Friday, September 21, 2018

Ears the News: September 21, 2018 Edition


Welcome to the latest edition of Ears the News

Brought to you by our friends at WDWMagic.com


The Star Lord and Groot meet and greet at Disney's Hollywood Studios will be ending this month and will be replaced with a Monsters, Inc.  meet and greet. 
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com


Located in the "Walt Disney presents' attraction, the meet and greet is set to have its final day of operation on September 29, 2018. 

Mike and Sulley from Pixar’s Monsters, Inc. will be returning to Disney's Hollywood Studios in a new meet and greet at Walt Disney Presents in 2019. Mike and Sulley will start meeting guests from January 18, 2019.


The current version of the Move It! Shake It! Dance and Play It! Street Party is likely to have its final show later this year.

Disney has announced that its replacement “Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party” will debut in the Magic Kingdom on January 18, 2019. 
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com
In the new “Move It! Shake It! MousekeDance It! Street Party,” Mickey and Minnie Mouse will invite guests to dance with Mickey, Minnie and their pals in front of Cinderella Castle. Shake it along with live singers belting out new arrangements of classic “Mickey Mouse Club” songs.

Joining Mickey and Minnie in all the fun will be a bevy of beloved Disney characters, including Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy, Pluto, Max, Chip ’n Dale and others.

Captain Jack Sparrow's Pirate Tutorial is coming to a close at the end of the month.

The show will have its final performance on September 29, 2018.

Disney has announced a timeline for the replacement of Epcot's nightly firework spectacular IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.

Reflections of Earth will play through to the end of summer 2019, with the new show to debut immediately following the conclusion of "IllumiNations."

'Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away' at Disney's Hollywood Studios is planned to close for several weeks later this month to allow for concrete work in the area.

The stage show which began in April 2016 as part of Disney's Hollywood Studios big Star Wars push, is planned to end daily operations on September 30, 2018, but will resume later in November.

Ziploc plastic bag distribution will soon begin at Splash Mountain as part of the new sponsorship deal with S.C. Johnson & Son.

As part of the long-term sponsorship deal, guests will have access to Ziploc bags at Splash Mountain, which are already widely used by guests to keep possessions protected on water rides.

Recycling options will be available at the ride's exit for those guests who do not wish to use the Ziploc bag.

The bags were expected to begin distribution back in August, but the timing clashed with Disney's announcement of its plans to reduce plastic consumption. That effort has led to the withdrawal of plastic straws and hotel in-room plastics.

Disney's Animal Kingdom is offering a new backstage tour this fall, giving guests a look at how the animal team cares for white rhinos.

Starting November 1, the 60-minute guided adventure will give guests a behind-the-scenes look at how our dedicated animal team cares for the white rhinos on Kilimanjaro Safaris and how Disney is helping save endangered rhinos in the wild. As part of this intimate experience, guests may even get a chance to touch a rhino.
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com.
One tour of “Up Close with Rhinos” will be offered each day. The booking window for the one-hour experience opens Sept. 22, which is World Rhino Day. Guests must be at least 4 years old to participate, and the cost is $40 (plus tax). Discounts are available to select passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members. To make a reservation, call 407-WDW-PLAY.

The Incredibles are coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as Pixar Place will transform into a Metroville city block in 2019. 
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com


Beginning Jan. 18, 2019, guests will meet super suit designer Edna Mode and see some of her greatest creations. They will look for clues to the whereabouts of the youngest Incredible, the mischievous and multi-powered Jack-Jack.

And at the end of the block, guests will celebrate the heroic deeds of Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible and Frozone, who will make appearances throughout the day during a party featuring lively music, dancing, interactive games and lots more Super fun.

Dates are now set for the 2019 Epcot International Festival of the Arts. The festival at Epcot will run from January 18 to February 25, 2019, and takes place daily.

The Disney on Broadway Concert Series will be expanding to seven days a week during the Festival of the Arts.

Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com

The 2019 Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival will take place March 6 to June 3, 2019 at Walt Disney World.

The outdoor kitchens will be back, along with Disney themed topiaries and the garden Rocks Concert Series.

New for 2019, the Garden Rocks Concert Series expands to seven days a week during the Flower & Garden Festival, which means a total of 270 concerts over the course of the 90-day event.

Disney's Animal Kingdom will celebrate 25 years of The Lion King movie with a new dance party in 2019. 
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com


Guests will be able to dance along with Timon and Rafiki in the “Hakuna Matata Time Dance Party” on Discovery Island.

The party gets started January 18, and runs through to September 30, 2019.

The Plaza Restaurant on Main Street U.S.A. at the Magic kingdom will soon begin serving breakfast for a limited time.

Menu items will include a Classic All-American Breakfast featuring scrambled eggs with breakfast potatoes, sausage, bacon, a biscuit, and Mickey Waffle. There’s also the Lobster Benedict with crispy fried green tomatoes, buttery lobster, two poached eggs, and hollandaise - served with house-made breakfast potatoes. In addition, you can create your own omelet with fresh ingredients including sausage, bacon, ham, onions, peppers, tomatoes, and cheese.

The limited time offering begins November 4, 2018 through to January 5, 2019, and is available daily from 8am to 10:30am.


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, September 14, 2018

Ears the News: September 14, 2018 Edition

Welcome to the latest edition of Ears the News

Brought to you by our friends at WDWMagic.com


Photo courtesy of www.WDWMagic.com 

The high-tech greeting card company Lovepop is coming to Disney Springs this fall

Located in the Marketplace Co-Op, Lovepop will offer its intricate 3D paper sculpture greeting cards.

Lovepop founders Wombi Rose and John Wise became best friends at Webb Institute training to become naval architects. After school, the duo traveled to Vietnam where they discovered incredible hand-crafted paper cards.

Rose and Wise launched Lovepop out of the Harvard Innovation Lab in late 2014. Since then, they were named to the 2015 Techstars class, nominated for 50 on Fire by BostInno, and appeared on season 7 of "Shark Tank," where Kevin "Mr. Wonderful" O'Leary became an investor.

Photo courtesy of www.WDWMagic.com 

Maria & Enzo's and Enzo's Hideaway at Disney Springs are now offering 40% off to Disney Annual Passholders during lunch. 

This offer is valid now through December 31st. Not valid with any other offer or during brunch.

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort has confirmed plans to build a new tower. 

The tower will come in at 14 storys and will have 349 guest rooms, meeting space, a swimming pool and a restaurant with bar and lounge.

The third tower at the Swan and Dolphin Resort will be built on space currently occupied the resorts tennis courts. The projected opening date 2020.

Photo courtesy of www.WDWMagic.com 

Disney's Minnie Van Service is set to move to a new distance-based pricing model in the coming days.

Currently, guests can use the Lyft app to request a Minnie Van to travel to and from any location at Walt Disney World for $25 per trip per vehicle. Distance-based pricing will continue to use the Lyft app.

The private Disney ride service will also soon expand to hotels outside of the Disney operated locations, and will include Bonnet Creek, Flamingo Crossing and Hotel Plaza Blvd hotels.

These changes come onto of the recent expansion to Orlando International Airport, where you can schedule drop-off and pick-up by calling 407-WDW-PLAY.
                                                Photo courtesy of www.WDWMagic.com 

Beginning September 17 2018, Disney will begin offering Early Morning Magic at Disney's Hollywood Studios for access to Toy Story Land.

Similar to the experience that was added to the Magic Kingdom in 2016 for access to the busy Fantasyland, the Studios edition is based around Toy Story Land and includes a breakfast at the ABC Commissary.

