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:
Today is full of details about the Epcot special events. First, the dates were released for the 2015 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and now we have the line-up of artists who will be performing during the Garden Rocks Concert Series for the 2015 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. (For those keeping score, the Garden Rocks Concert Series was previously called the Flower Power Concert Series. Since all the artists who are performing nowadays weren’t necessarily around during the 50s, 60s, and 70s, I guess Disney felt the “Flower Power” name didn’t really fit any more.)
Some of the artists performing at this year’s Garden Rocks Concert Series have previously played during the Eat to the Beat Concert Series during the Food & Wine Festival, including Taylor Dane and Starship, and some have been performing at the Flower Power Concert Series for years, such as Peter Noone and The Village People. This year’s list of artists is really an eclectic mix.
While winter is still on the horizon and most of the country is currently going through some extremely cold weather, so many of us are already dreaming of spring and warmer weather! With spring comes the 22nd annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. The 2015 Festival runs from March 4 through May 17, and we already know some early details about the event. There are a lot of new things on tap, as well as fantastic things that are returning once again.
For the first time (in forever), Anna and Elsa appear in topiary form at the World Showcase Plaza. In addition, the front entrance plaza will see new scene called “Goofy About Spring” and will feature a couple of new characters – two of my favorites – Chip ‘n’ Dale!
It’s here! This year’s annual Epcot Flower and Garden Festival kicks off March 5 and will run through May 18. Its purpose is to celebrate everything that’s wonderful about horticulture and spring. This year marks the 21st year of the Festival and it’s sponsored by HGTV.
Each year the Festival offers guests the opportunity to delight in beautiful gardens, topiaries, butterfly gardens, listen to celebrity presentations or the the Flower Power Concert Series, enjoy garden-themed food booths, and much, much more! I thought that since the Festival has arrived, I’d combine everything into one sort of giant “guide” for touring during this time of year.
The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is really one of the most gorgeous times of the year to visit. The park is FULL of color. There’s a magic in the air (some would say it’s because it’s the first sign of life we’ve seen since Fall…goodbye Winter!) It is simply a glorious time to be visiting Epcot in general.
So, without further adieu, let’s take a look at what exactly is new for this year’s Festival:
They’re here! The menu offerings for this year’s Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Outdoor Kitchens have been released! This year there are some fantastic new dishes, mixed in with some favorites from last year.
For those who don’t know, this is the Outdoor Kitchens’ second appearance at the Flower and Garden Festival. They were introduced last year under the name, “Garden Marketplace Kiosks.” These Kitchens serve up delicious, fresh food and beverages that gather their inspiration from springtime flavors.
Earlier, Disney told us which booths would be at the Festival. This year, a new booth known as Urban Farm Eats will debut, and it appears that the Intermission Cafe in the Festival Center is officially included in the fun. It will offer up quite a few tasty treats, too!
Here are the full menus for each of the Outdoor Kitchens:
Jardin de Fiestas (Mexico Pavilion) – this booth offers tapas that are spring light and cooked just right.
Tacos al pastor – Corn tortilla filled with achiote-marinated pork, garnished with grilled diced pineapple, onions and cilantro
Quesadilla de hongos con queso – Flour tortilla filled with mushrooms and cheese
Flan de chocolate Abuelita – Mexican chocolate custard
Last year, at the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival, Disney introduced the Garden Marketplaces, which offered up small bites of delectable treats and beverages with a focus on fresh ingredients. For 2014, they will be returning under a new name – Outdoor Kitchens.
The booths are similar to what you would see at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival booths. This year, there will be eleven kitchens total, all found around the World Showcase Promenade.
Quite a few booths will be returning from last year, such as the Florida Fresh booth and The Smokehouse. There is also a handful of new stops, including Urban Farm Eats.
Here is the full list of all the Outdoor Kitchens that will be featured during this year’s festival:
Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival is only a little over a month and a half away. Among the unique events that take place during the Festival are the presentations by celebrity guests from HGTV and the DIY Network. These showcases take place on weekends during the Festival at both noon and 3 p.m. on The Designers’ Stage at the Festival Center. (Otherwise known as the former Wonders of Life Pavilion.)
For those who are excited to learn tips about gardening or designing and decorating your home, we have a list of the celebs who will be on hand giving demonstrations and when. They are:
March 7-9 – Vern Yip “Design Star”
March 14-16 – Chris Lambton “Going Yard”
March 21-23 – Matt Blashaw “Yard Crashers”
March 28-30 – Matt Meunster “Bath Crashers”
April 4-6 – Taniya Nayak “House Hunters on Vacation”
April 11-13 – Amy Matthews “Renovation Raiders”
April 18-20 – John Gidding “Curb Appeal”
April 25-27 – David Bromstad “Color Splash”
May 2-4 – Chip Wade “Elbow Room”
May 9-11 –Genevieve Gorder “HGTV Star”
May 16-18 – Alison Victoria “Kitchen Crashers”
Please keep in mind that this list is subject to change.
The 2014 Epcot Flower & Garden Festival will take place from March 5 – May 18.