The International Festival of the Arts is now in full swing at Epcot. There are several events & exhibits that returned from 2019 and there are also many new things to look forward to!
New this year are Life-sizes frames of VanGogh’s Café Terrace at Night and Sunflowers paintings that you can step right into for an amazing photo opportunity.
There are 12 Food Studios that present artful bites & sips that may be too beautiful to consume. Some favorites that are set to return include The Artist’s Table Studio for the Sipping Chocolate Flight of white, milk and dark chocolate as well as the BLT from The Deconstructed Dish Studio. There are lots of new items that have been added to these menu’s this year so stay tuned for some favorites!
If music is one of your favorite forms of art, definitely check out the amazing talent nightly at the American Gardens Theater. The Disney on Broadway concert series is comprised of wonderful arts that have been featured in Disney films:
Jan. 17, 20, 21 and 24 – Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White (“The Lion King”)
Jan. 18, 19, 22 and 23 – Heidi Blickenstaff (“The Little Mermaid”) and Gavin Lee (“Mary Poppins”)
Jan. 25 – Special performance featuring Simmons, White, Blickenstaff and Lee
Jan. 26, 28, 29; Feb. 1, 2, 5 and 6 – Kara Lindsay (“Newsies”) and Kevin Massey (“Tarzan”)
Jan. 27, 30, 31, Feb. 3, 4, 7 and 8 – Liana Hunt (“Newsies”) and Adam Jacobs (“Aladdin”)
Feb. 9 – Special performance featuring Lindsay, Massey, Hunt and Jacobs
Feb. 10, 12, 13, 18, 19, 22 and 23 – Ashley Brown (“Mary Poppins”) and Josh Strickland (“Tarzan”)
Feb. 11, 14, 15, 16, 17, 20 and 21 – Syndee Winters (“The Lion King”) and Michael James Scott (“Aladdin”)
Feb. 24 – Special performance featuring Brown, Strickland, Winters and Scott
To secure seats to these performances in advance, you can reserve a Disney on Broadway Dining Package. This will guarantee you a seat on the day you dine in one of several Epcot restaurants and there is no additional cost for it.
Guests that are visiting the festival with little artists will want to check out the Green Landing Family Play Zone. This is a great area for littles to expend some energy while you sit back and enjoy the beautiful surroundings of the Festival.
Another neat artistic addition to World Showcase for the Festival that the whole family can enjoy are images of Disney Characters that are hidden throughout the countries. Can you find Remy & Emile in France? What about Mushu in China? What other favorite Characters can you spot?
I will be visiting this festival in early February and cannot wait to come back with my experiences and photos. If you have any questions or would like to visit the International Festival of the Arts, contact me today! My planning services are free for my guests and it will save you time, stress, and possibly even money. See ya Real Soon!
In 2020, I am going to be doing monthly updates via Facebook Live. I am aiming for the second Sunday of every month but that may change in the case of a holiday (or a research-based Disney Trip). I would love for you to join me.
I will gather the information I learn directly from Disney each month and then hop on Facebook Live to share it all, answer questions, and explain anything that may need an explanation. It is a great way for you to keep up on updates, closures, refurbishments, discounts, and more.
Epcot International Festival of the Arts is set to return for 2020. It will kick off on January 17 and run through February 24. This festival is a celebration of Art and how different cultures celebrate it through many different expressions including visual, culinary, and performing arts.
During this event, guests can experience art through the Broadway Concert Series, different culinary kiosks where food seems to jump right off the painters palate, view many different Disney artist’s work, as well as let their inner artist show. It is a fun event and entrance is included with your admission.
Disney on Broadway
The Disney on Broadway Concert series starts off with the beautiful music from “The Lion King”. The talent for this year is bountiful. Here is the schedule:
Jan. 17, 20, 21, 24 and 25 – Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White (“The Lion King”)
Jan. 18, 19, 22, 23 and 25 – Heidi Blickenstaff (“The Little Mermaid”; “Freaky Friday”) and Gavin Lee (“Mary Poppins”) Jan. 25 – Special performance featuring Simmons, White, Blickenstaff and Lee
Jan. 26, 28, 29; Feb. 1, 2, 5, 6 and 9 – Kara Lindsay (“Newsies”) and Kevin Massey (“Tarzan”)
Feb. 10, 12, 13, 18, 19, 22, 23 and 24 – Ashley Brown (“Mary Poppins”; “Beauty and the Beast”) and Josh Strickland (Tarzan)
Additional dates & artists still to be announced so stay tuned!
