Be Our Guest Dinner Review

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One of the newest and most hard to come by reservations at Disney World is having dinner at Be Our Guest Restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. My family was lucky enough to snag one of these reservations on our last trip. We arrived right around 6:00 and were seated within five minutes of checking in.

Of course the overall theming of this restaurant is one of the best at Disney World due to all of the great elements the Imagineers included such as these “soldiers” in the entry way. Guests are able to dine in one of three dining rooms including the Main Ballroom, the West Wing, and the Rose Gallery. Also, this restaurant is only a table service option at dinner as it serves a quick service breakfast and lunch. With that said both breakfast and lunch are still done by reservation even though they are a quick service option.

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We have dined in the main dining room before, but were very excited this time when we were led to the West Wing and we got our first glimpse of the rose.

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Dining in the West Wing itself was fantastic. Of all of the great elements in this restaurant we feel this room really hits the theme in an unbelievable way. The only consideration is it is quite dark, which of course adds to the mood, but it makes taking pictures quite difficult. Or quite distracting to others due to your flash, however you want to look at it.

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We sat down and were greeted with the creative rose napkins on our table and soon had the bread service in front of us.

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For my meal I ended up selecting the Grilled Strip Steak with Garlic-herb butter and pommes frites for $35.

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I have ordered this entree before and have enjoyed it each time. It has always been cooked well, seasoned well, and the garlic-herb butter gives it an extra nice flavor. It is not a steak on the level of Yachtasman’s Steakhouse at the Yacht Club, but it is still a really good meal. The french fries have also been good each time I’ve had then and I even enjoy the mayonnaise based dipping sauce.

My wife also has a favorite menu item hear that she enjoys, the Pork Chop served with mac ‘n cheese au gratin for $27.

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She absolutely loves this dish. The pork is perfectly tender and the mac ‘n cheese au gratin is excellent. In addition to tasting good the pork chop is a large cut of meat and it is also a good size serving of mac ‘n cheese.

After enjoying our dinner we decided to try a couple of dessert options since they are relatively inexpensive at just $5 each. First we tried the Chocolate Cream Puff filled with chocolate mousse topped with whipped cream.

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This dish was good, although it was fairly plain. Also, the catch to them only costing $5 is that they are pretty small. In addition to the cream puff we also tried The “Grey Stuff” served over chocolate spongecake.

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This was maybe the one part of our meal that we didn’t enjoy very much. Their was just not a lot of flavor to the “Grey Stuff” and the cake was pretty dry. I had heard the “Gray Stuff” had a cream cheese flavor, but what we had tasted basically like whipped cream. All in all though if that was the only negative to our meal we ended up with a good experience.

Overall, we had a great meal and experience at Be Our Guest and the meal is finished off as you get to visit with the Beast before you leave the castle. You can’t beat this experience due to the tasty meal, the fantastic theme and decor, the location inside the Magic Kingdom, and meeting with a Disney hero.

Let us know your thoughts on Be Our Guest by posting below or visiting us on Facebook.

Crystal Palace Breakfast Review

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The Crystal Palace

Today we will be looking at one of our favorite breakfast spots in all of Disney World, The Crystal Palace inside the Magic Kingdom. This breakfast is always a family favorite for us due to the food, the location, and the great character interactions. We arrived at 10:30 for our dining reservation and were seated just about five minutes after checking in. This is a beautiful building located just off of Main Street USA and within view of Cinderella Castle.

Breakfast is by far our favorite meal at the Crystal Palace and today was no different. We sampled a lot of the traditional breakfast fare at the Crystal Palace and everything was very appetizing. We enjoyed many of the typical breakfast options such as the biscuits and gravy, sausage, bacon, and potato casserole.

Of course one of my favorite dishes here is the breakfast lasagna that includes pancakes, waffles, pound cake, custard, and fruit in one delicious mixture. I will say that the lasagna was a little too soggy on this visit. Typically is sets up very well and is a great dish, but today it was just slightly off.

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Breakfast Lasagna (Top Left of Plate)

Another of our favorites is the puffed french toast, a specialty of the Crystal Palace.

