Friday, August 11, 2017

Ears the News: August 11, 2017 Edition


Welcome to the latest edition of Ears the News

Brought to you by our friends at WDWMagic.com.


Disney PhotoPass day comes to Walt Disney World on August 19, 2017, bringing special photo opportunities and characters to the parks and Disney Springs.

Here is the full run-down:

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Character Experiences
  • Meeko joins Pocahontas at Character Landing on Discovery Island 
  • Timon joins Rafiki at Rafiki’s Planet Watch 
  • Princess Atta joins Flik at Discovery Island near Creature Comforts 
Photo Opportunities
  • Dream Big Princess photo backdrop before the park entrance (daylight hours only) 
  • Jungle Book Magic Shot near Yak & Yeti Restaurant 
  • Visit the PhotoPass photographer in DinoLand U.S.A. from 9-10pm to have magical Mickey light effects added to your photo 
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com

Character Experiences
  • The Queen from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” Maleficent, and Cruella de Vil will meet with guests at Sunset Showcase. This opportunity will be available from 10am – 5pm. 
Photo Opportunities
  • Dream Big Princess photo backdrop outside the Theater of the Stars (daylight hours only) 
  • Poison Apple Magic Shot on Sunset Boulevard 
  • Fisheye lens in the Chinese Theatre Courtyard area 
Epcot

Character Experiences
  • Genie will join Princess Jasmine in the Morocco Pavilion 
  • Mushu will join Mulan in the China Pavilion 
Photo Opportunities
  • Dream Big Princess photo backdrop near Epcot Character Spot (daylight hours only) 
  • Baymax Animated Magic Shot with the PhotoPass photographer located near Mouse Gear and the Fountain of Nations 
  • Fisheye lens near the fountain close to the entrance to Spaceship Earth 
Magic Kingdom Park

Character Experiences
  • Dopey joins Snow White at Town Square Courtyard 
  • Captain Hook joins Peter Pan in Fantasyland 
Photo Opportunities
  • Dream Big Princess photo backdrop in Fantasyland (daylight hours only) 
  • Cinderella’s Coach in Fantasyland 
  • “Tangled” light painting photo opportunity near Ariel’s Grotto (available after dark) 
  • Mickey Mouse Magic Shot on the bridge near Fairytale GardenMain Street Vehicle near the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor (available in the morning and early afternoon) 
Disney Springs

Photo Opportunities
  • Dream Big Princess photo backdrop next to the Marketplace Stage 
  • Fairy Wings Magic Shot from the PhotoPass photographer roaming around the Marketplace near Tren-D (available from 1-10:30 p.m.) 
  • You can also visit the Disney PhotoPass Studio at Disney Springs to enjoy special $99.95 plus shipping pricing on a Personalized Storybook now through August 20. 
Disney is continuing to offer incentives to visit its resort restaurants, with a new offer beginning this week. 

Florida residents can get a complimentary appetizer with each adult entrée purchased and valet parking at: 
The offer is available August 9 through September 30, 2017.

Mobile Order is now available at Disney's Hollywood Studios, with Backlot Express the first to make the phone based ordering available.

The rollout at Disney's Hollywood Studios will continue with ABC Commissary on August 14, and PizzeRizzo on August 15, 2017.

Reservations are now open for the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Like last year, a ticket will get you access to a dessert party along with reserved viewing for the holiday firework and projection show. Tickets have gone up $10 this year, and are tiered depending on dates, costing between $79 and $89. No discounts are available.

In the courtyard of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, guests can enjoy multiple food stations, featuring holiday-inspired sweet and savory delights like warm cheese fondue with pretzel bread and flatbread, warm pumpkin pie and spiced-bread pudding with hand-dipped vanilla ice cream. The Liquid Nitro Station fires-up the party with chocolate mousse and choice of toppings, including salted caramel sauce.
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com
Beer, wine and specialty cocktails are available for guests over 21. Specialty non-alcoholic beverages are also available, and of course, hot cocoa.

Each guest will receive a pair of 3D HoloSpex® glasses that turn bright lights into holiday holographic illusions such as gingerbread men and candy canes. A VIP character will also be on hand to meet with guests.

Check in for the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party will begin fifteen minutes before show time outside of The Chinese Theatre.

From November 9 through December 15 2017, tickets can be purchased for $79 per adult or $45 for children ages 3 to 9 (tax and gratuity included). Then, as the holidays draw closer from December 17 through December 31, 2017, tickets can be purchased for $89 per adult or $49 for children ages 3 to 9 (tax and gratuity included).

Reservations are now open, and can be made by calling 407-WDW-DINE or online. Admission to Disney's Hollywood is required.

"Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular" will take a break during most of the holiday period, as Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! takes center stage.

From November 9 to December 14, Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! will perform at 8pm. Then from December 15 - December 31, both "Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!" and "Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular" will be shown. Jingle Bell will be shown at 6:30 PM, and Star Wars at 9:00 PM or 10:00 PM.

