Hemingway Birthday Bash at Old Key West

 

image copyright Disney
image copyright Disney

Disney’s Old Key West Resort will be paying tribute to one of America’s greatest writers, Ernest Hemingway, with a birthday bash in his honor on Sunday, July 20th. This weekend the resort will host several activities throughout the afternoon and evening to celebrate Hemingway and his influence on Key West.

Most of the events will take place around the main theme pool and at Community Hall. Information comes from the recreation calendar at the resort. As always, all activities are subject to change. Please contact Disney’s Old Key West Resort directly regarding any questions about the Hemingway Birthday Bash and the activities themed after his works.

1:00pm To Have And Have Not

2:00pm Farewell To Arms – Join us at the main pool deck and say “Farewell to Arms during this cupcake eating contest.

2:30pm In Our Time

3:00pm Pool Party

4:00pm Dance Party

4:15pm Old Man And The Sea

5:00pm A Moveable Feast

7:30pm The Sun Also Rises

The Movie Under the Stars is A Goofy Movie at 9:00pm

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Be Our Guest Dining Review

be our guestOne of the most sought after dining reservations at Walt Disney World is the Be Our Guest restaurant at the Magic Kingdom. I was lucky enough to be able to attend a Disney Parks Blog meet up before Be Our Guest officially opened, which you can read about here. It has been over a year and a half since I had dinner at the restaurant, but I have had lunch there a few times over the past couple of years. Fortunately, I was able to snag a last minute reservation less than a week before the holiday weekend, so I was very excited to enjoy a nice meal with a friend at the park.

Our reservation was for 7:45pm, but we arrived at the Magic Kingdom a bit earlier than we expected, so we headed back to see if we could get in to Be Our Guest a bit early. The host said that since we were a party of two it looked like they could squeeze us in. The magic was definitely in our favor that night! We were instructed to wait for our pager to light up and then check in with the cast member at the gates to the Beast’s castle.

Once the pager illuminated, we were escorted into the castle and given a brief tour, eventually being led into the ballroom where we would be eating. Shelley and I had eaten there before for lunch, but never for dinner since Be Our Guest officially opened in late 2012. I don’t know if you are aware or not, but it can be a bit challenging to get a reservation at this very popular restaurant. 😉

Melissa was our server, who I actually remembered from the Parks Blog Meet Up as our server then, so it is nice to see the cast members sticking around from opening still. Since we have some allergies, the chef was called to come and review the menus with us to make sure we didn’t have any issues. This gave us an opportunity to just soak in the environment of the magnificent ballroom setting of Be Our Guest. I am still blown away by how gorgeous the details are, especially the ceiling chandeliers, and how much the restaurant reflects the beauty of Beauty and the Beast.

For the first time, I enjoyed a nice glass of wine with my meal in the Magic Kingdom. I think this was a nice addition to a French-inspired meal. Several French and California wines and select beers are available to be served with your meal at Be Our Guest. For our first course, I ordered the potato leek soup, which I have had several times before and enjoy quite a bit. The taste is fantastic, but this time the consistency seemed a bit off, like the soup needed to go through a strain or puree a bit more. I would still order this again every time. The entree I have heard the most about from friends and other guests is the sauteed shrimp and scallops with seasonal vegetables and mushrooms served in puff pastry with a creamy lobster sauce. Despite having had shrimp and scallops earlier in the week, I could not resist ordering this dish.

10501451_10152495347220837_1086235743_n10526704_10152495347135837_794459904_n10524854_10152495347065837_2016313943_n10486505_10152495347010837_921843261_n10526701_10152495346925837_1946927987_n10529723_10152495346405837_480920725_n10487144_10152495346265837_1886442607_n10526638_10152495345915837_1150101822_n

Even though Be Our Guest is not considered a character meal, the Beast is often known to parade through the castle waving at guests to welcome them to his home. He also frequently will meet with guests to pose for a picture with them in his library before they depart. We had a great time, the food was enjoyable and I’d definitely order what I had again. I also am anxious to go back and try the salmon I had before to see if it holds up to what I recall from before. The experience is so fun and the food is some of the best in the Magic Kingdom.

10514797_10152495346840837_1829082247_n10527992_10152495346305837_1456368191_nwd026wdw20141889487084310531036_10152495422125837_635887930_n

As we left the restaurant, we stopped on the bridge on the way out to get a few pictures of the gorgeous sky after the storms cleared for a bit. Have you been to the Be Our Guest restaurant recently? What were your thoughts? Did you order one of the desserts? We skipped out this time since we were full from our meal, but we’ve tried them all before.

10510121_10152495421730837_1361940437_n10524919_10152495421695837_973152420_n

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Trattoria al Forno Restaurant Announced

Trattoria al Forno
image copyright Disney

The Disney Parks Blog announced this week that a new Italian restaurant, Trattoria al Forno, will be opening in the location currently occupied by Kouzzina by Cat Cora at Disney’s Boardwalk. The restaurant is tentatively scheduled to open before the end of the year in December, but has not announced an official opening date. Kouzzina is currently set to close on September 30th.

Trattoria al Forno will exclusively feature wines from Italy. There will be over 25 wines available by the glass and more than 60 by the bottle. The restaurant will also have Italian sodas and specially crafted cocktails. Food from all different regions of Italy will include daily made fresh mozzarella, pasta, and pizza baked in wood-burning ovens.

Seasonal pasta dishes, risottos and vegetarian offerings will be standard at Trattoria al Forno. The restaurant’s name means essentially a tavern that serves food baked in the oven. Dishes will range from steaks to chicken, seafood, salads and classic Italian desserts like tiramisu, panna cotta and gelato.

With no opening date set yet, it is unknown when Trattoria al Forno will start taking reservations, but it is expected to be in the next several weeks. Contact Disney Dining for any further information once reservations are offered at 407-939-3463.

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

California Grill- finally my first visit!

California Grill

 

I have been wanting to dine at California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort for so long now, and I am always asked if I would recommend it. Of course, from what I hear I absolutely recommend it, but I had never actually been there myself. So it was my wedding anniversary this month, and we decided it was the perfect reason to go to California Grill as we had heard it was a very romantic restaurant. Plus it has recently been re-imagined with a new design inspired by mid-century modern California, featuring a new seasonal ingredients menu. The sushi bar was also extended and now features a 12-course omakase menu.

IMG_9627

We found out that the Wishes fireworks at Magic Kingdom were going off that night at 10pm, so we booked our meal for 9:40pm knowing that would give us time to sit, peruse the menu, order some drinks and possibly appetizers right by the time we should be thinking about going out on the balcony to watch them. One of the highlights of California Grill is the amazing view over Magic Kingdom to watch the fireworks.

 

So we checked in at the California Grill desk on the second floor in the Contemporary, and were told to take the elevator upstairs to the restaurant. Upon getting out of the elevator, there’s a secondary check in desk in front of a very impressive wine selection of 1,600 bottles housed in a climate controlled showcase. It has been reported that they have about 250 wine selections, 80 by the glass!

