Monday, December 11, 2017

Photo Safari: Holidays at the Monorail Resorts


Happy Holidays, Disney Fans!

     As I write this, I am sitting at my desk, here in Orlando, (where it was 83 degrees yesterday), wearing a hoodie AND wrapped in a blanket, because it's in the 40's today! Weather here can be super unpredictable this time of year. What is NOT unpredictable this time of year is the beauty of the holiday decorations at the resorts! Every year, each Disney resort gets dressed up in its holiday finest to greet Guests who are staying onsite, or just passing through. One of my very favorite things to do as a local is to visit the different resorts and check out their Christmas trees, tinsel, gingerbread displays, Christmas lights and more.

     Yesterday my family and I visited the resorts on the monorail line, (The Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, The Polynesian Village Resort, and The Contemporary Resort), checking out the holiday offerings, and we thought you'd enjoy a little tour of what we saw. So, here we go!

     We started at the Polynesian, where we were greeted with tropical holiday splendor.


Inside the lobby there was a beautiful tree to pose for pictures by. 


The Poly really brought a fun holiday twist to the holidays!


     We soon hopped the monorail and headed over to The Grand, to check out their insane gingerbread house. This year did not disappoint!


The house has incredible, edible details, with signs explaining how things are made, and even a video screen showing off the creation process.








The house is an actual, working shop that sells chocolates, treats and of course, gingerbread! But that's not the only thing to see at The Grand! We can't forget about the amazing floor-to-ceiling tree!






Just breath-taking!

     Next we moved on to The Contemporary. I was excited to see the new gingerbread display. The past few years it has been Frozen themed, but this year it is Cinderella themed! And SO cute! 




The Contemporary also had a little stand that was selling cookies and treats, along with frozen apple cider and frozen hot chocolate. 

     Overall, my kids had a lot of fun enjoying the decorations and looking for Hidden Mickeys. I highly recommend this fun, free activity for you and your family when you're visiting Disney during the holidays!  

     That's all for now, kids! Until next time, have a magical week! 

- Jenn aka "Tink"

Friday, December 8, 2017

Ears the News: December 8, 2017 Edition


Welcome to the latest edition of Ears the News

Brought to you by our friends at WDWMagic.com.


Disney will be making daily announcements about its new and upcoming parks and resorts projects beginning December 5th.

Part of the first ever 12 Days of Disney Parks Christmas, details will be announced daily from December 5 through to December 16, 2017.

Disney says it will reveal:
  • Never-before-seen images and video 
  • New resort hotel experiences 
  • Delectable new dining options 
  • Special Disney Parks events 
  • Updates about new attractions announced at D23 Expo 

Disney will be giving away a special holiday magnet to Annual Passholders at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

This Passholder gift is available December 1 through December 17, 2017 at the following retail locations: Mickey’s of Hollywood, Celebrity 5 & 10 and Once Upon a Time.

Photo courtesy of Disney.

Beginning December 17 2017, breakfast hours for the Bon Voyage Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno are being extended.

The character dining experience that includes Rapunzel, Flynn Rider, Ariel and Prince Eric will be available from 7:30 AM to 12:00 PM.

Bon Voyage Breakfast at Trattoria al Forno costs $34 for adults, and $20 for children, and is 1 credit on the Disney Dining Plan.

Disney has given us some more details regarding the backstories on the three new restaurants and one new bar coming to Disney Springs in the next month.

The Edison
The building, which originally served as the power plant for the growing town of Disney Springs, showcases remnants from its past life: keep an eye out for the Boiler Bar, with its electrical display panels, and the adjacent boilers, which are still classic centerpieces of any power plant.

The décor includes a one-of-a-kind mural romanticizing the golden age of innovation and a larger-than-life, working clock tower that greets guests upon arrival.

By day, The Edison will welcome families, in the early evening, everyone is invited to dine, but as night sets in (around 10:00 p.m.), the location transforms to an adults-only scene for guests ages 21 and up, with a groundbreaking beverage menu, dining and entertainment unlike anything else at Disney Springs.

Maria & Enzo's
Adjacent to The Edison is a trifecta of Italian venues, located in what was once the Disney Springs Air Terminal, a majestic Art Deco structure that welcomed guests from across the globe to a world of sun, beauty and legendary hospitality. As the story goes, the air terminal was popular into the early 1930s, but travelers diminished as the years brought on more modern flying alternatives and larger destinations. Upon its closure, the building was purchased by an Italian immigrant couple named Maria & Enzo; the duo had previously run the small bakery in the terminal’s lobby.

Pizza Ponte
Inspired by their shared love of food and travel, they opened Pizza Ponte – a favorite of Disney Springs locals for a quick bite any time of the day or night – with Sicilian-style pizza by the slice, made-to-order sandwiches and handmade Italian pastries. The success of this venue allowed Maria and Enzo to fulfill their ultimate dream to restore and transform the long-forgotten terminal to its former glory, giving it new life as a grand restaurant showcasing the flavors of Southern Italy.

Named after its founders, Maria & Enzo’s features vaulted ceilings, a geographically correct mural depicting the destinations once serviced by the terminal…New York, Daytona Beach, New Orleans and Cuba among them…and an impressive globe chandelier. (Insider Tip: Look closely and you can see that Disney-inspired locations are called out, including a marker that denotes Marceline, Missouri – the hometown of Walt Disney!) The main dining room pays homage to the original departure lounge while nearby, a more intimate dining room highlights its history as the first-class lounge with service standards that are second to none.

Enzo's Hideaway
Steps away, the unexpected Enzo’s Hideaway offers a glimpse into another lounge – this one, a secret space that first served as a bootlegger’s hideout. A legendary speakeasy that was discovered by Enzo after he purchased the terminal, this network of tunnels was the center of the Springs’ social life during the “dry years” of prohibition.