Mission SPACE will reopen on August 13 2017 with a new family friendly mission and an all new pre-show.

Disney has revealed that actress Gina Torres will provide the pre-show briefing, replacing Gary Sinise. It also seems that Disney will be marketing the updated experience as "RELAUNCHED! Mission: SPACE."
 
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com. 

The 48 year old actress has appeared in Westworld (as Lauren), Firefly (Zoë Washburne ), Hercules: The Legendary Journeys (as Nebula), Xena: Warrior Princess (as Cleopatra), and most recently as Jessica Pearson in the USA Network series Suits.





One Man's Dream at Disney's Hollywood Studios will soon become home to a preview center for upcoming attractions.

Named "Walt Disney Presents," the preview center will share models, concept art and more.

Starting in mid-September, you’ll be able to view concept art, ride vehicle maquettes and a never-before-seen model for Toy Story Land. A portion of the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge model also will be on display, as well as concept art for the new Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway attraction.

Looking to plan your next trip to Walt Disney World? Contact the agents at Kingdom Konsultant Travel to help you plan your dream vacation. Email vacations@kingdomkonsultant.com for a free quote today.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Satu'li Canteen - A Disney Dining Review

When they announced that they would be adding a new Quick Service location to the highly anticipated Pandora, the World of Avatar I was pretty excited.  Animal Kingdom has typically had some pretty great food already that is right up my alley.  Then they previewed some menu options and I got even more excited, as it all sounded fresh, new and even on the healthy side!

We made two trips to Satu'li Canteen on our impromptu 3 day long weekend trip to Walt Disney World this summer.  The first was during Extra Magic Hours (a perk for Walt Disney World resort guests) at about midnight when our dinner started wearing off and we were ready for a midnight snack.  The second was for breakfast after getting to Animal Kingdom bright and early to experience Pandora during the day.

I was very excited to see that the Canteen was open for the evening magic hours (which were 11pm-1am during my trip) because I had only arrived from the airport at about 9pm which meant my dining options were already limited so I just had a quick sandwich in the room before heading on out.

We got to Animal Kingdom around 10:30pm and took our time exploring the area until about midnight.  That's when we noticed the Canteen was open and decided to take a midnight snack break before heading back out of the park to our bus and calling it a night.  It was pretty empty at this point but has a nice setup to handle the crowds of the day.

Ordering stations and bright menus overhead
There are two main features on the dinner menu here, the pods and the bowls.  The bowls are a create-your-own option by mixing and matching their proteins, sauces, and bases (think the Chipotle of Pandora) while the pods are fixed with two options, veggie curry or cheeseburger.

We wanted to try both sides of things so we opted for an order of veggie curry pods and a bowl with quinoa and veggie salad, chicken and chimmichurri.  We also tried the signature sangria with our late night snack!

Chopped Wood-Grilled Chicken Bowl - Wood-Grilled Chicken Thighs marinated with Garlic and Olive Oil topped with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw and Boba Balls served with your choice of Base and Sauce
The chicken was juicy, the base of quinoa and vegetable salad had a nice variety of crunch and flavors, and the chimichurri sauce went with everything nicely.  The Boba Balls were a hit as well, while they look a little strange, they burst in your mouth and add a nice sweet component to the dish overall.  There was also a TON of chicken on our dish so honestly we could have split this and been fine! 

Vegetable Steamed Curry Pods - Bao Buns - Steamed Vegetable Curry Pod with Eggplant, Cauliflower, Sweet Potato, Carrots, and Shallot Cilantro Cream served with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw and Vegetable Chips
Another hit for us!  The veggie curry within the buns had a great spice (but not too spicy at all) and full flavor.  The veggie chips were crunchy and salty and honestly a great late night snack in and of themselves.  This dish came with the same veggie slaw that they top the bowls with as well.

 Dreamwalker Sangria - Refreshing White Sangria with a hint of Blue Curaçao and a Stella
The Dreamwalker Sangria is a fun addition to the specialty beverage line up and definitely looks like it belongs in Pandora.  They have a few specialty beers as well but we went with a Stella this evening.  There is also a wine selection but like most quick service locations, no full bar here. The Sangria is definitely on the sweeter side but still had a nice refreshing and light taste to it.

We had a pretty empty dining room since it was so late, but there was a lot of space and it was nice and clean even after a full day of use!

Lots of great tables to choose from!

A few days later we were up with the sun to head back to Pandora!  After our ride on Flight of Passage our tummies were rumbling and once again Satu'li was open to satisfy our needs!  We were indecisive again and ended up ordering three items between the two of us to get to try a variety.  They also have signature Bloody Mary's in the morning which looked very impressive if you like those (which we don't unfortunately!)

