Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Disney's Hollywood Studios - A Park in Transition



Disney's Hollywood Studios...it's a park that is vastly different than it was 25 years ago when it first opened.  Matter of fact, it's vastly different than it was this time last year, with the closures of the Studios Backlot Tour, American Idol Experience, and Pirates of the Caribbean - The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow. We all know that massive changes are coming.

I was just in the park two weeks ago at the beginning of Spring Break season and I have to tell you...the park seems to be overwhelmed; lines are long, even for things that used to be short, Fastpasses are hard to come by, and restaurants are full.  Because of all the closures and the fact that the park has been in need of a facelift for a while...while it's running at its current maximum capacity, it feels like it's really running at a minimum.  Even the diversionary areas are packed to the gills with people, simply because they don't have anywhere to go.

While Spring Break is busy, at least Disney has worked out a plan for the summer again, with Frozen Summer Fun LIVE, which is obviously coming back to deal with some of the massive crowds headed to the park for the summer, but even comparing to last year's event....there's less going on, simply because of potential construction.

Unfortunately for us Disney fans, it still seems we have a very long way to go before the park comes into its own.  We've all heard the rumors...Star Wars Land is coming.  Pixar Land is coming.  Both are needed...like yesterday...and both are slam dunk ideas.  But let's be honest--nothing has even been announced officially; we really have no idea what's actually in store for the park, which I think makes the stagnant nature appear even worse.  At least if you know what's on tap, you can get excited for it; it's all on the horizon.  With no announcments, it just makes the park look well...sort of sad, to be honest.

What's most frustrating is that even if they announced both of these rumored upcoming additions, at the earliest, the soonest something could sprout up for guests seems to be late 2016 and that's for off the shelf stuff that's been rumored, such as spinners and other flat rides. Oh and you can't forget the expansion of Toy Story Mania, which is getting a third track.  But the bigger stuff isn't even expected for at least three years...at the earliest. (I say earliest because we all know how long it takes Disney to build things currently.) That means if I'm being optimistic, we have a good almost two years of a relatively empty park.  (Trust me...Disney should be counting their lucky stars that Frozen hit as big as it did and they can incorporate the massive hit into the Studios to breathe some life into it.  If that movie hadn't been as gang busters as it is, well....I fear for the shape the park would be in.)  Two years is a long time of nothing new and a lot of the park closed and shuttered. 

I don't say this to belittle and whine about the park.  It's a good park and it's going to be a great park when all is said and done.  This post is mostly written as a warning.  When visiting Disney's Hollywood Studios over the next two years or so, make sure to manage expectations when entering the park.  Know that you will be waiting in long lines.  Know that things will have waits that never have before.  Know that there's only a handful of attractions to actually do for the time being. Know that the park will soon be littered with seas of construction walls.

Try, if you can, to take in the smaller things and the things you haven't done in a while.  Like for me, this summer might be a good time to catch Lights, Motors, Action...well this is for two reasons....one...because I haven't done it since it opened...10 years ago...and two...because it's likely gonna be on the chopping block eventually.

Disney's Hollywood Studios is in transition and while I can't wait for it to be complete...because its going to be awesome...the growing pains are going to be rough for a while. And that makes me just a little sad, because I know what the park has been in the past and what it can and will be in the future.

What are your thoughts about Disney's Hollywood Studios' transition into whatever the new name of the park will be that Bob Iger accidentally leaked was coming? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook!

If you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word about A Disney World After All!  Share it on Twitter or Facebook...pin the photos on Pinterest, hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our Facebook page and find me on Twitter, I'm @RikkiNibs

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 3/16/15 - 3/22/15



News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such. 


News

Magic Kingdom
  • The Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party will be changing names to the Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party. It will see additional desserts, as well as an increase of cost. It will now cost $49 for adults, and $29 for ages 3-9.
  • Space Mountain will be closed for a quick refurbishment, from April 20-23.
  • Breakfast is now being served at Be Our Guest Restaurant on a trial basis until June 18.  The meal costs $19.99 per adult ages 10 and up and $11.99 ages 3-9. Each breakfast begins with a pastry basket for sharing, a choice of entree, and self service beverage. 
  • Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny are now meeting guests on Main Street USA. 

Epcot
  • Innoventions West exhibits, THINK by IBM, Piggy Bank Adventure and Where's the Fire will close on April 29. In addition, the Vision House in Innoventions East will close on April 22.
  • Taste Track serves gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • The For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration show will be moving theaters to the former American Idol Experience theater, which will be renamed as the Hyperion Theater.