New for 2020
A new Brunch will be offered at Le Cellier in the Canada Pavilion. Reservations are required.
Purchase beautiful art throughout World Showcase
Visit and observe artists that are creating right in front of you
The “Green Landing” Family play zone where guests of all ages can explore an area dedicated to Wall-E & Eve
Several different photo opportunities where guests can “jump right in” to some of their favorite stories
Add color to a beautiful wall mural located along World Showcase Plaza
Take part in a fun scavenger hunt featuring my favorite; Figment! Travel through World Showcase and find Figment. Hint: He has painted himself into some very famous paintings
Create your own artwork!
If you are interested in visiting Disney World and any of Epcot’s wonderful festivals, contact me today! I would be happy to assist in planning your amazing vacation and my services are always free. See ya real soon!
Disney has just announced several new discounts for this winter and spring. There are a few different ones available but the offers are limited so if you think you may want to take advantage, contact me today! Any of these offers would be fantastic to take advantage of. Add in the fact that if you book this month, you are entered in my $50 gift card giveaway and you can really save some $$! Here is what was announced:
Walt Disney World
Book now through January 1, 2020 and receive one of two offers:
For travel January 1, 2020 – March 7, 2020, get a FREE dining plan for kids ages 3-9 when adults purchase their dining package. This also includes a Frozen Welcome Pack which comes with a voucher for one stroller rental for the length of your stay, one in-park 5×7 photo print per room and one merchandise bag per room including a plush, book and 2 treats.
For travel January 1, 2020 – April 25, 2020 on most nights, save up to 25% on your room. Add a 6-day or longer theme park ticket to your vacation package and each member of your family ages 3+ will receive a $30 Disney gift card!
Aulani: A Disney Resort & Spa
Book now through November 13 and travel most nights January 5, 2020 through February 29, 2020 (Get away from the cold!)
Save up to 30% on 5 or more consecutive nights
Save 25% on stays of 4 consecutive night
Plus, enjoy a $250 Resort Credit on stays of 5 or more nights or a $150 Resort Credit on stays of 4 nights.
Adventures by Disney
Book now through March 25, 2020 for select departures January 5 through April 30, 2020 and save up to $400 PER PERSON on select Disney Destinations around the world.
Destinations include Africa, Australia, Europe, Asia, North America, Central America, South America – you can travel to almost any corner of the Earth with Disney’s attention to detail, customer service, and the desire to provide magic to every member of the family.
Take advantage of one of these promotions to save big on your Disney Dream Vacation. Qualifying reservations will also receive the Minnie Box! Our gift to you for choosing us to be your planners. It is full of magic and surprises and is specially tailored to each family. I look forward to helping you turn your dreams into memories!
Yes, it is only August but the Winter Holiday Season will be here before we know it – especially at Disney where the Christmas Season starts before Thanksgiving!
We are a big fan of the parties offered in Magic Kingdom. It is often difficult for me to answer which is my favorite when guests ask. I truly do love them both for very different reasons. Either way, I highly recommend both if you happen to be at Disney World when they are taking place.
The Very Merry Christmas Party is a beautiful and fun way to ring in the season. The entertainment, decor, music, and characters will have you feeling like it is Christmas Day. One of the very special offerings is set to return again this year – a Christmas Party at Tony’s Town Square.
This Holly, Jolly Christmas Party offers tasty food, holiday beverages, festive music & decor and entertainment – including a visit from Tony, himself. Guests are free to come and go as they please throughout the night. With admission to this party, you will also receive reserved seating for the 11 P.M. showing of “Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmastime Parade”. This is a great advantage and lets guests enjoy shorter wait times on favorite attractions while the earlier, more popular showing of the parade is performed.
This party runs from 9:30 PM 12:30 AM (a half hour after the Very Merry Christmas Event closes!!) and reservations are open now! Contact me today to add them to your Disney Holiday Vacation Package.