Disney is using the cooler weather early in the new year to refurbish several of the Walt Disney World Resort hotel swimming pools.

Disney's Art of Animation Resort
  • The Big Blue pool will be closed January 16 through January 19, 2018. 
  • Flippin' Fins pool will be closed January 31 through February 2, 2018. 
Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Samawati Springs pool at Kidani Village will be closed January 8 through January 19, 2018. 
Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Beach Pool closed for refurbishment November 20 through February 25, 2018. 
Fort Wilderness
  • The Meadows pool will be closed January 30 through February 2, 2018. 
Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort
  • The High Rock Spring pool will be closed January 15 through January 26 2018. 
  • The Paddock Pool will be closed January 29 through February 9 2018. 

The performer line-up for the 2018 Epcot International Festival of the Arts - Disney on Broadway Series has been announced.

Taking place on Fridays through Mondays at America Gardens Theatre, with showtimes at 5:30pm, 6:45pm and 8:00pm, Disney on Broadway Series is included with theme park admission. Dining packages with reserved seating are also available.

The performer line-up is:
  • January 12-15 and 19-22: New this year, Kara Lindsay will join returning performer Kevin Massey, performing songs from Tarzan, Aladdin, Newsies, and Frozen.
  • January 26-29 and February 2-5: Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White, performing songs from Tarzan, The Lion King, Aida, Aladdin, and The Little Mermaid.
  • February 9-12 and 16-19: Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland, performing songs from Beauty and the Beast, Tarzan, Mary Poppins, Newsies, and Frozen. 
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com.

Disney has revealed details on the changes coming to Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort.
First, the updates will debut late summer 2018, and as we've seen from the aerial pictures, work is progress quickly on the Centertown area. Here is a full run-down of the enhancements and changes.
Photo courtesy of Disney.

Old Port Royale at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort will be reimagined as the port of entry where guests will check in before embarking on their island vacation. This centralized location will offer resort guests more convenient access to services, amenities and dining, including an all-new Centertown Market for casual eats, an all-new Shutters restaurant offering waterfront dining adjacent to the new Banana Cabana outdoor bar and lounge, and Calypso Trading Post for shopping.

Centertown Market will be expanded and enclosed, creating a quick-service restaurant with an indoor street market vibe. Guests will enter the space under a large palapa-like structure, accented with glowing colored light pendants made from glass bottles. The market will feature open shutters, wooden light posts, awnings, ornamentation and unique seating areas. Guests will also have access to the Grab n’ Go market for a specialty coffee and quick bites. 

Photo courtesy of Disney.

Shutters, a Caribbean-inspired table-service restaurant, will be located on the waterfront of Old Port Royale, transporting guests to a beachfront home in the tropical islands. Large open shutters will allow the sun to cast a warm light into the space adorned with handmade items that appear as they’ve been found on the islands. Leaves and floral design motifs will fill the space, celebrating the natural beauty of the Caribbean. 
Photo courtesy of Disney.

A festive poolside bar, Banana Cabana will be a great place to gather for food and drinks, immersing guests into the fun and relaxation of island life. Cabana-style drapes will flank seating areas and re-purposed steel drums will illuminate a central communal table made from a wooden boat.

With its history of being the port’s import and export facility, Calypso Trading Post will offer shoppers Disney merchandise and other vacation essentials.

Star Wars: Galactic Nights returns to Disney's Hollywood Studios on December 16, 2017, and we have a look at the provisional entertainment schedule, attractions and meet and greet line-up.

The party takes place from 7pm through to midnight, although guests will be able to enter with their ticket from 5pm.

Tickets are priced at $129 adults, $124 ages 3-9 (discounts available for Annual Passholders & DVC Members). Purchase Star Wars: Galactic Nights tickets here or call 407-W-DISNEY (407 934-7639).

Star Wars: Galactic Nights – Entertainment
  • Inside Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge - Epic Stunt Theater - 8:10pm, 9:10pm, 10:10pm, 11:10pm. Join host David Collins—a voice actor known for his work on Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Rogue One: A Star Wars Story—and an expert panel of team members from Walt Disney Imagineering and Lucasfilm, including: Scott Trowbridge, Portfolio Creative Executive at Walt Disney Imagineering; Robin Reardon, Executive Creative Producer at Walt Disney
    Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com
    Imagineering; Chris Beatty, Executive Creative Director at Walt Disney Imagineering; Doug Chiang, VP/Creative Director at Lucasfilm. They’ll take you around the galaxy and inside the making of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the 14-acre expansion scheduled to open in 2019 at Disneyland Park and Disney's Hollywood Studios. During this fascinating sneak peek, find out what it’s like to bring the epic saga to life—from the big screen to the real world! You’ll learn about the design, development and progress of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge as the Imagineers reveal how they’re creating real-life versions of all the iconic things that make Star Wars so spectacular. 
  • Star Wars: Galactic Destinations - Projections on Sunset Blvd - 7pm to midnight. Watch as the Hollywood Tower Hotel is transformed with state-of-the-art projections, special effects and lighting to depict spectacular destinations from across the Star Wars galaxy. The stellar Star Wars cinematic score adds to this awe-inspiring experience.
  • Jedi Training (ages 4 to 12) - Star Tours area - 6:10pm, 6:40pm, 7:15pm, 7:45pm, 8:15pm, 8:45pm, 9:45pm, 10:15pm. 
  • DJ Dance Party - Centerstage - 7pm to midnight. 
  • Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away - Centerstage - 7:30pm, 8:30pm, 9:30pm, 10:20pm. 
  • Imperial March - Main entrance to Centerstage - 7:05pm, 8:05pm, 9:05pm, 9:55pm. 
  • Galactic Nights Epilogue - Centerstage - 11:40pm. 
  • Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks - Centerstage - 11:45pm. 
Star Wars: Galactic Nights - Characters
  • Launch Bay - Darth Vader, Chewbacca, Kylo Ren, BB-8, Jawas and Rey. 
  • Animation Courtyard - AWR Troopers 
  • Star Tours - Storm Troopers 
  • Sunset Showcase Courtyard - Seventh Sister 
  • Commissary Lane - Mickey and Minnie 
  • Echo Lake - Olaf 
  • Pixar Place - Buzz and Woody 
  • Walt Disney Presents - Star Lord and Groot 
Star Wars: Galactic Nights - Attractions
  • Star Wars: Path of the Jedi 
  • Star Wars: Launch Bay 
  • Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster: Star Wars edition 
  • Star Tours 
  • Muppet Vision 3D 
  • Toy Story Mania! 
  • Tower of Terror 
  • Walt Disney Presents 
Star Wars: Galactic Nights - Merchandise

