Tag Archives: Animal Kingdom

Complete List of Iconic Disney World Photos You Need to Take on Vacation

What are some of the most iconic Disney World photos? Wondering which memories you’ll most want to capture? We have some ideas for the best Disney World photos you need to take during your vacation.

Magic Kingdom

Magic Kingdom is the original Walt Disney World theme park. You’ll find so many iconic attractions and photo opportunities throughout the park. As you enter the park, you can stop for a picture in front of the train station. Then, the real magic lies behind there.

As you enter the park, you’ll find Town Square Theater to your right. You can meet Mickey Mouse in his rehearsal room here. This is a great photo opportunity with him and Disney PhotoPass photographers are happy to help you capture the moment.

Of course, you’ll want to capture your family’s first reaction of Cinderella Castle as you walk down Main Street, U.S.A. You can also stop in the hub as soon as you pass under the train station for a great shot of Main Street, U.S.A AND Cinderella Castle behind you.

If you have little ones, you can’t miss the classic photo of their first ride on Dumbo (or in the extra one outside of the exit, just for photos). You’ll also want to capture the afternoon Festival of Fantasy parade in addition to the nighttime spectacular, Happily Ever After.

If you need a photo for your Instagram, don’t miss the Purple Wall at the entrance to Tomorrowland.

EPCOT

Spaceship Earth is the park icon for EPCOT so it’s a great photo spot. When there isn’t construction, you can stop for a picture in front of the fountains and/or with the planters advertising any current festivals. PhotoPass Photographers are often stationed on both sides of Spaceship Earth so you can grab a photo on the way in or out of the park.

A fun photo for kids of all ages is found in the Seas pavilion. At the exit of The Seas with Nemo and Friends attraction, you’ll find Bruce’s Shark World with a life size model of Bruce from “Finding Nemo.” You can even climb into his mouth for a fun picture.

Another Instagram-worthy destination is the Bubblegum Wall located at either exit of Spaceship Earth. We’re really hoping they aren’t affected by the planned refurbishment!

There are some amazing photo opportunities throughout the World Showcase. You can find Disney characters, topiaries during the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival, delicious treats during the Epcot International Food and Wine Festival,

Hollywood Studios

Hollywood Studios has a replica of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre at the center of the park. You can stop for photos as you enter with this as your background. As you get closer, you can even find some famous handprints from movie stars and even Disney characters.

If you are a Star Wars fan, you can fill your memory card with Disney World photos from Galaxy’s Edge. Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is the latest addition to Hollywood Studios and has tons of incredible photo opportunities. You can find ships and speeders, the Millennium Falcon, Savi’s Workshop, Droid Depot, Stormtroopers, and more.

Toy Story Land is such a fun and whimsical area. You can stop for a photo in front of a larger than life Woody statue as you enter Andy’s backyard. You’ll also love the popsicle stick wall, green army men, K’nex fencing, larger than life Tinker Toys, and more.

At the end of Sunset Boulevard, you’ll find Tower of Terror. You can stop for pictures down Sunset Boulevard with Tower of Terror behind you. Down Sunset Boulevard, you will also find Rock n Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. It offers a fun photo op with the larger than life guitar at the entrance.

Animal Kingdom

The park icon for Animal Kingdom is the Tree of Life. Be sure to snap a family picture in front of the Tree of Life as you enter the park. The Tree of Life is full of intricate carvings so check it out as you get closer and from different angles to view the unique animals carved into it.

Over in Pandora, you can often find the Pandora ranger in his Exo-Carrier utility suit outside of Windtraders. You can ask this Pandora Conservation Initiative scientist about the otherworldly landscape around you and his conservation efforts in Pandora.

DiVine is a unique performer in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. She blends in very well with the foliage and greenery around her. If you can spot her, she’s a fun and unique photo opportunity. She is usually found near the entrance of the park or on the walkway between Asia and Africa.

Donald’s Dino Bash has taken over DinoLand U.S.A. You can find some Disney friends like Chip and Dale dressed up like dinosaurs or DuckTales characters meeting guests. This colorful area has some fun photo spots you just can’t miss.