We got engaged at Disney, we Honeymooned there – it was time for another milestone trip. Our first trip in 10 years without our littles for our 10th Anniversary.
We arrived late afternoon to our home away from home for the weekend – the Polynesian. This was our first time staying here. We absolutely loved it and may or may not be thinking of joining DVC because of our stay here. The experience, amenities, and customer service were definitely elevated at this resort.
From the moment you check in and you get your Leis, you feel like part of their Ohana. We left our bags will Bell Services and went to check out our room. We had a balcony on the third floor in the Fiji Building (which was exactly what I requested when I called Disney with my room preferences; yay for Travel Agents!). It was beautiful. It was diagonal from the Great Ceremonial House where the restaurants, shops, & Monorail Platform are. Super close! Our view was of Bay Lake, the beach, and gardens. I spent each morning reading on that balcony and we sat out there one night to watch a beautiful storm pass through.
We enjoyed the beach & view of Magic Kingdom. Two of the nights we were able to watch the Fireworks over Magic Kingdom from the beach. Once was Happily Ever After and the other was the 4th of July Fireworks. We also saw the Electric Light Parade which I have enjoyed since I was a young child and I am SO glad they still show it each night.
We took full advantage of what the resort had to offer. We shopped in both shops at the resort. Between the two they have a wide selection of clothing, jewelry, accessories, toys, as well as things you would need that you may have forgotten at home, drinks, snacks, and more. The one thing I was looking for that I couldn’t find (a certain pair of earrings), a cast member looked in their inventory and found them for me at a shop in Epcot and had them for me the following day. Amazing service! We swam in both pools but we preferred the Lava Pool. The Oasis pool was beautiful but much more quiet. We liked the buzz and excitement of the Lave pool more. It is great that there are both options though! As for lounges & restaurants, we experienced Tambu Lounge, Capt. Cooks, & Trader Sam’s. The food and experiences were great at all 3 but my favorite would definitely be Trader Sam’s.
This is a must see for sure! We got right in without a wait which surprised me. The wait staff reacts differently to each item ordered off the menu and it becomes an experience the entire lounge takes part in. Between that and the decor, I could have spent hours there. Tip: Try to sit on a bar stool instead of on one of the couches – they have a fun surprise! Then there was transportation. I have not stayed at a Monorail resort in many years. In my opinion, it was worth every penny for that perk. It was super easy to come back for a swim mid-afternoon and took almost no time. It was great to visit other quick services and lounges along the Monorail line. We also had table service reservations at the Grand Floridian and the Contemporary so it was really nice to be so close to those. The buses for Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom were frequent so no issue there either. Transportation at the Polynesian is on point!
Just the general feel and environment that this resort offers is so great. We felt relaxed and as if we were on a beautiful lush island while staying there. It was very immersive and I hope to take the littles back on a trip in the not-so-far future.
We spent the first evening snacking and sipping our way around Disney Springs. Our first stop was the DockSide Margarita Bar. We were drawn right in by the music. There was a gentleman playing all kinds of fun music. He was quite talented and especially shocked me when he started playing the conch shell as an instrument. He was great!
We headed over to Paddlefish. Formerly Fulton’s Crab House, this large (docked) paddleboat is a great place to stop for food & drinks. I highly recommend heading to the rooftop. The view from up there is great and they have some amazing Ice pops!
The Hangar Bar was next on the list – Inspired by Jock Lindsay, Indiana Jones’ Pilot. We love the fun decor and all the nods to the movies and Jock’s travels. We always stop here for the pretzel – it comes with some great beer cheese & tasty mustard. Its a nice little snack that we like to order and snack on. We sit out on the dry-docked boat that looks like it is straight out of The Jungle Cruise. There, we listened to the music at the near-by stage and watched the Amphicars come and go.
Winebar George is a great little spot. This time we stopped at “The Basket” which is basically like a little grab-and-go window. You can get the Frozcato as well as the Dole Whip so it is worth a stop!
