Lysa’s Holiday Trip to Disney World Part 1 – Episode 21

In this week’s episode, for February 12, 2017, Jon and Lysa will be discussing Lysa’s recent trip to Disney World during the holiday season as well as taking your listener questions on Disney travel.

Please send any questions about the show to host@mousedreamsblog.com and visit our website, www.MouseDreamsBlog.com for more information. Also, like our Facebook page at Facebook.com/MouseDreamsblog and follow us on Twitter @MouseDreamsBlog.

Finally, thanks to our sponsors and friends at Big Dreams Travel, an Authorized Disney Travel Planner. Visit them at www.bigdreamstravelusa.com to help with your next vacation.

You can submit Disney trip planning questions for us to answer on the show by e-mailing us at podcast@MouseDreamsBlog.com, by tweeting your question to @MouseDreamsBlog on Twitter, or by visiting the listener questions page on our website at www.MouseDreamsBlog.com/podcastquestions. We would love to answer your questions on travel including Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or Disney Cruise Line. Have a great week everyone and thanks for listening!

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Disney News & Listener Questions from 12/4/2016 – Episode 16

In this week’s episode, for December 4, 2016, Jon and Lysa will be discussing news and current events at Disney Destinations around the world as well as taking your listener questions on Disney travel.

Show Notes
Disney Debuts Holiday Light Show at Disney Springs
New Enhancements Arrive on the Disney Wonder
Disney Announced New “4 Park Magic Ticket”
Pandora – World of Avatar Confirmed Opening in Summer 2017
Disney Offers Private Cabanas for Rent in Magic Kingdom
Rivers of Light Opens for Cast Member Previews
Main Street Electrical Parade Returning to Disneyland on January 2

Please send any questions about the show to host@mousedreamsblog.com and visit our website, www.MouseDreamsBlog.com for more information. Also, like our Facebook page at Facebook.com/MouseDreamsblog and follow us on Twitter @MouseDreamsBlog.

Finally, thanks to our sponsors and friends at Big Dreams Travel, an Authorized Disney Travel Planner. Visit them at www.bigdreamstravelusa.com to help with your next vacation.

You can submit Disney trip planning questions for us to answer on the show by e-mailing us at podcast@MouseDreamsBlog.com, by tweeting your question to @MouseDreamsBlog on Twitter, or by visiting the listener questions page on our website at www.MouseDreamsBlog.com/podcastquestions. We would love to answer your questions on travel including Walt Disney World, Disneyland, or Disney Cruise Line. Have a great week everyone and thanks for listening!

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“Disney After Hours” Returning to Magic Kingdom at a Lower Price Point

Disney World tested an event last spring called “Disney After Hours”, which at the time cost $149 per person which gave them three extra hours in the theme park after the park closed for the evening. It has now been confirmed that Disney is bring back this event to the Magic Kingdom and they have even lowered the price to just $119 per person. This is a separately ticketed event much like the Halloween or Christmas Parties which means a regular theme park ticket is not required to take part, only the special event ticket.

Disney has announced seven different dates where this event will take place beginning in January. The dates are: January 20 & 27, February 2, 9, & 16, and March 2 & 9. On nights of this even the park will close at 7 PM and then the after hours event runs from 7 PM to 10 PM. The event does include complimentary ice cream treats as well as beverages.

It should also be noted that this even will never coincide or affect extra magic hours evenings that are a benefit to resort guests. To book tickets for this event guests can call 407-827-7185.

Here is a list of attractions that will be open during the “Disney After Hours” event at Magic Kingdom:

  • Astro Orbiter
  • The Barnstormer
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
  • Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin
  • Country Bear Jamboree
  • Dumbo the Flying Elephant
  • Haunted Mansion
  • ‘it’s a small world’
  •  Jungle Cruise
  • Mad Tea Party
  • The Magic Carpets of Aladdin
  • The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh
  • Mickey’s PhilharMagic? Pirates of the Caribbean
  • Peter Pan’s Flight
  • Prince Charming Regal Carrousel
  • Princess Fairytale Hall (select princesses)
  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • Splash Mountain
  • Tomorrowland Speedway
  • Town Square Theater (Mickey Mouse)
  • Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid
  • Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room

Let us know your thoughts below on this special event.

Festival of the Holiday’s Menus Released for Disney California Adventure

'DISNEY ¡VIVA NAVIDAD!' – At Disney a Adventure Park, “Disney ¡Viva Navidad!” take
DISNEY ¡VIVA NAVIDAD!