Disney Springs

The Disney PhotoPass Studios at Disney Springs is a “must do” for guests with Memory Maker! You can take FREE photos with a PhotoPass photographer in the studio that will automatically be added to your My Disney Experience account. They even have fun backgrounds and signs that you can add to your photo shoot.

The LEGO Store has some incredible creations surrounding the store. You can often find Cinderella, Snow White, BB-8, and even the Loch Ness monster in the lagoon. There’s also a life size lego creation of Woody & Buzz at the entrance which makes a great photo opportunity.

If you’re planning to pin trade, be sure to stop by Pin Traders. There’s some fun statues of Disney characters for your pictures. Plus, you can trade with the cast members and/or pin board.

Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

If you’re staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, take some pictures of your resort, the pool, and even the room. You may also want to snap a photo of fun transportation methods like the monorail, Skyliner, or ferry.

If you participate in any of the resort activities like the afternoon pool party or Movie Under the Stars, be sure to capture those memories, too.

Experiences

There are some experiences that you’ll want to remember, as well. You can find many of these throughout the parks and resorts.

  • Walt Disney World “welcome” sign as you enter property
  • Meeting Characters
  • Pin Trading
  • Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique
  • Favorite Meals
  • Disney Parks Snacks like the Dolp Whip, Mickey pretzel, cupcakes, and more

If you choose to purchase Memory Maker, Disney PhotoPass Photographers can help you capture some of these iconic Disney World photos throughout your visit. You’ll receive digital downloads of your photos and even videos in your My Disney Experience account.

You can even download our favorite Disney World photos spot checklist for your next visit here:

Celebrate Earth Day 2021 at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park

Photo: Disney

Earth Month is a great time to reflect on our personal relationship with our beautiful planet and how we can all care for the world we share. Whether it’s reducing your own ecological footprint, planting a tree, creating a butterfly garden or learning more about wildlife and conservation, all of these efforts unite us as we do our part to protect nature’s treasures. And while Disney theme parks celebrate all living things every day, during the annual Earth Day 2021 Celebration there’s an added opportunity for Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park guests to connect with the magic of nature through engaging activities designed to educate and inspire the whole family.

From April 18 to 24, 2021, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will host limited-time experiences including unique Disney character appearances, fun learning opportunities, specialty merchandise, themed food and beverage, a new Wilderness Explorer activity and more. Here’s a look at what’s in store to spark your curiosity about wildlife and inspire your own conservation efforts:

  • The Animation Experience at Conservation Station shows how Disney Artists bring favorite characters to life by using animals for inspiration. For the Earth Day Celebration and the month of April, you can learn to draw characters – including Dumbo, Terk, Squirt, Shere Khan, Simba and Scar – whose real-life counterparts represent amazing stories of conservation work around the globe.
  • Catch a glimpse of some special characters who will join other favorite Disney pals on Discovery River Character Cruises.
Photo: Disney

Snack around the park sampling Earth Day eats, including a selection of limited-time specialty cupcakes: the Creature Comfort’s Honey Bee Cupcake, the strawberry-flavored Flamingo Cupcake at Flame Tree Barbecue, or the Sea Turtle Graham Cracker Cupcake (plus the Crave the Wave cocktail!) at Restaurantosaurus Lounge. Be sure to dig in soon because the treats are only available for a limited time.

Photo: Disney
  • Set out on a series of self-guided, nature-themed challenges and earn a special Wilderness Explorer limited-time Earth Day Nature badge.
  • Hunt for an Earth Day 2021 limited-edition Te Fiti Moana trading pin. You can also support the Disney Conservation Fund by purchasing a cuddly plush inspired by species that call Disney’s Animal Kingdom home; or check out Island Mercantile’s eco-friendly water bottles, tumblers and reusable bags that promote sustainability.
Photo: Disney

Any time you visit the park, marvel at unique animals and meet the newest arrivals. Most recently, the park welcomed the birth of Ranger, and you can get a glimpse of the rambunctious five-month-old white rhino calf and his crash on your journey aboard Kilimanjaro Safaris. While on safari, also keep an eye out for two young Masai giraffe who were born a few months ago, and playful Nigerian dwarf goats that hang out at the warden’s outpost.

