Friday, May 16, 2014

Ears the News with Richard


Starting May 20 2014, the Magic Kingdom's Tinker Bell meet and greet will be relocated to Town Square Theater on Main Street U.S.A. Inside the new Garden Theater at Town Square Theater, you will shrink down to the size of a fairy where you will find a magical portal to be transported to Tinker Bell's Magical Nook.
FastPass+ will be available for the new meet and greet, but unlike at the Adventureland location, only Tinker Bell will be available for meet and greets.

Mickey Mouse will also continue to meet and greet at Town Square Theater.

The once thought dead Flamingo Crossings project has sprung back to life. Plans for two Marriot hotels have been submitted for permitting.
The permit applications call for two hotels on one site, the first is a 'TownePlace Suites by Marriott,' and the other a 'SpringHill Suites by Marriott.' Both hotels operate on the low to mid side budget of the market. Marriot describes the 'TownePlace Suites' as "designed for comfortable long-term stays, featuring full- sized kitchens, high-tech amenities and more." SpringHill Suites are described as "Style and space. Beautifully priced."
When announced back in 2007, Flamingo Crossings early development plans included 4,000 - 5,000 low- to mid-rise, value-priced lodging units and 300,000 - 500,000 square feet of commercial space. Designed around a retail village, the development was expected to become a convenient shopping and service center for Cast Members, nearby residents and Central Florida visitors. Flamingo Crossings is located outside Disney's gateway around the interchange where Western Way meets the Western Beltway.
Should the projects get the go ahead, potentially a whole host of new hotel options would become available to guests staying at Walt Disney World. Located right at the Western entrance, the hotels would be situated just minutes form the parks, and the nearest Disney hotel, Coronado Springs Resort. It would also seem likely that once the hotels begin construction, other amenities would quickly move into the area with the site anchored by the hotels.
Disney has not yet made any official announcements about the project.

Donald and Daisy began a new meet and greet at Disney's Animal Kingdom May 11 2014. Replacing the Winnie the Pooh and Tigger meet and greet, you will be able to meet Donald and Daisy at the Character Landing on Discovery Island.
Initially, only a standby line will be available, with no FastPass+ being offered.

Image courtesy Disney Parks Blog
The unprecedented popularity of the Frozen character appearances and merchandise has caused a change to the Magic Kingdom's morning rope drop procedure. In an attempt to stop those guests desperate to be first in line for the Frozen meet and greet from running through the park, guests are now slowly walked along Main Street U.S.A. behind a rope, all the way through to Fantasyland. Previously, guests were free to walk along Main Street U.S.A. and would stop at ropes at the entrance to each land prior to opening.
Before this new rope drop procedure was put in place, guests were sprinting along Main Street U.S.A., cutting through stores and doing whatever it took to be first in-line at Princess Fairytale Hall, and even the merchandise locations selling Frozen items.
The stores are frequently selling out of merchandise, despite having a 5 identical item per person limit. The Frozen meet and greet with Elsa and Anna routinely has standby wait times in the 200 minute region, even though FastPass+ is also now available.

Polynesian Village Concept Art
Guests staying at Disney's Polynesian Resort during the main Nanea Volcano Pool refurbishment will receive a complimentary day at Blizzard Beach water park. The refurbishment is expected to begin in late July 2014 through to early 2015, although precise dates are not yet available.
Here is an excerpt from the letter sent to guests staying at the Polynesian Resort.
Images Courtesy Disney Parks Blog
“We anticipate the Nanea Volcano Pool and Slide to close for enhancement in late July through early 2015. Should you find the pool unavailable during your stay, one complimentary ticket to Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park, our watery winter wonderland featuring w
aterslides, a wave pool, water play areas for the kids and more, will be given to each member of your party. To ensure you have a seamless visit to the Park, we will provide transportation to a dedicated check-in at Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park where you will receive your complimentary tickets and towels.”