Kid's Menu: Steamed Egg Pod Bao - Steamed Pod filled with Scrambled Eggs, Bacon, Spinach, Cheddar Cheese served with Grapes and your choice of beverage
They don't have any normal eggs on the menu so these Pod Bao are the only way to get that breakfast staple.  There's a regular menu option as well with two pods but we just wanted to give it a try!  It was a great alternative to the typical scrambled eggs or egg sandwich.

Fresh Fruit Plate - Pandoran Tropical Fruits served with fresh Yogurt-Muesli topped with Vanilla scented Maple Syrup
The fruit plate was a pleasant surprise.  When we asked the Cast Member working what his favorite was, he mentioned that this was underrated and I'd have to agree.  It doesn't sound like much but the fruit was so fresh and a great variety, with the yogurt-muesli balancing it out so nicely for a complete meal.  It was the perfect breakfast for a hot summer Florida day!

Pork Hash - Slow Roasted Pork and Potato Hash topped with Grilled Chorizo Sausage, Green Onions served with Natural Jus
If you are a breakfast potato person this is a great dish for you!  The slow roasted pork was so juicy and flavorful while the potatoes had that soft but crisp texture.  The grilled chorizo adds a nice little bit of heat and texture as well.  A hit all around (and another recommendation from our wonderful CM this morning!)

So overall the food was wonderful and while we ate at off times, we noticed ample seating, both indoor and outdoor, and drink station space to accommodate main meal time crowds.  There were also constantly Cast Members working the dining floor keeping an eye on things and keeping it clean for all to enjoy their meals. While we didn't give it a try, this restaurant also offers Mobile Ordering from the My Disney Experience App and there's a dedicated line to pick up your orders if you choose to go that route.

This is a great addition to the dining options at Animal Kingdom.  Have you gotten a chance to give it a try or is this on your to-do list for your next trip?  What have your favorite dishes been?

Until next time...
Agent Maci

Friday, August 4, 2017

Ears the News: August 4, 2017 Edition


Welcome to the latest edition of Ears the News

Brought to you by our friends at WDWMagic.com.


Mobile Order has begun at Columbia Harbor House which completes the roll-out of the service at Magic Kingdom.

Mobil Ordering has also begun to roll out at Epcot. Electric Umbrella is currently online and Liberty inn will follow on August 7, 2017.

Tables in Wonderland can now take advantage of the recently announced 30% discount for Annual Passholders and DVC Members at select resort restaurants.

An important difference with the Tables in Wonderland discount vs the Passholder discount is that it also applies to alcoholic beverages. 
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com

There is now a 30 percent discount (up from 20%) on regular price food and beverages when dining during the dinner meal period before 6:30pm or after 8:30pm at the following locations through September 30, 2017:

  • Jiko at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge 
  • Flying Fish at Disney's BoardWalk Resort 
  • The Wave...of American Flavors at Disney's Contemporary Resort 
  • Citricos at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa 
  • The Grand Floridian Café at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa 
  • Olivia's Cafe at Disney's Old Key West Resort 
  • Boatwright's Dining Hall at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside 
  • The Turf Club Bar & Grill at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa 
  • Artist Point at Disney's Wilderness Lodge 
  • Captain's Grill at Disney's Yacht Club Resort 

You can now order one of Disney's Minnie Vans using the popular Lyft app.

“Playing a part in a family's experience at the most magical place on earth is a dream come true,” Lyft President John Zimmer said.

Minnie Van Service will be priced at $20 per trip per vehicle, with testing currently underway at Disney's BoardWalk and Yacht Club Resorts between 6:30am and 12:30am. Guests staying at Disney's BoardWalk Resort and Disney's Yacht & Beach Club Resorts can learn more by visiting the Bell Services desk.
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com

Later, the service will expand to more locations throughout Walt Disney World. Unlike Disney's Magical Express service which is operated by third party Mears, Minnie Van drivers are actually Disney cast members.

Under the wrap, Minnie Vans are a 2017 Chevrolet Traverse Premier mid-sized SUV, which offers three rows of seating. The second row features captain's chairs (two full size seats), and the back row can seat three, giving a guest capacity of six. Disney has also equipped its fleet of Minnie Vans with two Graco car seats.

The operating hours for A Pirate's Adventure: Treasures of the Seven Seas at the Magic Kingdom have been significantly reduced.

New operating hours are 12:00 PM to 6:00 PM daily, down from the usual park open to near park close.

Yak and Yeti Local Foods now serves breakfast at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Menu items include Breakfast Tacos at $9.99, Sausage and Egg English Muffin at $9.99 and a Bacon and Egg Sandwich at $9.99. View the full Yak and Yeti Local Foods breakfast menu.

Breakfast is served daily from 9:00 AM to 10:30 AM.

“American Idol,” will debut on its new home at ABC in 2018, and open auditions will begin at the Walt Disney World Resort.

The Idol bus will be at Disney Springs on August 17 giving you the chance to audition with “American Idol” Producers. (Celebrity Judges will not be on site.) Early arrival is encouraged.