Earlier this year Disneyland announced the addition of Festival of the Holiday’s to this years holiday festivities. This new event at Disney’s California Adventure park will celebrate the cultural diversity present in holiday celebrations around the world. It will feature musical presentations from around the globe as well as internationally inspired food dishes for everyone to enjoy. Just this week Disneyland has released the menus associated with this event. Here is what we know about the different dining options at this point according to the Disney Parks Blog.

Heritage Cottage

  • Braised Beef Short Rib with smashed potatoes and sauerbraten sauce
  • Weisswurst Sausage & Sauerkraut with stone ground mustard and pretzel crumble
  • Vanilla Rice Pudding with apple compote and cinnamon streusel crunch

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Making Spirits Bright

  • Wines by the glass and tasting flights
  • Warm Holiday Spiced Wine
  • Sparkling Apple-pomegranate Juice

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Nosh & Nibbles

  • Brisket Potato Croquette with horseradish crème
  • Sweet Spiced Noodle Kugel
  • Reuben Potato Smash with Russian dressing and Rye toast

Good Fortune’s Feast

  • Adobo Pork Bao with shaved red onion and crispy garlic chicharron
  • Smoked Duck & Vegetable Spring Roll with cabbage and sweet plum sauce
  • Chilled Papaya Shrimp Salad with chili-garlic vinaigrette and crispy noodles
  • Winter Mint Milk Tea

Spice Salutations

  • Chicken & Potato Curry with Kefir cream and grilled naan
  • Carrot & Chickpea Fritters with coriander-almond sauce
  • Cardamom & Saffron Sweet Cheese Tart with mulled fruit
  • Mango Lassi

Brews & Bites

  • Local, Seasonal & International Beers and tasting flights
  • Holiday Cheese Ball with crackers & pretzels

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Mistletoe Morsels

  • Holiday Swedish Meatballs with creamy gravy and Lingonberry sauce
  • Classic Crab Cake with lemon tartar sauce
  • Shrimp Cocktail Martini with chili sauce and jalapeño olive
  • Holiday Eggnog Cocktail with whipped cream and nutmeg dusting
  • Merry Berry Sherbet Punch

Southern Home Holidays

  • Grilled Spicy Chicken Sausage with red beans and rice
  • Southern Mac & Cheese with jalapeño cornbread crumble
  • Sweet Potato Pie with candied pecans
  • Cranberry Sweet Tea topped with berry foam

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Winter Sliderland

  • Roasted Turkey Slider with cranberry sauce and gravy
  • Kalua Pork Slider with pineapple jam and cider slaw
  • Praline & Bourbon Whoopie Pie
  • Sparkling Apple-cranberry Juice

Fiesta en Familia

  • Green Chile Pozole with Vegetables
  • Red Chile Pozole with Pork
  • Fresh Fish Ceviche with chili-lime tortilla chips
  • Guava Agua Fresca

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Yuletide Yummies

  • Mini Turkey Pot Pie with cranberry drizzle
  • Pesto Puff Pastry Twist
  • Gingerbread Bundt Cake with orange-vanilla sauce
  • Eggnog Cheesecake with spiced whipped cream
  • Mocha Yule Log with candied chestnuts
  • Raspberry Linzer Tart
  • Sticky Toffee Pudding with Brandied Cream
  • Frozen Chocolate Milk with whipped cream and sprinkles
  • Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate with house-made cinnamon marshmallows
  • Inspired wine and beer selections

Mosaic Delights

  • Roasted Lamb with masala spice Basmati rice and poached raisins
  • Mini Falafel donuts with pickled vegetables and Tahini drizzle
  • Baklava with walnuts, pistachios and honey
  • Iced Moroccan Mint Tea

Abuelita’s Kitchen

  • Chicken Cilantro Tamale with roasted Tomatillo salsa verde
  • Beef and Cheese Tamale with red chili sauce
  • Chorizo Bean Sopes with Cotija cheese and fresh crèma
  • Spiced Peanut Brittle
  • Pomegranate Margarita

Treats for Santafoh-12

  • Mickey Snowman Cookie Decorating Kit
  • Harvest Puff Pastry
  • Assorted Cookies
  • Classic Panettone
  • Candied Chestnut Panettone
  • Peppermint Bark
  • Pumpkin Seed Brittle
  • Walnut Fudge
  • Warm Bourbon Cider
  • White Hot Chocolate with house-made peppermint marshmallows
  • Holiday Fruit Punch

As you can see, the list is actually very extensive, probably much more extensive than most people had imagined when this event was announced. Let us know your thoughts below on this event and even specific menu items you would like to try.

