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Thursday, October 29, 2015

NEW: Club Villain party event to premier in Hollywood Studios beginning January 2016

Are you a fan of Disney villains? Well then we have the perfect event for you!

Your host Dr. Facilier invites guests to dance, mingle and dine as The Evil Queen, Maleficent, Cruella De Vil and The Queen of Hearts make appearances as a DJ performs with some wicked tunes. 

This new party will take place in the Sunset Showcase building near Rockin Roller Coaster.

The event will offer New Orleans styled food to include  tender beef striploin rubbed with herbes de Provence, Voodoo sticky “pig wings” with citrus gremolata and spicy shrimp sautéed with Andouille sausage, tomato, okra and onions over creamy polenta.

Guest can also enjoy specialty cocktails as well as beer and wine. 

This event is offered most (not all) Saturdays begining January 16th. So far reservations extend thru the end of March. No word how long these events will run. There are various times for the event depending on the date, so be sure to confirm before you purchase tickets. Times range from 5:45pm - 7:45pm - 9:15pm

Tickets to Club Villain can be purchased for $99 per person, tax and gratuity included. Reservations are recommended and can be made up to 90 days in advance, either by booking online here or by calling (407) 939-3463.

Learn more and reserve tickets HERE:

The fine print as found on the Disney website:
  • Separate admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is required, and is not included in the price of this package.
  • Club Villain will be offered on select evenings only. Please check the booking calendar for specific dates and times, as operating hours may vary.
  • This event will offer banquet style seating, so you may be seated with other parties.
  • Entertainment is subject to change or cancellation without notice.
  • Guests must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcoholic beverages. A valid form of government identification will be required to verify age.
  • This offer may not be combined with any other discounts or promotions.
  • Disney dining plan entitlements may not be redeemed for this event

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Monday, August 17, 2015

Preserving the Magic at Walt Disney World with a Disability Access Service Card

We have our first guest post from mom, Lauren Domitrovits. Lauren's son suffers from a rare genetic disease, ataxia-telangiectasia. As a result, she had been nervous about traveling to Walt Disney World. Traveling with little ones can be daunting on it's own, but add in a physical or emotional limitation, and parents often worry to the point of skipping a family vacation. Lauren recently went on her first family trip to Walt Disney World and was so happy with how truly magical Disney and cast members made it, that she wanted to share her story with other families to inspire them to to put their fears aside and let Disney help you temporarily "forget about your worries and your strife." 

Here is Lauren's story.

In August 2014, our three year old son, Brian was diagnosed with a rare genetic disease, ataxia-telangiectasia.  A-T is a progressive disease that is ultimately terminal.  WHAT IS A-T? Imagine a disease that combines the worst symptoms of muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, cystic fibrosis, immune deficiencies, and cancer. Children with A-T are usually confined to wheelchairs by age 10 and often do not survive their teens. Because A-T is a multi-system disease, scientists believe that A-T research will help more prevalent diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, AIDS, and cancer. - Learn more at:
It became the focus of our family to be sure that Brian is able to have meaningful experiences while he is still mobile and able to move independently; while he is carefree.  Obviously, one of our major goals was to get him to Disney World, Florida!  I had some major concerns for Brian’s stamina at the parks.  Right now, he is mobile and independent, but movement is still difficult…mostly exhausting.  Disney is the magical experience of a lifetime for children, and I didn’t want him to miss a second.  I was worried how we could possible drag him through the parks all day and have him be a part of all the excitement.  
Luckily, Brian’s godmother, Sarah, is a Disney bride who also happens to be a DVC member.  We had a “family” meeting because remember, friends are the family you choose!  We began planning the trip, the group trip of a lifetime!  Sarah mentioned the Disney Parks Disability Access Service Card (DAS), so I quickly started reading about it.  Success!  This was the key to Brian having a magical trip.  The DAS card can be obtained at Guest Services in Walt Disney World.  It allows people with disabilities to avoid waiting on long lines in the hot sun.  It also allowed our stroller to be marked as a wheelchair.  For Brian, this is what I needed!  The DAS card would provide me with a way to preserve his energy and allow him to utilize that energy on fun and excitement!  The website stated that there has been some widespread abuse of the DAS card, and that statement made me nervous because Brian doesn’t “look disabled.”  Unless you are watching him carefully for signs of A-T, you wouldn’t necessarily see it.  My pediatrician (and ultimate support system) helped ease my nerves by giving me a note on her letterhead that stated, “Brian requires the use of a DAS card.”  Phew!  A few clicks later, our DVC points trip was booked, a double BOB stroller would be delivered to our room from Kingdom Strollers, our DAS card note was packed and we were counting down to April!

