Around the Mouse: Walt Disney World News, February 20, 2017

What’s New This Week?

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Walt Disney World Theme Parks

Magic Kingdom Park

New! “Happily Ever After” Nighttime Spectacular will debut at Magic Kingdom Park May 12: Starting May 12, Magic Kingdom Park will present “Happily Ever After,” a new nighttime spectacular that captures the heart, humor and emotions of Disney films through awe-inspiring fireworks, state of the-art projections and brilliant lasers. Since last fall, Guests have enjoyed an all-new nighttime projection show, “Once Upon a Time.” Now, Guests will be inspired to find their own “happily ever after” as they gather in front of Cinderella Castle for the final moment of their own Disney story. To make way for “Happily Ever After,” Wishes Nighttime Spectacular will have its final performance May 11.

Epcot

New! Easter Egg-stravaganza to Return: From March 1 to May 29 (or while supplies last), search for special hidden “eggs” themed to Disney characters and record your discoveries by placing the corresponding sticker on the specially themed map to represent that location. Maps and stickers can be purchased for $5.99, plus tax. To participate, visit Pin Central – Future World, Disney Traders at the entrance to World Showcase, or World Traveler at International Gateway.

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New! Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Menus Released: With two new Outdoor Kitchens and delectable eats all around World Showcase Promenade, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival highlights amazing gardens and topiaries, but tasty food and drink are a big part of the festival. The 90-day festival from March 1-May 29 connects food to its roots with gardens at each Outdoor Kitchen that grow examples of the produce that’s being served. New kitchens this year are Northern Bloom and The Berry Basket, joining 13 returning Outdoor Kitchens. Each Outdoor Kitchen also includes beverages to pair with the dishes. And there are vegetarian and gluten-friendly options, too. Popular favorites like Frushi (fruit sushi) and Pulled Pig sliders will be back alongside the new selections including Warm Wild Berry Buckle with Pepper Berry Sorbet from The Berry Basket and Seared Scallops with French Green Beans, Butter Potatoes, Brown Butter Vinaigrette and Apple-wood Smoked Bacon (gluten-friendly) from Northern Bloom.

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Reminder! Valentine’s Day Specialty Cupcake Now Available: The Valentine’s specialty cupcake, with a red velvet cake and chocolate icing, is now available at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This cupcake will be available at the following locations: ABC Commissary, Catalina Eddie’s, Fairfax Fare, Rosie’s All-American Café, Starring Rolls Café and Trolley Car Café. This item is included in the Disney Dining Plan, and will be available through Feb. 28.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

New! “Flights of Wonder” Bird to Making Appearances: The unique birds from “Flights of Wonder” and their trainers will demonstrate interactive behaviors using stages in Africa and DinoLand U.S.A now through April 6. In order to accommodate these experiences, the “Flights of Wonder” showtimes will be adjusted beginning 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. daily. Appearances in DinoLand U.S.A. will take place on a temporary stage at 3:30 and 4:30 p.m. and will feature 3-4 different birds and highlight the connections birds share with dinosaurs. Appearances in Africa will take place on the Harambe stage near Tusker House Restaurant. These short performances will occur periodically at unspecified times, and will feature 3-4 different birds and highlight species characteristics and unique behavioral demonstrations

Reminder! Rivers of Light and Dining Package Reservations Now Open: Since its debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Feb. 17, “Rivers of Light,” surrounds Guests with the magic of nature through breathtaking imagery and special effects. Guests are now able to reserve FastPass+ and dining packages. Similar to the popular “Fantasmic!” Dining Packages at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the “Rivers of Light” Dining Package includes reserved seating at the new show. At all-youcare-to-eat Tusker House, Guests can choose between breakfast, lunch or dinner on the day of the show (dining at least 2 ½ hours before the show).Tiffins will feature the “Rivers of Light” Dining Package for lunch and dinner. Guests will be able to select an appetizer, entrée, dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage (also dining at least 3 hours prior to the show).

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Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

New! New Chefs and Menu at Jiko – The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: Chef Daniel Sicilia took the helm in the kitchen about six months ago at Jiko—The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, and new Pastry Chef Michael Craig recently joined the resort’s culinary team, together creating an almost-all-new menu for the popular restaurant. Guests will still find a filet on the menu, but the sides that accompany are seasonal and ever changing. The same goes for the bone-in short rib. A version of maize-crusted fish in tomato-butter sauce has always been on the menu, but now Chef Daniel is using perch from Lake Victoria in Africa. Durham Ranch elk loin and Mrouzia-style lamb tagine are new dishes, and buttery-sweet scallops are paired with Berkshire pork belly. A brand-new starter is Manti Dumplings, filled with boar, bison and elk and served with spicy tomato sauce and saffron yogurt. For sweet endings, the new Kilimanjaro is a favorite of chocolate fans with Tanzanian chocolate mousse, pistachio financier, pink peppercorn meringue, cacao nib crunch and pineapple flavored with ras el hanout, a Moroccan spice blend. Jiko has the largest offering of South African wines anywhere in the United States, with more than 125.

