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News and Views Around Walt Disney World-Christmas Week 2013

News and Views Around Walt Disney World-Christmas Week 2013

Have yourself a Merry Christmas at Walt Disney World! You won’t be alone as this is the busiest time of year at the Parks. Expect the Magic Kingdom to be at capacity and closed early Christmas morning.  Monday morning the crowd was not so bad, but by 10AM it was really growing in numbers. By the time of the second Christmas parade of the afternoon it was very crowded.   Lines grew long by the minute.  Magic Kingdom is opening at 7AM with Extra Magic Hours for resort guests, all the other guests will be allowed in at 8AM.  If you have a dining reservation in the Magic Kingdom, you will want to get there at opening and stay through your mealtime because even having a reservation will not get you back in the park if it closes due to capacity crowds.  Disney does not offer these numbers to guests publicly so you may not know until you reach the turnstiles if you will be getting in.

 

Please take a moment to wish the Cast Members Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year as they are not with their families, but here, to make your Christmas and New Year even more magical.  It is not their fault if something doesn’t go perfectly as planned or you feel you spent too much money.  This is the busiest time for the resort and many of these cast members are working double shifts to accommodate the extended hours and larger crowds. I wished a Cast Member a Merry Christmas while she handed me my purchase and behind me a woman was telling me to get out of her way so she could buy her item.  Slow down and enjoy the joy of the holidays and share that with others.

While at Magic Kingdom you won’t want to miss the Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade at 12:30PM and 3:30PM and the special Holiday Wishes Celebrate the Spirit of the Season nighttime spectacular at 10:00PM. Other special holiday offerings include the Holly Jolly Trolley Show on Main Street USA, the Jingle Cruise in Adventureland, and the Celebrate the Magic light show on the Cinderella Castle with a new finale featuring scenes from Disney’s Frozen.  In Tomorrowland is the Totally Tomorrowland Christmas Show  with 5 shows daily,  and Cinderella’s Holiday Wish show seen only at 6:15PM in the Castle forecourt are also worth your time to see.  Some restaurants not often open are available to you too, such as the Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant, The Diamond Horseshoe, Tortuga Tavern, and the Golden Oak Outpost.  There are some additional food stands appearing as well.  Make sure you take a peek at the next Fantasyland attraction: 7 Dwarfs Mine ride so you can share your description of it with family and friends back home.  It will be open in 2014.  Maybe you will even see the train running down the track, although empty right now, it is still exciting to see the ride construction and testing going on.

Epcot has extra porta-potties up in anticipation of the large crowds.  The Holidays Around the World will continue through December 30, 2013. To make the most of these offerings, pick up a copy of the Festival guide and Passport.  The regular Times Guide and Map do not offer all the information you need.  The special Holiday music is being played through some locations in the Park and live performances from the Voices of Liberty-Dickens Carolers, Joyful! And Canadian Holiday Voyageurs continue to delight Epcot guests.  The long season is taking its toll on cast members who sing in their storytelling about their Holiday as one I heard yesterday could not get through a single phrase of her song without coughing.  There are at least two people for that location so hopefully you will still be able to hear the beautiful music that surrounds the Holiday of Hanukkah.  The Candlelight Processional speakers this week are Steven Curtis Chapman and Blair Underwood. Amy Grant will conclude the series December 29 and 30, 2013.

 

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Although many have been anticipating the opening of the newest Epcot restaurant Spice Road Table which has been slated to open prior to the end of 2013, it is yet unopened and Disney has now pushed the opening back to “early 2014” without a specific opening date given.  There is a sign for the restaurant and painted signage up for the shopping section of the building.  On Sunday there were no Epcot table service restaurants with openings for that day.  The quick service restaurants were busy but handled the crowds well.

Posters from the Saving Mr. Banks film just released were being given out at the Mary Poppins and Bert meet and greet area in the United Kingdom area of Epcot yesterday.  They are available while supplies last.

Animal Kingdom offers Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade at 3:45PM daily, which is the safari themed parade joining in the Holiday spirit.  They also offer the chance to get photos with some Mickey and Minnie dressed in their Holiday finest.  Adventurers Outpost is where the majority of the characters will be found, but you will also find them spread throughout the park.   Perhaps the biggest news here is that the Animal Kingdom park hours are extended to 8PM on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday and until 9PM on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  All attractions do not remain open until Park closing though so check your Times Guide carefully so that you don’t miss attractions you don’t want to miss. Kilimanjaro Safari’s has the last departure at 4:30PM. Expedition Everest is not on the “special hours” section of the Times Guide so it is expected to be open until Park closing.