Special Events at Disney World By Month

Castle with LightsOne very important part of the planning process of your Disney World vacation is to be aware of special events that take place on an annual basis at the Disney World Resort. For two reasons it is important to be aware of these events. First, you may be planning a trip where you will experience one of these events and you need to be aware the best way to handle it as well as any details on the event such as the best crowd level days to visit. Second, you may be traveling during a special event and want to avoid it due to the crowds that may travel to be a part of the event. Our list below will give just a brief introduction of each event and let you know what the times are each year that this event takes place.

January and February

  • New Years Day – Celebrate the New Year in many places on property. There are not many things happening specific to the holiday, but it is important to be aware of the large crowds that will be in the parks on this day, especially the Magic Kingdom and Epcot.
  • WDW Marathon Weekend – Usually held the first full weekend of January after the holidays. This annual tradition for thousands of runners will make the entire crowd level of Walt Disney World feel very high, although it doesn’t necessarily translate to much higher wait times at the theme parks as the people here for the marathon don’t spend a ton of time riding rides. An important note is to check with your resort for any updated transportation notices as road closing may cause transportation routes or times to be changed to accommodate the race. For more information on the race itself visit www.rundisney.com.
  • Princess Half Marathon Weekend – This runDisney event is held annually in mid-February. This race is not quite as large as the WDW Marathon in January, but it still draws thousands of runners. An important note is to check with your resort for any updated transportation notices as road closing may cause transportation routes or times to be changed to accommodate the race. For more information on the race itself visit www.rundisney.com.
  • Atlanta Braves Spring Training – This annual event begins in the month of February and takes place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Go to www.espnwwos.com for more info.

March, April, and May

  • Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival – This annual event takes place throughout the entire Epcot theme park during the months of March, April, and May. In 2015 the days were March 4 through May 17. During this event Epcot is transformed with millions of flowers and plants, butterfly exhibits, as well as outdoor food venues to help celebrate the festival. In addition to these special offerings they also hold the Garden Rocks Concert Series on select dates during the festival. Visit www.disneyworld.com/flower for more information.
  • Easter Holiday – There are not many things happening specific to the holiday, but it is important to be aware of the large crowds that will be in the parks on this day, especially the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. The only thing specific to the holiday that has happened in the past is a an Easter Bunny Meet and Greet in the Town Square at Magic Kingdom as well as some Easter Egg Hunts at Epcot. These events were not publicized early and cannot be counted on each year, but could provide a nice surprise if traveling over this holiday.
  • Expedition Everest Challenge – This annual 5k race set in and around Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park is held at the beginning of May. This annual race also offers an after party inside of the Animal Kingdom park. Visit www.rundisney.com for more information.

June, July, and August

  • Gay Days – Gay Days is a “Non-Disney” sponsored event that takes place the first week of June each year. Visit www.gaydays.com for more information and to confirm dates.
  • Sounds Like Summer Concert Series – Sounds Like Summer is a concert series that takes place at the American Gardens Theater in Epcot’s World Showcase each summer. The dates for concerts in usually run the first week in June to the last week in July.
  • Car Masters Weekend – This event, held at Disney Springs annually, happens during a weekend in June. In 2015 the dates are June 13-14, although there has been some speculation this event may not take place again until the Downtown Disney/Disney Springs transformation is completed. During this event award winning exotic cars, historical cars, and muscle cars make an appearance as well as some of the stars of Disney/Pixar’s hit movies Cars and Cars 2.
  • Independence Day Holiday – This holiday at Disney World draws large crowds, especially at the Magic Kingdom. There will be special fireworks, usually on both July 3 and July 4 at the Magic Kingdom. Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios also show special July 4th fireworks shows. This will be one of the most crowded days of the year and Magic Kingdom will probably close the front gates due to capacity at some point during the middle part of the day, so if you want to make sure you are in this park today arrive early. Epcot is often a better choice as you get a great 4th of July day tag to the regular IllumiNations making for a long and great show, but Epcot is often pretty crowded as well. Hollywood Studios does a fireworks show as well that is most of the time a little better option as the heaviest crowds are at the two more popular parks.