Menu items include:
Mexican Corn Chilaquiles and Eggs Bowl
Shrimp and Southern Grits Bowl
Fried Chicken and Cinnamon Sugar French Donut Bowl
Smashed Avocado Toast Egg Plate
Breakfast Charcuterie Platter

The buffet will also feature yogurt, cereal, fruit, assorted pastries. For the little toys, they can enjoy everything on the buffet as well as a kid’s portion of the Fried Chicken and Cinnamon Sugar French Donut or Scrambled Eggs, and both come with Sweet Potato barrels.

Available on select mornings before the park opens, Disney Early Morning Magic offers exclusive, limited-time access to Toy Story Land, including Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers, Toy Story Mania!, plus character greetings with Woody, Jessie and Buzz Lightyear.

The experience also includes a continental buffet, featuring yogurt, fruit, pastries, and assorted cereal as well as your choice of a main dish like avocado toast or fried chicken and cronut with maple glaze.

Disney Early Morning Magic will take place on select Mondays and Wednesdays from 7:30am to 8:45am. Breakfast will be available until 10am. The experience costs $79 plus tax for adult (age 10+) and $69 plus tax for children ages 3-9, and valid theme park admission is required.

Photo courtesy of www.WDWMagic.com 

Disney has today announced Ralph Breaks VR, its next hyper-reality experience in collaboration with ILMxLAB and The VOID.

Ralph Breaks VR will debut at Disney Springs in the fall of 2018, a one-of-a-kind, original adventure based on the upcoming Walt Disney Animation Studios film “Ralph Breaks the Internet” in theaters November 21. 

According to Disney, the experience will put you inside a new multi-sensory Disney adventure where you’ll be immersed in the worlds of the internet and online gaming with Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope.

“Our filmmakers and the terrific people at ILMxLAB have collaborated to bring an incredible hyper-real experience, for all ages, to The VOID,” said Oscar-winning “Ralph Breaks the Internet” producer, Clark Spencer. “We can’t wait for people to be immersed in the worlds of the internet and online gaming with Wreck-It Ralph and Vanellope.”

“At ILMxLAB, we are truly excited for fans to ‘Step Inside Our Stories’ by extending our award-winning creative collaboration with The VOID across The Walt Disney Company. Together, we will soon invite guests into other beloved Disney franchises where they can explore rich worlds, engage with compelling characters, embark upon heart-pounding adventures, and indulge the senses — experiencing the magic as never before,” said Vicki Dobbs Beck, ILMxLAB Executive in Charge.

At Walt Disney World, the existing VOID experience based on Star Wars universe is located in Disney Springs. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will remain available at Disney Springs once the new 'Ralph Breaks VR' opens.

The Launch date for 'Ralph Breaks VR', location and ticket availability has yet to be announced.

Friday, September 7, 2018

Ears the News: September 7, 2018 Edition


Welcome to the latest edition of Ears the News

Brought to you by our friends at WDWMagic.com.


Epcot's V.I.PASSHOLDER event nights gets underway on September 6, 2018.

Similar to Extra Magic Hours, but specifically for registered Gold and Above passholders, the event takes place at Epcot from 9pm to 11pm.

Here is a look at the attraction line-up. As always, this is subject to change, to check guides on the day of the event for any updates.

V.I.PASSHOLDER Night Attraction line-up at Epcot

Future World East
  • Spaceship Earth® Mission: SPACE® Test Track® 
Future World West
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com.
  • Meet Baymax at Epcot Character Spot 
  • Meet Joy and Sadness at Epcot Character Spot 
  • The Seas with Nemo & Friends® 
  • Soarin’® Around the World 
  • Living with the Land 
  • Journey Into Imagination With Figment 
  • Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival 

World Showcase
  • Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros 
  • Mexico Meet Anna and Elsa at Royal Sommerhus 
  • Frozen Ever After 
  • O Canada! 

