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Disney Things may 6

5 Disney Things You Should Know This Week – May 6, 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:

 Tickets to the 2016 Magic Kingdom Holiday Parties Now On Sale

2016 Mickeys Very Merry Christmas

Tickets to both Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party for 2016 went on sale this week. While dates were announced a few weeks ago, tickets are now on sale, and prices have been announced. While some dates do not sell out, some of the more popular dates such as Halloween do sell out early, so if you plan on going, go ahead and purchase your tickets now or you stand the chance of missing the parties completely.

For more information: 2016 Magic Kingdom Holiday Party Tickets on Sale

New Magic Kingdom Wedding Option

cindrella wedding

This week, Walt Disney World announced a new location for your Disney wedding, right in front of Cinderella’s Castle! While Disney wont’ let you get married inside the castle of course, you are just going to have to settle for being right outside for the time being. Imagine being delivered in Cinderella’s carriage right to your wedding inside the Magic Kingdom!

For more information: Magic Kingdom Wedding

New Hollywood Studios Character Meet and Greets

olaf meet greet

Walt Disney World announced two new character meet and greets in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Olaf in Summer and Minnie and Mickey starring in Red Carpet Dreams. Olaf is living his dream “In Summer,” chilling on the beach and ready to give warm hugs to all his new friends. Over at Red Carpet Dreams, you will find Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, living the dream as A-list Hollywood stars. Walk the red carpet and step right into a scene with Minnie, where she appears as a Tinsel Town starlet in a ritzy setting straight out of a lush and colorful musical extravaganza. Next, join Mickey in a scene from “Fantasia,” where he’s portraying his iconic role of the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.

Both of these new Meet and Greet locations will open on May 8, 2016.

Disney After Hours Discounts

Back in March, Walt Disney World announced a new nigh time event to be held in the Magic Kingdom after the parks closed called Disney After Hours. For $149 per person you gain access to the Magic Kingdom for three hours without crowds, plus soft drinks and all the Disney ice cream you can eat. After a few of the “parties”, apparently attendance was not what Disney wanted, as the parks were literally empty, so this week, Walt Disney World announced discounts to Disney After Hours for both Disney Vacation Club members and Walt Disney World annual passholders. Tickets to the remaining events in May are available for $75 per person if you are a DVC member or a passholder.

For more information: Disney After Hours

Earffel Tower Removed from Disney’s Hollywood Studios

earfell tower
To finish up, we have a bit of sad news. This week the Earffel Tower was removed from Disney’s Hollywood Studios this week. One day it was there, the next morning, guests arrived and it was gone. Having  been in place since the park opened in 1987, the Earffel Tower was the original icon of the park until it was replaced by the horrible Sorcerer’s Hat, that has since been removed. The Earffel Tower was removed to make way for the park expansion that will become Toy Story Land.

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

cinderella restaurant

Cinderella’s Royal Table – Pros and Cons

Cinderella’s Royal Table has long been the most popular restaurant in all of Walt Disney World. I remember going to Disney in the 90’s, I would have to get up before 5:00 AM my time to call into the Disney dining call center 90 days before my trip, and I usually had to do that 4 or 5 days in a row before I could get a time. Cinderella’s Royal Table was the reason why Disney now requires credit card deposits on dining reservations, as you used to be able to buy times on ebay and Disney forums for $20 – $30, and Disney was not happy about that. Even years later it is still a MUST DO for many Walt Disney World guests, especially those with little princesses in tow. While Be Our Guest has taken over as the hardest reservation to get at Disney World, Cinderella’s Royal Table is not too far behind.

Cinderella's Royal Table

But, do you need to eat at Cinderella’s Royal Table? We put together a list of Pros and Cons and let you decide:

Pros for Cinderella’s Royal Table

  • Dining in the Castle – Unless you happen to get lucky and get to sleep in the Cinderella Castle Suite, dining at Cinderella’s Royal Table is the only way to actually be “in” the castle, plus you get to sit down and eat! There is something special about being inside the castle and looking out over Fantasyland.
  • Cinderella and Friends – On a typical day in the castle, you will be visited by Cinderella, Ariel, Aurora, Snow White and sometimes even the Fairy Godmother. IF you are extra lucky, you may even see Peter Pan climbing around outside the windows.
  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique – While dining with Cinderella in her castle is special, the ability to have your little princess all dressed up from the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique downstairs is something you can replicate anywhere else. Imagine being dressed like Cinderella and being able to dine in her castle. Wow!
  • Wishes – If you time your dinner right, and are inside the castle during wishes, they will lower the lights and you can watch wishes from your table over Fantasyland. Keep a keen eye, Tinker Bell will make an appearance inside the castle and fly around during the fireworks.

