Is it food or art? Why not both! With Epcot’s International Festival of the Artsin full swing we’re here to chat about the Festival of the Arts dishes we can’t wait to sample. On January 17, 2020, the festival kicked off around the World Showcase and celebrates the culinary, visual, and performing arts. You know why we’re here, culinary arts here we come! We’ve got our forks in hand and ready to discuss which artfully delicious dishes top our list to try.
Our Go-To Booth!
Whether it’s the Food and Wine Festival or any of the festivals, you’ll find us at the Mexico booth. Let’s head over to El Artista Hambriento to see what they’re serving up for Festival of the Art dishes. Catching our eye is the Agave Pork Belly. The chefs are taking succulent pork belly that’s caramelized in Agave then nestling that on a creamy lentil salad with a pumpkin seed pesto. We are looking forward to seeing how the nutty pumpkin seed works with the pesto!
We can’t head to the Mexico booth without trying the margarita! Looks like the trend will be continuing this year with the Blackberry Margarita. We usually shy away from the “sweeter” drinks, however, we’re hoping this drink will be on the less sweet side as they’re adding fresh jalapeno-lime juice.
Passholder Insights: Most of the Festival of the Art dishes qualify as a snack if you’re on the Disney Dining Plan.
It’s A Classic
Of course, it’s a classic, it’s at the Cuisine Classique booth. If you’re combining red wine and beef short ribs, you’ve got Nate’s attention. Making our list of Festival of the Arts dishes we’re excited to try is the red-wine braised beef short rib which is served with a parsnip puree, broccolini, baby tomatoes, then drizzled with aged balsamic. Upon first read the dish sound very similar to the short rib dish served at Jiko at the Animal Kingdom Lodge. We’ll let you know how it measures up.
Catching our eye at the Cuisine Classique booth is how the drink menu is themed about the word “Rosé”. If it’s a warm afternoon, we may have to try a Frozen Rosé!
Passholder Insights: During the festival, all the different Joffrey’s Coffee stands around World Showcase will be offering different coffee-inspired drinks.
We Want It All
We’ll take one of each! From both an artistic and food perspective the Festival of Art dishes that we’re most excited to try is at the Deconstructed Dish booth. The Reuben is a carryover favorite from last year. This year we’re excited to try the BLT for the first time. They had Serena at tomato jam and Nate with pork belly. Plus we have to get our Instagram worthy picks of these plates.
To wash it all down is a breakfast drink that has our names on it. It’s called “deconstructed breakfast” and it has spiced apple tea and bourbon- delicious!
Passholder Insights: Across from Test Track you’ll find the brand new Coca-Cola slushy stand. Within the stand, you can choose to create your own frozen Coke or choose one of the pre-made options.
Overall the Festival of the Arts dishes look and sound spectacular. It’s definitely going to be a challenge to pick a top dish. However, we’re always up for a challenge. We’ll be back with our festival foodie awards!
Places, everyone! We’ve got a show to do! Well, more like an article to write on the Disney Cruise shows. There are two main reasons to head out on an ocean cruise – the food and the shows, and luckily these are the two things Disney is well-known for. The big question is whether or not they have brought their renowned Broadway productions to the Disney Cruise theaters. There is only one way to find out. Grab some popcorn, the show is about to begin!
How Does It Work?
Once you embark on your Disney Cruise, every night aboard the ship there will be a different performance of a show. Each night there are two productions, an early show at 6:15 pm and then a late show at 8:30 pm. Which show you would attend would be determined by your rotational dining choice.
Onboard all Disney Cruise ships the nightly shows take place within the Walt Disney Theatre. All of the theatres are located towards the aft (rear) of the ship usually on one of the lower levels.
Cruise Insights: We recommend trying to get to the shows at least 15 minutes prior to the performance starting to find a good seat.
What Are The Shows?
Which Disney Cruise ship are you on? Each of the ships has a different line up of Disney Cruise shows. On our trip aboard the Disney Magic we were treated to the following performances: Twice Charmed, Disney Dreams, and Tangled: The Musical. Each of the ships includes one feature or larger production around the retelling of a Disney movie, for example, Tangled or Frozen, that is unique to the specific ship. The other productions are original shows written specifically for the Disney Cruise Line that put a twist on the stories we know and love. There was also a comedian who performed a variety show one night which we chose to forgo.
Fantastic! All the productions we saw on our cruise were impressive. There were original songs and the scripts were familiar yet fresh. No spoilers here, but let’s just say keep your head on a swivel for some of the shows!
