Disney’s Animal Kingdom 20th Anniversary Celebration Details

This year Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be celebrating its 20th anniversary on Earth Day, April 22, with more wild adventures than ever before as they prepare for an incredible summer filled with all-new events and experiences at the Walt Disney World Resort.

's Animal Kingdom 20th Anniversary Celebration Details Pinterest

Commemorating the milestone year, the 500-acre adventure park will offer animal encounters, family-friendly activities, specialty desserts and more during an expanded Party for the Planet celebration from April 22-May 5, 2018.

Over the two-week “Party for the Planet celebration, guests can attend conservation talks by animal-care experts and participate in enhanced interactions with some of the more than 2,000 animals that make their home at the Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited park.

Disney's Animal Kingdom 20th Anniversary Celebration Details
Walt Disney World

Rafiki’s Planet Watch will take center stage for the year-long 20th anniversary. It’s home to fun educational exhibits and activities that help create awareness of animal issues. During the 20th anniversary, Rafiki’s Planet Watch will offer backstage experiences with experts where guests can learn about animal nutrition, visit the veterinary hospital and hear how Disney promotes global wildlife conservation.

Guests can also commemorate their visits to the theme park with special photo opportunities. They can step into an oversized picture frame celebrating the park’s 20th anniversary. Other photo frames support Disney’s “Reverse the Decline,” an initiative created to help protect 10 threatened animal species. One recent success of the program was the birth of two critically endangered Sumatran Tiger Cubs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Just for kids is the chance to earn a limited-edition badge as part of the Wilderness Explorer program. The badge is one of many that youngsters can earn by completing fun activities throughout the park.

Party for the Planet will also include six different Tiffins Talks – themed dinners hosted by animal experts at Tiffins, the theme park’s signature, full-service restaurant. Watch the Disney Parks Blog for more information.

The 20th anniversary fun also includes a commemorative adventure guide, limited-edition merchandise, and a special-edition print created by renowned Walt Disney  Imagineer Joe Rohde.

He will be available on April 22 from 1-4 p.m. to sign prints at Discovery Trading Company. Quantities are limited. For more information on Party for the Planet, visit disneyworld.com/PartyforthePlanet.

Here are other experiences and adventures rolling out in 2018 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:

Disney's Animal Kingdom 20th Anniversary Celebration Details
Walt Disney World
  • April 22 will mark the debut of a brand-new show, UP! A Great Bird Adventure featuring Russell and Dug from the Disney•Pixar animated comedy-adventure film “UP.” The show will give guests the chance to see Senior Wilderness Explorer Russell and his fuzzy friend Dug in a new adventure that includes encounters with exotic birds from around the world. This free-flying show will be performed multiple times daily.
  • A “dino-tastic” celebration with Donald and his friends will also premiere Memorial Day weekend in DinoLand, U.S.A. This dinosaur-themed party celebrates Donald Duck’s discovery that his bird ancestors were actually dinosaurs. DinoLand U.S.A. will feature colorful new décor and playful character greetings with rarely seen pals like Scrooge McDuck, Launchpad McQuack and more. A DJ-powered dance party will mix tunes from the truck-o-saurus stage, capping the nighttime festivities.
  • Memorial Day 2018 commemorates the one-year anniversary of Pandora – The World of Avatar. Here, travelers are transported to a mystical world of floating mountains, bioluminescent rainforests and breathtaking new experiences. Inspired by the blockbuster film, AVATAR, the epic land invites guests to explore a glowing landscape, encounter a larger-than-life Na’vi Shaman of Songs and soar on the back of a banshee.

For more information about the 20th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, visit DisneyWorld.com/AnimalKingdom.

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Toy Story Land Opening Date Announced!

If you missed it, earlier today on Good Morning America the Walt Disney World Resort Announced that the much awaited Toy Story Land will open on June 30, 2018 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

In preparation for the opening, let’s look at what we know about the expansion!

Toy Story Land Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World 2018

The Story

Toy Story Land Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World 2018
Walt Disney World

When guests enter Toy Story Land they will ‘shrink’ down to the size of a toy so they can step into the whimsical and beloved world of PIXAR Animation Studios’ blockbuster franchise set in Andy’s backyard.

Looking around the highly intricate and themed land, guests will notice that all of the buildings are built from other toys and boxes with familiar faces from the Toy Story Franchise.

The Attractions

Toy Story Land Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World 2018
Walt Disney World

Once inside of Toy Story Land, guests will find that there are two new attractions that have been developed just for this new area of Disney’s Hollywood Studios as well as a fan-favorite that has a few new touches.

Slinky Dog Dash

Toy Story Land Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World 2018
Walt Disney World

Slinky Dog Dash is a family coaster themed as if Andy built it in his backyard using his Mega Coaster Play Kit and some of his other favorite toys.

The attraction’s ride vehicles, inspired by the character of Slinky in the film, will send riders dipping, dodging and dashing around turns and drops Andy has created to stretch Slinky’s coils to the max.

Alien Swirling Saucers

Toy Story Land Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World 2018
Walt Disney World

Alien Swirling Saucers, is designed as a toy play set that Andy got from Pizza Planet, inspired by the first “Toy Story” film.

In the attraction guests will step into a flying saucer that will rotate around the toy planets and satellites as part of the game while swirling to the beat of fun “Space Jazz” music and lighting developed just for this experience  while “The Claw” looms ominously overhead.

Toy Story Mania

Toy Story Mania is an absolute fan-favorite at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and if you haven’t been lucky enough to score a FastPass+ it is worth the wait!

On the attraction guests step inside of Andy’s room which is littered with classic toys and fun details to board an early-20th-century-inspired Carnival Ride Tram donning 3D glasses & armed with a spring-action shooter to take on five unique carnival games.

The Restaurant

Walt Disney World

Toy Story Land will ‘shrink’ guests to the size of a toy so they can step into the whimsical and beloved world of Pixar Animation Studios’ blockbuster franchise set in Andy’s backyard, and in keeping with the Land’s theming Woody’s Lunch Box has been created by Andy using his lunch box and thermos.

If you look closely at the rendering, you can see some of Andy’s favorite toys, items from his lunch, and maybe even a few green army man on a nearby lookout tower watching for Andy’s return.

“We can’t wait for our guests to experience Toy Story Land, and the new quick-service window located within the land will surely delight hungry toys and people alike,” said Carlos Castro, vice president of Disney Corporate Alliances. 

While we don’t have a complete menu for the location yet, we know that it will serve “tasty meals and old-fashioned soda floats” and is the first in a multi-year strategic alliance with Mini Babybel, which has also been named the Official Snack Cheese of Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, the Disneyland Resort in California, and Disney Cruise Line.

“At Bel Brands USA, we are all about sharing smiles and we are delighted to bring that to life through our alliance with Disney,” said Francis Perrin, chief marketing officer of Bel Brands USA, makers of Mini Babybel cheese. “We believe Mini Babybel makes snack time an adventure in deliciousness for the whole family every day and now we can share that fun and great taste with even more families as they enjoy adventures of their own at Disney Parks.”

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Epcot International Festival of the Arts Must Do’s

DISCLOSURE: I was invited by the Walt Disney World Resort to experience the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, but all opinions and over-use of exclamation points are 100% my own.

The Epcot International Festival of the Arts is back for its second year filling the park with a six week celebration of all forms of art forms from the visual to the culinary to the performing that is quickly becoming one of my favorite events at Walt Disney World.

