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Disney Things

5 Disney Things You Should Know This Week – May 20, 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:

Last Chance to Catch Classic Soarin’


Are you a huge Soarin’ fan? Get yourself to Disney now before the classic Soarin’ is gone. Epcot guests will be able to enjoy farewell flights when the classic Soarin’ returns to The Land pavilion starting May 27, 2016. The attraction will reopen at Epcot a few weeks before the new film, Soarin’ Around the World, debuts next month at Disney parks in Shanghai, California and Florida. Don’t miss your chance to experience Soarin’ Over California at Disney California Adventure now through June 15, and at Epcot through June 16, 2016. The new film will debut June 17, 2016 on both coasts.

Disney FastPass+ service will be available starting May 21, 2016 for this limited opportunity to enjoy the classic Soarin’ experience at Epcot.

Tiffins Restaurant Opening

tiffins restaurant

The long awaited Animal Kingdom signature restaurant is set to open this week, and we finally have menus! Open for both lunch and dinner, Tiffins is situated near Pizzafari on Discovery Island, near what will be the entrance to Pandora – The World of AVATAR, when it opens in 2017. (“Tiffin” is an Indian English word for a midday meal or a type of container used to carry food while traveling). Adjacent to Tiffins, Nomad Lounge features waterfront views in addition to hand-crafted cocktails with African, Asian and South American flavors; beers, and sustainable wines from those regions, plus specialty non-alcoholic beverages and small bites.

Check out the Menus (we just have images today, hopefully they will be available on the WDW website soon):

Remember, Tiffins is a signature restaurant, therefore if you are on one of the Disney Dining Plans, the cost to dine here is 2 table service credits per person.

In addition to the grand opening, Disney is also introducing a nightly dining/show package at both Tiffins and Tusker Hours. Similar to the popular Fantasmic! Dining Packages at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the new Jungle Book Dining Package includes reserved seating for the nighttime show. At all-you-care-to-eat Tusker House Restaurant, you can choose the breakfast, lunch or dinner buffet on the day of the show (but you have to dine at least 2 ½ hours before the show). Breakfast is $37, $23 ages 3 to 9, plus tax and gratuity; lunch and dinner, $49, $30 ages 3 to 9, plus tax and gratuity. Tusker House Restaurant is on the Disney Dining Plan and counts as one table-service meal.

At Tiffins, the package includes your choice of appetizer, entrée, dessert and non-alcoholic beverage at either lunch or dinner. The Dining Package is $67 for adults, $32 ages 3 to 9, plus tax and gratuity. Tiffins is on the Disney Dining Plan and counts as two table-service meal credits.

Reservations will open tomorrow, May 21, 2016 for Tiffins restaurant as well as Dining Packages for The Jungle Book: Alive With Magic nighttime show.

Animal Kingdom at Night to Debut

animal kingdom night

Later this week, starting May 27, 2016, the Animal Kingdom Park will be open at night for the first time ever. One of the biggest downfalls of the parks is that it usually closes by 5 PM each night, and it is such a beautiful park. With the addition of many night time events, the park will now stay open until later, calendars over Memorial Day weekend show it open until 11 PM each night.

There is an exciting lineup of new experiences coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park after the sun sets, including nightly awakenings of the park’s iconic Tree of Life. Beginning May 27, 2016, animal spirits will be brought to life each night by magical fireflies that reveal colorful stories of wonder and enchantment along with other amazing sights at the tree.

After the sun sets, you also will be able to explore Kilimanjaro Safaris and see the nighttime behavior of the wildlife and better tune in to the unique vocalization of the animals like never before.  Among the new experiences, the village of Harambe in Africa will become the place to enjoy “Wildlife Parti” and the spirited community of Discovery Island will come together to celebrate their love of the natural world with the Discover Island Carnivale.

And the park’s Discovery River will awaken at night and become a stunning stage for performances of the limited-engagement show The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic, inspired by the hit live-action film Disney’s The Jungle Book.  Shows will feature memorable moments from the film, including the iconic Shere Khan, and will be filled with music and special effects that celebrate the movie and classic songs, infused with an Indian influence. Eventually, this show will be replaced by the Rivers of Light show, but probably not until sometime this Fall, once the kinks are worked out.

Flying Fish Cafe Returning to Walt Disney World

Flying Fish Logo

Flying Fish Cafe, one of my all time favorite Disney restaurants, is returning! Opening is set for late summer for Flying Fish restaurant at Disney’s Boardwalk – yes, “Cafe” goes away as part of the name, and diners will be welcomed to a sophisticated, interior that still pays homage to the golden era of seaside boardwalks.

