We’ll bring the snacks! Every great sleepover needs snacks, right? There are no better snacks than classic Disney snacks. Rumors around a new Epcot resort recently resurfaced and it got us thinking, could we see a new Epcot resort in the coming years? Let’s slip into our pajamas and gather around for a bedtime story, some many say a tail as old as time. Right, Beast?
There’s no better place to start than at the beginning. The idea around a new Epcot resort has been floating around for a while, with a variety of sources making mention of it. The greatest traction came in the months leading up to the 2017 D23 expo as part of the overall update to the Future World section of Epcot.
It’s well known that the Bob’s (Chapek and Iger) are both in favor of finding a way to add a resort to one of the Walt Disney World parks. Similar to the MiraCosta at DisneySea, the Disneyland Resort in Paris, and Grand California at Disney’s California Adventure. All of these resorts have direct access to a Disney park from the resort. Each of these resorts are viewed as extensions to the respective parks and offers rooms with direct views into the park.
Passholder Insights: The closest option Disney World will have to a resort with direct park access will be the new Star Wars resortwhen it opens.
Where Could It Go?
Epcot. Well, yes, of course, Epcot as the article title suggests. The question is really where around the park could a new Epcot resort go? There are two potential locations with first being right at the park’s main entrance. By combining the entrance and the monorail station, rumor has it a resort in this style that would create a similar experience as the MiraCosta in Tokyo. A new Epcot resort located at the main entrance would enhance the reveal of Spaceship Earth when guests enter the park.
The second potential location the rumors suggest is between The Land and The Seas pavilion, just outside the park. If a new Epcot resort we’re in this location it would be possible for another entrance to the park. This would be similar to Grand Californian with its entrance across from Grizzly Run at Disney’s California Adventure.
Passholder Insights: The area where The Land and The Seas pavilions are located is being transformed into World Nature.
On the weekend of November 2, 2019, rumors around a new Epcot resort resurfaced in a big way. Pictures of a weather balloon (height test balloon) spread through social media like wildfire, with many believing the balloon was being used for marking the location of a potential resort. The weather balloon could be seen for the entrance area of Epcot. Disney World traditionally uses weather balloons to get a rough idea of what the sightlines could be if a new building is added.
Passholder Insights: Construction of a new park entrance is well underway and could be completed in the first half of 2020.
Is It True?
That’s the big question. It turns out that the weather balloon was being used for the runDisney event, the Wine and Dine half-marathon to mark where guests would pick up rideshare vehicles after the race. Additionally, a lot of the green space around Epcot is marked as unbuildable by the Reedy Creek Development Department, due to is being marshland.
The addition of a new Epcot resort would be great to see. At the moment there is nothing on the horizon. If a new resort were to be added to the park, it would be a later phase of updates. With it estimated that phase two is already in the works, which includes the Imagination Pavilion, it is possible a new Epcot resort could be part of it. For now, we will more than likely have to wait until after the 50th anniversary to hear anything from Disney World. Alright, time for bed. Who needs a glass of water?
Dinner and a show! It’s more like a meal and a show when we’re talking about Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe in the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland. Serving up both lunch and dinner, Cosmic Ray’s has been a staple of Tomorrowland as far back as we can remember. After getting up early to rope dropthe Magic Kingdom we’re ready for a break and a little refueling. Let’s head over to Cosmic Ray’s for some tunes and little lunch!
Across from the Tomorrowland Speedway and on the edge of Fantasyland is Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe. The indoor restaurant is the largest quick-serve at the Magic Kingdom. With three different seating and order areas, the restaurant has ample amounts of room for everyone. We’ve found the quietest area of the restaurant is off to the far right when facing the ordering counters.
Passholder Insights:Mobile ordering is the way to go at Cosmic Ray’s. We’ve found that it can take about half the time of waiting in line.
This is a meal and a show, right? It definitely is and the star of the show is lounge lizard (maybe lounge alien) Sonny Eclipse. With that name you know it’s going be good. In the center dining room, you’ll find Sonny tickling the ivories of his Astro-Organ and sharing some of the best puns on this side of the galaxy. We don’t need to go far far away for this one if want to that head over to Galaxy’s Edge.