While this year’s Epcot International Festival of the Arts has even more offerings than last year, the biggest and best change to this year’s Festival  is that the fun continues seven days a week from now until February 19th!

With so much to do and experience at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts, I wanted to share my list of ‘Must Do’s’ for your visit to the Festival!

Epcot International Festival of the Arts 2018 Walt Disney World

9 Epcot International Festival of the Arts Must Do’s

1. Taste the Culinary Arts

It wouldn’t be a Festival at Epcot with amazing food, and at this year there are even more Food Studios with enticing tastes at stops around the World Showcase promenade.

Not only do the offerings taste amazing they are definitely photo-worthy with unique twists and interesting plating.

This year five new Food Studios have joined the culinary adventure for a total of 13 at the Festival, and you can find the new locations in:

  • France (“L’Art de la Cuisine Française” or “The Art of French Cooking”),
  • Morocco (“Mosaic Canteen”),
  • Japan (“Takumi Table”),
  • Italy (“L’Arte di Mangiare” or “The Art of Eating”), and
  • China (“The Painted Panda”). 

A complete list of Food Studios and menus are at The Culinary Arts: Food Studios, but I will be talking more about food soon!!!

2. Be a part of the Art

Also returning this year is the hands-on wall mural (located in the Expression Section which is on the Showcase Plaza Promenade as you are traveling to/from Canada from Future World), where you can pick up a brush and assigned paint color to complete a square of a mural with a certain dragon that is ‘from head to tail, he’s royal purple pigment‘. 

3. Art Walk around World Showcase

Inside of each World Showcase Pavilion guests can find galleries showcasing artwork or relics from that country year round, but during the Epcot International Festival of the Arts guests will find an Art Walk in their Festival Guide that encourages them to visit each gallery to do a relief rubbing of the gallery’s icon plaque.

 4. Unique finds

While this year’sEpcot International Festival of the Arts is really fantastic (I LOVE the water color inspired design), there are some really unique ways to bring home a souvenir from the event in addition to the artist booths.

Two of my favorites are Enemy Ink (located just inside of the building with Starbucks and Club Cool) where you can create a custom Festival t-shirt on-demand in a variety of designs & color combinations and Jortra Jewelry (their booth is located between Morocco and France in World Showcase) offering hand-made jewelry from natural materials melon seeds, orange peels and coffee beans.

5. Fun Photo Spots

Epcot is full of great photo spots, but during the Epcot International Festival of the Arts you can find some really unique ‘Artful Photo Ops’ throughout World Showcase where you get to step into famous works of arts.

You can find them in the following locations:

  • Italy: The Birth of Venus by Sandro Botticelli
  • Italy: The Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci & The Scream by Edvard Munch
  • American Adventure: Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Gottlieb
  • France: Luncheon of the Boating Party by Pierre-Auguste Renoir

There are PhotoPass photographers at each location, but they will also take photos with your camera or phone.

6. Free Seminars

During the Festival accomplished Disney artists, guest-perts, and Cast Members impart their professional expertise at complimentary seminars, hands-on workshops, and quick study sessions at the Odyssey Festival Showplace seven days a week.

These Seminars happen at 1:30 pm and 4:30 pm, but space is extremely limited so if there is one that you HAVE to attend make sure you arrive early to grab a seat.

You can find a week-by-week list of free seminars here.

Also, during the Epcot International Festival of the Arts you can find the Animation Academy (YAY!) intermittently from 2 pm – 8:30 pm in the Odyssey Festival Showplace where you can learn to draw Disney characters from Disney artists for FREE!

7. Interactive Workshops

Each week the interactive workshop series offers Festival Guests a unique opportunity to walk away with an enhanced skillset or new understanding of various artistic and culinary techniques from animation drawing and floral arranging to calligraphy, abstract painting and other interesting topics.

All of the interactive workshops ($39 per person plus tax, Epcot admission required but not included, & 15% discount per Annual Passholder or Disney Vacation Club Member) are held in the Odyssey Festival Showplace seven days a week at 11 am to 12:15 pm.

Space in these workshops is EXTREMELY limited, and you will need to make reservations in advance by calling (407) WDW-TOUR to reserve your spot or visit the Odyssey Festival Showplace. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call.

You can find a week-by-week list of the interactive workshops and how to book them here.

8. Live Performances

This year there is an increased presence in the performing arts at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts with entertainment on the Fountain View Plaza Stage throughout the day.

We had the opportunity to see the new Art Defying Gravity show, and it is amazing what those performers can do!!!

The Epcot Times Guide, found at the entrance and in retail locations throughout the park, lets you know when you can catch these fun performances.

9. Disney on Broadway Concert Series

The EXTREMELY popular (and rightly so) Disney on Broadway Concert Series take the stage in the American Gardens Theater in World Showplace on ‘Disney Weekends’ (Friday to Monday) bringing a taste of ‘The Great White Way’ to Florida!

The concerts showcase the stellar talents of performers who sing selections from award-winning Disney on Broadway musicals that you will not want to miss!

Here’s the lineup:

  • January 19-22: Kara Lindsay (NEW!) and Kevin Massey Jan. 19-22, who will perform songs from “Tarzan,” “Aladdin,” “Newsies” and “Frozen.”
  • January 26-29 and February 2-5: Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White will perform songs from “Tarzan,” “The Lion King,” “Aida,” “Aladdin” and “The Little Mermaid.”
  • February 9-12 and 16-19: Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland will perform songs from “Beauty and the Beast,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Tarzan,” “Mary Poppins,” “Newsies” and “Frozen.”

All Disney on Broadway shows are included in theme park admission and will take place Fridays through Mondays at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m.  Even though there are three shows a night, GET THERE EARLY!!! I cannot stress how popular these performances are!

New this year are the Disney on Broadway Concert Series Dining Packages that are available at five participating Epcot restaurants that can be booked online or by calling (407) WDW-DINE or (407) 939-7463.

*** BONUS FOR ALL WALT DISNEY WORLD ANNUAL PASSHOLDERS ***

Not only to Walt Disney World Annual Passholders have exclusive Festival merchandise, but they can receive an Epcot International Festival of the Arts print.

Simply go into the American Adventure Pavilion (you will see a sign outside guiding you to enter on the left set of doors), show your valid Walt Disney World Annual Pass and photo id, and a Cast Member will give you the Belle print with an embossed seal. It’s really pretty!!!

You can find out how to book specific experiences and find more information for planning your ultimate day at the Epcot International Festival of the Arts with the official website.

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Tips For Stepping Into THE VOID At Disney Springs

DISCLOSURE: I was invited guest of the Walt Disney World Resort to experience THE VOID on opening day, but all opinions are my own.

Tips THE VOID Disney Springs

Disney in collaboration with THE VOID, Lucasfilm and ILMxLAB has launched a new “hyper-reality” VR experience in Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort.   The Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire “hyper-reality” experience is an immersive virtual reality experience like no other.

THE VOID Disney Springs Indoor Sign

 

Part of legitimate Star Wars canon, the experience takes place around the time of Rogue One and features characters like Captain Cassian, Darth Vader, and K-2SO.  Part of a rebel team, your mission is to infiltrate a covert imperial base in search of the mysterious contents of a secret shipment.  Unlike other virtual reality experiences, as you make your way through THE VOID you truly feel like you are in an alternate reality.  You and your team, dressed as Imperial Stormtroopers, must fight your way through the base as the smells of sulfur permeate your nose and the heat of molten rock radiates beneath you.

