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Author Archives: Rick Howard

‘Limited Time Magic’ Brings Delicious Treats for Happy Lunar New Year Celebration to Disney California Adventure Park

While many of us celebrate the New Year on January 1, the Lunar New Year is usually between late January and early February, determined by the cycles and phases of the moon. Best known as “Chinese New Year,” Lunar New Year is also celebrated by the Vietnamese and Korean cultures, and is a time for big festivities.

‘Limited Time Magic’ Brings Delicious Treats for Happy Lunar New Year Celebration to Disney California Adventure Park

 

Disney California Adventure park is joining in the fun with the Happy Lunar New Year Celebration, part of “Limited Time Magic” from February 8-11, with the eateries in Pacific Wharf adding Asian-inspired treats. Lucky Fortune Cookery is adding chicken and veggie pot stickers and pork spare riblets with char siu sauce to its menu, as well as ginger milk tea (a delicious new creation by the Disney chefs) and mini-almond cookies.

Pacific Wharf Café is adding a barbecued pork bao roll, a traditional Chinese steamed bun, along with ginger milk tea and almond cookies. And their popular Chinese chicken salad in a sourdough bowl fits the bill, too.

Boudin Bread Cart is offering a giant loaf of sourdough shaped like a snake

 

The San Francisco cart adds the barbecued pork bao roll, edamame, almond cookies and ginger milk tea, while the Boudin Bread Cart is offering a giant loaf of sourdough shaped like a snake, for “the year of the snake.”

Pacific Palisades Coffee Cart is adding ginger milk tea, edamame and almond cookies, while Rita’s Baja Blenders will offer Tsing Tao beer. Try a little of everything to celebrate lively Asian flavors and a different tradition this year. Happy Lunar New Year!

Mickey Check for Kids’ Meals Debuts at Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

From an udon noodle bowl at Carthay Circle Restaurant at Disney California Adventure park to turkey pot pie at Cinderella’s Royal Table at Magic Kingdom Park, the new Mickey Check is now featured on kids’ menus in both quick-service and table-service restaurants across Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort.

Mickey Check for Kids’ Meals Debuts at Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

 

Following the introduction earlier this month at Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort, the expansion of the Mickey Check helps families easily find nutritious choices, part of an ongoing program that launched in 2006 with nutrition guidelines. The Mickey Check makes it even easier to identify healthier food options in all of the Disney theme parks and resorts.

Choices that receive the Mickey Check must meet Disney Nutrition Guidelines that limit calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar. For the Disney chefs, it’s been a fun challenge to tweak menus. For example, Blue Bayou in Disneyland park now offers seared salmon, spaghetti, broccolini and fresh fruit for kids. At Le Cellier Steakhouse in the Canada Pavilion at Epcot, there’s grilled sirloin with green beans and brown rice. (Kids’ Complete Meals must be ordered without substitutions and include at least three of the following food groups: fruits and vegetables; low-fat dairy; whole grains or lean protein, beans, eggs and nuts.)

Mickey Check for Kids’ Meals Debuts at Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort

 

While new to table-service restaurants, the Mickey Check also appears on some Disney-licensed food products sold at retail locations, on qualifying recipes at Disney.com and Family.com, and on menus at quick-service restaurants at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

 

Vintage Walt Disney World: Disney’s Vero Beach Resort Opens to Guests

Today in 1996, grand opening ceremonies were held for Disney’s Vero Beach Resort. Here’s a look at an early rendering of the resort from our archives.

early rendering of Disney's Vero Beach resort

 

With the Atlantic Ocean as its backdrop, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort was the first Disney Vacation Club Resort located outside Walt Disney World Resort property. The Resort’s design and theme reflect the Treasure Coast region where the resort is situated.

Vintage Walt Disney World: Disney’s Vero Beach Resort Opens to Guests

 

Ground breaking took place on July 28, 1994, where Mickey, Minnie, Chip and Dale were all in attendance for the big moment.

With 175 Villas, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is a great place to unwind, relax and enjoy the Florida sunshine.

 

With 175 Villas, Disney’s Vero Beach Resort is a great place to unwind, relax and enjoy the Florida sunshine.

