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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?

disney things

5 Disney Things You Should Know This Week – April 1, 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:

New Disney Lego Minifigurines

Disney LEGO

While it has been very strange that this has not happened years ago, Disney and LEGO have finally announced they are producing a line of Disney themed LEGO minifigures starting in May, 2106. Prices should start at under $4 for each minifigure. They will be available for sale at World of Disney as well as the LEGO store in Disney Springs (and most likely Downtown Disney at Disneyland), as well as some other, yet to be announce, retailers. Hopefully they will be available online as well.

Disney LEGO Minifigures

Sounds Like Summer Concert Series

sounds like summer epcot

Each year, Epcot offers great concert series, including during the Flower and Garden and Food and Wine Festival. One of the best is the Sounds Like Summer concert series, which feature cover bands of your favorite rock groups. Three new acts have been added this year!

2016 Sounds Like Summer Concert Series

Tiffin Details

animal kingdom Tiffin

More details have been released about Tiffin, the new restaurant that will be opening this year in Animal Kingdom.

“Tiffins is the signature restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, celebrating the culture of design and research that went into creating this unique park,” said Emily O’Brien, Walt Disney Imagineering executive show producer for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The galleries, or dining rooms, focus on Asia [Trek Gallery with 74 seats] and Africa [Safari Gallery with 64 seats], and the third [Grand Gallery with 114 seats] pays homage to animal species that the Disney Conservation Fund works to protect.

It looks like more information on food and the opening date will be given soon.

Animal Kingdom’s Tiffin Restaurant 

Disney California Adventure Food and Wine Festival

california food wine festival

The Disney California Adventure Food and Wine festival opens today, and runs through May 1, 2016. While not the West Coast equivalent of Epcot’s festival, Disney still offers great food booths and events for Disney guests.

Aulani Free Transportation


Thinking about going to Aulani this Summer? Who wouldn’t love that? If so, you can get free airport transfers plus a one day free car rental!

For a limited time, you can receive free round-trip transportation from the airport to Aulani, A Disney Resort & Spa, plus a free 1-day mid-size Alamo car rental, when they book your stay of 4 consecutive nights or longer at Aulani through Walt Disney Travel Company.

This special offer is available for select stays June 14 – August 15, 2016. Book now through June 2, 2016.

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

Best quick-service restaurant in Epcot

Best Quick-Service Restaurant in Epcot

The Quick Service restaurants at Walt Disney World are the backbone of the dining options at Disney. Just about everyone in the park eats at one or more of them each day. In every other Disney theme park there are 5 – 7 options to choose from, but most offer very similar choices, such as hamburgers and fries. But in Epcot, there are quite a few additional options available, which makes choosing the best one even more difficult. With so many great options, it is really hard to narrow it down and decide which is the best quick-service restaurant in Epcot.

With the World Showcase area of Epcot, just about each “country” has their own quick-service restaurant, providing a wide variety of dining option for you to choose from. While I have my favorites, I make it a point to eat at others in the park, since they are usually quite a bit better than the quick-service places in the other parks. Since there are so many great options, I am actually going to include my top three quick-service restaurants for you:

  1. Katsura Grill – Japan Pavilion, Epcot: This is a bit of a strange choice, as the food at Katsura is decent, it earns its place in the top three due to its atmosphere. There isn’t anywhere in Epcot as serene as the Kasura Grill patio. I could spend a few hours there just relaxing. The lunch choices include sushi, udon, curry and teriyaki, usually a few options are available of each of those. I am a big fan of the chicken cutlet curry. My one downside of the Katsura Grill is the dessert options. They just seem like an afterthought. Green tea cheesecake or ice cream. A decent dessert could push Katsura Grill into the top 2, maybe.
  2. Tangierine Cafe – Morocco Pavilion, Epcot: Tangierine Cafe is my default Epcot quick-service restaurant, and has been for years and years. I have been known to skip out of free lunches at Disney meetings to run over to Epcot just to pay for lunch here. Not only is the food delicious, the restaurant is rarely busy, and I also think you get your best bang for your buck here too, whether paying with cash or using a dining plan credit. The Shawarma Chicken and Lamb Platter is a fantastic mixture of chicken and lamb with hummus, tabouleh, and tangierine couscous salad. My mouth is watering just typing that. While this may sound a bit too adventurous for some, trust me, the food is just fantastic. Again, the dessert is an after though which I rarely eat. They only offer baklava, and from what I remember, it isn’t even for sale, it is only available as a dessert if you are on the dining plans.
  3. Sunshine Seasons – Land Pavilion, Epcot: While the atmosphere at Sunshine Seasons is lacking, it is still my top choice for best quick-service restaurant in Epcot. Located in the Land pavilion, seating is in the open area of the building, surrounded by the entrances to Living with the Land and Soarin’, so there tend to be a lot of people around and plenty of noise. However, the food options make up for the lack of a decent dining area. Sunshine Seasons features several different “stations”, each offering a different type of food, and all of it is fantastic! You can choose from grilled salmon to spicy fish tacos to cuban sandwiches to stir-fry, all in one restaurant. This is heaven for a family of choosy eaters. Not to mention the kids meals are not the standard chicken nuggets and hamburgers, but you have options like salmon or a chicken leg. Really nice for kids who may be sick of the one option they like that happens to appears on every quick-service menu. Oh, did I mention the desserts? Sunshine Seasons is only rivaled by Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie in the France Pavilion when it comes to desserts. The Key Lime Tart is my favorite, but so many other options are equally awesome.

Sunshine Seasons Epcot

Well, there you go, my top three. However, please note, there are plenty of other decent options in Epcot in addition to these three. Hankering for some fish and chips? The Yorkshire County Fish Shop has great ones for you, but that is all they serve. La Cantina de San Angel has a fantastic outdoor seating area with great views of the World Showcase. The aforementioned Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie in the France Pavilion has great sandwiches and some of the best desserts in all of Walt Disney World.

Venture out, Epcot is a great place to find something for lunch or dinner that you might not get to eat at home.