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Reminder! Geyser Point Bar & Grill Open at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort: Geyser Point Bar & Grill is now open to Guests.The open-air pool bar and grill is located along the water’s edge of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Décor is reminiscent of the Pacific Northwest and the menu includes artisanal Pacific Northwest cocktails and an assortment of unique small plates. The quick-service walk-up window offers a taste of the wilderness—from the Bison Burger with Tillamook Cheddar and House-smoked Salmon BLT with Lemon-Caper Mayonnaise to a delicious Grilled Portobello, Zucchini, Roasted Red Peppers, Tomato, and Multi-Grain Salad with Goat Cheese. Sweet treats include Chocolate Brownie Mousse with Caramel Popcorn and Toasted Meringue and a house-made seasonal pie. Geyser Point Bar & Grill will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as specialty cocktails, beer and wine. Operating hours for these meal periods are as follows: Breakfast: 7 – 11 a.m; Lunch and dinner: 11 a.m. – midnight; Lounge: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. and Bar only: 11 p.m. – midnight.

Walt Disney World Resort – General

Atlanta Braves Celebrate 20 Years of Spring Training at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex: Walt Disney World is celebrating 20 years of Atlanta Braves Spring Training here at ESPN Wide World of Sports. Starting February 25, fans can take in the game-day action, when the Braves take on the Toronto Blue Jays in the first of their 18 home games. Other notable matchups include the Boston Red Sox (March 3), New York Yankees (March 9) and Mets (March 10, 25 and 29). Pitchers and catchers have reported already, and fans are welcome to attend workouts (Adult admission is $18, while child admission is $13) at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Be sure to bring a marker, as you could have the opportunity to get autographs from your favorite Braves players during practices! For more information about the Braves schedule, tickets and more, visit www.espnwwos.com/braves.

(March 1, 2016): The Atlanta Braves opened Spring Training against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, March 1 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena, Fla.

(March 1, 2016): The Atlanta Braves opened Spring Training against the Baltimore Orioles on Tuesday, March 1 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena, Fla.

Merchandise Events

New Products Revealed for 2017 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: This year, guests will find new artwork from Disney Design Group including stylized images of Mickey and Minnie Mouse, and pastel-colored, geometric patterns featuring Figment.

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New merchandise will include apparel, headware, home décor, and souvenirs. There will be five Dooney & Bourke handbags including a larger sized Weekender bag. A ShellieMay plush bear dressed in gardening attire and three Figment-inspired garden decorations will also be offered.

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For Disney pin collectors, look for a limited release logo pin along with several limited edition pins. The four-pin, limited edition pin set features Disney characters such as Orange Bird or Judy Hopps from Disney’s “Zootopia.”

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Annual Passholders will find several unique products such as apparel for women and men; a TERVIS wine goblet; a collectible coin; and a limited edition pin. For the first time, we are introducing a limited release logo pin created only for passholders. In order to purchase these items, Passholders must present a valid Annual Pass at time of purchase.

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New! Solid-color MagicBand 2 and MagicKeepers Now Available: Solid-color MagicBand 2 are now available in the current eight colors – pink, blue, red, green, orange, gray, yellow, and purple – wherever MagicBands are sold throughout Walt Disney World Resort. With the MagicBand 2 solid-color bands, you have more options to customize your MagicBand. You can mix and match different-colored bands to create your favorite multi-colored band because with MagicBand 2, the center icon is removable and linked to your My Disney Experience account.

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New MagicKeepers accessories are also now available that will give you even more options on how to wear the magic. You can put the center icon into a silver carabiner to wear on a purse, diaper bag or belt loop; or into a Mickey Mouse or Minnie Mouse lanyard clip to wear around your neck. Even better, included with each MagicKeeper is a handy mini-screwdriver that helps you change out the icon.

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Closures and Refurbishments

Click here to view the latest renovations and closures at Walt Disney World Resort.

Siera is a travel agent with Destinations in Florida, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. She would love to help you plan your next vacation at no cost to you. Call her at 734-771-1290 or email her at siera@destinationsinflorida.com for your free, no obligation quote. 

