Welcome back to this brand new edition of Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes! (Crowd cheers…ok…maybe not…but a girl can dream.) This week has been very fruitful with little tidbits to share with you all; I’ve got lots of refurbishment news, details on Be Our Guest Restaurant, new information on Avatarland, and more!
Wow! There are a lot of refurbishments that have been scheduled for Walt Disney World. Let’s start at the Magic Kingdom. First, for those traveling in the summer, you will unfortunately not get to experience Pirates of the Caribbean. The attraction, which has been riddled with problems lately, will be seeing a 4+ month refurbishment, from May 11 through September 25, reopening September 26. No word on what the refurbishment will entail, but it is certainly necessary. There will also be a two day refurbishment of Stitch’s Great Escape in early March, March 1 and 2. The attraction will reopen on March 3. For those visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom for barbeque, you’ll have to wait a little longer, because Flame Tree Barbeque’s refurbishment has been pushed back to last until April 22, reopening April 23. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it would appear that Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show will be closed for a refurbishment from April 20-24, reopening on April 25. Also, Voyage of the Little Mermaid will be closed September 7-10, reopening on September 11. You can always keep up with the latest refurbishments on our refurb page.
So I don’t usually share the videos that Disney posts, but I will if I find them particularly newsworthy…like today, where they posted one hyping up Avatar for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It’s nice to finally see some more information about the project. The new concept art shown in the video is quite gorgeous, but what really impressed me was when they finally showed some of the bioluminescent aspects. It almost reminds me of being under the sea, seeing a unique type of illuminated coral. These additions will certainly make Animal Kingdom a destination once the sun sets. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out the video:
It’s been a while since I’ve been here with Newsworthy Notes! Glad to see you again for another update of minor, yet important Disney news! Things have been piling up on my desk, so it’s time to share with you all once again.
Starting at Downtown Disney, many of the newly announced shops have opened to the public. Guests can now browse through Chapel Hats, APEX by Sunglass Hut, The Art of Shaving, and Sanuk. Erin McKenna’s Bakery’s signage is up and one would expect it to open officially within the next week or so. Also expected to open next week on Monday is Havaianas.
Let’s head into the parks, shall we? In the Magic Kingdom, the Tomorrowland Arcade, located at the exit of Space Mountain, has closed abruptly. Many think it’s in relation to the recent (and supposedly vaguely written) law that bans internet cafes. (This law could have the opportunity to potentially be applied to video game arcades that dispense prizes or provide winning tickets, which many of Disney’s arcades in both the parks and resorts did.)
It was really the worst kept secret, but Disney made it official when it announced today that the Creature Comforts shop is indeed being converted into Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Starbucks location. Very little details were released, but we did get a nice piece of concept art, which shows that the inside will fit in very well with the theme park’s overall design. (P.S.: those light fixtures are phenomenal! This may actually be my favorite design.)
My family and I love the Rainforest Café. As we travel around the country, we always take every opportunity that we get to stop and enjoy a meal at this restaurant. Over the years, we’ve dined at the Rainforest Café in Disneyland, Dallas, Galveston, Denver (now sadly closed), Las Vegas, Downtown Disney and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The location in Animal Kingdom is by far one of our favorites with its spaciousness, enthusiastic wait staff and high quality cuisine. Please read on to learn more about this delicious destination and our exciting morning in Animal Kingdom. Your adventure is about to begin!
The Day Begins
On this day of our Disney vacation, my boys and I woke up early and had a quick breakfast at Landscape of Flavors at our home base for this trip – Art of Animation. If you haven’t had the chance to check out this Disney resort yet, I would recommend just stopping by to take a look around. It has a huge gift shop, a fun arcade for the kids and lots of great photo opportunities without all of the crowds. After our tasty breakfast of pastries and fruit smoothies, we headed out to the bus stop for our ride to Animal Kingdom.
Happy Monday! I’m back again with a few little news notes that may be helpful for your next trip to Walt Disney World. These fun little nuggets include new fun for Peter Pan’s Flight, where you can find Flame Tree Barbecue’s treats during its refurbishment, and more! So, here we go!
For those of you who are fans of Flame Tree Barbecue at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you may be worried about where you can get the delightful treats that you know and love while the restaurant is closed for a refurbishment that’s scheduled to last until sometime in April. (During the refurb work, they are working on the current seating areas.) Today, I come bearing the answers of where those yummy bites can be found. Guests looking for the half chicken, the half slab of ribs, or the combo of ribs and chicken should head to the Gardens Kiosk or the Beastly Kiosk. For those searching for the turkey leg, you’ll need to visit Trilo-bites, and for the pork sandwich, stop at a cart found in near Trilo-bites. All of these locations are near Flame Tree Barbecue.
Moving over to the Magic Kingdom, a brand new interactive queue has been introduced for Peter Pan’s Flight. The new queue takes guests into the Darling household, and new interactive elements include Tinker Bell flying around and interacting with Wendy, John, and Michael’s toys, guests’ own shadows coming alive on the wall in the children’s nursery, and a sprinkle of pixie dust before heading off into Never Land. The queue’s new effects are currently in testing and should be fully rolled out within the next week, or so.
