Dan Cockerell, Magic Kingdom Vice President Retiring

According to multiple sources citing sources within the The Walt Disney Company, 49 year old Magic Kingdom Vice President Dan Cockerell will be retiring next month.

Dan, who is the son of former Vice President of Operations Lee Cockerell, became the Magic Kingdom Vice President in 2015 during a reshuffle which saw long-time Magic Kingdom Vice President Phil Holmes move to the Studios Vice President role in a leadership swap. Prior to the move, Dan was the Vice President of Epcot. Dan has been with Disney for 26 years.

According to the sources, Cockerell will be starting a speaking and consulting company, with plans to travel.

Disney has not yet named a replacement.  Cockerell’s final day will be May 11, 2018.

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Walt Disney World Announces Eat to the Beat Concert Series Line-Up

On Monday Walt Disney World announced the initial line-up for the Eat to the Beat Concert Series for this year’s Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.  This is the festival’s 23rd year and will run from August 30 to November 12, 2018.

New to this year’s concert series will be percussionist extraordinaire and singer Sheila E and ‘80s Canadian rockers Glass Tiger.

98 Degrees, featuring brothers and “Dancing With the Stars” alums Nick and Drew Lachey, will  bring their smooth harmonies to the festival. I’m sure there are a lot of Disney fans hoping that they’ll sing “True To Your Heart” from Disney’s “Mulan.”

Also new this year is entertainer Jim Belushi who brings his rhythm-and-blues band The Sacred Hearts to the festival this year.

Two Contemporary Christian music artists will also be joining the line-up this year.  MercyMe, who successfully branched out from music this year with the hit film based on lead singer Bart Mallard’s life called “I Can Only Imagine.”  Also, former “Royal Tailor” front man Tauren Wells, who has found some mainstream success this year, touring with Mariah Carey and Lionel Richie, will also be performing.

Returning this year are fan favorites ‘80s pop stars Tiffany and Billy Ocean, along with ’90s hit makers like Hanson and Everclear.

Swing-meisters Big Bad Voodoo Daddy also be returning and will close out the festival.

The lineup so far is:

  • 8/30-31 – Blue October – “Into the Ocean”
  • 9/1-3 – Tiffany – “I Think We’re Alone Now”
  • 9/4-5 – MercyMe – “I Can Only Imagine”
  • 9/6-7 – Glass Tiger – “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)
  • 9/8-9 – Tauren Wells – “Hills and Valleys”
  • 9/10-11 – Postmodern Jukebox
  • 9/12-13 – TBD
  • 9/14-16 – Baha Men – “Who Let The Dogs Out”
  • 9/17-19 – TBD
  • 9/20-21 – Living Color – “Cult of Personality”
  • 9/22-23 – Sheila E – “The Glamorous Life”
  • 9/24-26 – Sugar Ray – “Every Morning”
  • 9/27-28 – David Cook – “Light On”
  • 9/29-30 – Jeffrey Osbourne – “On The Wings of Love”
  • 10/1-2 – Jim Belushi & The Sacred Hearts – Various Hits
  • 10/3-4 – Everclear – “Santa Monica”
  • 10/5-7 – Mark Wills – “19 Somethin’”
  • 10/8-10 – Air Supply – “All Out Of Love”
  • 10/11-12 – TBD
  • 10/13-14 – TBD
  • 10/15-16 – 98 Degrees – “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)”
  • 10/17-18 – 38 Special – “Hold On Loosely”
  • 10/19-21 – Devon Allman Project – “Ragged and Dirty”
  • 10/22-23 – TBD
  • 10/24-25 – Billy Ocean – “Get Outta My Dreams”
  • 10/26-28 – Starship featuring Mickey Thomas – “We Built This City”
  • 10/29-31 – Hanson – “MMMBop”
  • 11/1-2 – TBD
  • 11/3-4 – Taylor Dayne – “Prove Your Love”
  • 11/5-7 – Boyz II Men – “End Of The Road”
  • 11/8-9 – The Hooters – “And We Danced”
  • 11/10-12 – Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – “Go Daddy-O”

As you can see, the line up is not complete at this time, so check back and look for updates in the coming months.

Walt Disney World Free Dining Offer Now Available

It’s finally here!!!!

After a lot of anticipation, Walt Disney World has finally officially announced that Free Dining is back for select dates for this fall and winter and is now available.

Free Dining is being offered if guests book a non-discounted package by July 7 for at the following arrival dates:

  • August 20* – September 29, 2018
  • November 24 – 27, 2018
  • December 7 – 23, 2018

*Canada Residents may book now for travel dates beginning August 2, 2018, and Disney Visa Cardholders may book now for travel dates beginning August 2, 2018.

If guests are staying at a participting Value or Moderate Resort, they will receive the Quick Service Dining plan for FREE. (Note that guests can upgrade to the standard or deluxe dining plans by paying the difference in cost per night.)