The classic Disney animatronic has been a fixture of Tomorrowland since the last major update in 1995. He puts on a 27 minute set with a variety of Sonny originals. He ain’t no cover artist! Backing up Sonny is the invisible trio known as the Space Angels.
Passholder Insights: Sonny Eclipse is from Yew Nork City and describes his hometown as a topsy turvy place with the subways are up and streets are down. Ahh, the dad jokes!
We’re not just here for the show! Cosmic Ray’s is serving up a classic theme park menu with items like cheeseburgers, chili dogs, chicken tenders, and salads making up the offerings. With all of the sandwiches and hot dogs being served with French Fries and a fountain beverage. For us, we tend to go for the Greek salad with chicken. By far the best quick-serve salad in the Magic Kingdom. It’s nothing fancy, just a solid dish and perfect those days you’re looking for a lighter option.
Headlining the menu right now is the Mickey Celebration burger. Topping a 1/3 pound burger with mac ‘n cheese, cheese sauce, flaming cheese cut and of course a burger patty. This is a burger worthy of the tagline, treat yourself! Capping it all off is Mickey toasted into the top of the bun. Overall, it’s a solid burger with the toppings being the star of the show and the actual burger being on par with a traditional theme park patty. If you’re looking for a unique burger, look no further.
Recently added is the plant-based sloppy joe. Using the Impossible beef crumbles as the based the sloppy joe is a more on the sweet side. It reminded us of the sloppy joe we would get as kids. What really impressed us were the Impossible beef crumbs are definitely a great alternative if you’re looking for something plant-based.
What makes Cosmic Ray’s a great option is the toppings bar. Similar to Peco’s Bill in Frontierland, the topping bar is stocked. We may or may not have been known to make our own loaded fries.
Passholder Insights: Cosmic Ray’s is a single quick-serve credit on the Disney Dining Plan. It includes a meal and a drink.
Middle of the road. You cannot go wrong with Cosmic Ray’s, however Tortuga Tavern or even snacking our way around the Magic Kingdom a little more our speed. Cosmic Ray’s is definitely putting out good food if you’re in the mood for the classics. By far the best burger in the Magic Kingdom. We’ve also noticed that Cosmic Rat’s has slowly become the go-to place for the specialty burgers within the park. We’ll always good just to catch a Sonny Eclipse performance. Now if only we could meet the Space Angels!
Let’s fly, trek and explore! After downing our fancy cup of coffee we’re ready to talk Animal Kingdom rope drop strategies. Trust us, we need our coffee if we’re going to function early in the morning. Morning at Walt Disney World is one of the best times to enjoy all the Animal Kingdom has to offer. The first thing in the morning is when the crowds are at their lowest and throw in some cooler temperatures, you have a recipe for success. In this DVC Duo planning guide, we’re sharing our go-to Animal Kingdom rope drop strategies. We’ve got our second cup of coffee in hand, let’s go!
For a great hike or trek, we need to pack the essentials! The same goes when planning your Animal Kingdom rope drop strategy. In the following article, we go through the rope drop basics. Definitely a page-turner in our option.
Similar to our Epoct rope drop strategies article, there is one thing to check for prior to your Animal Kingdom rope drop. The thing we look for within the My Disney Experience app is what day the Animal Kingdom has Extra Magic Hours in the morning. On select days, guests staying at a Walt Disney World resort and select good neighbor resorts, are able to enter the park prior to the official opening time. When staying at one of these resorts, you can use the following Animal Kingdom rope drop strategies for Extra Magic Hours.
Before rope dropping something we like to keep in mind is which Animal Kingdom Fast Strategywe’re using for the day. We tend to use rope drop to enjoy the attractions we were unable to secure FastPassselections for. It’s also a fantastic time for that additional ride on the more population attractions.
Passholder Insights: About 30 minutes prior to park opening the Joffrey’s coffee stand opens up for your caffeine needs. The stand is just before security on the right side.
