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Celebrate Earth Day at Epcot

by on April 20, 2016 1 Comment

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

Earth Day is on April 22, and while most of the focus is always on the events that will occur at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Epcot also gets in on the Earth Day fun.

This year, Earth Day will be celebrated during the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival all weekend long, from April 22-24.

Guests will be able to participate in numerous activities to celebrate the day including:

  • The Jungle Book Matching Activity at The Jungle Book Sand SculptureGuests will be able to play a matching game in which they match species that were featured in The Jungle Book to a fun fact about the animals.
  • Butterfly Citizen Science at Pollinator Garden – Here, Guests will have the opportunity to be a part of a science project by collecting data that will then in turn help conservation and horticulture teams learn about  native Floridian butterflies and their plant preference.
  • Meet Captain Ron at The Seas with Nemo & Friends – No…you won’t be able to meet Kurt Russell as a salty seafarer. Instead, you’ll meet a beagle named Captain Ron who helps conservation experts by sniffing out turtle egg nests to help protect them. Captain Ron and his trainer Pepe Peruyero will have appearances at 10:30 a.m, 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday of Earth Day weekend. The duo will also give a short presentation about their work, and will be available for photos.
  • At the Festival Center  Guests can catch horticulture and wildlife experts leading seminars about aquaponics, making your property wildlife-friendly and how to grow new plants from the plants you already have.
  • Participate in a National Park Foundation map activity
  • At 11:00 a.m. each day during Earth Day weekend, you can get an up-close look at a nest with a purple martin expert, presented by the The Florida Audubon.
  • Guests can enjoy the Leap for Wildlife at National Wildlife Federation Garden
  • Guests can discover their footprint at The Nature Conservancy Garden

It seems like a great weekend is in store for those looking to celebrate Earth Day at Epcot this weekend!

Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire Castle Show to Debut in June

by on April 20, 2016 1 Comment

Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire

©Disney

Disney recently announced that a new show on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage would be debuting at the Magic Kingdom to replace Dream Along With Mickey called Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire. I now have an update and can share that the show will debut in June. (No official date has been announced, just June.)

Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire will invite Mickey and his Merry makers to prepare to host a festival and are inviting friends from other lands to join the celebration. The will feature characters from recent films, such as Tiana and Naveen from The Princess and the Frog, Rapunzel and Flynn from Tangled, and Anna and Elsa from Frozen. The finale will end with a grand dance including both the Merry Makers (which include Goofy, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, and Minnie) and the new friends.

The new show will feature fantastic costumes, special effects, and dancing. The music will include an original song called “On This Day” that was written by songwriters Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda who also wrote songs for Toy Story: The Musical and Tinker Bell: Secret of the Wings.

Stay tuned to the blog as an official date is announced for the debut of this new show.

Frozen Ever After to Debut at Epcot in June

by on April 20, 2016 3 Comments

For those who have been waiting anxiously to get to experience the upcoming Frozen attraction at Epcot, you will only have to wait a little bit longer.

While a set date has not officially been announced, Frozen Ever After will debut in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot this June.

The attraction’s timeline will occur after the film takes place, taking guests on a boat tour through Arendelle during a “Winter in Summer” celebration. Queen Elsa who has embraced will create a winter-in-summer day and during the adventure Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, trolls and Marshmallow join Guests on their boat journey through the frozen willow forest, past Troll Valley and up to the North Mountain to Elsa’s ice palace, returning to the Bay of Arendelle. During the attraction, Guests will even be able to witness Elsa’s ice magic and experience incredible AudioAnamatronics.

©Disney

©Disney

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Wishes Fireworks Dessert Parties Expand

by on April 20, 2016 4 Comments

Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party

©Rikki Nibilett

The Wishes Fireworks Dessert Parties at the Magic Kingdom have been expanded so that more Guests can enjoy the fun festivities.

During the Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party, Guests are offered the opportunity to enjoy delicious treats and beverages in a buffet setting. In addition, they have a private viewing area to in which to catch Wishes. Previously, Guests were required to make their reservations in advance, but now, with the expansion, same-day reservations can easily be accommodated.

All Guests attending the fireworks dessert party will still be able to enjoy a variety of desserts at the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant. Then, going forward, Guests with same-day reservations will then move to the Plaza Garden area for the fireworks show. (This is the former location of the Wises FastPass+ viewing area.) Keep in mind that desserts will not be available, nor will there be seating for Guests in the Plaza Garden area.