THE VOID Disney Springs Official Photo
THE VOID

Here are my 5 tips for a successful mission inside THE VOID:

  • Take extra time with the fit and securing of your pack to ensure that you feel all the haptic feedback from laser blasts and explosions.

THE VOID Disney Springs Backpack

  • Guests must be 10 years old and at least 48” tall, and the pack weighs more than 15 pounds, so ensure your children are ok carrying the weight.
  • When you get into the staging room, make sure the volume on your helmet is turned up, so you can hear the experience as well as your teammates.

THE VOID Disney Springs Warnings

  • Wear close-toed shoes to keep from tripping or getting your feet stepped on by your teammates.
  • Teamwork is critical, so make sure you communicate with your fellow rebels throughout the mission.

You begin your experience in a briefing room where you verify your identity, choose your storm trooper uniform, and have your missing briefing from Captain Cassian.  Once you are clear on your mission you move into the equipment room to get your pack and helmet before boarding your hijacked imperial shuttle.  Once you arrive at the imperial base, K-2SO will help guide you through the mission.  This is a completely immersive experience, so make sure you look and feel around your environment to see everything.  You will have to interact with physical objects like blasters, door locks, and computer panels to complete your mission.

THE VOID Exterior Disney Springs

I recommend purchasing tickets for THE VOID Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire in advance on their official website.

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

New Cirque du Soleil Show Coming To Disney Springs

In 1998 Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts teamed up for the first to bring La Nouba to life on stage, and twenty years later Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group and Walt Disney Parks and Resorts have announced that they are working together on a new project to take the stage in the iconic building located on the West Side of Disney Springs.

Cirque du Soleil and Walt Disney World Logo
Cirque du Soleil / Walt Disney World

The new show will be created by Cirque du Soleil in collaboration with Disney, and will draw its inspiration from Disney’s heritage of animation. It will celebrate Disney’s legacy of storytelling in Cirque du Soleil’s signature way, with a tribute to the one-of a kind craftsmanship that makes Disney so extraordinary.

“This long-standing relationship is built on mutual esteem and the success achieved by our two creative businesses throughout the past two decades with La Nouba,” said Tiffany Rende, Senior Vice President, Corporate Alliances and Operating Participants, The Walt Disney Corporation. “We look forward to our continued collaboration with Cirque du Soleil in developing this new show that will honor Disney animation’s rich history.”

After paying homage to some of entertainment’s greatest artists, such as The Beatles and Michael Jackson, Cirque du Soleil will leap into the iconic world of Disney.

Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, added “We are incredibly inspired by Disney’s immense creative universe. We are convinced that bringing Disney’s magic to life on stage will touch audiences and bring them back to their childhood.”

The curtain falls on La Nouba for their final performance on December 31, 2017, but its impact on the Walt Disney World has left an impressive legacy. Since its première, La Nouba has entertained more than 11 million guests, has performed close to 9,000 shows, have flipped 2.8 million times in the PowerTrack act, and the wardrobe department has handled over 21 million costumes and headpieces. Tickets are still available for your chance to watch the show one more time before it takes its final bow.

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Celebrating The Season At Epcot’s Festival Of The Holidays

DISCLOSURE: I was invited by Walt Disney World to attend a day of exploring Epcot’s International Festival of the Holidays, but all opinions are my own. 

Celebrating and exploring the customs of the holidays around the world has always been a staple of Epcot’s rich history, but this year they are kicking off the first Epcot International Festival of the Holidays with even more entertainment, food, and activities for the entire family from now until December 30th.

What makes celebrating the holidays at Epcot so fantastic is that this journey is included with your admission to the park, and celebrating is an entire day (or two) experience that takes you from morning to night that you won’t want to miss.

So let’s take a peek at what you won’t want to miss during the first Epcot International Festival of the Holidays!

Celebrating The Season At Epcot’s Festival Of The Holidays

2017 Epcot Festival of the Holidays

Celebrating the Holidays Around the World

There’s no better way to get caught up in the holiday spirit than by traveling to the 11 countries in Epcot’s World Showcase to see the wondrous sights, sounds, and stories of the season as they celebrated by cultures near and far.

2017 Epcot Festival of the Holidays

In addition to the traditional holiday decorations and music in each nation’s pavilion, you can find the following story tellers:

  • Canada – Holiday Voyageurs sing seasonal tunes,

  • United Kingdom – Father Christmas discusses local holiday traditions,

  • France – Pere Noel tells a story about the French tradition of children leaving their shoes out for Christmas,

  • Morocco – A cultural representative tells tales of Moroccan festivals and other traditions,

  • Japan – The story here is focused on the Japanese New Year, O-Shogatsu, with the story of the origin of the Daruma dolls,

  • America – You can hear the story of Hanukkah, Kwanza, see the Voices of Liberty perform holiday favorites, & meet traditional Santa and Mrs. Claus,

  • Italy – La Benafa, the good witch, tells the story of the Epiphany,

  • Germany – Helga tells us the origin story of the Nutcracker,

  • China – Dragon dancers excite the crowd to celebrate the New Year,

  • Norway – Sigrid tells the tale of the gnome Julenissen, who makes an appearance later in the show, and

  • Mexico – Fiesta de Navidad with Mariach Cobre and traditional dancers bring to life the traditions of the Mexican culture with music, dances, and stories during this holiday fiesta.

There are SOOOOO many storytellers to see, so if you can spread out your day you will find that you are bouncing around World Showcase less. Make sure to keep a keen eye on your times guide for how to best schedule your day!

There are also two new groups that are beyond fantastic that you won’t want to miss!

El Mariachi Coco de Santa Cecilia

In the Mexico Pavilion you can find a new celebration of Día de los Muertos inspired by Coco, the new animated feature from Disney•Pixar, as the El Mariachi Coco de Santa Cecilia perform songs from the film.

2017 Epcot Festival of the Holidays

The show is full of fun & heart that lasts a little over 10 minutes, and runs several times a day until January 6, 2018.

Mostly Kosher

There is no better description of Mostly Kosher than the one they give themselves on their Facebook Page.

2017 Epcot Festival of the Holidays

“Mostly Kosher, a Los Angeles based indie-global-collective, radically reconstructs Judaic and American cultural musical roots. Through ravenous post-klezmer beats and arresting Yiddish refrains, Mostly Kosher is a musical feast that explodes into a global food-fight of Jazz, Latin, Rock, Hip Hop, World and Folk. These fearless soundsmiths highlight the architecture of heritage music and yet raze it to the ground.”

While this is a celebration of traditional Hanukkah songs and Jewish musical traditions rooted in klezmer music, their music is universal as it taps into several genres. You’ll be dancing and tapping your toes before you know it!

JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season

JOYFUL! A Celebration of the Season brings a blend of inspiring gospel with jazz, R&B, and more to create a brand new show that showcases Christmas and Kwanza traditions several times a day on the Future World Fountain Stage. The spirit of this show is fantastic, and once the show starts you will find that you won’t be able to walk away.

2017 Epcot Festival of the Holidays
Disney

Then on December 26th there will be a festive and JOYFUL Kwanza experience that you will want to catch.

Epcot International Festival of the Holidays Holiday Kitchens

Let’s grab that complimentary Epcot International Festival of the Holidays Holiday Passport that available throughout the park for a peek at the new (and delicious) holiday kitchens serving up tasty treats until December 30th!