Is it savanna or Serengeti? Either way, in this Animal Kingdom rope drop strategy we’re trekking to back of the park for Kilimanjaro Safari. Early in the morning when the temperature is the coolest is when you’ll usually see the animals most active, usually enjoying breakfast. Entering the park, you’ll want to stay to the left of the Tree of Life and follow the path to the Africa section.
After a peaceful start to our morning, we like to kick into overdrive with Expedition Everest. When exiting the safari, stay to the left and head down the side path past the Harambe Market then one more left and you’re off to find the Yeti! Depending on the time of year and crowd levels, we’ll step into the single rider line.
Passholder Insights: By mid-afternoon, we like to take a break and enjoy one of the best shows at Walt Disney World, Festival of the Lion King.
The Mythical Creature
Who’s this mythical creature we speak of? The Yeti of course! When most people head left towards Pandora and Flight of Passage, we like to head right towards Expedition Everest. This assumes we got our Flight if Passage FastPass.
First thing in the morning is a great time to head out on multiple expeditions of the infamous mountain. Many times we’ve been able to go on back to back rides within the first 20 minutes of park opening.
Afterward, we like to head over to Kilimanjaro Safari. We always cross our fingers that the lions are out.
Passholder Insights: the fastest way to Expedition Everest is through Dinoland USA. After crossing the bridge take your first left.
Our Banshee Is Waiting
It’s why we’re all here, Flight of Passage. In our last Animal Kingdom role drop strategy we’re talking about riding on the back of a banshee. Similar to Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in our Magic Kingdom rope dropguide, Flight of Passage is the most popular ride at the Animal Kingdom.
When rope dropping Flight of Passage we recommend planning on getting to the Animal Kingdom about an hour prior to park opening. Usually, around 40minutes prior to the opening, they begin letting guests into the Discovery Island section.
Once in the park you’ll want to stay to left, it’s the shortest route to Pandora. Just outside Nomad Lounge is where guests gather in preparation for the official park opening and heading towards Flight of Passage. Depending on the day, cast members will start leading guests to the ride entrance about 15 minutes before the official opening and start letting guests into the ride.
If you’re looking to rope drop Flight of Passage this would be the one time we say taking a rideshare to the park is definitely worth it.
After our flight, we’ll usually head for Expedition Everest or Kilimanjaro Safari.
Passholder Insights: the other great way to experience Flight of Passage is stepping in line just before park closing.
Early am wake up calls at Walt Disney World are definitely worth it, especially when trying to experience the most popular attractions. For us, we like to have the afternoon free to enjoy the wonderful shows at the Animal Kingdom. The one thing we highly recommend is having that one must do attraction to start the day. With the size of the Animal Kingdom, it’s a good trek between attractions. After our first ride, we like to check out the wait times to see where we should go next. Alright, we’ve got to fly!
Yes, we made that joke! How could we not make a pinning joke? Especially, when we’re gearing up to talk about the Play Disney Parks pins. Pin trading and pin collecting has been a hit at the parks since the millennium switch over. Over the past year, Disney World has created new ways for Disney pin fans to collect exclusive Play Disney Parks pins. Let’s bust out our smartphones, it’s time to earn our digital achievements!
What’s Play Disney Parks?
There’s an app for that! In the following article, we go in-depth about the Play Disney Parks app and how everything works. Feel free to give it the once over. We can wait. Alright, great article huh? Now that we have a solid baseline, let’s dive into the Play Disney Parks Pins!
Passholder Insights: WiFi is available in the parks. In our experience the app uses a lot of data, we recommend using the WiFi when you can.
Success equals expansion, and this holds true with the Play Disney Parks pins. On October 17, 2019, the Disney Parks Blog announced the expansion of the program to new attractions across all the Walt Disney World parks (as well as, Disneyland). The expansion includes new digital achievements earned through the Play Disney Parks app. With selection attractions offering the Play Disney Parks pins. At Walt Disney World there is a new Expedition Everest Yeti pin and the Festival of the Lion King pin. For a full list of the attractions receiving new achievements check out the following link.