Guests who have booked in advance will view the fireworks from the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant. If Guests who are scheduled to view the fireworks at the Tomorrowland Terrace and they wish to view them at the Plaza Garden, they may have the opportunity to do so, if space is available.

Pricing for the Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party is $59 for adults and $35 for children. (Includes tax.) Reservations for the Tomorrowland Terrace viewing location can be made in advance by visiting DisneyWorld.com/dine, or calling 407-WDW-DINE. For those looking to make same-day reservations, they will be available at the Tomorrowland Terrace podium starting at 10:30 a.m. each day.

Soarin’ Around the World to Debut at Epcot and Disney California Adventure in June

by on April 20, 2016 16 Comments

Soarin' Around the World

©Disney

Guests will finally be able to see the world on Soarin’ at both Epcot and Disney California Adventure.

Beginning on June 17, Soarin’ Around the World will debut giving Guests a glimpse of the Great Wall of China, Sydney Harbor in Australia, and the Matterhorn in Switzerland. The ride will immerse Guests in a multi-sensory experience with sights, sounds, and smells.

The soundtrack of the attraction will see a bit of a change that fits with the new destinations, but will still be based on the current version. There will also be a surprise ending for Guests to experience.

Here is a preview of what Guests will be able to expect with the new film: Read the rest of this entry »

Walt Disney World Relics and Tributes: The Magic Kingdom

by on April 20, 2016 2 Comments

relicsandtributesWalt Disney once said, “Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world. It is something that will never be finished. Something that I can keep developing and adding to.” Imagineers have made sure that the Disneyland and the Disney Parks have stayed true to that intention throughout the years.

In fact, the Walt Disney World Resort has been changing and growing a great deal in the past few years, such as the addition of New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom and re-imagining of Downtown Disney to Disney Springs, and prepares for new openings like the Rivers of Light show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park and the Frozen Ever After attraction at Epcot. But oftentimes, to gain something new, something has to be given up and past attractions must make way for new ones, such as in the closure of attractions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in preparation for Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land. Fortunately, Disney has a tradition of honoring its history while in the business of creating that great, big, beautiful tomorrow, and oftentimes through little tributes and details and even the recycling and reimagining of familiar icons.

I recently took a trip to the Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom to uncover some of these tributes and relics from the park’s past. I tried to avoid including those that many fans already know about–such as the windows on Main Street, U.S.A. or the picture of Mr. Toad handing over the deed to Owl at The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh–in hopes that you may discover something new and maybe get a little dose of nostalgia in today’s Walt Disney World Relics and Tributes: The Magic Kingdom.

snowwhitevultures

Snow White’s Scary Adventures Vultures

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is the Magic Kingdom’s newest attraction and one of the crown jewels of New Fantasyland. This attraction is incredibly detailed and a ton of fun, but one of the things I appreciate about most is its number of tributes to a former Fantasyland attraction: Snow White’s Scary Adventures.

Snow White’s Scary Adventures was a classic dark ride and one of the park’s original opening day attractions. It sadly closed in 2012 due to New Fantasyland; but it’s sister attraction, by the same name, is still operating at the Disneyland Park today. It’s never easy to lose an attraction, especially one with so much history, and I suppose Imagineers felt the same way because there are a number of relics and nods from Snow White’s Scary Adventures hidden in and around this coaster.

The Vultures

When walking around the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, or while aboard your gently swinging mine car, look up and you might see two menacing vultures. Do they look familiar? They used to be part of Snow White’s Scary Adventures! Imagineers recycled these feathered scavengers for the park’s newest Snow White-themed attraction; and in doing so, made a piece of the past work for the present.

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom Nighttime Festivities Begin Memorial Weekend

by on April 20, 2016 11 Comments

While Rivers of Light may be delayed for who-knows-how-long at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney has announced that they will begin showcasing their nighttime events staring this Memorial Day Weekend.

In the interim, while the issues delaying Rivers of Light are being addressed, a temporary nighttime show will take place on the Discovery River. The show, which will take place during the summer, will take it’s influence from the recent release of the live action version of The Jungle Book. Called Jungle Book: Alive with Magic, this limited-engagement show will include music and special effects that celebrate the film and the classic songs, while being infused with an Indian flair.