Disney Resorts

  • Chef Mickey's will extend operating hours from March 29 to April 11. Breakfast will be extended until 12:30 p.m. and dinner will open at 4 p.m. Hours will go back to normal starting April 12.

General Walt Disney World News
  • Beginning at Disney's Yacht and Beach Club Resort, parking permits will no longer be handed out at check-in.  Guests are now being asked to use their MagicBand for parking access.

Rumors  

  •  The BOATHOUSE could open in April.
  • Anna and Elsa may begin meeting guests at Akershus. 
  • Baymax and Hero may meet guests until the end of summer. 
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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Tips for Visiting Walt Disney World During Spring Break



Spring Break season is here! Trust me...I could feel it while I was visiting the Walt Disney World resort last week.  It was crazy how crowded some of the parks were.  Of course, I was certainly able to have fun, but it was thanks to following a few tips that I've learned throughout the years that allowed me to fully enjoy the parks without wanting to strangle someone. 

The Spring Break season is one of the busiest times of the year for Disney.  It's right behind Christmas Week and Fourth of July.  You know the old saying...when kids are out of school, families are in Walt Disney World.  Add on top of that the fact that it's warm in Florida and people are trying to escape the frigid cold and see something green...you have a recipe for large crowds seeking Disney fun.

With that being said, I thought I'd give you just a few tips on how to get the most out of a Walt Disney World vacation while touring the parks during Spring Break.  Of course, these tips should always be kept in mind during busy periods of the year.  (Not just Spring Break season.)  Hopefully these tips will help you have a great vacation.

  • Arrive at Rope Drop:  I know I'm not one who can usually do it, but if you arrive at rope drop, you get the jump on all the people who are like me who can't make it to the parks early.  Being there at rope drop allows you to be ahead of most of the crowd and see attractions with less of a wait.  I know on the days when I've arrived earlier, I've been more successful in touring. If you can manage it, it really is the way to go when touring during the busiest seasons.  
  • Visit the non-Extra Magic Hour park:  For those who don't know, Disney on-site guests have an added perk of being able to take park in something called Extra Magic Hours.  This is where a select park is open one hour earlier or up to two hours later than scheduled park hours. The schedule is listed on Disney's website.  However, for those who are visiting without Park Hopper tickets in hand, and you want to maximize touring, my best tip is to avoid the park with Extra Magic Hours.  That is unless you have Park Hoppers.  In that case, yes...go to Morning Extra Magic Hours, if you can get up in time, get in a few key attractions, and then leave; head to any other park. Same goes for the Evening offering. If you can visit another park in the day and then that evening, head to the park with Evening Extra Magic Hours, you are golden.  Especially if the Evening Extra Magic Hours last until like 1 a.m.!  If you are staying off-site, then you want to avoid all Extra Magic Hours like the plague.  They will be much busier than the other three parks and since you're staying off-site and attempting to visit in the morning, you'll be well behind the 8 ball. 
  • Have a plan:  it seems stupid.  You are on vacation, right?  But if you plan out a few of the attractions and meals that you want to enjoy, your vacation will run much smoother and you'll be happier.  You don't have to plan out to the minute detail, but just enough to know what you'll be doing for the day.  There's nothing worse than the, "what do you want to do next?" question while examining your map. For more information about effective planning, see the next two points. (PS:  Shameless plug...my friends at TouringPlans have this really cool app called Lines that you should totally check out.  It works so well to help plan your day!) 
  • Schedule your first three FastPass+ reservations for early in the day: Last year, once guests used their first three FastPass+ reservations, Disney started allowing guests to visit a FastPass+ Kiosk, located in the parks to make additional FastPass reservations.  While the stock of available FastPass+ attractions goes down as the day marches on, if you're able to use the FastPass+ reservations early, you'll still be able to obtain FastPasses for other attractions, allowing you to experience more overall!  I wouldn't necessarily schedule them for first thing in the morning...maybe starting around 10:00 a.m. or 11:00 a.m., because if you get to the park early enough, you should be able to get on most attractions with little wait. And don't use the FastPass+ reservations for parades of fireworks, because you are locking yourself in to not being able to make additional FastPasses during the day.  
  • Book Advanced Dining Reservations early and eat at off peak hours:  If you want to make sure you get to eat at a Table Service location in the park, make sure to make Advanced Dining Reservations ahead of time (up to 180 days in advance of your trip). You can do so by visiting the Disney Dining Page.  Also, no matter where you dine, either counter service or table service, try to eat during off peak hours.  (This means not at noon for lunch and not at 6 pm for dinner.)  The earlier or later you can go, the better chances you have of getting to eat where you want and not encountering huge crowds. 
  • Take a mid-day break:  If you are staying on-site, consider going back to your hotel room and taking a break.  Swim, nap, eat a meal.  Do whatever you can to just unwind a bit.  Plus, while you are relaxing a bit, everyone else will be in the theme parks, clogging up all the rides.   If you don't want to leave, try to take in shows, as the wait times will not be as long and shows will give you the opportunity to sit down in the (usually heavenly air conditioned) theater. 
  • Patience is key:  Yes...there will be a lot of people around you.  And yes, people are rude. You will likely get stepped on by someone who's not paying attention, or get rammed into by a stroller, or have someone try to stand in front of you during a parade, or have someone cut in front of you in line, or leave their trays on a table, or stop in the middle of walking down the path; it's bound to happen.  You are in an extremely busy place, surrounded by people who likely don't know where they're going, and don't know what they are doing.  But, if you attempt to have a little more patience, you will have a much better vacation overall. 
Finally, keep in mind these few notes:  Easter Week will usually see the heaviest crowds usually; if you can, avoid the Magic Kingdom on Easter Day.

