Garden Grill Restaurant to Offer Modified Character Experience

The dining location list for EPCOT’s re-opening on July 15th has been updated to include a modified character experience at the Garden Grill.

The restaurant usually features table side appearances by Mickey, Pluto, Chip & Dale. While we are sure that table side appearances will not happen, it isn’t clear what the modified experience will be.  It seems that a walk-through would seem the most likely scenario.

Walt Disney World Releases Full Listing of Theme Park Dining Locations

Walt Disney World has released the full list of dining locations that will be open when the theme parks open in a few weeks.

Magic Kingdom

When Magic Kingdom park reopens on July 11th, the following locations will be available for dining:

Aloha Isle
Auntie Gravity’s Galactic Goodies
Be Our Guest Restaurant
Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe
Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company
Jungle Navigation Co. LTD Skipper Canteen
Liberty Square Market
Liberty Tree Tavern
Main Street Bakery
Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn and Cafe
Pinocchio Village Haus
The Plaza Restaurant
Sleepy Hollow
Storybook Treats
Sunshine Tree Terrace
Tony’s Town Square Restaurant

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

When Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park reopens on July 11th, the following locations will be available for dining:

Anandapur Ice Cream Truck
Creature Comforts
Dawa Bar
Dino-Bite Snacks
Flame Tree Barbecue
Harambe Fruit Market
Isle of Java
Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company
Mr. Kamal’s
Nomad Lounge
Pongu Pongu
Rainforest Cafe® at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Restaurantosaurus
Satu’li Canteen
Tamu Tamu Refreshments
Thirsty River Bar & Trek Snacks
Tiffins Restaurant
Trilo-Bites
Yak & Yeti™ Local Food Cafes
Yak & Yeti™ Restaurant

EPCOT

When EPCOT reopens on July 15th, the following locations will be available for dining:

Biergarten Restaurant
Choza de Margarita
Coral Reef Restaurant
Crepes des Chefs de France
Fife & Drum Tavern
Funnel Cake
Garden Grill Restaurant
Gelati
Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company
Joy of Tea
Kabuki Café
Katsura Grill
L’Artisan des Glaces
La Cantina de San Angel
La Cava de Tequila
La Hacienda de San Angel
The Land Cart
Le Cellier Steakhouse
Popcorn in Canada
Refreshment Outpost
Refreshment Port
Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue
Rose & Crown Dining Room
Rose & Crown Pub
San Angel Inn Restaurante
Spice Road Table
Sunshine Seasons
Tangierine Café
Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival kiosks
Traveler’s Café
UK Beer Cart
Via Napoli Ristorante e Pizzeria

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

When Disney’s Hollywood Studios reopens on July 15th, the following locations will be available for dining:

50’s Prime Time Café
Anaheim Produce
Backlot Express
BaseLine Tap House
Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo
The Hollywood Brown Derby
The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge
Joffrey’s Coffee & Tea Company
Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano
Milk Stand
Oga’s Cantina at the Walt Disney World Resort
Peevy’s Polar Pipeline
PizzeRizzo
Ronto Roasters
Rosie’s All-American Café
Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant
Sunshine Day Bar
The Trolley Car Café

Walt Disney World Will Not Use Virtual Queues or Single Rider Lines When Parks Re-Open

Despite rumors about virtual queues, according to sources, Disney has informed Cast Members that they will not be using them when the parks re-open on July 11th and July 15th.  This includes Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance. It appears that Disney is confident that it can control attendance at the park, which probably will mean manageable queues at the attractions.

While we have known that FastPass+ will not be available for some time, it appears that Single Rider lines will also no longer be available.

From everything that we’ve been told, Disney will be using every inch of its vast queue capacity to maintain social distancing.

So assuming you can secure a reservation into the park, the lack of queue complications should make for a very pleasant, no-planning experience.

Walt Disney World Provides Key Attraction and Entertainment Details for Phased Re-Opening

In the Disney Parks Blog earlier today, Walt Disney World provided key information regarding its attractions and entertainment during the phased re-opening of its theme parks.

Magic Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will open on July 1th and Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will open on July 15th.

In the blog post, Disney states that most attractions will be available at each park.  While Disney does not provide an exhaustive list, they do provide the names of key attractions in each park that will be open.

Magic Kingdom

  • Seven Dwarfs Mine Train
  • Space Mountain
  • Pirates of the Caribbean

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • Kilimanjaro Safaris
  • Expedition Everest
  • Flight of Passage

Epcot

  • Soarin’
  • Frozen Ever After
  • Test Track

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance
  • Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway

As I’ve mentioned, this is not an exhaustive or extensive list.  Based on the wording of the blog post, many if not all of each parks could be open.  I believe that nearly all of the attractions of each park will be open and Disney only managed to mention the major attractions in order to alleviate fears of attending guests that these attractions might not be open.