2017 Epcot Festival of the Holidays

Throughout the park there are 15 holiday markets spread throughout the park offering up traditional fare from around the world. My favorite dishes are the Cheese Fondue (The Bavaria Holiday Kitchen in the Germany Pavilion) that is served with bread and steamed vegetables, the Roasted Pork with Smashed Yucca and Pickled Green Bananas (Feast of the Three Kings Holiday Kitchen in Showcase Plaza), and the Gingersnap Cookie with Cream Cheese Icing and Cranberry Jam (The Cookie Nook – The Odyssey).

In addition to Holiday Kitchens, each of the four Joffery’s Coffee and Tea Company kiosks throughout the park have a signature beverage.

Epcot International Festival of the Holidays Merchandise

As with any special event at Walt Disney World, there is a large assortment of merchandise to commemorate the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays. And I especially love that it features Chip & Dale!!!

2017 Epcot Festival of the Holidays

In addition to the official event merchandise, you can find special holiday merchandise at many of the countries in the World Showcase. Make sure to drop in as you are exploring the park for some traditional cultural gifts.

Chip & Dale’s Christmas Tree Spree

Becoming a staple of the festivals at Epcot are the family-friendly scavenger hunts, and during the Epcot International Festival of the Holidays the hunt features two familiar and mischievous friends.

2017 Epcot Festival of the Holidays

Chip and Dale are collecting ornaments for their Christmas tree—and they need your help! To get started, simply purchase a map and sticker from select merchandise locations including Pin Central, Disney Traders, and World Traveler at International Gateway.

As you travel around World Showcase, be on the lookout for Chip and Dale as they gather ornaments from holiday decorations in each World Showcase pavilion. Once you spot them, add the corresponding ornament sticker to your map. Once you have found all the ornaments, you simply take your completed map to Disney Traders and exchange it for a festive surprise, courtesy of Chip and Dale!

Maps are $6.99 plus tax, and are available throughout Holidays Around the World at Epcot while supplies last.

Candlelight Processional

The heart of any day at Epcot during the holidays is the Candlelight Processional in the American Gardens Theater in front of the American Pavilion in the World Showcase.

2017 Epcot Festival of the Holidays
Disney

Each night until December 30th, a celebrity narrator tells the biblical tale of a savior born to a virgin in Bethlehem with choral pieces woven into the production as a fifty piece orchestra and stage filling choir provide an inspirational backdrop with songs of hope and joy.

This year, an exciting line-up of celebrities—including a few new faces and voices—are set to lend their talents. Still left to present this season are:

  • Neil Patrick Harris – December 18 to 21, 2017

  • NEW! CCH Pounder – December 22 to 24, 2017

  • Jaci Velasquez – December 25 to 27, 2017

  • Chandra Wilson – December 28 to 30, 2017

Admission to the Candlelight Processional is included with your theme park admission, and showtimes are nightly at 5:00 pm, 6:45 pm, & 8:15 pm. However, you will absolutely want to arrive early to queue up for a seat. While seats are not guaranteed, you can secure a seat with a Candlelight Processional Dining Package.

Candlelight Processional Dining Packages

Candlelight Dining Packages are available for breakfast, lunch and dinner, and include a 3-course meal or full buffet (depending on the location), and guarantee priority seating at at Candlelight Processional show that same day.

You can find a full list of restaurants and prices here, but as with anything there are a few things to keep in mind before you book your Candlelight Processional Dining Package:

  • Tax and Gratuity are not included with the prices listed,

  • Meals do not include alcoholic beverages in the price but they are available for purchase,

  • You will be given your Candlelight Processional badge from your chosen restaurant location at the end of the meal,

  • and while you are guaranteed seating you will still want to arrive early to queue up for a seat.

Illuminations: Reflections of Earth

Every night IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth lights the Epcot sky above The World Showcase Lagoon, but during the holiday season park goers are in for a special fireworks tag treat that has so many shells your bells will be jingled from now until December 30th!

2017 Epcot Festival of the Holidays
Disney

Featuring holiday greetings in native languages from the countries of World Showcase, along with the beloved sounds of the classic song “Let There be Peace on Earth,” this festive finish leaves you with a joyful message of “peace on earth and goodwill to men.”

My best tip for watching IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth is to watch which way the flames from the torches are blowing before the show, because if they are blowing towards you so is the smoke so you will want to move. There really isn’t a bad spot to watch from around the World Showcase Lagoon.

2017 Epcot Festival of the Holidays

The Epcot International Festival of the Holidays expanded entertainment, food, and activities make it a welcome addition to the holiday celebrations in Orlando!

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Nine Ways To Have A Flurry Of Fun At Disney’s Hollywood Studios

DISCLOSURE: I was invited by Walt Disney World to experience a Flurry of Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but all opinions are my own.

There is a festive holiday spirit in the air at Disney’s Hollywood Studios as a Flurry of Fun has been added this holiday season that includes new decorations, shows, treats, and more that can be experienced every day from now until December 31st!

The fun goes from day to night, so let’s take a look some of the highlights of holiday fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

Flurry of Fun Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World

Nine Ways To Have A Flurry Of Fun At Disney’s Hollywood Studios

1. Take a stroll around Echo Lake

Flurry of Fun Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World

Echo Lake, just off of Hollywood Boulevard, has received a retro and merry makeover that includes extra-large ornaments on the water, colorful garlands and medallions on every light pole, a few woodland friends, decorated umbrellas, and the centerpiece of the decorations is a giant Christmas tree centered on the water that is a perfect backdrop for photos. Dinosaur Gertie is also excited for the fun, and is festively dressed for the holidays.

Don’t forget to visit Echo Lake at night, as the area comes alive with lights. A stroll around Echo Lake is a great way to end your day in the park.

2. See a new holiday tag For the First Time in Forever

Flurry of Fun Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World
Disney

The ever popular For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration fills the Hyperion Theater with holiday fun and songs as the royal historians, Anna, Elsa, and Kristoff welcome Olaf to the show for the holiday season to share all-new songs from Disney’s new animated short “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure”.

The holiday addition fits seamlessly into the existing show, and having Olaf in the show is a holiday present for the audience.

3. Make sure you are on the right list with Santa

Flurry of Fun Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World

You can’t celebrate the holidays without a visit to see Santa, but during the Flurry of Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios there are TWO ways to meet the big guy!

The Once Upon a Time store, located among the star-studded stores all along Sunset Boulevard, you can get in those holiday requests and photos in person with Kris Kringle from November 9 to December 24, 2017.

Jolly Old Saint Nick will be greeting good girls and good boys in an area decorated just for the occasion with Christmas trees, ornate garlands, and even a lovely red and gold rug.

But remember! Santa will only be available to meet until Christmas Eve. Be sure to visit him during his limited appearance dates, taking place from November 9 to December 24, 2017!

After Christmas, “Yule” laugh your way right into the New Year when Goofy takes over for the big guy from December 25 to 31, 2017.

Once Christmas morning arrives, Santa Claus will be well on his way back to the North Pole… but don’t you worry it’s Santa Goofy to the rescue! Don’t miss your chance to ring in 2018 with a hearty laugh and even a picture too as you spend time with the goofiest holiday Character in history.