Parking will be available as early as 4:00 am, but not before. Registration will begin at 6:00 am with auditions starting at 8:00 am. Early arrival is encouraged, as registration will close at 12:00 pm or sooner due to capacity. No overnight camping will be allowed.

The auditions will take place outdoors. Parking will be available at the surface parking lot on the West Side of Disney Springs, near House of Blues and Cirque du Soleil.

All singers must be at least 15 years old to audition. Pre-Registration is encouraged. To Pre-Register and for additional details, full eligibility requirements, submission forms, and terms and conditions, visit www.americanidol.com. Those auditioning can bring one guest to accompany them and the guest must be over 5 years old.

Disney Springs will debut a new hyper-reality experience this fall, "Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire."

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will plunge guests directly into the iconic Star Wars galaxy. They will move freely throughout the untethered, social, and multi-sensory Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire experience in a way that allows them to interact and engage with friends, family and Star Wars characters. This ground-breaking experience will open to the public at two new VOID Experience Centers at Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort and Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort beginning this holiday season.

“At The VOID, we combine the magic of illusion, advanced technology and virtual reality to create fully immersive social experiences that take guests to new worlds,” said Curtis Hickman, co-founder and chief creative officer at The VOID. “A truly transformative experience is so much more than what you see with your eyes; it’s what you hear, feel, touch, and even smell. Through the power of The VOID, guests who step into Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire won’t just see this world, they’ll know that they are part of this amazing story.”

Vicki Dobbs Beck, executive in charge of ILMxLab, said, “At ILMxLAB, we want people to step inside the worlds of our stories. Through our collaboration with The VOID, we can make this happen as guests become active participants in an unfolding Star Wars adventure. By combining Lucasfilm’s storytelling expertise with cutting-edge imagery, and immersive sound from the team at Skywalker Sound, while invoking all the senses, we hope to truly transport all those who experience Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire to a galaxy far, far away.”

“Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire marks an important milestone in the continued expansion of The VOID, which also joined the 2017 Disney Accelerator earlier this year,” said Cliff Plumer, CEO of The VOID. “Through the power of The VOID, guests can now experience the magic of Star Wars firsthand.”


Trouble viewing the video? Click here to view the video on YouTube.


Looking to plan your next trip to Walt Disney World? Contact the agents at Kingdom Konsultant Travel to help you plan your dream vacation. Email vacations@kingdomkonsultant.com for a free quote today.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Disney Cruise Line with NO Kids???


Hey-Howdy-Hey, Disney Fans!

     It's me, Tink! Back from a hiatus of blogging. Summer is a tough time in this house. With both kiddos home, it seems like I have no time for anything other than working and hanging with the kids. I am sure many of you can relate. Once school begins again, (in just two weeks!!!), things will go back to semi-normal... or as "normal" as we can get.

     Anyway, the other day, I was talking to a co-worker and sharing with them how awesome our Disney Cruise was back in April, (check out the review HERE!), and then came the same statement I hear all the time: "Well, Disney Cruise Line is for kids. I would never sail with them just me and my significant other." Part of me wants to say, "Your loss!", and walk away, reveling in the fact that I know something they don't know, but a bigger part of me, (the part of me that is completely and totally OBSESSED with Disney Cruise Line), makes me stop and say, "Ugh-uh. No, it's not just for kids. You'd LOVE it! My husband and I sailed 13 times, 11 of which were WITHOUT kids!"

     So why? What about Disney Cruises should get you considering sailing with them if you do not travel with kids? Everything!

     For starters, cruises are an awesome way for adults to get away and actually unplug and relax. Like, look one another in the eyes and stuff. No phones, no devices, (unless you choose to buy the internet plan), just you and the other fantastic adults that you are traveling with. But don't worry... you will never be bored. There are shows, movies, classes, pools, coffee shops, dance clubs and so much more for you to enjoy. And if you wanna enjoy yourself in an adult-only atmosphere, there are plenty of places for you to do so.

     The spa on each of the ships is a kid-free zone. Whether you book a treatment for yourself, or just buy a pass to hang out in the awesome Rainforest Room, you'll be able to relax and rejuvenate in peace and tranquility. Want a place to hang in the sun? There is an adult-only pool, complete with hot tubs, on each ship. No kids allowed in the pool or even hanging out around it on the pool deck. If you want a quiet, indoor, (aka air conditioned), place to read, talk, sip a coffee creation and nibble some complimentary pastries, check out The Cove Cafe. It, too, is totally kid-free.

