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5 disney things July 1

5 Disney Things You Should Know This Week – July 1, 2016

Each Friday, I provide 5 Disney things all Disney fans should know from this past week, just in case you missed them. This week, we feature news from Walt Disney World including information on the Candlelight Procesional packages, the Epcot Food & Wine Festival and other additional to Walt Disney World.

2016 Candlelight Processional Packages Now Available

If you are interested in booking a Candlelight Processional package at Epcot this year, bookings are now open for all restaurants. As a part of Holidays Around the World at Epcot, this favorite Walt Disney World Resort holiday tradition presents the story of Christmas in truly spectacular fashion – with a celebrity narrator, a 50-piece orchestra and a mass choir.

Celebrity narrators this year include some returning favorites like contemporary Christian music singer Steven Curtis Chapman, actors Whoopi Goldberg and Neil Patrick Harris and newcomers like legendary baseball player Cal Ripken, Jr. Here’s the list of confirmations we have so far:

  • 11/25-27 – Steven Curtis Chapman
  • 11/28-12/1 – Neil Patrick Harris
  • 12/2-12/3 – Whoopi Goldberg
  • 12/4-12/12 – TBA
  • 12/13-12/15 – Meredith Vieira
  • 12/16-12/18 – TBA
  • 12/19-12/21 – Joe Morton
  • 12/22-12/27 – TBA
  • 12/28-12/30 – Cal Ripken, Jr.

The processional is performed three times per night (5:00, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m.) during the holiday season at the American Gardens Theatre. These packages, available on select nights, include a delicious meal and a guaranteed seat for one of the Candlelight Processional performances. Availability is limited.

Magic Kingdom PinQuest


Check it out, Walt Disney World has announced a new Disney pin trading scavenger hunt is coming to Magic Kingdom Park on June 30. 2016. The first step for this PinQuest is to purchase an adventure kit which contains a lanyard to showcase your pins; a decoder medal for use with PinQuest pins; and a lanyard pouch to hold the map included in the adventure kit. The lanyard pouch also holds PinQuest clue cards which are sold separately.

There are six different PinQuest clue cards. Each clue card has a question that needs answered and shared with a NavigatEAR Cast Member in a particular location. Once solved, you can redeem the clue card for a PinQuest pin using the perforated ticket on the bottom of the clue card.

For more information: New Disney PinQuest Coming to Magic Kingdom

2016 Epcot Food & Wine Festival

epcot food wine festival

Information and dates have finally been released for the 2016 Epcot Food & Wine Festival. This year includes additonal food booths, more classes and celebrity chefs and of course teh Eat to the Beat concert series. Did I mention it is the longest Food & Wine Festival in the history of Epcot? 62 days!

For more information: 2016 Epcot Food & Wine Festival

Frontera Cocina now open at Disney Springs

frontera cocina

More Disney World restaurants are always welcome. This week, Frontera Cocina, the newest dining experience to join the lineup at Disney Springs, is now open! Located in Town Center, Frontera Cocina features exciting flavors and a contemporary Mexican experience developed by renowned Chef Rick Bayless.

Chef Bayless offers his award-winning taste of dishes such as Oaxacan Red Chile Chicken, Salsa Verde Shrimp Enchiladas Suizas and freshly made salsas and guacamole. There’s also a quick-service taco counter.

Chef Bayless created his Frontera franchise in Chicago in 1981. His other notable restaurants include Xoco, Frontera Grill, Toplobampo, Leña Brava and Cruz Blanca. He may be best known for winning the title of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef Masters,” but his national Public Television Series, “Mexico–One Plate at a Time,” is in its 10th season. He’s won multiple awards from the James Beard Foundation, including the foundation’s highest award, Outstanding Restaurant, for Frontera Grill in 2007. He also won two for his cookbooks, Midwest Chef of the Year, National Chef of the Year, Humanitarian of the Year and Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America.

‘Inside Disney Parks’ Newscast #4

Episode 4 of the Inside Disney Parks newscast is now available, and includes all the information you need to enjoy the 4th of July at Walt Disney World. Enjoy!

Did I miss any Disney news this week that should have been included?

best disney springs snack

Best Disney Springs Snack

Disney Springs, which once was known as Downtown Disney, is changing on what seems like a daily basis. In fact, a new area just opened this week which included 7 new restaurants and new shopping options. More is to come, and once completed, Disney Springs will be more than double the size of the original Downtown Disney. While it was once a side attraction to Disney and Orlando visitors, pretty soon it will become a destination for many, especially those staying on Disney property. With many Walt Disney World guests using the Disney Dining plans, those guests will be trying to use more and more of their meal credits at Disney Springs restaurants, so the addition of more and more restaurants is a plus. When using a dining plan, it always seems that I have excess credits at the end of the trip, and I have found there are some awesome snack options available at Disney Springs. So, what is the best Disney Springs Snack?

Best Disney Springs Snack Option

Many of you are familiar with Raglan Road, and their fantastic desserts. How many of you are aware of Cookes of Dublin? Probably not many, as it has been nearly impossible to get to recently with all the temporary walls around Disney Springs. It is located on the south side of Raglan Road, and with the town center section now open, it is once again easy to find. If you are looking for a great counter service restaurant in Disney Springs, this is a fantastic option. Fish and Chips, yummy savory pies and fantastic desserts.

The desserts lead us directly to the best Disney Springs snack, the “Doh Bar”. The name doesn’t do much for you, but how about the description?

Donut Battered, Deep Fried Snickers or Mars Bars

doh bar

I can’t find fault with even one of those words. Personally, while the Snickers options sounds better (I would much rather choose to eat a plan Snickers over a Mars Bar), for some reason the Mars Bar makes a much better Doh Bar. I am not sure if it is because of the peanuts, but the Mars Bar option is chocolaty and gooey and just perfect.

While I completely expect more snack options to show up as Disney Springs expands, it is going to be hard to find a better Disney Springs snack option that the Doh Bar.

Have you ever had a “Doh Bar”?

best disney springs restaurant

Best Disney Springs Restaurant for Kids

While the old Downtown Disney may have seemed a bit dated and tired, the new Disney Springs appears to be a fantastic collection of new restaurants and shops, and warrants a visit from anyone who hasn’t been recently. Disney Springs is a great place to head if you have a few hours at the beginning or end of your vacation, as no addmisison is required. We usually stop by one evening after visiting Animal Kingdom, but with that park staying open later now, we may need to find some other time to visit. There are quite a few new restaurants in Disney Springs, and we were wondering, what is the best Disney Springs restaurant for kids?

I narrowed it down to two options for you, two completely different restaurants, one of them should work well for your family:

Best Disney Springs Restaurant for Kids

  • Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant – Raglan Road is a MUST DO for my family, and has been since the restaurant opened in 2005. The entire bar area was imported directly from a Pub in Dublin, it is fantastic. Raglan Road features Irish entrees that are absolutely gigantic in proportion, along with some of the best desserts anywhere. I dream about their bread & butter pudding. Yum! For kids, Raglan Road offers some Irish choices like Young Shepherd’s Pie and Dalkey Duo (dalkey-battered sausages) as well as some Americanized items like Macaroni & Cheese and chicken fingers. The best thing about Raglan Road though is the entertainment, kids absolutely love it. They have nightly music and Irish dancing, and if you fancy taking a turn, they will even let you get on stage to show of your Irish moves. Reservations are required, especially for dinner, and Raglan Road accepts the Disney Dining Plan as payment, 1 table service credit per person. Hey, I got through that entire thing and didn’t even mention the Guinness on tap. Silly me.
  • T-Rex – The Dinosaur themed Rainforest Cafe. That isn’t even fair, I really, really like T-Rex and can’t stand Rainforest Cafe. T-Rex features a bunch of dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals placed all around the restaurant, plus ample use of aquariums make the place really, really fun for both adults and kids. If your young ones scare easily because of darkness, loud sounds or dinosaurs, you may want to rethink this choice and go elsewhere, but the darkness and loud sounds are really short and are spread out, but the dinosaurs are ever-present. The food here is what you would associated with Flinstones, HUGE portions of meat and potatoes. While they do offer salads and sea food, this is a place that Fred Flinstone would be comfortable visiting. While you won’t get a side of brontosaurus ribs dropped on your car, you can order a Bronto Burger (not real brontosaur meat BTW), a Mastadon Stuffed Chicken or the Boneyard Buffet, which includes a lot of everything on the menu. Kids meals are similar, with entrees such as Prehistoric Pop’n Shrimp, Lava Lasagna and Mini Mes-O-Bones (ribs). T-Rex has pretty decent food and a fantastic atmosphere. Just be warned, if you go once, you will be going every single trip to Disney from that point forward, as it will become your kid’s number one request when planning your dining. Reservations are a must, and T-Rex accepts the Disney Dining Plan as payment, 1 table service credit per person.

So, what is your favorite Disney Springs restaurant for your kids?