Friday, November 8, 2013

Ears the News with Richard

FastPass+ will begin testing this month for the first time with guests staying at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin. Guests arriving between 11/4/2013 and 1/12/2014 will be eligible for the FastPass+ testing. Unlike guests staying at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels, guests taking part in this test will not have access to MagicBands, and will not be able to make advance FastPass+ reservations. Instead, guests will need to visit a MyMagic+ service center at a park, where they can then make FastPass+ selections for that day and park.

This is the first time that FastPass+ has been tested with guests staying at a non Walt Disney World resort hotel.

Photo Courtsey of Disney Parks Blog
The official Disney Parks Blog has given fans a sneak peek at the soon-to-open Jingle Cruise at the Magic Kingdom with an attraction poster and look at some of the props. The holiday overlay to the Jungle Cruise opens on 11/8/2013, with holiday decorations throughout the queue and seasonal jokes provided by the skippers onboard holiday named boats.  2013 will be the first time the overlay has been done, and will be featured at both the Magic Kingdom and at Disneyland.
Photo Courtsey of Disney Parks Blog


The 'Holly Jolly Trolley Show' can be seen daily throughout the holiday season each morning - check the times guide for times

Video from WDWMagic

Holiday Services has removed the Halloween decor and in two nights transformed Main Street U.S.A. into a celebration of the holiday season. The Christmas Tree will not be in place until 12/9/2013 following the taping of the ABC Christmas Day Parade special a few days before.
The Magic Kingdom is in the holiday season and Celebrate the Magic has now switched into the holiday edition.  Unlike last year where the holiday segment was in the middle of the show, this year it plays at the end of the regular Celebrate the Magic and features a dream light conclusion. 

Video from WDWMagic

House of Blues at Downtown Disney West Side will soon be adding a new outdoor quick service dining option. Work is currently underway to relocate the concert ticket sales booth inside the existing House of Blues merchandise store. This will then free up the space in the existing ticket sales building to become the new quick service location offering barbecue food. The project should be complete by mid-January 2014.

Disney seems to have recognized the lack of walk-up food options on this side of Downtown Disney, and the West Side is now ramping up the number of quick service options. Already announced and ready to open soon is the addition of four food trucks, and that will be complimented by the new Starbucks, and the building of the new Wetzel's Pretzels and Haagen Dazs Ice Cream kiosks near to DisneyQuest. If you are looking for some food without the table service, expect the West Side to be meeting your needs in the next couple of months.

The International Food and Wine Festival is nearing a close for 2013 and Disney is now looking ahead to the 2014 Flower and Garden Festival.

The 2014 Flower and Garden festival will be the 21st year and will run from 3/5/2044  to 5/18/2014, and for the first time will feature Muppet topiary. Miss Piggy will join Kermit at the World Showcase Plaza area display. The World Showcase marketplace kiosks will return, offering a second chance at some food and wine. New menu items include Piggylicious Bacon Cupcakes and a Barbecued Chicken Leg at the Smokehouse Barbecue marketplace.

Read on for more details in the full press release from Disney.
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Kermit the Frog will find it is easy being green when his artfully-crafted character topiary debuts during the 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV March 5 to May 18, 2014 at Walt Disney World Resort. With flamboyance to spare, a floral Miss Piggy will join Kermit and his blooming banjo in the World Showcase topiary display.
Nearly 100 topiaries will animate the landscape during the 75 days when Epcot transforms to a rainbow-hued wonderland of sweeping gardens and exhibits. Back for a second year: outdoor food-and-beverage marketplaces exclusive to this festival that feature sweet and savory bites worthy of indulgence. After debuting at the 2013 festival, the marketplaces will return with new menu items like Piggylicious Bacon Cupcakes and a Barbecued Chicken Leg at the Smokehouse Barbecue marketplace. Floral-flavored lemonades will feature rose and violet notes, and specialty cocktails, wines and beers will offer menu-pairing possibilities. Last year’s top menu picks like the Watermelon Salad with local baby arugula, feta cheese, pickled red onions and balsamic reduction will be back for an encore at the Florida Fresh marketplace.

More Festival News . . .

Goofy, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck topiaries will appear in a new Epcot front entrance garden vignette celebrating spring with a butterfly hunt adventure. The topiaries will have a new computer-generated look while telling an entertaining story. Goofy’s butterfly net will prove useless as topiary butterflies light on the back of his floral garb. A topiary bee buzzes on an exasperated Donald’s head. The garden will feature a real waterfall and pond with water lilies.

A new Timon topiary will join Pumbaa near the park’s Outpost location between China and Germany. Meanwhile, Peter Pan, Captain Hook and Croc return for a second year to the United Kingdom showcase. Dozens of additional character topiaries, including Mickey Mouse, will surprise guests beyond the park’s iconic Spaceship Earth.

The Flower Power Concert Series welcomes two new acts this year: Gary Lewis and the Playboys (“This Diamond Ring”) March 14-16, and The Alan Parsons Live Project (“Eye in the Sky”) May 16-18. During opening weekend, the series kicks off at America Gardens Theatre with fan-favorite band The Guess Who (“American Woman”) March 7-9. Other pop acts set to perform include Chubby Checker & the Wildcats, The Village People and Paul Revere & The Raiders. (Entertainment is subject to change).

Florida agriculture will be in the spotlight at a large World Showcase garden exhibiting fresh Florida crops to include citrus, sugar cane, berries and vegetables.

For the second year, illuminated gardens will cast a festive glow across the park when the sun sets each evening.

Back by demand, the Disney-Pixar “Cars” garden and playground will bring favorite movie characters to life. Tinker Bell’s Butterfly House will be aflutter with hundreds of the winged beauties and fairy topiaries of Tinker Bell and Periwinkle.

At the Festival Center in the park’s Future World, twice-daily interactive gardening workshops will set the stage for outdoor do-it-yourself inspiration, and gardening guest speakers will appear daily. Fridays through Sundays, HGTV design celebrities will host home, garden and design seminars.
As they sample from marketplace menus, guests can wander among multiple themed gardens and children’s play areas. Dozens of Disney-crafted “flower towers,” herb gardens and beds of multi-colored blooms will add to the floral splendor of the park’s landscape. Disney’s garden gurus estimate 70,000 bedding plants will surround the Future World east and west lakes alone; on the water, 220 mini-gardens will be set afloat. Several special weekend happenings, including the popular Art in the Garden Weekend, will be scheduled.

While Disney guests celebrate spring, they also can explore the reimagined, design-centric Test Track Presented by Chevrolet, the hang-gliding sensation of Soarin’ and other high-tech Future World marvels. In World Showcase, the spotlight will shine on topiaries of Disney princesses, storybook characters and even pandas and trolls, guests can discover the attractions, shops and restaurants that represent cultures and cuisine of 11 countries.

For more information about the 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639). As the festival nears, more details will be available at epcotinspring.com. The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

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