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Puffed French Toast (Right Side of Plate)

It is a great mixture between a fritter and french toast that is dusted with sugar. It is delicious with syrup or honey over the top or just by itself. Unlike the lasagna the puffed french toast was spot on in its preparation on this visit. It was crispy on the outside, had the perfect amount of sugar, and was perfectly cooked on the inside.

I also tried an omelette with ham and cheese, yes I’m boring, and it was good. Not the best omelette I’ve ever had, but certainly much better than just getting the eggs off of the buffet.

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Ham & Cheese Omelette

In addition to the delicious food this meal includes characters. Winnie the Pooh and his friends, Tigger, Eeyore, and Piglet all make a visit to your table during your meal. We have always had great interactions with the characters when dining here, but I had heard going in they had slowed the characters down some. We did not experience that, but we were eating between 10:45 and 11:15 and the restaurant was only about half full since we were at the tail end of the breakfast period. This is most likely why the characters arrived quickly for us and spent a good deal of time at our table. I can certainly see how if you arrive in the middle of the busy dining time you may wait over an hour to see all of the characters at your table.

Overall, The Crystal Palace is one of our go to breakfast spots at Disney World and this visit did not disappoint. Let us know your thoughts on Crystal Palace by commenting below or visiting us on Facebook.

Disney News & Listener Questions from 1/1/2017 – Episode 18

In this week’s episode, for January 1, 2017, Jon will be discussing news and current events at Disney Destinations around the world 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!

Show Notes
New Discounts for Spring and Summer Released at Disney World
New Quick Service Breakfast Opens at Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge Kidani Village
Disney After Hours Event Returning at Lower Price Point

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Be Our Guest Lunch Review

Sit down dining at the Magic Kingdom can be hit and miss at times, but since Be Our Guest has opened guests have a reliable food location with a great atmosphere. It is also a unique restaurant being quick service at breakfast and lunch and table service at dinner. For this weeks trip review article we are going to be looking at a recent lunch dining experience I had with my family.

We had a reservation set for 11:15 and we showed up about five minutes early. We had decided to take the opportunity to select our food prior to arriving and this helped us avoid a long line of people waiting to order. We were led right up to a register by the main ballroom where we quickly paid and were given out rose and told we could head in and find our own table.

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The decor in the restaurant was fantastic as it had been on our previous dining experiences. We had eaten in the main ballroom before so today we chose to sit in the rose gallery and it was a great experience. We got a seat right at the base of the music box that is the room’s centerpiece.

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The rest of the decor around the room was great as well and we especially enjoyed the Disney artwork.

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By the time we were seated we only waited about five minutes for our food to arrive. My wife ordered the Carved Turkey Sandwich served on a warm baguette with Dijon Mayonnaise and Pommes Frites for $15.99.

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As you can see in the picture she substituted the pommes frites for green beans which was an option when we set our order up online the day before. She loved this sandwich and the main reason was that the turkey was not just typical lunch meat turkey. It was actually nice, thick slices of carved turkey. She did mention the green beans were pretty bland, but it was nice that they allowed this healthier option if you didn’t want the french fries.

I ordered what is probably the most popular menu item, the Croque Monsieur, a grilled sandwich of carved ham, Gruyere cheese, and bechamel with Pommes Frites for $13.99.

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My meal, like my wife’s, we really good. The sandwich was grilled to perfection, crispy, but not burned. The ham was again nice big thick slices of ham, not just a small piece of lunch meat, but real ham. We agreed this was great to see from a Disney restaurant, the fact that they were using quality ingredients instead of just mass producing the cheap stuff.

Overall the meal was a great experience. The only negative is the prices are a little high for just a sandwich for lunch at $13.99 & $15.99, but you are getting a much more themed atmosphere than most quick service restaurants. All things considered Be Our Guest is a great lunch option and we especially enjoyed the pre-order option as it allowed us to bypass the long check in line.

Have you dined at Be Our Guest for lunch? Let us know your thoughts or questions by commenting below.

Disney World Nighttime Entertainment

**Disclaimer: This information is going to change in early 2017 as we are expecting the opening of River of Light, the new nighttime show at Animal Kingdom. We are also awaiting the future schedule of the Star Wars fireworks at Hollywood Studios as well as a parade as the Magic Kingdom as the Main Street Electrical Parade has left Disney World. Stay tuned for further information, but for now we will let this guide you on the events that we have a historical perspective on.