From there we needed a bite to eat. Figuring we would check out something new, we stopped in at D-Luxe Burger. Fairly typical quick service – you order at a window, get a pager and wait for your food. In the meantime you can help yourself to a number of amazing dips for your fries and burgers. They let you add on toppings-i.e. bacon, at NO CHARGE. I was kinda shocked honestly. So we got a bunch of dips and waited for our food to arrive and guess what? These. Burgers. Rock. Oh good gracious, it was tasty – stop there if you are looking for a delicious but quick burger. You will not be disappointed!
I wanted to show the Husband some of the neat places I learned about on my most recent training trip. I took him down the hidden staircase for Enzo’s. We grabbed a quick drink here (wishing we were not so full because this Italian food looked and smelled fantastic) and then I took him through the “secret” back exit. Once through there we arrived in the Basement of The Edison. It was super crowded and the house band was real good. After that, we called it a night – wouldn’t you?!
This is the weekend before 4th of July so this place is hoppin’! However the new fastpass+ system seemed to do a fairly decent job of spreading everyone around. We were able to do all the mountains and all the attractions we wanted to do (along with a meet-up with my favorite Princess) and we were out of there by 4! It all comes down to the way you spend your Fastpasses and which itinerary you follow. Using a few tips and tricks, it is not hard to see all that you want, even on a Holiday Weekend. One of my favorite parts of helping guests plan their trips is maximizing their time in the parks. It is kind of a Disney Science and I like to think I am not too shabby at it!
Construction is in full swing for Tron. They were not actively working during the day but so much progress has been made in just the few months since I was last here. I am getting super excited about it!
Delicious Bites worth Noting:
Loaded Waffle Fries from Golden Oak Outpost
Loaded Tots from The Friar’s Nook
Spicy Chicken Waffle from Sleepy Hallow
The only part of Animal Kingdom that felt crowded was Pandora – No surprise there. We avoided Pandora because we fastpassed Flight of Passage for later in the day and went out on one of the first Safari’s of the day. I think we will try to do each trip going forward. There was SO much animal activity. We were even chased by an ostrich and the driver had to drive straight through the next habitat to get us away from him. My favorite was watching a lion and lioness play. It was like watching two furry kittens – they were having a lot of fun.
It was my mission to find and smooch on Kevin-The Snipe from Up. He can be found roaming the Kingdom. Well, he actually found me and came right up to us and pointed to our Anniversary pins and clucked a bunch. Nothing like a congratulations from a Snipe – my vacation was complete.
Delicious Bites worth Noting:
Mac & Cheese with Pulled Pork from Eight Spoon Cafe
Haystacks from Zuri Sweets Shop
We also found a neat little Nook over by Dinosaur! It is a Paleontologist’s Tent with some fun decor. The mixologist we encountered was fun and really knowledgeable. It seems to be more of an adult place but it did not say children couldn’t come in. We just liked the quiet and laid back vibe with the great theming as a background.
As usual, I took my stroll around the tree to see what new animals I could spot. I found what I think are reindeer! I will be doing my Christmas in July soon so I thought they were fitting!
Pandora was amazing, as always. It is quite breathtaking when you sit back and just consider your surroundings. Grab a beverage at Pongu Pongu and have a seat and take it all in. It is so worth taking the 5 minutes to do so.
We got to the park 20 minutes before it opened and wound up very close to the opening line that they stop you at. We dropped back a bit because I insisted on going into the Trolley Car Cafe! We walked back to Toy Story to ride Midway Mania (already fastpassed Slinky Dog Dash for later). Wait was 5 minutes and when we came off, it was still 5 minutes. Swirling Saucers had no wait but Slinky was already up to 25 minutes. If you do not have a fastpass, go there first!
The highlight of the day was watching one of the Star Wars stage shows while facetiming our littles. We had a front row spot and I had a storm trooper come up to within a half-inch of my face. It scared the kids from 5 states away – but they loved it. I am excited to return in September and see what additional characters we can meet up with other than what they currently offer. My daughter would lose her mind if she could meet Rey and the same goes for me if I could meet Darth Maul. Can’t wait!