Also, don't forget to bring sunscreen.  I just did...and I got burnt and am peeling now because of it.  Trust me...nothing is worse than getting super red on your first day of vacation, especially when you've been pasty all winter and then having to live through the pain. 

Overall, you can have a wonderful time at Walt Disney World...even if you travel during the busiest of seasons, like Spring Break.  Just come prepared and know that you will likely have to go with the flow.  Knowing those things will help save you a lot of headaches.

What are your tips for touring during Spring Break?  Let me know in the comments section or on the Facebook page. 

If you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word about A Disney World After All!  Share it on Twitter or Facebook...pin the photos on Pinterest, hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our Facebook page and find me on Twitter, I'm @RikkiNibs!     

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 3/9/15 - 3/15/15



News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such. 
News

Magic Kingdom
  • Another 24-hour party will be kicking off the “Coolest Summer Ever" which will take place on Memorial Day weekend from 6:00 a.m. on May 22 and will last until 6:00 a.m. on May 23. Guests will be able to dress up and show their Disney Sides. In addition, there will be special entertainment, merchandise, food and beverages during the day. The event will also feature Disney character greetings, dance parties and special surprises.

Epcot 
  • Voices of Liberty are currently performing on the outdoor stage of the America Gardens Theatre on Mondays and Tuesdays. In addition, the performers wear modern, spring-time outfits, and they sing songs that are more fresh and modern, such as “Let It Go,” “Friend Like Me,”and  "Somewhere Over The Rainbow."

Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Doc McStuffins will be coming to the Animation Courtyard beginning in May. 
    The Frozen Summer Fun event will be returning for the second year from June 17 through September 7. The events for this year are:
    • The Frozen Procession – This special mini-parade down Hollywood Boulevard will include Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf, plus skaters, skiers, ice cutters, and the Arendelle Flag Corps.
    • Olaf’s Summer Cool Down – Olaf will appear on the event stage throughout the day to cool things down as the summer sun gets hotter.
    • Hot Frozen Nights DJ Dance Party – DJ Chill will be on hand at the event stage spinning great tunes. Guests will be able to share song requests and photos through social media that will be featured onscreen during the party.
    • Frozen Fireworks – Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf will come together at the event stage for a fantastic fireworks spectacular, set to the soundtrack of Frozen!
     
Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • Winged Encounters' landing perch has been relocated in front of the Tree of Life. The show will continue to be performed at 9:15 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.
  • A new Sumatran tiger will be introduced to at Maharajah Jungle Trek on March 17.
  • Five new sable antelope have been added to Kilimanjaro Safaris.
  • The lemurs are back on Discovery Island.

Disney Resorts
  • Beginning April 13, and lasting until at sometime in early 2016, the East Leisure Pool at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will be under refurbishment.
  • River Roost Lounge at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside will be serving select breakfast items for a limited amount of time from 7 a.m. to noon.  The new menu features select breakfast items including assorted pastries, breakfast sandwiches, cereals, oatmeal and an assortment of specialty coffees. This test will be running until May. 
  • Beginning March 31 from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at Disney's Port Orleans French Quarter will be "Fat Tuesdays" parties where guests will get to take part in activities, enjoy a DJ, and partake in special food and beverage offerings.
  • The Fourth Annual Easter Egg Display at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort will take place from March 20 through April 10.

Downtown Disney
  • Paradiso 37 is undergoing an expansion that will see it doubling its seating capacity and adding an outdoor live entertainment stage.