Photo: Disney
  • Disney PhotoPass Service captures magical memories with special in-park Earth Day 2021 backgrounds and Magic Shots, including an all-new photo opportunity. In addition, Earth Day 2021 screen savers and Zoom backgrounds can be downloaded from the My Disney Experience PhotoPass gallery.
  • Beginning April 2, you can watch as artisans transform 40 tons of sand into a detailed sculpture celebrating National Geographic’s “Secrets of the Whales,” an original series streaming on Disney+ on Earth Day. The intricate sculpted masterpiece will be located on the Discovery Island Stage until April 30.

For more information on how Disney cares for animals and helps protect species in the wild, visit DisneyAnimals.com, check out “Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom” on Disney+, streaming now, Disney Park Wild Sights, a short form video mini-series exclusive to the My Disney Experience app, or follow along on Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment Instagram (@DrMarkAtDisney) and Facebook (@DisneyASE) pages.

What are your plans for Earth Day 2021?

Thanks Disney Parks Blog!

Sneak Peek of Disney World’s Phased Reopening Plus Tips for Your Visit

sneak peek at Disney World's phased reopening

Walt Disney World Resort began its phased re-opening on July 11, 2020. I had the opportunity to spend eight days in the theme parks and at Disney’s Pop Century Resort at the end of July and would love to share my experience during Disney World’s phased reopening this summer.

Overall, I had a magical time in the parks and at my hotel. We were able to see a number of Disney characters, experience all of the attractions we wanted to (many multiple times) thanks to short lines, and even enjoy a character dining experience. The Disney magic is still alive and well and waiting to welcome you back at the Walt Disney World Resort. I even discussed my experience during Disney World’s phased reopening on The Budget Mouse podcast. Be sure to listen for all the details!

Safety Protocols

ways Disney World is keeping you safe during Disney World's phased reopening

Disney is taking guest (and cast member) safety very seriously.

All guests make pass a temperature screening to enter the theme parks and wear a face covering throughout their visit. Face masks are only able to be removed while actively eating or drinking AND stationary. You are no longer able to stroll the parks with a drink in hand without your face covering.

DisneyStore.com

Social distancing is being practiced everywhere, from the resort lobby to attraction queues and even Disney transportation. Disney buses now accommodate five to six families with barriers installed and select seats marked as unavailable. Dividers have been installed in the monorail, as well. There are ground markers at every attraction queue to keep at least (and sometime more) six feet between parties. At certain points of the queue where guests would be on one side of you or the other, plexiglass barriers have been installed.

They have added hand sanitizer machines throughout the parks and resorts. It is readily available and encouraged both before and after experiencing attractions.

I personally felt very safe traveling during Disney World’s phased reopening with my three year old and eight year old due to all of these safety precautions.

Disney Characters

Disney Characters at Disney World's phased reopening

One thing that many guests seem to be very concerned about (and understandably so) is characters. Disney is not allowing guests to hug characters right now, but we still found plenty of opportunities to see and even interact with them.

All four parks are offering character cavalcades that actually feel like a short, mini parade. You can find Mickey and friends at all four parks and a variety of other characters throughout the parks. Guests can even personally interact with many of these characters. For example, Anastasia and Drizella are often standing on Cinderella Castle with microphones to talk to guests. We also found Buzz Lightyear, Joy from Inside Out, Gaston, Winnie the Pooh, and Alice in Wonderland among others. You can stop for a picture and even talk to these characters.

Disney is currently offering two character dining experiences. You can enjoy breakfast at Topolino’s Terrace at Disney’s Riviera Resort or lunch or dinner at Garden Grill at Epcot. These are also the only opportunity to take a picture with the characters with your mask on. The characters just have to keep their distance.