Special event merchandise available at:
  • Mickey’s of Hollywood 
  • Celebrity 5 & 10
  • Once Upon a Time 
  • Stage 1 Company Store 
Star Wars merchandise available at:
  • Legends of Hollywood 
  • Launch Bay Cargo (including Skywalker Vineyard Wines) 
  • Tatooine Traders 
Star Wars: Galactic Nights - Photo Backdrops

Each location will feature a special Snapchat filter, exclusive to the event.
  • Ahch-to: Luke’s Hut – Near Centerstage 
  • Death Star: Emperor’s Throne Room – Near Hyperion Theater 
  • Batuu – Grand Avenue 
  • Jedha: U-wing and K-2SO – Grand Avenue 
  • Malachor: Sith Temple – Sunset Showcase Courtyard 
  • Hoth: Wampa Cave – Sunset Showcase Courtyard 
  • Jakku: Luggabeast – Inside Sunset Showcase 
  • Tatooine: Rancor – Inside Sunset Showcase 

Special Pricing on Memory Maker 

Take advantage of special event pricing on Memory Maker One Day, available for this event for just $39! With Memory Maker One Day, you’ll receive unlimited digital downloads of your Disney PhotoPass Photos from Star Wars: Galactic Nights—capturing your encounters with Characters, icons, attractions and more.

Memory Maker One Day special event price ($39) is only available at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Sid Cahuenga’s One-of-a-Kind, Rock Around the Shop and Tower Hotel Gifts during the Star Wars: Galactic Nights event on December 16, 2017. Special event price is not available via the My Disney Experience app.

Premium Add-Ons

A Galactic Tasting Sampler is available for $30 and Jedi Recruitment package for $149.95.

The Galactic Tasting Sampler gives Guests a credential with 5 pull-off tabs to exchange for Star Wars-inspired treats including: Lightsaber churros, Root Leaf Stew, Character cupcakes—like Darth Vader chocolate peanut butter cupcakes, Charcuterie plates featuring C3PO crackers and specialty alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com.


The Jedi Recruitment package includes a reserved spot in the Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple, a Jedi robe, a lightsaber, name badge, a limited-edition Star Wars t-shirt and a photo with Jedi Master.

Both add-ons can be booked via 407-WDW-PLAY (407-939-7529)

Along the Sunset Boulevard area of the park you will find Senses Spa offering three different makeover packages that include Star Wars-inspired nails, makeup and hair transformations. Makeovers take 30-60 minutes (depending on the package) and range in price from $50-90 for children and $80-120 for adults.

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.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Making the MOST of the Crowds at Their WORST



Happy Holidays, Disney Fans!!!!
     So by this point in December, I am sure you are so full of holiday cheer, you could BUST! And maybe, if you've been really good this year, Santa will be bringing you a little MagicBand, putting you at the top of all of the best FastPass+ lists, and getting you hooked up with ALL of the best Disney dining reservations. (And if not, no worries... the crew here at Kingdom Konsultant Travel have got you covered!) 
     Here, in Orlando, my fam is psyched to get to enjoy all of the holiday fun that the parks have to offer... BUT... we know what comes with it. The price that we pay for getting to celebrate at Disney.... CROWDS. We are about to roll into some of the busiest weeks of the calendar year for the Disney parks and I thought it may be helpful to cover what some of my favorite things to do are when the crowds are big. So whether you are an Annual Passholder, looking for a break from the out-of-state and out-of-country crowds, or a first-timer feeling a bit overwhelmed and maybe needing a moment to regroup, I feel ya, and I have some help. These are just some of the attractions and areas that you may find to be less crowded when the rest of the park is slammed. Check 'em out!



Magic Kingdom

  • Let the little ones chill out at the Baby Care Center. There is a snack room, which has books and shows a Disney movie on a small TV. There are also changing stations, and a relaxing, darkened room with rocking chairs, where mothers can breastfeed.
  • Enjoy the Main Street entertainment that we sometimes might skip, like the Trolley Show, the Dapper Dans, and the Flag Retreat Ceremony.
  • Get a hair cut at the Harmony Barbershop.
  • Sign up to play Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, (Main Street), or A Pirate's Adventure,
    (Adventureland). They are card-based scavenger hunts and they are super fun!
  • Hop aboard the Walt Disney World Railroad.
  • Enjoy a relaxing ride on one of the Main Street vehicles.
  • Get up and dance for the Move It, Shake It, Dance and Play It! parade/rolling dance party.
  • Relax in the grassy gardens in the area in front of the Castle.
  • Check out the Castle show, Mickey's Royal Friendship Faire.
  • Explore the Swiss Family Treehouse.
  • Relax in the Tiki Room.
  • Learn how to be a pirate from one of the best, Captain Jack Sparrow, at Captain Jack Sparrow's Pirate Tutorial.
  • Take a trip out to Tom Sawyer's Island, so the kids can run around and play in the old fort and on the barrel bridge.
  • Visit the Country Bears in Grizzly Hall.
  • Test your aim at the Frontierland Shootin' Arcade. (Additional fee.)
  • Go for a leisurely float down the Rivers of America, on the Liberty Square Riverboat.
  • Hop a ride on Prince Charming's Regal Carousel.
  • Let the kids play at Casey Jr.'s Splash and Soak area. (You may want to bring a change of clothes and a towel!)
  • Let the little ones play around in the waiting area of Dumbo the Flying Elephant. You don't have to be waiting for the ride to play.
  • Take a spin around Tomorrowland on the People Mover.
  • Get that song stuck in your head at the Carousel of Progress.
  • Get a snack and have a seat at the Tomorrowland Terrace, and enjoy incredible Castle views.