It is also important to note that the refurbishment of Spaceship Earth has been postponed, or as Disney states “paused” during this phased re-opening.

If you’re worried about seeing characters, Disney addressed this….

Just as you may have seen recently at Disney Springs, our characters will appear in new and different ways that bring a smile to your face while also being mindful of physical distancing. From special cavalcades down the Magic Kingdom Park parade route and friends sailing the waterways of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, to processions along the World Showcase promenade at EPCOT and motorcades on Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Hollywood Boulevard, each area will come to life throughout the day. You never know when a party of your pals may come by, so be prepared for plenty of surprises!

For example, after rocketing through space in Tomorrowland you might see that famous Space Ranger, Buzz Lightyear; or discover a captive Captain Jack Sparrow as you traverse the Castillo del Morro on your way to Pirates of the Caribbean. You could cross paths with Queen Anna and Elsa as they venture “into the unknown” on a journey around World Showcase at EPCOT or spy members of the Resistance hiding out from the First Order throughout Black Spire Outpost on the planet Batuu.

Disney added that guests will also be returning several musical groups to the parks.  When we return home to the theme parks we can look forward to seeing Main Street Philharmonic at Magic Kingdom Park, plus the Mariachi Cobre and everyone’s favorite funky drumming crew the JAMMitors at EPCOT, plus many more.

While we won’t be seeing parades, in the traditional sense, and there won’t be any character Meet and Greets, it is good to see that we will still will be able to see the characters that make trips to Walt Disney World special each time.  I’m also glad to see some live entertainment returning, even if it is at a distance.

Walt Disney World Cancels Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, Updates International Food and Wine Festival

In an announcement late Thursday, Walt Disney World announced that Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party would be cancelled and that an abbreviated International Food and Wine Festival would be returning.

Due to restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic and recovery, Disney has cancelled Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party for 2020. While disappointing, I’m not surprised by this at all.  In fact when MNSSHP wasn’t cancelled when everything else was when Walt Disney World announced their re-opening plans, I was surprised.  I couldn’t see how they could pull off the party adequately when they were canceling parades and fireworks for the parks.  Disney says as much in the announcement….

While assessing another fall special event, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, we determined that many of its hallmarks – stage shows, parades and fireworks – are unable to take place in this new, unprecedented environment. With that in mind, we have made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

Also in the announcement, Walt Disney World has canceled H2O Glow Nights, the nighttime special ticket event at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon, will not take place for the remainder of 2020.

Guests who have already bought tickets to these events will be assisted with refunds over the coming weeks.

With all of this disappointing news, how about some good news?

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival will be returning, though in an abbreviated form and with a new name.

In the announcement Disney says –

One staple of the fall season at the Walt Disney World Resort is the annual EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival. Today, we’re pleased to share that not only have we cooked up a creative, modified festival experience, it will also be our longest festival yet – giving you plenty of time to enjoy “A Taste of EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival!”

This take on the foodie festival will debut July 15 and continue through the fall, offering over 20 signature global marketplaces like Hawaii, Hops & Barley, and Islands of the Caribbean, spaced out around the park.

While announcing the return of the festival, Disney also stated that the “Eat to the Beat Concert Series” will not be returning this year. Disney did add that there will be plenty of music to enjoy at America Gardens Theatre with local EPCOT entertainment such as Mariachi Cobre, the JAMMitors and more.

Health & Safety Protocol Information From Walt Disney World Re-Opening Presentation

Below are some of the slides that Jim McPhee, Senior VP of Operations at Walt Disney World used at the Orange County Task Force meeting on Wednesday.

Walt Disney World Sets Opening Dates

Walt Disney World announced minutes ago that they will be opening in phases. Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom will open on July 11th, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studio will open on July 15th.

The phased reopening  will come with limits. Disney indicated that guests will need park reservations each day to enter a theme park.  There will be no fireworks or parades.  There also will be limited to no character meet and greets.

I will update this later today if I see more detailed information or as soon as Disney provides more details.

Walt Disney World Announces Details and Opening Dates for Disney Parks Experiences

For some time we’ve known that Walt Disney World Resort is probably undergoing its most significant period of growth in quite some time.  Today, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products Chairman Bob Chapek made public some exciting updates on a few of the experiences currently in development across the resort.

Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway will be opening on March 4, 2020, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios!  On Mickey & Minnie’s Runaway Railway, you’ll step through the movie screen and join Mickey, Minnie and friends like never before – bursting into a world where mouse rules apply.

Star Wars: Galactic Starcruiser will begin “transporting” guests to a galaxy far, far away in 2021!  In this new type of immersive vacation, guests will become the hero of their own adventure in an experience that surrounds you 24/7 in Star Wars storytelling.