In addition, the other nighttime elements that had previously been announced will also debut Memorial Day Weekend.  They include:

©Disney

©Disney

 

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris After Dark – Enjoy the attraction in the evening thanks to special lighting that will allow guests to explore the savanna even in the nighttime hours.  Plus, there are two new species to discover: African wild dogs and hyenas.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

Alice Through The Looking Glass Sneak Preview to Occur at Disney Parks

by on April 19, 2016 1 Comment

©Disney

©Disney

You won’t want to be late! There’s a great new sequel to Alice in Wonderland called Alice Through the Looking Glass coming to theaters soon. To get you ready for the upcoming film, you’ll soon be able to catch a sneak preview of the movie at both Disney California Adventure and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Beginning May 6, for a limited time, you’ll be able to catch a preview of the upcoming film at the theater at the end of One Man’s Dream at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and for those Guests who will be visiting the west coast, they will be able to catch the 3D preview at Disney California Adventure in the Sunset Showcase Theater (formerly Crown Jewel Theater) with special in-theater effects. This sneak preview of Alice Through the Looking Glass will last for 10 minutes from May 6 through June 12.

The film, Alice Through the Looking Glass, returns Alice to the whimsical world of Underland where she travels back in time to save the Mad Hatter.

Time is of the essence! You won’t want to miss this preview before the clock runs out!

Are you anxious to catch Alice Through the Looking Glass which debuts in theaters on May 27?

Trivia Tuesday: Walt Disney World Moderate Resorts + Video

by on April 19, 2016 2 Comments

Pool (5)Welcome back to Trivia Tuesday!

Now that I’m back from maternity leave, I’m geared up with all new videos for you.

Starting things off, I’m spilling the beans on the Moderate Resorts at Walt Disney World. Read the rest of this entry »

Six Things To Expect on Your First One-Day Trip to Walt Disney World

by on April 19, 2016 18 Comments

If you’ve been to Walt Disney World one time or fifty times, chances are your trips have logistically all taken on a similar form. A flight or long car ride into the Orlando area, maybe a taxi, shuttle, or Magical Express ride to Walt Disney World property if you flew, and then getting around property using Disney’s occasionally efficient system of buses, ferry boats, and monorails. Sure there might have been some experiments with a rental car thrown in to facilitate a visit to Harry Potter and his friends at Universal, the beach, or to watch cars drive in circles for hours at Daytona…but odds are that most of your travel to and around Walt Disney World has been contained to the modes mentioned.

Should the day come when you find yourself in the state of Florida for some other reason, be it work or play, and Mickey’s gravitational pull proves too much to bear, you may find yourself deciding to drive over to a Walt Disney World theme park for the day, like it were Six Flags or something. There are facets of this experience that will be quite different and maybe even a little jarring to a Walt Disney World vacation vet.

(Let’s stop for a minute to mention people who live in Central Florida and visit Walt Disney World exclusively as a local day guest: 1. We are all a little jealous of you, and 2. You probably can expand on every single point I make in this article, so please join us in the comments. Oh yeah, and 3. We’re really really jealous, like for real.)

So here are six things that you can expect as a Walt Disney World vet if you are taking a one-day trip for the first time:

Interstate 4 Overhead Signs

Like seeing these mundane road signs…

Disney Traffic Sign

…and these slightly more whimsical ones!

1.DRIVING AROUND WALT DISNEY WORLD IS DIFFERENT THAN RIDING IN A BUS

You know how you ride around Walt Disney World property and see the purple and red road signs? You think to yourself that they are a cool feature of property and give you that “I’m somewhere different from the real world” feeling. Those are an absolutely necessary Godsend if you are actually driving a vehicle throughout property…and on first inspection they might make no sense. You may have the layout of property etched on your brain, so it makes no sense to you when you see that Epcot, Animal Kingdom, and Wide World of Sports are in one direction while Disney’s Hollywood Studios and the Epcot Resorts are in the opposite direction.

But you need to remember that these are road signs, they are helping you take roads in the right direction. They are not pointing to spots on property. It may sound crazy but on my first time driving around property, I found myself second guessing the road signs as if I somehow knew more about where things were at Disney World than the urban planners did. Speaking of things you’ll learn while behind the wheel… Read the rest of this entry »