Recent News

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Debuts New Arena

by on January 15, 2018

ESPN Wide World of Sports

©Rikki Niblett

To help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, a brand new area is now open for those who may be heading to a sporting event being held at Walt Disney World. This new area is known as The Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and it is going to be a versatile space will be able to easily host both large and small events.  The new arena is the third indoor competition venue at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and is one of the largest in the country designed specifically with cheer and dance events in mind.

One of the unique features of The Arena is its flexibility. This space can be converted to host more than six regulation-sized basketball and volleyball courts and can be further expanded to host open-floor exhibitions and other major events. There will be 8,000 seats and a separate box office. 

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Walt Disney World Children’s Activity Centers to Close

by on January 15, 2018

Children's Activity Centers

©Disney

The three remaining Walt Disney World Children’s Activity Centers are slated to close. The last day of operation will be July 31, 2018. This move is apparently being done because fewer Guests are using these services than in the past.

The three Disney-run Children’s Activity Centers are Simba’s Cubhouse at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Club Lilo at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and the Sandcastle Club at Disney’s Beach Club Resort.

Children ages 3 to 12 who visit these activity centers are able to explore imaginative worlds with activities that educate, entertain and enchant, as well as meet some of their favorite Disney friends. Parents are then able to head out for some fun of their own, knowing their kids were having a great evening, too.

As an alternative, Disney recommends in-room babysitting services from a company called Kid’s Nite Out. It also appears that Camp Dolphin at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel (which is on Disney property but not operated by Disney) will continue to be available for Guests to utilize.

Epcot Festival of the Arts Food Studios Menus Released

by on January 11, 2018

Epcot Festival of the Arts

©Disney

Wow! This weekend kicks off the second annual Epcot Festival of the Arts which is returning from January 12 through February 19. This festival really celebrates all things artsy and one of the key components of the Epcot Festival of the Arts is the incredible food and beverage options which can be found a the Food Studios kiosks that are located around the World Showcase promenade. Let me tell you that I am not overselling it when I say that these dishes and beverages really are serious works of art.

Today, I have the different menus of the different Food Studios, as well as the other unique dining options that will be available for Guests throughout the Festival.

 

The Deconstructed Dish (Showcase Plaza)

Delicious dishes that dazzle

Food:

  • Deconstructed Reuben with shredded corned beef, Thousand Island dressing, pickled red cabbage, and a rye curl
  • Deconstructed BLT with crispy pork belly, tomato jam, and a soft poached egg
  • Deconstructed Strawberry Cheesecake: Whipped, New York Style Cheesecake with Fresh Florida Strawberries and Sugar Cookies with Micro-basil

Beverages:

  • Deconstructed Breakfast: Twinings Spiced Apple Chai Tea Shake with Maple Bourbon Cream, a Waffle Crisp and Candied Bacon
  • Deconstructed Breakfast: Twinings Spiced Apple Chai Tea Shake with Maple Syrup, a Waffle Crisp and Candied Bacon (non-alcoholic)
  • Intrinsic Cabernet Sauvignon, Washington
  • Pop-Artsicle: Red, White and Blue Frozen Slushy (non-alcoholic)

 

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Select Walt Disney World Guests Can Purchase Additional FastPass+ Reservations

by on January 11, 2018

FastPass

©Rikki Niblett

Well, it appears that some interesting changes are coming for some Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Guests in regards to FastPass+.

Beginning January 12, Guests staying at select resorts (though rumors are indicating it’s for those staying Club Level at the Walt Disney World Deluxe Resorts, at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort’s bungalows, and at the Copper Creek Villa Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge) will have the ability to purchase three more FastPass+ reservations to use on a given day, if they so choose. The additional FastPass+ reservations can be purchased for an extra $50 plus tax per Guest per day. These Guests must have purchased a 3 day or longer theme park ticket or have an annual pass. What is nice though is that if you have the Park Hopper option, you can make your extra three selections in more than one theme park. Also of note, FastPass+ attractions that are chosen cannot be repeated during a single day.

Another perk, these Guests will also receive one per day preferred viewing locations for the Walt Disney World nighttime spectaculars. Guests can choose from Happily Ever After at the Magic Kingdom, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth at Epcot, Fantasmic! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Advanced reservation is required and availability of each nighttime spectacular preferred viewing location is limited.

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World of Disney at Walt Disney World and at Disneyland to See Updates

by on January 10, 2018

World of Disney

©Disney

Do you love shopping at World of Disney as much as I do? The large Disney-centric stores which are found in both Disney Springs at Walt Disney World and at Downtown Disney at the Disneyland Resort offer tons of souvenirs and I almost always end up taking something home when I visit. But soon, both of these locations will be receiving some love beginning mid-February 2018.

Work on the stores will be done in phases and the stores on both coasts will remain open during construction. When work on the interior is done, Guests will a dynamic and distinctly Disney retail environment.

A few shops will offer select merchandise while construction takes place. In Town Center at Disney Springs, Ever After Jewelry Co. and The Disney Corner, which opens in mid-February, will carry select merchandise while World of Disney undergoes renovations.

Over at Disneyland, at the Downtown Disney District, Guests can find some items in the recently opened Dream Boutique, as well as the Disney Home store which is opening in February in the former D-Street location.

I’m excited to share more details about what we Guests can experience once the refurbishment work is completed, so make sure to stay tuned to the blog for more!