Five Tips for Visiting During Disney World’s Phased Reopening

  1. Take Advantage of Mobile Order Whenever Possible: This single tip will save you so much time during your visit. Mobile order is available at the resort food courts and (open) quick service locations in the theme parks. You can order your meals in your My Disney Experience app and simply arrive to pick up your food when it is ready.
  2. Prepare for Bag Check: Bag check has changed, but for the better! It is so much faster and easier now! However, you can be prepared by removing any large metal objects from your bag like an umbrella or sunglass case as you prepare to enter the park.
  3. Pack Multiple Masks: You’ll probably get hot and sweaty throughout the day so if you have an extra mask in your park bag, you can change it out for a fresh mask. Masks are also available for purchase throughout the theme parks and hotels.
  4. Set Expectations in Advance: You can find a list of which attractions and dining experiences are currently open. Be sure to look this over so you aren’t disappointed with the attractions or even dining experiences are currently available.
  5. Practice Wearing Masks at Home with Kids: Your kids may not have had to wear a mask very much at home, if at all. I would recommend practicing with them at home so that they have an idea of what to expect. They can also start getting used to the mask so it won’t be as bothersome during your visit.
Free Gift when you book a 2020 Disney World Vacation Package

We’d love to help you plan a magical and memorable Disney World vacation this year. Plus, we have a special offer when you book your 2020 Disney World vacation package with us! When you book a minimum three night stay with a three day ticket, you’ll receive a 2020 Walt Disney World Resort photo album ($24.99 value)!

Will you be visiting during Disney World’s phased reopening this year? Don’t miss answers to our most FAQ about Disney World’s phased reopening, too!

PS- Don’t forget to sign up to receive a FREE Disney World coloring book here!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. We may make a small commission from purchases made through these links. Thank you for supporting our small business!

Get a $10 Bonus Card with the 2019 Animal Kingdom Tasting Sampler

From the Disney Parks Blog:

Photo: Disney

If you’re looking for a great way to experience the flavors of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, then look no further than the Disney’s 2019 Animal Kingdom Tasting Sampler! With this digital value card, you’ll be able to enjoy a delectable day of flavorful food and beverage as you taste your way around the park’s carts, kiosks, and, after 4 p.m., at quick-service restaurants with a bonus digital value card. 

The 2019 Animal Kingdom tasting sampler is on sale now and costs $50. It includes two digital value cards: one $50 card that can be used at over 40 outdoor food and beverage locations throughout the park (and does not expire), and a bonus $10 card that can be used at the following quick-service restaurants after 4pm from December 22, 2019 through January 4, 2020: Restaurantosaurus (DinoLand U.S.A), Pizzafari and Pizzafari Family-Style Dining (Discovery Island), Flame Tree Barbecue (Discovery Island), and Satu’li Canteen (Pandora – The World of Avatar). In addition, with each $50 card purchased, you will receive two (2) reserved seats for the second showing of Rivers of Light: We are One (which must be redeemed between December 22, 2019 and January 4, 2020). 

At each of the outdoor food and beverage locations, you can use the $50 card to purchase anything on the menu. Among these dishes are some favorites from this spring’s 2019 Animal Kingdom Tasting Sampler as well as a whole host of delicious new bites only available during the holiday season. 

Here’s a list of all the new and returning eats and treats for the 2019 Animal Kingdom Tasting Sampler that you won’t want to miss: 

Photo: Disney

Kusafiri Bakery (Africa)

  • Curry Trio with Shrimp, Chicken, and Vegetable Curries
  • Coffee
  • Pastries

Caravan Road (Asia)

  • Ginger Slaw Dog
  • Char Siu Pork with Sticky Rice

Mr. Kamal’s (Asia)

  • Fried Chicken Dumplings
  • Kamal’s Fries with Dipping Sauces

Trilo-Bites (DinoLand U.S.A.)

  • Buffalo Chicken Chips
  • Peppermint Cookies and Cream Sundae
  • Bugs ‘n Grubs Cone
Photo: Disney

Dino-Bite Snacks (DinoLand U.S.A.)

