Disneyland After Dark: Throwback Nite Review

by on January 19, 2018

This is a review of Disneyland After Dark: Throwback Nite, which is a special extra-ticket event that was held at Disneyland on January 18, 2018. Disney says it is the first of a series of Disneyland After Dark events that will take place throughout 2018. In this review I’ll go over some of the special offerings that were a part of the party (such as the swing band that played in front of ‘it’s a small world’), share my thoughts, and answer the biggest question: Was it worth the $95 price tag?

What Did Disneyland After Dark Offer?

I’ll go through each of the highlights that Disney promised on their website:

After-Hours Attractions – Ride iconic mainstays like Peter Pan’s FlightMatterhorn BobsledsPirates of the CaribbeanJungle Cruise and more.”

Most rides were operating during the party so it’s easier to list the rides that were not open. All of Toon Town and Critter Country (including Splash Mountain, which was closed for refurbishment) were closed. Most rides had little to no wait, with the exception of Peter Pan’s Flight, and Space Mountain, which were posting 20 to 30 minute waits throughout the night.

Character Greetings – Cross paths with some classic personalities.”

Mickey, Minnie, and Goofy were seen wearing cute throwback 1950s outfits. Rare characters such as, The Blue Fairy, Merlin (from The Sword in the Stone), Flora, Fauna, Merryweather, Pinocchio and Geppetto were all meeting as well. Most characters did not have a structured line to meet them. Instead they were “roaming” and kept moving thanks to their handlers. This made it hard to get a picture of, or with, most of them.

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Julia’s Best Week Ever, January 18, 2018: Art in the Park

by on January 18, 2018

I’ll let you in on a little secret. Out of all the festivals that Epcot offers, my absolute favorite is Festival of the Arts. Yes, the food at Food and Wine is yummy, the holidays are festive, and Flower and Garden is beautiful, but the folks in charge of Festival of the Arts really hit it out of the park last year and this year looks equally as amazing. With cold weather coming to Florida in wave after wave (and when I say cold, I’m not talking Florida cold–I’m talking 30s tonight), my family decided to squeeze in a quick trip this week, just to see the tip of the festival iceberg.

When we arrived at Epcot on Monday (albeit a holiday Monday for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day), crowds were brisk. I’m guessing many people had a similar idea. The secret is out about this festival.


Truth told, we were also looking for Pokémon on that day, and one showing up on sightings was over near the old Universe of Energy pavilion. That was a very lucky thing for us, because we might have missed the amazing chalk art over in that area. The 3-D chalk art always amazes me.

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Food and Wine’s Parisian Breakfast: Flawless French Fare

by on October 23, 2017

A highlight of the Parisian Breakfast: sipping mimosas in the beautiful Chefs de France dining roomThis week, I want to highlight another great Epcot International Food & Wine Festival special event that you should consider booking next year (as it most definitely will return!): the Parisian Breakfast, hosted at Chefs de France. A now longtime favorite of many Food and Wine Festival goers, this breakfast features a buffet of French delights, along with specialty coffee, teas, hot chocolate, and mimosas, for $40 plus tax per person. I attended one of the Parisian Breakfast events held this year – my first time at the event – and I’m so glad I did. I balked at the $40 price tag when I booked; how would it be worth it for the cost of a nice dinner at Walt Disney World? After finishing the event, though, I can tell you, it is most certainly worth the money. Let’s take a look at the event and see why…


First, a few details on actually getting to the meal. This event books early in the festival season, often selling out dates well in advance of the festival’s start. To book, you’ll call the same number as for other events (407-939-3378), and credit card payment is due at time of booking. Breakfast runs from 9:00 AM until 10:30 AM, and it’s recommended you arrive at the park by 8:15 AM and use the breakfast reservation entrance. All guests are held at the bridge to France from International Gateway until the park opens, so ultimately, there’s no big rush if you can’t make it super early. Be warned, though: many guests at the breakfast I attended were at a near sprint when we were released to walk towards France. They clearly already knew the glorious breakfast awaiting them down the hill. (I did not.)

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Food And Wine’s Mexican Tequila Lunch: Not Your Average Upcharge

by on October 4, 2017


It’s likely your tasting schedule for the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is already jam-packed with sampling some of the hundreds of items on sale at the booths around Future World and World Showcase, but if you’re looking for a slower-paced, more educational dining experience, look no further than the festival’s special events. Though the slate of available events changes from year to year, a few staples, including the Mexican Tequila Lunch, have stuck around the last few years, proving popular options that are both educational and entertaining.

The Mexican Tequila Lunch features excellent food, drinks, and views.

This year, I’ll be reviewing two such popular events that run throughout the festival season. First up: the Mexican Tequila Lunch, held select Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays throughout the festival season from noon to 1:30 PM at La Hacienda de San Angel in Epcot’s Mexico pavilion. Hosted by the tequila experts from La Cava del Tequila, this $85 event includes a four-course Mexican-inspired meal as well as tastings of several tequila varieties. I attended the first tequila lunch held during the 2017 festival season, and here, I’ll try to give you a sense of all the great information, food, and of course, spirits, I got to sample during the meal.

Check-in takes place just outside La Hacienda, after which Cast Members welcome guests into the restaurant with a warm greeting and an ice-cold margarita just before seating us in assigned areas of the dining room. Honestly, as soon as I sat down, I was overwhelmed at the sheer amount of liquor in front of me. I had been concerned that $85 was a bit steep for a lunch, even featuring alcohol, but upon looking at the table setup and the menu in front of me, I was very, very excited to see what the meal had in store. I sampled my welcome drink, a silky smooth, slightly sweet Tequila Avion cucumber margarita, as the remainder of the guests settled in around me, and soon, we were off to the races.

