Archive for April, 2017

Disney Springs’ Portobello Country Italian Trattoria Closed for Refurbishment

by on April 24, 2017

©Rikki Niblett

The table service dining establishment, Portobello Country Italian Trattoria is now closed for a lengthy refurbishment.

James Beard Award winner Chef Tony Mantauno is helping to lead the charge on the reimagining of this restaurant, which is located in The Landing section of Disney Springs. When it reopens, the restaurant is expected to feature an authentic Italian concept that will include a family style menu, alongside craft beers and wines.

Portobello is expected to welcome Guests once again when it reopens in early fall.

Stay tuned to the blog for further information about additional changes coming to this restaurant.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Sneak Preview Now Taking Place

by on April 24, 2017

©Disney

If you are a fan of the Pirates of the Caribbean movie franchise and you cannot wait to catch the newest upcoming release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, then you need to make sure you head over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, Disney California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort, or even catch the preview onboard the Disney Cruise Line.

For Guests visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios, stop by One Man’s Dream to catch the sneak peek. The preview is being shown in the theater at the end of the attraction.

Over at Disney California Adventure, the preview is being shown in 3D and will include in-theater effects at the Sunset Showcase Theater in Hollywood Land.

Finally, onboard all four Disney Cruise Line ships, Guests are able to enjoy a sneak peek too!

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales will be released in theaters on May 26.

How Time of Year Affects Your Disney World Trip

by on April 24, 2017

Time of year will have a huge impact on your Disney vacation. Here we talk about how to use the calendar to determine your best time to go to Disney World.

Any time someone asks me for trip planning assistance, there are several questions I have before offering any advice to sort of make sure I’m steering them to a trip that they will actually enjoy. One of the first and most important is “do you have any flexibility in when you go?” This is a big one, and travelers — especially inexperienced travelers — often fail to appreciate that there is a best time to go to Disney World or understand the significance that the time that you choose to go can have on your trip.

For a lot of families in particular, the thinking may be, “OK, Spring Break is this week, so we’ll go this week,” and if that’s truly the only time you can go, que sera sera. If you DO have the ability to be more selective about when you go, however, you absolutely weigh the pros and cons of visiting at different times of year. The date you go can have a huge impact upon crowds, what you get to experience, weather, and even price, so it is worth devoting some effort into it. Read on to find out why it’s important, and how you can pick the best time to go to Disney and plan a trip that you’re going to love!

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New Room-Only Dates For Late Summer 2017

by on April 24, 2017

Thanks for Annette Johnson of Mouse Trip Travel for the heads up.

Save 25% off the rack rate of your Disney hotel room (largest discounts for deluxe/villas).

Book: April 24 to August 31

Travel: August 1 to October 7

Exceptions:

  • 3-bedroom villas
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows – Bungalows
  • Copper Creek Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Book or rebook with your travel agent or via Disney.com with “Enchanted Escape Room Offer.”

Disney World Free Dining For Fall 2017

by on April 24, 2017

Thanks to Sue Pisaturo from Small World Vacations for the heads up. We have dates for the Disney Free Dining 2017.

Book: April 24 to July 7

Travel: August 21 (edit 1:30pm – August 13 for Disney Visa holders) to September 30, November 14 to 20, November 25-27, December 8 to 23

Details: Value and Moderate – Free Quick Service Plan, Deluxe and Villas – Free Dining Plan

Package must include Park Hopper or Park Hopper Plus tickets.

Disney says minimum 5 night/6 day stay, but says other discounts may be available for other trip lengths.

Exceptions:

  • Campsites
  • 3-bedroom Villas
  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard Rooms
  • Disney’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows – Bungalows
  • Disney’s All Star Movies Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  • Copper Creek Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

Exception for November and December dates: Riverside

Book or rebook with your travel agent with the “Free Delicious Offer” or via Disney.com. For more on the dining plans and Free Dining, read our summary.

Update 4/25/17: Guests can “upgrade” to the the regular dining plan when booking a Value or Moderate resort for $24.19 (approx)/adult/night. Less per child 9 and under.

Minimum length of park admission is 2 days. Everyone on your reservation must be on the same package.

 

SATURDAY SIX: Your Six Lowest-Rated Disney World Restaurants

by on April 22, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the Six Lowest-Rated Disney World Restaurants!  We all know about the amazing benefits of being a TouringPlans subscriber – including unbiased reviews, an amazing WDW hotel room finder, the ability to save hours a day normally spent waiting in line, and of course the world’s greatest Disney Outlet Store Photo Report – but one thing you may not know is that after every trip we send members a survey to see how satisfied they were with each part of their vacation. Last year we received 122,000 responses on Walt Disney World restaurants, a number greater that the amount of Disney reviews Yelp and TripAdvisor got in 2016 combined. Len Testa, the grand poobah of TP, has written several articles on the Walt Disney World restaurants which received the highest scores: including the venues at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom/DHS. But this is the SATURDAY SIX, home of the annual  Turkeys of the Year awards: we want to know what the worst restaurants were.