  • Scrooge McDuck’s Billionaire Bacon Caramel Sundae
  • Peppermint Ice Cream Sandwich

Terra Treats (Discovery Island)

  • Tomato and Cheese Pizza
  • Seasonal Specialty Pizza

Smiling Crocodile (Discovery Island)

  • Pulled Pork Jelly Donut Slider
  • Pulled Pork Street Taco
  • Tamale with Tomatillo Sauce, Red Chile Sauce, and a Jalapeño Cream Sauce

Additional Participating Carts and Kiosks 

Photo: Disney

Africa

  • Mahindi (popcorn, glazed nuts, beer)
  • Tamu Tamu Refreshments (Simba Sunset, Simba Ice Cream Sandwich, Pineapple Dole Whip Cup, ice cream treats, beer)
  • Dawa Bar (specialty beverages, cocktails, beer)
  • Harambe Fruit Market (fruit, pretzels, grilled corn with African spices)

Asia

  • Warung Outpost (pretzels, chips, margaritas)
  • Drinkwallah (nuts, chips, frozen beverages)
  • Chakranadi (pretzels, nuts, beer, fountain beverages)
  • Anandapur Ice Cream Treats (Forbidden Mountain Cone, soft-serve ice cream treats, fountain beverages)
  • Thirsty River Bar & Trek Snacks (Pumpkin Spice Pretzel, popcorn, ice cream treats, pretzels, cocktails, beer)
  • Snack Cart near UP! A Great Bird Adventure (ice cream treats)

DinoLand U.S.A.

  • Dino Diner (chips and queso, chili cheese dog, corn chip pie, churros, beer)
  • Corn-ivores (popcorn, bottled beverages)

Discovery Island

  • Feeding Ground (popcorn, frozen lemonade, beer)
  • Eight Spoon Café (macaroni and cheese with pulled pork or shrimp, pretzels)
  • Isle of Java (coffee, pastries, chocolate donut holes)
  • Snack Cart near Tiffins Restaurant (all-beef hot dogs, ice cream treats)
Photo: Disney

Pandora – The World of Avatar

  • Pongu Pongu (pretzels, pineapple lumpia, specialty beverages)
  • Beverage Cart near Pongu Pongu (chips, bottled beverages)

Parkwide

  • Ice Cream Carts (ice cream treats, bottled beverages)

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Tasting Sampler can be purchased starting tomorrow, Oct. 8, and will be available through January 4, 2020 at 12:00 p.m. noon E.T. and can be used at Disney’s Animal Kingdom during regular operating hours. When you purchase the sampler, you’ll receive an email for each digital value card. Each email will have a barcode that can be added to your digital wallet on your mobile phone and scanned at most food and beverage locations throughout the park. For a full list of participating locations and menu offerings, visit any food and beverage location at the park. To purchase, visit http://offers.disney.com/DAKDINEBONUS/

PLEASE NOTE: 

  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom Tasting Sampler $50 digital value card can only be redeemed at the participating locations indicated on the Tasting Sampler map, which will be available at any participating food and beverage location in the park from December 22, 2019 through January 4, 2020. It cannot be used at Table-Service Restaurants or Quick-Service Restaurants and does not expire. Terms and Conditions apply
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom After 4 p.m. Quick Service Bonus $10 digital value card may only be redeemed at the five locations above and is not valid for use after January 4, 2020. Terms and Conditions apply
  • Guests must be at least 21 years of age or older to consume alcoholic beverages. Please keep a valid form of identification on hand at all times to verify your age. 
  • All menu items and event experiences are subject to change without notice. 
  • $50 Disney’s Animal Kingdom Tasting Sampler and the $10 Disney’s Animal Kingdom After 4 Quick Service Bonus are separate products and cannot be combined. 
  • Check in for the Rivers of Light: We Are One show at the Dining Package kiosk on the DinoLand U.S.A. side of the theater and show a Cast Member your Tasting Sampler Digital Value Card on your mobile device.

Planning to visit during the holiday season? Don’t miss this list of all of the festive events in the parks and resorts during this year’s holiday season.

Celebrate “The Lion King” at Jiko – The Cooking Place

From the Disney Parks Blog:

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

Get ready to celebrate the circle of life with a new limited-time prix fixe dining experience inspired by “The Lion King!” Starting June 30, 2019, join us as we toast to the popular film at Jiko – The Cooking Place

Located at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Jiko transports you to the heart of Africa with its vibrant spices, crackling wood-burning ovens, and a delicious blend of traditional African wines and cuisine, making it the perfect place for this special celebration. Starting June 30, you’ll be able to partake in an exclusive three-course menu crafted as a one-of-a-kind culinary celebration of Simba’s story. As the dinner progresses, wildly talented musicians will join in on the fun with vibrant African melodies as well as live performances of the award-winning movie soundtrack.