We arrived at Magic Kingdom for our first stop.  Everyone was giddy with excitement and anxious to begin exploring.  We stopped at Guest Services first.  The staff was welcoming, compassionate and kind.  I showed them my note and explained the quick version of our situation and need. (Happily Ever Disney Note: Legally Disney can not request a Dr.'s note, however if you have one, you may offer to present it, and may ease the process.)  Within 10 minutes or less, our stroller had a wheelchair sticker on it, Brian had been photographed for his DAS card (which looked like a passport) and the total number of people in our group was printed on it.  BOOM!  We were off!  The DAS card worked easily and was similar to a FastPass, when Brian wanted to go on a ride that had a long line, for example, It’s a Small World. We brought the DAS card to the attendant at the front of the line and asked for a return time.  The attendant would check that the DAS holder (Brian) was present (the DAS card may NOT be used without the designated recipient, which I think is more than fair), and they would write a return time on our pass.  The return time was never more than 10 minutes.  We would enter through the Fast Pass line, with the stroller and quickly hop on the ride or join the attraction.  We were always greeted by a smiling Disney attendant who would take the stroller and bring it to the ride exit - I literally didn’t have to worry about ANYTHING.  Brian was always smiling and was able to use his energy effectively.
This pass worked just as smoothly at every park we went to: Magic Kingdom, Epcot, and Hollywood Studios.  What I loved most was watching Brian’s smile all day, every day.  Cast members went out of their way to greet him and make him feel special, but they never made him feel different.  Brian experienced every ounce of Disney magic that was available.  He laughed, he played, he smiled, he enjoyed himself, he ran, he jumped, he ate sweets, he shopped, and for those 7 days…our family was A-T free…the joy of that trip carried me for many months, and still does.  There is nothing like watching your child enjoy the sheer magic of Disney.  I can’t wait to go there with him again, and he hasn’t stopped asking to return since he left.  

Looking back, I firmly believe that without the DAS card, our trip would have had many bumps and difficulties.  Brian can’t enjoy things when he is fatigued, he becomes consumed by feeling tired, his speech slurs and the drool becomes significant.  We didn’t experience anything but happiness with that card.  What a gift…a magical gift.  So run!  Don’t walk!  Take your child on the trip of a lifetime .and let the DAS pass ease your mind and allow you to enjoy yourselves and leave all your stresses at home.

Lauren and her family are excited to have the opportunity to travel back to Disney World this Spring when they will visit Give Kids the World Village. Happily Ever Disney is a proud supporter of GKTW thru partner charity Magical Wishes for Kids who we volunteer with. You can learn more about GKTW and how you can help on our website

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with ataxia-telangiectasia, you may connect with Lauren and others in her facebook group, Hope for Brian

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Breakfast now permanent at Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom

Well it's official. Breakfast testing is over and it's here to stay! Booking is now open!

You can read our full write up outlining all the details for breakfast at Be Our Guest including menus and prices in our earlier article here:

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Garden Grill in Epcot to Serve Breakfast and Lunch

This incredibly popular character dinner location has just announced they will begin serving breakfast and lunch starting November 8th, 2015. Now you can enjoy all 3 meals with Chip 'n Dale, Pluto and farmer Mickey Mouse!

The restaurant, located on the upper level of The Land Pavillon, is Disney's only revolving dining local. It slowly revolves a full 360º as guests dine on their meals allowing the scenery of the The Living with the Land boat ride below to change throughout a meal. 

At breakfast guests will enjoy the new Chip 'n Dale's Breakfast Harvest Feast served all you-care-to-enjoy family style. Yummy items will include biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, crispy bacon, Mickey waffles, and their signature item, Chip's Sticky Bun Bake. 

At lunch guests can expect a meal very similar to dinner. Served all-you-care-to-enjoy family style, except the ever popular "Living with the Land" Harvest Salad which features ingredients grown in the Land Pavilion's green houses below. Other items include filet of beef, roasted turkey, freshly harvested vegetables, and an array of side dishes. 