Delicious Bites worth Noting:
Peanut butter Crunch Cupcake at Trolley Car (OH my word…)
BBQ Brisket Melt at Woody’s Lunch Box
Chocolate Hazelnut Lunch Box Tart at Woody’s Lunch Box
We had a Fastpass for Test Track so we got to the park about a half hour after opening and went right to Soarin’. It had no wait. The park was still quiet so we were able to get in a few more rides before our first Fastpass.
We caught not one, but two showings of The Jammitors. They do not perform the same act so you can see something different each time. If you have never stopped to see this short sidewalk show, you should! They are my husband’s favorite so we always see at least one showing. They give out fun little stickers that say “Junior Jammitor” which the Husband proudly wore the rest of the day…goof.
We finished up in Future World and headed for the Countries in World Showcase. We really went in depth into each country. We saw the inside of buildings and shops that we had not been able to enter for years because of impatient littles.
Special Places to check out –
La Cava in Mexico – the Guacamole is fantastic and it is a neat little spot off the beaten path
The walkways in China around the water are very pretty and they are full of fish and polywogs
The Fountain in Italy – a quiet and shady spot that is a peaceful spot to rest – note the grape vines full of grapes!
The Bazaar in Morocco – walk through all the different shops, they are so neat and different
The fountains & shops in France
While I have tried the phone booths in the United Kingdom as have several others, I have not gotten them to do much of anything in the past few years. While messing around with the phone, a Cast Member came up to us and said, “No, you are trying the wrong numbers. Call this number.” So we turned around to dial it and when we turned back, he was gone. We were soon delighted with a congratulatory message from Mickey and Minnie on our anniversary. THAT was some crazy Disney Magic! I love when it isn’t planned and just happens. I teared up a little.
We returned to our resort that evening to find the Magical Express folder on our door. What a sad sight! HOWEVER! We took advantage of our in-room bounceback offer and are already booked to return in September. This way I can visit Star Wars and Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party and relay any and all information I learn! If you have questions about where to find these offers, reach out to me!
If you would like me to assist in planning your Dream Vacation, contact me today and let’s get started!! My services are free of charge and I can help save you time and money! My passion and knowledge of Disney can really save you some stress and make your trip more enjoyable. Plus, qualifying reservations receive our Minnie Box! Our special thank you gift that is sent to you prior to departure for your trip. It is full of surprises and Magic and other wonderful things to enhance your stay.
A whole new food and beverage experience is coming to Disney Springs. Now that Summer is here, we are celebrating with wonderful fresh flavors of fruits and citrus. Come experience some of these delicious bites and sips! This special event is going on all summer through September 2nd. Stop at any of the participating locations or the Disney Springs Welcome Center for a guide.
This is a fantastic #Adulting Opportunity. Yes, many of these things you can grab on the go if you have littles in tow but it is far more immersive if you can do it without them. This is a great event for locals who can head over for the evening, guests traveling for a girlfriends weekend, bachelor/bachelorette parties, Disneymoons and all the other wonderful reasons adults travel to Disney. Bonus: If you are staying on Disney Property, you don’t have to worry about how you are getting back to your room after a few of these tasty beverages!
I have personally been to several of these locations and the experience is just as amazing as the food and beverages. Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar is one of my favorites in Disney Springs and we hit it each time we are there. The food and drinks are so different from normal fare. The building itself is so creatively built and decorated – I mean, where else can you sit in a dry-docked boat and drink out of a Monkey’s Head?? This is also a cool spot because you can watch the Amphicars launch next door.
Wine Bar George is a really neat wine bar. The food is outrageous and they help you pair anything you would like with a beverage. If you are a Dole Whip fan like myself, you will have to stop here. They have a Frozcato which is basically a alcoholic frozen Dole Whip. It is a delight!