     At night, each ship has a lively nightclub district, with an 18+ age restriction, so you can dance the night away, or just chill and listen to some live music all-grown-up-style. Some nights there may even be 18+ cabaret-style shows, where the comics and magicians that entertained families earlier in the day get a bit more risque and perform to an adult-only crowd. There are even adult-only activities during the day! You can sign up in advance, or onboard, for beer, wine, and even tequila tastings. (These are at an additional cost.) And as if all of that isn't enough, you can even dine completely sans kiddos, in either the upscale Italian eatery, Palo, or in the gorgeous French restaurant, Remy, (onboard the Fantasy and Dream only). Both of these dining options require reservations and have an additional upcharge, but they don't allow any cruisers under the age of 18.







     And let's not forget about your visit to Castaway Cay! Most Disney Cruise Line itineraries, (with the exception of the European cruises, West Coast cruises, Alaskan cruises and Canadian cruises), include a stop at Disney's private island, Castaway Cay. The island is primed and ready for family fun, but for the adult-only crowd, they've got you covered too. On the far side of the island, (accessible by tram), there lies Serenity Bay, the adult-only beach. It's by far the superior beach, with crystal clear water that is usually as calm as steady as glass. You can grab a hammock, or pull a lounge chair right into the shallow water, sit back, and chill out. There is a bar that services that beach, with bartenders strolling up and down the sands, frozen cocktails in hand. And when you get hungry for lunch, Serenity Bay has it's very own, adult-only barbecue lunch, complete with ribs, burgers, corn-on-the-cob, ice cream and more. The adults definitely get an awesome island experience!


     There are also ways to limit your kid-exposure that are not necessarily adult-only options, but are more likely to be kid-free. For example, any movie showing onboard the ships that is either PG-13 or higher OR that happens to be playing after 9 or 10 in the evening, likely is not going to have many kids attending. Another smart move for adult-only cruisers is to choose the 2nd dinner seating, around 8pm, rather than the first seating, which is around 6pm. Most families with kids want that earlier dining time, so there are always less kids in the later seating. And if you really prefer to dine without kids, you can request a table that is either all adults, or even a table to yourself that you do not share with other Guests. Requests are not guaranteed, Disney Cruise Line does their best to respect your wishes.

     Now, let's face facts... most of us grown-ups are still kids at heart, and we don't necessarily want to totally miss out on all the kid-size fun. No worries! Adults are welcome pretty much everywhere the kids can go, with the exception of the kid's clubs, but even the Oceaneer's Club and Lab opens it's doors to adults on selected days of the cruise. Check out your personal navigator, (aka activities schedule), onboard the ship and you'll see that they offer "Open House" time, where adults are welcome to go check out the clubs with or without their kids, but there's even adult-only time, where adults "take over the club", and get to play with all of the awesome, high-tech fun that the kids get to enjoy in the clubs all day long.




     In addition to all that I've covered above, there's also the fact that Disney Cruise Line serves up some phenomenal food and even better service. The ships are gorgeous and super well cared for, and the Crew Members are some of the best anywhere. You'll feel totally taken care of and your belly will constantly be full of delicious food and tasty drinks. Be warned, however, that there is no casino, so if you're a gambler, you will be limited to Bingo on the ships and casinos will be only in the ports you visit. Because of the family-friendly atmosphere, smoking areas are very limited on the ship, so if you've you're a smoker and you've sailed other lines where you can smoke in most areas, you'll be disappointed.

     Ok, so maybe now I have convinced you that you will enjoy a Disney Cruise without kids, but maybe you're thinking, am I going to love a Disney Cruise if I don't love Disney???? (What? What's wrong with you? Why are you even reading a Disney blog? JK, JK. I get that not everyone is as obsessed as I am, and even if you are, you may be traveling with someone who isn't.) The answer is...maybe. If you stick to mostly the activities and areas described above, your Mouse-exposure is pretty limited, however, if I'm being honest, you'd probably enjoy a different cruise line more. A healthy love of Disney definitely makes Disney Cruise Line much more enjoyable. The fantastic, Broadway-style shows are themed to Disney movies and there are plenty of character meet and greets onboard too. There are subtle, and non-so-subtle, Disney touches everywhere... from the shows and movies that play in the room, to the overall decor... from the hallway music to even the ship's When You Wish Upon a Star horn. I promise it's not as Disney-in-your-face as you might be imagining. The ships are very classy and elegant, but there's no doubt that the ships belong to Disney and the cruises are designed for Disney lovers of all ages. It's not a "party" cruise line, nor is it an inexpensive cruise line. You really have to want a quality cruise, and be willing to pay for it.

     Bottom line, if what's holding you back from a Disney Cruise is whether or not you will enjoy it without kids, I can assure you that you will not only enjoy it, you'll LOVE it! You'll end up booking with Disney again and again. So, what are you waiting for? Get booking! Contact the crew here at Kingdom Konsultants Travel and they will help you find the perfect itinerary and a great rate!

     As for me, I'll be daydreaming about Disney Cruising... until next time, have a magical week, everyone!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Ears the News: July 28, 2017 Edition


Welcome to the latest edition of Ears the News

Brought to you by our friends at WDWMagic.com. 