Epcot

  • Let the little ones chill out at the Baby Care center. There is a play room, which has books, coloring and shows a Disney movie on a small TV. There are also changing stations, and a relaxing, darkened room with rocking chairs, where mothers can breastfeed.
  • Play some futuristic games in the exit area of Spaceship Earth. You don't have to ride to play the games.
  • Have a snack and enjoy a fountain-side seat at either the Starbucks location, or Electric Umbrella.
  • Drum up some fun with The Jammitors, performing in Future World.
  • Check out some awesome cars in the exit area of Test Track. You do not have to ride in order to tour the exhibit.
  • Tour Sea Base Alpha at the exit of The Seas. You can usually go right through the exit doors, into the large aquarium area.
  • Learn about the environment from Simba and his pals at the Circle of Life movie in The Land pavilion.
  • Check out the amazing greenhouses on the Living With the Land boat ride, or for an even closer view, the Behind the Seeds walking tour. 
  • Get animated at the Disney and Pixar Short Film Festival, in the Imagination Pavilion.
  • Let your imagination run wild at the game area at the exit of Journey into Imagination with Figment. You do not have to ride in order to play.
  • Go undercover with Perry the Platypus and play Agent P's World Showcase Adventure scavenger hunt game.
  • Buy the kids one of the "passports" from any of the major gift shops. Let them collect stamps in the various countries. They can also make their own Duffy paper puppet on a stick and add stamps and color to it in the many Kidcot Fun Stop locations throughout World Showcase.
  • Enjoy a performance by Mariachi Cobre, in the Mexico pavilion, or hop on Gran Fiesta for a cute little boat ride. 
  • Try the School Bread at Kringala Bakeri in the Norway pavilion. Seating is directly behind the cafe.
  • Marvel at the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats in the China pavilion.
  • Experience the beauty of China in the Reflections of China movie.
  • See the latest exhibit, all about Disney's newest park in Shanghai, in the small museum area, in the waiting area of the movie in China. You do not have to watch the movie in order to enjoy the exhibit.
  • Shop your way through the awesome offerings in the gift shops of the China pavilion.
  • Let the little ones bang the drums at the African Outpost.
  • See the model trains come and go in the adorable display in the Germany pavilion.
  • Relax in the piazza of the Italy pavilion, or get a gorgeous view of World Showcase from the Italy bridge. 
  • Enjoy the a cappella sounds of Voices of Liberty in the American Adventure.
  • Learn from the historic exhibit on display in the American Adventure.
  • Take a trip through history in the American Adventure attraction.
  • Watch amazing drumming artistry of Matsuriza in the Japan pavilion.
  • Check out the fun pop culture exhibit in the Japan pavilion.
  • Shop for crazy Japanese candies, unique beauty products, toys, and kimonos in the Japan pavilion.
  • Spend some time meditating, reflecting, or just enjoying the quiet in the beautifully tiled Moroccan courtyard.
  • Take in the splendor of France in the Impressions de France film.
  • Eat an authentic French pastry or a creamy ice cream and enjoy the French surroundings in Les Halles and L'Artisan des Glaces.
  • Run through the hedge maze in the back of the UK pavilion.
  • Rock out to the sounds of British Revolution in the UK pavilion.
  • Head north for a fun-filled adventure in Canada, at the O Canada film.
  • Grab a seat lagoon-side in World Showcase, to enjoy some people watching, and usually a nice breeze.



Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Let the little ones chill out at the Baby Care center. There is a small sitting area with a Disney movie on a little TV. There are also a couple of changing stations, and a small area where mothers can breastfeed.
  • Catch the acts of the funny and entertaining Streetmosphere performers on Sunset and Hollywood Boulevards.
  • See a performance of Beauty and the Beast: Live On Stage. It's a large theater and usually has room for walk-in Guests.
  • Check out how the stunt men roll at Indiana Jones: Epic Stunt Spectacular. It's a large theater and usually has room for walk-in Guests.
  • See which celebrities you match up to, when you measure your hands and feet against the prints in the courtyard of the Chinese Theater.
  • Kick back and relax, with one of the best cupcakes you've ever had, at The Trolley Car Cafe.
  • Meet Disney characters ALL OVER the park! The Studios is one of the BEST places for character meet and greets. You won't find many princesses here, but lots of rarely seen characters, including the gang from Toy Story, Disney Junior friends, and even Olaf!
  • Laugh at the antics of the lovable Muppets at MuppetVision 3D. This attraction typically has little to no wait. 
  • Discover Star Wars Launch Bay, a walk-thru exhibit featuring Star Wars props, displays, and even character meet and greets.
  • Learn about the man who started it all: Walt Disney. You can stroll through Walt Disney Presents at your own pace, and check out original Disney memorabilia, movie clips about Walt, Disney family artifacts, and Disney Park models and designs. It culminates with an (optional) preview of the latest Disney films. 
  • Watch the newest recruits train to be Jedi at Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. 4-12 year olds can even register to participate on stage in the training!
  • Check out your favorite Star Wars characters from all 7 films, appearing in the stage show, A Galaxy Far, Far Away. And for an even cooler, more unique experience, watch the show from backstage! 