Relax, Rejuvenate & Unwind at Disney Resort Fitness Centers, Spas & Salons at Walt Disney World Resort

Did you know that Disney’s Yacht & Beach Ship Shape Massage Salon & Fitness Center just underwent a major renovation? It is sparkling with a modern, yet warm, motif that complements the nautical resort. There are five treatment rooms and even a relaxation room for the ultimate in lounging.

Relax, Rejuvenate & Unwind at Disney Resort Fitness Centers, Spas & Salons at Walt Disney World Resort

 

Around Disney property there are other facilities that offer traditional salon services, plus a limited menu of massages, facials, manicures and pedicures, plus a fitness center to soothe and unwind. Think of these offerings as a super convenient way to get a little “you time” right at your home resort.

Relax, Rejuvenate & Unwind at Disney Resort Fitness Centers, Spas & Salons at Walt Disney World Resort

 

All six locations are now owned and managed by Disney so that means a whole new menu of relaxing and pampering services with a dash of Disney in décor and guest service. Treatment hours are from 8 a.m.-8 p.m., and salon hours are 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Zahanati Massage & Fitness Center, Disney’s BoardWalk Muscles & Bustles Health Club, Disney’s Coronado Springs La Vida Health Club and Casa de Belleza Salon, Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Sturdy Branches Health Club, and Disney’s Contemporary Resort Olympiad Fitness Center. And remember the spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort is now closed for a major renovation and is scheduled to reopen in summer as the brand new Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort. (The fitness center will remain opened with limited hours.)

Disney’s Yacht & Beach Ship Shape Massage Salon & Fitness Center

 

For the ultimate in well-being, there’s also the newly opened Senses – A Disney Spa at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort. This full-service spa opened its doors last month to feature 15 treatment rooms with services such as water therapy, sugar exfoliation body treatments, rejuvenating citrus facials and an extensive array of massages, spa manicures and pedicures.

Wilderness Explorers Coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom This Spring

Have you seen the Disney•Pixar film “Up”?

If you recall, young Russell from the film is a dedicated Wilderness Explorer who can’t wait to earn badges by having all kinds of adventures while learning about the world.

Wilderness Explorers Coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom This Spring

 

We’re happy to announce that the Wilderness Explorers adventure organization is coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, with a planned opening this spring. Soon, guests can become Wilderness Explorers and experience the entire park using their field guides, completing challenges and earning badges as they go. With more than 30 badges available, Wilderness Explorers is fun for the whole family and helps guests experience Disney’s Animal Kingdom and its themes in a new and exciting way.

A Visit to Northwest Mercantile in the Canada Pavilion at Epcot

A Visit to Northwest Mercantile in the Canada Pavilion at Epcot

 

I love Canada! I first visited this beautiful country when I was 10 years old. My family took a trip to Niagara Falls, where we stayed in a bed and breakfast for a few days. Since then, I’ve visited Toronto twice, and I recently took a trip to Montreal in spring 2011 (great food and great music!). The closest I get to Canada these days is World Showcase in Epcot. This week, winter has descended upon Canada Pavilion as part of Limited Time Magic. Guests can meet and take photos with some favorite Disney characters in the snow for this week only. I stopped by Canada Pavilion’s Northwest Mercantile this past weekend to see what the merchandise location had in store.

Canada Pavilion’s Northwest Mercantile

 

Northwest Mercantile houses a variety of Canadian-themed goods. Upon entry, I was greeted by the shop’s newest items – a selection of Canadian Native Handicrafts by Monague Native Crafts. I asked Sylvie Brumbaugh, merchandiser for World Showcase, about these new goods.

“I’m always looking for unique items for World Showcase,” said Sylvie. “When deciding on assortments that capture the essence of a particular country, we consider several things including popular marketplace trends. For the Canadian Native Handicrafts line, we have apparel, pottery and an expanded collection of dream catchers. Monague Native Crafts is a leading Canadian supplier of these items, so it’s great to carry them in the location.”

 unique items in the shop including Sasquatch Sweat soap and the ketchup-flavored potato chips

 

I liked some of the more unique items I found in the shop including Sasquatch Sweat soap and the ketchup-flavored potato chips. Sylvie told me some of the most popular items are the Hatley pajamas (perfect for a cold Canadian winter’s night!).

some items give a nod to the 360-degree film at the pavilion, “O Canada

 

My favorite things, however, give a nod to the 360-degree film at the pavilion, “O Canada.” Disney Design Group created the artwork which Sylvie applied to hats, shirts, tumblers, mugs and more. I like the simplicity of the red “Canada” shirt, while the plaid moose pattern is fun. I also saw the awesome World Showcase shirt we created for the 30th Anniversary of Epcot.