Over at Hollywood Studios we can now visit the Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special with 6  20-minute shows daily. You will find it at the Premiere Theater on the Streets of America. This special Holiday offering will be available through January 5, 2014. There is no additional cost for this show.  Expect some audience participation in this show!)  Back here we can also find the Disney Food Trucks from 11:30AM until 3:00PM. (There are two trucks at a new location in WestSide Downtown Disney near the live entertainment venue. The business was up at these new locations so expect those trucks to show up there rather that next to the parking lot by Cirque du Soleil where they were virtually unnoticed.)  If you have little ones that want to enjoy Disney Junior-Live on Stage you will want to attend the earlier shows at 9:20AM or 10:20AM.  It is also recommended that you attend the morning shows of Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show at 11AM Sunday through Wednesday or 10AM Thursday through Saturday. If you need a spot to rest your legs, or let a little one take a nap on you inside where the temperature is a bit cooler, then step into the ABC Sound Studio, near Echo Lake, to watch some Disney favorite films. The films run continuously from 10:30AM until Park closing. Fantasmic! Will be shown three times Tuesday through Saturday this week! Showtimes are 6:30PM, 8:00PM, and 10:00PM. An option your party may enjoy is a Taste of Hollywood to Go which is a meal option that includes a boxed meal AND you get a reserved seat for Fantasmic!  The meal choices include fried chicken, shrimp salad, roast beef and more.  These are while supplies last at Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner on Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week from 11:00AM to 8:00PM.   If you haven’t seen the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights, don’t miss it! The light show runs from dusk to park closing.  You can actually enjoy the lights for a little while after official park closing and it is not as crowded as earlier in the evening. I would recommend waiting until the lights have been on for at least a half hour or go near park closing time to avoid the most congested viewing times. Santa Goofy will be available near the entrance of the Osborne Lights from 1:00PM through Park closing.  Don’t have a meal reservation? There are still good food options available including the new Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge with seating inside and outside.

 

For a no obligation, FREE Quote with new bookings contact our sponsor Magical Vacation Planner by calling: 1(407)442-0289 Or for a free no obligation quote with new bookings you can fill out the form by Clicking HERE!

Other news: Typhoon Lagoon has reopened and that means that Blizzard Beach will be closed from December 22, 2013 through March 15, 2014.  Beaches and Cream at the Beach Club resort has now started taking reservations.  This is a very popular table-service restaurant that serves sandwiches, salads, and ice cream concoctions including “The Kitchen Sink” sundae large enough for a family to share.  You will find booths or tables inside this small eatery and some additional seating outside which is also poolside to perhaps the very best Disney resort pool in Walt Disney World. La Nouba at Cirque du Soleil at Downtown Disney celebrated its 15th anniversary on Dec. 18th with Mickey and Minnie.  Downtown Disney Marketplace has special Holiday All-Star Carolers, Santa at his Chalet, Santa Goofy during afternoons and evenings and Kuumba (Kwanzaa Celebration) during the evening hours.  At Downtown Disney West Side you will see Snowflake Stilt Walkers and Snow Drifters Carolers in the evening hours. Downtown you will also find new 2014 merchandise that has fan selected artwork such as t-shirts and coffee mugs.  This past weekend Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom was evacuated for two hours as a “special precaution” due to a call made from out of state.  No other information is available at this time and the rest of the park remained open during this event.  The All Star Sports End Zone food court just reopened and if you purchased a refillable resort mug here you will enjoy the expanded drink stations. They also have build-your-own-burgers, and salad, pasta food stations. You won’t want to miss the gelato station for dessert.  The food court occupies the same space as before, it is just changed in appearance and layout. The Game Point arcade is open again, as an arcade. It was used temporarily as a grab and go food station while the food court was being renovated.

We hope that you have a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful time whether you are at the Disney Resort or cozy at home with family.

By Cassie

About Cassie

Cassie L. I am a lifelong Disney fan. I attended Walt Disney World in 1971, and was there during the opening week of EPCOT, and have visited the Disney Parks for than 30 times. I have had the privilege of visiting Disneyland as a child, and then again with my children. My family recently moved from the northeastern United States to the Walt Disney World area. I now have cast members in my family and enjoy hearing the magical stories at the end of a shift. I love visiting all of the parks and getting to try more Disney food and being able to share it with you to help you plan your own magical day at Disney.