One of the toughest things to plan on your itinerary is the evening entertainment that takes place at the parks. We are speaking of Wishes at the Magic Kingdom, IllumiNations at Epcot, and Fantasmic! at Hollywood Studios. The nighttime entertainment options are some of the highlights for many people on their Disney World vacation, but these can also cause some of the biggest headaches for people when it comes to an itinerary. You want to have these great moments with your family, but you also want to make sure you are rested enough to make it through these late nights. Remember, we also think you should probably have a sleep in morning scheduled the day after one of these late nights. Below we will give some things to know about each of the major nighttime events at Disney World and how you can expect to handle them within your itinerary.

Wishes

  • Wishes is the evening fireworks that is going to take place every night at the Magic Kingdom with very few exceptions.
  • A majority of guests will want to view Wishes from the hub or on Main Street USA and unlike a parade, which goes through other lands, these are the only places that have great views of the fireworks as they are designed to be viewed from head on. If you want to view Wishes from these areas you will need to move into a location a early as possible, sometimes as much as two hours ahead of time in extremely crowded times of year. If a nighttime parade returns to the Magic Kingdom that may slightly change things as most guests who were viewing the parade will just stay in their spots for Wishes, so not a ton of spots will open up prior to the fireworks, except the spots in the street itself. Just prepare yourself to be in a large crowd and have to find a spot for your family.
  • The redesign of the entire hub area has drastically improved viewing the fireworks, but we do have some spots that we recommend that may give you a good viewing location, while battling the crowds a little less. There is a path that leads from The Plaza Restaurant to Tomorrowland and this path sometimes has nice spots available a little closer to show time. You are still going to need to move into a spot on the rail and save the spot for 30 minutes, but at least with a rail there you won’t have anyone working their way in front of you. There are also some spots usually around the train station. People crowd towards the castle after the parade and usually leave some space around the train station. This is actually good as you are going to be able to get out of the exits the fastest once the fireworks are over.
  • Another option is the Tomorrowland Terrace Fireworks Dessert Party, but they’ve recently increased the price of this. This party is around $79 per adult and $47 per child, and can vary slightly during certain times of year. This party includes a reserved table at the Tomorrowland Terrace, all you can eat desserts, and a nice view of the firework, but keep in mind you most likely will still have to stand along the railing of the restaurant in order to see the full fireworks show. We wouldn’t recommend this on every trip, but if you are planning a once in a lifetime trip or want a great view without battling crowds this is a good option. Disney has also recently released a similar experience in one of the grassy areas in the hub called the Fireworks Dessert Party with Plaza Garden Viewing. You still get the dessert party at the Tomorrowland Terrace, but then you are escorted to a standing room only section of the hub. The price is $59 per adult and $35 per child.
  • FP+ is also available for Wishes in the hub area. You will need to pre-book this as it will rarely be available as a 4th FP+ option on the day of. Just make sure it is worth it for you to use a FP+ on this.
  • Finally, there are always some great locations outside of the park to watch Wishes. Around the Magic Kingdom boat docks and ferry boat station provides a pretty good view. The beach at the Polynesian Village Resort is also a popular spot, although they sometimes restrict access during busy times of year. There is also a viewing deck on the 4th floor of the Contemporary Resort or if you plan a reservation at California Grill you get access to their viewing deck on the top floor on the night of your reservation.