Disney is upping the discount for Walt Disney World Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members from now through to September 30, 2017.

There is now a 30 percent discount (up from 20%) on regular price food and non-alcoholic beverages when dining during the dinner meal period before 6:30pm or after 8:30pm at the following locations:
  • Jiko at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge 
  • Flying Fish at Disney's BoardWalk Resort 
  • The Wave...of American Flavors at Disney's Contemporary Resort 
  • Citricos at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa 
  • The Grand Floridian Café at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa 
  • Olivia's Cafe at Disney's Old Key West Resort 
  • Boatwright's Dining Hall at Disney’s Port Orleans Resort Riverside 
  • The Turf Club Bar & Grill at Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa 
  • Artist Point at Disney's Wilderness Lodge 
  • Captain's Grill at Disney's Yacht Club Resort 

Reservations are now open for the special premium events that take place during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.

The festival runs this year from August 31 to November 13, with special ticketed events taking place most days.

Note that the Culinary Demonstrations and Beverage Seminars have increased in price this year from $15 including tax to $17 plus tax.

The Culinary Demonstrations will focus more on enhanced dishes and will no longer be paired with a wine sample and Beverage Seminars will receive larger sample pours.

Here are the links to book online:

Fun Finds in the Marketplace at Disney Springs is now closed for refurbishment. When it reopens, the store will have a new name and will sell Star wars merchandise.

The Star Wars section of Once Upon a Toy will close on July 31, 2017 to make way for a new experience.

Disney has announced that a new pub will debut alongside the new Grand Avenue area at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Capturing the spirit of present-day Downtown Los Angeles, the new Grand Avenue area will take the place of what is left of the Streets of America, and will showcase vintage office buildings and warehouses representing the different vibrant districts and cultures of the city. One prominent hot spot to spring up is the Baseline Tap House, a cheerful corner pub specializing in beer and wines from California.
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com

In a quaint brick building, Baseline Tap House celebrates the revitalization of Downtown Los Angeles by paying homage to the building’s former life as the Figueroa Printing Company, a mom-and-pop print house that had ties to the Disney studios in nearby Burbank. The space retains many of its cool architectural and mechanical details with exposed walls and old printing equipment and artifacts, blending the past and present in an inviting space. Outside is a charming tree-shaded terrace, perfect for a relaxing break in the day.California craft ales, lagers and cider are the stars of the drink menu. California wines on tap along with specialty cocktails are not to be missed either. A gourmet non-alcoholic lemonade and soda on tap round out the drink selection.

Small bites will be on offer, including a Bavarian pretzel with mustard and beer-cheese fondue, spiced almonds or a charcuterie board featuring California cheeses.

An opening date in the fall of 2017 is planned.

A new version of the My Disney Experience brings full online check-in to the Walt Disney World Resort hotels.

The new check-in feature enables you to start the check-in process up to 60 days before arrival, bypassing the need to visit the front desk and giving you the opportunity to begin the vacation as soon as you set foot in Walt Disney World Resort.

You can make room requests, add credit card information and authorize charges, submit an estimated arrival time to help prompt room access, receive a notification when your room is ready and more.

You complete the check-in by unlocking your hotel room, when it is ready, using the MagicBands sent prior to arrival. The new version of My Disney Experience is available on iOS and Android. Check out the video below from the Disney Parks Blog to learn more about the update. 



Trouble viewing the video? Click here to view the video on YouTube.

Mission: SPACE will reopen August 13, 2017 with a brand new family friendly mission and a reduced height requirement.
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com.

The Orange Mission will continue to offer an intense experience that lets you feel the force of an actual space launch en route to Mars. On this mission, you’ll dodge meteoroids, slingshot around the moon and attempt a precision landing on the Red Planet’s alien surface. This “mission” has been enhanced with new, HD video to make it even clearer. Height requirement remains at 44". 

The new family-friendly Green Mission takes you on an exciting orbit around Earth. On this new adventure, you’ll take in sites like the Hawaiian Islands, Italy’s “boot” and the Northern Lights—as seen from space, of course—before finally landing at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Younger astronauts can now ride – the height restriction will be changed for the Green Mission side with the addition of new X-2 booster seats allowing children 40" to ride.

A couple of changes are coming to the character meet and greet line-up at Disney's Animal Kingdom. 

First, Tarzan will be having his final appearance at the park on September 30, 2017. Second, Timon will begin appearing each day on Discovery Island from October 1, 2017.

Disney has modified the blackout dates for Silver and Weekday Select Annual Passes.

Silver Annual Passes are no longer blocked out August 1-10 and Weekday Select Annual Passes are no longer blocked out August 1-4 and August 7-10, 2017.

These changes will gives those passholders the opportunity to ride the soon-to-close Great Movie Ride and Universe of Energy.