Flying Fish

The interior features an all-new kitchen and dining room (with expanded space for private dining events), sparkling architectural accents, like golden-winged room panels and an impressive chandelier that mimics a school of flying fish swimming overhead. Next door, the new AbracadaBar lounge opens, taking the spot formerly occupied by the candy and ice-cream shop. No information on an opening date or when reservations can be made have been announced yet.

Hollywood Studios Summertime Eats

With the ongoing construction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, there is a very slim choice of dining locations currently available. So, Disney has announced several quick-service kiosks that will be made available this Summer in the Echo Lake area. Some of these look fantastic!

Echo Lake Eats


Bocados del Lago Nachos y Empanadas

  • Loaded Chili Cheese Nachos with Guacamole
  • Beef Empanadas, roasted corn and black bean salsa, Queso Fresco with cilantro sour cream
  • Dulce de Leche Cookie

Sliders to the Stars

  • Pulled Beef Brisket Sliders with arugula, pickled onions and horseradish aioli on sesame bun served with chips
  • Pulled Barbecued Chicken Sliders with coleslaw and chipotle aioli on a brioche bun served with chips
  • Mickey Brownie

Hollywood Waffles of Fame

  • Shaved Turkey and Gouda Waffle Sandwich with mixed greens, bacon, tomato and herb-cheese pesto served with chips
  • Shaved Ham and Cheddar Focaccia with water cress and spicy mustard served with chips
  • Freshly-baked Chocolate Chip Cookie

Oasis Canteen

  • Chicken Breast Nuggets served with celery and carrots with a Ranch dipper and chips
  • Sweet Chili-glazed Chicken Breast Nuggets served with celery and carrots with a Ranch dipper and chips
  • Kid’s Breast Nuggets
  • Mickey Brownie

Bonus Disney News!

This week, Walt Disney World changed the FastPass+ booking system. Previously, you could book your fastpass+ reservations 60 days in advance of your check in date, and do so at midnight. So, as soon as the clock struck midnight, the next “day” would start. Stay up a bit later and you can get a time to see Anna and Elsa. Wait until the next morning, you are out of luck. Earlier this week, that time was changed to 7AM Eastern. You can no longer stay up late to get your times booked, unless you are in Hawaii of course, as 7AM Eastern in 1 AM in Hawaii.

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

best epcot restaurant for kids

Best Epcot Restaurant for Kids

So many choices. Epcot has considerably more restaurants than any other Disney theme parks, and so many good ones. Some of the restaurants are better than others for kids, and Epcot has quite a few good choices for little ones. I am not huge fan of character meals and Epcot is a fantastic place to explore new cuisines without going too far outside the box. Try something new. Plus, this is Disney, and they are used to kids. Every single Epcot restaurant serves kids all day long, that is about all they do, so they have gotten pretty good at it. Most restaurants are really pretty quick, have plenty of food options for adults and kids and some even offer entertainment.

I didn’t want to narrow it down to just one, so I went with three plus a few extras:

The Best Epcot Restaurant for Kids

via napoli
Via Napoli
  1. Akershus Royal Banquet Hall – This is my token character meal, and I am only including it in the list because I think it is the best character meal on Disney property, the restaurants architecture is awesome and the food isn’t the run of the mill buffet food. Herring is on the menu after all. Dine with your favorite princesses, eat some Norwegian inspired food and have a blast. Both adults and kids love Akershus, and if you have little princesses of your own, it is a DO NOT MISS. If you just have little boys, you may want to move on to some of the “better’ restaurants for kids below.
  2. Via Napoli – Talk about a loud, fun restaurant! Via Napoli is fairly new in Epcot years, having opened in 2010. Of course, Via Napoli is famous for their pizzas, but do not miss the pastas, they are out of this world. The kids love the pizza ovens in the shape of three faces, you can see the fire inside their mouths. Kids love Via Napoli, as do adults.
  3. Biergarten Restaurant – Located in Germany, the Biergarten is a buffet, complete with a special buffet just for kids, though they will probably want to pick and choose from the adult buffet. In addition to fantastic food and even better desserts (plus extra huge steins of beer), the Biergarten offers fun entertainment all night, with an oompah band, jokes and crowd participation. If you are looking for a great time, Biergarten is it.