Cruise Insights: For all Disney Cruise shows the staff requests that guests do not film or take pictures of the productions within the Walt Disney Theatre.
Beyond The Theatre
To the top deck and beyond! Ok Buzz, we’re flying to the top of the ship! Disney Cruise shows are not just contained within the Walt Disney Theatre alone, they extend to the outdoor stage as well! A few times on your trip, shows (or deck parties) will take to the deck in form of the Sail-A-Way Party on your first dayand the Pirates in the Caribbean nighttime show on Pirate Night.
In the DVC Duo house, both of these shows are can’t miss for different reasons. For the Sail-A-Way deck party, it sets the tone for your vacation! Who doesn’t love a lighthearted tropical dance party complete with characters in Hawaiian shirts?! Hello, vacation! In regards to the Pirates in the Caribbean deck party, where else are you going to see fireworks at sea? The only thing more impressive is the amount of other cruise lines lining up in the distance for a peek!
Cruise Insights: On Pirate Night we recommend watching the show from the “balcony” area, as it’ll give you the best view of the fireworks.
How do they do it? It blows our minds how the production staff pulls off these amazing shows. We’ve seen traveling Broadway shows in our local theatre and we would say these are on par. From the performers to the production and the overall originality, we give them two thumbs up. Definitely worth it! All that’s left to do is see the shows on the other ships! We’d better get planning!
Changes? Yes, we’re talking about potential changes to the Walt Disney World FastPass system. The Disney rumor mill has been working overtime with this one. Every six months or so, the topic of changes to the Disney World FastPass system pops up. It’s that time again. Time sure flies by! Let’s grab our Magicbandand head to the parks. We’ve got some investigating to do!
As Dr. Marsh would say, the future is truly in the past! Oh, how we love Dinosaur at the Animal Kingdom. On with the Disney history discussion. The Walt Disney World FastPass system began in July of 1999 with a paper/ticket style FastPass. Over the years, it has a couple of iterations including MyMagic+ and ultimately transforming into what we know today as FastPass+ as part of My Disney Experience.
Throughout all the variations of the Disney World FastPass system, one thing stayed consistent, it was free. Every guest who purchased a park ticket could use the system at no additional cost.
Passholder Insights: Our favorite time to book our FastPass selections is midday when the parks tend to get the busiest.
What We’re Hearing
Major changes! Or so they say. For years, the parks down the street, you know the ones we’re talking about, the one with the young wizard. These parks have been offering a similar system called Express Pass for an additional cost. In 2018 the rumor started that the Walt Disney World FastPass system would be transitioning to a paid-for system as well. From that day forward about every 4 to 6 months the rumor within the Disney community resurfaces and the latest round started at the end of December mainly due to Disney Parks offering a virtual queue, in lieu of a FastPass for the new Rise of the Resistance attraction.
As the rumor goes, a new Disney World FastPass system would move FastPass selection to a pay model. The model would still include a subset of attractions included as “free” with potentially moving the marquee attractions to an upcharge option.
Passholder Insights: You can add additional FastPass selection after completing your first three selections. To find out more we recommend the following article.
Is It True?
Can we say yes and no? For about six months Walt Disney World has been offering guests staying either in a concierge level room or a Disney Vacation Club Grand Villa the option of purchasing additional FastPass selections. The initial 3 selections are still free, but guests can choose to add 3 more selections for $50 per person per day. They can choose to add it for a single day or every day of their trip.
At the moment, this is as far as Disney World has taken the paid for FastPass offering. According to many Disney insiders, there are no plans to scale-out this option any further. The plan for the Walt Disney World FastPass system is rumored to be a larger project and could entail a complete overhaul to the FastPass program. In the DVC Duo house, we believe any changes to the system would be tied to the Disney Genie project (a new Disney trip planning tool) which would debut at some point in 2020. More to come on the Disney Genie project.
Passholder Insights: When staying in a concierge level room guests who choose to purchase the additional FastPass selections are able to make their choices 90 days in advance compared to the standard 60 days for Disney World Resort guests.
We love FastPass! It has definitely destressed our vacations over the years. We’ve seen the Disney World FastPass system grow and expand in each of its iterations. Looking to the future we would expect some level of change to come. Ultimately, we would project that Disney World would keep the FastPass system as part of the part tickets. What we could see happen is Disney offering guests the option to add additional FastPass selections as an upcharge in the form of packages. For now, Disney World has not announced any changes to the system. We’ve got to go, time for us to ride Dinosaur!