IMG_9629

While you wait for your table to be ready, you are invited to sit in the lounge area, where tables are a first come first serve basis. Some people without reservations actually dine here as the entire California Grill menu is available to order from the lounge also. We had only just been given our menus when our buzzer was already going off, so the wait was very short. The nice thing about when they take you to your table is that they walk you by the open kitchen, so you can see all the chefs and what dishes they are coming up with. The person who seated us actually pointed some items out that we were looking at, which later on helped me decide on which dessert I was going to order!

IMG_9628

We ended up being seated in a quieter room toward the side of the California Grill. I want to say she called it the Monorail Room, but as there was no view of the monorail I must have misheard her. From what I gather this used to be the old wine room, but it was very intimate as the ceiling is lower here, and there are only around 10 tables inside. The view was very relaxing as although you couldn’t see Magic Kingdom, you could see the lake and the electrical water pageant very well.

IMG_9619

I was told the drinks are wonderful at California Grill, so of course we had to try them out. Our favorite was the Sake Martini recommended by a friend, it was so delicious! The Cucumber Fizz was my second favorite, but I don’t doubt that had I tried more, that they would have all quickly become my new favorites!

IMG_9625 IMG_9620

By this point they had announced that in 5 minutes Wishes fireworks were going to be starting, so they give you time to get outside on to the balcony to find your spot. Of course, you don’t have to go outside, if you remain inside California Grill they dim the lights and play the music inside the restaurant for you. As we couldn’t see them from our room, we decided to head outside for them. We got a great spot, and they have speakers out there playing the same songs and sound effects as the ones in the park.

IMG_9622

Despite living close by, there’s nothing like watching them from high up, going off over Cinderella Castle! Feels quite romantic too if you tune out the rest of the people around you and just face forward. This was truly a highlight of the meal at California Grill, and I’m sure it looked and felt just as beautiful from inside the restaurant if you had a lovely view.

IMG_9624

We got back to our table and the server brought out our appetizers immediately, they must have been holding them ready for when you return from the fireworks. For our starters, my husband had sushi which he loved as it was such a generous portion for an appetizer! I had the Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli, which was nice but I wasn’t expecting it to just be one piece, at least I wasn’t too full for my main course.

IMG_9586 IMG_9587

For our main course, Simon had the grilled pork tenderloin, and he said it was so delicious and cooked perfectly to his liking! I chose something that wasn’t on the California Grill menu, I chose to go with the Vegetarian Unplugged, a dish that is always different. Basically you never know what you are going to get, as the chefs pass a dish around the kitchen and they put a part of whatever vegetarian side dish they are creating at that time. So you end up with something different each time you go, they also do a Vegan Unplugged dish too with the same idea.

IMG_9591 IMG_9592

My server wasn’t quite sure what my items were but they were pretty easy to figure out. The only thing I didn’t like was the fact that there didn’t seem to be much to each plate, so it wasn’t very filling and had a lot of similar tastes, which was a shame as it had sounded so promising. Nevertheless, I enjoyed my dishes at California Grill.

 

I would say the best part of the meal at California Grill was the dessert! Simon ordered the Seasonal Tasting featuring Peach themed desserts, and I ordered the Sundae Sampler. My favorite being the Reverse Root Beer Float, which featured root beer ice cream with a little tiny cute glass bottle of vanilla soda to pour on top! Very cute!

IMG_9600 IMG_9601

IMG_9603IMG_9626

Overall we did really enjoy our food at California Grill, but for me, as a vegetarian I wasn’t that impressed with the dish I had. I was also a bit disappointed no one acknowledged that we were on our anniversary despite letting them know at the podium and telling our server. I’m not sure if they just don’t do anything special here, but a simple “Happy Anniversary” would have been lovely. I might not be rushing back to dine here, but now I can recommend it to others and I will certainly encourage them to try the Sake Martini and Reverse Root Beer Float!

 

IMG_9631

 

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Frozen Summer Fun Live! First Impressions

Frozen Summer FunFrozen is a phenomenon that seems to have taken the world by storm. Disney’s Hollywood Studios introduced a new summer event that started this past Saturday and runs through September 1st. The special event is called Frozen Summer Fun Live! and has different entertainment and shopping opportunities throughout the day. Please note that there will not be fireworks the evening of August 23rd since that is the night of the special hard ticket event Villains Unleashed. All other aspects of the Frozen Summer Fun Live! should take place as scheduled on that date.

Being that this was the first day and a holiday weekend, I thought it best to make good use of the fact that I was staying at Port Orleans French Quarter and took advantage of Extra Magic Hours. The first scheduled event for Frozen didn’t take place until 11am, however I had a feeling the lines for merchandise might get a bit out of hand the later into the day it got. So, arriving at the park before EMH at 8am wasn’t exactly fun, but ended up being the right call. When Shelley and I arrived, we were greeted (okay, along with all the other guests) by snow on Hollywood Blvd, which was a nice touch.

fans859249183859249184859249185859249097859249100859249102859250132

After stopping for a few pictures along the way, we arrived at Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post at 8:10am. The line was already a couple of switchbacks deep at this point. Thankfully, we made it inside to check out all of the Frozen merchandise with only about a 15 minute wait. Later in the day this time soared to several hours, so if you are going on a weekend especially and staying on property, get in early for EMH and get out of the trading post. I’d like to note that the procedures changed throughout the day (keep in mind it was the first day of an event that seems to have come together relatively quickly as events go in the parks). At one point, when we arrived, there were separate lines for the Trading Post and for Oaken’s Frozen Funland, but when we returned later they were combined lines. We decided to skip the Funland for now and returned later when the line subsided some.

Brx5OhrIcAA8oQE859250571859251084859251089 859251356Brx9hdpIQAA_FSP859253640Brx_AN6CYAEOzOapreciousmerchmagicbandstreats

Once we grabbed breakfast after finishing our shopping, we decided it was getting close to 10am, so we should probably find a spot for the first event of Frozen Summer Fun at 11. Anna and Elsa’s Royal Welcome starts near the front of the park and proceeds up Hollywood Blvd to make a stop at the Sorcerer’s Hat stage. After a brief singalong to Let It Go, most of the processional returns to their floats and continues along the parade route in front of American Idol, ending by the Jedi Training Academy stage. This was a short processional, but a nice way to see the characters, and was the debut of Kristoff. Some guests may recognize familiar elements borrowed from the Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade featured during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at the Magic Kingdom.  Shelley watched the parade from Hollywood Blvd near the intersection of Sunset Blvd and I watched from the benches across from the restrooms near Backlot Express. I think for a first timer, it is a better experience on Hollywood with the snow and then being able to follow up to the stage for the singalong. As far as we could tell, the only thing I missed out on from my location was the small group of young Frozen fans included in the parade. For repeat viewing though, I loved my spot on the benches with nobody allowed to stand in front as it is close to where the floats come.

Bryj93gIUAIzJFqBrys--PCIAEfq0wsistersroyalwelcomeBrytUlZIEAAJ80Fice pickerskristoffstageBryboNdCIAAGFeH

We learned while we were waiting for the parade that tickets were required for the next event, the For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration at 12:30pm. This is why I ended up splitting from Shelley before the parade started. Tickets are handed out back at the corner of San Francisco Street by the Premiere Theater from park opening (not EMH). Each guest in your party should be present to collect the ticket for whichever time of the show you’d like to attend. There are several shows each day, usually about an hour apart starting in the afternoon. I got there around 10:25am and there were still several hundred tickets left for the first show. On the ticket, a return time is listed to queue up near the extended queue for Muppetvision, which is often used during Star Wars Weekends for shows in the same theater.

