News and Views Around Walt Disney World-second week of November, 2013
Holiday decorations go up in Downtown Disney by the 15th, continuing through December 29, 2013.
The 38th annual Festival of the Masters Fine Art show in Downtown Disney last weekend was well attended. My family especially enjoyed the chalk artists. This is an annual event that stretches from the Marketplace end to the West end of Downtown Disney. You have the opportunity to purchase official Disney art from the artists themselves, learn about creating art, participate in creating art in places like the LEGO store, watch artistic demonstrations, and added this year were artistically designed cocktails available throughout Downtown Disney.
I know it is still two weeks until Thanksgiving, but you can visit Santa in his Downtown Disney Chalet on Friday and Saturday from 5PM to 10PM. The Chalet is located between World of Disney and the Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop.
Announcement: Marketplace Co Op will be coming to Downtown Disney Spring 2014. The location will take over the space currently known as Team Mickey which will close in January 2014. There is no mention of Ridemakerz being relocated so if you want to make one of those super cool cars you better head over there soon. Ridemakerz was floundering here after losing its own store and then hidden away in the back of Team Mickey. The new Co Op Marketplace will serve as a host to multiple marketplaces such as Beautifully Disney, make up, perfumes, beauty accessories; Cherry Tree Lane-fashion accessories; D-Tech on Demand-personalized and customized electronics; The Trophy Room-vintage inspired sports merchandise; Centerpiece-home furnishings; Zoey and Pickles-accessories, fashion for young girls.
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Hollywood Studios-Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights lit up the Streets of America and will continue through January 5. This is more than your average Christmas light show. You will see millions of lights, including some that are animated, 3-D effects, and they are all synchronized to holiday music. And it doesn’t just snow on Main Street at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party; it snows on the Streets of America too. So stop in the Writer’s Stop and grab a hot cocoa, a holiday cookie, and wait for it……..boom! Lights, music, snow, and all to put you in the Christmas spirit!
Animal Kingdom-Mickey’s Jingle Jungle Parade running through January 2, 2014. You can view it at 3:45 daily.
There is a new baby Hartmann Mountain Zebra, typically seen in the mountains of southwestern Africa and considered to be endangered, added to the herd at the Animal Kingdom Lodge savanna. After a one year long pregnancy this rare breed filly enjoys the grasses of central Florida next to its mother.
Epcot-Canada has a brand new line of fudge, let’s get some! It is Canada, so I have to pick the one with maple in it. Maple Creamy Butter Fudge, $9.95 for seven individually wrapped pieces, a total of 5.6oz. The flavor is a good maple-y flavor, rich and fairly creamy. There is no graininess to it. It is a pricey piece of candy, but would be a great treat for seven people to enjoy while walking about in the Canadian Pavilion. The box says they are “gluten-free”; “it contains milk and soy. Produced in a plant that uses nuts and peanuts.” The expiration date is in the end of July 2014. It is indeed a product of Canada. Always check the pre-packaged snacks in the Epcot gift shops as many are not even from the country they are supposed to be representing. Understandably, if the product can be purchased by a provider in the US, it may be a better business decision to purchase the item locally. But sometimes it should be balanced with the popularity of that item from the country it represents. For instance: The Maple Leaf cream cookies are about $7. in the Canadian pavilion, and very similar cookies can be found in local grocery stores for half of that but the ones in the local grocer’s is not from Canada. The shop offers a large variety of Canadian candies, Pure Maple Syrup, Crown Royal and Ice Wine, and an assortment of average snacks that can be redeemed with snack credits from the Disney Dining Plan. The shop also has a great assortment of funny sleepwear for all ages and genders; assortment of clothing with Canada on them, and one of the very best assortment of plush animals. I especially like the black bear head plush you can hang on your wall. They have animals typically found in Canada, some dressed as Canadian Mounties, and some animal hats. This is a good shop to visit if looking for affordable cozy things to wear.
Japan: fans of Pokémon will be very happy to see the brand new Pokémon X and Y Merchandise in the Mitsukoshi department store in the Japan Pavilion. They just received small plush, sets of plastic versions of the X and Y characters, models, etc. Sadly, the very nice assortment of Pokémon plush that filled large tables in the shop has been greatly reduced. This was a place we could find Pokémon that were not available anywhere else to us, and of such great quality.