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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Selfie Sticks to be completely banned from all four Walt Disney World parks.

NOTE: This has been confirmed by a Disney spokesperson. 

My inside sources have revealed that Disney will be banning selfie sticks from it's Walt Disney World parks entirely, not just on rides. You can expect these changes to come into effect very soon. Probably by the  end of this July, 2015

UPDATE: The ban will go into affect June 30th, 2015 and will also include both water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. 

UPDATE: Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure will also have a ban in affect beginning June 30th, 2015.

Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disney will begin a ban on July 1st. No official word about Tokyo Disneyland, although signs are leaning toward a future ban as well. 

Disney had made a huge push to remind guests that selfie stick use was not permitted on rides with new signage around the parks. Cast members have also been reminding guests to store the items while on rides. Either this approach is not working, OR too many people are being selfish and not paying attention when using their selfie sticks throughout the parks. I have often seen people walk right into others as they record themselves walking around Disney. It was also a huge pain the butt to get good pictures on our last visit because of all the selfie sticks in the way. Perhaps selfie sticks finally disrupted the magic enough to have them completely banned all together. 

Security will be checking guests and their bags for selfie sticks upon entering the parks. Guest that have selfie sticks will have the option to return it to their cars or resort or given the opportunity to hand it over where it will be kept be guest relations. Guests will be given a ticket to use to retrieve their selfie sticks once they exit the park. 

So what are your thoughts? Are you happy to see a selfie stick free Disney? Leave your comments below. 

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Monday, June 22, 2015

10 Tips to Help you Survive and Enjoy a Walt Disney World Parade.

  • Get your Fast pass.  Fast pass+ is recommended if a particular parade is a high priority of yours. I highly recommend it for the Festival of Fantasy Parade. Not only will you not have to fight the crowd for some space, but you will have a fantastic viewing spot. (Not all parades have fast passes, but major ones such as Festival of Fantasy Parade and The Main Street Electrical Parade do.)

  • Know where to go.  Preferred viewing for fast pass+ is temporarily being moved from in front of the castle to down by the flag pole during the Hub refurbishment construction. Be sure to ask where it is during your visit. 

  • Arrive early.  People will start to grab spots for the parade up to two hours early (and more). Even if you use fast pass+ you will want to arrive to the designated preferred viewing area at least 30 minutes ahead of time to get a good spot within the area. 

  • Pay attention to the details.  There is so much to see on all the floats and costumes. Disney crams a TON of magic into its parades. It tough to catch it all in one viewing. We often watch a parade more than once on our trips.

  • Interact with the characters. Not only will they wave and talk to you from the floats, but those dancing and walking along the street just may come up and interact with you. We had the pleasure of Dopey and the other dwarfs coming up and tickling my daughter and poking fun at my sons. 

  • Take pictures. We got a lot of memorable pictures. Most of the time if a character saw we were snapping a pic they would pose or do something funny. We snapped many awesome pictures to help us capture our trip during the parades. 

  • Grab a snack and drink. Kids (and adults) are much happier when they are fed and not too thirsty from the Florida sun and heat. Not only will it keep you from getting cranky, but it will help pass the time while you wait for the parade to start.

  • Go Potty. Yes I said it. Nothing spoils a parade like having to leave and fight the crowd to take a 3 year old to find a potty. It is also just as miserable to have to sit there while you yourself are about to burst. If you have little ones in the Magic Kingdom, there is a baby care center next to The Crystal Palace for them and you to go potty in. If you don't have little ones, there are plenty of restrooms nearby. 

  • Wear sunscreen.  I have to admit I am not a big sunscreen wearer. That being said, the daytime parades are the one time I apply it to myself and family at Disney. The sun will be directly above you and you will be standing still with very little shade. Some of the worst (and only) sunburns we have gotten at Disney were because of the parades. Even my family that lives there and have annual passes have made the mistake of not applying sunscreen and getting completely burnt. Not only will you be miserable and sore the rest of your trip, but you may even develop sun poisoning that leaves you feeling like you have the flu. Apply liberally and don't forget your ears and back of shoulders and neck. 

  • Glow Sticks/jewelry. In the evening when crowds gather for parades and fireworks, and the lights are dimmed it can be hard to spot your little ones (or spouse! lol). A good trick is to stock up on glow necklaces and bracelets before your trip and wear them to help spot your family members. I like to buy a bunch at my local dollar store and keep them in my backpack on our trip. 