Passholder Insights: For using the Play Disney Parks app at Walt Disney World, we recommend downloading the app prior to your trip.
There’s only one way to get these pins! You’ve got to earn them. Within the Play Disney Parks app you earn digital achievements for completing and using the app within the lines queue. Can you say a get way to pass the time!
Over time you’ll earn enough digital achievements to qualify for the Play Disney Parks pins associated with the attraction. You’ll get a notification letting you know where to go if you would like to purchase the pin. Each pin costs on average $14.99 plus tax. On the bottom of each there’s wording that says “PLAY” to denote it’s one of the Play Disney Parks pins.
It’s becoming more and more apparent the Play Disney Parks app is a big piece of Disney’s interactive queue strategy. What we really like about the Play Disney Parks app is how Disney can easily make updates and expand upon it. Add on the pins and we’ve got a successful program. The thing left to figure out is which pin to get first. Who are we kidding, we’re off on an expedition!
We’re getting hangry! Which one of our best Hollywood Studios quick-serve spots should we hit up? In recent years, the quick-serve options at the park have improved greatly, with a handful of solid choices. With the opening of Galaxy’s Edgeand the addition of two more quick-serve locations at Hollywood Studios, it got us thinking. What are the best Hollywood Studios quick-serve locations? Let’s hurry up and find some food before the hangry takes over!
Quiet On The Set!
No, you don’t have eat in silence at our third best Hollywood Studios quick-serve spot. For solid America fare, our favorite place is the Backlot Express. With spins on traditional foods like biscuits and gravy with straws jam or the Nate favorite, pulled pork burger, Backlot Express is solid joint. Set in the style of a prop warehouse that you would find on a movie set, besides serving up good food, Backlot Express has tons our props to check out.
The largest quick-serve location at Hollywood Studios is perfect regardless of the weather. It has ample seating both inside and out, with the outside having a fantastic shaded area. If you’re looking a wide range of America fare you’ll want to check out Backlot Express.
Passholder Insights: Don’t forget to look up when you’re inside Backlot Express, many of the larger props are hung from the ceiling.
Not Your Average Cargo
Who knew a docking bay could serve up good food. Coming second on our best Hollywood Studios quick-serve locations is Docking Bay 7. If you know us, you were probably expecting us to say Ronto Roasters. We love a good Ronto Wrap, however, for our best Hollywood Studios quick-serve options we’re looking at the whole menu. Docking Bay 7 has great, could be considered underrated, food. With a menu boasting a variety of options for everyone in your group.
For us, you can never go wrap with yip-tip (chicken). Whether it is part of a salad or a standalone meal, the yip-tip is tender, juicy, and hitting on all the right flavor notes. For a more adventurous offering, the Kaadu ribs (pork) is a great sticky option.
Passholder Insights: Ronto Roasters and Docking Bay 7 are next to each other with a seating area in the middle making it easy to order from both.
Brings Us Back To Childhood
There’s something about grilled cheese and tomato soup, it immediately transports is back to our younger years. Our best Hollywood Studios quick-serve location is tugging at our heartstrings. Woody’s Lunchbox in Toy Story Land is serving up the classic grilled cheese, as well as an elevated version of the original with the addition of brisket.
For us, what makes the meal are the potato barrels. Better known as Tater Tots. Who doesn’t love a good Tater Tot, it’s likepizza, there are not bad versions. If you’re not in the mood for grilled cheese check the turkey sandwich. Just like mom used to make!
Woody’s Lunchbox is a very popular dining location. Our biggest tip is to use mobile ordering. With only a couple of ordering locations, the line backs up quickly. We like to put in our mobile order as we’re walking off one of the attractions. More often than not our food is ready when we arrive.
Passholder Insights: Woody’s Lunch Box has a smaller seating area. We like to head to the outskirts of the seating for one of the standup tables.
It’s awesome to see the food options at Hollywood Studios to continue to expand. All of the new options are on par with our all-time favorite quick-serve, Satu’li Canteen in Pandora World of Avatar. Alright, we’ve got go and put in our mobile order. No hangry moments here!