V.I.PASSHOLDER Night Food and Beverage at Epcot

Future World West
  • Fountain View 
  • Sunshine Seasons (Limited offerings) 

Showcase Plaza
  • Refreshment Port 
World Showcase
  • Rose & Crown Pub, United Kingdom 

Epcot® International Food & Wine Festival Global Marketplaces
  • Craft Drafts at the Festival Center 
  • The Festival Center Wine Shop featuring Disney Family of Wines The Almond Orchard 
  • New Zealand 
  • Australia 
  • Hawai’i 
  • Islands of the Caribbean 
  • Greece 
  • Thailand 
  • Mexico 
  • France 
  • Ireland 
  • Canada 

V.I.PASSHOLDER Night Merchandise at Epcot

Future World East
  • Festival Center - The Stockpot Shop and The Chocolate Experience: From the Bean to the Bar 
  • Mission: SPACE Cargo Bay 
  • Test Track SIMporium 
  • Mouse Gear 
  • Camera Center 
  • Gateway Gifts 
  • Wheelchair and Stroller Rentals 
  • Baby Care Center 

Future World West
  • Green Thumb Emporium near Soarin' Around the World 
  • SeaBase Gift Shop 
  • ImageWorks 
  • The Gift Stop 

World Showcase
  • World Traveler, International Gateway
  • Select shops are open in Mexico, Norway and the United Kingdom.

At Epcot, the Kringla Bakeri og Kafe in the Norway Pavilion has reopened following a major refurbishment.

Familiar menu items like School Bread, Lefse, Norwegian Kringla, Berry Cream Puff and Viking Chocolate Mousse all remain on the menu.

The Magic Kingdom's designated smoking locations have been adjusted from September 4, 2018.

The former Storybook Circus location on the walkway to Tomorrowland has now been closed and relocated to nearby the restrooms in Tomorrowland.

The Frontierland and Main Entrance locations remain as before.

Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com

Guests of the Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels will continue to be able to take part in the Extra Magic Hours benefit at Walt Disney World Theme Parks throughout 2019.

Alongside the Extra Magic Hours benefit, Disney Springs area hotel guests will also have 60 Day FastPass+ benefits. Guests with a Walt Disney Travel Company package including a stay at one of the hotels, and theme park admission, will be able to link their hotel reservation on MyDisneyExperience.com, and with a linked, valid theme park ticket, these guests can utilize a 60-day booking window for FastPass+ selections.

The Disney Springs Resort Area Hotels are: B Resort & Spa; Best Western Lake Buena Vista; DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Orlando; Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace; Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista; Holiday Inn Orlando; and Wyndham Garden Lake Buena Vista.

The Magic Kingdom's ticketed event, 'Disney After Hours' will continue into the winter of 2018 and into 2019, with dates available from December 3, 2018 to March 7, 2019.

Like before, the event gives guests extra time in the park to enjoy attractions after regular park closing.

The new dates are: 
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com
  • December 3, 2018: 10pm - 1am
  • December 10, 2018: 10pm - 1am
  • January 7, 2019: 8pm - 11pm
  • January 17, 2019: 8pm - 11pm
  • January 24, 2019: 8pm - 11pm
  • January 28, 2019: 8pm - 11pm
  • February 7, 2019: 8pm - 11pm
  • February 14, 2019: 9pm - 12am
  • February 28, 2019: 8pm - 11pm
  • March 7, 2019: 9pm - 12am 
Disney After Hours at the Magic Kingdom tickets get you into the park from 7pm, with the event taking place from regular park close for three hours. 'Disney After Hours' includes complimentary ice cream novelties and beverages.

The cost has risen by $6, and is now $125 plus tax for ages 3+ with advance purchase, or $129 for day of. Passholders and DVC can get a discounted rate. Theme park admission is not required.

Extra Magic Hours for Disney resort hotel guests are not impacted by this event, with Disney After Hours taking place on non-EMH nights.

Typhoon Lagoon will close for its annual refurbishment on January 6, 2019.

The refurbishment is planned to continue through to March 16, reopening to guests on March 17, 2019.