IlllumiNations: Reflections of Earth

  • IllumiNations at Epcot is a great show, especially for teens and adults, but all ages can enjoy it. It is set around the World Showcase lagoon making it the easiest nighttime show at any of the parks to get a great spot for without much of a wait. With that said it is sometimes tricky to find a great spot for a few reasons. First, there are small islands with trees at points in the lagoon, so make sure wherever you end up to view the show you don’t have one of those in between you and the middle of the lagoon. Second, make sure you are not downwind. This show produces a large amount of smoke and if the wind is blowing towards you not only will you be in a lot of smoke, but it makes it a little more difficult to see what is going on.
  • We recommend find a spot between 30-45 minutes before the show at most times of year if you want a spot right on the rail. If you don’t mind being a few people deep you can wait until closer to showtime, but you will have to see over people.
  • La Hacienda de San Angel (Mexico), Rose and Crown (UK), and Spice Road Table (Morocco) all have lake side seating, but require a dinner reservation. Make a reservation for 75-90 minutes before the show and it is a great view. Also, La Cantina de San Angel, the counter service in Mexico, has a patio over the water that is a great view, but those spots go very early, usually 90 minutes to 2 hours before the show.
  • The Future World side of the lagoon fills up the quickest as people want to get out of the park after it is over, so the time to line up here would be much more than 30 minutes ahead of the start time. The opposite (south) side of the World Showcase lagoon usually is not near as crowded and you can usually find spots 20-30 minutes prior to showtime. Just keep in mind on that side you have more islands and trees in the way so make sure you are aware of where you end up.
  • As far as getting out of the park just know it can get very crowded at the front gate on both the monorail and the bus system. The waits can be very long, so we recommend if you have to exit that way and were on the south side of the World Showcase take your time getting out. Stop in some shops and take your time and maybe the lines will lessen a little bit on your way. If you are staying at an Epcot area resort you can exit the International Gateway and head to your resort.
  • Finally, FP+ is available for IllumiNations, but it is a tier 1 FP, which means if you book it you would not be able to use a FP on Frozen Ever After, Test Track or Soarin’ on that day. Also, the IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party is available for $49 per adult and $29 for children. This party includes a viewing location in the World Showplace Plaza with desserts and wine, but there is no seating.

Fantasmic!

  • Fantasmic! is one of the best nighttime shows for the ultra-immersive environment that it puts guests into. This show, located in an amphitheater off of Sunset Boulevard, uses live actors, pyrotechnics, water screens, and floats to create a very memorable show. Being in an amphitheater though means seating is limited and it can be very hard to get into and out of due to the thousands of people trying to do the same thing at the same time.
  • Fantasmic! is presented nightly for most of the year, although there are a few less crowded times when it may only be 3-4 nights per week. Also, Disney adds a 2nd showing at crowded times and just like other nighttime events the 2nd showing is always less crowded and easier to get into if you can handle staying up later into the night.
  • FP+ is available for Fantasmic!, but it is not all that useful as you still have to arrive 30-45 minutes early to get a seat and the seats are not that great as they are off to one end of the amphitheater.
  • The Fantasmic! Dinner Package, at Mama Melrose, Hollywood Brown Derby, and 50’s Prime Time Cafe is a good deal. With your dinner you get reserved seating at Fantasmic! Like the FP+ you still need to arrive early, although not as much in advance, from 25-35 minutes for this and the seats for the dinner packages are right in the middle of the amphitheater.
  • If you are not using the dinner package or a FP+ you need to get in line for Fantasmic! at least an hour in advance and more at very crowded times of year. The line will run almost the entire length of Hollywood Boulevard, so jump in line early and be ready for a hectic entry into the amphitheater. If using the 2nd show time you should enter the theater as soon as you can after the previous show ends. This is probably be around 30 minutes before the 2nd show, although a line may still form on Hollywood Boulevard so make sure you keep an eye on that area.

Let us know if you can think of any other questions about nighttime entertainment that we didn’t answer above and we’ll be happy to help you out.

Missing Magic Kingdom Rope Drop in the Days of FP+

For this weeks trip review article I want to investigate a question that has become pretty important now in the days of FP+. Can I still have a great park day even if I don’t make it for park opening? In the old days of legacy Fastpass if you missed rope drop and that first chance to grab a Fastpass you were in a little trouble as those return times just kept creeping further and further away. I decided to investigate this on a summer day at the Magic Kingdom.

We arrived at the front gates of the park at 9:40 AM and getting into the park was a madhouse. The new turnstile-less system handles the crowds in a much better method than the older turnstile system so that is one big benefit. Despite the large crowds we were on Main Street in about five minutes. We took our time getting down Main Street and even did a little shopping in the Emporium as we were a little early for when I wanted to start our touring plan. We even spent a few minutes looking at the new fake grass areas in the redesigned hub.