859294531For me, the singalong was what I was most looking forward to, but it even ended up exceeding my expectations. Since this was the first day of Frozen Summer Fun, we didn’t have a lot of information or really know what to expect beyond what was in the times guide. The approximately 30 minute show featured stage performers, primarily Eric and Aria, the Royal Historians of Arendelle, as well as Princess Anna, Queen Elsa and Kristoff.  The historians help tell the story of Frozen and lead guests along in a singalong of most of the songs from the movie where one can follow the bouncing snowflake on the video screen along with clips from the film. The performers were fantastic and added so much more humor to the story and what could have been your usual old singalong. For us, this was absolutely the highlight of the day and Frozen Summer Fun! I’ve even included a video below of some of the highlights, but left out the surprise ending.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5116pm6T6A&list=UUxhza5Nkv4ukqKmIFLE9dgA&feature=share&index=2

Later in the day, we made our way back to Oaken’s Frozen Funland to check out the indoor ice skating. Since I’ve got a bum knee and aversion to most things cold, I opted to simply watch the fun unfold. For those who have been in Sound Stage 1 before for things like Darth’s Mall during Star Wars Weekend, I will say they have made an amazing transformation of the same space. It was absolutely incredible how you felt transported to Arendelle! I loved that there were some Magic Shots created just for this event and Photopass photographers were setup inside and out for several of these locations. Luckily, I had Memory Maker for this trip and have included some of those shots here. The highlight of the space is definitely the indoor ice skating on real ice. There’s even a mini Zamboni to clean it! We were fortunate enough to time our visit right and to catch the performance of Wandering Oaken’s cousins and their ice skating to some of the songs from Frozen. This was fantastic and so much fun. I also loved seeing the young kids (and their parents) get to play in the Do You Want To Build A Snowman Snowground.

zambonisnowgroundBrzY8KGIIAEr7RBBrzYdyYIUAAFcQQIMG_9246IMG_9235859264832859264833IMG_9245

 

 

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ifz1_IDwqBQ&list=UUxhza5Nkv4ukqKmIFLE9dgA&feature=share

Due to some prior commitments, we were not able to stay for the dance party and fireworks, but that gives us something to look forward to catching over the next few weeks. I absolutely loved the Frozen Summer Fun celebration and think you should check it out. Even some of my friends who aren’t as big of Frozen fans as I am thought that the event was well done and were impressed with what they had seen. Have you been yet to Frozen Summer Fun Live! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? If so, what were your first impressions? Will you be heading back like I will be several times over the next couple of months?

Brx2wx6IUAAlU5bwdw201418694282681_19wdw201418694315470_19wdw201418694435266_19

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Candlelight Processional Packages Available

Candlelight Processional
Photo: Disney

It’s Christmas in July as the Disney Parks Blog announced that  Candlelight Processional Dining Packages can be booked starting today.

For those who don’t know, the Candlelight Processional is a holiday tradition at Walt Disney World! During this moving show, a celebrity narrator accompanied by a full orchestra and choir fill the America Gardens Theater at Epcot with Christmas songs and stories.

Candlelight Processional
Photo: Disney

Candlelight Processional Dining Packageare available on select days during the holiday season, and start at $35 for lunch and $50 for dinner for adults. Included in the Candlelight Processional Package is a delicious meal at an Epcot restaurant and a guaranteed seat for one of the Candlelight Processional performances.

You can find more information, including all the restaurants participating here.

Here are some things to know about the Candlelight Processional Dining Packages before you book:

  • Seating at the Candlelight Processional is first-come, first-served unless you’ve reserved a Candlelight Processional Dining Packages.
  • Dining packages are paid for at the individual restaurant, where you’ll receive your Candlelight Seating badges for seating at the America Gardens Theatre for the booked showtime.
  • Advance reservations are highly recommended for the Candlelight Processional Dining Packages and can be made up to 180 days prior to your visit.
  • Park admission is required and is not included in the price of the dining package.

Note: Availability is limited. Guests can call 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463) or book online at www.disneyworld.com/holidays.

Also released today, was a partial list of celebrity narrators for this year including Candlelight veterans Whoopi Goldberg and Jodi Benson, and the addition of two fabulous new narrators Academy-Award-winning actress Sharon Stone and Saturday Night Live alum Ana Gasteyer.

Candlelight Processional
Photo: Disney

Here is the early schedule of Candlelight Processional Narrators:

  • Jodi Benson – 11/28 – 11/29
  • TBD – 11/30 – 12/2
  • TBD – 12/3 – 12/4
  • Whoopi Goldberg – 12/5 – 12/6
  • TBD – 12/7* – 12/8
  • TBD – 12/9 – 12/11
  • TBD – 12/12 – 12/14
  • Sharon Stone (New) – 12/15 – 12/17
  • Ana Gasteyer (New) – 12/18 – 12/20
  • Marlee Matlin – 12/21 – 12/23
  • TBD – 12/24 – 12/25
  • TBD – 12/26 – 12/27
  • Steven Curtis Chapman – 12/28 – 12/30

Some things to keep in mind about this early list of Candlelight Processional celebrity narrators:

* Narrators are subject to change without notice.

* Show Times are at 5 p.m., 6:45 p.m. & 8:15 p.m. each night.

*Show Times on December 7 are 6:45 p.m. & 8:15 p.m. only


Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Celebrate The Magic Summer Fun

 Celebrate the Magic Summer 2014 -

Celebrate the Magic is one of those things that I tend to walk by and take for granted, because it is always ‘there’ when we are trying to find the right spot for Wishes! or the Main Street Electrical parade.

Here is a little bit about Celebrate the Magic if you are like me…

With a little pixie dust from Tinker Bell, watch Cinderella Castle come to life right before your eyes.

 

Witness a spellbinding show that traces the longstanding legacy of Disney storytelling and imagination. When Tinker Bell splashes pixie dust atop Cinderella Castle, the regal castle is magically refashioned into an enchanted canvas unfurling with spectacular Disney imagery.

 

Travel down the rabbit hole with Alice, soar high above the Big Top with Dumbo, and wander the African savanna with Simba.

 

Drawing inspiration from Disney’s many memorable characters and stories, Celebrate the Magic invites you to take off on a breathtaking visual and musical journey, and to experience Disney movies—from beloved classics to contemporary favorites—in an entirely new and unforgettable way.

However what makes Celebrate the Magic so special is that it receives several seasonal updates a year, and this year’s Summer tag does not disappoint! It is full of fun, tikis, and under the sea shenanigans.

The Summer sequence of projections begins right after the Wreck It Ralph section.

Celebrate the Magic Summer 2014 -

Phineas and Ferb kick off the Summer sequence with a, “Ferb! I know what we are going to do today!”

Celebrate the Magic Summer 2014 -

Fun and upbeat music kicks off as the castle is sketched and colored.

Celebrate the Magic Summer 2014 -  Starting at the bottom of the castle and spreading upwards tiki torches appear and “Hawaiian Roller Coaster Ride” plays.