Blizzard Beach will be closed October 28, 2018 through to January 5, 2019.

Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com

Disney is continuing to improve its offerings for Annual Passholders at Walt Disney World with the addition of a new dedicated passholder support service.

V.I.PASSHOLDER Support allows passholders to get in touch via phone, online chat or email for help with all aspects of Annual Pass usage.

Passholders can call 407-WDW-PASS (407-939-7277) between 7am and 11pm daily. During the same hours, online chat can be accessed at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/passholder-program/, and finally an email form can be found at https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/help/email/annual-passholder/.


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, August 31, 2018

Ears the News: August 31, 2018 Edition


Welcome to the latest edition of Ears the News

Brought to you by our friends at WDWMagic.com.


Magical Dining is back in the Orlando area, with several Disney Springs restaurants taking part for 2018.

Each restaurant features three-course, prix fixe dinners at $35 per person. Plus, through Visit Orlando, one dollar from each meal supports Best Buddies and Down Syndrome Association of Central Florida.

Magic Dining menus are available August 24 - September 30, 2018, during the restaurants' normal dinner hours. For 2018, the only Walt Disney World Magical Dining restaurants are at Disney Springs and the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. Unlike in 2017, no Disney operated locations are taking part.

Disney springs locations include the recently opened Maria & Enzo's, Terralina Crafted Italian, Wine Bar George, STK, Paddlefish, Bongos and Morimoto Asia. At the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin, Todd English's blue zoo and Il Mulino are taking part.

The Magic Kingdom's classic Mad Tea Party ride in Fantasyland debuted a new lighting package for this year's Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

Using overhead mounted articulated lighting fixtures, the ride gets a much more dynamic ride experience after dark on Halloween Party nights. Disney has so far said that the lighting will only be available on Party nights, but the lighting appears to be installed permanently, complete with color matched light fixtures to the roof structure. So it seems likely that at some point is may become a regular nighttime feature.


Video courtesy of WDWMagic.com
Having trouble viewing the video? Click here to view on YouTube.


Disney will be offering two gifts for Annual Passholders at this year's 2018 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, along with a few other merchandise perks.

AP holders can get a Chef Mickey magnet on their first visit and a Chef Mickey cutting board (pictured above) on their fourth visit.

On Aug 30, Sept 20 and Oct 18, Annual Passholders gain early access to the Festival Center and Mouse Gear to shop newly-released merchandise.

Finally, Annual Passholder merchandise will be released on Aug 30, Sept 20 and Oct 18 at the Festival Center, Mouse Gear, Pin Central, World Traveler and the merchandise kiosk between Japan and Morocco.

Pluto's meet and greet location at Disney's Hollywood Studios has been temporarily relocated.

The Animation Courtyard location is closed August 27 - 30 for refurbishment, with Pluto now meeting guests on Commissary Lane.

Aella (pronounced “eye-la”), is the latest new arrival at Disney's Animal Kingdom.

Aella the Masai giraffe calf
Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com
The two-month-old Masai giraffe calf was born on June 29, and until now has been spending time with her mom Lily backstage, but can now been seen on Kilimanjaro Safaris.

The Masai giraffe is a vulnerable species found primarily in Kenya and Tanzania. There are believed to be roughly 32,000 Masai giraffes left in the wild, and their population continues to decline because of poaching and habitat loss.

Aella's birth marks a first for her parents – mom Lily and dad George. The pair was chosen to breed through the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and ensures responsible breeding of threatened and endangered species.

According to a posting on the official Sammy Duvall's Watersports Centre website, the last day of operation will be August 31, 2018.

To all our fans and families who have enjoyed a day on the water with us a great thank you for the support. It has been a joy to share the sport we love with everyone along the way!