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After a little shopping, including picking up a shirt I had been eying, we headed towards our first FP+ location of the day, Peter Pan. The standby line was well over and hour by this time and the FP line even took us about ten minutes to get on the ride. After this we headed onto it’s a small world for a quick trip on the happiest cruise that ever sailed.

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The line looks pretty long in the picture, but we were on in just about ten minutes. We then had an early lunch reservation at Be Our Guest at 11:00 AM, so by the time we got out of the always present boat backup at it’s a small world it was about time for lunch.

We spent about 40 minutes inside the restaurant for our quick service lunch and at 11:45 it was time for our next FP at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. The FP line was quick here and it was a fantastic ride as usual. We took a quick spin on the Carousel for our son before getting on our way to Frontierland. Here was a shot of Fantasyland right around noon as we were passing through.

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While walking into Frontierland we saw Chip and Dale meeting guests and we jumped in line and only waited about five minutes to see them.

We then headed to use our next FP+ at Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at 12:15. We had a great ride there and when we finished we headed over into Adventureland for a trip on Pirates of the Caribbean. This line took us about 15 minutes to get through without a FP, which was our longest line of the morning. This was all we had planned for the park this morning because when you take ten day trips like we do you can afford to do shorter and easier park trips like this. We also had a special dinner reservation we had to get rested up for before this evening.

Now, on my way out of the park I did stop at a kiosk that didn’t have a line and at that point of the day, around 12:45 we could have gotten a 4th FP for Jungle Cruise, Space Mountain, Splash Mountain, or about any other ride in the park except for Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Even after arriving around 10:00 AM we were still able to do six attractions, four of which were headliners, by about 12:30 PM and that included a 40 minute lunch stop. That’s a pretty good morning considering we missed rope drop. So, with all that said, due to the FP+ system you can still have a great morning in the Magic Kingdom even if you arrive after park opening as long as you have those FP+ reservations done in advance.

Let us know your thoughts below on touring the parks after missing rope drop.

“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.

Disney Offering Private Cabanas for Rental in the Magic Kingdom

15181481_10102959759420369_7049671399896229526_nDisney has been coming up with many new and unique ways to increase their profit margins in the past couple of years, but is a new trend starting? Disney World is now offering private cabana rentals in the Magic Kingdom in an area in Tomorrowland between Space Mountain and Carousel of Progress. The “Kingdom Cabanas” are available for daily rental and come with a price tag of $649 for the day.

The Cabanas can be used by up to eight guests and included the following:

  • cold beverages
  • private/shaded seating
  • sunscreen, hand sanitizer, & insect repellant
  • cold beverages & snacks
  • lockable storage cabinet
  • electronic device charging station
  • a small refrigerator
  • one fruit basket
  • one time delivery of ice cream treats, desserts, and Mickey bars
  • personalized Mickey ears
  • reserved viewing location for parades and fireworks

Guests can book these cabanas by calling 407-WDW-PLAY or by visiting guests services in the park or in your resort hotel. Let us know your thoughts below or on Facebook.

‘Once Upon a Time’ Projection Show Coming to Magic Kingdom

once-upon-a-time-showDisney World will be home to a new castle projection show, ‘Once Upon a Time’, beginning on November 4, 2016. The show will replace the current show, “Celebrate the Magic”, and will play in it’s predecessor’s spot prior to and after the fireworks show most nights.

‘Once Upon a Time’ will be hosted by Mrs. Potts from Beauty and the Beast as she will be sharing bedtime stories with Chip. As the stories are told the guests will be able to go along with them on a magical trip that will visit some of Disney’s greatest films like “Peter Pan”, “Cinderella”, “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh”, and “Alice in Wonderland”. Disney has announced that some very famous scenes from those movies will be included including Peter Pan’s flight from London to Neverland, a tea party with the Mad Hatter, and a dual between Gaston and Beast.

once-upon-a-time-show-bThis show was inspired by a new show that has debuted at Tokyo Disneyland Park which has a similar name and uses projection mapping technology to complete cover Cinderella Castle in the images. Let us know your thoughts on this upcoming show by posting a comment below or visiting us on Facebook.

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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.