Animal Kingdom

  • Of course the main attraction at Animal Kingdom is the ANIMALS! And they are all over. Take time to walk through the Oasis, the Tree of Life walkways and even the paths in Dinoland, to enjoy views of some unique and lovable animals. Don't miss the two best animal viewing areas, the Maharajah Jungle Trek and the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail.
  • Let the little ones chill out at the Baby Care center. There is a small sitting area with a Disney movie on a little TV. There are also a couple of changing stations, and a small area where mothers can breastfeed.
  • Become a Wilderness Explorer! Sign up at the front of the park, just before the Tree of Life, and then stop at the stations throughout the park and complete tasks to earn your badges.
  • Kids will love running, playing, climbing, and even digging at The Boneyard. It's a huge playground area but there's also a buried dinosaur fossil area, where young dino-lovers can use a shovel and pail to uncover the bones of a huge beast.
  • There are plenty of carnival games to keep you busy for a while in Dinoland. It can get expensive though, since they are all an additional charge.
  • Take the Wildlife Express Train out to Conservation Station and Affection Section. The train ride itself is fun and includes some potential animal viewing. Conservation Station houses the animal clinic and nutrition areas, as well as exhibits on conservation. Out back, the Affection Section is like a petting zoo, filled with goats, sheep, donkeys, pigs and more. It's the only place in the park where you can touch the animals.
  • Bug out at It's Tough To Be a Bug, inside the Tree of Life. The attraction typically has little to no wait.
  • Lots of unique character meet and greets here, too, like Timon, Flik, Pocahontas, and Russell and Dug.
  • Animal Kingdom's live entertainment is awesome! Not only are the two main shows amazing, (Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo: The Musical), but the musical performers rock! Burudika leads a street party in Harambe. There are gravity-defying acrobats, storytellers, strolling musicians and more! There are lots of great live options, so check out the times guide in the park!


Everywhere Else!

Of course, outside of the parks, there's tons to do too! Here are just a few examples...
  • Check out all of the new shopping, dining and entertainment at Disney Springs.
  • Take the plunge at Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach and enjoy slides, swimming and more.
  • Stay on par playing a round of mini-golf at Fantasia Gardens or Winter-Summerland.
  • Rent a bike or a boat and cruise around one of the Deluxe or Moderate Resorts.
  • Stroll along Disney's BoardWalk, where you can shop, dine and enjoy vaudeville-style entertainment.
  • Indulge in a spa treatment at Saratoga Springs or The Grand Floridian.
  • Use Disney's transportation system as entertainment. Travel along the monorail, or cruise around on a boat. Who says the journey can't be as enjoyable as the destination?
  • Speaking of the monorail, do a monorail crawl and visit the monorail resorts, enjoying the sights and sounds of the various lobbies.
  • Visit Fort Wilderness, where you can stop by the petting farm, kiddos can ride ponies, you can rent bikes, boats and more, and you can even enjoy a campfire. 
  • Venture over to Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, and enjoy the breath-taking views of the savanna, and check out the animals.
  • Get some exercise on one of Disney's many running trails, or check out one of the fitness centers at your deluxe resort. 
  • See the sights from up above, by riding the hot air balloon at Disney Springs.
  • Just want to sit and enjoy some A/C? Catch a flick at AMC Theater at Disney Springs.
  • Or why not cheer on your favorite team at the ESPN Club on The BoardWalk.
  • Or quite possibly the best option.... enjoy the pool at your resort!!! You know... like actually RELAX on vacation???
                           
-----
There you have it, Disney Guys and Gals! Some of the best options for when the parks are crowded. What about you? Do you have a favorite park activity, or place to spend time when the parks are slammed??? I'd love to hear all about it!

And don't forget, for all of your vacation planning needs, contact the gang at Kingdom Konsultant Travel. They'd love to make YOUR vacation dreams come TRUE!



Until next time, have a magical week!

- Jenn aka "Tink"

Friday, December 1, 2017

Ears the News: December 1, 2017 Edition

Welcome to the latest edition of Ears the News

Brought to you by our friends at WDWMagic.com.


'Coco' El Mariachi Coco de Santa Cecilia show joins Epcot's Festival of the Holidays.

El Mariachi Coco de Santa Cecilia is now playing through January 6, 2018 at the outdoor character meet and greet location in the Mexico Pavilion.
Show times are typically 11:15 AM, 12:15 PM, 1:00 PM, 2:15 PM, 3:15 PM, 4:30 PM, 5:45 PM.


The Donald Duck meet and greet can be found inside the temple.

Video from WDWMagic



The long awaited reopening of the Magic Kingdom's Hall of Presidents will take place before Christmas according to sources familiar with the matter.

The updated Hall of Presidents will reopen late 2017
Picture  Curtesy of WDWMagic.com
Originally expected to close from January 17 through to June 29 for the update, the show has remained closed throughout the year. Speculation in the media had suggested there were various issues with the White House taking part in the attraction, which Disney moved quickly to dispel.

This is the statement posted to the official Disney Parks Blog in June. 

"Since the Magic Kingdom Park opened in 1971, The Hall of Presidents has brought together a one-of-a-kind look at the office of the President of the United States through film and the magic of Disney’s Audio-Animatronics technology. Despite some media reports to the contrary, President Trump will have a speaking role in The Hall of Presidents, like every president since 1993. We have been working closely with the current White House — just as we have with previous administrations — and the president’s recording session has been scheduled. The attraction will re-open in late 2017.

Whenever we refurbish one of our attractions, we take the opportunity to consider a broad range of enhancements. In this case, The Hall of Presidents is getting a new show, and a complete theater upgrade including a new sound system, lighting and high-definition projection system. The multi-screen viewing experience you may have seen in prior versions of the attraction is returning with an even wider vantage point of our country’s history."

Disney also took to Twitter, and specifically named an inaccurate report.

