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Wine Bar George To Open at Disney Springs

by on October 10, 2016 1 Comment

©Wine Bar George

©Wine Bar George

Master Sommelier George Miliotes will be opening up a wine bar at Disney Springs in the fall of 2017. Wine Bar George will be located near Raglan Road in The Landing section and will be the only Master Sommelier-led bar in Florida. Currently, there are only 230 master sommeliers in the world.

Guests who visit Wine Bar George will be able to experience storied vintages endless varietals. According to the restaurant’s website, George is a firm believer in education and knowledge-sharing.

“With an international wine list that’s both approachable and adventurous, my hope is that Wine Bar George will cater to wine connoisseurs and novices alike,” Miliotes said. “The wine menu will feature a range of varietals, vintages and prices. Guests will be able to experience sips from acclaimed and well-known wineries as well as growing regions and wineries that are up-and-coming.”

Wine Bar George will also feature small plates, cheese offerings, and charcuterie, perfect for pairing with wines.

George is certainly no stranger to Walt Disney World. He is a former Cast Member who helped to create California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort into a must dine experience.

Featuring 210 seats, Wine Bar George’s design will be reminiscent of his home and will feature oak wood, warming lighting and a comfortable atmosphere.

Stay tuned to the blog for more info about Wine Bar George.


Magic Kingdom Snapchat Filters

by on October 10, 2016

There are plenty of apps around these days to help enhance a Walt Disney World vacation. From those officially marketed by Disney like the indispensible MyDisneyExperience to third party apps like the Lines app created by a certain purveyor of theme park Touring Plans. Other popular apps can be benefical or entertaining during a Disney vacation like Google Maps, Twitter, or Instagram. Another popular app with some features that may enhance your trip is Snapchat.


Snapchat Magic Kingdom Filter


For the uninitiated (or those without kids) Snapchat is a relatively new social media/messaging hybrid that allows for quickly “snapped” pictures to be sent to fellow app users and displayed only for a short number of seconds or to be displayed as part of a day-long running feed. The app has become increasingly popular as celebrities and brands have hopped on to use it as a means of content distribution. More nefariously the app is also a favorite of teenagers, unfaithful partners, and others who want to send photographs and messages without them remaining stored on a phone for the prying eyes of parents, significant others, etc. For less clandestine uses, the app provides a fun platform to share humorous moments, travelogues, and everyday minutia. Two newer features of the app are types of “filters” that can be applied to photographs. Occasionally sponsored by products and upcoming films/television shows, one type of filter edits the users face in photos and videos to appear like anything from dogs and giraffes to pirates, cartoon characters, or even “face swapped” with someone else.


Me as a dog, me as a pirate, and me as Wilford Brimley.

Me as a dog, me as a pirate, and me as Wilford Brimley.


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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We LOVE Disney’s BoardWalk Resort

by on October 8, 2016 8 Comments

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We LOVE Disney’s BoardWalk Resort. While we have done articles on several of our favorite Walt Disney World resorts, including Animal Kingdom Lodge, Art of Animation, and Coronado Springs, it was the BoardWalk Inn & Villas which was the hardest to cut down to just our six favorite things. The overall depth of theming and amount of details throughout the resort is second to none. 


Disney’s BoardWalk.

The BoardWalk was the second of Disney Vacation Club properties to be built (following Old Key West) and its “story” revolves around  the great East Coast boardwalk areas of the 1920s and 30s. In the early part of the 20th century, places like Coney Island in New York and Atlantic City in New Jersey were the Walt Disney World of their day. Attractions, restaurants, hotels… they were the place to be. Disney Imagineers and architect Robert A.M. Stern pulled from this incredible era of history of America to create Disney’s BoardWalk and left tons of wonderful details for guests to appreciate. The details are just one of the many reasons we think this resort is the bee’s knees, so let’s begin counting down our top six reasons starting with…

# 6 – The Lobby

There are some lobbies at Walt Disney World which will have you picking your jaw off the floor (most notably the Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Wilderness Lodge) but what the BoardWalk lacks in expansiveness it makes up for in fantastic show elements, such as the gorgeous Hippocampus Electrolier hanging above. A hippocampus is a creature from Greek mythology that is part horse, part fish, while electrolier is a name for a ceiling fixture holding electric lamps (a name which never took hold and is just referred to as a chandelier today.) Weighing in at 3,000 pounds and intricately detailed, this may very well be the most impressive chandelier on Disney property, and imagine what that is saying.


The BoardWalk’s stunning hippocampus electrolier. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Hanging above the check-in desks are three paintings of Disney castles. There is one each for Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and Disneyland Paris. The reason for this is that in the 1920s/30s, cameras were nowhere near as ubiquitous as they are today. Much of what people saw, even in advertisements, were paintings. These castle paintings, and the gold carousel rounding boards that frame them, help make the BoardWalk’s registration area one of the best at WDW.