Rumors
  • Breakfast at Be Our Guest Restaurant will officially begin on March 20.
Download the all NEW Disney Food Blog Guide to Walt Disney World Dining!  Read about all the fantastic delights the parks have to offer!



Monday, March 9, 2015

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 3/2/15 - 3/8/15


News

Magic Kingdom
  • Aloha Isle and Sunshine Tree Terrace will be swapping places beginning this week.They will also be bringing their menus with them in the switch.
  • Under the Sea - Journey of the Little Mermaid has reopened from its refurbishment. The new upgrades include a darker "Under the Sea" scene.

Epcot
  • A third theater is being built for Soarin'. Soarin' will also see other upgrades, such as updating the screens and projection system. This update will be introduced in late 2016.

Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Disney has announced that a third track is being constructed for Toy Story Midway Mania. It is expected to debut in late 2016.
  • The Galactic Gathering will take place one day prior to Star Wars Weekends, on May 14 from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. The special event will cost $250 per person and will include: 
    • ‘Rebel’ or ‘Empire’ retail MagicBand
    • commemorative trading pin
    • Darth’s Mall Light Speed Pass, giving expedited entry into Darth’s Mall for all five weekends 
    • first opportunity to pre-purchase select merchandise including personalized Aurebesh nametags, D-Tech phone cases, Dooney & Bourke handbags, Galactic Gathering Disney Gift card, retail MagicBands, limited edition pins and Vinylmation
    • first opportunity to purchase the new designs of Star Wars-themed Disney Gift Cards 
    • a Han Solo-inspired popcorn bucket with popcorn.


General Walt Disney World News
  • A new direct bus service loop will be tested between Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach beginning March 15. The bus service will be available from midday through one hour after park close. 
  • The Magic Kingdom Express Beam will see reduced daytime hours beginning March 10 and lasting throughout the summer.  The affected days will be Tuesdays and Wednesdays when the Express beam will be closed from 11:30 a.m. through 6:00 p.m. 

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Everything Guide to the 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival



It is time! The 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival has begun today, March 4, and run through May 17th.  This is the Festival's 22nd year.  Each year the Festival offers beautiful gardens, topiaries, butterfly gardens, celebrity presentations, the Garden Rocks Concert Series, food booths, and much, much more!
Today, I present to you this full guide to experiencing the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.

What's New?

Every year brings about some new items and this year. This year they include:


©Disney
  • Topiary versions of Elsa and Anna from Frozen. They will be found in the World Showcase Plaza.
  • The fantastic food booths, known as Outdoor Kitchens are back. This year brings the Botana Botanico booth, which will be located between the France and Morocco pavilions and will features Cachapas with Farmer's Cheese, a sweet yellow corn pancake, as well as a Coconut Tres Leches. Beverages will include a non-alcophic punch, La Tizana, but for those who want an adult version, they can choose to add a spash of orange liquer.
  • The front entrance garden will feature topiaries of Chip and Dale in the “Goofy About Spring” floral vignettes. Topiary Goofy, Daisy and Pluto will also be in on the fun topiaries will be Chip and Dale taking a star turn in two whimsical Epcot front-entrance “Goofy About Spring” floral vignettes. Topiary Goofy, Daisy and Pluto will be in on the fun
    Other brand-new Disney character topiaries will be Chip and Dale taking a star turn in two whimsical Epcot front-entrance “Goofy About Spring” floral vignettes. Topiary Goofy, Daisy and Pluto will be in on the fun. - See more at: http://wdwnews.com/releases/2014/11/12/fresh-flavors-gardens-music-and-fun-on-tap-march-4-may-17-2015-at-22nd-epcot-international-flower-garden-festival/#sthash.PwYudmCp.dpuf
    Other brand-new Disney character topiaries will be Chip and Dale taking a star turn in two whimsical Epcot front-entrance “Goofy About Spring” floral vignettes. Topiary Goofy, Daisy and Pluto will be in on the fun. - See more at: http://wdwnews.com/releases/2014/11/12/fresh-flavors-gardens-music-and-fun-on-tap-march-4-may-17-2015-at-22nd-epcot-international-flower-garden-festival/#sthash.PwYudmCp.dpuf
  • The Flower Power Concert Series transforms into the Garden Rocks Concert Series. Artists will now include acts from the 1960s-1990s. New acts will include the Gin Blossoms, Pablo Cruise, En Vogue, Jon Secada, Taylor Dayne, and Little River Band.
  • Ten new mini-gardens will be added to the festival. They are:
    • Prehistoric Plants
    • Trial Garden
    • Disney’s Inside Out Emotion Garden
    • Health and Healing Garden
    • Pepper Fire Garden
    • Pizzeria Garden
    • Japanese Mini Garden
    • Pollinator’s Paradise
    • Bold Bromeliads
    • Shakespeare Garden
     There will also be a southwest garden showcasing dessert landscapes.