Close seconds for Best Epcot Restaurant for Kids

As I mentioned above, there are some restaurants that are great options to experience food you may not at home, that you really should while at Epcot. These restaurants are also great options as a way to introduce kids to different cultures.

  • Restaurant Marrakesh – Morocco – Belly dancers and great food!
  • Rose & Crown – United Kingdom – Stop by for some bangers and mash, stay for the fantastic view of Illuminations.
  • Chefs de France – France – Fantastic food, plus you may even see Remy from time to time.
  • Tokyo Dining – Japan – Great sushi and other Japanese food, and the second floor location offers a wonderful view of the World Showcase.
  • Le Cellier – Canada – Best theme park steak you will find, and a nice quite (and air conditioned ) cellar. Treat yourself and your kids to a nice meal in the parks.

What is your favorite Epcot Restaurant for Kids?


Disney Things Friday

5 Disney Things You Should Know This Week – April 22, 2016

Each Friday, I provide 5 Disney things all Disney fans should know from this past week, just in case you missed them. Here are the super important Disney news items for this week:

 Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Night

Expedition Everest

This week, after a few weeks of announcements, cancellations and rumors, Walt Disney World finally announced their new Animal Kingdom at Night. For 18+ years since Animal Kingdom opened, it has closed around 6:00 PM every night, or earlier, before it got too dark. It is really hard to see animals in the dark. Last year, Disney announced they would be adding night time shows, attractions and a special water show called Rivers of Light to the park which would allow it to stay open later. Well, Rivers of Light is not ready, but as of this Memorial Day Weekend, Animal Kingdom at Night will launch with a replacement show (Jungle Book Magic) along with all the other nigh time events.

Have you ever been on Expedition Everest at night? I have, a lot. SO MUCH BETTER!

For more information: Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Night

2017 Adventures by Disney announced, plus a discount!

adventures by disney

This week, Adventures by Disney announced their 2017 itineraries, which now include a new Rhine River cruise as well as additions to the China Adventure (Shanghai Disneyland) and the Australian Adventure (Gold Coast). These are in addition to the returning Adventures offered in 2016.

Adventures by Disney is a first class, world class, tour company. No, Mickey will not be showing you around the Great Wall of China, but the quality that you come to expect with Disney is on display 1,000% with Adventures by Disney. You will stay in first class hotels, skip all the lines, be guided by the best tour guides ever and have the time of your life. I have personally done a few Adventures, and cannot wait to go on my next one (it will be in 2018, just need to decide where).

Plus, if you book early, you can also save up to $500 per person on an Adventure with this Early Booking Adventure by Disney Discount.

For more information: 2017 Adventures by Disney

Soarin’ Around the World

soarin around the world

Everyone loves Soarin’. It is one of those rides that everyone can ride over and over. Who could ever get sick of that orange scent? As we have known for sometime, Disney has been working on a new movie, and it is almost here! On June 17, guests in both Disney California Adventure and Epcot will get to experience Soarin’ Around the World, a brand new film shot all around the world. Unfortunately, it looks like the orange scent is gone, replaced by a new generation of sights, sounds and scents.

FastPass+ reservations are now available for Walt Disney World resort guests.

Frozen Ever After

Frozen Sommerhus

I nearly cried the day Maelstrom closed in Epcot. Several of my family members did cry, teenagers at that. It was one of our family’s favorite rides, there was rarely a line and it was just plain fun. Back, Back, Over the Falls!!! Well, the replacement, Frozen Ever After is set to launch in June. While I don’t think the line on this attraction will ever be short again, it should be great fun. In addition to the attraction, Disney will debut the Royal Sommerhus greeting location. Inspired by a Norwegian countryside cabin, Anna and Elsa have opened their summer home for visitors. I hope they have 9 different versions of Anna and Elsa so the line can keep up with the attraction line.

No exact opening date has been announced for Frozen Ever After. With most new attractions, an opening date will be announced soon, and then the ride will have a soft opening for a few weeks before that where it is mostly open, but may close from time to time for tweaks.

Elena of Avalor

princess Elena

Who is Elana of Avalor you might ask? I surely did. Disney’s newest princess, and first Latin princess, will star in her own show this Summer on the Disney channel, appropriately entitled “Elena of Avalor”. And of course, this August you will be able to meet Elena in the Magic Kingdom, surely replacing Anna and Elsa as they move over to their summer house (or Sommerhus as the Norwegians call it).

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