Looking to plan your next trip to Walt Disney World? Contact the agents at Kingdom Konsultant Travel to help you plan your dream vacation. Email vacations@kingdomkonsultant.com for a free quote today.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Ears the News: July 21, 2017 Edition


Welcome to the latest edition of Ears the News

Brought to you by our friends at WDWMagic.com. 


The D23 Expo was last weekend and quite a bit of information was released about a number of projects coming to Walt Disney World.

Disney's Hollywood Studios


Star Wars-themed land update

A huge 50ft wide scale model of Star Wars Galaxy's Edge was revealed along with the name of the new land. The new expansion will be called Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge. Check out the video below to see a model of the new land.  


Trouble viewing the video? Click here to view the video on YouTube.


Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway

In this game-changing attraction, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will feature an original story that will take guests on a journey inside the world of Disney Channel’s Emmy Award-winning “Mickey Mouse” cartoon shorts using new technologies that turn the flat cartoon world into an incredible dimensional display. Located inside the Chinese Theatre, this new attraction will replace The Great Movie Ride, which will close Aug. 13, 2017. Opening for Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be announced at a later date.

Toy Story Land

Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is scheduled to open summer 2018.

Epcot


In preparation for the park’s 35th anniversary, Epcot will continue to evolve to make it more timeless, more relevant, more family and more Disney, while staying true to its original vision beginning with several newly revealed offerings.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Epcot will have a brand new E-ticket attraction within Future World based on the rockin’ and action-packed world of Guardians of the Galaxy. This is the next step in how guests can encounter these characters at Walt Disney World Resort. To make way for this new adventure, Ellen’s Energy Adventure inside Universe of Energy will close Aug. 13, 2017. The new attraction will open by the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort in 2021.

Ratatouille

Within World Showcase, in an all-new space in the France pavilion, a new “Ratatouille”-inspired attraction will take guests on a dazzling chase across a kitchen with the sights, sounds and smells of Gusteau’s Parisian restaurant. Patterned after the number one family attraction at Disneyland Paris, the new attraction will open by the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World Resort in 2021.

China pavilion

To showcase the splendor and majesty of China, an updated film will be added using a next-generation digital camera system to film a brand new, seamless Circle-Vision show for the China pavilion. 
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com.


Mission: SPACE

In addition to an updated Orange Mission, a brand new Green Mission will take guests on a stunning tour around the Earth, with younger cadets joining the adventure for the very first time. Mission: SPACE will reopen this August. 

New Space restaurant

Adjacent to Mission: SPACE, a new table-service restaurant will invite guests to travel high above the Earth for an unforgettable dining experience. The new restaurant will be managed by Patina Restaurant Group and an opening will be announced at a later date.

Magic Kingdom


Tron-themed attraction

The highest rated attraction at Shanghai Disneyland is coming to Tomorrowland in a new area near Space Mountain. Opening will be announced at a later date.

Live Entertainment Theater

Based on the iconic Willis Theater in the 1920s Kansas City where Walt lived after he left Marceline, this new addition to Magic Kingdom Park will be located off of Main Street U.S.A. and will be an entirely new venue for world class entertainment. Opening will be announced at a later date.

Resorts


Disney Riviera Resort 

The proposed 15th Disney Vacation Club property will be located near Epcot with a rooftop restaurant that has unbelievable views of nighttime spectaculars at Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Opening will be announced at a later date.

Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com.


Immersive Star Wars-themed hotel

An immersive Star Wars-themed hotel will be the most experiential concept ever. Dedicated entirely to the galaxy of Star Wars, guests will have a one-of-a-kind experience where a luxury resort meets a multi-day adventure in a galaxy far, far away. Opening will be announced at a later date.

Transportation


Disney Skyliner 
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com.

This new transportation system will give guests a bird’s-eye view of Walt Disney World Resort. Disney Skyliner will connect Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios to four resorts – Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, as well as the proposed 15th Disney Vacation Club property, Disney Riviera Resort. Opening date for Disney Skyliner will be announced at a later time. 


Minnie Van service

Starting later this month, the Minnie Van service is a whimsical, point-to-point transportation service that will help guests get around Walt Disney World Resort in a jiffy. Guests can arrange their own private Disney vehicle right from their smartphone, and a Disney Cast Member will drive them wherever they want to go around Walt Disney World.

Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com.

DisneyQuest on the West Side at Disney Springs permanently closed on July 3, and permits have already been filed for its demolition.

The Notice of Commencement states 'Demo of structure and additional work" but does not provide a start date. Permits typically expire one year after being issued, and the the expectation is that the demolition of DisneyQuest will begin soon. (Thanks to danlb_2000 on the forums for spotting the permit filing)

Days after its closure, Disney auctioned off most of the video games that once were part of the indoor gaming attraction. 
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com.

Replacing DisneyQuest will be The NBA Experience - a one-of-a-kind basketball-themed experience featuring hands-on activities that put guests of all ages right in the middle of NBA game action. There will be immersive NBA video productions and numerous interactive experiences, as well as a restaurant and a retail store. Plans were originally announced all the way back in 2015.