Topiaries



The topiaries are always my favorite part of the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.  These plants, which are sculpted into wonderful works of art, are always stunning and so incredibly detailed.  It's amazing how they take different plant substances to make these creative pieces.  

Here is a look at which topiaries will be found in 2015 and where:  



Topiary Description
Location
Farmer Mickey and Minnie
Between Future World and World Showcase
Buzz Lightyear
Mission Space
Mater/Lightning McQueen
Test Track Walkway
Phineas and Ferb
Oddysey Bridge
Mike and Sulley
Monsterous Garden
Fantasia
Future World West
Butterfly Topiaries
Behind Spaceship Earth
Bambi and Friends
Canada Pavilion
Peter Pan and Captain Hook
United Kingdom Pavilion
Winnie the Pooh
United Kingdom Pavilion
Cinderella and Prince Charming
France Pavilion
Beauty and the Beast
France Pavilion
Woody
American Adventure Pavilion
Lady and the Tramp
Italy Pavilion
Miss Piggy
Italy Pavilion 
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Germany Pavilion
The Lion King
Outpost
Year of the Ram
China Pavilion
Toll
Norway Pavilion
Goofy About Spring
Main Entrance



Garden Rocks Concert Series

©Disney
The Garden RocksConcerts feature bands from the 60s through the 90s.  Performances take place at the American Gardens Theater at 5:30, 6:45 and 8:00 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during the Festival.  The concerts are included with your Epcot admission.  New artists for this year include the Gin Blossoms and Pablo Cruise. Here is the complete schedule for 2015:  
  
  • March 6-8: Gin Blossoms (Hey Jealousy) 
  • March 13-15: Pablo Cruise (Love Will Find a Way)  
  • March 20-22: En Vogue (Free Your Mind) 
  • March 27-29: Starship (We Built This City) 
  • April 3-5: The Orchestra starring former members of ELO (Evil Woman) 
  • April 10-12: The Village People (Y.M.C.A.) 
  • April 17-19: Jon Secada (Just Another Day) 
  • April 24-26: The Guess Who (These Eyes) 
  • May 1-3: Taylor Dayne (Tell It to My Heart) 
  • May 8-10: Little River Band (Lady) 
  • May 15-17: Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone (I’m Henry the VIII, I Am)

Festival Center



The Festival Center is the hub for the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.  This location (which is the former location of the Wonders of Life Pavilion) holds special gardening workshops where you'll be able to hear tips from Disney gardeners.  You'll also be able to shop for Festival merchandise, and more. The Festival Center will only be open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

Each weekend features hands-on presentations at the Greenhouse Stage at 11:00 a.m. and at 2:00 p.m. and live demonstrations on the Fresh Epcot Stage at 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. 

In addition, guests can stop by the Intermissions Café, which features a fine selection of wine, cheese, wraps and salads.  

Fun Fresh Weekends

Each weekend will be known as the Fun Fresh Weekends, but select weekends will also include a special extra theme.  They are:  
  • March 13-15: Spring into Spring Weekend Presented by Joffrey’s Coffee
  • March 16-17:St. Patrick’s Day Celebration at the American Adventure
  • March 27-29: Art in the Garden Weekend – From 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., see nature through the eyes of “Plein Air” artists, along with one-of-a-kind works of art in our Guest Artist booths—all located throughout World Showcase.
  • April 17-22: Earth Day Weekend – April 17 through 19, meet specialists from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Then on April 22, hear about conservation efforts to protect coral reefs, sea turtles, sharks and more at The Seas with Nemo & Friends and see the grand reveal of the finalized sand sculpture based off the Disneynature film Monkey Kingdom.
  • April 24-26: Florida Fresh Weekend – From 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., head for the Festival Center and discover why Florida is one of the top agriculture producing states in the nation!
  • May 1-3: See a stunning display of hibiscus in a wide array of colors at the Hibiscus Show.  








Educate Yourself
 
Tours

  • Epcot Gardens of the World Tour
    Be treated to fanciful floral displays on this 3-hour tour held only during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival on Monday, Tuesday, Thusday & Friday from 9 a.m. to noon. A disney Horticulturist will be your host on a tour of special displays and award-winning international gardens. The tour costs $64.00 per person, ages 16 and up. To book, call 407-WDW-TOUR (939-8687).
  • English Tea Garden – Presented by Twinings
    Enjoy the history and art of tea blending during a guided 20-minute tour of an elegant English Tea Garden, featuring some of Twinings finest tea blends. To register, sign-up in The Tea Caddy at the United Kingdom Pavilion.
     