A majestic painting of the castle at Disneyland Paris. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Walking through the BoardWalk’s lobby you will be drawn to the glass display cases featuring a miniature carousel and a reproduction of the Flip Flap Railway roller coaster. The closer you get to the carousel the bigger your eyes open as you take in the details. This is a to-scale model created by Marcus Charles Illions (the developer of the “Coney Island Style” of carousel wood carving) and bought by Disney from Illions’ granddaughter. Imagineers restored the carousel to its original grandeur, and even added a little Disney magic.


BoardWalk lobby’s miniature carousel.

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Hurricane Matthew: October 8 Update

by on October 8, 2016 8 Comments

Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew

We will keep this short and sweet because it’s Saturday and you really just want your Saturday 6 from Derek. We hope this will be our final Hurricane Matthew post.

Theme Parks – Open

Universal, Walt Disney World, SeaWorld –  all back to normal or close to normal hours today. Animal Kingdom even started the day with Extra Magic Hours. If you are in the parks today, take some photos and tweet them to #HeyTouringPlans – we’d love to see them. The wait times in our app will self-adjust after the parks open. We have not adjusted the Crowd Calendars.

Walt Disney World

If your Halloween Party was cancelled, you can call 407-939-7818 beginning 9AM Eastern Monday morning for refunds or rescheduling (this is from Disney’s web site – so it does seem you will need to explicitly request a refund). Read the rest of this entry »

In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of October 7, 2016

by on October 7, 2016 1 Comment

ICYMIEditor’s note: this was written before Hurricane Matthew hit Florida. While we’re relieved the storm was not as serious as expected around the Orlando area, our thoughts are with those affected by the storm in the Caribbean, the Florida Atlantic Coast, and those still to see it along the Georgia and South Carolina coasts. We hope you enjoy a little non-weather news for a change.

This week, take a look at some incredibly cool construction photos of the Magic Kingdom, see what new merger Disney is considering taking part in, and more.

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


Last week we talked about how Disney may consider making a bid for Twitter. Here’s why they shouldn’t.

Speaking of potential properties that Disney could buy…is Netflix on the table? What do you think of this potential rumor?

What is prompting all of these potential mergers? The New York Times may have an explanation. Read the rest of this entry »

Hurricane Matthew: October 7 Update

by on October 7, 2016 5 Comments

Hurricane Matthew

Hurricane Matthew

This post will be updated as we get new information.

Updated 2:51 PM with Disney Springs and Orange County curfew info.

Hurricane Matthew hit the Central Florida coast as expected in the early morning hours of Friday, October 7. The good news for those in the Orlando area is that the storm moved more north and east than was originally forecast. However, this a serious hurricane that did affect many in the Caribbean and along the east coast of Florida. Our thoughts are with everyone still going through Hurricane Matthew.

Important links:


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Hurricane Matthew: What Is Closed and What We Know

by on October 6, 2016 10 Comments


Update October 6, 5:30PM – Storm should hit Port Canaveral around 10PM. Matthew is very slow-moving which means it will linger in Florida longer than a hurricane normally would. Coastal FL is under an evacuation order. 

The National Hurricane Center obviously is a far better source of information about the weather than a theme park blog. We recommend checking it often. We will continue to update you on theme park operations.

As you undoubtedly know, a very powerful hurricane is bearing down on the Florida coast, and is expected to begin making its presence known in Florida this evening. The eye may make landfall in Brevard County (the Atlantic coast directly east of Orlando) early Friday morning. We cannot stress enough that this is very serious and that you should unarguably listen to any theme park staff (or long-time locals) if you are in the area. Winds in excess of 70 mph are expected in the theme park area.

This post will be updated throughout the day with the latest theme park closures and information.

Updated October 6, 2016, 8:30 PM with Orange County curfew and reports from onsite guests. Universal Guest Contact and Social Media Centers updates

Orange County

  • Under curfew from 10 PM to 7 AM Saturday morning – source

Orlando International Airport (MCO)

  • All service is expected to stop at 8:00 PM Thursday
  • Many airlines, including American Airlines and United, have cancelled flights for Thursday evening and Friday. If you are flying into anywhere in Florida today or tomorrow check with your airline, but expect it to be cancelled.