It’s all about the rise! Everything appears to be on the “rise” at Hollywood Studios. The big question: is Muppet Vision 3D included in the movement to the top? We’ve heard through the grapevine that changes to Muppet Vision 3D are underway. What is being changed, and what does it mean for the Muppets at Walt Disney World? The curtain is rising, let’s head into the show, we’ve heard it’s a glorious 3-hour event!
Here Today, There Tomorrow!
The Muppets have been making moves! As Serena would say, money moves. At the end of 2019, the Muppets present Great Moments in America History had its last performance at the Magic Kingdom. Many believed, we included, this may be the curtain call for Muppet Vision 3D. Fast forward a few weeks and we find out Sam Eagle is migrating from the Magic Kingdom to be the new mascot of the Regal Eagle Smokehouse in Epcot’s American Pavilion. All rise for the Muppets!
Passholder Insights: While experiencing Muppet Vision 3D make sure to look all around the theater. You never know who may be behind you!
Every home at some point needs a facelift. The Muppet Vision theater is no different. On Monday, January 27, 2020, the attraction closed its doors and began work on the theater. Disney Parks has not officially released what updates they will be making during this refurbishment, but we have a rough idea of what we should expect.
Muppet Vision 3D is expected to be under refurbishment until February 9, 2020. During this time Disney is rumored to be addressing two major items, the curtains, and the seats. With the short downtime, there is a limited amount of items Disney could tackle and it’s more than likely to be cosmetic related changes over a major update like shifting the show to 4K.
Passholder Insights: On the other side of Grand Ave you’ll one of the best places to take a break and enjoy a pint and light bite. We’re talking about Baseline Tap House.
This is big news! A lot bigger news than it may appear on the surface. With Disney taking the time to make the attraction a better experience, it shows they see the show being part of the park for a bit. How long? Great question, we’re not sure at the moment. However, with the success of the Muppet Babies, there could be a resurgence of the Muppets. For now, it looks like the Muppets are on the rise!
Details, we’ve got details! In less time than we expected we’re back with our first new Disneyland DVC resort update. On December 5, 2019, we spoke about the new Disneyland DVC Resort proposed for the west coast parks. The final proposal and the request for permits have been submitted to the city of Anaheim and we’ve got more concrete information on the potential new resort. It’s time to bust out the coffee, we’re about read through all the exciting permits – it’s riveting material!
When we first heard about a new Disneyland DVC Resort it was suspected the resort would include 700 guest rooms. Combing through the official documents we’ve uncovered the 12-story, 280,000 square-foot resort will have 350 rooms. The breakdown of rooms would be 271 studios, 19 one-bedrooms, 20 two-bedrooms, and 2 two-story grand villas. For anyone doing the math, we would be about 38 rooms short, and you would be right. Similar to the new Disney Riviera Resort at Walt Disney World, the new Disneyland DVC Resort would include 38 two-person studios.
The two-person studios are 255-square feet and are comprised of a living room that converts from a sitting area to a bedroom. A queen-size bed pulls from out of the wall in a unique Murphy Bed style apparatus.
Passholder Insights: The addition of the proposed resort would add about 5-times the amount of DVC rooms at Disneyland.
Everything is better when it’s shaped like Mickey! It’s a fact, and the new Disneyland DVC Resort knows it. As part of the permits filed, we learned the new layout of the resort pool area. The centerpiece will be a Mickey Mouse shaped spa area. Along with the spa will be an outdoor pool bar area. These two pieces would be the only new additions to the area, as the resort will have access to everything associated with the Disneyland Resort including the pool, restaurants, and guest check-in area.
Passholder Insights: The Disneyland Resort has a unique pool with a monorail slide!
Let’s step back in time! The new Disneyland DVC Resort will draw its inspiration from the original Disneyland Resort with a 1955 throwback look. What will be unique is the two-story open-air ground floor where guests can easily come and go, from all directions. With floor to ceiling glass, the resort will overlook the main pool area with a combination of multi-colored glass and cream “cracked” style providing the exterior flare. Rooms situated at the ends would offer a balcony option.
Passholder Insights: The balconies will have views of the Disneyland Resort area, not the parks. What is unknown is if they will be a firework viewing option atop the resort similar to Paradise Pier.
We’re always excited for more DVC resorts, especially at Disneyland. Early projections have the new Disneyland DVC Resort taking 3 to 4 years to build which would have the opening in 2023. In our house, it is well worth the wait. With the addition of more DVC rooms at Disneyland, it should definitely help with the overall demand for rooms. For now, it’s back to the permit office to see what else we can dig up! After our nap…those permits are boring!