Celebrate the Magic Summer 2014 -

Then the castle is adorned with tikis, torches, and a little blue alien.

Celebrate the Magic Summer 2014 -

Leis are dropped onto the castle turrets before the castle is draped in a pattern that features Lilo, Stitch, and their friends.

Celebrate the Magic Summer 2014 -

The pattern turns into a wave that Nani, Lilo, and Stitch then ride out.

Celebrate the Magic Summer 2014 -

A ‘Sand’ castle is now being projected with a fun kid sung “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah”.

Celebrate the Magic Summer 2014 -

Waves then wash away the sand castle as beach ball drop all over the castle.

Celebrate the Magic Summer 2014 - Beachballs

“Under the Sea” rings out as the castle is flooded and the beach balls make way for Ariel, Sebastian, Flounder, and their fellow sea inhabitants.

Celebrate the Magic Summer 2014 -

The party ends as some familiar fish friends (not food) swim across the castle with calls of ‘Mine, Mine, Mine’ as the castle goes black.

Celebrate the Magic Summer 2014 -

The summer tag for Celebrate the Magic is a little less than two minutes, but as you can see they packed a lot of great animation and moments into that time.

If you want to catch the Summer tag of Celebrate the Magic, here are some of my best tips!

  • There are two showings of Celebrate the Magic a night (usually 9:45 pm and 10:35 pm, but check the daily times guide or My Disney Experience to be sure), and the second show is a lot less crowded to watch!
  • If you decide to watch the show during it’s second showing, try to move as close as you can to the castle because you will find the closer you get you will find more opportunities to sit on the ground (a unique perspective for tired feet) to view the show.

Celebrate the Magic Summer 2014 -

  • Celebrate the Magic is projected on the front and sides of Cinderella Castle, and each vantage point offers a different experience! If you want to watch from the front try to be center near the hub, the castle forecourt is also open for the show and that is really interesting, and from the side I prefer the Tomorrowland side going towards Merida’s Meet and Greet.
  • If you have a pair of Glow with the Show Ears, they will interact with the show’s lighting and effects.
  • The show is great to photograph! Make sure that you listen for music cues of when the projections will change and don’t worry too much about using your flash.

I found a great video on YouTube from Steve Gray of the entire Celebrate the Magic castle projection show. The Summer tag begins around the 3:35 mark and ends around the 5:23 mark.

httpv://youtu.be/pxtUpbdn_T8

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Independence Day at Walt Disney World Resorts

Independence Day fireworks from Bay LakeThe other day I highlighted some of the celebrations going on for Independence Day in the Disney Parks this week. Today I’d like to take a look at the resorts in case any of you find yourselves at a Walt Disney World resort today or Friday. The resorts have all sorts of activities planned for fun and games on the Fourth of July, so let’s check some out from the recreation calendars!

Value Resorts

All-Star Movies/Music/Sports:

Ring Toss 1:30pm
Air Band Contest 2:00pm
Hula Hoop Games 2:30pm
Water Balloon Games 3:00pm
Pool Party 3:30pm
Holey Bucket Relay 4:30pm
Name That … 5:00pm
Bingo 6:00pm
Trivia Challenge 7:00pm
Fantasia/Calypso/Surfboard Bay Dance Extravaganza 8:00pm
Monsters University 9:00pm

Art of Animation/Pop:

USA Trivia 1:00pm
Beach Ball Blast 2:00pm
Musical Stars 2:30pm
Big Blue Pool Party 3:00pm
Firework Dance Party 4:00pm
50 State Songs 4:30pm
Water Basketball 5:00pm
Road Trip American Challege 5:30pm
Bingo 6:30pm
Patriotic Bean Bag Toss 7:00pm
Teen Beach Movie 8:30pm

Moderate Resorts

Caribbean Beach Resort
Star Spangled Name That … 1:00pm
4th of July Arts & Crafts 2:00pm
Jammin’ Pool Party 3:00pm
Firework Dance Party Extravaganza 4:00pm
Red, White and Blue Balloon Games 4:30pm
Musical Stars and Stripes 5:30pm
Patriotic Campfire 6:30 – 7:30pm
National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets 8:30pm

Coronado Springs ResortWalt Disney World Gallery Photo
Beach Ball Blast 1:00pm
Great American Guessing Game 1:05pm
Temporary Tattoos 2:00pm
American Graffiti 2:30pm
Pool Fiesta 3:00pm
Pitchburst 4:00pm
Musical Stars 5:00pm
Campfire 6:30pm
Pocahontas 8:30pm

Port Orleans French Quarter
Taffy Guessing Contest at Riverside Marina 10:00am – 5:00pm
All other activities following take place at the Doubloon Lagoon Pool
Independence Day Beach Ball Barrage 11:45am
Patriotic Pool Party 12:00pm
Colonial Cake Walk 1:00pm
Dance Party Extravaganza 2:00pm
Red, White and Balloon Games 2:30pm
Give Me Liberty, or Give Me a Pie in the Face 3:00pm (register at least 15 minutes prior)
Name That State 4:00pm
Backyard Games on the Green 5:00pm
Star-Spangled Campfire 7:00pm
National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets 9:00pm

Port Orleans Riverside
Taffy Guessing Contest at Riverside Marina 10:00am – 5:00pm
All other activities following take place at the Ol’ Man Island Pool
Independence Day Beach Ball Barrage 11:45am
Patriotic Pool Party 12:00pm
Give Me Liberty, or Give Me a Pie in the Face 1:00pm (register at least 15 minutes prior)
Dance Party Extravaganza 2:00pm
Red, White and Balloon Games 2:30pm
Colonial Cake Walk 3:00pm
Name That State 4:00pm
American Graffiti (Chalk Art and Crafts) 5:00pm
Star-Spangled Campfire 7:00pm
National Treasure 9:00pm

Fort WildernessWalt Disney World Gallery Photo
July 3rd Activities At Meadow Swimmin Pool Area
Patriotic Craft 10:05 – 11:00am
Make Your Own Ice Cream 11:00am – 12:00pm
Field Game: Flag Football 1:30 – 2:30pm
Hoedown Dance Party 2:30 – 3:00pm
Meadow Swimmin Hole Jamboree 3:00 – 4:00pm
American Temporary Tattoos 4:00 – 4:30pm
Red, White & Blue Pitchburst 4:30 – 5:00pm
All other campfire activities take place at the campfire theatre
Chalk Art 7:00 – 7:30pm
Campfire Lighting 7:30pm
Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-A-Long 8:00pm
National Treasure 8:40pm