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

The menu will feature dishes inspired by The Circle of Life: Nants’ Ingonyama, a story celebrating Simba’s journey through life. Each dish follows our lion prince as he grows up, highlighting each stage of his life through unique flavors and spices. You’ll start your meal off with the “I Just Can’t Wait to be King” starter – a dish featuring Young Cedar Creek clam malata, potatoes, pomegranate, and a bone marrow finish. This dish symbolizes the playfulness of Simba’s joyous childhood and his desire to one day become king.

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

Moving on to the main event: Be Prepared. Choose from two entrées: Bone-In Ribeye with hibiscus, nettles, and fregula or Lobster Sosatie with red shrimp, squid, mussels, and fragrant rice. These dishes are inspired by the eerie elephant boneyard and Simba’s courage to persevere through trials and tribulations. 

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

And the third course, Hakuna Matata, celebrates balance as Simba grows up and learns what is truly needed to successfully lead the Pride lands. This dessert features caramelized orange, chocolate choux, and playful foliage.

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

Finally, finish off the evening with “Can You Feel the Love Tonight?” and reflect on your journey with a selection of friandeses and teas to cap off your meal.

Photo: Disney Parks Blog

This limited-time prix fixe menu will be available during the dinner period at Jiko – The Cooking Place starting June 30 in addition to Jiko’s regular menu. Pricing is $65 per person, tax and gratuity not included, with the option to add your choice of two levels of wine pairings at an additional cost. For more information and to book reservations, call 407 WDW-DINE (407 939-3463) or visit the Walt Disney World Resort website.  

Five Ways to Celebrate and Connect with the Navi in Pandora- the World of Avatar

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Since Pandora – The World of Avatar opened earlier this year, Walt Disney World Resort guests just can’t get enough. Whether it’s taking a wild adventure atop a mountain banshee at Avatar – Flight of Passage, traveling down the Na’vi River Journey to spy the Na’vi Shaman of Songs, or gazing in amazement at the intricacies of Pandora’s amazing floating mountains, there’s so much fun to be had.

And of course, there are many ways guests become even more immersed in Pandoran culture during their visit. Here are five ways we suggest celebrating and connecting with the Navi in Pandora – The World of Avatar:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

1. Create & Personalize Your Own Avatar Action Figure – The ACE Avatar Maker at Windtraders uses state-of-the-art facial scanners to grab your image and create a human/Na’vi hybrid figure. After the image is captured, guests are free to personalize their avatar’s eye color, facial striping pattern, hairstyle and more.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

2. Visit Colors of Mo’ara – Colors of Mo’ara helps guests see themselves as one of the Na’vi by giving them Na’vi-inspired face painting with authentic Pandoran markings.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

3. Headbands & Tails – What Na’vi look would be complete without accessories? Windtraders carries an assortment of Na’vi inspired headbands, tails, hooded jackets – and even shoes and walking sticks that interact with the land at night.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

4. Banshee Matching – A milestone in the life of a Na’vi is when he or she is matched with a Banshee. Head into Windtraders, where cast members are ready to help you find your perfect match.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

5. Dine at Satu’li Canteen – Stop into the land’s former RDA mess hall to try a fast-casual menu that’s been inspired by Pandora’s natural abundance.

How do you plan to celebrate and connect with the Navi in Pandora- the World of Avatar during your next visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom?

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. Contact Siera today at siera@destinationsinflorida.com or at 734-771-1290 for more information or your free, no obligation quote. 

Disney After Hours Events Now Available at Three Parks

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Disney After Hours events have been a huge hit with Walt Disney World Resort visitors. As a result of the success of Disney After Hours, more event nights are now set for Magic Kingdom Park, and for the first time ever, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will join in on the fun!

Disney After Hours events are an opportunity to experience the magic of a Disney theme park for three hours after regular park hours, which means little-to-no wait for attractions, experiences and character greetings! You can even enter the park early – at 7 p.m. on your event night – before Disney After Hours begins. Ice cream, popcorn and select beverages are also included in your Disney After Hours admission, which is a separately priced ticket from daytime park admission.

