Sparkling Dessert Party at Epcot

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Illuminations

This month Disney introduced the IllumiNations Sparkling Dessert Party at Epcot. The event takes place Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights from 7:45 PM- 9:20 PM.

Admission to the party includes sweets from many of the nations featured in the World Showcase. Enjoy baklava from Morocco, shortbread cookies from the United Kingdom, tiramisu from Italy and a variety of ice cream treats. The party also features sparkling wines as well as standard beverages.

The event area is located across from the Mexico pavilion at the Port of Entry shop that resembles a customs house. The view is stellar…in fact in the past this was my favorite spot for viewing IllumiNations because of the wonderful view of World Showcase.

The cost of this experience is $49 for adults and $29 for children (you also need a valid park admission) and it is recommended that you reserve your spot 180 days prior to your vacation.

Is the Party Worth the Price Tag?

During peak park attendance dates this would be a nice option for families wishing to get a decent view of the fireworks; however there are many locations throughout The World Showcase Lagoon to see IlumiNations.

The party would be the perfect location for a special event celebration like an anniversary or birthday.

The downside is that this experience can be rather costly. If you have a large family, you may want to consider a private fireworks cruise that brings you into the World Showcase Lagoon. You can snuggle under some blankets, sip on provided beverages and enjoy an unobstructed view of IllumiNations.

Other Options

If you would like to see the fireworks from a prime locale, think about making your dinner reservations at a restaurant on the water close to the IllumiNations start time. This way you can enjoy the show and use your Disney Dining Plan to cover the cost!

There are several restaurants with excellent water views of the show. Note: When making your dining reservations you must ask the representative for a seating close to the start of IllumiNations.

The new Spice Road Table in the Morocco Showcase has outdoor café style seating right on the water.

La Hacienda de San Angel at the Mexico Showcase has tall windows that overlook the Lagoon. This is the perfect place to enjoy some margaritas and dine on fabulous cuisine.

Tokyo Dining is located on the second floor of a lovely pagoda and has a spectacular view of the fireworks. The window seating is limited; however this is a bucket list quality experience.

Create Your Own Event

Grab a margarita from Mexico or a beer from the UK cart and a treat from one of many little sweet shops in the World Showcase. (Check out the bakery in France)

Scope out a bench by the lagoon and listen to the sounds of the IllumiNations pre-show while enjoying your snack party. During our last trip we found a nice little place between China and Germany that had a bench and nice stone wall to lean on during the show.

Whatever option you choose…you will be sure to have a fabulous time. This show is unlike anything else in the parks and is truly a magical close to your Disney Day.

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Healthier Dining at Walt Disney World

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Is it possible to eat healthier at Disney?

Is it possible to eat healthier at Disney?


Those who have traveled to Disney before know that you are bombarded with food at every turn.

From baked goods to turkey legs….to popcorn and ice cream…snack temptations are everywhere. It is easier to gain 5 pounds over the course of your Disney vacation than to score a FastPass for Toy Story Midway Mania. (OK, that might be a slight exaggeration)

It is possible to eat healthier while on vacation without missing out on some of the treats that Disney has to offer guests.

Here are some of my tips for healthier eating on your Walt Disney World Vacation…

1. Plan your meals ahead.

Although Disney does not offer calorie counts for their food items (with the exception of the Be Our Guest restaurant) you can read through menus of restaurants to determine what meals are healthier choices.

While those famous turkey legs do not look like they are unhealthy, each has a whopping 1,000 calories! Look for menu items that include salads, fresh sandwiches, fruits, and grilled meats. Disney resort hotels have Quick Service restaurants that offer packaged fruits and veggies, yogurt, deli meats and other selections that are filling and have significantly less calories than their fried counterparts.

2. Consider one “big” meal a day and several smaller meals.

When we plan our vacations, we will reserve one sit down meal that acts as our main meal and we book it in the early-mid afternoon. Later in the evening we will have a smaller meal or sandwich after walking around the park all day.

3. Take healthy snacks with you.

Make up little snack bags before you leave your hotel in the morning and bring them into the park. When those hunger pains hit, you have a healthy alternative to sugary or high calorie snacks.

4. Drinking water makes you feel less hungry.

Bring some water bottles with you and a few of those one serving low-calorie drink mixes that are a great alternative to soda.

5. Eat meals in your room.

Use a grocery delivery service like Garden Grocer to fully stock up on breakfast foods, snack items, sandwich ingredients and beverages. Eating breakfast or lunch in your resort room can be a money saver and a much healthier option. For our next trip we are dining in our room for breakfast and several lunches and will be saving over $150. That’s some major souvenir cash!

6. Limit those sweet snacks.

I will admit…Disney cupcakes are incredible…and I have to indulge in one every vacation. They are large enough to share. So buy one, grab two forks and enjoy! The famous Dole Whip soft serve treat found in the Magic Kingdom has significantly less calories than one would think. A 1/2 cup serving (without the juice) will only run 80 calories….a much better option than a Mickey’s Premium Bar at 330 calories. Aloha!

7. Use a helpful app.

Prior to your vacation, think about downloading the My Fitness Pal app to your phone. It is free and will let you track your meals for the day. Some of the Disney food items are listed; however for those that are not, you can put in the ingredients and estimate the calories.

Would love to hear any tips or tricks you have for eating healthier at Disney! Please email me or share them here.

Spice Road Table At The Morocco Showcase

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The Disney Parks Blog announced yesterday that a new dining experience will be coming soon to Morocco in the World Showcase at Epcot.