The newly refurbished children's activity center at Disney's Polynesian Resort will be opening to guests on June 17 2014.
Formerly known as the 'Never Land Club,' the new activity center is inspired by classic Disney Little Golden Books. Children will be able to take part in crafts, dress-up and story time. The Never Land Club closed in early January 2014 to begin the refurbishment.
Reservations can be made now for June 17 2014 and onwards by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

Disney has also confirmed more changes coming to Disney's Polynesian Resort. 'Pineapple Lenai' food and beverage kiosk will be opening later this year, offering tropical treats, including the Dole Whip.
The Nanea Volcano pool is set to receive several enhancements, including expanding to include a new aquatic playground with slides for children, a hot tub, and a larger deck with more seating for guests. The pool area will close at the end of July for the upgrades that will last through until early 2015.

Disney has just announced the Eat to the Beat concert series performer line-up for this year's Food and Wine Festival.
Part of the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival, concerts take place daily between September 19 and November 10 2014, and are included with park admission. New acts coming this year to the Eat to the Beat concert series include the Jo Dee Messina, Fuel and Los Lonely Boys.

Sept. 19-21 – Jo Dee Messina
Sept. 22-23 – The Pointer Sisters
Sept. 24-25 – Rick Springfield
Image courtesy Disney Travel Professionals
Sept. 26-27 – Christopher Cross
Sept. 28-29 – Hanson
Sept. 30-Oct. 2 – Air Supply
Oct. 3-5 – STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas
Oct. 6-8 – Sugar Ray
Oct. 9-10 – Fuel
Oct. 11-12 – Sister Hazel
Oct. 13-14 – TBD
Oct. 15-16 – Billy Ocean
Oct. 17-19 – Night Ranger
Oct. 20-22 – Smash Mouth
Oct. 23-24 – Jim Brickman
Oct. 25-26 – Los Lonely Boys
Oct. 27-28 – Wilson Phillips
Oct. 29-31 – Dennis DeYoung, original member of STYX
Nov. 1-2 – 38 Special
Nov. 3-5 – Boyz II Men
Nov. 6-7 – David Cook
Nov. 8-10 – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy

New this year on the World Showcase promenade will be Patagonia Marketplace, which combines the flavors of Argentina and Chile featuring a salmon dish with a kick. Florida Local Marketplace will be replaced with the new Farm Fresh Marketplace, featuring a new “Bacon and Eggs” dish with applewood-smoked, pepper-coated bacon, sweet corn, potatoes, Hollandaise and pickled jalapeƱos. Finally, the Brazil Marketplace will feature Mocequa de Pescado, a fresh tilapia dish featuring coconut lime sauce and steamed rice.
Along with the new marketplaces, expect to see your favorites return when the festival begins on September 19 2014. This year's event is the longest in its 19 year history, running a total of 53 days, through to November 10 2014.

Also new this year will be Back to Basics series at the Festival Welcome Center. The complimentary weekend series will feature guest presenters with epicurean tips and tricks from the pros. Culinary demonstrations and mixology and wine seminars will continue to offer new tastes and sips for a nominal fee.

Other festival highlights include:
More than 270 chefs including Disney chefs and culinary stars from across the country.
Party for the Senses grand tasting events Saturday evenings showcasing tempting bites from eminent chefs, more than 50 wines and beers and live entertainment.
Premium events include the back-by-demand “Parisian Breakfast” on Saturdays; new “Sunday Mornings with…” plated brunch starring an acclaimed pastry chef or baker crafting three favorite desserts for sampling; and new “Boot Camp Series” interactive experience with epicurean challenges to hone your “inner chef.”

Opening night through Sept. 21, new festival act Jo Dee Messina will rock the house at America Gardens Theatre as part of Eat to the Beat. Other new beats on tap include Rick Springfield (Sept. 24-25); Fuel (Oct. 9-10); Jim Brickman (Oct. 23-24); Los Lonely Boys (Oct. 25-26); and David Cook (Nov. 6-7). The Pointer Sisters (Sept. 22-23), Christopher Cross (Sept. 26-27) and other fan favorites will return to play the festival stage. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy (Nov. 8-10) will close the event.
Renowned chefs such as Warren Brown, Rock Harper, Jennifer Hill Booker, Erika Davis, Paula DaSilva, Gale Gand, Dana Herbert, Jamie Deen, Jerome Brown, Dean Max, “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro, Allen Susser, Duskie Estes and John Stewart will share their talents during culinary demos and premium events.





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