Remy’s Ratatouille Adventure will open summer 2020 in the France pavilion at Epcot. Today Disney shared the image above showing Disney Imagineers at work creating the immersive attraction. The attraction brings guests on an adventure with Chef Remy through Gusteau’s restaurant.

Mickey Shorts Theater in Disney’s Hollywood Studios will show an original short film in the style of the popular Disney Channel animated series “Mickey Mouse,” and will feature photo-opportunity locations for guests.  Today Disney shared a rendering that shows the interior of the theater, including fun Mickey Mouse-themed seats.

Disney’s DuckTales World Showcase Adventure is coming to Epcot!  Guest are now invited to join Scrooge McDuck, Donald, Launchpad, Webby and the nephews in search of priceless treasure. Using the Play Disney Parks mobile app, guests will take a trip around World Showcase discovering exotic destinations, exciting mysteries, and maybe even a few thieves, villains and supernatural guardians of ancient artifacts.

Epcot will debut three new films on Jan. 17, 2020:

“Awesome Planet” in The Land pavilion showcases the Earth’s beauty and diversity in a 10-minute film featuring spectacular imagery, in-theater effects and an original musical score from Academy Award-winning® composer Steven Price.

“Beauty and the Beast Sing-Along” in the France pavilion is directed and produced by Don Hahn, producer of the animated and live-action “Beauty and the Beast” films, and invites guests to participate in a twist on a tale as old as time. It also features narration from Angela Lansbury, who played Mrs. Potts in the original film. The new sing-along will run in rotation with “Impressions de France,” which will receive an upgrade to 4K projection.

“Canada Far and Wide in Circle-Vision 360” in the Canada pavilion is an update to the previous “O Canada!” film with new scenes, a new musical score by Canadian composer Andrew Lockington and new narration by award-winning actors Catherine O’Hara and Eugene Levy.

Space 220 Restaurant will be debuting this winter!  Space 220 is a new table-service restaurant at Epcot that will be located next to Mission: SPACE. When guests enter the restaurant, they will step into a special space elevator that will take everyone 220 miles above the earth’s surface and offer incredible celestial views.

Regal Eagle Smokehouse: Craft Drafts & Barbecue will be the new fast-casual restaurant that’ll open this winter at The American Adventure in Epcot serving classic barbecue and home-style craft brews. Regal Eagle will celebrate American backyard barbecue with flavors from different regions around the United States. This is a restaurant that I’m really looking forward to eating at.  This is a restaurant that many people have longed for for some time.

Roundup Rodeo BBQ Restaurant will be coming to Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in 2020 and invites guests to a rootin’, tootin’ rodeo right in Andy’s backyard! This immersive restaurant will provide yet another unique, fun, family-friendly dining experience that could only be had in Toy Story Land.

 

 

Walt Disney World Announces Date That Skyliner Takes Flight

A new era in Disney transportation is right around the corner!

Today Walt Disney World announced that on September 29th, the Disney Skyliner gondolas will officially begin transporting guests around Walt Disney World Resort.

In the Disney fan community, this date is possibly the most anticipated, just short of when Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge was opening.  Now that I think about it, since SWGE opening was announced a few weeks ago, this probably was the currently most anticipated.

Disney Skyliner will connect Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot to four of its resort hotels: Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort and the new Disney’s Riviera Resort which is scheduled to open in December 2019.

The gondolas will feature graphics based on Disney films, attractions and characters. Disney has previously featured a few of the character cabins on the Disney Parks Blog, including those with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Pluto and Chip & Dale.

Some of the other Disney themes featured will include:

  • “Coco”
  • Goofy, Pete, Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow
  • “Finding Dory”
  • Haunted Mansion
  • “Monsters, Inc.”
  • Pirates of the Caribbean
  • “Ratatouille”

Walt Disney World Announces a Number of Closures and Relocations in Epcot’s Future World Transformation

Walt Disney World has announced that there will be a number of relocations and closures related the the re-imagineering of Epcot’s Future World.  If you are heading to Walt Disney World this fall or winter be aware of the information listed below.

Disney has confirmed the following….

Closing on September 8th, 2019 –

Art of Disney – eventually moving to Heritage Manor (American Adventure)

Fountain of Nations

Innoventions East – Colortopia and Nanooze Break

Epcot’s Character Spot (Innoventions East) –

  • Mickey and Goofy will be moving to Imageworks
  • Minnie will be moving to the World Showcase Gazebo
  • Daisy Duck will be moving to The American Adventure
  • Joy, Sadness & Baymax will be moving to a location yet to be announced

Closing Late Fall 2019 –

  • Fountain View (Starbucks)
  • Club Cool
  • Pin Central will operate temporarily from a new location while refurbishment is underway
  • Camera Center will close to become a new home for Pin Central.

Closing Winter 2019 –

  • MouseGear to be Re-Imagineered (will be relocated to a temporary location)
  • Electric Umbrella (new dining location coming later)