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Frozen Ever After ride in Epcot replaces Maelstrom.

UPDATE: Frozen Ever After and Anna and Elsa's Sommerhus meet and greet have open!!!! Check out our videos on youtube to see them.

Frozen Ever After full ride POV

Anna and Elsa's Sommerhus

UPDATE: Frozen Ever After and Anna and Elsa's Summerhus meet and greet area will open June 2016! 

To learn about the new Anna and Elsa meet and greet area being built alongside of the new Frozen ride, CLICK HERE.

Disney has just released concept art for the newly named Frozen Ever After ride in Epcot.  
You couldn't have a Frozen ride without Elsa belting out Let It Go.
The ride, which replaces Maelstrom in the Norway Pavillon of World Showcase in Epcot, will follow the original ride's pattern and track as well as use the original boats. It will be set in Arendelle and all your favorite Frozen characters will be featured. Guests will get a glimpse of Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and steamy sauna. The trolls will be there too telling the love story of Anna and Kristof. You'll get to see Olaf singing and ice skating with Sven. Even Marshmallow (the giant guard snowman) and the Snowgies (featured in the short Frozen Fever) will join in on the fun as well. The final scene will feature a "grand finale" with the Frozen cast.

Frozen Ever After will incorporate the latest technological advances in animatronics. Like the dwarfs in the newer Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride in Magic Kingdom, the Frozen animatronics will feature projection animated faces. 

As more news and details are announced we will update. 

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Friday, June 5, 2015

The Kitchen Sink at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop

If you want one of the most insane dessert items you can find at Walt Disney World, be sure to get yourself a Kitchen Sink from Beaches & Cream Soda Shop in The Yacht and Beach Club Resort. It's one of those legendary Disney food items ranked right up there with Dole Whips, Turkey Legs and Mickey Ice Cream Bars. 

Here is what it contains:
  • ½ cup fudge topping, warmed
  • ½ cup butterscotch topping, warmed
  • ½ cup peanut butter topping, warmed
  • 1 medium banana, sliced in 1/2 –inch slices
  • 1 cinnamon spice cupcake (2 ½ x 1 ¼-inch), quartered
  • 1 angel food cupcake (3 x 1 ½-inch), quartered
  • 2 4-oz. scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 2 4-oz. scoops chocolate ice cream
  • 2 4-oz. scoops strawberry ice cream
  • 1 4-oz. scoop mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • 1 4-oz. scoop coffee ice cream
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • ¼ cup marshmallow crème
  • ¼ cup strawberry topping
  • ¼ cup pineapple topping
  • 1 14-oz can dairy whipped topping
  • 1 brownie (6-inch x 6-inch), quartered
  • 1 regular-sized (2 ounce) candy bar, quartered
  • 4 chocolate cookies with cream filling
  • 1 tablespoon sliced toasted almonds
  • 1 tablespoon dark and white chocolate shavings
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate cookies with cream filling, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped jellied orange slices (approximately 2 large slices)
  • 1 tablespoon milk chocolate chip morsels
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter chip morsels
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate sprinkles
  • 1 tablespoon rainbow sprinkles
  • ½ cup drained maraschino cherries
  • served in an actual mini sink complete with faucet

NOTE: You can order your Kitchen Sink unassembled. They will bring each item in a separate bowl for you to mix, but I prefer to have it served totally mixed up and glorious the way it was meant to be!

Beaches & Cream Soda Shop Info:
Located in The Yacht and Beach Club Resort in the Epcot area across the lake from The Boardwalk.
Hours are 11:00am - 11:00pm daily
CLICK HERE to view the official menu
CLICK HERE to make a reservation
Beaches and Cream is located where the fork and knife arrow is.
Epcot is just to the right on the map.

Beaches & Cream Soda Shop is within walking distance of the backside of Epcot via The International Gateway. Another option is to take a boat from the Hollywood Studios area over to the International Gateway. You can also simply park at The Beach Club if you have your own car. There are other options as well, simply ask a cast member the best way to get from where you are to there if you are unsure. I personally prefer to park at The Yacht and Beach Club and walk into Epcot for the day and finish the day at Beaches and Cream (or earlier, so you can go back into Epcot for Illuminations). 