Please keep in mind that all entertainment and appearances are subject to change without notice, and if you are looking for information on meeting Santa or Santa Goofy check with a Cast Member when you arrive at the park, Guest Relations is located to the far left of the entrance as you are facing the park.

4. Grab a sweet treat

Flurry of Fun Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World
Disney

The holidays aren’t the holidays without sweet treats, and The Disney Parks Blog shared a look at the fun for foodies!

My favorite treat was the over-the-top red velvet whoopie pies that are piled hight with icing garland, ornament pearls, and holiday sprinkles that are tree-shaped and available at Sweet Spells and Fairfax Fare.

Fans of Olaf will be overjoyed, because he stars on several desserts around the park! Olaf can be found dancing on cupcakes at ABC Commissary, Rosie’s All-American Café, Catalina Eddie’s, Fairfax Fare and Sweet Spells. There’s an Olaf Pop at Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction along Echo Lake, an Olaf Sundae at Hollywood Scoops on Sunset Boulevard, and Sugar Frosted Fruit Bites at Pretzel Palooza on Sunset Boulevard. For even more fun, there is even an Olaf-themed sipper that comes filled with a fun “Frozen” beverage that can be found in several locations around the park.

5. Festive beverages for adults

Flurry of Fun Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World
Disney

For the holiday season, guests over the age of 21 can look forward to a selection of specialty beverages themed to the celebrations.

It isn’t always hot in Florida, and you may find that you want to warm up with a spiked hot chocolate that can be found at both Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner along Echo Lake and Fairfax Fare on Sunset Boulevard. The selection of hot chocolates includes a hot chocolate martini, Bailey’s Salted Caramel hot chocolate, black cherry bourbon hot chocolate, and there is even a hot chocolate flight where you can sample all three if you can’t choose just one to try.

Other adult beverages available this year include a Peppermint White Russian, a Winterberry Cooler and a Let It Glow drink consisting of vodka and blue-raspberry frozen carbonated beverage with your very own glow cube at various locations around Echo Lake and Sunset Boulevard.

6. Watch as the streets of Hollywood come alive during Sunset Seasons Greetings

Flurry of Fun Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World

On Sunset Boulevard, just off of the main entrance’s Hollywood Boulevard, as night falls a ‘snowy’ holiday celebration takes place as billboards above the street move into motion with appearances from some beloved characters who are sharing their love of the holidays.

The billboards above direct you to look at the iconic Hollywood Tower Hotel, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, as it is magically transformed, courtesy of some cutting edge projections, bringing to characters’ stories to life and into motion.

The Disney character moments during Sunset Seasons include:

  • Mickey and Minnie reminiscing about a hometown Christmas as the scene shifts into a romanticized, Norman Rockwell-inspired town—starting in black and white before slowly changing into color.
  • The Toy Story characters guessing which new toys are coming this Christmas as the scene becomes covered in holiday wrapping paper.
  • The Swedish Chef from The Muppets babbling as only he can while the scene turns into giant gingerbread houses.
  • And finally, Olaf pining over his holiday wish as iconic music plays and the scene freezes over into a Frozen winter wonderland—complete with dancing Aurora Borealis lights and projected falling snow.

Each of these scenes lasts for almost 3 minutes, and play on a loop. So you are invited to slow down your pace and enjoy the show as you make your way to the attractions and restaurants or grab a spot to watch them all. If you do decide to grab a spot for a bit, please make sure you are considerate to other guests who might be making their way down the Boulevard.

7. Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!

Flurry of Fun Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World
Disney

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! is back this year with even more BAM!

Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! is a nighttime spectacular full of fun and hijinks that features traditional holiday tunes, state-of-the-art projections from Disney Animation classics, special effects, fireworks, a little snow, and unexpected surprises.

It’s “Kringle Level 9” for the stars of ABC’s Prep & Landing Wayne and Lanny as they search for Santa who has gone missing. You will get caught up in the adventure as the Chinese Theater, as well as the surrounding buildings and rooftops, come alive to immerse you into scenes from Mickey’s Christmas CarolBeauty and the BeastPluto’s Christmas TreeTim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, and more. The festive finale is a snowy, visual wonderland that is a must-see for the holiday season.

For the best viewing spot, make sure you arrive early and have a sight line that includes as much of the Chinese Theater and surrounding buildings as you can. Most of the firework bursts happen on the right side of the Theater, but even more effects and fireworks are launched from the surrounding areas.

8. Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Dessert Party

Flurry of Fun Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World
Disney

If you want to really amp up your Flurry of Fun, I suggest booking the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Dessert Party.

During the party you can enjoy specialty sweets and sips from around the park before you move to a special reserved viewing area to enjoy Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! The viewing area, weather and condition permitting, is located in the Chinese Theater courtyard.

Among the desserts offered are candy cane brownies, holiday Mickey and Minnie sugar cookies, warm pumpkin pie spiced bread pudding, and sweet Yule Log.

And at the end of the party you get to take home a special ornament as a gift to remember your evening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!

The Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Dessert Party is a premium event that is not included with admission that takes place nightly through December 31. Pricing does change based on date, and from now to December 15, pricing is $79 for adults and $45 for children ages 3-9; and December 17-31, adults are $89 and children are $49 (gratuity and tax included).

Reservations must be made in advance either online or by calling 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463).

9. Minnie’s Holiday Dine-In

Flurry of Fun Disney's Hollywood Studios Walt Disney World
Disney

You can deck the halls at a dazzling dinner party filled with holiday cheer and amazing food at Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Minnie’s Holiday Dine-In.

Minnie Mouse is the hostess-with-the-mostest, and she is throwing a fantastic feast that features a mix of fun music and décor with a seasonal menu that is full of the joy of the season.

Minnie greets you at the door for a special photo opportunity, and while you are dining you can meet Mickey Mouse, Daisy Duck, Donald Duck, and Goofy as they stop by your table to pose for pictures and holiday hugs.

And before you leave, make sure you pick up your gift from your thoughtful hostess!

Minnie’s Seasonal Dining events cost $50 per adult and $30 per child, plus tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and can be made online or using the My Disney Experience App. Some dining plans accepted, so check before you go.

If you are not planning on attending at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, this is a great time to get photos with some of your favorite characters in their holiday finest while enjoying a great meal. I have had the chance to go to several of Minnie’s holiday get togethers, and I look forward to them every time!

And while this is a buffet, don’t feel like you can’t dine here if you have allergies because they go above and beyond accommodating guests with allergies and dietary concerns!

Spending the holidays at Disney’s Hollywood Studios has always been a great way to kick off our holiday celebrations in November, but this year it is even better with all of these new additions! It truly is a Flurry of Fun!

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Star Tours New Additions and Adventures

DISCLOSURE: I was invited by Walt Disney World to experience Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, but all opinions (and total geek out moments) are all my own. 

As guests board their Starspeeders at Star Tours – The Adventures Continue at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, they will find that several new additions have been made to the attraction packing it full of adventure!

Inspired by Star Wars: The Last Jedi, the latest film in the Star Wars saga that will be opening in theaters on December 15, 2017. Riders will now see new introductory and interstitial scenes featuring characters from the latest trilogy. But more exciting is that a new scene has been added that places them right in the middle of an epic battle that takes place on the planet of Crait, which we got a first glimpse of in the first Star Wars: The Last Jedi teaser trailer.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Trailer (Official)

But the most exciting part is that as the Star Tour journey is coming to an end, riders are now on a planet that can be found in the outermost rim of the Star Wars galaxy, an unexplored planet in the Star Wars saga known as Batuu, the home planet for the Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge expansion that opens at both Walt Disney World in 2019.

star tours batuu Walt Disney World Disney's Hollywood Studios
Disney/Lucasfilm

To give riders and explorers a better idea of what they will find on this new planet, Scott Trowbridge, Portfolio Creative Executive at Walt Disney Imagineering, shared a bit of the history of Batuu on the Disney Parks Blog.