Outdoor Kitchens


Last year was the first year for the Outdoor Kitchens (which were known as Marketplace Kiosks).  These Kitchens focus on serving small bites of delectable treats and beverages with a focus on fresh ingredients. 

The booths are similar to what you would see at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival. There will be 11 kitchens total, found throughout World Showcase.

Here is the full list of all the Outdoor Kitchens that will be featured during this year’s festival:
 

Jardin de Fiestas (Mexico Pavilion) - Enjoy flavors like savory tacos and fruity cocktails.

  • 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
  • NEW! Tecate Draft Beer with Patrón Citrónge
  • Mexican sangria
  • NEW! Blueberry Pomegranate Margarita on the Rocks
  • NEW! Tequila Liqueur Flight (flavored tequilas)
Candied Strawberries ©Disney
 
Lotus House (China Pavilion) -  Dine on a variety of Chinese cuisine, like popular street foods and bubble tea.

  • Beijing-style candied strawberries
  • NEW! Kung Pao Chicken Bun
  • Vegetable spring rolls
  • Oolong Peach Bubble Tea
  • Kung Fu Punch – Vodka and triple sec with mango and orange juice
  • South Sea Storm – Guava juice with light and dark rum
  • Plum wine
  • Tsing-Tao beer
  • Honey Mango Wine Cooler

Florida Fresh (Germany Pavilion) - Savor fresh Florida ingredients that are grown and produced locally.

  • Watermelon salad with pickled onions, BW Farm baby arugula, feta cheese and balsamic reduction
  • Shrimp and stone ground grits with andouille sausage, sweet corn, tomatoes and cilantro 
  • NEW! Florida Blueberry and Lemon Curd Tart
  • Watermelon passion fruit slush featuring Simply Lemonade
  • Key Lime Sparkling Wine
  • Blonde Ale, Orlando Brewing Company
  • Channel Marker Red Ale
  • Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale, Florida Beer Company
  • Jai Alai
  • Beer Flight: Blonde Ale, Channel Marker Red Ale, Jai Alai, Feast of Flowers Farmhouse Ale
Feast of Flowers ©Disney

Watermelon Salad ©Disney
Shrimp and Grits ©Disney
 
Primavera Kitchen (Italy Pavilion) - Sample some of this country’s many flavors like caprese, manicotti, torte di ricotta and Italian wines.

  • NEW! Fior di Latte, Prosciutto e Pane di Casa — Pinwheel of Mozzarella, Prosciutto, Ciabatta Bread
  • Three cheese manicotti – Egg pasta stuffed with ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, tomato sauce and béchamel
  • NEW! Limoncello Panna Cotta — Lemon custard, limoncello liqueur, raspberries
  • Placido Pinot Grigio
  • Placido Chianti
  • Bosco del Merlo Prosecco
  • Corbinello
  • White peach bellini – Prosecco and white peach puree
  • Strawberry rossini – Prosecco and marinated strawberries
  • Frozen Italian primavera – Assorted fruit slushy with limoncello and vodka
  • Moretti Lager
  • Moretti La Rossa
 
The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews (American Adventure Pavilion) - Celebrate the truly American tradition of barbeque, paired with craft brews from across the country.

  • Pulled pig slider with cole slaw
  • NEW! Beef Brisket Burnt Ends Hash with White Cheddar Fondue and Pickled Jalapeños
  • NEW! Smoked Debreziner Sausage with House Made Kraut and Mustard
  • “Piggylicous” bacon cupcake with maple frosting and pretzel crunch featuring Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon
  • Billy’s Chilies, Twisted Pine Brewing Company
  • Floridian Hefeweizen
  • Category 3 IPA
  • NEW! Maple Bacon Stout
  • Beer Flight
  • The Original Rib Shack Red Wine
  • NEW! Frozen Lemonade (with Palm Ridge Reserve Whiskey Optional)
  • NEW! R.C. Sweet Tea made with Twinings Cold-Brewed English Classic Tea
Piggylicious Bacon cupcake ©Disney

Pulled Pig Slider ©Disney
 


Hanami (Japan Pavilion) - Hanami is a traditional custom of enjoying the beauty of flowers.  Take in the gorgeousness while enjoying delicate bites and refreshing beverages.


