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Ears the News with Richard

There is increasing speculation around Epcot that the Garden Grill character lunch may return later this year. The Garden Grill stopped offering lunch a few years ago leaving dinner as the only meal served.  A series of recent tests have been undertaken, including some with tour groups, pointing to lunch making a return to this location. 

Disney will be launching a new NextGen mobile app in August of 2012 for visitors to the Walt Disney World Resort.  

My Disney Experience” will be available for iPhone, iPad, and Android, and will ultimately replace the existing 
Disney Parks mobile app “Mobile Magic” in early 2013.  The app will be free on each platform's app store. It is expected that the new app will include features that will be part of the Next Generation FASTPASS RFID system, along with other enhancements.  The existing information available in Mobile Magic, such as wait times and maps, will continue to be part of the new app. Blackberry and Windows phone versions are expected later, and a version for Disneyland will be available in 2013.

The complete lineup for all of the events at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival has been announced.

The full list kosk menus can be found here.

The Eat to the Beat concert lineup can be found here

A list for the hard ticket dining events can be found here.

A list of the special experiences can be found here.

The entire 14th floor of the Contemporary will undergo a complete refurbishment between January and the summer of 2013. Every element of the 14th floor will be redone including the rooms, suites, room corridors, hallways, and the concierge lounge.  Elements from the previously shelved “Wellness Suites” are expected to make their way into the new design.

Complimentary park-wide WiFi is now available in the Magic Kingdom. The WiFi name is 'Disney-Guest'. The remaining parks, along with Downtown Disney will be coming online in the next few months.  Disney has already completed the roll out of complimentary internet in all of its resort hotels.

The Walt Disney World Passholder website has announced that there will be passholder previews in November 2012 for the new Fantasyland in the Magic Kingdom. 

From the official Passholder website:

New Fantasyland Passholder Preview 
Be among the first to experience the enchantment of New Fantasyland during a special Passholder Preview in November 2012! Upon completion, Fantasyland will nearly double in size – for the largest expansion in the history of Magic Kingdom Park. 

Registration details are coming soon and will be communicated via email and here on the Passholder website. Event capacity is limited, so be sure to watch for these updates! Valid Magic Kingdom Theme Park admission is required to attend this event.
Photo from WDWMagic

RFID payment terminals are now in operation throughout Disney's Contemporary Resort. Each register is equipped with a Mickey head logo RFID reader, along with a traditional magnetic card reader.  Once the NextGen roll out begins later this year, guests will be able to simply touch their RFID resort ID to the reader for automatic charging to their room.  Guests paying by other means swipe their card through the reader. The Contemporary Resort currently has these readers installed at Contempo Cafe and the gift shops.  It is expected that these readers will be installed at every register property wide in the near future.


Photo from WDWMagic




NextGen RFID entry scanners are now in place at the entrance to the Haunted Mansion.  The entry is located in the center of the gated area, just to the right of the standby line. Along with the two RFID scanners, there is a computer screen for the cast members to deal with any issues.




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