I love Club Cool and I am so glad it is not leaving the park. The Epcot location is one of only three in the USA that serve up these Coca Cola beverages. The other two are in Atlanta and Las Vegas. New flavors at Club Cool which are joining the Italy flavor of Beverly (not the favorite of most guests), the only flavor from the previous group of flavors:
Greece-Fanta Pineapple. The Fanta 90+ flavors soda line began in Europe in the 1940’s and spread to the US in 1960’s.
Thailand-Fanta Melon Frosty: The number one soda in Thailand is my favorite of these selections.
Japan-VegitaBeta- a blend of apricot and passion fruit flavoring
South Africa-Bibo, is a fruity juice drink original to the country
Zimbabwe-Sparberry, a cream soda with raspberry flavoring that has been available in the country since 1955
Peru-Inca Kola, is a very sweet, some say bubble gum-flavored, soda
Brazil-Guarana Kuat, this guarana berry-flavored soda is very popular in Brazil, but my least favorite.
The former blue information station that had been used by the International Food and Wine Festival is now set up as a FastPass+ location for those with Magic Bands to make reservations/Fast Pass+ reservations. The FastPass+ is now only offering one Fast Pass per day in Epcot for Magic Band holders at this time.
Magic Kingdom-Limited Time Magic: Veteran’s Salute: This is one of the events Walt Disney World has been holding each week to offer guests a special experience. This week, in honor of Veteran’s day, Disney has had various Veterans’ to participate in the Flag Retreat ceremony at 5PM this Monday through Friday. There is also special music provided by the Main Street Philharmonic and the Voices of Liberty. Thank you to all of the Veterans who have served to make our country safer and free.
Peter Pan’s Flight has reopened after its long renovation down time. The line is once again wrapping that long wall of the attraction.
Get your It’s A Small World fix now because it will be closed Dec. 2 to 12. There is a new Disney doll line that is based on the Small World dolls. You can find all of them at the Emporium in Magic Kingdom or World of Disney at Downtown Disney.
Splash Mountain is also going to be down for extensive renovations beginning in January 2014. There is a boxed shape near the entrance of the attraction today, along with some new landscaping. We will have to come back when what is inside is revealed to us. It is in the same location that had a wooden carving of Br’er Rabbit. Sticking out the top you can see Br’er Rabbit and Br’er Bear’s head.
Jingle Jungle Cruise: I would encourage you to visit this holiday overlay of the classic Jungle Cruise ride that recently reopened after a lengthy renovation. More of the special overlay features can be seen during the daylight, but the Christmas lights at night are fun too. The captains have some special Holiday zingers to share and their homemade decorations to make them feel less homesick add a slightly different feel to the traditional Jungle Cruise. The wreath on the side and decorations on the front of the boat do not have lights so they are better viewed during the day. This is an attraction you should use a Fast Pass on if you can due to the heightened popularity of this ride.
Pirates of the Caribbean-This is one of my top must-do rides every time I visit the Magic Kingdom, so when things are missing or different, I notice it. I rode in the front on a few recent visits here and got wet. This is since the last renovation, so something is different because although it is a water ride, and I know to “expect” to get wet, usually I didn’t. So I tried the back seat and I got wet back there too. It seems to depend on how the boat is loaded, I think. In the front it was similar to a center row on Splash Mountain, although some people have gotten much wetter in this row. It was not as much in the back. The mist screen in the beginning is still not on.
Just a note on Glow with the Show ears will have special magic during the Celebrate the Magic show and Wishes at the Magic Kingdom; Fantasmic at Hollywood Studios.
Non Park News:
Palm golf course has been closed for major rehab work and as a result of battling heavy rains was pushed back to December 16. The greens have been covered with some kind of plastic material all week.
Adventures by Disney have announced a new venture into Norway in 2014. You and your family are invited to explore the Norwegian landscapes that inspired the new Disney film Frozen. The trip is for 8 days, 7 nights, and sees the same locations that inspired the film makers. The Stave Church in the Norway Pavilion is supposed to be reopening soon with displays of Norway culture and geography that inspired the film makers of Frozen and a look at where you will go in Norway on this adventure.