“This remote outpost on the galaxy’s edge was once a busy crossroads along the old sub-lightspeed trade routes, but its prominence was bypassed by the rise of hyperspace travel. Now home to those who prefer to stay out of the mainstream, it has become a thriving port for smugglers, rogue traders and adventurers traveling between the frontier and uncharted space. It’s also a convenient safe haven for those intent on avoiding the expanding reach of the First Order. While Batuu may be new to us, it is clearly already familiar to many characters from the Star Wars saga as a stepping off point for epic adventures.”

The additions to Star Tours – The Adventures Continue are just the first of many new additions expected to debut at Walt Disney World and Disneyland to give us a glimpse into what the world of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge will be like when it opens in 2019.

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

The SpectacuLAB Debuts In Epcot At Walt Disney World

The SpectacuLAB is an all-new interactive show at Epcot that can be found inside of Innoventions in Future World, and I was invited to attend the opening of the show and to be in the audience for the first show which was a lot of fun.

The SpectacuLAB Epcot - Pinterest

The SpectacuLAB, which lasts approximately 20 minutes, allows guest to join a duo of real scientists and their intern as they perform a series of experiments and demonstrations.

The SpectacuLAB Epcot - Cast

The audience participation portion of the show comes when the scientists need a hand during the scientific demonstrations which include Guests racing to change the colors of barometric pressure cubes by only raising or lowering the cube, using accelerometer sensors measuring the guest’s force when smashing a paper cup, and observing a scientist explain the principle of force by comfortably resting on a bed of nails with a twist.

The SpectacuLAB at Epcot

The Spectaculab space is extremely spacious with plenty of seating to enjoy the show. A lot of the experiments happen on the stage floor, but don’t worry if you have a clear view, because you will be able to see the action on the large monitors on the stage.

The SpectacuLAB show was developed with the show’s sponsor Murata, a global leader in the design, manufacturing, and supply of electronic components that are used to create consumer products such as mobile devices, healthcare equipment, and automotive electronics.

The SpectacuLAB Epcot - Grand Opening Moment

In addition to teaming with Murata, the Walt Disney Parks Creative Entertainment joined forces with Science from Scientists, a national, non-profit which promotes the importance of STEM education with a mission to empower youth in science, technology, engineering, and mathematical fields.

The SpectacuLAB Epcot - Mickey and Dr. Erica

“Epcot is the perfect venue to help encourage STEM participation,” said Dr. Erika Ebbel Angle, founder and Executive Director of Science from Scientists. “Teaming up with Murata allows us to showcase scientific concepts in an exciting and hands-on fashion. We are thrilled to further STEM education at a place like Disney that inspires so many children and families.”

Showtimes for The SpectacuLAB show are 10:30 am, 11:45 am, 2 pm, 3:15 pm, and 4 pm daily, but these times are subject to change so when you arrive at Epcot make sure to check in

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

The SpectacuLAB Will Debut At Epcot Next Month

This November Epcot will welcome an all-new interactive show called The SpectacuLAB showcasing inside of their Innoventions space in Future World.

The Spectaculab

During this new show guests will be invited to join a group of real scientists and their tech-savvy intern to participate in a series of experiments and demonstrations to put scientific principles like ultrasonic pressure, barometric pressure, acceleration and force to the test to see how they have inspired the amazing technologies we enjoy today.

The audience participation in the demonstrations with the on-hand scientists will include Guests playing ultrasonic sensor drums, simply with the wave of their hand, changing the colors of barometric pressure cubes by only raising or lowering the cube, using accelerometer sensors measuring the guest’s force when using a hammer, and observing a scientist explain the principle of force by comfortably resting on a bed of nails.

The SpectacuLAB show was developed with the show’s sponsor Murata, a global leader in the design, manufacturing, and supply of electronic components that are used to create consumer products such as mobile devices, healthcare equipment, and automotive electronics.

“The SpectacuLAB will spark the intellectual curiosity of children and adults alike,” said Tsuneo Murata, President of Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd, a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of electronic components. “We are excited to share this with guests visiting Epcot at Walt Disney World.”

In addition to teaming with Murata, the Walt Disney Parks Creative Entertainment joined forces with Science from Scientists, a national, non-profit which promotes the importance of STEM education with a mission to empower youth in science, technology, engineering, and mathematical fields.

“Epcot is the perfect venue to help encourage STEM participation,” said Dr. Erika Ebbel Angle, founder and Executive Director of Science from Scientists. “Teaming up with Murata allows us to showcase scientific concepts in an exciting and hands-on fashion. We are thrilled to further STEM education at a place like Disney that inspires so many children and families.”

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

2018 Disney Parks Moms Panel Search Announced

Are you the person your friends and colleagues always seek out for heartfelt advice on planning a Disney vacation? Have you put together more amazing Disney trips than you can count, and do you want to help others do the same?

Disney Parks Moms Panel 2018 Search

If so, then you may want to apply for a spot on the 2018 Disney Parks Moms Panel, the go-to online resource for guests seeking honest and relatable Disney vacation tips from likeminded parents.

From September 6-13, 2017, the search is on for everyday moms, dads and trusted family members to serve on the wildly popular forum. Applications can be submitted online at www.momspanelsearch.com.

Applicants will be selected based on their personal experience exploring various Disney destinations and their ability to communicate their Disney knowledge to prospective guests in easy-to-understand and friendly ways. The selection committee is eager to hear from parents from a variety of backgrounds and experiences who can lend diverse trip-planning insights, including moms, dads, grandparents, military service members, and more.

Heading into its 11th search, the Disney Parks Moms Panel has grown to be one of the most popular and trusted Disney vacation planning tools. It offers tailored parent-to-parent vacation advice in a convenient question-and-answer format. Additionally, the panel is available in four languages – English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese – to meet the unique needs of every type of Disney traveler and Disney hopes to welcome even more bilingual panelists to the 2018 panel.

“There is something so genuine in the exchange of trusted advice among neighbors. That’s what inspired the first Disney Parks Moms Panel in 2008 and why it continues to grow and serve travelers throughout the world 10 years later,” said Leanne O’Regan, Director of Public Relations for Disney Parks. “The panel is filled with personal, heartfelt advice based on panelists’ real experiences in Disney theme parks, resorts & hotels, and cruises. We know this year’s search will bring out another impressive group of applicants who know the ins and outs of planning a Disney vacation. We can’t wait to hear from them and see who will be selected to join the 2018 panel!”

Disney Parks Moms Panel Fact Sheet
Disney

Accessible at home or on-the-go, the Disney Parks Moms Panel offers firsthand insights into a myriad of topics like how to maximize time in the parks with preschoolers and how Disney Cruise Line can accommodate families with special needs. Advice comes from real-life moms and dads who have been there before, providing instant connections to fellow parents.

New questions are posted daily, and visitors can explore ‘Trending Topics’ and ‘Most Useful Questions’ to uncover valuable trip planning advice they may have not considered to ask. Of course, the Disney Parks Moms Panel is also the source for tips on new Disney attractions and entertainment like the latest groundbreaking experiences: Pandora – The World of Avatar at Walt Disney World Resort and Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT! at Disneyland Resort.