Disney stated that Spice Road Table will feature small plates; which I am assuming means a tapas- style restaurant. The menu will be quite eclectic; featuring a variety of food options and cocktails. The restaurant will be located by the World Showcase lagoon and is a perfect spot for viewing Illuminations!

No firm opening date has been announced, and the restaurant is not currently accessible through the Dining Reservation System. Hoping to get some more details soon!

Disney To Possibly Change Dining Cancellation Policy

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There are rumors swirling online that as of the end of October, changes will be made to the cancellation policy for all Disney parks and resorts table service establishments. Currently only a select number of restaurants  follow this policy that requires a credit card to hold your reservation. This has not been posted yet to the Disney website, so please take this as just a rumor for now, but something to consider when planning your next trip.

What does this mean for you?

In order to hold your reservation for a table service restaurant, a credit card will be required. If you cancel less than 24 hours before your scheduled Advance Dining Reservation, you will be charged $10 for each member of your party. The reservations for dinner shows will remain the same; you still need to purchase the meal in advance and will be not be eligible for a refund if the cancellation occurs outside the specified timeframe.

There are several ways to cancel your dining reservations:

What is the reason for the policy change?

When guests change their plans once in the parks and miss or disregard a reservation, tables can be tied up that could have gone to guests waiting in line. Without a strict policy in place, guests were free to miss their reservations without a penalty, so there was no reason to cancel the reservation. With the new rule change, the hope is that guests will make the necessary itinerary changes within that 24 hour window to ensure that all guests are seated timely. It may also allow for guests without a reservation to score one of those coveted last minute reservations that become available the same day.

 

Will this new rumored policy change impact your dining reservation plans if it goes into effect?

 

 

2013 Candlelight Processional

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Summer just started, so why am I talking about the holidays? When the weather is warm, it is sometimes difficult to think about the cooler winter months; however it is the perfect time to start planning a holiday trip to Walt Disney World Resort and getting those Advance Dining Reservations scheduled.

If you have ever been to Epcot during the holidays, you know that the Candlelight Processional is a holiday event not to be missed. You also know that the line to get into the event is generally long, which can result in very lengthy wait times. Even after waiting in the line, you still may not secure a seat for the performance.

Thankfully, Disney offers a Candlelight Processional Dinner Package that can be added to your dining experience and guarantees preferred seating at a performance and an exclusive viewing location for IllumiNations: A Reflection of Earth.

The Candlelight Processional is held nightly at 5:00, 6:45 and 8:15 PM in Epcot at the America Gardens Theatre. This year’s event will begin on November 29th and run through December 30th.

The Candlelight Processional features a 50-piece orchestra and mass choir accompanying a celebrity narrator who reads the story of the Nativity. The celebrity narrators were announced this morning when the packages became available for purchase.

This year’s Candlelight Processional narrators are:

11/29- 12/1- To be determined
12/2-12/3- To be determined
12/6-12/7- Whoopi Goldberg
12/8-12/10- To be determined
12/11-12/13- Dennis Haysbert
12/14-12/16- James Denton
12/17-12/19- Edward James Olmos
12/20-12/22- Trace Adkins
12/23-12/15- To be determined
12/16-12/28- Blair Underwood
12/29-12/3- Amy Grant

** Narrators are subject to change**

The Candlelight Processional Dinner Package for 2013 went on sale today, and will be offered at the following Epcot restaurants:

 Biergarten Restaurant
 Chefs de France
 Coral Reef Restaurant
 The Garden Grill
 La Hacienda de San Angel
 Nine Dragons Restaurant
 Restaurant Marrakesh
 Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room
 San Angel Inn Restaurante
 Teppan Edo
 Tokyo Dining
 Tutto Italia Ristorante
 Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria

The cost for the Candlelight Processional package varies and will include either a three course meal or a buffet; depending on the restaurant you have selected. The cost of admission to Epcot is not included in the package.

Please call 1-407-WDW-DINE for additional details and to make your reservations. Due to the popularity of this experience, it is recommended that you make your reservations as soon as possible.

Is the Candlelight Processional part of your holiday tradition? Please share your special memories and any tips you may have about viewing this performance.

Dining With Remy

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I never thought that the phrase, “A rat stood on our table during our meal,” would ever cross my lips, but after our experience at Chefs de France, I couldn’t stop talking about their resident rodent chef!

Chefs de France can be found in the World Showcase at Epcot and is modeled after a bustling French bistro. While the menu changes with the season, the offerings are diverse and the dinner selections include French onion soup, roast chicken and beef tenderloin. Lunch selections offer soups, sandwiches, salads, ribs and hamburgers. The wine list is quite impressive and guests can order by the glass or bottle. Make sure to leave room for dessert; the crème brûlée is magnifique!

The pinnacle of the dining experience is a visit from the “chef” himself; Remy from the film, “Ratatouille”. Chef Remy visits and interacts with guests from a platter that serves as his stage. A cast member glides Remy along, interacts with him and encourages dialogue from diners. It is a fun experience for kids and grown ups alike! While we were taking pictures of our time with Remy, he happily posed and uttered a “cheese!” I am not sure if I ever smiled so much in my entire life.

One Disney Dining Plan entitlement is required for both lunch and dinner, and the only plan not accepted is the Disney Quick Service Dining Plan.

When making your Advance Dining Reservations, be sure to ask for a seating that will ensure a character experience with Remy. These experiences take place 4 times a day, 6 days per week; but are subject to change. Call Disney Reservations at (407) WDW-DINE for additional details, or to make your reservations.

Bon Appétit!