"The Vice report is inaccurate. As we have stated, President Trump will have a speaking role in the Hall of Presidents like every other president since 1993. We have been working closely with the White House and the president's recording session has been scheduled. We have repeatedly stated that the attraction will re-open in late 2017."
Sign up at The Edison
Picture Curtesy of WDWMagic.com


Signage is now up at The Edison ahead of its opening later this winter in The Landing district of Disney Springs.

Patina Restaurant Group is also offering you a chance to win an exclusive guided walking tour of Maria & Enzo’s, Enzo’s Hideaway, Pizza Ponte and The Edison prior to their grand openings later this winter.

You can enter the contest at the link below.


The 2017 Candlelight Processional got underway this past weekend, with Olympic gold medalist Laurie Hernandez opening the show.

Part of the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays, the Candlelight Processional is a retelling of the Christmas story as told by a celebrity narrator accompanied by 50-piece orchestra and a mass choir.

The show takes place at the America Gardens Theatre each evening at 5:00 PM., 6:45 PM and 8:15 PM Nov. 24-Dec. 30, and is included with park admission.

Patina Restaurant Group has today announced the appointment of Chef Theo Schoenegger as Executive Chef of its new Italian concepts Maria& Enzo’s Ristorante and Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar opening this winter at Disney Springs.

Chef Theo Schoenegger
Picture Curtesy of WDWMAGIC.com
One of the most influential Italian chefs in New York history, Theo’s cooking at San Domenico and Palio set the standard for authentic Italian fine dining. A rare chef with versatility to do rustic, more casual food and also elegant, Michelin-level cuisine, Schoenegger is at the top of his game. Now with these new Disney restaurants, he will shift his focus to Sicilian and Roman cuisine.



Schoenegger comes to Orlando from Las Vegas where he most recently was Executive Chef at Sinatra, an Italian fine dining restaurant located at Wynn Las Vegas. There, he served a modern twist on classic Italian cooking, that included many of Frank Sinatra’s personal favorites. Schoenegger originally cooked these dishes for the legendary singer when living in New York, including spaghetti with clams and ossobuco.



Prior to his work in Las Vegas, Schoenegger spent four years at the helm of Patina Restaurant Group's signature location, Patina, located at the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles. The four star restaurant allowed him to combine his Italian roots with traditional French technique and modern execution. There, he received rave reviews from the Los Angeles Times, received a Michelin star and a Relais & Châteaux rating (only two restaurants in Los Angeles have received this honor). While in California, he embraced cooking with wide-ranging ingredients while keeping dishes contemporary and innovative.



Schoenegger has traveled all over the U.S. cooking in various kitchens including Aquoria in Palm Beach and Rock Center Café in New York. In 1986, he was a young chef that had the opportunity of a lifetime. He moved from Italy to Midtown Manhattan to work for legendary restaurateur, Tony May, at Palio and at San Domenico, two of the premier Italian restaurants in the country. He showcased his passion for Italian cuisine and set the bar for future chefs who still use his recipes today.

Raised in San Candido, Italy, Schoenegger recounts working on his family's farm and cooking in the kitchen with his mother. Growing up in the mountains, his mother taught him about utilizing what they had locally and showcasing the natural flavors of the ingredients. To this day, he credits his mother as being the most influential cook of his entire career and feels he inherited her passion for food.

Schoenegger will now incorporate his knowledge and technique for Italian cuisine leading the culinary teams at Maria & Enzo’s and Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar. The new restaurants will bring a casual elegance to Disney Springs with a blend of star ingredients embedded in elaborate, multipart compositions while keeping the simplicity they demand. Presentation and service will include varieties of amuse bouche upon being seated, a vast selection of fine Italian wines, table-side preparation and service. Guests will experience dishes like Melanzane Parmigiana (eggplant Parmesan), and handmade pastas such as Busiate con Granchio (spiral pasta with crab), ‘Ncasciata al Forno (Sicilian baked pasta) - served tableside. Other dishes will include fresh fish, richly flavored steaks and chops.

Maria & Enzo’s and Enzo’s Hideaway Tunnel Bar are slated to open during this winter.
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, November 30, 2017

Festival of the Arts: Is It Worth a Trip?



Hey there, Disney Fans!

     Hope everyone had an awesome Turkey Day and is already neck-deep in holiday cheer and excitement! I know we are in MY house. Our Disney themed Christmas tree is up and we've started one of the most beautiful times of the year. I was lucky enough to visit the 2017 Epcot International Festival of the Arts when it kicked off this past January and that was pretty gorgeous too!

     This popular festival will be returning to Epcot from January 12th - February 19th 2018 and Disney fans are already abuzz about all of the cool offerings and events the second year will bring. A couple of posts back, I talked about the food booths, shared their menus and showed some pictures from 2017 (If you didn't get to check out that post, you can find it HERE.) But you may be wondering, aside from the delectable food, what else is there for me to do? Should I bother attending? Well, I'm happy to share that the festival includes so much more than just food booths! Read on to see what else you have to look forward to!
----------

Visual Arts

     This festival is chock full of delights for the eyes! There are topiaries, art displays, galleries, art merchandise booths and more! All around Epcot you will find gorgeous splashes of color and cool things to look at. One Guest favorite this past year was the murals that were set up around the park, where you can put yourself into famous works of art like the Mona Lisa or Washington Crossing the Delaware. There were PhotoPass photographers on hand to capture your artistic fun, too! There are also fun photo ops with the "living statues" in Future World, and you and your family can help create a giant mosaic mural by painting some squares! 



There is art to enjoy and/or purchase all around the park.

Really put yourself into the art!

See how a little bit of work, by a lot of people, makes something beautiful!

Guests used to be able to enjoy the living statues in Italy and France
pavilions and now they are back for the festival!

See the works of well known Disney artists!

And watch local artists at work!



     There were even local artists set up all over World Showcase, creating chalk, paint, and pencil masterpieces right before Guests' eyes! This festival will have you strolling around and finding new beauty all around Epcot!