Beaches & Cream Soda Shop is a popular dining spot with limited seating, so a reservation is HIGHLY recommended even if you only want the Kitchen Sink. They do offer other great classic all-American items such as burgers, sandwiches, and other ice cream treats. If you mainly want the Kitchen Sink and you don't have a huge party I would suggest not eating a meal first. Eat earlier in the day, so you'll have room for the ice cream beast! If you time it just right you can eat a light lunch, then the kitchen sink and have a quick service meal or snacks later in the evening. Or eat a light dinner and enjoy this monster sundae late in the evening. 

The Mini Kitchen Sink
If you are a little intimidated by the regular sized Kitchen Sink, Disney does offer a smaller version. Another upside to the smaller version is that you get to keep the "sink" which looks like Mickey's pants. You can get this at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop as well as The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor and Plaza Restaurant in Magic Kingdom. They have recently added the availability to order different types of the smaller version which feature various flavors and toppings. 
The smaller Kitchen Sink in a souvenir bowl 

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Disney's Quest closing to make way for The NBA Experience, a new restaurant and interactive venue for families coming to Disney Springs 2016.

UPDATE: Quest has officially closed. 
UPDATE: 11/2017 Quest has been demolished. 

Disney has just announced plans for a new experience for guests to enjoy on their next Disney vacation. The NBA experience will have fun interactive activities for the whole family. It will also boast a full sit down dining restaurant. 

I would imagine this will be a great activity for groups traveling with youth teams to Disney World for events at ESPN Wide World of Sports. 

Disney's Quest will be closing to make way for the new NBA Experience. Quest is a 5 story "interactive park" that allows guests to play video games, build and ride virtual rides and more. No word on an official closing date, but you can expect it to happen within the year. I will update as soon as I have an official date.
Disney's Quest in Downton Disney
For now, all we know is that The NBA Experience is slated to open sometime in 2016 the future (updates have been extended by a great amount of time). I will post updates as they become available. You can read the original news release from the Disney Parks blog HERE

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Saturday, March 7, 2015

ATTENTION Dole Whip lovers and Little Orange Bird fans; items to swap locations.

Beginning March 12th Sunshine Tree Terrace and Aloha Isle will swap places, so make sure you are standing at the correct location if you want a specific treat! 

This means you will be able to get the iconic Dole Whip and Dole Whip Floats at the larger stand with a much larger counter for serving next door to The Enchanted Tiki Room on the opposite side of The Magic Carpets of Aladdin. And Orange Swirls and Little Orange Bird souvenir cups with drinks will be served at the smaller stand across from The Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.

The change will hopefully allow for faster lines for those craving a Dole Whip and also keep long lines from forming and blocking areas near the smaller stand's location which is near many shops and the construction area for the new restaurant opening in Adventureland. 

The last time I visited Sunshine Tree Terrace I actually told the cast member that Disney should swap the locations since the larger Sunshine Tree Terrace almost always had no lines, and the itty bitty Aloha Isle stand always had a ton of people waiting. The cast member said that a couple others had said the same thing to her. I'm glad to see that Disney actually listened to it's guests suggestions and made the change. 

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Walt Disney World expanding Soarin and Toy Story Midway Mania to accommodate more guests.

UPDATE: Soaring Around the World will open June 17th 2016 at both Epcot and Disney's California Adventure. 
UPDATE: Toy Story Midway Mania's third track will olen Memorial Day weekend. 

If you've been to Disney you know that the wait times for Soarin and Toy Story Midway Mania can be quite long. Well good news, the rides are getting bigger to reduce wait times!!!!

Soarin in Epcot will be gaining an additional theater. The ride which places riders in front of a large screen that simulates flying over various scenes across the world has been a fan favorite since it opened in both Disney parks. An additional theater will allow for many more guests to experience the ride at the same time. (There are already 2 theaters, so a third would add to the current capacity.) Hopefully this will lower the average waiting time down from the usual 90-120 minutes. It should also allow for more fast passes for the ride per day. The ride will also have newer screens and projection systems installed for an even better experience. 