July 4th Activities
Fourth of July Golf Cart Parade – Register your cart at the Bike Barn by 5:00pm on July 3rd. The parade will travel down Fort Wilderness Trail from Hitch and Unhitch to Pioneer Hall. Please see registration for more details. Prizes will be awarded immediately following the parade at Pioneer Hall.
Parade steps off at the Hitch/Unhitch Area 9:00am
Parade Award Ceremony outside Pioneer Hall 10:00am
At Meadow Swimmin Area
Patriotic Craft 11:00am – 12:00pm
Field Relay Games 1:30 – 2:30pm
Hoedown Dance Party 2:30 – 3:00pm
Uncle Sam’s Rockin Pool Party 3:00 – 4:00pm
Are You Smarter Than Uncle Sam? 4:15 – 5:00pm
Twister Scram 5:00 – 5:30pm
Disney Charades 7:00 – 7:30pm
Campfire Lighting 7:30pm
Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Sing-A-Long 8:00pm
National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets 8:40pm
The Fort Wilderness Fourth of July Beach Bash at Clementine’s Beach
The beach bash will start at 5pm and wrap up right after the fireworks at 9pm.
Volleyball Tournament 5:15pm – dark
Join us on the beach for some fun, competitive games of volleyball. Teams must be signed up ahead of time at the Bike Barn by 3pm on July 4th. Teams can be any age or skill level. No more than six persons per team.
Sandcastle Building Contest 5:00 – 6:30p
Disney Trivia 7:00 – 7:45pm
Bingo 7:45 – 8:30pm
Disney Celebrates America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky 9:00pm

Deluxe Resorts/Villas

Animal Kingdom Lodge/Villas – Jambo HouseWalt Disney World Gallery Photo
Afternoon Craft: Simba’s Cubhouse 1:00pm
Jefferson’s Giant Jenga Challenge 2:30pm
Patriotic Pool Party 3:00pm
Stars and Stripes Scavenger Hunt 4:30pm
Campfire 5:45pm
Cars 2 8:30pm

Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village
Have You Heard? 2:30pm
Patriotic Pool Party 3:00pm
Stars and Stripes Scavenger Hunt 4:30pm
Red, White and Burst! 5:00pm
Campfire 6:45pm
Toy Story 8:30pm

Bay Lake Tower/Contemporary
Lawn Activities
Independence Day Crafts 10:00am – 1:00pm
Idaho Potato Sack Races 10:00am
Watermelon Eating Contest 10:30am
Ye Old Water Balloon Toss 11:00am
Soda Shop Ice Cream Drop 11:30am
Cupcake Walk 12:30pm
Poolside Activities
Washington’s Bucket Bridge 1:00pm
Guess the President 1:30pm
Red, White & Burst! 2:00pm
Stars & Stripes Pool Party 3:00pm
Yankee Doodle Dance Party 4:00pm
Name That State 4:30pm
American Flag Weaving Craft 5:00pm
Campfire 7:30pm
National Treasure 9:00pm

Boardwalk
Liberty Games 1:30 – 2:30pm
Red, White and Blue Relay Races 2:30 – 3:30pm
Make Your Own Ice Cream (additional cost – in Community Hall) 3:00 – 4:00pm
Patriotic Pool Party 3:30 – 4:30pm
Games of the Stars and Stripes 4:30 – 5:45pm

Grand FloridianWalt Disney World Gallery Photo
July 3rd movie National Treasure 9:00pm
July 4th At Beach Pool
Red, White and Blue Critter Round-Up 1:00pm
Declaration of Your Beach Bag 1:30pm
Star Spangled Bucket Relay 2:00pm
Stars and Stripes Ring Toss 2:30pm
Patriotic Pool Party 3:00pm
Celebration Pool Party 4:00pm
“Sandcastles of the Brave” 4:30pm
Ice Cream Drop 5:00pm
National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets

Old Key West
Watermelon Eating Contest 11:00am
Patriotic Pargo Parade 12:00pm
All-American Meet and Greet 1:00pm
Family Fun and Games 1:00pm
Ice Cream Drop 2:00pm
Dance Party 2:45pm
Patriotic Pool Party 3:00pm
Cake Walk 4:00pm
Fourth of July Un-Birthday Party 4:30pm
S’mores 7:30pm
First Kid 9:00pm

Polynesian
7/3 National Treasure 9:00pm
7/4 Poolside Activities at the Volcano Pool
Red, White and Blue Critter Roundup 1:00pm
Revolutionary Hula Hoops 1:30pm
Star Spangled Bucket Relay 2:00pm
Stars and Stripes Ring Toss 2:30pm
Patriotic Pool Party 3:00pm
Celebration Dance Party 4:00pm
Declaration of Your Beach Bag 4:30pm
Red, White and Boom Blaster 5:00pm
Party of the Beach 6:00 – 9:00pm
Join us on the Polynesian Beach for games, contests and dancing leading up to “Disney Celebrates America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” fireworks spectacular!
National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets 9:00pm

Saratoga Springs
High Rock Spring Pool
Watermelon Eating Contest 12:00pm
Family Fun and Games 1:00pm
Ice Cream Drop 2:00pm
Changing of the Guard 2:45pm
Patriotic Pool Party 3:00pm
Cake Walk 4:00pm
Fourth of July Carnival Games 4:30pm
S’mores 7:30pm
First Kid 8:30pm
Paddock Pool
Stars & Stripes Cupcakes 1:00pm
Dance Party 1:45pm
Pool Party 2:00pm
Design Your Own Fireworks 3:00pm
American Flag Banners 3:30pm

Wilderness Lodge
7/3 National Treasure 8:30pm
7/4 Count’n Candy Guessing Game
Come to the Lodge Marina from 11am – 5pm to guess how many pieces are in the jar. Winner will be announced at 8:25pm where the movie is located.
Patriotic Arts & Crafts at Silver Creek Springs Pool 1:00 – 2:00pm
All-American Temporary Tattoos 2:00pm
Big Blast Pool Party 2:45pm
Red, White & Balloon Pitchburst 4:00 – 4:30pm
Uncle Sam’s Notable Quotables 4:30 – 5:00pm
Star Spangled Chalk Art 5:00 – 5:30pm
Dance Extravaganza 5:30 – 6:00pm
Campfire 7:15 – 8:15pm
National Treasure 2: Book of Secrets 8:30pm

Yacht/Beach Club
Bursting Critters and Castles 1:30 – 2:15pm
Red, White and Blue Mickey Tie-Dye T-Shirts 2:30 – 3:30pm
Patriotic Pool Party 3:30 – 4:30pm
Changing of the Guard Celebration 4:30pm
Games of the Stars and Stripes 5:00 – 5:45pm

As always, things are subject to change and please contact the resorts directly for any additional questions. Certain activities may have an additional cost associated with them. Please have a happy and safe Independence Day no matter where you are celebrating this year!

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Independence Day in the Walt Disney World Parks

independence dayThe Fourth of July is rapidly approaching this Friday and Walt Disney World is a great place to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day. What is the holiday you most closely associate fireworks with? Fireworks of course are a special treat any time of year, but Disney really ramps up the pyrotechnics for the Fourth of July.

At the Magic Kingdom, their Independence Day fireworks called Disney’s Celebrate America! – A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky are actually shown on both July 3rd and July 4th at 9pm and lasts about 15 minutes. If you get the chance, I highly recommend catching this show on 7/3 as crowds tend to be a little lighter, plus this allows you to catch a different fireworks show at either Epcot or Disney’s Hollywood Studios on the Fourth.

