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5 disney things

5 Disney Things You Should Know This Week – June 24, 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, Disneyland as well as other Disney parks around the world. See what I did there?

Frozen – Live at the Hyperion Dining Packages

frozen live packages

A few weeks ago, a new Frozen stage show opened at the Hyperion theater in Disney California Adventure. It replaced the long running and super popular Aladdin stage show. Early reviews of Frozen Live have been off the charts fantastic, and the show has been extremely popular and seats have been hard to come by. Well, now you can get reserved seats, along with some yummy treats. Disneyland has launched three new Frozen dining packages, everything from just snacks to a complete dinner are available. Booking is open now, the first packages are available for dates starting next week.

For more informationFrozen Live Dining Packages

Magic Kingdom Holiday Dessert Parties

boo to you

Every year, the Magic Kingdom comes to life with the holiday parties, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. While these parties offer plenty to do, Disney has just introduced new dessert parties during the parties if you want to add a little more to your night in the Magic Kingdom.

There are no tricks, just treats during the HalloWishes Fireworks Dessert Premium Package, available during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, select nights from September 2 to October 31. This frightfully fun package begins with reserved viewing of Mickey’s “Boo-To-You” Halloween Parade on Main Street U.S.A. and is followed by a private fireworks dessert party at Tomorrowland Terrace. Enjoy Halloween-themed confections while you take in the spectacular Happy HalloWishes fireworks.

If you’re planning on attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, have a holly jolly time at theWishes Fireworks Dessert Party, select nights from November 7 to December 22. Take in Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade with reserved viewing on Main Street U.S.A., afterwards, take in fa-la-la-fantastic views of Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season fireworks while enjoying festive treats at a private dessert party at Tomorrowland Terrace.

Dinner reservations for The Crystal Palace Restaurant, Be Our Guest Restaurant and Cinderella’s Royal Table are also now available for party nights.

Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire now open

mickey friendship faire

The Magic Kingdom finally has a new stage show, presented daily right in front of Cinderella’s Castle. Mickey’s Friendship Faire replaces the long running Dream Along with Mickey, and features magic, music and merriment. Against the majestic backdrop of Cinderella Castle, Mickey Mouse and his friends welcome favorite characters from some of Disney’s newest classics: “The Princess and the Frog,” “Tangled” and “Frozen.” The show celebrates the unique stories of the citizens who make up this magical kingdom and the wonderful moments that can happen when we try new things, go to new places and get to know new friends.

“Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire” features fifteen Disney characters, a musical score recorded by the London Symphony, the original song “On This Day” by composers Brendan Milburn and Valerie Vigoda (“Tinker Bell: Secret of the Wings”), elaborate costumes, special effects, a dazzling display of daytime fireworks and more!

Soarin’ Around the World now open

soarin around the world

Soarin’ Over California has been one of the most popular attractions at Disney since it’s launch. This week, Disney replaced the long running Soarin’ film with a new version, Soarin’ Around the World. Soarin’ Around the World elevates guests up to 40 feet into an 80-foot projection screen dome that fill’s a guest’s entire field of vision that gives them the sense of flight. During their journey, guests can expect to spy jaw-dropping natural and man-made landmarks like the Great Wall of China, Sydney Harbor in Australia, and the Matterhorn in Switzerland. Not only that, but a guest may find that their other senses are engaged, feeling, smelling and hearing the new world around them.

‘Inside Disney Parks’ Newscast #3

Episode 3 of the Inside Disney Parks newscast is now available, and includes Frozen Games at Disney’s Blizzard Beach, Animal Kingdom at night (hint, it is awesome!), Frozen Live, a Duffy Monorail in Tokyo and a cool POV video of Big Thunder Mountain. Enjoy!

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

epcot first stop

3 Reasons to make Epcot your First Stop

Visitors to Walt Disney World are faced with a dilemma when starting their vacations: Where do I start? By default, most people start their vacations with a visit to the Magic Kingdom for no reason at all, well, no good one. Personally, I have found that making Epcot your first theme park visit on your Disney World vacation makes for a much better visit to Epcot, and a much better vacation overall. Now, Epcot is my favorite theme park, and if you ask my kids where they would want to spend a day at Disney, it would almost unanimously be Epcot, mostly because we always make it our first stop, and partly because they are my kids and have been forced to love it.