Canada’s Le Cellier Steakhouse at Epcot Goes to All-Day Menu

We’ll miss the burger, but now the lobster mac ‘n’ cheese is available for both lunch and dinner as popular Le Cellier Steakhouse at Epcot debuts an all-day menu beginning January 16.

Canada’s Le Cellier Steakhouse at Epcot Goes to All-Day Menu

 

It’s easy to just stick with starters like the Le Cellier chopped lobster salad, or dig into a bowl of the longtime favorite Cheddar Cheese Soup made with Moosehead beer. We make a meal of the indulgent poutine fries topped with Canadian Cheddar and a seasonal salad (for winter, it’s greens with duck prosciutto, blue cheese, fig-almond cake and a soft-boiled egg).

The buttery filet mignon at Le Cellier Steakhouse

But Canadian-raised beef is the sophisticated star of the show: from a grilled bone-in ribeye to a New York strip, you can’t go wrong with the beef. The buttery filet mignon with white truffle-butter sauce and wild mushroom risotto is the hands-down favorite of guests. For vegetarians, the seasonal menu includes winter squash ravioli with sage brown butter. And, year-round, you’ll find sustainable seafood creatively presented by Chef Al Youngman.

Canada’s Le Cellier Steakhouse at Epcot Goes to All-Day Menu

Pair with some of Canada’s best wines and beer from Quebec for a memorable vacation indulgence. Le Cellier Steakhouse is two entitlements on the Disney Dining Plan.

 

Disney ‘Newsies’ Star Corey Cott Honeymoons at Walt Disney World Resort

Broadway actor Corey Cott recently took a break from his lead role as Jack Kelly in Disney ‘Newsies’ to celebrate his nuptials to wife Meghan with a land and sea honeymoon aboard Disney Cruise Line and at Walt Disney World Resort. On their first date, Corey and Meghan quickly realized the passion they both shared for Disney, so a Disney’s Fairy Tale Honeymoon seemed like the perfect way to start their happily-ever-after.

Disney ‘Newsies’ Star Corey Cott Honeymoons at Walt Disney World Resort

 

Asked to describe their honeymoon in just one word, Meghan declared it “magical.”

Broadway actor Corey Cott and his wife Meghan with Mickey Mouse at the Walt Disney World Resort

Congratulations, newlyweds! From all of us here at Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons, we wish you every happiness.

 

‘Sole’ Mates Renew Vows at Walt Disney World Marathon

There’s nothing I love more than a vow renewal – it’s a romantic reaffirmation of love after years of history together that often becomes a family affair. It’s the ultimate celebration to remind you that your better half has been alongside you through both thick and thin.

Nearly 10 years ago today, Wendie and Sean Cheyney said “I do” in the middle of the Walt Disney World Marathon at mile 10.5 – right in front of Cinderella Castle. And today, I’m delighted to share that they’re doing it all over again.

 

Remembering Singer Patti Page’s Visit to Disneyland Park

Patti Page, one of the most successful pop singers of all time, passed away this week at the age of 85. It is estimated that she sold more than 100 million records in a decades-long career that included her signature hit, “Tennessee Waltz.” But, it was another popular Patti Page song which surely must have inspired this fun publicity photo taken at Disneyland park in the summer of 1968 – that song, of course, was “(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window.”

atti Page, one of the most successful pop singers of all time

 

Happy Haven: Mandara Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

We all know Disneyland Resort is the Happiest Place on Earth. But did you know that many people call the Mandara Spa the happiest spot inside the Happiest Place on Earth?

Mandara Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel

After a long day walking the parks and riding attractions, you might also want to check out Mandara Spa atDisney’s Grand Californian Hotel. Like most of the magic at Disneyland Resort, it’s the little things at Mandara Spa that make all the difference. The greeters at the front desk are all smiles, and they’re happy to answer questions. The aromatherapy is soft and pleasant, adding to the relaxing atmosphere. Therapists utilize Balinese practices, massaging the left side of the body and then moving to the right to achieve optimal results.