Walt Disney World

  • Resorts are selling food (with long, but efficient, lines) to guests until 10 PM. Guests will need to remain in their rooms tonight. No word on the morning.
  • All parks, water parks, Disney Springs, ESPN Wide World of Sports, and miniature golf courses are closing at 5:00 PM Thursday, October 6, and will be CLOSED all day on Friday, October 7. (Some Disney Springs venues may close prior to 5:00 PM on Thursday.)
  • All resort and restaurant cancellation fees are waived for Thursday and Friday.
  • Blizzard Beach is closed on Thursday. Typhoon Lagoon is closing (as previously scheduled) at 5:00 PM on Thursday.
  • Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is canceled on both Thursday and Friday, October 6 and 7. If you have tickets, call 407-566-4985, option 5, to inquire about your options. Phone lines are very busy right now. Disney is offering a refund or exchange to another night to guest with tickets for these dates. Thank you to Annette Johnson with Mouse Trip Travel for the update.
  • Fort Wilderness Resort is being evacuated and guests are being moved to other resorts. All restaurants (including Hoop-Dee-Doo and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ) are closed at Fort Wilderness.
  • Guests at the Treehouse Villas at Saratoga Springs and the Bora Bora Bungalows at the Polynesian have been evacuated to other locations.
  • Spirit of Aloha at the Polynesian Village Resort is cancelled Thursday and Friday.
  • From noon on Thursday until Saturday evening, Resort spa locations are closed at Coronado Springs, the Grand Floridian, Saratoga Springs, and Yacht & Beach Club.
  • Characters in Flight at Disney Springs is closed through Sunday.
Walt Disney World Weather Warning

Walt Disney World Weather Warning


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Walt Disney World Operational Updates Due to Hurricane Matthew

by on October 6, 2016 4 Comments

Walt Disney World Hurricane

©Rikki Niblett

Please refer to our Hurricane Matthew: What Is Closed and What We Know post for our most recent Hurricane Andrew operational updates. The information below may be out of date.

As you know, Hurricane Matthew is barrelling up the coast line and Walt Disney World is taking some necessary steps to keep the Guests visiting the resort safe. As of right now, the theme parks will be operating as normal today, Thursday, October 6. There are a few operational changes that have been enacted, however that you may want to be aware of.

  • Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is cancelled for Thursday night.
  • In addition to Fort Wilderness Resort now being closed, Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue and Mickey’s Backyard BBQ performances will not take place on Thursday or Friday.
  • The Spirit of Aloha dinner show will not be taking place on Thursday or Friday at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.
  • Blizzard Beach is closed on Thursday and Friday.
  • Typhoon Lagoon is closed on Friday, but open Thursday.
  • Select spa locations will be closed beginning Thursday at 12:00 p.m. through Saturday evening.
  • Characters in Flight at Disney Springs will be closed through Sunday.
  • Select weekend events at ESPN Wide World of Sports have been cancelled.

We’ll keep you up to date on any additional operational updates.



Disney World Crowd Calendar Report – September 2016

by on October 6, 2016 1 Comment

How Crowded Was Disney World September 4-10, 2016?

How Crowded Was Disney World September 4-10, 2016?

Historically, September is the least crowded month at Disney World as families settle back into a new school year. As we saw in 2015, the crowds in early September are determined largely by where the Labor Day weekend falls. This year, the holiday Monday fell on September 5 and crowds matched what the Disney World Crowd Calendar predicted. As it turned out, the resort-wide predictions matched what we saw nearly every day during the first week of the month.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day between September 4 and 10, 2016:

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Dani’s Best Week Ever October 6, 2016: Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and staying on Disney property

by on October 6, 2016

A few weeks ago during my last Best Week Ever post, I discussed how I am learning a lot about fear. This week I am experiencing a lesson in enjoying the moment. This week provided some best ever moments and yet I don’t feel like I really took the time to savor it all and enjoy. I experienced Disney’s Animal Kingdom during the DVC Member event, stayed the night at Beach Club Villas, woke up and checked into Bay Lake Tower for the night, enjoyed Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, and capped it all off with cocktails and fireworks at Top of the World Lounge.

Even though I feel like I didn’t really soak it up, I get to share it with you, helping it to make one the my Best Weeks Ever! And since many of us in Florida, and at the Atlantic Coast, are getting ready to face Hurricane Matthew, let’s take a break from storm prep and bask in some pixie dust.


Disney’s Beach Club Villas

DVC Member event at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

img_4294Disney Vacation Club is celebrating its 25th year of existence. This year members have seen a slew of perks and free events roll out to them not only in order to mark the special occasion, but to help boost member satisfaction as well.  During a few nights in September DVC Members enjoyed Animal Kingdom all to themselves from 9:30 PM – 12:30 PM.

While I worked, my parents enjoyed Disney’s Beach Club Resort and then checked us in for the event, at the hotel lobby. This enabled us to have our event wristbands ahead of time and although it may not have saved us a ton of time, we simply had one less thing to worry about. Once inside the park we stopped at one of the many tables being manned by an event Cast Member who handed us each a card to get into the night time Kilimanjaro Safari between 9:00 PM – 9:30 PM and two tickets each to play the midway games in Dino-rama in Dinoland USA.


We headed straight for Nomad Lounge. I bragged about this place to my parents and wanted them to experience what has become my favorite lounge inside any Walt Disney World theme park. Nomad Lounge now has an updated food menu; you can check out my quick review about it here.



My parents relished the décor and adventurous spirit of Nomad Lounge. The perfect balance between sophistication and casual approach-ability is struck here. Starting our evening here set the tone for a pleasant and memorable night together.

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