Posts Tagged ‘Epcot’

Selecting an Epcot Resort

by on August 8, 2016

View of the Epcot Resort Area

View of the Epcot Resort Area

With the recent release of the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival menus, I can’t help but think about my upcoming trip. The 60 day FastPass+ window is approaching quickly, and as an avid proponent of planning ahead, I’m ashamed to admit that I still haven’t fully decided on a hotel!

It’s one of the biggest dilemmas I face when planning any trip to Walt Disney World. It’s especially hard for me during the fall when visiting Epcot’s World Showcase is top priority thanks to the mouthwatering samplings at Food and Wine Festival. I’ve narrowed it down to the Epcot resort area to make walking to Epcot a breeze, but that still leaves me with five wonderful choices – Beach Club, Boardwalk Inn, Dolphin, Swan, and Yacht Club.

Not one to take the resort decision lightly, I’ve carefully mapped out a comparison to help me (and hopefully some of you) pick the right Epcot resort for any Walt Disney World vacation.

Theming

All five resorts fall into the deluxe category at Disney, and with that designation comes elaborate theming. However, because Swan and Dolphin are the only two that are not owned by Disney, some may find them to be lacking that special Disney touch.

  • Beach Club – It’s a New England-style resort hotel that is painted blue with white trim and adorned with typical beach décor. Think seashells and sand dollars.
  • Boardwalk Inn – Modeled after a turn-of-the-century Atlantic coast boardwalk, the rooms actually sit behind a façade of neon lighted shops and restaurants along a wooden boardwalk.
  • Dolphin – Words escape me when it comes to the theming of both the Swan and Dolphin, and if you’ve ever seen it for yourself, you can probably understand. Disney describes it as “deluxe accommodations inspired by Florida itself, Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel juxtaposes modern architectural silhouettes alongside Renaissance flourishes—most notably, the twin stylized dolphin statues gracing its rooftop.” Now, I’m not sure what they think a dolphin is, but based on their designs, I would say that a dolphin is some combination between a goldfish and carp.
  • Swan – Though very similar the Dolphin in theme and design, the Swan is outfitted with two Swans atop the building instead. At least these two actually resemble swans.

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A Guide to Single Rider Lines at Walt Disney World

by on July 27, 2016

Hello TouringPlans readers! My name is Ben Crain and I’m so excited to be joining the tremendous team of bloggers here. I am the creator and host of the WDW Ride Guide Podcast, and an Authorized Disney Vacation Specialist. I’m passionate about helping others explore Walt Disney World one ride or attraction at a time. With my introduction out of the way, I would like to introduce you to the Single Rider Line at Walt Disney World.

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Expedition Everest, Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, and Test Track are three of the most thrilling attractions in all of Walt Disney World. These attractions whisk you through exciting environments at speeds up to 65 mph! Thrill seekers live for inversions, loops, and 80 foot drops–however, chances are you will be visiting Walt Disney World with someone that isn’t quite ready to face the menacing Yeti, or have Aerosmith music pumping into their ears while racing through the dark. Or, maybe you have a little one that feels the need for speed, but doesn’t yet measure up to the height requirement.

Whatever the scenario, there is a way to satisfy the thrill seeker without sacrificing an hour separated from your group.  Say hello to the Single Rider Line!  This a way for one or several riders in your group to experience these 3 attractions with a shorter wait.  Here is how it works:

Step 1: Enter the queue designated Single Rider Line.

Step 2: Wave as you pass the poor souls in the standby queue!

Step 3: Proceed to the next Cast Member.

Step 4: Wait to fill a seat created by an odd number group in the standby queue.

The Single Rider Line offers varying degrees of time savings across the 3 attractions. Let’s break down each one.

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Epcot Food and Wine Festival Premium Events On Sale July 21

by on July 18, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

For those of you who enjoy participating in the great Premium Events that the Epcot Food and Wine Festival offers, you’ll be able to make your reservations beginning on July 21. Even better news is that for those of you who are Chase Visa cardholders, Annual Passholders, and Disney Vacation Club members, you’ll be able to book as early as July 19! (Though keep in mind that availability will be limited during the early booking window.)

