News and Views Around Walt Disney World This Week: November 7, 2013
This is a beautiful day here in Florida. What better place to enjoy a view of the beautiful blue sky than The Hollywood Tower Hotel, better known as Twilight Zone Tower of Terror? You get such a great look at the Hollywood Studios and beyond from this ride. Check out the photo below of this gorgeous sky. If you are feeling tired at the park, just take a ride on this for a quick pick-me-up…and down!
Just opening down the street is The Brown Derby Lounge that has both inside and outside patio seating. People were waiting at the gate for this place to open at 11AM. They are serving specialty cocktails, wine by the glass, beer, and Tapas style menu. Also available are flights of martinis, Champagne, wines, Scotch, and Grand Marnier. The tables filled up quickly. This is a great spot to people watch and relax with a nice beverage and bite to eat. Food items include cheese, tacos, mussels, lump blue crab, shrimp, and a couple of sliders. They also serve a few dessert options. No reservations accepted. Disney Dining Plan not accepted. The is located along the front edge of The Brown Derby and the smaller bar they had sitting out near the entrance to the Animation area is no longer there. This will surely be a hit for people that prefer spontaneous experiences rather than only having reservations for everything.
There is some more news in previously not available beverages here at Disney World: Club Cool in Epcot has 7 new flavors and one returning “favorite” Beverly. Club Cool is a place in Future World that has multiple soda machines dispensing Coke soft drinks that are popular around the world. Though I am personally very sad they got rid of China’s soda which was my favorite, I do like a couple of the new flavors. Thailand’s green colored soda tastes like melon. Zimbabwe’s red colored soda tastes quite a bit like liquid Smartee’s. Not sure why, but the floor did not even seem as sticky in there today. I love stopping at Club Cool to get a nice cold beverage halfway through Future World. You can get free refills of all the sodas served here. If you would like a frozen Coke, you can get that to, but that would need to be purchased. There is also Coke merchandise and a large collection of smart phone cases in the gift shop side.
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We are winding down on the International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot this week. The Festival officially ends on November 11. The food stands are all enjoying a brisk business even on an early Thursday afternoon. Walking down the promenade of World Showcase you smell so many enticing smells. Ok, made it as far as China and had to have the Mongolian Beef and Coconut Ice Cream. This stuff is amazing! But I really came to see Anna and Elsa who are doing Meet and Greets in Norway this week. Coming into Norway you may remember The Puffin’s Roost shop just past the Bakery on your left. (During the afternoon this area the line is in is very hot and has no shade. An umbrella would be a good idea if you are coming during the early afternoon.) This area has been made over into a temporary home for the sister stars of “Frozen”. The signage is very temporary with the banner actually attached with staples. The backdrop though is top notch. The ice castle can be seen in the window, and there is a snowflake in the floor covering. Anna and Elsa are engaging and beautiful. I watched them banter with two sisters that came to visit them about being sisters. Cast Members were handing out packages of Frozen character cards to introduce the other characters of the film “Frozen” that will be released on Thanksgiving Day. The greeting area empties into the neighboring gift shop where you can find all the Frozen merchandise as well as additional princess merchandise. Anna and Elsa are only scheduled to be here through early January 2014. Based on the hour long wait time now to meet them, even before the film hits the theaters, I would come to see them sooner rather than later. If you continue looking into the next gift shop you will find some new Thor merchandise also, just in time for the release of the new Thor movie tomorrow.
I have heard that the Magic Kingdom is all decked out for the Holidays already so let’s go see it! I love the view of the park from the Ticket and Transportation Center boat landing and Christmas music is playing here. You can also see the construction on the Polynesian resort next to the boat dock. There are what looks like pilings or piers being built in the water. The new DVC Villas are going to take a long time based on this view. Approaching the entrance to the park I see the invitation to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party scene. The first party is November 8 and I can’t wait to go! The large Mickey head in front of the train station is made of red flowers on a white flower background. The garlands of greens mixed with apples, oranges, lemons, pears and red bows that hang over the tunnel entrances are very pretty. As you emerge from the tunnels under the train station you are greeted by big wooden soldiers and giant red and white peppermint sticks on beds of red and white flowers in the square. The decorations on the white façade of City Hall look like a Christmas card. Christmas wreathes, candles, red bows and garland greens stretch across Main Street and all the buildings are festooned with colorful decorations. Each lamp post has a Mickey head-shaped decoration of Holiday greens, fruit and red bows. There is a “Candy Cane Garden” next to City Hall with a countdown calendar to Christmas day. There are giant candy canes, rows of peppermint candies, large toy soldiers, fully decorated Christmas trees and a very special meet and greet area that has a special red mailbox next to it. Hmm, who do you think may be greeting visitors here? Walking into the Emporium, we find many colorful Christmas displays. Colorful Disney stockings hanging in front of a fireplace display wall, walls of ornaments, tables full of holiday items, Disney plush, they are all so enticing to look at. Moving down Main Street it is easy to spot the Dapper Dans dressed up in red and white candy stripe vests, red pants, green bow ties, with striped bands on their straw hats entertaining the crowds with their singing and musical instruments. Do these Holiday decorations go throughout the park? Let’s go see. Passing the Jungle Cruise I check to see if there is any indication that they will be changing over night into the “Jingle Cruise”. No indication at all and their line is full as well as those waiting for their FastPass time to start. I have to ride Pirates of the Caribbean, come along! Wow, watch out if you are in the front row now. Since they changed their boats the front row actually gets wet! “Yo ho, yo ho, a Pirate’s life for me” but out here no Christmas decorations to see. Back in Fronteirland though the street lamps are decorated with pine boughs, small metal lanterns with candlelight, and red plaid bows. This fits the town so well. There are more decorations in some of the shops too.
Heading over to New Fantasyland from Fronteirland I can’t help seeing the beauty of Rapunzel’s tower in the fading light of the day. Coming around through Fantasyland the construction boards are still up around Peter Pan, and still up at Pinocchio Village Haus outdoor eating area. It is great to see the progress made on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Ride as we clear the corner at Pinocchio Village Haus. There are buildings finished, roofs completed, more structures coming together and a nice advance on the cosmetics of the ride. It is exciting to see it progress so much now. There has been no further update to the opening or a soft opening date, still just “2014” but we are getting closer.
I don’t see any sign of the Holidays in Tomorrowland yet. Space Mountain is really busy, so I opt for the Laugh Floor. After visiting Monster’s Inc Laugh Floor it was dark when the show was over and I was passing the Castle hub just as Cinderella’s Wish was starting, so I snapped a couple of pictures from where I was. Cinderella is asked by her Fairy Godmother how she would like her castle to be decorated with lights. Following her wish, sure enough, boom, there it is-just as Cinderella requested. Cinderella has good taste as thousands of sparkling white lights dripping over the castle makes it quite beautiful.
Well, I hope that you enjoyed this stroll through three of the Walt Disney World Parks today. I should say I did not see any Holiday decorations at Hollywood Studios, or Epcot yet, but have heard there are some at Animal Kingdom and that their Holiday version of the parade is starting this weekend. The Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights is also starting this weekend at Hollywood Studios. Just a reminder that the Osborne Spectacle of Dancing Lights is included in admission to Hollywood Studios there is no separate admission required for the lights. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom is a separate hard ticket event.