Cons for Cinderella’s Royal Table

  • Cost – Several years ago, in order to try to reduce the demand for Cinderella’s Royal Table, Walt Disney World basically doubled the cost for those on the dining plan, and significantly raised the cost for those who were not. Cinderella’s Royal Table is now 2 table service credits per person for breakfast, lunch and dinner while every other character meal is only 1 per person. The cost paying cash can run between $60 per adult for breakfast to $75 per adult for dinner, plus tax and tip. You could easily eat at California Grill or any other signature restaurant at Disney for less.
  • Cinderella has another home – If you really want to dine with Cinderella, you can find her elsewhere. Go check out Cinderella’s Royal Dinner at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian. While it isn’t in the castle, you do get to meet Cinderella and her family, including Prince Charming, Lady Tremaine, Anastasia and Drizella.
  • Most Popular Princesses – If you are looking for Anna and Elsa, you wont’ find them hanging out with Cinderella. I think there is some kind of rivalry between them. Some of the younger kids may not be too familiar with Cinderella or Aurora, and may do better at other dining locations.
  • Food Quality – Cinderella’s Royal Table features a set menu, you will have a few options to choose from. Back in the day, the food quality was as good as any restaurant on property, but as Disney World figured out that people were coming to see Cinderella, and not for the food, the quality has dropped some, and it is not nearly as good as it once was, or is at other character/restaurant locations.

If you have a little princess that insists on dining inside of Cinderella’s Castle, then go for it. Otherwise, I suggest you take a look at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot. It is half the cost, has very similar princesses (the possibility of Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Princess Aurora, Ariel, Mary Poppins, or Jasmine), the food is better, and it will put you right in the middle of Norway, home to the new Frozen attraction, Frozen Ever After as well as the new meet and greet area for Anna and Elsa, both scheduled to open in June, 2016.


magic kingdom restaurant

Magic Kingdom Restaurant Changes I Would Like to See

While the Magic Kingdom has some nice table service restaurants, and the recent editions have been on the right track. Be Our Guest was a home run while Skipper Canteen had the best food in the park by far, many found the food too adventuresome so it never because super popular, so the food is about to be changed. Some of the restaurants in the parks need an update, and there still needs to be a few more additions to the park. With the number of people on the Disney Dining plans in the parks now, most days it is nearly impossible to even find a time to eat any of the Magic Kingdom restaurants unless you plan well in advance. A few more restaurants would really help.

Changes to the Magic Kingdom Restaurants I would like to see

Personally, I think all Disney restaurants could use a small change or two, but the following four in the Magic Kingdom need a bit of a reboot:

  • Crystal Palace – While Winnie the Pooh is great and all, many kids have no idea who he is. The Crystal Palace building is down right beautiful, but I think it could be better used with a character change. Disney has not done a great job using the Pixar characters in restaurants. Crystal Palace would be a fantastic location for a Toy Story character meal. Imagine seeing Woody, Buzz or Rex walking around the Crystal Palace, it would be impossible to get a table.
  • Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen – Uggh, where to start. This was a fantastic idea with unique, wonderful food. Disney handicapped it from the beginning, making it impossible to get dining reservations in advance, and then wondered why it wasn’t full like the other restaurants. While the food is unique, it never had a chance to gain a following. With the upcoming food change, it will be a standard theme park restaurant with mediocre food and corny jokes. Stick with the menu Disney, give it a chance.
  • Liberty Tree Tavern – Liberty Tree has lost it’s way. Everyone associated the Liberty Tree Tavern with characters. Did you know characters were removed from Liberty Tree Tavern in 2008? Let’s remodel the restaurant so the characters can get around, stick with the family style menu, and bring back revolutionary Goofy and friends.
  • Tony’s Town Square Restaurant – Some people love eating at Tony’s, most would disagree. Easily the worst food available at any Disney restaurant. Turn over the kitchen to the people who run Tutto Italia and Via Napoli in Epcot, update the decor and you will have yourself a fantastic, winning restaurant.

Additions to the Magic Kingdom Restaurants I would like to see

I think you could go crazy with additions, but let’s be honest, it would be stupid to add 15 new restaurants in the Magic Kingdom, there just isn’t the demand. I will focus on two that I think need to be added that would be a huge hit.

  • Pirates of the Caribbean character meal – There isn’t one “boy” themed character meal in all of Disney. Girls have princesses, boys have nothing. Think about a restaurants built adjacent to the Pirates of the Caribbean, completely pirate themed! Include a ride on the Pirates of the Caribbean immediately after, some pirates including Jack Sparrow walking around. It would be a hit! The other option here would be to make this a signature style restaurant, similar to Blue Bayou in Disneyland, and put the boy themed character meal in Tomorrowland.
  • Tomorrowland Restaurant – There isn’t one table service restaurant in Tomorrowland, or one even close. There are so many themed options you could go with in Tomorrowland. This could be similar to Be Our Guest where you offer a nice quick-service meal for breakfast and lunch and table service for dinner. No characters needed. Meals can be delivered by drones, it would be awesome.

What changes or additions would you like to see to the restaurants in the Magic Kingdom?