We are sorry to inform you that after 20 years of water sports operations at Walt Disney World our last day will be 8/31/2018. Accordingly, if you have a future prepaid reservation we are issuing a refund to the credit card used for your reservation. If you have a future non paid reservation you will be receiving a email cancellation notification today as well. If you have any questions regarding your refund you may contact The Gardens course at Disney's Fantasia Gardens Miniature Golf will be closed Tuesday September 4 through Friday September 28 for refurbishment.

The Fantasia course will remain open during the refurbishment, as will the Winter Summerland courses near Blizzard Beach.407-939-0754.

Disney has released a new piece of concept art giving us a first look at Oga's Cantina, opening with Star Wars Galaxy's Edge in 2019 at Disney's Hollywood Studios.

According to Scott Trowbridge of Walt Disney Imagineering, "Visitors come to this notorious local watering hole to unwind, conduct shady business, and maybe even encounter a friend…or a foe. Run by an intriguing alien proprietor, Oga Garra, the cantina adheres to a strict code of conduct that tries to keep its unruly patrons in check. But with a history of being a smugglers’ safe haven and a popular stopping point for those seeking to avoid the authorities, you can bet that the cantina has a story or two to tell.

Oga's Cantina is the kind of establishment that attracts some of the most interesting and disreputable characters in the galaxy. And you never know when a stormtrooper or a familiar face will show up. Patrons of the cantina come from across the galaxy to sample the famous concoctions created with exotic ingredients using “otherworldly” methods, served in unique vessels. With choices for kids and libations for adults, the cantina will make for a great stop!

Oga's Cantina concept art
Photo courtesy of Disney Parks Blog
Musical entertainment is provided courtesy of RX-24, the former StarSpeeder 3000 pilot droid we first met in Star Tours, who has re-envisioned himself as the cantina’s DJ. As quirky and talkative as ever, he’s still trying to do his best on the job.

Get ready to listen to some unique music, taste the best drinks in the galaxy, and surround yourself with a colorful cast of characters. You never know what will happen at the cantina!"

Disney has announced that a new immersive character dining experience will be coming this winter to Artist Point at Disney's Wilderness Lodge Resort.

Artist Point will continue to operate as a signature restaurant through November 10, 2018, prior to the switch over to character dining.

According to Disney, "Storybook Dining at Artist Point will invite guests to venture into an Enchanted Forest-like setting inspired by Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” There, you’ll enjoy a delicious meal of fantastic fare with visits from Snow White, Dopey and Grumpy. Delightful music and activities will help bring the classic fairytale to life, and you’ll even have an opportunity for an encounter with The Queen.

This immersive character dinner takes place amidst the rustic elegance and exceptional dining that Artist Point is known for. You’ll enjoy a uniquely themed prix fixe menu, including shared starters, a choice of individual plated entrees and ‘sweet spells’ to finish the meal."

Tatooine Traders at Disney's Hollywood Studios will be undergoing a refurbishment beginning September 5, 2018.

The Star Wars shop at the exit of Star Tours is will be receiving some enhancements with a relaunch expected in mid-October 2018.

During the work, the Doid factory and Amazing Pictures areas will not be available. A Droid factory can be found in Star Wars Launch Bay, and Amazing Pictures can be found at Rock 'n' Roller Coaster.

The remainder of the store will remain open during the refurbishment.


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.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

REVIEW: My NEW Favorite Brunch!


Hey there, Disney Foodies!

     Are you ready to hear about one of the best kept (newer) dining secrets on Disney property? I am so hesitant to share this, because I love that I can get in whenever I want to right now, and I know once ya’ll try it, you’re gonna snatch up the reservations on me, buuut, I do love my fellow Disney Foodies, so I’ll share. Be cool about it though, ok?



