ended, but we now know when the 2017 festival will occur. Next year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival is slated to take place for a record number of days – 75 days total; it will now occur from August 31 until November 13.

The Epcot Food and Wine Festival not only features incredible new and favorite dishes at the marketplace kiosks, but guests can also experience seminars, concerts, events, private meals, celebrity chefs, and more.

Each year, the Festival is a blast and as more details get released, I’ll make sure to let you know them!

SATURDAY SIX THANKSGIVING SPECIAL: Six Reasons for Theme Park Fans to Give Thanks in 2016

by on November 24, 2016 7 Comments

This week’s SATURDAY SIX  is our annual Thanksgiving Special and takes a look at Six Reasons for Theme Park Fans to Give Thanks. 2016 was another great year to be a theme park fan, and for this Thanksgiving we are going to take a quick break from all the turkey, football games, and Black Friday pre-planning to count our blessings and thank the parks and resorts that we love so much. So, for one day only, we ask that all Disney and Universal fans put aside their differences and spend a brief moment appreciating all the wonderful things that we can share together, starting with…

# 6 – More Muppets in Walt Disney World!

With two major expansions coming to Disney Hollywood Studios, many fans of The Muppets were afraid that the Muppets courtyard and Muppet Vision 3D would be bulldozed as Disney prepared for our new Star Wars overlords. It didn’t help that in 2014 Muppets Most Wanted underperformed at the box office (making $30M less than The Muppets film which came out in 2011) and The Muppets television show on ABC had a major creative shakeup halfway through its first season, ultimately being cancelled earlier this year. Muppets fans breathed a sigh of relief when Disney officially released their plans for Star Wars at the D23 Expo, leaving the Muppets area of the park untouched.

Then, appearing like an early Christmas present, came a whole bunch of incredible great Muppet news. In October, The Muppets entered the Magic Kingdom for a hilarious new attraction in Liberty Square. The Muppets Present…Great Moments in American History is filled with the perfect Muppet humor that can appeal to both adults and children. Over in EPCOT, the Muppet Mobile Lab featuring Beaker and Dr. Honeydew returned after being gone for many years. Meanwhile, back at DHS, the restaurant formerly known as Pizza Planet was completely transformed into the Muppet-themed PizzeRizzo.

So Muppets fans – like myself – started the year fearing we could be seeing the end of The Muppets in Walt Disney World, but by the end of the year we have more Muppets than ever before. Long Live The Muppets!

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The Muppets Present…Great Moments in American History. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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The Muppets Present…Great Moments in American History. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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PizzeRizzo at DHS. (photo by Brandon Glover)

pizzerizzo_glover

PizzeRizzo. (photo by Brandon Glover)

pizzerizzo1_carey

Clever rat. (photo by Brian Carey)

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Daisy’s Best Week Ever November 24, 2016: So Much To Be Thankful For!

by on November 24, 2016

Hello Friends! First, let me start by wishing the very happiest Thanksgiving to those that celebrate. Personally, I’ll be enjoying more than my fair share of turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie today! Due to the crowds I’ll be steering clear of the parks this holiday weekend. But that didn’t stop me from getting some amazing shots to share with you over the last few weeks. For starters, check out this glorious sunset at Epcot!

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Please click below to read more. This week we’ve got holiday decorations, Dr. Strange, PizzeRizzo, and more!

Read the rest of this entry »