Friday, March 16, 2018

Ears the News: March 16, 2018 Edition


Welcome to the latest edition of Ears the News

Brought to you by our friends at WDWMagic.com.


Starting April 13, 2018, Disney's Contemporary Resort will introduce a brand-new, playful and immersive Pixar character experience as part of a pilot program. 

Each night, kids, ages 4-12, will be transported to a world full of excitement and adventure with their favorite characters from Disney•Pixar’s “Toy Story” and “The Incredibles”!

It all kicks off with Space Ranger Training where kids will learn how to identify and battle enemies of the Star Command. Then, Woody and Jessie will show them the ropes of the Wild West during Woody’s Roundup. During the Piston Cup Challenge, youngsters will be able to build a race car, then race it on the Radiator Springs Racetrack. And finally, kids will learn some sweet dance moves during the Incredible Dance Party with Mr. Incredible and Mrs. Incredible. What else is on the menu? Games, dinner and dessert, of course!
Concept Art courtesy of Disney
The nightly getaway for kids, ages 4-12, will open doors for registration at 5pm and programming will run from 6 - 10:30pm for a fee of $65 per child (plus tax). Children must be fully toilet-trained.

While the kids play, parents can enjoy their own getaway throughout Walt Disney World Resort.

Guests can reserve their spot at Pixar Play Zone by calling 407-824-KIDS.

The Turtle Pond Pool, Turtle Shack Snack Bar and Flying Fish Gameroom will be closing for refurbishment at Disney's Old Key West Resort.

Refurbishment work will begin April 21 with a reopening expected on June 22, 2018. The Sandcastle Pool will remain open as normal during the refurbishment of the Turtle Pond Pool area.

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festive, now in its 23rd year, will run from August 30 to November 12, 2018.

The earlier start in August for 2017 appears to have been a success, with the 75 days once again beginning in August for 2018.

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort has revealed the menu and themed areas for the 2018 Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic, returning Friday October 26 and Saturday October 27, 2018.

The menu features returning festival favorites alongside new dishes and a Hawaiian Luau themed area, making its debut. Fans can now visit www.SwanDolphinFoodandWineClassic.com to view the 2018 food menu as well as purchase tickets and overnight packages. 

Photo courtesy of WDWMagic.com.

Notable new dishes on the 2018 menu include:
  • Dynamite Rock Shrimp with late season Zellwood corn, wasabi foam, matsutake mushrooms, Japanese eggplant and crispy lotus root from Todd English’s bluezoo 
  • Vietnamese Lemongrass Meatballs “On a Stick” with Vermicelli noodles, pickled vegetables and sriracha espuma from Cabana Bar and Beach Club 
  • Braised beef agnolotti with caponata-agrodolce, baby leeks, and glace de viande mornay sauce from Il Mulino 
  • Shake & Bake Style Southern Fried Chicken with black eyed pea puree, white cheddar fondue and bacon infused roasted garlic gravy from Picabu 

Returning favorites include:
  • Oven roasted beef rib eye from Shula’s Steakhouse
  • Dragon sushi roll from Kimonos
The new Hawaiian Luau themed area will be called The Pig & Poke and joins the event’s other popular themed areas that offer specialty cuisine in immersive atmospheres: Carnival Corner, Chinatown, Bubble Lounge and a Beer Garden. More information on The Pig & Poke will be announced later.

Original dessert offerings will once again be served by World Champion Pastry Chef Laurent Branlard.

The ninth annual Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic will also bring back the Sunday Bubbles Brunch on Sunday, October 28.

For a full list of current menu offerings, please visit www.swandolphinfoodandwineclassic.com/eat/menu/all.html

The Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic offers guests unlimited tastings at more than 60 stations featuring culinary selections from the hotel’s award-winning restaurants and wine from more than 30 wineries amidst a festive backdrop of live entertainment on the hotel’s scenic causeway. Upgraded ticket options allow guests to enjoy access to a beer garden featuring a wide selection of craft beers and Oktoberfest-inspired cuisine. The event also includes hands-on seminars with the hotel’s chefs and certified beverage experts.

Overnight and multiple-night package options are available for the ninth-annual Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic and can be booked by phone at 1-888-828-8850.

'Tiffins Talks' ticketed event coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of Disney's Animal Kingdom, the Party for the Planet event will include special dining experiences featuring presentations by key experts who have had a hand in shaping the park.

Pricing is $165 per person (tax and gratuity included), with the event beginning at 5:30pm. Reservations can be made by calling (407) WDW-DINE or online. Park admission is required and is no included. 

  • Sunday, April 22, 2018 – Dr. Joseph Soltis, a research scientist at the park, will speak about the “Elephants and Bees” project in which honeybees are helping people and elephants in Kenya. The menu will feature African cuisine. 
  • Wednesday, April 25, 2018 – Joe Rohde, a veteran Imagineer, will share tales from his adventures all over Asia, India, Nepal and China. The chefs of Tiffins will follow Joe’s journeys with a menu inspired by his travels. 
  • Friday, April 27, 2018 – Dr. Jason Fischer, one of the park’s Conservation Program Managers will speak about Disney’s efforts to conserve the purple martin, a remarkable migratory songbird that travels to Walt Disney World Resort from the Brazilian Amazon to raise a family each year. The menu will feature North American cuisine. 
  • Sunday, April 29, 2018 – Rachel Daneault, one of the park’s Zoological Managers, will talk about the Gorilla Rehabilitation and Conservation Education Center (GRACE) project that Disney supports in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The menu will feature African cuisine. 
  • Wednesday, May 2, 2018 – Dr. Anne Savage, the park’s Conservation Director, will speak about the cotton-top tamarin conservation project Disney supports in Colombia. The menu will feature South American cuisine. 
  • Friday, May 4, 2018 – Dr. Scott Terrell, Director of Animal and Science Operations, will chat about caring for the Sumatran tigers that call Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park home, as well as the conservation work Disney is doing to protect tigers in Asia. The menu will feature Asian cuisine. 