Epcot will show their Illuminations: Reflections of Earth regular fireworks show at 10pm, then adds a 7 minute tag starting around 10:13pm called The Heartbeat of Freedom. This is honestly my favorite fireworks show of the entire year, so if you are here for Independence Day, this is my recommendation. If you do end up at Epcot on the 4th, do not miss one of the performances of the Voices of Liberty! Their Fourth of July Concert at the America Gardens Theatre will be held at 12:30pm, 1:45pm and 3:00pm. The last two times I have seen this show it has moved me to tears. Their live version of Golden Dream and the military medley especially can turn even the hardest of hearts to mush. At the Kidcot Fun Stop guests can stop by and test their knowledge of Americana and learn fun facts. Once guests complete the Discovery Experience, they will receive and award certificate.

 

independence daychip and dalevoicesIMG_4385

 

The fireworks for Independence Day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, called the Special July 4th Fireworks Presentation, will be at 10:20pm. They last about 12 minutes and will be fired off behind the Sorcerer’s Hat and are often best viewed from Hollywood Blvd. or even just outside the park entrance.

No matter which park you choose for fireworks, you will have a blast! 😉 Stay tuned for resort activities for Independence Day later this week. In the meantime, check out our videos below from previous years’ Fourth of July celebrations!

 

httpv://youtu.be/yT6SgWw8478

httpv://youtu.be/astHL8ef4SI

httpv://youtu.be/fnls9Gf5Hlg

httpv://youtu.be/GmkmxpvtLg8

httpv://youtu.be/a2SP55iCF88

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Wild By Design Tour Ending on September 26

IMG_4085Disney’s Animal Kingdom has offered a tour called Wild By Design for several years now. It focuses primarily on the onstage areas of the park including details of Anandapur in Asia, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail in Africa, Dinoland U.S.A. and Discovery Island.

This three hour walking tour is available to guests ages 14 and up and costs $60 plus tax. Some discounts such as Disney Visa Card may apply. Contact Disney’s Tour department directly at 407-939-8687 to schedule this tour before it ends on September 26th. The tour is held on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.

The tour also includes a light continental breakfast and possibly a souvenir. While focusing on design of the park and animal care, this seems like a great tour to check out while you can before it disappears.

Prepayment is required for the Wild By Design tour and it has a two day cancellation policy. Theme park admission is not included, but is required for this tour.

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Disney’s Harambe Nights Review

Harambe NightsThis past weekend I was fortunate enough to attend the opening of Harambe Nights at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The party is running for the next nine Saturday nights through the summer. You can see our previous posts about Harambe Nights here and here. Our tickets to the event were complimentary, but all opinions are my own. Please note that this Saturday, June 14th is currently sold out completely, where all other nights are sold out for premium, but still have general tickets available.

We arrived at the park for Harambe Nights plenty ahead of time so we’d have time to wander around and not have to rush back to the Africa section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The party starts at 7pm with appetizers and drinks before the show, but we got there around 5:30pm since our tickets were at will call. When you arrive, you will receive a wristband with your designated section for the show. We were in the Zebra section, which ended up appearing to be the best of the options, so if you can, try to request the Zebra section.

The park was mostly cleared by the time we arrived since it was closing at 7pm, so we had no wait for security and only one person in front of us for our will call tickets. As we entered the park, we were given programs for the evening with the schedule of events for Harambe Nights along with the detailed menu and merchandise offerings. Cast Members told us we were welcome to enjoy the park, but to try to head towards Africa around 6:30pm. We decided to just head that way, taking our time with obligatory Tree of Life pictures along the way.

IMG_7932IMG_7933IMG_7934 IMG_7935IMG_8135IMG_8136IMG_8137IMG_8138IMG_8139IMG_8140IMG_7936

When we arrived in Africa, most of the seating area around Tusker House and the Dawa Bar was already taken. So, if you are going for this event only and aren’t spending time ahead of Harambe Nights doing attractions, get there early if you want to sit and relax with a drink, or get there closer to 7pm for the start. As 7pm rolled around, we entered the area to the left of Tusker House to head along the water back towards the brand new Harambe Theatre. Tables were setup to stand at while you enjoyed your appetizers and drinks. Several buffet tables were setup throughout the area with the appetizers and then multiple drink stations were spread out as well. Burudika played African music, face painters went around offering to paint guests’ faces, and cultural ambassadors were available to teach guests information about their home countries in Africa.

IMG_7939IMG_7940IMG_7945IMG_7946IMG_7947IMG_8146IMG_8147IMG_8151IMG_7941IMG_7942IMG_7943IMG_7944 IMG_8149IMG_7952IMG_7951

About half an hour later, we were advised to start queuing up in our respective animal sections to head into the Harambe Theatre for The Lion King: Concert in the Wild. The show is the heart of Harambe Nights, celebrating the 20th Anniversary of The Lion King film with a celebrity narrator, chorus, dancers, orchestra and film clips. Seating is done much like that during The Festival of the Lion King, so it is rather random where you will end up as far as in a low or high row, in the middle or on the end. We ended up exactly center in the second row back of our section and it was a fantastic view. If you can, try to time your seating accordingly to give yourself the best chance of a good view.

Our narrator for Harambe Nights was Viola Davis, star of movies like Doubt and The Help. The narrators, both celebrity and a cast narrator, serve to move forward the story in between clips, dancing and chorus singing, but also read lines as characters in addition to narrating. It would be interesting to see the different narrators and how they change up each show. Viola Davis was highly entertaining and did a great job. The group of about singers sat on stage off to the one side, while the orchestra was positioned on the opposite side of the stage. To me, the interpretive dancers really stole the show. Their dances were of a tribal nature, but seemed to combine elements of contemporary dance also to make very powerful performances. During the show, guests are able to snack on the Lion Chow, a trail mix of sorts created for the show, and guests were also permitted to bring in drinks. Premium seats are about 10-15 rows on the floor in front of the stage, and then the three sides facing the stage are used for bleacher seating general admission. A nice addition to the metal bleacher seats were pads that were taped down to add comfort since it is an almost hour long show. Another thing to make note of is that there is no intermission, so make sure you go to the bathroom before the show starts.

IMG_7962IMG_8153IMG_8161IMG_8091IMG_8088IMG_7972IMG_7985IMG_8021IMG_8022IMG_8024IMG_8055IMG_8061IMG_8062IMG_8063IMG_8064IMG_8067IMG_8072IMG_8076IMG_8086IMG_8087IMG_8089

After the amazing Concert in the Wild, Harambe Nights really kicked into full gear. When we exited the Harambe Theatre, we entered the village of Harambe and were greeted by tables and chairs setup throughout the area. Buffet tables were setup with different stations, DJ Khalifa played music, while dancers invited guests to join them dancing in front of the stage. Several of the floats from Mickey’s Jamming Jungle Parade were setup like the giraffe for guests to have their pictures taken with, and other stilt characters walked around. In addition to this, several Disney characters walked around to meet with guests. This was a bit different experience because there weren’t any queues, you just kind of had to follow the characters around to get their picture. Timon and Rafiki from The Lion King were there to see Harambe Nights. Pluto and Goofy also joined in the fun. My favorites though, were Mickey and Minnie in costumes I’d never seen before that appear to be unique to this event.

After we hit the first buffet table, we grabbed seats at a table partially under cover since rain was threatening. Since Harambe Nights is taking place in the evening throughout the summer when showers are often prevalent, it may be advisable for someone in your party to stake out a table under cover in the event it does start sprinkling like it did for us. We then took turns going to get plates at each of the buffet stations, as well as exploring the dance party, seeing the characters, and just enjoying all Harambe Nights had to offer.