Here’s what to expect at each park:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Magic Kingdom Park
Enjoy classic favorite attractions from Haunted Mansion, Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean, and Space Mountain as well as newer favorites like Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, plus many more. Event nights will run on: Dec. 3, 10, 2018; and Jan. 7, 17, 24 and 28, 2019; Feb. 7, 14, and 28, 2019; and March 7, 2019.

Tickets are currently available for Disney After Hours at Magic Kingdom Park at DisneyWorld.com/DisneyAfterHours.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Imagine having little-to-no wait for newly opened Toy Story Land attractions, including Slinky Dog Dash, Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania! Rockin’ Roller Coaster, Tower of Terror and other attractions will also be available. Select quick-service food & beverage locations will also stay open for purchases throughout the night. Event nights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be: Dec. 8, 15 and 22, 2018; and Jan. 5, 12 and 19, 2019; Feb. 2, 9 and 16, 2019; March 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30, 2019; and April 6 and 13, 2019.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Enjoy the best Disney’s Animal Kingdom has to offer at night, including heart-tugging Tree of Life Awakenings, the adventures within Pandora – The World of Avatar and more. Select quick-service food & beverage locations will remain open throughout the night for purchases. Dates at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are: Dec. 4, 12 and 18, 2018; and Jan. 8, 16, 22 and 31, 2019; and Feb. 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 26, 2019; and March 5, 20 and 27, 2019; and April 3, 2019.

Tickets for Disney After Hours events at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom are now on-sale through the Disney Reservation Center by calling 407-939-7795.

All Disney After Hours event tickets cost $125 + tax for advance purchase and $129 + tax for day-of purchases. Disney Vacation Club members and Annual Passholders do receive a discounted price $95 + tax.

Two New Festival of the Lion King Dining Packages at Animal Kingdom

From the Disney Parks Blog:

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Get ready to receive the royal treatment at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park with two all-new Festival of the Lion King Dining Packages! Simba and his friends are inviting you to join in the festivities with a delicious meal at Tiffins Restaurant followed by special VIP seating at one of the most popular shows at Walt Disney World Resort.

For both Festival of the Lion King dining packages (Tier I and Tier II), savor a delectable lunch or dinner at Tiffins Restaurant on Discovery Island. Here, you’ll enjoy a world-class three-course meal that includes one appetizer, one entrée, one dessert, and your choice of wine, beer, or a non-alcoholic beverage.

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

This seasonally-inspired menu features unique dishes from around the world. On the appetizer menu, you’ll find items such as Avocado-and-Tomato Salad, Spiced Chickpea Falafel, and Charred Octopus that serve as a grand way to kick off your feast! And for the main course, you’ll get to choose from a selection of mouthwatering entrées like Kamo Ramen (duck confit, soft-poached egg, spiced coconut broth, alba mushrooms, and chili-lime cashew), Shrimp and Grits (with Gulf white shrimp, Anson Mills grits, applewood smoked bacon, heirloom tomatoes, and smoked pepper jam), Surf and Turf (with grilled local beef tenderloin, butter poached lobster tail, Yukon gold potatoes, seasonal vegetables, and Cape Mountain Whiskey butter), or Fort McCoy Beef Tenderloin (with char-crusted beef tenderloin, loaded crushed potato, seasonal vegetables, bacon-sherry vinaigrette, and crispy shallots).

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Of course, you’ll have to save some room for a decadent dessert. Try the Guava Mousse, South American Ganache, or the Whipped Cheesecake among other sweet dishes sure to make everyone in the family a happy camper!

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Along with your meal, you’ll receive special vouchers for priority reserved VIP seating at Festival of the Lion King, a Broadway-style show filled with pageantry, puppetry, and popular songs from the film. You’ll even receive a commemorative cast photo that captures the moment forever.

With the Tier I Festival of the Lion King dining package, you’ll get to continue the fun with a unique safari tour through the African outback, where over 34 distinct wildlife species seemingly roam free. Escorted by a special guide, you’ll ride through rugged terrain to see some of the world’s most exotic animals in their unique habitats. Tour guides will provide interesting information on the land and its residents for an expedition you’ll never forget!