Be sure to ask an attendant which treatment might be best for your sore spots. Attalia Alverdes, the new manager at Mandara, said the hot stone massage is very popular. The smoothly rounded stones are heated to just the right temperature to make knotted-up muscles give a big sigh of relief.

Mandara Spa at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel

Facials also are very popular at Mandara and it offers a wonderful selection. To test it out, I chose the “Visibly Brilliant Facial.” The therapist suggested this one after we had chatted about how I wanted to feel when I went home: relaxed and hydrated. I also recommend the scalp treatment and the seaweed wrap massage. Next time, I want to try the “Thai Poultice Massage.”

One surprise was also one of my favorite things: The therapists are trained to wash a guest’s feet at the beginning of each treatment. It’s not just to soothe feet that may have taken 10,000 steps that day; it’s the theory that clean feet are necessary for the body to fully relax.

I thanked the staff profusely for their service, but I never got to give them the best compliment possible: When I got home that evening, I still felt like I was floating on a cloud and I enjoyed one of the most restful night’s sleep in a long while.

Experience the Sights and Sound of Africa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, No Passport Needed

Wildlife photography has always been a passion of mine. I was recently walking through Harambe Village early one morning after photographing gorillas inside Disney’s Animal Kingdom, when I was struck by the vast array of handmade items from Africa: hand-carved wood masks and animals, intricate beaded creations, beautiful woven baskets and so much more. Africa is one of the most fascinating and diverse countries I know of, and I stopped to capture some of the intriguing details, all the while being quietly transported to yet another paradise.

I hope these snapshots capture some of the beauty and history of this amazing place. I also included a gorilla photo from that morning.

 

A Look Ahead: The Kinsey Collection Opens at Epcot in 2013

One of my favorite things to do when I’m exploring an international pavilion around World Showcase at Epcot is to check out some of the fun cultural exhibits featured in the area.

Starting in late winter, the American Heritage Gallery in the American Adventure Pavilion will feature a brand new exhibit that tells an American story of determination and inspiration through more than 40 pieces of art, artifacts, books, sculptures and documents.

The Kinsey Collection will showcase personal treasures of African-American art and history

The Kinsey Collection will showcase personal treasures of African-American art and history that were collected from 90 countries and date back to as early as the 17th century.

After previews during African-American Heritage Month in February, the Kinsey Collection will open in March. The collection will be included in Epcot admission.

 

Vintage Walt Disney World: New Year’s Resolutions

Another year begins, and most likely, another set of New Year’s resolutions have been made. Here at “Vintage Walt Disney World,” we’re going to let some vintage Epcot attractions inspire you to keep those resolutions throughout 2013.

Promised to exercise more? If only you could still hop on one of these Wondercycles. These video-enhanced exercise bikes allowed guests to enjoy a light workout when visiting the Wonders of Life Pavilion. (Apparently, walking around Epcot isn’t workout enough on vacation.)

video-enhanced exercise bikes

Maybe, you’ve decided to eat better. If Food Rocks was still presented daily at The Land, you’d be able to hum along with Neil Moussaka as he sang “eat your spinach, yes its true cuz’ vegetables are good for you.” Making your vegetable eating a whole lot more fun.

Food Rocks was presented daily at The Land

Possibly, you want to stay in touch with friends and family. The “holographic telephone” in Horizons might have come in use. Wouldn’t our Audio-Animatronics friends from this attraction be amazed by our smartphones of today?

The “holographic telephone” in Horizons

 

Whatever your resolution, here’s to a healthy and prosperous 2013!

‘Destination: Cars Land’ Makes its Rose Parade Debut

Did you see our float, “Destination: Cars Land” in the 124th Rose Parade from Pasadena, Calif., on New Years Day? If not, you’re in luck because we have a video recap for you! The 125-foot-long float was a floral replica of Cars Land, the new land at Disney California Adventure park here at the Disneyland Resort, and it floated down Colorado Boulevard to the classic tune, “Get Your Kicks On Route 66.” From the thousands of volunteers to the thousands of flowers, seeds and foliage, everything seemed to go off without a hitch — until it broke down! Check it out.

 

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