So today we’re going to look at the lowest rated restaurants in all of Walt Disney World as voted by YOU, Dear Reader, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Garden Grove (Disney World Swan)

I loved staying on property at both WDW and Universal, but despite hearing raves for years on the Swan and Dolphin hotels, I had never stepped foot in either. That changed recently when I booked at stay at the Walt Disney World Swan and I discovered the hotels were incredible. It was much cheaper than my stay just months earlier at the neighboring BoardWalk resort, was situated between two Disney parks, and was filled with great restaurants. However, despite the high marks that Todd English’s bluezoo and Shula’s Steak House receive from TouringPlans members, not all of the resort’s restaurants were thought of as highly, including Garden Grove at the Swan.

Garden Grove. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Garden Grove. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of April 21, 2017

by on April 21, 2017

A very happy Friday to you!

It’s been a week of rumors! Lots have been floating around this week. In addition, Bloomberg has a great and in-depth look at Pandora. Finally, see just how much money Fast and the Furious earned at the box office this past weekend. All that and more in this week’s In Case You Missed It!

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

 

Bloomberg took a fascinating look at Pandora – The World of Avatar. Plus there are some fantastic new photos of the land! (Plus there’s a few details about Star Wars Land too!)

If you are a member of D23, you won’t want to miss as D23’s Fanniversary celebrates 35 Years of Epcot!

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10 Things To Do At Disneyland With No Lines

by on April 20, 2017

10 Things to do at Disneyland with no lines

Ed. – We’re taking a trip to Disneyland for this Best Week Ever. Guy Selga will be taking the slot that Dani had. While Dani will be missed, we’re really happy to bring you more California coverage on a regular basis. Please reach out to us in the comments with ideas for more Disneyland content you’d like to see.

Is it too busy at Disneyland for you? Is it the last day of your trip and you want to take an easy? Or are you just plain sick of waiting in lines? Here’s 10 things to do at Disneyland with no lines.

1. Watch the Disneyland Band or other live performances

The Disneyland Band is a group of talented musicians that perform concerts filled with classic songs from Disney’s animated movies and theme park rides (you may hear Under the Sea as well as A Pirate’s Life for Me in the same concert). They even have several different set lists each day, so you can watch multiple times and hear different songs. Disneyland Band performs all over the park, such as Town Square and Frontierland. But my favorite is seeing them in front of Sleeping Beauty Castle. Disneyland has many other wonderful live bands and performers scheduled every day of the year as well. Some of my favorites include Jambalaya Jazz of New Orleans Square, Pearly Band from Fantasyland, and of course The Dapper Dans on Main Street. Viewing these performances only require you to be at the designated spot when its show time. Our Lines App shows all performance times for every day of the year, and you can ask a cast member where in the park the performers will be appearing for any given show.

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Preview of Beverages for Pandora – The World of Avatar

by on April 19, 2017

We already know about some of the unique food offerings Guests will be able to enjoy when they enter Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Today, we have a first look at some of the beverages that Guests will be able to purchase.

First, Guests who visit Pongu Pongu will be able to enjoy the Night Blossom. This frozen non-alcoholic drink is a mixture of limeade, apple, and desert pear that is topped with passion fruit boba balls. (This drink can be served in a souvenir mug and can become “bioluminecent” courtesy of a purchased glow cube.) There’s also the Mo’ara Frozen Margarita. This one is made with Sauza Conmemorativo Añejo Tequila with strawberry and blood orange flavor topped with strawberry boba balls.

Pandora - The World of Avatar Beverages

©Disney

 

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Celebrate Earth Day at Walt Disney World

by on April 19, 2017

Earth Day at Disney's Animal Kingdom

©Rikki Niblett

Each Earth Day, Disney’s Animal Kingdom brings out the fun. The annual celebration is presented by Disneynature. The celebrations will take place for three days, April 21-23 and Guests are encouraged to connect with nature by participating in engaging activities found throughout the park.  Those include:

  • A Leopard’s Journey activity at Maharajah Jungle Trek
  • Animals, Science and Environment-created Born in China activity pack distribution at Maharajah Jungle Trek
  • Born in China Disney PhotoPass Magic Shot at select photo locations
  •  In the Oasis, select one of 10 different animal cut-outs to enhance your experience while raising awareness of the animals Disney Conservation Fund is helping protect through the Reverse the Decline, Increase the Time initiative.
  • Shop special vendors in Discovery Island and Africa who are in the park for Earth Day celebrations.
  • Guests can interact with some of the park’s conservation specialists to see how Disney cares for its animals and works to save endangered species.
  • You can’t have an event at Disney without treats and of course, Earth Day is no exceptions. Be on the lookout for some great sweets like the  Party for the Planet chocolate cupcake with chocolate mousse filling and buttercream icing at Creature Comforts and Isle of Java in Discovery Island or the panda-themed cookies and candy apples at Zuri’s Sweets Shop in Africa.

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