Disney has not yet provided an opening date.

Although not officially announced, it is expected that The NBA Experience will not take all up all of the former DisneyQuest footprint, and that at least one of other tenant may take up space in the area.

Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe becomes the second Magic Kingdom restaurant to join Mobile Order.

Later this summer, Pinocchio Village Haus, Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Café and Columbia Harbour House will be added to the line-up.

Mobile Order allows you to pay for meals on-the-go within the My Disney Experience app, bypassing the queue to order at the restaurant. Using the app, you can select menu items, customize an order and pre-pay for a meal.

Arriving at the restaurant, you'll tap an “I’m here” button in the app, which will notify the kitchen to prepare the meal. When ready, you'll be alerted through the app to pick up the meal at a designated window. Only credit card payments will initially be accepted via Mobile Order, Disney Dining Plan guests and those wishing to use a discount will have to use the regular line.

Mobile Order is currently available at Cosmic Ray's Starlight Cafe, Tomorrowland Terrace, Flame Tree Barbecue, Pizzafari, Restaurantosaurus, Satu'li Canteen and D-Luxe Burger.

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! will return to Disney's Hollywood Studios for the 2017 holiday season according to the official Disney site.

Led by elves Wayne and Lanny, the duo from ABC/Walt Disney Animation Studios’ animated special “Prep & Landing,” the spirited yuletide adventure to the North Pole features memorable holiday moments from Disney films including “Mickey’s Christmas Carol,” “Beauty and the Beast,” “Pluto’s Christmas Tree,” “Bambi,” Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and more, all building to a festive finale that’s “So tinsel!”

The show makes use of the projectors and lasers installed for Star Wars A Galactic Spectacular, snow fall, rooftop fireworks around the viewing area, and large scale fireworks from behind the park. Watch a video of the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! from our friends at WDWMagic.com


Trouble viewing the video? Click here to view the video on YouTube.

Chef Mickey's at Disney's Contemporary Resort will no longer be temporarily relocating to the convention center from late July. 

The maintenance that was scheduled expected to begin on July 28 through to August 13 2017 has now been cancelled, and the restaurant will be operating as normal.


Looking to plan your next trip to Walt Disney World? Contact the agents at Kingdom Konsultant Travel to help you plan your dream vacation. Email vacations@kingdomkonsultant.com for a free quote today.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Animator's Palate on the Disney Magic

Animator's Palate is the only restaurant that is on all four of Disney's cruise ships, and it really does just give you that magical Disney feeling! There's a little something extra as your meal progresses here, so pay close attention to your surroundings as you dine.

Animator's Palate is typically where character breakfasts will be held on cruises of 7 nights or longer, so you might spend a bit of time here! The restaurant is located Deck 4 Aft.

I was looking forward to this meal because it has one of my absolutely favorite items on the menu; Black Truffles Pasta Purseittes! On this cruise, Animator's Palate was our second night and also Formal Night, so we were all dressed up to enjoy the magic that awaited. This is one of the best themed restaurants in my personal opinion, and I simply love it here!






We started the meal with bread and butter and specialty cocktails of the evening.




First up was our appetizer course. I was traveling with my mom and we both agreed that we love the Black Truffles Pasta Purseittes so that's what we both had ordered. There is of course other items on the menu if these don't sound like your style. (But I highly recommend them!)

Black Truffles Pasta Purseittes — Pasta purse filled with Truffle scented
 Cheese and coated with a delicate Champagne Sauce


We skipped the soup and salad course this night and instead opted to head right into the entree. A lot of options on the menu that I think would appease a large audience, so there's typically a full house here!


Pennete Bolognese - Pennete pasta mixed with a rich Bolognese sauce garnished 
with shaved Parmesean Reggiano and toasted garlic Ciabatta 


Lemon-thyme Marinated Organic Chicken Breast — With Sour Cream Mashed potatoes, 
Roasted root vegetables and Grain Mustard Jus

These two entrees were both delicious and satisfying. They were familiar but still elevated which was just what we needed after a long day at sea! We saved room for dessert tonight, and were once again happy with the choices offered.

White Chocolate Brownie Cheesecake - With Whipped Cream and Raspberry Coulis


Crunchy Walnut Cake - Dark Chocolate Mousse and Raspberry Coulis

As your meal progresses here, you'll notice the environment changing around you and different things coming up on the screens. There's really no bad seat in the house, as the magic happens all around. I don't want to get into too many specifics so you can be surprised if your next cruise is your first Disney cruise!









Animator's Palate is a favorite of ours, have you gotten to try it yet? What is your favorite dish here? Let us know in the comments below!

Further questions or interested in booking your next Disney cruise? Contact Vacations@KingdomKonsultants.com today!

Until next time,

Agent Maci
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