Here are just some of the premium events that you will be able book beginning this week for this year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival:

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love EPCOT!

by on July 16, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Reasons We Love EPCOT. This July we’re celebrating Walt Disney World here on the SATURDAY SIX. We started at Animal Kingdomand then made our way to Hollywood Studios, but this week we are going to look at a theme park that is unlike any other in America: Epcot.

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EPCOT, the only Walt Disney World park in which the monorail goes into the actual park. (photo by Brian Carey)

Comprised of two distinct sections (Future World and World Showcase,) it’s impossible to compare EPCOT to any other theme park you’ve been to. The term “edutainment” is often used to describe the park because it generally eschewed the traditional model of quick and whimsical children’s rides, and instead focused on long and elaborate dark rides that refused to shoehorn in Disney characters (RIP Horizons.) EPCOT’s mascot Figment became an immediate hit, and certainly remains the most popular character ever designed for a theme park. We’ve seen many changes to EPCOT over the years, but it remains a wonderfully unique park. Yes, we miss Kitchen Kaberet, World of Motion, and the original Journey into Imagination as much as anyone, but there are still plenty of things to love about EPCOT’s current state. What’s our favorite?  Well, sit back, snack on some school bread, and let’s start our countdown with…

# 6 – Frozen Ever After

In 2014 we shed our tears with the rest of the #SaveMaelstrom movement, but an amazing thing happened when Walt Disney Imagineering converted the old Norway boat ride into an attraction based around the hit movie Frozen: they hit a monstrous home run. Given the constraints WDI had to work with including – for Disney – a rapid turnaround, Frozen Ever After is a dark ride so good that it would fit in perfectly with the legendary Fantasyland attractions at the Magic Kingdom. The animatronics are amazing (Olaf steals the show), guests get to see all their favorite Frozen characters and hear almost the entire film’s soundtrack, including the contractually obligated “Let It Go.”

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Elsa, Anna, and Olaf in Frozen Ever After. (photo by Brian Carey)

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Sven after getting a triple dog dare. (photo by Brandon Glover)

EPCOT_Frozen4_Carey

Queen Elsa. (photo by Brian Carey)

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Epcot Food and Wine Festival International Marketplace Menus Released

by on July 12, 2016

Epcot Food and Wine Festival

©Rikki Niblett

The 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival is going to be here before we know it. Information about this year’s events has been coming out lately, what with the announcement of the performers for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series yesterday. But today, I have information about the International Marketplace menus for this year’s event!  (Which let’s be honest…is one of the best parts of the festival. There’s nothing like getting to walk around the World Showcase promenade sampling delicious food and beverages!) Standby favorites will be returning like cheddar cheese soup from Canada and the Kalua Pork Slider from Hawaii, and new dishes, like loaded Greek “nachos” from the Greece Booth, will be delighting palates.

So, let the planning process begin. I’ve got my list started! Here’s what you can expect to experience this year at the Marketplaces for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival:

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Eat to the Beat Concert Series Artists Announced for the Epcot Food and Wine Festival 2016

by on July 11, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

Details are slowly, but surely coming in about the 2016 Epcot Food and Wine Festival and today, we have the full concert line up for the fantastic Eat to the Beat Concert Series. During this concert series, bands and solo artists perform some of their most popular songs nightly.

In addition to the new artists for this year (which include artists like Wang Chung, Plain White T’s, Jeffrey Osborne, and Toad the Wet Sprocket), many favorites will be returning, including Air Supply, Boyz II Men, Sugar Ray, Hanson, and Dennis DeYoung.

This year’s schedule is as follows:

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New Entertainment Act for Morocco Pavilion – Musique Aramenco

by on July 8, 2016

©Disney

©Disney

Another new entertainment act is now gracing the stage at the Morocco Pavilion in World Showcase at Epcot.

Musique Aramenco will perform with a fusion of traditional and popular dance music from the Southern Mediterranean and Northern African areas. The show will include the darbuka drum, violins, and a belly dancer.