September and October

  • Night of Joy – This annual event brings in some of the top Christian music artists of the year to perform at the Magic Kingdom. In 2015 the dates are September 11-12. Click Here for more information and to purchase tickets.
  • Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party – The Halloween party at the Magic Kingdom is a hard ticket event that runs on select nights from the middle of September through Halloween. This party doesn’t only include extra time in the Magic Kingdom where rides usually have shorter than normal wait times, but it also includes trick or treating, a special Halloween parade, and the HalloWishes fireworks show. It is quite a pricy hard ticket event, but there are some nice features that many people think are worth it, plus it is less expensive than a one day ticket to the theme parks. The party begins at 7 PM and goes to midnight, but with a party ticket you can enter the park as early as 4 PM. Click Here to purchase tickets.
  • Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – The Food & Wine Festival is an annual event in Epcot’s World Showcase and has become extremely popular in recent years. The event runs from the middle of September to the middle of November. This event is one of the most popular in all of Disney World and probably as popular with locals as any event. During this period guests can sample food and drink from over 25 international locations set around World Showcase Lagoon. In addition the park offers many select special events that have a separate ticket for entry. Another part of the festival is the Eat to the Beat concert series that takes place at the American Gardens Theater. These concerts take place every day of the festival at 5:30, 6:45, and 8:00. Click Here for more information on the Food and Wine Festival as well as those special events that take place, including a list of concert performers as soon as it is announced. As far as the crowd levels go we do recommend avoiding the weekends, especially if you have kids, unless you are into a party like atmosphere. It is one of the few times at Disney World that you may want to avoid something if you have your kids along. It is not out of control by any means, but it is extremely crowded and the beverages are flowing, but we’ll leave it at that!

November and December

  • Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend – Each year, near the end of the Food and Wine Festival, runDisney hosts the Wine and Dine Half Marathon. In 2015 the race and events take place on November 6-7. This multi-race weekend features distances from a kids race to a 5k to the half marathon that finishes at Epcot during the Food and Wine Festival. Visit www.rundisney.com for more information.
  • Festival of the Masters – This event, for award winning artists, takes place in November of each year at Disney Springs. In 2015 the event is happening on the weekend of November 7-9.
  • Christmas Holiday Season – The Christmas season at Disney World usually officially begins around the first week of November as decorations will be put up in the theme parks, specifically the Magic Kingdom. The lights on Cinderella Castle were illuminated for the first time on November 5 in 2014, although Disney does not necessarily release a specific date they will be ready. The decorations at the resorts and other theme parks will slowly be added between that time and the end of Thanksgiving week. Also, make sure and put some time in the schedule to visit the different deluxe resorts to view their large edible holiday displays such as the gingerbread Christmas tree at the Contemporary Resort or the gingerbread carousel at the Beach Club.
  • Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party – The Christmas party at the Magic Kingdom is a hard ticket event that runs on select nights from the beginning of November until about 5-7 days before Christmas. This party doesn’t only include extra time in the Magic Kingdom where rides usually have shorter than normal wait times, but it also includes free milk and cookies, the special Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime parade, and the Holiday Wishes fireworks show. It is quite a pricy hard ticket event, but there are some nice features that many people think are worth it, plus it is less expensive than a one day ticket to the theme parks. The party begins at 7 PM and goes to midnight, but with a party ticket you can enter the park as early as 4 PM. Click Here to purchase tickets.
  • Festival of the Seasons – Disney Springs does it’s own Christmas celebration each year with Festival of the Seasons. This event runs from November 14 to December 29 in 2015. With this special event you can also meet Santa or Goofy as Santa each day from noon to 9:30 PM.
  • Thanksgiving Holiday – There are not many things happening specific to the holiday, but it is important to be aware of the large crowds that will be in the parks on this day, especially the Magic Kingdom and Epcot. There are some special meals at certain restaurants, but those are usually not announced all that far in advance.
  • Epcot Holidays Around the World – The World Showcase at Epcot is a fantastic place to be during this season as they present Holiday’s Around the World. In 2015 the event will run from November 28 through December 30. During this week storytellers in the countries of the World Showcase tell guests the Christmas Story from their country. It is a great experience to see how traditions and culture change throughout the world during this time of year.
  • Candlelight Processional – This annual event is a major draw at Epcot during the holiday season. The event runs from just after Thanksgiving to the end of December. This event is home to Disney’s telling of the biblical Christmas story through the voice of a celebrity narrator, with the help of large choir and orchestra. The event takes place at 5:00, 6:45, and 8:15 PM each evening. We do highly recommend the dining package for this event as it gets you seating to one of the specific show times and that reserved seating is important as this show is extremely popular and seating is limited. Click Here for booking information.
  • Christmas Eve and Christmas Day – There are many special events that make the holidays a special time at Disney World. Make sure you are prepared for the crowds during this time period though as they will be huge. If you want to stay away from the biggest crowds don’t attend the Magic Kingdom on these two days as they will have the largest crowds. Animal Kingdom or Hollywood Studios would be much better options. If a holiday meal is what you like many restaurants will have those, just check with your restaurant of choice to see if they offer that experience.
  • New Years Eve – The Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios will all stay open past midnight and present New Years Eve Fireworks. Just like the 4th of July we think Hollywood Studios tends to be the best option of the three, although all will be extremely crowded. It is often helpful to see if the New Years Eve fireworks are being offered the night before or after as well as those nights will be less crowded than the actual New Years Eve.