IMG_8097IMG_8099IMG_8101IMG_8104IMG_8105IMG_8170IMG_8178IMG_8187IMG_8190IMG_8194IMG_8197IMG_8198IMG_8200IMG_8203IMG_8186IMG_8171IMG_8177IMG_8184IMG_8185

As far as the food and drink offerings, I was not disappointed. I started out the evening trying the jungle juice concoction that was pineapple and guava juice, which the bartender offered to add rum to, which ended up being a nice refreshing addition. My favorite of the appetizers were the beef kefta meatballs and the spicy durban chicken. I will say, if you are a fan of Jiko, Tusker House, Boma or Sanaa, you should really enjoy most if not all of the food available. Harambe Nights provides open bars for guests 21 and older from the time the party starts at 7pm up until the end of the party at 10:30pm. I noticed a selection of African beers, wine, rum, punch, soda and bottled water throughout the night. My favorite items from dinner were the samosas with mango chutney, bbq pork, butter chicken with basmati rice and legumes, and the bread service. They even have more tame things like macaroni and cheese, cheeseburger roll ups, and salad items for those less adventurous eaters. Because I tried a bite of literally every appetizer and entree, I did not have room for dessert. I also was avoiding the dessert table because there were items on it that I am allergic to, but was pleasantly surprised to see they also offered Mickey Ice Cream Bars.

Once we finished eating, we took our time heading out, stopping to take pictures with several of the photopass photographers. If you have Memory Maker, Harambe Nights is a great place to get some of those once in a lifetime, late night, empty park pictures that are so rare. We got a couple of really nice shots of us and were really glad we had Memory Maker to take advantage of for them. On the way out, we noticed a procession of more parade character animals and floats heading back towards Harambe from the Tree of Life where we were told by Cast Members to make sure we checked out on our way out. The Tree of Life had added blue twinkling lights to the usual lighting to add some extra sparkle to the night.

IMG_8206IMG_8207IMG_8208IMG_8209IMG_8215wd023wdw201415983898146wd021wdw201415983897334IMG_8228IMG_8230

Overall, I was very happy with Harambe Nights. It was great entertainment accompanied by fantastic food from some of my favorite restaurants. I went in thinking the price was a bit high for a hard ticket event to be honest, but after experiencing everything, it is a great value and well worth the price. I would stick to the general admission as a shorter person since the premium floor seats aren’t elevated and would have been difficult for me to see the stage since it is only slightly raised. Make sure you go prepared for inclement weather and also dress for comfort. You may be inclined to dress up since it is similar to dinner and a show, but you are still going to a theme park in summer. Keep in mind you will be doing a bit of walking since Harambe Nights takes place in the back of the park.

Are you planning on going to Harambe Nights? Did you make it to opening night? I hope Disney continues with this wonderful new addition to nighttime entertainment after hours at the theme parks.

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Harambe Nights Sneak Peek

Harambe Nights Logo
Harambe Nights: Every Saturday from June 7 – August 9, 2014, with a Welcome Reception starting at 7 p.m. and a 7:30 p.m. show time for “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild.”

Harambe Nights kicks off its ten week run at Animal Kingdom this Saturday, and we got sneak peek at what you will be able to experience during this limited run special event!

Harambe Nights Welcome Reception

When you are thinking about making the investment to purchase a Harambe Nights ticket, I would encourage you to think of your evening more in terms of a Tables in Wonderland Event rather than a Hard Ticket Event, like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, because of the quality and exclusivity of the food & beverage, merchandise, and entertainment options you will be experiencing.

Harambe Nights Welcome Appetizer

Harambe Nights begins with a Welcome Reception, where guests get a chance to spend some time in their host village of Harambe where will be greeted with a variety of appetizers like Moroccan beef kefta with tamarind glaze, pickled fennel paneer cheese with tomato, Durban-spiced chicken bites, and a safari cheeseburger slider with tomato curry aioli that can be paired with African-inspired wine and beers.

Harambe Nights Beverages

After the Welcome Reception, grab your ‘Lion Chow’, a salty-sweet snack combo of sea-salted pretzel chips, benne (sesame) crumbles, cardamom candied pecans, golden raisins, dried cherries, and candied ginger served in a beautifully made wooden roll, and head down to the newly renovated Harambe Theatre for a unique and what is sure to be unforgettable performance of “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild.”

Harambe Nights Lion Chow
The Lion Chow is so yummy!!! I seriously couldn’t stop eating it!

The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” brings a bit of Broadway to Animal Kingdom as this marks the first time that Walt Disney World Parks have collaborated with Walt Disney Studios and Disney Theatrical Productions to create a full length Theatre experience to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of “The Lion King”.

Harambe Nights Harambe Theatre
The new Harambe Theatre area at Animal Kingdom is beautiful!

A company of over 50 members, including a live orchestra, narrators, chorus, and troupe of dancers, help create this unique re-telling of the classic “Lion King” story through movement, music, and song where the Village of Harambe draws from their rich history of storytelling from around the drum circle to celebrate Simba’s evolving story in a way that pays tribute to their culture and the of film and stage productions.

The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” has an approximate run time of 55 minutes, and features new music and arrangements inspired by the music of the film and stage scores.

Harambe Nights Harambe Theatre 2
Details from the outside of the new Harambe Theatre.

Each week a new celebrity narrator will join the company for “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild”, and the line-up of talent is exciting.

The celebrity narrators for the ten week run of Harambe Nights are:

  • June 7 – Viola Davis: “The Help,” “Ender’s Game”

  • June 14 – Avery Brooks: “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine,” “American History”

  • June 21 – Montego Glover: “The Following,” “Memphis”

  • June 28 – David Alan Grier: “Porgy & Bess,” “In Living Color”

  • July 5 – Michael Beach: “ER,” “Third Watch,” “Sons of Anarchy”

  • July 12 – Harry Lennix: “The Blacklist,” “The Five Heartbeats”

  • July 19 – Joe Morton: “Scandal,” “American Gangster,” “The Good Wife”

  • July 26 – Alfre Woodard: “Desperate Housewives,” “Miss Evers Boys”

  • August 2 – Brian Stokes Mitchell: “Ragtime,” “Trapper John, M.D.,” “Glee”

  • August 9 – Patina Miller: “Pippin,” “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1”

In addition to the live performances on-stage, “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” will also utilize new screens that will show iconic clips from ‘The Lion King’ film and be used to advance the story through the performance in a dynamic way.

Harambe Nights Marsha Jackson Randolph

Marsha Jackson Randolph and Choreographer & Stage Director Warren Adams, who’s recent work on Broadway includes Of Mice and Men, Motown, and Hedwig and the Angry Inch, guided us through the run through of a few numbers from “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” in their rehearsal space during our sneak peek, and it was awesome! The performance is more of movement piece with nods to iconic choreographers that catches the spirit and energy of ‘The Lion King’ film and stage production. I can only imagine how it will look when it is in its full form!

After “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild” you will take to the streets of Harambe for a party like you have never experienced!

Harambe Nights Street Party Concept

Harambe Nights Street Party is a totally immersive experience,” said Show Director Forrest Bahruth. “There will be opportunities for guests to get involved, to dance, to be entertained or just to relax and enjoy the evening.”