Participating Value Resorts include:

  • All-Star Music
  • All-Star Sports
  • Art of Animation Resort (Family Suites only)
  • Pop Century

Participating Moderate Resorts include:

  • The Cabins at Fort Wilderness (campsites excluded)
  • Caribbean Beach Resort
  • Coronado Springs Resort

If you reserve a participating Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort, you will receive the standard Dining plan for FREE. (You can upgrade to the deluxe dining plan by paying the difference in cost per night.)

Participating Deluxe Resorts include:

  • Animal Kingdom Lodge
  • Beach Club Resort
  • BoardWalk Inn
  • Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
  • Yacht Club Resort

Participating Deluxe Villas include:

  • Animal Kingdom Villas — Jambo House
  • Animal Kingdom Lodge — Kidani Village
  • Beach Club Villas
  • BoardWalk Villas
  • Old Key West Resort
  • Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

In order to take advantage of Free Dining, guests must purchase tickets that include either a minimum 4-day Park Hopper or the Park Hopper Plus option. Additionally, guest must book a  4-night minimum/maximum stay of fourteen nights.

Most people are expecting very limited availability in some cases, so don’t be surprised if your desired room category or resort is already not available or “sold out.”  Flexibility is the key when it comes to Free Dining!

Disney Releases New Pixar-Themed MagicBands

Earlier today Disney released five brand new Pixar-themed MagicBands at Shop Parks.  The movies that are being featured are Toy Story, Monsters University, Up, Cars, and Wall-E!

The brand new designs are for the MagicBand 2.0 and for the first time, two of MagicBands have designs on the center icon that is not the Mickey Head symbol we’ve come to expect.

Each of the new MagicBands sells for $22.99 plus tax and can be found in the Shop Parks app and on the Shop Disney website.

Here are the new designs –

I’m kind of partial to the Toy Story and WALL-E ones myself.  How about you?

I imagine that these new MagicBands will be extremely popular, so if you like them and want to get some, you might not want to wait around too long.  Just sayin’.

Disney Gives a Peak into What’s in Woody’s Lunch Box

Lou Mongello from WDW Radio has often said that “food is an attraction” at Walt Disney World.  Nothing could be further from the truth with Woody’s Lunch Box, the counter-service restaurant that will begin serving guests when Toy Story Land opens on June 30th.

Woody’s Lunch Box will dish up all sorts of sandwiches and sides that blend classic flavor combinations with a modern twist, plus nostalgic soda floats and specialty beverages.

Lenny DeGeorge, Concept Development Culinary Director for Walt Disney World, spoke about the year-long menu development process, “Everyone has a special food memory, so it can be tricky putting a modern spin on the favorites.  We honored these classic dishes by using the best ingredients to elevate the flavors. How we constructed the sandwiches was important, such as layering the ingredients in a specific order, to maximize textures and flavors. Why have a cold sandwich when you can have a toasted hot, gooey cheese-filled one?”

Here’s a look into what will be offered at Woody’s Lunch Box –

Breakfast –

S’more French Toast Breakfast Sandwich – Oozy goodness in a chocolate ganache- and marshmallow-stuffed French toast topped with graham cracker crumbles. Inspired by the classic American campfire treat.


Smoked Turkey, Eggs, Swiss, Peppers, and Onions on Sourdough – The perfect hand-held stack of breakfast goodness.

Breakfast Bowl – The green army men line up for this hearty bowl of potato barrels, brisket-country gravy, and scrambled eggs.

Banana Split Yogurt Parfait – Layers of banana-vanilla Greek yogurt (with a hint of honey), fresh bananas, strawberries, and pineapple topped with granola and chocolate chips. A delicious and healthful way to start the day!

Lunch/Dinner –

BBQ Brisket Melt – With a nod to cowboy Woody, this Texas-style smoked brisket features cheddar, Monterey Jack, pickles, and BBQ sauce on garlic butter-grilled sourdough.

Monte Cristo with Raspberry Jam – Woody’s version of this classic sandwich has layers of ham, turkey, Swiss, and raspberry jam…and is grilled to a golden brown.

Totchos – Potato barrels, corn chips, chili, and cheese.

Smoked Turkey, Tomato, and Lettuce on Multigrain Bread – This quintessential lunch box sandwich is a light and fresh option. And to give it a kick of flavor, we add a creamy Dijonnaise.

Sides will include tomato basil soup, vegetable macaroni salad, and potato barrels along with Mini Babybel snack cheese.  The snack cheese is also available as an on-the-go snack.

There will also be a souvenir cup available.  The adorable Alien Sipper may be purchased and filled with any fountain drink or the signature Mystic Portal Punch – Powerade Mountain Berry Blast with flavors of lemon-lime and tangerine.

Adults will be able to  enjoy the backyard with a Grown-Up’s Lemonade cocktail (cherry vodka, Odwalla Lemonade, and black cherry purée), beer, or hard cider.

My personal favorites are the Breakfast Bowl for breakfast and the BBQ Brisket for lunch or dinner.  Yeah…I have to admit that brisket looks mighty good.

I’m sure the food options along with the wonderful theming of the area the atmosphere and ambience will be great….yes, making Woody Lunch Box an “attraction” that must be visited.