Toy Story Midway Mania in Hollywood Studios will be gaining more track. In a previous article it was implied that the ride would offer a fastpass+ dedicated side allowing for both sides of the original ride to be open for standby guests. This should greatly affect the usually long wait time for one of the most popular rides in all of Disney. It may also allow more guests to grab a fastpass+ ahead of time. The ride which allows guest to battle each other in 3D video game like scenes will also receive a few updates to the games scenes played. 

Both ride expansions are projected to be complete in 2016. I will update as I receive more info. 

Pictures and info thanks to The Disney Parks Blog.

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Friday, February 27, 2015

The Magic Kingdom just got a little less smokey as the smoking area near Cinderella's Castle is removed.

Good news for non-smokers. The smoking area near Cinderella's Castle has been removed as of today. I always thought it was in an odd location as it was a heavily trafficked area. The other smoking areas will remain, and the new changes will be reflected on park maps.
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Friday, February 13, 2015

Where in Walt Disney World can you Dine with Mickey or Minnie Mouse? Here's a list of options.

Updated July 2017

A visit to Walt Disney World just wouldn't be complete without meeting Mickey Mouse. After all, "it was all started by a mouse." ~ Walt Disney

One of the best ways to meet Mickey and his friends is at a character meal. Character meals allow you to multitask by giving you the opportunity to spend time with characters while eating. If you have to take the time to eat, you might as well knock some characters off your "must-meet" list. The characters vary from restaurant to restaurant, so you'll want to confirm which characters are at each one. These characters take the time to go from table to table, usually one character at a time. This will allow you to take pictures, have autograph books signed and enjoy one on one interactions with the characters. 

Below I will list all the restaurants that currently have character dining with Mickey Mouse. He will have other characters with him. I will list those characters, but keep in mind that sometimes not every one of them will be there. This can be due to a character needing to take a break. For example Minnie Mouse was not at Tusker House on our last visit. Please note that some restaurants might only offer the character experience at specific meals such as only at dinner or only at breakfast. To learn more about each restaurant, simply click on their name to be directed to The Disney Food Blog page. I am not affiliated with The Disney Food Blog, but it is my number one site I recommend for learning more about dining in Disney. You can find reviews, pictures and menus for every dining establishment in Disney there.

Garden Grill

1 table service dining credit on Dining Plan
Tables in Wonderland accepted
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mickey, but NO Minnie plus Pluto, Chip and Dale

The Garden Grill is located in the Land Pavillon in the Future World area of Epcot. Here you can meet Mickey, Pluto, Chip and Dale. Mickey will be wearing his over-alls and looking like a farmer to tie in with the restaurant's farm-to-table theme. The food is served family style and is all-you-care-to-eat. The menu rotates, and many of the food comes from the green houses in the Land Pavilion. You can expect salad and rolls and an entree of turkey, chicken, fish or other meats with a few sides and a dessert. There are also kid friendly options so that everyone dining is happy.  At breakfast expect sausage and gravy, bacon, scrambled eggs, Mickey waffles, various sides and Chip's Sticky Bun Bake! What makes this restaurant special is that it turns a full 360º as you dine! You won't feel the movement. It's very slow, but as you eat you will see the scenery change. The restaurant is positioned over the land boat ride, so you will see many scenes from the ride as you dine. 
A little tip: Book a Behind the Seeds Tour earlier in the day to learn all about the plants and fish that are grown in Epcot's Land Pavilion that you will be eating for dinner. Dine early so you can have time to enjoy Illuminations in the evening.  

Pluto signing autographs his way at garden Grill
Animal Kingdom
Tusker House Restaurant

1 table service dining credit on Dining Plan
Tables in Wonderland
Mickey AND Minnie (although both are not guaranteed and usually it's only Mickey) plus Donald, Daisy, Goofy

Tusker House in Animal Kingdom is one of our family's favorite restaurants. Here you can meet Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Goofy. You will find American and African foods on an expansive buffet. There is plenty of variety to appease even the pickiest of eaters. The characters greet you in full safari outfits and children are invited to parade around the restaurant. Just wait for the announcement and cast members handing out musical instruments. Tusker House is a fan favorite for both characters and food, so be sure to grab a reservation early. 
A little tip: ask for a later breakfast reservation. This will allow you to start out eating breakfast foods, but the buffet will slowly transition over to lunch foods as you dine. This way everyone in your party can get what they like....including Mickey waffles! 
Mickey wearing his best safari suit. 
Hollywood Studios
Hollywood and Vine
1 table service dining credit on Dining Plan
Tables in Wonderland
No Breakfast (breakfast characters are Disney Junior characters)
Lunch (beginning May 14, 2017)
Minnie AND Mickey plus Goofy, Donald and Daisy