New Restaurants Now Open at Disney Springs

by on January 10, 2018

It’s official! Three new restaurants have made their debut at Walt Disney World’s Disney Springs! Maria & Enzo’s, Pizza Ponte, and The Edison all officially debuted this past weekend. (The remaining dining establishment in this complex, Enzo’s Hideaway, has not yet opened.)

©Rikki Niblett

 

While The Edison had their official grand opening on New Year’s Eve with a fun party, the restaurant didn’t officially open to Guests until this past weekend. The feel of the restaurant is definitely an industrial one. Steampunk design fills the table service location. Guests should be comfortable coming here for a meal, or even enjoying a drink, as there are wonderful couches and chairs scattered throughout. 

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Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable to Close at Epcot

by on January 10, 2018

Circle of Life

©Rikki Niblett

Well, it’s time we say goodbye to the Circle of Life: An Environmental Fable film that is shown at The Land Pavilion in Epcot. The attraction will close after over 20 years on February 3.

The film, for those who haven’t seen it, is an edutainment offering that stars Simba, Pumbaa, and Timon, from The Lion King. The film spotlights the environmental inter-dependency of all creatures and demonstrates just how easily the ecological balance can be upset. The 20 minute show is certainly an enlightening one, although also a little be sobering too. (And the many who napped there will also miss the dark respite.)

There is no word on what exactly what will be replacing the film. For the temporary time being, it appears that the theater will be used by Disney Performing Arts  to host student workshops and performances.

Reservations Now Open for The Edison at Disney Springs

by on January 3, 2018

©Rikki Niblett

Are you anxious to finally try The Edison in The Landing at Disney Springs? Well, you can now make reservations for the restaurant for dates beginning January 15. Reservations can be made by visiting The Edison’s website or by visiting OpenTable.  The restaurant recently held a New Year’s Eve Grand Opening Gala.

The Edison, for those who don’t know, combines great food, cocktails and world-class entertainment. The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner and will feature a menu of American fare, with a selection of sandwiches, salads and entrees; plus a focus on artfully crafted cocktails.

The story behind the restaurant is that it is set in a 1920s-period power plant, recalling the era of innovation and imagination. During the day, The Edison will be a family restaurant, however after 10:00 p.m., it will transform into a 21-and-over nightclub. Guests arriving after 10:00 p.m. must wear venue-appropriate attire. Men may wear slacks, jeans or dress shorts. Jackets are optional. No ball caps, sleeveless shirts or flip-flops will be allowed. There will be a cover charge of $10 after 10:00 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.

The main room will feature a dance floor and stage, where each night the venue will feature an eclectic lineup of live entertainment including musicians, aerialists, dancers and more. There will actually be multiple themed areas for guests to explore. They include The Ember Parlour, Telegraph Lounge, The Patent Office, The Radio Room, The Tesla Lounge, The Lab performance space, and a Waterfront Patio.

The Edison in Disney Springs is inspired by its sister location that’s found in Los Angeles.

New Year’s Eve Events at Walt Disney World

by on December 28, 2017

New Year's Eve

Celebrating New Year’s Eve at Epcot ©Rikki Niblett

Wow! How did the end of this year get here already?! I know we say that all the time, but I really do feel that this year has just flown right by. It feels like just yesterday, I was bringing in 2017 at Epcot; now, I’ll be back at Epcot to bring in 2018. (With all the other crazies….and those are just my friends! 😉 )

So, what can I and everyone else expect when ringing in 2018 at the Walt Disney World Resort? Here’s this year’s lineup:

 

Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom will be open on December 30 and 31 from 8:00 a.m. until 1:00 a.m. During the evening on both nights, Guests will be able to see the Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks at both 6:30 p.m. and at 11:50 p.m. For those who like dance parties, you’ll want to head to either Frontierland and Tomorrowland for some awesome tunes.

 

Epcot

Epcot is open from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 a.m. on December 31. There will be a New Year’s Eve Countdown Fireworks spectacular that really is incredible. The show kicks off at 11:40 p.m. There will also be New Year’s Eve dance parties and other entertainment around World Showcase at the America Garden Stage, Future World Fountain Stage and the “Silent Groove” dance party that will take place at Future World Center. (Trust me….you have to see this one! Everyone is dancing to music that they hear, but you don’t.)

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Walt Disney World Annual Passholder Discounts Available for 2018

by on December 28, 2017

Annual Passholder

©Rikki Niblett

It was good while it lasted. For a little over a year, thanks to the celebration of the 45th anniversary of the Walt Disney World Resort, Annual Passholders were receiving a 20% discount at many Walt Disney World restaurants. I regret to inform everyone that the discount has gone back down to 10% once again. (Which is what the discount was prior to the anniversary.)

For 2018, Walt Disney World Annual Passholders will receive a 10 percent discount on food and non-alcoholic beverages at all Walt Disney World Resort owned and operated table-service restaurants, with the exception of Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort, through December 31, 2018. One nice part about this discount is that there are no blockout dates, so that means if you’re eating at one of the participating resorts here on New Year’s Day or maybe on Easter, you’ll still be able to receive your discount. The discount is only valid for the Passholder and up to three additional Guests.

As a reminder, Guests should ask if an Annual Pass discount is available at restaurants when dining, as some locations which are managed by operating participants may not offer this discount for Passholders.

So, if you are an Annual Passholder, make sure you take advantage of this offer. While it isn’t as good as last year’s offer, a discount is a discount.