Here is the full menu that will be available when Woody’s Toy Box opens –

Breakfast –

Entrées:

S’mores French Toast Sandwich  $7.99

Breakfast Bowl  $8.49

Breakfast Sandwich  $7.49
Banana Split Yogurt Parfait  $5.99
Kids Meals –
S’mores French Toast Sandwich
served with choice of small Lowfat Milk or small Dasani® Bottled Water

$5.99
Breakfast Sandwich
Smoked Turkey, Eggs, Swiss, Peppers and Onions on Sourdough served with choice of small Lowfat Milk or small Dasani® Bottled Water

$5.49
Lunch and Dinner –
Entrées:
BBQ Brisket Melt
served with choice of Side

$12.99
Monte Cristo with Raspberry Jam
served with choice of Side

$11.49
Smoked Turkey Sandwich
Smoked Turkey, Tomato and Lettuce on Multigrain Bread served with choice of Side

$9.99
Grilled Three-Cheese Sandwich
served with choice of Side

$8.99
Totchos
Potato Barrels, Corn Chips, Chili and Cheese topped with Sour Cream

$8.99
Kids Meals –
Turkey Sandwich
served with Potato Barrels, Mandarin Orange and choice of small Lowfat Milk or small Dasani® Bottled Water

$6.79
Grilled Cheese
served with Potato Barrels, Mandarin Orange and choice of small Lowfat Milk or small Dasani® Bottled Water

$5.99
Desserts –
Raspberry Lunch Box Tart
$3.29
Chocolate-Hazelnut Lunch Box Tart
$3.29
Beverages –
Assorted Coca-Cola® Offerings $3.29
Assorted Fountain Beverages – Souvenir Alien Sipper
your choice of Fountain Beverage served in a Souvenir Alien Sipper

$14.99
Mystic Portal Punch
POWERade® Mountain Berry Blast with flavors of Lemon-Lime and Tangerine

$4.49
Mystic Portal Punch – Souvenir Alien Sipper
POWERade® Mountain Berry Blast with flavors of Lemon-Lime and Tangerine served in a Souvenir Alien Sipper

$16.19
Ice Cream Float with Barq’s® Root Beer
$4.99
Dasani® Bottled Water – 20 oz
$3.00
Dasani® Bottled Water – 12 oz
$2.00
smartwater
$4.50
Cold Brew Joffrey’s® Coffee
$3.79
Coffee
regular or decaf

$2.79
Lowfat Mickey Milk – 8 oz
$1.99
Alcoholic Beverages –
Grown-Up’s Lemonade
Three Olives Black Cherry Vodka, odwalla® Lemonade and Black Cherry Purée

$9.25
Bud Light Lager
16 oz Draft Beer

$6.75
Blue Moon Belgian White Ale – Golden, CO
16 oz Draft Beer

$7.25
Angry Orchard Crisp Apple Hard Cider – Cincinnati, OH
16 oz Draft Beer

$8.00

Disney and Pixar Announce Official Release Date for Toy Story 4

Toy Story fans have been waiting for a release date for Toy Story 4 since John Lasseter announced that the fourth installment of the franchise was announced at the D23 Expo last July.  Well….now we have an official release date for the movie.

On Friday it was announced on the film’s Facebook page that Woody, Buzz, and the rest of the gang are coming back to a theater near you on June 21, 2019.

Josh Cooley is now directing the film after John Lasseter stepped down from the project and Stephany Folsom has been tapped to write the next instalment of the franchise.

It’s unlikely that we’ll learn anything about the movie beyond the rumors until next year. Currently the rumors are suggesting that the movie is going to be about Woody and Bo Peep’s relationship and will not be a direct sequel to Toy Story 3. At least that’s what the rumors are saying.

The voice cast includes Tom Hanks, Laurie Metcalf, Annie Potts, Tim Allen, Joan Cusack, Kristen Schaal, Bonnie Hunt and among others.

On the surface June 2019 seems like a long time from now, but it’s going to be here sooner than we all think.  I for one cannot wait.  This is exciting news.

Hey Howdy Hey!

Disneyland Resort Quick-Service and Fast Casual Restaurants to be Getting Mobile Ordering

According The Disney Parks Blog guests eating at fast casual and quick-service restaurants at Disneyland and Disney California Adventure will soon be getting the ability to order their meals ahead of time on their phones.

The mobile ordering service, which has been very popular since its inception at Walt Disney World last year, allows guests to easily search for a participating location, select an arrival time window for pickup, choose items from the menu and place their order. Guests that use the service will notify the restaurant of their arrival on the app. When their meal is ready the app will let guests know with a notification along with letting them know which pick up area they can go to pick up their meal without ever waiting in line to order and pay.

According to Disney Annual Passholder will also be able to to apply their discount to meal purchases using the app.

Disney has not yet said when the service will be implemented or which dining locations will see it first, but assured everyone that more information will be announced soon.

While I have not had the chance to use the service at Walt Disney World yet, I’ve heard nothing but good things about its convenience and how well it is working out.