  • Frushi – Fresh pineapple, strawberries and melon, rolled with coconut rice, topped with raspberry sauce, sprinkled with toasted coconut and served with whipped cream on the side
  • NEW! Teriyaki Curry Bun — Steamed bun filled with chicken, vegetables, curry and sweet sauce 
  • NEW! Osaka Salmon Sushi – “Hako-sushi” Box style Sushi with Salmon and Rice, topped with Dynamite, Volcano and Eel sauce
  • Kirin draft beer
  • NEW! Strawberry Nigori
  • NEW! Daishichi Kimoto Sake

Taste of Marrakesh (Morocco Pavilion) - Discover the tastes on North African spices which will be paired with fresh ingredients, as well as Moroccan beer and wine.

  • NEW! Falafel Pocket with Cucumber Tomato Salad and Tahini Sauce
  • Harissa chicken kebab with couscous salad 
  • NEW! Pistachio Baklava
  • Mint iced tea
  • White sangria
  • Guerrouane red
  • Casa Beer
  • Desert Rose – Sparkling wine with pomegranate liqueur

NEW! - Botanas Botánico - Items with a South American Flair

Botánico
  • Seafood Ceviche - Shrimp, Scallops, and Grouper with mango and avocado
  • Cachapa con Queso
  • White Corn Arepa with Braised Beef and Chayote Slaw
  • Coconut Tres Leches
  • Polar Beer
  • La Tizana
  • Monte Paschoal Reserve Tannat
  • Monte Paschoal Natural Brut White Sparkling Wine

 
Fleur de Lys (France Pavilion) - Indulge your senses in France’s most magnificent culinary masterpieces.

  • Gnocchi Parisien à la Provençal – Parisian-style dumplings with vegetables and mushrooms
  • Confit de canard, pommes de terre Sarladaise – Pulled duck confit with garlic and parsley potatoes
  • NEW! Macaron Guimauve à la Fraise, a Strawberry Marshmallow Macaron
  • NEW! Ice Pop Combination of French Peach Iced Tea, Grand Marnier Peach Raspberry Liqueur, and Vodka.
  • La Vie en Rose frozen slush – Vodka, Grey Goose Orange, St. Germain Liquor, and white and red cranberry juice
  • Kir Imperial – Sparkling wine, Chambord and black raspberry liquor
  • Kronenbourg Blanc 1664 – Fruity white beer with citrus note 

Pineapple Promenade (Canada Pavilion) - Eat up (quite literally) as you try all kinds of treats featuring delicious and juicy pineapples.

  • NEW! Pineapple Dog – Spicy Hot Dog with Pineapple Chutney and Sriracha Mayo
  • Dole Whip
  • NEW! Pineapple Soft Serve with Sammy’s Beach Bar Red Head Macadamia Nut Flavored Rum
  • Dole Whip with Parrot Bay coconut rum
  • NEW! Ace Pineapple Hard Cider
  • Frozen desert violet lemonade featuring Simply Lemonade (nonalcoholic)
  • Sparkling Pineapple Wine, Florida Orange Groves Winery, St, Petersburg,FL
  • Berry Tea Cocktail with Twinings Cold-Brewed Mixed Berry Tea
Berry Tea Cocktail ©Disney

 
Urban Farm Eats - Taste treats from this booth’s all natural menu, with dishes that have been cultivated from the soil.

  • NEW! Kale Salad with Dried Cherries, Almonds, and Goat Cheese with White Balsamic Vinaigrette 
  • NEW! Quinoa Vegetable “Naanwich” with Arugula Pesto and Oven-Dried Tomatoes
  • Ghost pepper-dusted tilapia with crisp winter melon slaw and mint oil featuring The Original Sauce Man’s Kick It Up Rub
  • NEW! Urban Mary: Spicy Tomato Juice, Lime Juice, and Worcestershire, with shot of Vodka (optional)
  • Cucumber lemon spa water, finished with a sprig of fresh mint
  • Hess Shirtail Creek Vineyard, Chardonnay
  • King Estate Acrobat Pinot Noir
  • Crispin Blackberry Pear Cider

Don't forget to pick up your Garden Passport. This is a special booklet that you should get stamped as you visit the Outdoor Kitchens.  Passports can be picked up at the Festival Center, at any DVC Information Booth, or at the Outdoor Kitchens.  

Fun For Kids

The kiddos aren't left out during this event.  Quite a few new additions have been added that will appeal for the entire family. 

They include:  
  • Cactus Road Rally with Mater and Lightning McQueen: Play at this exciting stop located at Test Track Walkway.
  • Mike & Sulley's Monstrous Garden: Scare up some fun at this vibrant play area on Imagination Walkway.
  • Butterflies on the Go: Don’t miss the chance to catch a glimpse of gorgeous butterflies as they flutter about at this magical stop.