Performing Arts

     Aside from the regular incredible acts that perform all around Epcot, including the JAMMitors, Voices of Liberty and TheBritish Revolution, the Festival of the Arts welcomes amazing Broadway performers to the American Gardens Theater, where they do three nightly shows of some of the biggest and best Broadway hits. The 2018 lineup is yet to be announced, but this past year's event included Ashley Brown, the original title character in "Mary Poppins" on Broadway, and Kissy Simmons from Broadway's "The Lion King". This year is bound to have some fabulous acts as well, and I can't wait to hear who will be coming!



     Just like with the Candlelight Processional and with Eat to the Beat, Guests can book dinner packages that include pre-reserved seating for the shows. Contact an agent at Kingdom Konsultant Travel for information on pricing and menus.


Culinary Arts

     As I mentioned to you at the beginning of this post, there are also food booths all around World Showcase (a la Food and Wine Festival) that show off the culinary arts. Each food item is carefully plated and created with a rainbow palate in mind. They are just as much a feast for the eyes as they are for the belly! Be sure and use the link at the top of this post to check out this year's menus!






Interactive Experiences and Demonstrations

     One of my kiddos' favorite parts of the festival was finding Figment in Figment's Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt! You can purchase a map for one of several merchandise locations, and in each country, locate the world of art that Figment is hiding. Lucky little artists who find all of them get a special prize!



     Seminars and demonstrations more your thing? Well, there are plenty to choose from! In fact, there's a full calendar of event and classes to choose from! Some are complimentary and others have fees. here's the full run down of what's available:

Friday  January 12th, 2018
  • Sculpting a Mixed Media Action Figure: 11 am, $39 per person
  • TBA: 1:30 pm, Free
  • Artful Uses For Your Park Map: 4:30 pm, Free

Saturday  January 13th, 2018
  • Floral Arranging: 11 am, $39 per person
  • The Art of Woodcarving: 1:30 pm, Free
  • TBA: 4:30 pm, Free
Sunday  January 14th, 2018
  • TBA: 11 am, $39 per person
  • From Animated Films to Theme Parks: 1:30 pm, Free
  • Principals of Background Art and Matte Paintings in Animated Films: 4:30 pm, Free
Monday  January 15th, 2018
  • Animation 101: 11 am, $39 per person
  • What Does It Take To Get the Right Shot? (Photography): 1:30 pm, Free
  • Making the New Look Old (Aging Wood): 4:30 pm, Free
Tuesday  January 16th, 2018
  • Cartoon Portraits: 11 am, $39 per person
  • Food as Art (How Food Enhances the Park Experience): 1:30 pm, Free
  • The Art of Happiness (Will Gay, Disney Designer): 4:30 pm, Free

Wednesday  January 17th, 2018
  • Handcrafted Calligraphy: 11 am, $39 per person
  • Magic in the Milk (Latte Art): 1:30 pm, Free
  • Ancient Process of Casting Bronze: 4:30 pm, Free
Thursday  January 18th, 2018
  • TBA: 11 am, $39 per person
  • Photography 101 (Take Better Pictures With Your Cell Phone): 1:30 pm, Free
  • Creating a Stained Glass Hanging: 4:30 pm, Free
Friday  January 19th, 2018
  • Premium Workshop: Painting With a Disney Artist: 8 am, $259 per person
  • Once Upon a Doll (Create Your Own Precious Moments Doll): 11 am, $39 per person
  • Presenting an Art Exhibition in One of the Top 10 Museum in the World: 1:30 pm, Free
  • Hip-Hop: The Evolution of the Flow: 4:30 pm, Free
Saturday  January 20th, 2018
  • Once Upon a Doll (Create Your Own Precious Moments Doll): 11 am, $39 per person
  • The Art of Disney Topiary: 1:30 pm, Free
  • From Concept to Creation (Theatrical Costuming and Painting): 4:30 pm, Free
Sunday  January 21st, 2018
  • Print Making From a Clay Base: 11 am, $39 per person
  • Home Brewing: 1:30 pm, Free
  • Making Every Moment Precious (History of Precious Moments Dolls): 4:30 pm, Free
Monday  January 22nd, 2018
  • Abstract Painting: A Journey In Bringing Your Art To Life: 11 am, $39 per person
  • Store Design: Where Furniture, Interior and Themed Design Meet: 1:30 pm, Free
  • Photography 101: Shooting Spectacular Fireworks: 4:30 pm, Free

Tuesday  January 23rd, 2018
  • Floral Arranging: 11 am, $39 per person
  • State of Excellence (Private Art in Florida): 1:30 pm, Free
  • Creating Bead Woven Jewelry: 4:30 pm, Free
Wednesday  January 24th, 2018
  • Gesture Drawing Class: 11 am, $39 per person
  • From Animated Films to Theme Parks: 1:30 pm, Free
  • The Story of Storytellers (Teen Documentary Photography): 4:30 pm, Free
Thursday  January 25th, 2018
  • Still Life Watercolor Sketching: 11 am, $39 per person
  • What Does It Take To Get the Right Shot? (Photography): 1:30 pm, Free
  • It's All in the Details: The Art of the Prop and Its Role In the Story: 4:30 pm, Free
Friday  January 26th, 2018
  • Premium Workshop: Painting With a Disney Artist: 8 am, $259 per person
  • Magical Mixed Media Art (Boiled Books): 11 am, $39 per person
  • Behind the Lines of Viz Art Ink: 1:30 pm, Free
  • Sketchbook Savvy (Traditional and Digital Sketchbooks): 4:30 pm, Free