Disney announced that it would begin charging for overnight parking for guests at it resorts. However they may be backpedaling on that decision.

The following announcement and details were released on March 14th.

Effective for reservations made March 21, 2018 and thereafter, standard overnight self-parking is available to registered Guests for a fee that will be applied to their hotel folio upon check-out. All parking fees include applicable tax.

Standard Overnight Parking charges per Resort Category:
  • Disney Value Resorts: $13 per night 
  • Disney Moderate Resorts: $19 per night 
  • Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts: $24 per night 
  • Complimentary standard parking is available to Guests staying at the Campsites at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. Each campsite provides parking space for one (1) motorized vehicle. 
Complimentary standard self-parking is available for dining, shopping, entertainment, and recreation experiences at Disney Resort hotels.

Disney Vacation Club Members will not be charged for standard overnight self-parking when staying at a DVC Deluxe Villa, regardless of whether they use vacation points or another form of payment. Members also will not be charged to park when using vacation points to stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel.

Registered Guests of Disney Resort Hotels, select Annual Passholders, Premium Passholders and Disney Premier Passport holders will continue to receive complimentary standard self-parking at Disney Theme Parks.

Disney's official parking information page is no longer listing any parking charges for its resort hotels, although it is unclear if the announcement of parking charges has been reversed.

The official site's parking page now says "Standard self-parking at Resort hotels is complimentary for Resort Guests. Valet parking is available at select Disney Deluxe Resorts for $25 per day."

However, the official website's individual resort pages now list the parking fees as coming March 21. The Animal Kingdom Lodge page states "Effective for new reservations made March 21, 2018 and thereafter, standard overnight self-parking is available to registered Guests for a fee of $24 per night. Valet parking is also available for $33 per night. All parking fees include applicable tax.

Complimentary standard self-parking is available while you enjoy select dining, shopping, entertainment, and recreation experiences at this Resort."

It is unusual for Disney to reverse course on decisions, particularly once they are made public, although this particular decision has faced a lot of criticism online.

It may well be that the official parking page will be updated with pricing after March 21, when the price changes were announced to be taking effect.

Disney's Typhoon Lagoon water park is getting in on the ticketed events with the introduction of a new Toy Story inspired H2O Glow Night event.
On select summer nights starting June 21, 2018, special lighting effects will transform the water park like never before as Buzz, Woody and Jessie throw a Beach Party inspired by their friend, “Partysaurus” Rex. Come join the fun, dance on the beach, play party games, and meet up with Buzz, Woody and Jessie, plus, all attractions are open for guest enjoyment.

Disney H20 Glow Nights will take place only at Typhoon Lagoon on Thursdays and Saturdays from June 21-August 11, from 8-11pm.

Disney H20 Glow Nights are a separate ticketed event and the party is not included in daytime admission. Tickets will go sale March 19 and cost $55 for adults and $50 for children ages 3-9 (plus tax). For more information and to purchase tickets, call (407) 939-1872.

At Epcot, the Midnattsol Bakeri is now open during the refurbishment of the Kringla Bakeri og Kafe in the Norway Pavilion.

Kringla closed on February 4, 2018, and work will include expanding the location, with a reopening expected in the summer of 2018.

Disney has today announced start dates for each of the new additions coming to Walt Disney World as part of its Incredible Summer celebration.

Spearheaded by the opening of Toy Story Land at Disney's Hollywood Studios on June 30, 2018, the Incredible Summer celebration will also feature new offerings at all four parks.

An Incredible Tomorrowland Expo begins at Magic Kingdom May 25
Favorite Disney•Pixar Super Heroes will take over Tomorrowland from May 25 through September 3 2018, as part of an Incredible Tomorrowland Expo that celebrates “all things super.” Guests can interact with Mr. Incredible, Frozone and other supers from Disney•Pixar’s “The Incredibles” and upcoming “Incredibles 2.” And, for the first time ever, guests will get to see Edna Mode. Tomorrowland will also be decked out with Incredibles d├ęcor and sounds from the film. Guests can also enjoy a “SUPER” dance party on the Rocket Tower Stage.

The Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live! Concert Series begins June 9 at Epcot
Star-Lord and Gamora from “Guardians of the Galaxy” will take guests on a musical journey through the cosmos in The Guardians of the Galaxy – Awesome Mix Live! concert series. Shows will feature tunes from Star-Lord’s Awesome Mixtapes, the two movie soundtracks. The group will take the stage five times daily, June 9 through August 19 2018.

UP! A Great Bird Adventure & Donald’s Dino-Bash! Begin at Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s Anniversary Celebration April 22
Disney’s Animal Kingdom will kick off their 20th anniversary celebration April 22, and will launch two new animal-themed experiences. Donald’s Dino-Bash! is a “dino-tastic” celebration where Donald Duck takes over Dinoland, U.S.A. to celebrate his recent discovery that ducks are descendants of dinosaurs. Feathered friends Scrooge McDuck and Launchpad McQuack and other friends of Donald will be on hand to meet guests. In addition to bringing his own decorating touch to the land, Donald will throw a nightly dance party where everyone is welcome to “shake their tail feathers.”

Also debuting April 22 is the new show, UP! A Great Bird Adventure, which features Russell and Dug from the Disney•Pixar animated film “UP.” In the new show, they’ll team up to discover species of birds from around the world.

Concept Art courtesy of Disney

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.

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