Hollywood Studios is currently a slower park thanks to the current construction on Star Wars Land and Toy Story Land. Taking the time to sit down to a nice slow paced meal is perfect for your Hollywood Studios day. Minnie's Seasonal Dine is a buffet that offers both food and costumes that change with the seasons. In the Summer you can find Minnie and her friends dressed for the beach and food consists of Summer picnic faves. In the Fall everyone is dressed in Halloween costumes and food has some Fall harvest favorites. In the Winter everyone is dolled up in their Christmas best and look like they could have jumped out of a Christmas card while the food is traditional Holiday favorites such as Turkey, Ham, stuffing and of course pumpkin pie! In the Spring Minnie and her friends are dressed to the nines as they glam it up for a red carpet premiere while foods get a more Spring feel and include some liter fares. Hands down this is our favorite Mickey and Minnie character meal. The food is consistently good and the characters spend a good amount of time at each table and even return multiple times if you are there long enough. 
A little tip: book a Fantasmic dining package and enjoy a reserved area just for those with tickets. You must book your dining reservation through the special Fantasmic Dining package link. CLICK HERE for link.
Everyone ready for a fun Summer beach day.
Festive Holiday attire. 

Beach Club Resort
Cape May Cafe

1 table service dining credit on Dining Plan
Tables in Wonderland
No Lunch
No Characters at Dinner
Minnie, but NO Mickey plus Donald and Goofy

Cape May Cafe offers a buffet character breakfast. You can expect to meet Minnie, Donald, Goofy all dressed for the beach. The buffet offers an excellent variety full of cereals, pastries, fruits, eggs, oatmeal, meats, and Mickey waffles. There are plenty of other items guaranteed to keep you full for quite some time! The Beach Club is the perfect beginning of your day. 
A little tip: after breakfast walk over to Epcot. You can enter via the International Gateway on the World Showcase side of the park. It's right next door and the park will be quiet and slow. (World Showcase does not open until 11am, but you can still enter and head into Future World.)

The Contemporary Resort
Chef Mickey’s

1 table service dining credit on Dining Plan
Tables in Wonderland
No Lunch
Mickey AND Minnie plus Pluto, Donald and Goofy

Chef Mickey's is by far the most popular dining option with characters. Reservations can be hard to get if not made early. I suggest you call 180 days before your desired day to dine to make your reservation or as soon as you can. With that being said I have to be 100% honest and say the food on the dinner buffet is subpar. While many people don't mind the lack of better food because they are getting to dine at an iconic restaurant, I say there are way too many options to settle for less. Luckily Disney listens when it hears not-so-good reviews, so perhaps dinner will be better in the future should you decide to dine there. At Chef Mickey's you can find Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Donald and Pluto. What sets it apart from other meals with Mickey is he's literally in a chef's coat and the other characters wear aprons or chef hats. My kids enjoyed their experience there, so all was not lost. Since most Disney breakfast buffets offer the same items, I would imagine breakfast is a better option. 
A little tip: Magic Kingdom is a short walk away. (You can also ride the monorail from inside the Contemporary to Magic Kingdom and EPCOT.) Have an early breakfast before heading into the park, or have an early dinner and watch the Wishes firework display from the balcony of the Contemporary or just head into Magic Kingdom and view them in the park. 
Chef Mickey is excited to meet his guests.
Little Minnie fans will be happy too.
Fort Wilderness Resort
Mickey’s Backyard BBQ
2 table service dining credits on Dining Plan
No Tables in Wonderland
Dinner only
Limited dates
Mickey and Minnie plus Goofy, Chip and Dale