For those who love taking part in the tours at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, there will be a brand new one available to enjoy, however, in order for this new tour to begin, we must say goodbye to another. “The Backstage Safari” tour will be retired effective February 27. In its place, an enhanced version of the tour called “Backstage Tales” will debut on March 1.
The “Backstage Tales” tour will give Guests the opportunity to take part in unique behind-the-scenes experiences. During the tour Guests will get a look at the innovative ways Disney is meeting challenges in areas such as conservation, animal nutrition and medicine, animal care and behavioral studies. The tour will give guests the chance to visit the Animal Nutrition Center and see how more than 3 tons of food are prepared and distributed each day; go behind the scenes and explore a backstage animal-housing area; tour the park’s state-of-the-art veterinary hospital, where they may have the opportunity to witness animals being treated; and stop by the Animal Programs Administration building and learn how Disney promotes global wildlife conservation, as well as showcasing they handle animal well-being.
The “Backstage Tales” Tour is available daily for Guests ages 12 and up will last from 7:30 a.m. until 11:15 a.m. The cost is $90 per person (plus tax). Guests can book the new tour now by calling (407) WDW-TOUR.
The year is almost over, and I’m back again with one more newsworthy update for 2014! There are quite a few things that guests should know about the Walt Disney World Resort for the beginning of the new year, so I’m here to share everything with you. Ready to get to it? Let’s go!
Back a few months ago, (October to be exact), we found out that Island Supply shop would be closing in Adventureland for a new concept. Many in the Disney community were hopeful…would we be getting a shop featuring some of the great Adventureland-themed merchandise sold at the Marketplace Co-Op? Well, I have your answer, and the answer is, “No.” The shop will reopen on January 8 as Island Supply by Sunglass Hut. That means you can purchase high-end sunglasses and other products offered by this new operating participant. In addition, another store selling similar merchandise will open on January 4 at Typhoon Lagoon: Sal’s Shades by Sunglass Hut.
Two of Epcot’s Innoventions exhibits will close in the beginning of January. The first is the THINK Exhibit by IBM. This exhibit in Innoventions East allowed guests to take part in three unique experiences that allowed them to engage in a conversation about how we can improve the way we live and work. This exhibit will close January 1. Also closing in Innoventions East is the Test the Limits Lab. Here guests can “test” products to make sure they are safe for consumers by shattering a TV screen, dropping a safe, and more. It will close on January 6. There is no word on whether anything will be replacing either of these two exhibits.
We all know that there is a massive amount of refurbishment work taking place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, preparing the theme park to become a full day park and to support the upcoming Avatarland, as well as Rivers of Light. A few updates have come to my attention, so I wanted to make sure to share them with you.
The first is that for those who like experiencing character dining at Tusker House, you’ll now have the option to do so at dinner. You see, beginning on March 8, the restaurant located in the Africa section of the park will introduce the Donald’s Safari Dinner. (For those who don’t know, breakfast and lunch were already character meals.) The dinner option will begin at 4:00 p.m. daily.
It’s been a while since I’ve brought you the Newsworthy Notes, but now I have a whole bundle of new small Walt Disney World news pieces to share with you all! So, let’s jump right in and get to it.
For those who will be in the Magic Kingdom during the beginning of next week, you’ll be able to catch the taping of the Disney Christmas Day Parade. (I mean the Disney Parks Frozen Christmas Celebration.) The parade will be filmed on Monday, December 8 and Tuesday, December 9.
Guests can now make Advanced Dining Reservations for the Morocco Pavilion’s Spice Road Table. In addition, the restaurant has seen an updated menu; while most of the tapas options are still offered, now as appetizers, the restaurant is also serving full entrees as well. The new entrees include: Mix Grill Skewers – Beef and Chicken skewers; Coriander-crusted Rack of Lamb; Yellowfin Tuna; All Natural Roasted Chicken; and Mediterranean Vegetable Platter. Hopefully these changes will cause more guests to visit this fledgling Epcot restaurant.
Who’s ready for more news? I’m back with more for you today! Here we go:
There has been a change to the Disney Gift Card Program. New Disney gift cards can now only be activated with a minimum amount of $15. (The previous minimum amount you could load on a new card was $5.) Guests who are re-loading a gift card may still do so with a minimum of $5.
The rules for visiting Walt Disney World have been updated. The biggest change seems to focus on those who are e-cigarette smokers, who are now asked to smoke in designated smoking areas.
For those of you who read my previous article about Tower of Terror getting on-ride videos, you’ll have noticed that I mentioned that it was likely just the beginning. It turns out that I was completely right, as it another attraction has already received the on-ride video treatment. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is the next attraction that will capture your ride experience while you are on the attraction. Much like the Tower of Terror ride video, when you ride the attraction with a MagicBand and a linked Memory Maker, you will have your photo and video automatically associated to your My Disney Experience account. Here is the sample video giving you a peek at what to expect.