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2016 Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort By the Numbers

Have you ever wondered how many miles it takes for the balloons to travel from Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York to Universal Orlando Resort? Or just how many feet of garland are draped over the resort every holiday season?

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Well, Universal’s Art & Design team just shared some festive figures on the holiday cheer they spread throughout Universal Orlando each year:

  • 100,500 – Lights on the tallest Christmas tree
  • 56,000 – Cubic feet of helium used in Macy’s Holiday Parade each year
  • 50,000 – Linear feet of garland strung about Universal Orlando each year
  • 7,000 – Lights on the Universal Studios Florida arch wreath
  • 1,081 – Miles The Macy’s balloons travel from New York City to Universal Orlando
  • 1,000 – Pounds of confetti used in Macy’s Holiday Parade each year
  • 864 – Feet of garland on the Universal Studios Florida arch wreath
  • 222 – Performances of “Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular”
  • 90 – Performers in Macy’s Holiday Parade
  • 80 – Approximate feet of the tallest Christmas tree
  • 12 – Balloons in the Macy’s Holiday Parade

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Come on out and see a holiday celebration of epic proportions for yourself with Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort, now through Jan. 1.

Siera is a travel agent with Destinations in Florida, Universal Studios Travel Agency of the Year 2010, 2011, & 2012. She would love to help you plan your next Universal Orlando vacation at no cost to you. Contact Siera today at siera@destinationsinflorida.com or at 734-771-1290 for more information or your free, no obligation quote. 

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Celebrate the Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort with Grinchmas and More

December 14, 2016

Celebrate the Holidays at Universal Orlando Resort with Grinchmas and More Bring out the bells, the Holidays are officially in full swing at Universal Orlando Resort. From the heart-warming merriment of Who-ville to the 15th anniversary of Macy’s Holiday Parade, there’s no place like Universal Orlando for the holidays. Kick off your day celebrating Grinchmas […]

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Top 5 Ways to Spend a Rainy Day at Universal Orlando Resort

November 30, 2016

In Florida, you never know when a rain shower might pop up! However, you don’t have to let it ruin your vacation or make you sit in your hotel room all day. From sheltered shows and attractions to dining and more, there’s so much to do at Universal Orlando Resort when it rains. Your biggest challenge will […]

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Black Friday Travel Deal: Receive Up To $100 Disney Gift Card

November 25, 2016

We are having a Black Friday sale to help you save even more on your next Disney World vacation! When you book a Disney World vacation package or transfer your Disney World vacation package to us, you will receive a Disney gift card, valued up to $100! With an extra $100, you could treat yourself […]

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Plan A Night Out at Harbor Nights at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel

November 23, 2016

Plan A Night Out at Harbor Nights at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel When a weekend trip to Italy just isn’t possible, relish the next best thing during Harbor Nights at Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando. Set under the twinkling lights of the picturesque Harbor Piazza, Harbor Nights invites locals and visitors to enjoy […]

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Top 10 Holiday Celebrations at Disneyland Resort

November 18, 2016

Top 10 Holiday Celebrations at Disneyland Resort Even though Disneyland doesn’t offer a Christmas party like Disney World, there are still a number of ways to enjoy holiday celebrations at Disneyland Resort. You can make your days more merry and bright by adding a dash of Disney magic to your seasonal celebration at Disneyland! Here […]

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Top 5 Snacks at Universal Orlando Resort

November 16, 2016

It’s inevitable that you’ll need to stop for a snack as you hike your way around Universal Orlando Resort theme parks. The body needs fuel, and here are my top 5 favorite snacks at Universal to fill up on! #5 ButterBeer – Wizarding World of Harry Potter This delicious treat can come in any number […]

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Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace Debuts Following Renovation

November 11, 2016

Located in the Disney Springs™ Area, Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace Officially Debuts Following an Extensive, Multi–million Dollar Renovation  Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace has announced the official flagging of the 1,011-room property, located in the Disney Springs™ area, following an extensive multi-million dollar hotel-wide renovation. Formerly known as Buena Vista Palace Resort & Spa, the newly-transformed property is an Official Walt Disney World® Hotel and represents Hilton’s continued expansion in the Orlando market.   On October 1, Hilton Orlando Buena Vista Palace, located in the Disney […]

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Don’t Miss Live Entertainment at Universal Studios Florida

November 9, 2016

Don’t Miss Live Entertainment at Universal Studios Florida I don’t know about you but in-between defying gravity on thrill rides, it can be nice to take a break and walk around taking in the atmosphere of Universal Orlando Resort. Along with Universal’s Superstar Parade, you can now be entertained while you’re on your stroll through Universal […]

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