     Disney Springs fans may already be familiar with Patina Group’s new set of dining gems, The Edison restaurant and nightclub, Pizza Ponte counter service pizza shop, Maria and Enzo’s Italian restaurant and Enzo’s Hideaway. Just recently, I reviewed the Sunday Supper option at Enzo’s and I really loved it. (Check out the review HERE!) So here’s another Sunday option for you... Brunch at Maria and Enzo's! Every Sunday, from 10:30am- 3pm, Guests can enjoy an elaborate brunch, featuring Italian meats and cheeses, fresh salads, amazing entrees, a chocolate fountain and even bottomless mimosas and bellinis, if you so choose. The prix fixed brunch is $35 per adult. That includes an all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet of appetizers, salads and dessert items, and your choice of one entree. For a $15 up charge, you can add endless mimosas and/or bellinis too! The pricing is super reasonable, and lower than most other Disney buffets. And here's the BEST part.... Kids under age 9 eat FREE* (with the purchase of an adult entree)!!! FREE! Where else on Disney property do you hear that word? Almost nowhere, I can tell you that! (* I am told by the restaurant staff that this is a temporary promotion. It does not have an end date determined, but it may not always be available, FYI. Ask in advance by calling 407-560-8466.)


     So, now that I have your attention, I'm guessing you want to know what it's like, right? Well, I was there for my 4th (yes, 4th!) visit just recently, and grabbed some photos to share, but here's the best way I can describe it: If you have ever been on a Disney Cruise and have eaten at the adults only dining location, Palo...... Well, this is the next best thing! Say hello to Palo, on land! Let me explain why...





     The location itself is really beautiful. Each of the Patina Group locations at Disney Springs has a really detailed and interesting backstory that goes along with it. I highly recommend that you ask a Cast Member to share the story with you. I'm not going to give it away here, but I will tell you that Maria and Enzo's design is that of an old airline terminal. (Think the glamour and glitz of an old Pan Am flight in a bygone era.) Each detail of the restaurant's decor gives a nod to aviation and travel, including a huge globe hanging overhead from the grand 50 foot ceilings. The floor-to-ceiling windows on the water-facing wall give an excellent, (albeit surprising at times), view of the Aerophile hot air balloon, as it goes up and down right behind the building. There are some tables up on the second floor, where you enter from, but most are down on the main floor, at the bottom of a grand staircase. On Sunday mornings, a wonderful harpist plays from the balcony, strumming out everything from Disney tunes to modern pop hits. The gorgeous, sleek architecture and sprawling windows make me feel like I may as well be on a cruise ship, gazing out over the ocean, even though I'm actually only overlooking the waterways of Disney Springs.


     One of my favorite aspects of the restaurant is that, much like the staff of World Showcase in Epcot, and much like the international crew on the cruise ships, most of the servers here are Italian natives, which lends some additional authenticity to the experience. And wow, are they fantastic! We have never had a server here that was not wonderful, in fact, we loved our most recent server so much that we requested her the next time we were onsite. Sadly, bella Jessica has now moved back home to Italy, but I am sure we will be pleased with any other server that we get, as they all seem to be trained wonderfully and they are all fantastic at their jobs, and wait on their guests with passion and enthusiasm. The management team is also outstanding, tending to the buffet with care and precision, and greeting tables with genuine concern for how guests are enjoying their experience. We spent 15 minutes chatting with one of the members of management who is a recent arrival from Europe, and had an amazing story to share of his previous career in national security. He shared with us the incredible places he has lived and where his adventures have taken him. We loved hearing of his history and he was happy to spend the time with us, as well. When we have been concerned about our little guy eating from the buffet, given his allergies, we have gotten fantastic and careful assistance from both Jerry and Justin from the management team, and have every confidence that our kiddo is safe dining there. Again, the only other place I have seen this kind of commitment to the guest experience is onboard Disney's ships.