Mickey's Backyard BBQ is more than just a buffet dinner, it is also a dinner show. Disney describes it as a "music filled hoe-down". You will find Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Chip and Dale. The buffet consists of classic cowboy favorites such as ribs, hamburgers, hot dogs, smoked chicken, corn on the cob, mac-n-cheese, watermelon and much more. This is the only Mickey character meal that we have not experienced as a family. I did get to enjoy it a few times as a kid and remember it being really fun. We are hoping to go next trip and give a more thorough  review, but I can say that everyone I know that have gone has said it was worth the 2 dining credits. A couple things to note: The restaurant is only open March - December. It normally only operates on Thursdays and Saturdays, however during busier times it may be open more days of the week. Simply call and ask or look on the Disney dining reservation website to see available days during your visit. 
A little tip: Plan to take time to explore Fort Wilderness before or after your meal. There are many unique activities in Fort Wilderness including a movie and camp fire with Chip and Dale in the evening complete with smores! If you travel during the holidays, be sure to ride around (by resort bus or horse drawn carriage) and check out all the Christmas light displays. All the campsites and cabins will be completely taken over and it really is a site to see. 
Just a little pickin and a grinnin at the hoe-down.

Polynesian Resort
1 table service dining credit on Dining Plan
Tables in Wonderland accepted
Breakfast Only
Mickey, but NO Minnie plus Lilo and Stitch

Enjoy an all-you-care-to-eat island inspired breakfast served family style. The meal features classic options such as scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, fruits, breads, island style potatoes and of course Mickey Waffles. Your pal Mickey joins Lilo and Stitch and sometime other pals such as Pluto dressed in vibrant Hawaiian attire. Because the Polynessian is located on the Monorail loop, it makes for a perfect start to a day at Magic Kingdom or Epcot.
A little tip: Stop by Pineapple Lanai for a Dole Whip after breakfast. Trust me! These things practically have a cult following by Disney goers. (Yes you can get them in Magic Kingdom, but why wait in a long line when you can get them here.) 
The Polynesian Resort makes you feel like you've stepped into an island paradise. 
Don't worry if you are unable to dine with Mickey or Minnie, there are plenty of other opportunities to meet them throughout the parks. Refer to the parks' time guides for the day to see when and where (and if) they are meeting guests. And keep in mind there may be long lines. There are a couple fast pass+ options for meeting Mickey and/or Minnie including Mickey at Town Square in Magic Kingdom, The Character Spot in Epcot (which has Mickey, Minnie and Goofy), and in Hollywood Studios (which has Mickey and Minnie). You can also meet Minnie in Magic Kingdom in special circus attire in New Fantasyland next to the train station. 
Sorcerer Mickey meets guests in the old Back Lot Tour area of Hollywood Studios. Please note that this character meet and greet is no longer offered.
Guest can meet Mickey and Minnie in their Hollywood best across from the ABC Commissary. 
Mickey and Minnie meet guests at The Character Spot in the future world area of Epcot.

Minnie the Magnificent in New Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom.
Talking Mickey at Town Square, Magic Kingdom Yes he ACTUALLY talks to you!
It is hit or miss on whether you get talking Mickey or a non-talking Mickey, so keep that in mind.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

New Star Wars at Sea Day aboard the Disney Fantasy cruise ship to begin in 2016.

Star Wars fans rejoice. Disney has really embraced the force and is out to give their fans more experiences. Not only are there rumors of a Star Wars Land coming to Hollywood Studios, there are also plenty to enjoy during the ever popular and expanding Star War Weekends at Walt Disney World. They are even hosting a Star Wars half-marathon at Disneyland in January, 2016. 

Beginning in 2016, you will be able to choose from 8 select sailings aboard the Disney Fantasy to participate in a Star Wars at Sea Day.
photo from: Disney Parks Blog
Here is what the Disney Cruise Line website says about these voyages.

Star Wars Day at Sea will transport guests to a "galaxy" far, far away—in the Western Caribbean. The event features a full day of Star Wars celebrations, including:
  • Deck party celebration
  • Meet-and-greets with favorite Star Wars Characters
  • Star Wars-themed activities for younglings of all ages
  • Out-of-this-world food and beverage offerings
  • Exclusive merchandise
  • And more
The only at-sea screenings of Episode VII, at this event will thrill Padawans (Jedi in training) and Jedi Masters in every family. It is ... your destiny. 

Here are the dates you can choose from:

  • January 9
  • January 23
  • February 6
  • February 20
  • March 5
  • March 19
  • April 2
  • April 16

  • So wether you embrace the force or choose the dark side, looks like Disney is giving everyone more opportunities to show their Star Wars side with their Disney side.

    To learn about this cruise or any other cruises offered by Disney, please visit the Disney Cruise Line website by CLICKING HERE.

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