Let us know by commenting below if you have any questions about special events that we didn’t answer above and we’ll be happy to help you out.

Early Morning Magic Coming to Hollywood Studios

Sorcerer's HatDisney World has announced yet another hard ticket event that will be coming to the theme parks, this time to Hollywood Studios. Earlier this year Disney began Early Morning Magic at the Magic Kingdom and now a similar experience is coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. With this experience guests at the park get early entry  as well as a private breakfast. This experience will begin on August 1 at Hollywood Studios and guests can visit www.DisneyWorld.com/EarlyMorningMagic to book or they can call 407-827-7350.

Included in this experience at Hollywood Studios guest will get to enter the park at 7:45 AM and experience Toy Story Mania!, Star Tours – The Adventure Continues, Pixar Place Meet & Greets (Woody & Buzz), Mickey and Minnie on Commissary Lane, and Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight. The ABC Commissary quick service restaurant will also host an all-you-care-to-enjoy breakfast from 8 AM to 10 AM that is included with the special event ticket. The cost for this experience is $69 per adult and $59 per child (ages 3-9).

Let us know your thoughts on this new private event at Disney World by commenting below.

Star Wars Fireworks Dessert Party Moved to a New Location

Star Wars Launch Bay (CC)Disney has recently announced that the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party is changing locations beginning today, July 10, 2016. The location of the dessert party will now be taking place at the Star Wars Launch Bay at Hollywood Studios. The dessert party is currently available for booking through August, but future dates will most likely be released at some point.

There will be a check in area at the entrance to the Launch Bay area for guests with reservations to the dessert party. The Launch Bay is going to remain open to other park guests, but there will be a reserved section inside for the dessert party. Inside the Launch Bay party guests will be able to see exhibits, take part in character meet and greets, as well as visit the rest of the experiences in the area. The desserts will include both R2-D2 and Darth Vadar cupcakes, other Star Wars themed desserts, as well as flatbreads and dips. Finally, guests will receive a souvenir Chewbacca stein.

Once the dessert party is over guests will be taken from the Launch Bay to the private viewing area for the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks show.

The cost of the party is $69 for adults ages 10 and up and $39 for children under 10.

Disney to Livestream 4th of July Fireworks

If you weren’t able to make it to Disney World this summer, but still want to get your Disney Fix in tune in at 8:50 EST tonight as they will be live streaming the special July 4th Fireworks, “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky.” Just head on over to the Disney Parks Blog to get in on the action.

New Resort Experiences Coming For Epcot Food & Wine Festival

Food & Wine (CC)New in 2016 Disney has introduced several new experiences that will be taking place during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. What is unique though is that some of these events will be taking place at various resorts around Disney World property. The Disney Parks Blog state yesterday:

“For the very first time, we’re expanding the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival experience to some of the Walt Disney World Resort

  • “Brunch with a Twist at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa” — a sumptuous 5-star, 5-course meal prepared by the resort’s award-winning chefs
  • “The Secrets of Flavor at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort” — a three-course lunch that gives guests a ‘sensory-food connection’ at Yachtsman Steakhouse
  • “Culinary Adventures with a Master Chef” at Disney’s Contemporary Resort — a hands-on chef’s table experience in a professional working kitchen
  • “Behind the Scenes at Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto” at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort — an entertaining tour of the whimsical Trader Sam’s, followed by lunch and a special mixology session”

Watch for more news about the upcoming Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

Disney’s Holiday Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party Available for Booking

Castle with LightsThe Disney Holiday Fireworks Dessert Party is now available to book for this coming holiday season and will take place during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom, which is a separately ticketed event. The party includes not only the dessert party and private viewing location for Holiday Wishes at the Tomorrowland Terrace as the normal fireworks dessert party does, but it also includes private viewing area for Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade. The price for this package is $79 for adults and $49 for children (ages 3-9) not including tax. This does NOT include admission to the park, so guests will also need a ticket to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. Remember, regular park admission does not work for admission into the party, guests must purchase the separate ticket to the Christmas party and those dates do sell out.

Leave a comment below with any questions or discussion of this event at the Magic Kingdom.