Musique Aramenco appears five days a week and will perform on the Moroccan stage for a limited time.

 

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Dani’s Best Week Ever July 7, 2016: Celebration, FL and Epcot

by on July 7, 2016

Best Week Ever is a series that began as a way to take you along for a jam packed journey through Orlando’s theme parks and other attractions. Along the way our contributors have changed, but our approach remains: to make the most of every visit. This past week I have been fortunate enough to have one of my absolute best weeks ever, and I am excited to share some of the highlights with you.

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Independence Day Weekend is a cause for celebration throughout the entire country. In recent years it has meant traveling to my parents’ home and spending time with my brother, sister in law, and my five nieces and nephews. Such was the case this year. Cedar Key, FL feels worlds apart from the hustle and bustle of Orlando. It is about a two and a half hour drive to this island that sits in the Northwest corner of Florida. This little island has a small town feel; there are no chain restaurants, one school, one gas station, time moves slower here. If you have enough time in your Central Florida vacation for a side trip somewhere in Florida, consider Cedar Key for a dramatic change of pace.

Cedar Key, FL

Cedar Key, FL

The drive to and from is actually one of my favorite parts of a visit to Cedar Key. There a few routes from which to choose, each having at least one portion that consists of driving through backroads, past horse farms, goat farms, and country landscape. Driving through this scenery made for a beautiful way to start Independence Day 2016.

Country road in Marion County, FL

Country road in Marion County, FL

Celebration, FL

I arrived back in the metropolitan sprawl of the Orlando area close to lunch time. I made the journey from one small town and was about to head to another. Later that afternoon a friend and I arrived at Celebration, FL. This is the town that Disney built. It is perfectly manicured and was the catalyst for the birth of many other planned communities throughout the country. Although Disney no longer owns the community, if you are a Disney fan a visit to Celebration will prove entertaining and enjoyable.

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Visitors enjoy the lake at Celebration, FL while waiting for the July 4th concert and fireworks

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Taste Track at Epcot Reopens with New Menu Offerings

by on July 3, 2016

Taste TrackThe Taste Track kiosk found near Test Track has now reopened with a brand new menu. Guests will be able to cool down with a sweet treat, soft drink, or hard soda. Menu items will include:

  • Hot Fudge Sundae: Choose from vanilla, chocolate or swirl ice cream, with hot fudge and choice of toppings – rainbow sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles, or waffle cone pieces
  • Caramel Sundae: Choose from vanilla, chocolate, or swirl ice cream with caramel and choice of toppings – rainbow sprinkles, chocolate sprinkles, or waffle cone pieces
  • Ice cream Cookie Sandwich: Choose from vanilla, chocolate, or swirl ice cream
  • Soft Serve Ice Cream: Choose from vanilla, chocolate or swirl ice cream served in a waffle cone
  • Ice Cream Float: Barq’s Root Beer, Coke, or Diet coke with choice of ice cream
  • Not Your Father’s Hard Root Beer Float: Not your Father’s Hard Root Beer with choice of ice cream
  • Henry’s Hard Orange Soda Float: Henry’s Hard Orange Soda with choice of ice cream

Taste Track will be open daily from 12:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

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Candlelight Processional Dining Packages Now on Sale for 2016 Holiday Season

by on June 30, 2016

Candlelight Processional

©Disney

For those of you who are anxiously awaiting being able to book Candlelight Processional dining packages, I bring good news! Candlelight Processional dining packages are now available to book!

Just what is Candlelight Processional? It’s a fantastic and moving show that takes place at the holiday season in the America Gardens Theatre at Epcot that includes a celebrity narrator, a mass choir, and an orchestra all there to performing a re-telling of the Christmas Story. The best way to ensure that you get to see this incredible and extremely popular show, booking the dining package is really the way to go.

This year’s Candlelight Processional takes place from November 25 through December 30. Show times are at 5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. nightly. (With the exception of December 4 which will only have show times at 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.)

The celebrity narrator list hasn’t fully been announced for this year, but we do have the start of a partial list. Guests can expect to see:

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