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Disney Dish Live with Jim Hill and Len Testa November 10-13

by on July 6, 2017

Disney Dish Live – November 10-13

What is the Disney Dish Podcast and Disney Dish Live? We like to think joining TouringPlans is like going to Disney College. We give you the information you should know to have a great trip, including when and where to stay, what to eat and what to pass on, and how to organize your day to do what you want with less standing in line. But when you’re ready to take that knowledge to the next level, we produce the Disney Dish podcast. If TouringPlans is the “what” of your trip, Disney Dish is the “why.” Whether he’s going over recent news about Disney parks (and Universal) or talking about park history, Jim Hill (kept mostly on topic by Len Testa) knows his stuff.

Would you like to meet the hosts and hear a podcast being recorded? Hang out at the bar, and walk around the parks with them? Ask questions or suggest topics for a new show? Then join us and our travel partner, Storybook Destinations, at Coronado Springs for Disney Dish Live November 10-13, 2017.

Schedule and details are at

Daisy’s Best Week Ever March 2, 2017: Flower & Garden Time

by on March 2, 2017

Hello, friends! It’s that time of year again. 🙂 I’m thrilled to be able to share with you some of the Flower & Garden Festival over at Epcot. Now, I wish I could have visited during better weather. Unfortunately, you’ll notice my photos are pretty grey. I’m just glad it didn’t rain! To get things kicked off, Here’s Figment still hanging out behind Spaceship Earth. He’s a leftover from the International Festival of the Arts, but I’ll never complain about having more Figment in the parks.

You don’t want to miss the rest of the festival, do you? Click to see more!

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Ask It: Best Special Event at Epcot

by on February 22, 2017

Best Special Event at Epcot

Last week, we presented this #AskIt —

My favorite special event at Epcot is…

Without a doubt, people are passionate about special events at Epcot. For many, it was difficult to choose just one. For others, there was one that drew large amounts of vitriol. With more than 800 votes in, here’s the results (in order from least to greatest).

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Julia’s Best Week Ever, January 26, 2017: Artsy Parksy

by on January 26, 2017

Over dinner on Friday night, it occurred to us… we haven’t been inside a Walt Disney World theme park all year. Between long work hours, visiting family, Girl Scout cookie sales, and other scheduling fun, our park time has been non-existent. Last weekend, while my husband was on call, I was watching with delight all the coverage of the Epcot Festival of the Arts. We cleared out our schedules and made our way over to Epcot to see what there was to see.

When the Festival of the Arts was first announced, I heard a lot of people talking about how it was some sort of money grab and would be a thrown-together event. The first weekend coverage was very positive, and so I went in with high hopes.

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2017 Pro Bowl Week Schedule

by on January 22, 2017

The Pro Bowl Week is a week-long celebration that unites and inspires the entire football community – players, coaches, families, and fans for a full week of activities, challenges, and true football spirit.

During Pro Bowl Week, everyone has the opportunity to participate in or watch a variety of events, including youth football clinics, the NFL Flag Championships, Pro Bowl player practices, skill challenges, sessions for coaches, the Women’s World Football Championships, and a host of other festivities with the best players of the past, present and future.

Many events are taking place at Walt Disney World, and are free to attend. Practices are free and open to the public but fans can register for priority access here. Some events require a Fan Mobile Pass (FMP). 


NFL Pro Bowl Practices


Pro Bowl Practices at ESPN Wide World of Sports are not only a chance to see NFC and AFC teams in action, but also the epicenter of a three-day football festival. Practice combined with various fan competitions and activities will be open to the public beginning Wednesday, January 25 and concludes on Saturday, January 28.

AFC Team Practice Schedule

  • Wednesday, January 25: 11:45 AM – 12:45 PM
  • Thursday, January 26: 9:45 AM – 10:45 AM
  • Friday, January 27: 11:20 AM – 12:20 PM
  • Saturday, January 28: 9:45 AM – 10:45 AM


NFC Team Practice Schedule

  • Wednesday, January 25: 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM
  • Thursday, January 26: 11:20 AM – 12:20 PM
  • Friday, January 27: 9:45 AM – 10:45 AM
  • Saturday, January 28: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM

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What You Need To Know Before Going to Festival of the Arts This Weekend

by on January 19, 2017

Ok, I’ll admit it. At the first announcement, the Epcot International Festival of the Arts didn’t seem like it would be that great. Even as the menu was announced my interest in the festival remained as muted as the tones of Picasso’s dark period. Alas, on opening day my Twitter feed flooded with photos and remarks about the creativity and fun found throughout the festival. Suddenly my interest sprang to life.

In its inaugural year, the Epcot International Festival of the Arts is offered Fridays through Mondays January 13 – February 20, 2017. Six weeks may seem like a substantial run, but when you consider the Epcot International Food and Wine festival runs for 16 weeks this year, this seems like a mini featurette. While the Festival of the Arts is not brimming with all the frills and frivolity of the Food and Wine, and the Flower and Garden festivals, there is still a lot to enjoy and if you’re not careful you might miss some of the offerings. So, before you head out the door this weekend here’s our Epcot Art Festival Tips.

Epcot Festival of the Arts tips


Epcot Art Festival Tip #1: Grab the guides

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