Saturday January 27th, 2018
  • Doodling With Viz (Doodle With Hidden Pictures and Words): 11 am, $39 per person
  • Food Styling 101 (Making Food Photo Ready): 1:30 pm, Free
  • TBA: 4:30 pm, Free
Sunday  January 28th, 2018
  • Ink and Paint Animation: 11 am, $39 per person
  • Photography 101: Lighting and Perspective: 1:30 pm, Free
  • Violin: What It Is and How It Works: 4:30 pm, Free
Monday  January 29th, 2018
  • P.S. Flavor!: Artisanal Spice Artistry (Spice Blending and Sand Art): 11 am, $39 per person
  • Painting Shanghai Disneyland: 1:30 pm, Free
  • It's All in the Details: The Art of the Prop and Its Role In the Story: 4:30 pm, Free
Tuesday  January 30th, 2018
  • Watercolor Love: 11 am, $39 per person
  • Watermelon Carving: 1:30 pm, Free
  • Photography 101: A Look At Landscapes: 4:30 pm, Free
Wednesday  January 31st, 2018
  • Floral Arranging: 11 am, $39 per person
  • What Does It Take To Get The Right Shot (Photography): 1:30 pm, Free
  • Acrylic in Action: 4:30 pm, Free
Thursday  February 1st, 2018
  • Whimsical Tea  Pots of Clay: 11 am, $39 per person
  • A History of American Mavericks: Composers Outside of the Box: 1:30 pm, Free
  • One Little Spark: Finding the Figment Inside of You (Learn About Inspiration From a Disney Artist): 4:30 pm, Free
Friday  February 2nd, 2018
  • Premium Workshop: Painting With a Disney Artist: 8 am, $259 per person
  • TBA: 11 am, $39 per person
  • The Art of Face Painting: 1:30 pm, Free
  • The Music of John Williams: 4:30 pm, Free
Saturday  February 3rd, 2018
  • Burlap Wreath Making: 11 am, $39 per person
  • TBA: 1:30 pm, Free
  • TBA: 4:30 pm, Free
Sunday  February 4th, 2018
  • Organic Dried Food Mosaics: 11 am, $39 per person
  • TBA: 1:30 pm, Free
  • Watercolor Travel Sketching, Urban Sketching and Painting En Plein Air : 4:30 pm, Free
Monday  February 5th, 2018
  • The World of Paper Crafting: 11 am, $39 per person
  • Pancake Art: 1:30 pm, Free
  • Photography 101: Ready, Set, Action! : 4:30 pm, Free

Tuesday  February 6th, 2018
  • Animation 101: 11 am, $39 per person
  • Pancake Art: 1:30 pm, Free
  • Creating a Magical Fairy House: 4:30 pm, Free
Wednesday  February 7th, 2018
  • Paper Quilling: 11 am, $39 per person
  • Photography 101: Photo Editing: 1:30 pm, Free
  • TBA: 4:30 pm, Free
Thursday  February 8th, 2018
  • TBA: 11 am, $39 per person
  • A Brief History of Jazz: 1:30 pm, Free
  • Upcycling for the Theater: Faux Art Techniques: 4:30 pm, Free
Friday  February 9th, 2018
  • Premium Workshop: Painting With a Disney Artist: 8 am, $259 per person
  • Sculpting a Mixed Media Action Figure: 11 am, $39 per person
  • Presenting an Art Exhibition in One of the Top 10 Museum in the World: 1:30 pm, Free
  • TBA: 4:30 pm, Free

Saturday  February 10th, 2018
  • TBA: 11 am, $39 per person
  • Stories From a National Parks Painter: 1:30 pm, Free
  • Watermelon Carving: 4:30 pm, Free
Sunday  February 11th, 2018
  • Ink and Paint Animation: 11 am, $39 per person
  • TBA: 1:30 pm, Free
  • Ceramics and Civilization: 4:30 pm, Free
Monday  February 12th, 2018
  • Gesture Drawing Class: 11 am, $39 per person
  • Art in the Community (Using Art to Build a Community): 1:30 pm, Free
  • Violin: What It Is and How It Works: 4:30 pm, Free
Tuesday  February 13th, 2018
  • TBA: 11 am, $39 per person
  • Photography 101: Magic With Water (Taking Photos in and Around Water): 1:30 pm, Free
  • TBA: 4:30 pm, Free
Wednesday  February 14th, 2018
  • String Art: 11 am, $39 per person
  • Upcycling For Floral Arrangements (Using Alternate Materials w Flowers): 1:30 pm, Free
  • TBA: 4:30 pm, Free
Thursday  February 15th, 2018
  • 3D Paper Crafting: 11 am, $39 per person
  • TBA: 1:30 pm, Free
  • Impressionism With an Edge (Floral Paintings With a Palate Knife): 4:30 pm, Free
Friday  February 16th, 2018
  • Premium Workshop: Painting With a Disney Artist: 8 am, $259 per person
  • TBA: 11 am, $39 per person
  • What Does It Take To Get The Right Shot? (Photography): 1:30 pm, Free
  • One Little Spark: Finding the Figment Inside of You (Learn About Inspiration from a Disney Artist): 4:30 pm, Free
Saturday  February 17th, 2018

  • TBA: 11 am, $39 per person
  • Magic in the Milk (Latte Art): 1:30 pm, Free
  • TBA: 4:30 pm, Free
Sunday  February 18th, 2018
  • Our World in Abstract (Using Oil Pastels): 11 am, $39 per person
  • TBA: 1:30 pm, Free
  • TBA: 4:30 pm, Free
Monday  February 19th, 2018
  • TBA: 11 am, $39 per person
  • Photography 101: Closer, Sweeter, Better (The Art of the Close Up): 1:30 pm, Free
  • Living Women Composers: 4:30 pm, Free



     Woah! That's a LOT of classes that you can enjoy! So, are you convinced that you NEED to be here for the 2018 Festival of the Arts??? Well, go ahead.... contact the agents here at Kingdom Konsultants Travel and they will get a nice long weekend booked for you, or maybe even a whole week, if you can swing it! 
     Until next time, Disney Friends, have a magical week!!!

      
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