How to Apply for the Disney Parks Moms Panel

Applications for the 2018 Disney Parks Moms Panel will be accepted from noon EDT on September 6, 2017, through noon EDT on September 13, 2017. To apply, visit www.momspanelsearch.com. The application process follows the below format, though subject to change if needed: a series of short- answer questions in the first round, additional short-answer questions and submission of a brief video in Round 2, and phone interviews for applicants making it to the final round. The 2018 Disney Parks Moms Panel will be announced in January. Applicants selected must be available to attend a training session at Walt Disney World Resort from November 29 to December 3, 2017.

About the Disney Parks Moms Panel

The Disney Parks Moms Panel is the official online forum where guests can get tips and insights from real moms, dads and grandparents who have mastered the art of planning Disney vacations. Guests can pose questions to the panelists in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese, as well as gain access to other tools for planning and booking a Disney vacation. Featuring just 12 members in its inaugural year in 2008, the panel now boasts 40 park-savvy panelists as a result of the popularity of the site and the ever-growing number of questions submitted by curious Guests. Serving as independent contractors, the panelists receive a rewards trip to one Disney Destination for themselves and up to three family members for their participation on the Disney Parks Moms Panel. For more information and to meet the current panelists, visit www.DisneyParksMomsPanel.com.

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

D23 Expo 2017 News: Star Wars Land Model Unveiled

Star Wars Land Model D23 Expo 2017

During a special preview of D23 Expo 2017, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Bob Chapek unveiled a first look at the epic, richly detailed model of the Star Wars-themed lands under development at Disneyland park in Anaheim, California, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Florida. This stunning exhibition, on display in Walt Disney Parks and Resorts’ “A Galaxy of Stories” pavilion at D23 Expo, is yet another example of the breathtaking new worlds, immersive storytelling and transformational guest experiences that set Disney apart.

FIRST LOOK! Star Wars Land Model – Walt Disney World – Disneyland

“To say we are excited for the Star Wars-themed lands to open in 2019 is an understatement,” Chapek said. “All along, we have said this will be game-changing, and through the model we can begin to see how truly epic these immersive new worlds will be.”

Chapek plans to share exciting new details about the project during the Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Hall D23 Presentation on Saturday. The model will remain on display at the pavilion throughout the weekend to give visitors an up-close look at what’s to come on this never-before seen planet. In addition, the pavilion will display models, artwork and media that provide a first-ever look at some of the locations, starships, creatures, and droids that guests will encounter when they visit this new planet.

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Summer Additions At Disney’s Hollywood Studios

This Summer you can find two new additions at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to help add some pep to your evenings after a day in the park.

Summer Additions At Disney’s Hollywood Studios

's Hollywood Studios 2017 Pinterest

The Music of Pixar Live! A Symphony of Characters

Three times a night The Music of Pixar Live! takes to the Theater of the Stars Stage to celebrate 20 years of unforgettable soundtrack favorites from some of your Pixar favorites including Cars, Finding Nemo, Monsters, Inc., Toy Story, and UP performed by a live orchestra.

's Hollywood Studios Summer Additions 2017 - Pixar Live in Concert Cars

As you listen to your favorite, heartfelt songs you get to watch movie montages, outtakes, and interview excerpts with the folks behind Pixar’s captivating music.

Also, don’t be surprised if you find that several friends join in the fun along the way.

The finale of this 45 minute show stars YOU! You and your family get to join with the orchestra and some of your Pixar pals for an onscreen sing-along to Randy Newman’s Academy Award-nominated, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me.”

Insider Tips – The Music of Pixar Live! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

* If you aren’t able to grab a FastPass+ or are not doing a Music of Pixar Live! Dining package, don’t worry too much about being able to grab a seat because the Theater of the Stars is rather large. I would suggest arriving early on traditionally busy days and weekends.

* Guests can enter the Theater of the Stars 20 minutes prior to showtime, and for your timeliness you will be rewarded with some preshow fun with the Green Army Men from Toy Story.

's Hollywood Studios Summer 2017 Additions - Pixar Live in Concert Final Sing Along

* If you have little ones in your traveling party and you are concerned about them sitting through a 45 minute show, try sitting towards the front to keep them engaged with the characters.

* While the center screen behind the orchestra is large, there are two smaller screens on either side of the stage that show the same images if you are seated on the side or back of the theater.

The Music of Pixar Live! has shows until August 27, 2017, so don’t forget to add this show to your summer plans in the park!

Disney Movie Magic

Thirty minutes before the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Fireworks guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios can take in a 10 minute trip down movie memory lane that includes footage from movies from Mary Poppins to Pirates of the Caribbean movies to Tron that ends with an awesome montage of live-action comedies, adventures, musicals, and more!

's Hollywood Studios Summer 2017 Additions - Disney Movie Magic Tron

Insider Tips – Disney Movie Magic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

* Guests start grabbing prime spots up to an hour before Disney Movie Magic begins, so make sure you pay attention to where designated areas are located (usually with masking tape) so you won’t have to find a new spot late in the game.

* If you can’t  get close to the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (The Great Movie Ride) for a sweet spot, trying staying as center as possible and go back a little further than you think so you can see all of the buildings around the Theatre as they also have projections.

's Hollywood Studios Summer 2017 Additions - Disney Movie Magic Pirates

* My favorite spot to watch Disney Movie Magic from is to the left (as you are facing Grauman’s Chinese Theatre) near the large projection booth, because you get to see all of the projections and laser effects.

* Disney Movie Magic is presented rain or shine, so be prepared for whatever Mother Nature has in store!

There is no current end date listed for Disney Movie Magic, so I have my fingers crossed that it will be at Disney’s Hollywood Studios for awhile!

Both The Music of Pixar Live! and Disney Movie Magic are really great ways to wind down your Summer day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! I really enjoyed both shows, and can’t wait to watch them with Zoe & Dave!

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Experiencing Pandora – Wilderness Explorers Badges

Visits to Disney’s Animal Kingdom always include stops to earn Wilderness Explorers badges for my family, and I was really excited to find that in Pandora – The World of Avatar there were two new badges to earn!

The wilderness must be explored. Caw. Caw. Rawr!

Experiencing Pandora The World of Avatar - Wilderness Explorers Badges - Pinterest

Experiencing Pandora – Wilderness Explorers Badges

The first thing that you will notice about the badge guides in Pandora – The World of Avatar is that they are in their typical uniforms and name tags instead of being a part of A.C.E. (Alpha Centauri Expeditions).

Experiencing Pandora The World of Avatar - Wilderness Explorers Badges - Cast Member with handbook
Photo: Cheryl Perlmutter

This is because they are visiting Pandora – The World of Avatar like us, and are encouraging us to explore the area as we would a State Park back on Earth. (I thought it was a really a lovely way to encourage guests to explore and learn about their areas from a new perspective when they get home!)

As soon as you cross the bridge into the area, you will find your first of two Wilderness Explorers Badges!

Botany Badge – Plants help the planet!

At this badge location you will earn your Botany Badge by exploring the plants on Pandora (Page 11 of the Wilderness Explorers Handbook).