During the Harambe Nights Street Party, the streets will come alive with your favorite Disney characters, stilt walkers, and specialty performers who encourage you to join in their traditions through some glow-in-the-dark face painting and Afro-pop music from the Harambe Nights Band and DJ Khalifa.

Harambe Nights Street Party Performers

The Mickey’s Jammin Jungle Parade floats, puppets, and performers will also be out for unique photo opportunities.

Harambe Nights Characters

And you can’t have a party without food! The streets of Harambe will be filled with a buffet of amazing African inspired dishes. If you’re a fan of Jiko—The Cooking PlaceBoma—Flavors of Africa or Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge or Tusker House at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, chances are you’ve tried some global flavors on the menu.

Harambe Nights Plate

During our sneak peek at Harambe Nights, we also got the chance to sample these great dishes and my biggest piece of advice is to come hungry!!!

The Harambe Nights Menu Includes:

Fresh Cooked Breads, Salads and More

Harambe Nights Salads
The assorted salads were a great palate cleanser between all the savory and rich spices of the Harambe Nights Menu. The ingredients were fresh and crisp!
  • Watercress, melon, feta and berry balsamic onion salad
  • Kachumbari salad with tomato, paneer, carrot and cilantro
  • Roasted beetroot salad with sunflower seeds
  • Creamy mac ‘n cheese
  • Spicy vegetable samosa with mango chutney
  • Traditional naan, onion kulcha and pappadum breads
  • Roasted pepper hummus, raita and garlic-ginger pickle

 

Surf and Turf

Harambe Nights Lamb Shank
The on-stage-seared lamb chops with tamarind pomegranate sauce was tender, but the sweet and earthy potato medley side was amazing. I **may** have gone back for more potatoes…
  • Mango, radish, lime and mustard seed salad
  • Watermelon, cucumber and fennel salad
  • Coriander chutney roasted potatoes
  • Line-caught corvina filet with goan curry sauce
  • On-stage-seared lamb chops with tamarind pomegranate sauce

Slow-cook Action Stations

Harambe Nights Eggplant
This was my favorite dish that I tasted at Harambe Nights Sneak Peek! The vegetarian eggplant tikka masala curry was spicy while still retaining the taste of the eggplant and it was served over creamy goat cheese pap that was tender and creamy. It was perfect!
  • Fork-tender peri barbecued pork
  • Vegetarian eggplant tikka masala curry served over creamy goat cheese pap
  • Butter chicken thighs
  • Vegetarian legume wat served over basmati rice

Sweets

Harambe Nights Dessert
These bits were equal parts amazing and wonderful, because the texture and taste were spot on! It was the perfect sweet and slightly salty combination with a kick of coffee.
  • Golden pineapple with toasted coconut
  • Apple slices with Amarula caramel sauce
  • Ripe melon with minted lime yogurt dip
  • Rice pudding, dried fruit compote and pistachio gremolata
  • Caramel salted Tanzania chocolate Kenya coffee bite
  • Chai cream with zebra stripes
  • Ice cream bars
Harambe Nights Samosas
The Spicy vegetable samosa with mango chutney are one of my most favorite dishes ever! You can never go wrong with the hot and spicy vegetable filling combined with the cold and sweet mango chutney!

There will also be Lion King merchandise and collectibles that have been exclusively created for Harambe Nights that will be available for purchase during the event.

Harambe Nights Merchandise
Photo: Disney
Harambe Nights Merchandise Coin
Photo: Disney
Harambe Nights exclusive tshirt
Photo: Disney
Harambe Nights exclusive watch
Photo: Disney

Harambe Nights will end with a special finale to bid “kwaherini” to a magical evening that could only happen at Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

Harambe Nights is scheduled for every Saturday from June 7 – August 9, 2014, with a Welcome Reception starting at 7 p.m. and a 7:30 p.m. show time for “The Lion King – Concert in the Wild.” You should note that tickets for Harambe Nights first Saturday, June 7, are sold out.

Harambe Nights Wristband
A wristband is required to enter the special event. To retrieve your wristband, please show your event ticket at the Main Entrance. If you are already inside the park prior to the start of the event, you can show your ticket to a Cast Member at the entrance of Harambe Village instead to receive your wristband.

Tickets are $119 for adults, $79 for ages 3-9, plus tax, and also includes complimentary parking for the event starting at 4:00 pm. Great seats are still available for all nights, but capacity is limited.

For tickets, visit Disneyworld.com/HarambeNights or call (407) 939-1319.

 

 

 

 

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram

Star Wars Weekends 2014 : What I Am Looking Forward To The Most

Star Wars Weekends 2014 is full of some new and returning special offerings that make this event one of my favorites of the entire year!

Here are just a few of the things that make me even more excited about Star Wars Weekends 2014!

FastPass+ Integration

This is the first year that you will be able to use FastPass+ to book Star Wars Weekends 2014 shows at the Premiere Theater such as Behind the Force – Star Wars: Rebels, Stars of the Saga and Obi-Wan and Beyond starring James Arnold Taylor.

So make sure you hop on My Disney Experience to see if there are any still available!

Augmented Reality

There was a tweet from Gary Buchanan that popped up in my timeline about Augmented Reality coming to Star Wars Weekends 2014!

Star Wars Weekends 2014

Needless to say I am now following @Aurasma and have downloaded the app!

Specialty Popcorn Buckets and Mugs

I will openly admit this…I am an absolute sucker for themed popcorn buckets and mugs, and these will be mine!!!

Star Wars Weekends 2014

Star Wars Weekends Gift Cards

I have a pile of used Disney Gift Cards that I just can’t bear to get rid of, and these Star Wars Weekends 2014 giftcards will hopefully be in my pile soon!

Star Wars Weekends 2014

Star Wars Weekends Cupcakes

Why choose one Star Wars Weekends 2014 cupcake when you can have two? The Darth Vader and Yoda cupcakes look adorable and delicious, and can be found at Sunset Ranch Market, ABC Commissary, Backlot Express, Studio Catering Company, Pizza Planet Arcade and Darth’s Mall.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRiz6NSEFwk

Symphony in the Stars

Star Wars Weekends 2014

While Hyperspace Hoopla’s absence has caused me to shed a tear or two, I am excited to see Symphony in the Stars! If you haven’t seen fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you HAVE to catch them during Star Wars Weekends 2014! This isn’t really an option!

Character Dining

Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Star Wars Weekends 2014

We had the chance to experience the Star Wars Galactic Dine-In Breakfast at the Sci-Fi Dine-In and it was amazing! I absolutely cannot recommend this experience enough, and the bonus is that you can experience this any time during the week and not just during Star Wars Weekends 2014!

Legends of the Force:  Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade

Star Wars Weekends 2014

Star Wars Weekends 2014

I love a good parade…so if you add Star Wars characters, celebrities, and lots of Stormtroopers I am ALL in!!! I love watching this parade!!!

Star Wars Weekends 2014

What are you most looking forward to during Star Wars Weekends 2014?

Make sure you are following our Star Wars Weekends adventures on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook!

Follow us for more updates: Facebooktwittergoogle_plusyoutubetumblrinstagram