Shopping


There will be quite a few areas where guests can pick up a fun gardening or Epcot Flower and Garden Festival trinkets. Special Festival merchandise is created exclusively for this event. Items include plush, mugs, ears, shirts, wind chimes, pins, and artwork.  Consult your Festival Guide Map for shopping locations. 
 


Miscellaneous

There are also a few odds and ends you should know about.  The Illuminated Gardens and Topiaries are back.  Each evening, enjoy your walk around World Showcase just a little more as the topiaries are illuminated and twinkle.  

Look for a new mini Disney Gift Card that is exclusive to the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. The neat thing about the card is that it has a bungee cord so you can wear it around your wrist and simply swipe to pay for food and more. The card can be reloaded as many times as you want at most festival kiosks. 
 

The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival is such a great event.  It's the sign that Spring is just around the corner and it really gets me in the warmer weather mindset.  There's a ton of things to offer everyone and it just amazes me how much bigger this event just seems to be getting year after year.  

What do you look forward to experiencing at the Epcot Flower and Garden Festival.  Let me know in the comments or on the Facebook page!  

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Sunday, March 1, 2015

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 2/23/15 - 3/1/15





News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such. 

News


Magic Kingdom
  • Pirates of the Caribbean will see a lengthy refurbishment this summer from May 11 through September 25.
  • Parts of the new hub have opened, with new grassy areas, sidewalks, fountains, new seating for Casey's Corner and the Plaza Restaurant, and more. In addition, a new fireworks FastPass+ location has opened, in the new Main Street Plaza Gardens, which is adjacent to Crystal Palace.
  • The dates for the 2015 Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties have been announced. Tickets will go on sale in April. Dates are: 
    • September 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27
    • October 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31
    • November 1
  • Dates for the 2015 Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party have been released. Tickets will go on sale in April. The party dates are
    • November 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 29
    • December 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 18

Epcot
  • The Egg-stravaganza Easter Egg Hunt will be returning to World Showcase.  For $4.95, guests can purchase a special map that includes stickers that correspond to the actual eggs that can be found in each of the the parks.  Guests must search the park and put the character egg sticker on the map where the actual character egg was found! Once all the eggs have been located, guests must return their map to the redemption station for a prize.  
  • The 2016 Epcot Flower and Garden Festival will be held from March 2 through May 15.  

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show will be closed for a refurbishment from April 20-24. 
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid will be closed September 7-10.

Disney's Animal Kingdom

©Disney

  • New Avatar concept art was released.  
  • On March 5, at Rafiki's Planet Watch, guests can learn about amphibians and conservation with the "Spring Forward" special event.

Downtown Disney 
  • Havaianas has opened in The Landing section.
  • Planet Hollywood will be seeing a re-design with the Disney Springs refurbishment. The restaurant will be called Planet Hollywood Observatory and it will receive a new facade, featuring brick on the outside, plus an outdoor bar and expanded terrace. Inside there will be a high-tech planetarium with stars and constellations on the ceiling, as well as Hollywood props and costumes and Hollywood movie features. In addition, a new menu will be rolled out.  
  • At the Marketplace Co-Op, the WonderGround Gallery, which sells unique artwork, will be moving into a spot being vacated by the Beautifully Disney makeup location. In addition, The Sign Shop, which will offer Disney Parks-inspired signs for sale, will take the place of the WonderGround Gallery’s former space.
  • The Village Causeway recently opened, as well as a few new kiosks. They include:
    • Kate and Leo:  a charming cart features children’s toys, travel games, magnetic story boards, beautiful art supplies and more,
    • Icon Jewellery by Bico: Offers jewelry for men and women, featuring iconic and inspirational designs focusing on concepts like love, protection, strength, and luck.
    • Flour and Sugar: This shop offers fresh-baked, all-natural gourmet cookies with Florida flavors like coconut, key lime, strawberry and more.
    • Florida Bath Company: Specializes in unique, Florida-themed bath products such as bath bombs, salts and soaps, made with home-grown ingredients including organic vegetable juices and essential citrus oils.
 
Disney Resorts
  • For the Easter week, 1900 Park Fare at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort will be offering a special brunch buffet from March 29 through April 5. Menu items will include breakfast and dinner options.


Rumors

  • Polynesian Volcano Pool could open by the end of this month.
Download the all NEW Disney Food Blog Guide to Walt Disney World Dining!  Read about all the fantastic delights the parks have to offer!