     Now, let's get to the good stuff! THE FOOD! Your server will come to the table and take your drink order, (be aware, unlike many Disney buffets, beverages are included for the kids only), as well as give you the option to order off the regular, a la carte menu, instead of doing the prix fixed brunch option, if that's what you prefer. The regular menu includes salads and appetizers, as well as entrees like chicken parmigiana and swordfish. I can't tell you how any of that is though, because I have never been able to resist the prix fixed menu, since it includes the all-you-care-to-enjoy buffet as part of it. Here's a look at that menu:





If you select that option, you'll be sent up to the buffet first, where your eyes will feast on an amazingly colorful and delightful spread of cured Italian meats and cheeses, freshly baked breads, multiple kinds of salad, peel and eat shrimp, smoked salmon, muffins, yogurt parfaits, cannolis, cheesecake and a chocolate fountain. Everything from the buffet is GREAT! The Hubs and my little guy love the meats and cheeses. I prefer the breads, the Caesar salad, and of course the desserts. (Oh man, the cannoli is to die for and those tiny almond cookies? Heavenly, with a huge almond punch! Mmmmm.... so good with tea or coffee!)















     Your server will return to the table after you have your buffet items, and take you entree order. Your choices will include french toast, steak and eggs, a veggie frittata, an egg and quinoa kale salad, and spaghetti carbonara. For the kids, they can select chicken fingers, french toast, eggs and bacon or sausage, or grilled cheese and tomato. (They also get to enjoy the buffet, as well.) On your table, the server will leave a basket of freshly made croissants, including plain, chocolate and jam filled. They are flaky, buttery and SO yummy!


     The meal is well-paced, so you don't feel like you're being rushed, or stuffed, too quickly. After you've had time to go up to the buffet a couple of times, the entrees will arrive, hot, fresh and delectable. The Hubs and I usually favor the NY Strip Steak and Eggs. The steak is cooked to your preferred temp, the eggs are scrambled and fluffy, and the potatoes are crispy, garlicy and oh-so-good. But you must not let the french toast fool you. A lot of people think, 'eh, french toast is french toast'. Not here. This is, hands down, the best french toast I have ever had! It's made from thick slices of soft and fluffy bread, and topped with berries and a lightly sweetened mascarpone cheese. You won't even need the syrup! It is SO good. The Hubs doesn't even like fruit and he gets this one with the berries, because it's just. So. Good.



     The kid's food is also spectacular. On this visit, our group got chicken fingers, (crispy, lightly-breaded, and juicy white meat), grilled cheese and tomato, (cheesy and flavorful), and they let my son order spaghetti with the Parmesan cream sauce, even though it's not on the menu for kids, due to his allergies and his demand for "long noodles that he can slurp, and a cheesy sauce". (We never said we were not high maintenance.) All of the kids loved their food, but I think their tummies were also pretty full of crispy rice treats, marshmallows, and strawberries from the chocolate fountain. It's hard to deny your kid dessert before entrees when it's just sitting out there! Of course, they had no problem also squeezing in the orange sorbet that Jessica brought out for my son, due to his egg allergy and inability to eat most of what was on the dessert table. This was so kind of Jessica and considerate of her to bring one for each kid, even though it was only my son who needed an alternate dessert. The kids all got up and hugged her, they were so excited!





     As you can see, between the incredible food, the fantastic service, the live entertainment and the international flare of the cuisine and the servers, it's pretty darn close to being on a Disney Cruise. Maybe that's why I love it so very much. I am constantly in a state of PDCD (Post Disney Cruise Depression), and this gem of a restaurant fulfills my cruise needs on land, as best as possible. AND did I mention kids eat free??? I mean, come ON. You can't beat that! (Maria and Enzo's management, if you are reading this, please don't end that offer, like ever.)

     If I haven't convinced you that you must add brunch at Maria and Enzo's to your next Disney dining itinerary, then I have not done my job here and I am so sorry to have let you down. Nah, I know that's not the case! As you read this, you're emailing your agent at Kingdom Konsultant Travel and having them shift some stuff around so you can fit it in. I know you are! Well, enjoy and let me know how much you love it too!

     Until next time, Disney Foodies, have a magical week!


                                            Jenn


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