Three Reasons to make Epcot your First Stop

  1. Overstimulation – By spending your first day in the Magic Kingdom, your family is completely over Disney stimulated. They are bombarded with rides and characters and parades and shows and fireworks from the moment they walk into the park until you head home after midnight. They then mentally come to expect this from all four Disney theme parks, and the other parks are really not like that, and Epcot couldn’t be further from that experience. Many of my clients say their kids just don’t like Epcot, but that is because they visit after three straight days of the Magic Kingdom and expect more of the same. By starting at Epcot, you set the stimulation bar low and you enjoy the park for what it has to offer, which makes for a fantastic experience and a fantastic day.
  2. Decent Closing Time – Regardless of the time of year, Epcot closes at exactly the same time every night, 9 PM. Well, technically the fireworks show Illuminations starts at 9 PM every night, then the park closes. Since it is your first day of vacation, 9 PM is a perfect closing time. You have a nice dinner, ride a few more rides, watch the fireworks and are home and in bed by 10 PM. While I love that the Magic Kingdom is open late at time, it isn’t optimal for the start of your vacation. On my last Disney World vacation, I stayed in the Magic Kingdom until 3 AM. It was awesome and basically empty, however, it completely ruined the next day for me, we all slept until mid-afternoon, and just was not worth it. Plus I hate leaving a park early, it feels like you are missing out. Much better to have a decent closing time so you can be back out and at another park first thing.
  3. Dining Options – One of my favorite features of Epcot is all of the dining options you are provided in the park (plus even more near by) due to the country dining locations in the World Showcase. Why is this important? On your first day, you are going to want a nice, decent place to sit down and relax for dinner. Your poor feet are not used to this, and will need a break. Consider going to the Biergarten in Germany or Chefs de France for a great dinner, or maybe even Tokyo Dining in Japan or Restaurant Marrakesh in Morocco for a fun tasty dinner. Epcot is a fantastic place to take your kids to a nice restaurant and dine on something you may not be able to find at home. Epcot restaurants are used to kids every day, all day, so your kids will be welcome and treated with respect. DO NOT book a character meal this first day (remember #1 above), pick one of the World Showcase options and enjoy!

There are my three reasons why you should make Epcot your first stop on your next Disney vacation. Where do you stop first and why?

5 disney things

5 Disney Things You Should Know This Week – June 10, 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 was a very, very slow Disney news week. Here are the super important Disney news items for this week:

Tony’s Town Square Parade Package

tonys town square parade

Walt Disney World has announced a new parade package at the Magic Kingdom, the Tony’s Town Square Parade Dining Package. Similar to the Fantasmic! dining packages in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this new package will include a meal at Tony’s Town Square as well as reserved seating/standing area for the Main Street Electrical Parade.

Reservations can be made to take a mid-day break to refuel and enjoy a three-course lunch at Tony’s Town Square Restaurant. Indulge in a delicious Italian meal, knowing you’ll also receive reserved viewing for the Main Street Electrical Parade, right in front of the flagpole on Main Street U.S.A.

Vacation Club Lounge at Epcot

epcot dvc lounge

This week, a new lounge opened in the Imagination Pavilion at Epcot, exclusively for Disney Vacation Club members and their guests, and it looks fantastic!

Available for Members with paid admission to Epcot, the lounge is open daily from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM. The new lounge is tucked away on the second floor of the Imagination! pavilion (with the Member entrance in the ImageWorks merchandise location on the first floor of the pavilion). Ascend the staircase or take the glass elevator up, and you’ll find yourself inside one of the Imagination! pavilion’s towering glass pyramids. It’s a bright sunshine-filled space that offers commanding views of Epcot.

The lounge is a great place to recharge (yourself and your devices) while visiting the theme park. There’s lots of casual seating, complimentary beverages (including Coca-Cola Freestyle machines), device-charging stations, Wi-Fi, computer stations, a printer and mounted tablets pre-set to help you access myriad Disney websites. There’s even a play area for children where they can test theirDisney Infinity skills or watch some of the latest Disney animated shorts.

While kids are playing, mom and dad can consult with Member Services Advisors who are available daily to assist with dining reservations, future resort stays and more. Weekdays an RCI advisor is be available to help Members navigate exchange options for upcoming vacations.

Catch Les Parfaits Inconnus This Summer at Epcot

Les Parfaits Inconnus

You’re in for a treat this summer in World Showcase at Epcot, when the talented artists and athletes of Les Parfaits Inconnus take the stage at the Canada pavilion.

Hailing from Québec, Les Parfaits Inconnus combine music, circus art and comedy to create an off-the-wall performance unlike anything seen before! Demonstrating a mastery of several circus disciplines and proficiency with musical instruments, the performers of Les Parfaits Inconnus fill their audience with wonder and delight.

Les Parfaits Inconnus will be appearing for a limited time on the Mill Stage in the Canada pavilion at Epcot.

Disney California Adventure set for Shanghai Disneyland Celebration

Shanghai Disneyland

Next week is the grand opening of Shanghai Disneyland, and everyone is invited to celebrate this special occasion at Disney California Adventure.

On Thursday, June 16, join us in Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure park from 10 AM to 5 PM and enjoy special entertainment and photo opportunities in honor of the opening of our newest world-class Disney destination. The festivities will feature colorful performances by local community groups, along with character appearances by Mulan and Mushu! Some favorite Asian-inspired food & beverage offerings, including pork bao, almond cookies and pot stickers, will also be available for purchase.

In addition, Disney be giving away a button commemorating the opening of Shanghai Disney Resort to each guest entering the Disneyland Resort theme parks, while supplies last. Hope we see you there!

Jungle Skipper Canteen now accepting advance reservations

jungle skipper canteen

At the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen in Magic Kingdom Park, you can discover bold and flavorful tastes inspired by the exotic flavors of the rivers traveled on the Jungle Cruise attraction.

And now, you can make advance dining reservations reservations at this restaurant for lunch or dinner. Reservations can be made up to 180 days in advance by calling 407-WDW-DINE or via As with all dining reservations, a credit card guarantee is required at the time of reservation and the standard cancellation policy applies.

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