Experiencing Pandora The World of Avatar - Wilderness Explorers Badges - Botany Badge Overview

A Wilderness Explorer understands that plants are an essential part of the ecosystem on Pandora just as they are back on Earth. They support life, provide oxygen, and create habitats for animals. Plants also have many special features that help them survive. If you look closely you will see that many of the plants here on Pandora are similar to plants back on Earth.

Experiencing Pandora The World of Avatar - Wilderness Explorers Badges - Flaska Reclinata Large
Adult Flaska Reclinata

For this badge Wilderness Explorers will interact with the adult Flaska Reclinata that you can find at the entrance to the Valley of Mo’ara, their offspring along the river, and plants that we have on earth.

Ecology Badge – Pandoran Animals

The Ecology Badge (Pages 12 & 13 in the Wilderness Explorers Handbook) location is closer to the floating mountains and some interesting Pandoran Animals…the Pluropoda Saggitaria and Cerebellis Scapularis.

Experiencing Pandora The World of Avatar - Wilderness Explorers Badges - Ecology Badge

Ecology is the study of relationships among plants, animals, and their environment. the Na’vi understand that the plants and animals of Pandora are connected to each other in unique ways. What can you learn about these connections?

To earn this badge you will first spend time learning the basics of relationships that can be found in ecology from the Badge Guide before you start your search for the Pluropoda Saggitaria and Cerebellis Scapularis in Pandora – The World of Avatar.

Experiencing Pandora The World of Avatar - Wilderness Explorers Badges - Pluropoda Saggitaria
Pluropoda Saggitaria and Cerebellis Scapularis

We really had a great time earning the two new Wilderness Explorers Badges, and I really love the touch of Earth that has been brought to Pandora!

Family Tip! This is a great way for younger visitors to spend time while their family and friends are experiencing Avatar the Flight of Passage.

But with these new additions comes a little bit of bad news…Fans of the Wilderness Explorers program at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will notice that in the new handbook two older Wilderness Explorers Badges for Hand Washing and Currency have been retired.

We’ll be bringing you more information about Pandora – The World of Avatar over the next few weeks, so make sure you follow @onthegoinmco on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Check out my post on the Five Things You Should Do Before Visiting Pandora – The World of Avatar!

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Five Things To Do Before Traveling To Pandora

Pandora – The World of Avatar opens at Disney’s Animal Kingdom officially on May 27, 2017, but before you make the 4.4 light year journey to the Valley of Mo’ara here are five things you will want to do before you go!

Five Things To Do Before Traveling To Pandora - The World of Avatar - Pinterest

Five Things To Do Before Traveling To Pandora – The World of Avatar

1. Watch Avatar or read a synopsis

While it is not necessary to watch the almost 3 hour movie Avatar to enjoy your time in Pandora – The World of Avatar, knowing about the world will help you feel more at home in this new & beautiful land.

Over on icFlorida, you can find my short synopsis of the movie!

The year is 2154 and Jake Sully, a paralyzed former U.S. Marine, takes the place of his deceased brother in the Avatar Program on Pandora. After a six year flight, Jake awakens from cryrosleep and arrives at the Resources Development Administration (RDA) run colony who’s focus is mining the extremely valuable mineral called Unobtanium that is desperately needed on Earth and found in abundance on Pandora.

While Pandora is covered in lush rainforests, the air is poisonous for humans to breathe so the RDA has developed the Avatar Program that allows humans to control avatars, which are genetically engineered hybrids of humans and Na’vi the sentient race of tall, blue-skinned humanoids that are native to the planet.

After Jake learns to control his avatar body from Dr. Grace Augustine, he goes on to find out more about the Na’vi including their language and culture in hopes of furthering relationships with them…at least on the surface as he is also working under the orders of Colonel Miles Quaritch to get the Na’vi to move away from the Hometree so the large deposits of unobtanium can be mined.

Through a series of action-packed events Jake rides a Banshee, becomes accepted into the Omaticaya clan, and even earns the love and trust of a female Na’vi named Neytiri.

And of course as soon as that happens, things go sour as the RDA destroys the Hometree. Soon after Quaritch learns that several Na’vi clans are planning to meet at The Tree of Souls against the RDA mining on their planet, and he figures this is the best way to destroy all the Na’vi in one swoop…literally as Jake and the Na’vi ride Banshees as part of the attack and epic battle against the RDA.

The Na’vi win the battle, and exile most of the RDA back to Earth. At the end of the movie Jake returns to the Tree of Souls to undergo the consciousness transfer from his human body to his avatar form, and awakens to a new life as a Na’vi.

2. Download the My Disney Experience App (iTunes and Google Play)

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go -
Walt Disney World

Let’s be honest…the My Disney Experience App can take up a good amount of valuable space on your device and the My Disney Experience website is fantastic to use when you are at home, BUT make sure that you reinstall the app before you arrive in the Valley of Mo’ara to take advantage of FastPass+, mobile ordering at the Satu’li Canteen (more on this soon), and to view your Disney PhotoPass pictures that can include exclusive magic shots in Pandora – The World of Avatar.

3. Check out the Menus at the Satu’li Canteen and Pongu Pongu

The food inside of Pandora – The World of Avatar is a new take on casual, quick-service dining at Walt Disney World.

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go

Inside the Satu’li Canteen, a former RDA mess hall that has been redecorated to include Na-vi art and cultural items, guests can dine all-day from a menu of healthy choices inspired by international cuisines and Pandora’s natural abundance.

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go
Vegetable Curry Pods with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw & Vegetable Chips

I haven’t had the chance to try breakfast yet, but I highly recommend both the cheeseburger and vegetable curry steamed pods that are served with Crunchy Vegetable Slaw and Vegetable Chips.

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go

Just outside of the Satu’li Canteen you can find Pongu Pongu, which is Na’vi for ‘Party Party’, offering a “bioluminescent” frozen cocktail called the Night Blossom that can be served with or without alcohol, the Mo’ara Margarita, two indigenous beers, and the most amazing sweet treat called Pongo Lumpia* with sweet pineapple and creamy filling.

*= I apologize for the lack of a photo of the Pongo Lumpia. I have no excuse other than I ordered it twice, and was so excited that I forgot to take a photo…again twice…but I feel like that’s much more of an endorsement than a photo!

4. Set a budget

After spending so much time in such an immersive atmosphere, you may find yourself inside Windtraders looking to bring a piece of Pandora- The World of Avatar home with you!

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go

The merchandise for this new land is awesome with a little something for everyone and every budget!

I went a little crazy with my shopping haul, but remember that Annual Passholders receive a discount on their purchases (except for Banshee adoptions).

5. Plan to take advantage of Extended Park Hours

When you are planning your time in Pandora – The World of Avatar, make sure to keep in mind that from opening day on May 27th until July 4th that Disney’s Animal Kingdom park will stay open from 8 am until 11 pm for all guests giving you ample time to really explore the Bioluminescent flora and fauna of the Valley of Mo’ara.

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go - Pandora at Night
Walt Disney World

However guests staying at select Walt Disney World Hotels will be able to take advantage of “Extra” Extra Magic Hours that will be offered exclusively in Pandora – The World of Avatar for a limited time from 11 pm to 1 am, May 27 to July 4, 2017!

Pandora the World of Avatar Before You Go

We’ll be bringing you more information about Pandora – The World of Avatar over the next few weeks, so make sure you follow @onthegoinmco on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Over on icFlorida you can check out the video of my first journey to Pandora – The World of Avatar!

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram