Epcot’s Holidays Around the World Will Offer Seasonal Food and Drink

Epcot’s Holidays Around the World will begin on November 25th.  We will see the return of seasonal food and drink around World Showcase during the holidays at Epcot.

The seasonal items that guests will see as they visit the countries are:

Germany Pavilion

Prost! in Germany will serve artisan cheese plate or sauerbraten with red cabbage and spätzle. Drinks include alcoholic ciders, Williams Punch (hot), Caramel Kiss featuring Werther’s Caramel and glüwein (house-made hot spiced wine).

American Adventure

American Holiday Table in the American Adventure Pavilion will be serving Slow-roasted turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. And seared pork tenderloin with green bean casserole, roasted sweet potato wedges and a Champagne demi-glace. Drinks include Shipyard Eggnog White Porter Aged on Bourbon, Firenog (eggnog with Fireball Whisky), Great American Wine Company Red Blend and Chardonnay, hot chocolate, eggnog and Cocoa Candy Cane (hot chocolate with peppermint Schnapps).

Slow-roasted turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce

Slow-roasted turkey with stuffing, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce

Shredded beef tamale

Shredded beef tamale

Alpine House

Alpine Haus between Morocco and France will offer duck confit, dumplings and roasted Brussels sprouts with a fig reduction; cheese fondue in a bread bowl with fresh steamed vegetables, and sachertorte, a chocolate cake with apricot jam and dark chocolate glaze. Drinks include Frozen Winter Spice Hot Chocolate featuring Twinings of London Tea (alcoholic and non-alcoholic version available) Weingut Stadt Krems Gruner Vetliner White Wine and Heinrich Red Blend.

Seasonal Southern Delights

Seasonal Southern Delights near World Showcase Plaza is offering hoppin’ john (black-eyed peas, ham hocks and kale with rice and cornbread crumbles); blackened catfish with white cheddar grits with okra, tomato and onion stew, and chocolate pecan tart. Drinks include Frozen S’Mores and Central 28 beers.

Chocolate pecan tart

Chocolate pecan tart

Sauerbraten with red cabbage and spätzle

Sauerbraten with red cabbage and spätzle

Feast of the Three Kings

Feast of the Three Kings Feast near World Showcase Plaza pays homage to Three Kings Day, widely celebrated in Spain, Latin America and the Caribbean. Look for a shredded beef tamale with avocado crema; roasted pork with mashed yucca and pickled green bananas, and Three Kings Bread. Drinks will include a Coquito (coconut milk) and Coquito with rum floater.

Three Kings Bread

Three Kings Bread

Around Epcot

Hot and cold drinks will be offered all around World Showcase, as well as holidays sweets such as the Mickey Santa Hat cupcake at Fountain View restaurant, chocolate honey baklava in Morocco, panettone (Italian Christmas cake) in Italy, gingerbread ice cream and buche de Noel au chocolat (Christmas cake shaped like a log) in France, pai cha (Beijing-style fried dough twist with sesame) in China and guava tamales in Mexico.

You can sample the seasonal tastes through December 30 2016.

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Reservations Open for Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party

What would a Walt Disney World nighttime spectacular be without a dessert party?  So, I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that the new nighttime spectacular, Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! will have a dessert party associated with it.  Disney has recently announced that reservations for the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party are now open.

Located in the courtyard of The Great Movie Ride will be multiple food stations, featuring holiday-inspired savory dishes, sweets including the Santa Mickey chocolate cupcake with peppermint bark, and a nitrogen dessert station. Beer, wine and specialty cocktails will be available for guests over 21. Specialty non-alcoholic beverages will also be available, along with hot cocoa. A character meet and mingle will also be part of the pre-show.

Each guest will also receive a pair of 3D HoloSpex® glasses which will turn any bright lights into holiday holographic illusions such as gingerbread men and candy canes.

Check in for the Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! Holiday Dessert Party will begin an hour and fifteen minutes before show time outside of The Great Movie Ride.

From November 14th through December 17th, tickets can be purchased for $69 for adults or $39 for children ages 3 to 9 (tax and gratuity included). As we get closer to the holidays, from December 18th through December 31st, tickets can be purchased for $79 for adults or $45 for children ages 3 to 9 (tax and gratuity included).

Reservations are now open, and can be made by calling 407-WDW-DINE or online.

Law Enforcement Presence Increases at Walt Disney World

Shortly before visitors arriving at Walt Disney World caught their first glimpse of Cinderella Castle last week, their parking lot tram passed several marked Orange County Sheriff patrol cars.

As excited park goers stood in line to buy tickets, a pair of Orange County deputies with guns on their belts paced back and forth, surveying the crowds.

Once patrons reached the Magic Kingdom’s entrance, even more uniformed deputies looked on as Disney security guards inspected bags and randomly selected visitors to walk through metal detectors.

Disney officials have not disclosed how many sheriff deputies patrol the 40 square mile entertainment complex each day, and the company did not respond to any questions about law enforcement activities on its property.

But financial records obtained by News 6 suggest an unprecedented expansion of that outside police force is now underway.

Record Spending on Law Enforcement

Three months after a gunman murdered 49 people in an Orlando nightclub, the special taxing district that provides government services to Disney’s property approved a record-setting budget for hiring off-duty Orange County sheriff’s deputies.

The Reedy Creek Improvement District has allocated $5.6 million to pay for off-duty deputies throughout the fiscal year that began October 1st.

That new budget nearly quadruples the $1.5 million the Disney-controlled government allocated for off-duty deputies annually from 2011 through 2016.

In addition to hiring deputies who want to earn extra pay during their personal time, Reedy Creek has a separate $8.1 million contract with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office.

That agreement ensures that additional deputies are always available to investigate tourist-related crimes, write speeding tickets and provide support to Disney’s civilian security officers.

Reedy Creek’s $13.7 million total budget for outside law enforcement services has grown by more than 50% since just last year and is nearly double the $7 million it allocated for deputies in 2014, records show. Those services are funded by landowners within the cities of Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, of which Disney is by far the largest taxpayer.

Under the new budget, Reedy Creek will pay the Orange County Sheriff’s Office approximately the same as the City of Winter Park spends on its entire police department.

Off-Duty Officer Responded to Pulse Nightclub Attack

Walt Disney World officials have not indicated whether the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub played a role in the decision to increase the budget for off-duty deputies.

That incident demonstrated how armed off-duty law enforcement officers can potentially become the first line of defense in a terrorist attack.

Orlando police officer Adam Gruler was working an off-duty shift at Pulse on June 12 when he heard gunshots near the club’s entrance.

Gruler exchanged fire with Omar Mateen before the attacker disappeared into the building, according to police.
Realizing he was outgunned, Gruler immediately called for backup, police said.

Two fellow officers arrived within minutes and cornered Mateen in a restroom, investigators reported.

The FBI has not indicated that Mateen was planning attacks at other Central Florida locations, but the gunman reportedly visited local tourist attractions in the months prior to the Pulse massacre.

“We know that Mateen scoped parts of Disney World,” U.S. Congressman John Mica told News 6.

Disney Hires Additional Deputies

Reedy Creek is not the only entity that hires law enforcement to patrol the Disney property. The Walt Disney Company independently arranges and pays for even more off-duty Orange County deputies to assist its team of security officers.

The company has not disclosed how much it plans to spend on those extra deputies in the coming year.

Disney and Reedy Creek pay $40 per hour for each deputy, according to the sheriff’s office. That’s $10 more than the $30 minimum hourly rate required by the deputies’ union contract.

All organizations that hire off-duty deputies must also pay an additional $5 per hour fee to the sheriff’s office to cover the costs of county-owned equipment such as patrol cars, uniforms and weapons.

A sheriff’s office spokesman did not respond to questions inquiring whether or not the higher pay offered at Disney makes it more challenging for other businesses in Orange County, such as nightclubs, shopping centers and homeowners associations, to hire off-duty deputies.

Deputies are not required to work off-duty shifts and are free to choose which businesses employ them based on the pay offered, according to the sheriff’s office.

Disney officials have not explained why the company voluntarily compensates deputies more than the required minimum rate.

The hourly rate that Disney and Reedy Creek pay for off-duty deputies has not changed since the last fiscal year, sheriff’s officials confirmed. But each year, the cost of Reedy Creek’s separate contract with the law enforcement agency increases.

Under the agreement, Reedy Creek officials paid the sheriff’s office $7.5 million in 2015.

In exchange, the agency assigned 36 deputies, seven detectives and 20 supervisors and administrative staff to the Disney property.

Eight of those deputies were originally added to patrol the newly-expanded Disney Springs shopping area on bicycles, records show.

The contract also covers the cost of equipment, such as patrol cars outfitted with speed detectors.

This year, four more sheriff’s supervisors have been moved to Disney under the agreement, at an additional $742,000 cost to Reedy Creek.

Those supervisors often work out of a $2.5 million substation located near Disney Springs that Reedy Creek built specifically for the Orange County Sheriff’s Office last year.

Theme Parks Take Precautions

The increased spending on outside law enforcement follows other measures that local theme parks have taken in the past year to improve security and make guests feel more comfortable congregating among large crowds of people.

On December 16, 2015, a little more than a month after terrorists launched a series of deadly attacks in Paris, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin warning that “terrorist-inspired individuals and homegrown violent extremists may be encouraged, or inspired to target public events or places.”

The following morning, Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando and SeaWorld simultaneously began using handheld and walk-through metal detectors to screen guests.

That same day, Disney announced it had stopped selling toy guns on its property and would prohibit visitors older than 14 from wearing costumes in the parks.

Over the summer, Universal Orlando expanded the security checkpoint outside its CityWalk entertainment complex.

Security guards now screen visitors’ bags with airport-style x-ray machines.

In 2015, Universal spent about $1.7 million on off-duty police officers, Orlando Police Department records show.

Spending on officers from January through September 2016 is up nearly 14 percent compared to the same nine-month period the previous year. The company did not disclose its budget for off-duty police in the coming year.

“Our first priority will always be the safety of our guests and our team members,” said Universal Orlando spokesman Tom Schroder. “We have a strong partnership with the Orlando Police Department and we are grateful for the role its officers play in helping us to stay safe, but we are not going to discuss the specifics of our security plans, or procedures.”

Sheriff Concerned About Future Attacks

Local authorities have repeatedly assured the public that they are unaware of any specific terrorist threats against the Orlando area or its attractions. But some are concerned that the Pulse massacre could inspire others seeking to cause harm.

“We have now been probed, which makes us more of a target,” Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings told a Congressional committee this summer. “One credible attack in Central Florida to a theme park will be disastrous for our economy.”

Demings praises his agency’s relationships with local tourist attractions.

He and other local leaders have publicly expressed satisfaction with the entertainment companies’ security protocols.

“Disney, Universal, all our major theme parks, they’re not the problem,” Congressman Mica told News 6.
“They have excellent security, the best protections for their guests.”

Mica is more concerned that terrorists might try to attack a less high profile location in Central Florida.

“They’re looking for soft targets. They found one in Pulse. We can’t let that happen again,” Mica said.

Visitors Support Law Enforcement Presence

While some Walt Disney World visitors question whether deputies and other security personnel would be able to stop someone intent on causing harm, others appreciate seeing armed deputies outside and inside the theme parks.

“I feel safer with them around,” said Suzanne Norton, who expressed some concern about visiting crowded theme parks following recent terror attacks. “I would rather walk into a place knowing I’m safe than being worried about something happening.”

Leanne Magestro, who was visiting from North Carolina, is uncertain whether law enforcement’s show of force at Disney provides real security, or simply the perception of security. But she believes the cost is warranted.

“I think that maybe it can make people feel a little bit more comfortable, and maybe make someone think twice before they do something silly,” she said.

From clickorlando

Disney Wonder Headed Back to the U.S. After Upgrade

Disney Cruise Line finished its five-week dry dock refurbishment of the Disney Wonder in Spain and has sent the line’s second-oldest ship back to the U.S.

The Wonder, a sister ship to the line’s first ship the Disney Magic, debuted in 1999. Smaller than the Disney Dream and Fantasy, the line gave the 2,400 passenger vessel several new features and reworked spaces in the same grain as Magic’s upgrades back in 2013.

The most notable changes that were installed at the Navantia shipyard in Cadiz, Spain are a new restaurant, new water park, Marvel-themed play space and the introduction of a Broadway-style production based on “Frozen.”

Spider-Man will be the star of the new Marvel Super Hero Academy space in a reoworked Oceaneer Club. The space that’s geared for kids is now built in the same way as the line’s other three ships, with four themed spaces and the Marvel space as the star. This is the second Marvel-themed space on a Disney ship following Magic’s Avenger’s Academy, but will be different including unique props like Captain America’s World War II shield, the Iron Man Mark VII and Ant Man helmets and Black Widow’s gauntlets. The other spaces will be Frozen Adventures, which will feature a digital Olaf and character visits from Anna and Elsa; Club Disney Junior featuring Doc McStuffins; and Andy’s Room, which is featured on other Disney ships and offers a multi-level play area where children romp around larger-than-life toys as if they were in the film “Toy Story” and will get character visits from Woody and Jessie.

The other big new feature is Tiana’s Place, a New-Orleans style restaurant based on the one featured in the film “The Princess and the Frog.”  The restaurant replaces Parrot Cay while the Animator’s Palate and Triton’s will remain. Tiana’s Place will feature a French Quarter atmosphere including live music on a main stage of jazz, swing and blues. The menu will be southern-style dishes inspired by the flavors of the Louisiana bayou.

Animator’s Palate is being reworked to add the two shows featured on the Disney Magic, the emotional roller coaster that is Drawn to Magic as well as the interactive Animation Magic show that lets diners draw their own characters and watch them come to life. There will also be new touches to the decor including the introduction of the most recent of Disney characters including those from “Moana” among the walls of the dining room.

The extra-cost Italian restaurant Palo will get a Venetian-inspired makeover as well.

Another big makeover is to the adults area of the ship, previously known as Route 66 and now heralding the moniker After Hours. The three featured spaces are now an updated version of the Cadillac Lounge, a new nightclub to replace WaveBands called Azure and the replacement of sports pub Diversions with an English pub called Crown & Fin.

“This is a proper English pub,” said Theron Skees, vice president with Disney Imagineering. “You can sample beers from all over Great Britain. You can sit back and watch a sports game with your friends. We looked at every Disney film that really kind of focused on England or on Great Britain and we’vem taken props from those and kind of hidden them all throughout the whole space.”

The line also said it will feature a brew unique to the drinking venue.

Water-based fun on the top deck will also get a new look with the introdction of the Twist ‘n Spout water slide, just like sister ship Disney Magic as well as the AquaLab interactive water play area featuring Donald Duck’s nephews and and Dory’s Reef for toddlers. Unlike the Disney Magic, no AquaDunk thrill slide was added on Wonder.

Some other changes on the Wonder include the introduction of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique that gives children both princess and pirate makeovers, the D Lounge for family game nights, reworking of the current Vista spa into the Senses Spa & Salon and the addition of a Chill Teen Spa.

For entertainment, “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” gets its moment to shine. The new show replaced “Toy Story – The Musical” while the two other productions on the ship – “The Golden Mickeys” and “Disney Dreams – An Enchanted Classic” will remain.

It will feature eight songs from the hit film along with a Broadway-style production heavy on puppetry.

“I think guests are going to be impressed with some of the really amazing effects that we’re working on,” said Jeff Conover, puppetry development director for the show. “I think there’s a lot of potential for unexpected surprises. They’re also going to walk away seeing something truly magical the way we imagine it to be.”

One other noticeable change for the Disney Wonder will be the sheer number of character interactions on board. Each of the four spaces in Oceaneer Club will have character experiences including Spider-Man’s Web-Warriors 101, Frozen Adventures: A Royal Frozen Coronation with Anna and Elsa, Club Disney Junior: Sofia the First Magical Storytelling and Andy’s Room: Woody’s Roundup.

The Disney Wonder won’t be sailing out of Port Canaveral on a regular basis until January. First up for the Wonder is duty in Galveston, Texas in November and December before a repositioning trip with a stop in Puerto Rico. Wonder will spend all spring sailing from Florida before it makes its way to the West Coast for its normal summer Alaska sailing duties.

To book travel on the Wonder, visit disneycruise.com of call 888-DCL-2500.

From The Orlando Sentinel

PizzeRizzo Gets Opening Date

Walt Disney World has announced that the new Muppet themed restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, PizzeRizzo, will open on November 18th.

The restaurant will serve personal-sized pies.  The décor is inspired by Rizzo, as well as his extended family and friends who have visited PizzeRizzo over the years throughout the two-story eatery.

Upstairs will be Rizzo’s Deluxe Supreme Banquet Hall, where there’s a wedding reception already in progress.

Entrees will be served with a side Caesar salad, and include personal-sized Pizza, available in four varieties—vegetable, pepperoni, meat lovers and cheese, as well as a Meatball Sub. An Antipasto Salad features a bed of Romaine lettuce piled high with tomatoes, Mozzarella, Kalamata olives, ham, pepperoni, salami and Balsamic Vinaigrette.

Desserts will include traditional Italian sweets like Cannoli and Tiramisu. Specialty drinks will also be available, including a non-alcoholic Peach Bellini, and a Wildberry-Basil Lemonade Limoncello in addition to beer and wine for adults.

Disney Swaps Incredibles and Toy Story Sequels

Disney has announced that it has flopped the release dates for Pixar sequels The Incredibles 2 and Toy Story 4.  The release date for the Incredibles sequel will be moving up to June 15, 2018, with the Toy Story sequel being pushed back a year to June 21, 2019.

Brad Bird won his first Oscar for directing The Incredibles and is returning to the chair for its sequel. The original bowed in 2005 and scooped up more than $633M worldwide. The Toy Story franchise launched as Pixar’s inaugural feature in 1995, and Toy Story 2 was the toon studio’s first sequel, bowing in 1999. Toy Story 3 came along in 2010, winning an Oscar for Best Animated Feature and another for Randy Newman’s song “We Belong Together.” John Lasseter, Chief Creative Officer for Pixar, Walt Disney Animation Studios and DisneyToon Studios, is directing TS4, having co-helmed the first two pictures.

Disney is Bringing Back ‘Muppet Babies’

The Muppet Babies are returning to TV for more make-believe adventures.

Disney has announced it has begun production on a reimagined version of the classic kid series. The series, which will be CG animated, is slated to air in 2018 on Disney Junior.

“Bringing ‘Muppet Babies’ to Disney Junior is a wonderful opportunity to reach a new generation of viewers and to creatively build on the innovative original series,” said Debbie McClellan, vice president of The Muppets Studio, in a statement. “We hope to engage and delight the nostalgic fans while also entertaining new kids, parents and diverse audiences through heart and humor as only the Muppets can deliver.”

The original series — “Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies” — ran for seven seasons from 1984-91 on CBS. The animated show followed Kermit the Frog, Piggy, Fozzie Bear, and their other pint-sized Muppet pals as they went on imaginary adventures within the walls of their playroom.

Disney acquired the rights to the Muppets in 2004.

The new show, geared toward children ages 4-7, is a co-production between Disney Junior, Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media’s Content & Media group, and The Muppets Studio.

The return of “Muppet Babies” continues the trend of networks and studios digging into their content vaults to find shows with nostalgia value.

Disney is set to premiere a new version of “DuckTales” in 2017. Nickelodeon has a TV movie based on the “Legends of the Hidden Temple” premiering in November, a “Hey, Arnold” TV movie in 2017, and a TV special based on classic ’90s animated program, “Rocko’s Modern Life” in the works.

New ‘Once Upon A Time’ Projection Show Begins November 4 at the Magic Kingdom

Today Walt Disney World announced that a new nighttime projection show, “Once Upon a Time,” will debut at Magic Kingdom Park on November 4.

In this new show, Mrs. Potts from “Beauty and the Beast” shares bedtime stories with Chip, taking them (and all of us) on a magical trip through the most adventurous scenes from favorite Disney films like “Cinderella,” “Peter Pan,” “Alice in Wonderland” and “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.”

Scenes that are expected to be guest-favorites include a flight with Peter Pan from London to Never Land, the Mad Hatter’s whimsical tea party, and a daring duel between Gaston and Beast. Mrs. Potts and Chip end their bedtime story with a grand finale that includes appearances by characters from even more Disney films.

The show, which was inspired by one of a similar name at Tokyo Disneyland Park, uses projection mapping technology to cover every nook and cranny of Cinderella Castle in vibrant images that appear almost three-dimensional.

“Once Upon A Time” will replace the current “Celebrate the Magic” projection show, which will end its run on November 3. Check your My Disney Experience app for times and more information.

Royal Court Royal Tea Coming to All Disney Cruise Line Ships

Attention princesses and royal knights! It is with great pleasure we announce the addition of Royal Court Royal Tea to all four Disney ships.

Families have been enjoying this royal celebration on the Disney Fantasy, and most recently during 4-night cruises onboard the Disney Dream. It will soon be available on 3-night Disney Dream voyages, kicking off on the Nov. 4 sailing. The Disney Wonder will also whisk children and parents off to this magical affair starting Nov. 10, and on the Disney Magic, the tea will be offered beginning Dec. 11.

During Royal Court Royal Tea, storytelling meets reality as children are crowned young princesses or dubbed royal knights. Of course, no royal celebration would be complete without a visit from Disney Princesses. Escorted by a Royal Page, the Princesses will visit each table to meet guests and welcome them to the tea party.

Lady Chamomile, the Royal Tea Hostess, and Chef Brule, the Royal Pastry Chef, host the stately celebration, and the pair presents the princesses and knights with some of their most delightful culinary specialties. Young royal guests also receive unique keepsakes and a memorable photograph with their favorite Disney Princesses.

New Shopping Experiences on Their Way to the Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort This Fall

Downtown Disney regulars and newcomers alike have plenty to look forward to as the Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort welcomes two new shopping locations opening later this fall.

Whether you’re looking to start your own PANDORA Jewelry collection or adding to your current series, Downtown Disney District soon will have a new shopping destination for you. Famous for its beauty and style, PANDORA will offer elegant, hand-finished jewelry in sterling silver and 14k gold with genuine gemstones, cultured pearls, Murano glass and cubic zirconia stones. Designed to inspire embracing the self-creator within, PANDORA Jewelry allows guests to explore and craft their unique personal story.

Sammy Duvall’s Curl Surf, also opening late fall 2016, is all about celebrating the surf lifestyle, culture and fashion. The store will feature top surf brands, including Hurley, Roxy, Billabong, Nixon, Duvin and Quiksilver, footwear by TOMS, Reef and Vans, and a large selection of Oakley, Ray-Ban and Nixon watches. If you’re a surfer of a fan of surf, Curl Surf has everything you need in the way of apparel and accessories.