Here is the menu, direct from Disney:
Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar
Fountain of Youth Chicken Wings – Chicken wings served with St Augustine Datil Pepper Sauce
Florida Rain – Orange vodka, gin, coconut rum, blue curaçao, and sour mix
Southern Burger – Signature beef blend patty topped with a fried green tomato, pimento cheese, lettuce, grilled onion, and bacon
Orange Crème Milkshake – Vanilla gelato blended with zesty orange flavors and topped with whipped cream
Blood Orange Mousse – Lemon chiffon cake with grapefruit gelée
Disney Springs Dark Chocolate Bar – Dark chocolate bar with orange
Florida Orange Ganache Square – Dark chocolate blended with Florida orange juice and orange zest
Key Lime Ganache Pop – White chocolate blended with Key lime juice and fresh lime zest covered with dark chocolate
Conch Fritters – Conch fritters served on a bed of tropical slaw with Key lime tartar sauce
Funky Buddha Floridian Hefeweizen
Wine Bar George and The Basket at Wine Bar George
Frozcato Cookie Sandwich – Frozen pineapple frozcato sandwiched between two house-made sugar cookies
Frozcato – Moscato, vodka, and Dole Whip Pineapple
Smoked Prime Rib Slider – Prime rib served with a citrus aïoli and a green papaya horseradish slaw
Key Lime Pie – Key lime pie with graham cracker crust and toasted coconut
Sandbar Sunday Islamorada Beer Company American Pale Wheat Ale
Tuna Poke Tower – Seared ahi tuna, spicy crab mix, diced Florida avocado, and Asian slaw stacked and served with crispy wonton chips
Strawberry Sake Spritzer – Local strawberries, lemon juice, elderflower liqueur, and rosé-infused sake garnished with a whole strawberry and mint
Fresh Tuna Tekka Don – Fresh, customizable poke
bowl featuring sushi-grade tuna on a bed steamed rice topped with
avocado, cucumber, seaweed salad, tempura crunch, and a zesty house-made
Violet Sake Slushie – Japanese sake, prickly pear, and lime topped with konpeito candy
Frozen Beer Shandy – Kirin draft beer with fresh-squeezed orange juice topped with frozen Kirin foam
Boom Boom Alligator Tacos – Flour tortillas, fried alligator, and tropical fruit slaw topped with micro cilantro and spicy garlic sauce
Sailfish Brewing Co. Tag & Release Amber
The Ice Age – Rum, blue curaçao, piña colada purée, and orange juice
Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’
Key West Shrimp Cocktail – Seasoned shrimp hand tossed with avocado, mango, cucumber, and house-made cocktail sauce and served with buttermilk crackers
Blood Orange Madras – Blood orange moonshine, freshly muddled strawberries, pineapple purée, and cranberry juice
Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill
Local Buratta – Buratta made in Pompeo Beach, Florida served with prosciutto, arugula, fresh peaches, and basil pesto
Cigar City Jai Alai IPA
Crab Ceviche – Blue crab, avocado, bell pepper, jalapeño, cilantro, and lime served with tortilla chips
Key Lime Wheat Ale
Steamed Peel and Eat Florida Shrimp – Florida shrimp dusted with Boathouse seasoning and served with drawn butter
Conch Republic Key Lime Wheat Ale
A Zesty Slice of Florida – Pizza bianca with Florida lemon, ricotta cheese, arugula, and black pepper
Guyebera Citra Pale Ale
Market or Fresh Catch Ceviche – Ceviche with passion fruit, lime, and chilis
La Playita Lager
Paradiso 37, Taste of The Americas
Florida Scorpion Shrimp Paella – Colossal gulf
shrimp, mussels, pancetta, peas, crushed red pepper, tomatoes, and
savory Key lime butter tossed with Calasparra rice and broiled to
Sunset Margarita – Tequila, cointreau, and fresh-squeezed Florida orange juice
Citrus Kale Salad – Superfood blend of kale,
julienned broccoli, slivered Brussels sprouts and cabbage, feta, fresh
grapefruit and oranges, cranberries, sunflower seeds, and agave dressing
Key Lime Martini – Vodka, ice cream, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup with a graham cracker crumbs rim
Orange Gator & Waffle Cone – Tempura alligator wok-tossed with a sweet Florida orange sauce and served in a house-made waffle cone
Pulp Friction Grapefruit IPA
Wanting to plan a last minute trip? There are still rooms available for the Summer. Disney just released a Summer Ticket Promotion and there are still room & dining promotions available. Contact me today and we can get you a no-obligation quote! My services are always free of charge and you get all my knowledge and planning tips too, not to mention stress-free planning! Plus qualifying trips receive our Minnie Box! Our special gift to your travel party tailored to your trip. Talk to you Soon!