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

The Tier I Festival of the Lion King Signature Dining Package (which includes lunch or dinner at Tiffins Restaurant, priority VIP seating at Festival of the Lion King, and a safari tour) is $99 per adult and $49 per children ages 3-9 (tax and gratuities not included).

The Tier II Festival of the Lion King Signature Dining Package (which includes lunch or dinner at Tiffins Restaurant and priority reserved seating at Festival of the Lion King) is $74 per adult and $29 for children ages 3-9 (tax and gratuities not included).

The Festival of the Lion King Signature Dining Packages are available daily starting August 13 through November 21, 2018. Space is limited – so be sure to book your experience in advance! Reservations can now be made online at the Walt Disney World Resort website or by calling (407) WDW-DINE (407 939-3463). All menu items and event experiences are subject to change or cancellation without notice.

Pongu Lumpia Recipe from Pongu Pongu in Pandora- The World of Avatar

One of my favorite snacks in Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is Pongu Lumpia, from Pongu Pongu. The Disney Parks Blog recently shared the Pongu Lumpia recipe which has been adapted to be made at home.

On Earth, lumpia is a spring roll of Chinese origin, commonly found as a popular street food snack in Indonesia and the Philippines. It is traditionally a mixture of savory vegetables and chopped meat filling rolled in a spring roll wrapper. However, the Disney Culinary Team developed the version sold at Pandora – The World of Avatar with a sweet spin – cream cheese and diced pineapple.

Pongu Lumpia Recipe (Pineapple Cream Cheese Spring Rolls)
Pongu Pongu, Pandora—The World of Avatar
Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Makes 10 Lumpia

  • 10 spring roll wrappers
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, room temperature
  • 2 cups diced fresh pineapple
  • 1/2 cup sugar, divided
  • Oil for frying

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
2. Carefully separate spring roll wrappers. Cover wrappers with moist paper towel to prevent drying.
3. Cut softened cream cheese into 10 equal pieces.
4. Place one spring roll wrapper on a cutting board. Place one piece of cream cheese in the center of the spring roll and spread evenly on wrapper, leaving a 3/4-inch border around the edges. Add 3 tablespoons of diced pineapple and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.
5. Roll one edge of the wrapper towards the center. Fold in both sides and continue rolling. Moisten the edge with water to seal the lumpia.
6. Repeat with remaining spring roll wrappers.
7. Place lumpia on prepared baking sheet and freeze for 4 hours or overnight.
8. Preheat 1 inch of oil in a frying pan to 350°F. Fry lumpia for 3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Drain on paper towels.
9. Roll in remaining sugar before serving.

This recipe has been converted from a larger quantity in the restaurant kitchens.
The flavor profile may vary from the restaurant’s version.
All recipes are the property of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts U.S., Inc.,
and may not be reproduced without express permission.
Thanks Disney Parks Blog!

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. Contact Siera today at siera@destinationsinflorida.com or at 734-771-1290 for more information or your free, no obligation quote. 

Animal Kingdom’s 20th Anniversary to Party for the Planet April 22-May 5, 2018

(Photo: Disney Parks Blog)

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Earth Day, April 22, with an expanded “Party for the Planet” celebration April 22-May 5, 2018.

Rafiki’s Planet Watch will take center stage for the celebration, which will offer backstage experiences that allow guests to learn about animal nutrition, visit the veterinary hospital, or hear how Disney promotes global wildlife conservation.

Guests can also commemorate their anniversary visit to the theme park with special photo opportunities, and kids can earn a limited-edition badge as part of the Wilderness Explorer program. Six different Tiffins Talks, themed dinners hosted by animal experts at Tiffins full-service restaurant will be available to guests who want to learn more about the animal residents at the park. And limited-edition merchandise will also be available for purchase, with one piece being a special-edition print created by renowned Walt Disney Imagineer Joe Rohde. (He will be available to sign prints on April 22 from 1-4 p.m. at Discovery Trading Company. Quantities are limited).

Other experiences coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom this spring include:

  • 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 on Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s 20th anniversary, visit Disneyworld.com/PartyforthePlanet.

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.