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“Rivers of Light” Opens February 17 at Animal Kingdom

For more than a year, Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park at Walt Disney World® Resort has continued its evolution to a day-to-night park by introducing a rich variety of new nighttime experiences – from Kilimanjaro Safaris after sunset and fine dining at Tiffins, to the vibrant entertainment at the Harambe Wildlife Parti and Discovery Island Carnivale. And when the Tree of Life awakens after dark, it is truly a sight to behold!

Disney announced one of the park’s newest nighttime experiences, “Rivers of Light,” will make its official debut on Feb 17, 2017.

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Continuing the grand Disney tradition of innovative, after-dark entertainment, “Rivers of Light” combines live performance, floating set pieces, a soaring musical score, fountains and more in a celebration of animals and nature. The story magically unfolds on the broad natural stage of the Discovery River, conveying the uplifting spirit of an ancient and timeless lantern ceremony and filled with symbolism, storytelling and plenty of heart.

Dining and FastPass+ reservations for this new show are now available.

And don’t forget that the next step in the expansion of Disney’s Animal Kingdom – the grand debut of Pandora – The World of Avatar – will take place on May 27, 2017.

Keep your eye on the Disney Travel News, as we share more details on what’s new and what’s next for Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.

Dining Packages Now On Sale For 2017 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Recently we told you about all the great acts coming to Walt Disney World Resort as a part of the “Garden Rocks” concert series at the 2017 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival.

Dining Packages Now On Sale For 2017 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Well, we have even more great Festival news to share.

You can now book dining packages that include reserved seating for some of the concerts – acts like Jon Secada, Night Ranger and The Pointer Sisters.

I’m So Excited! (Pause for laughter) Get It? The Pointer Sisters had a hit song called … Well, never mind.

Anyway, the point is that you can pair some of your favorite Epcot restaurant meals with reserved seating for some of your favorite bands!

Dining Packages are available on these dates:

  • March 3-6, 10-13, 24-27, 31
  • April 1-3, 7-10, 14-17, 21-24
  • May 5-8, 19-22

Prices for Breakfast Packages start at $39 plus tax (for adults) and $23 plus tax (for children, ages 3-9). Prices for Lunch Packages start at $39 plus tax (for adults) and $15.50 plus tax (for children, ages 3-9). Prices for Dinner Packages start at $53 plus tax (for adults) and $17.50 plus tax (for children, ages 3-9).

Garden Rocks concert performances are held each Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the Festival. Show times are at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. & 8 p.m. each night. Concerts are included with regular park admission to Epcot.

To book a dining package,contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner. Advance reservations are highly recommended, as these events fill up quickly.

New Character Breakfast to Debut at Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk

An all-new character dining experience will debut this spring at Disney’s BoardWalk, with appearances by adventurous royal couples from beloved Disney films!

New Character Breakfast to Debut at Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk

A delicious breakfast awaits you at Trattoria al Forno, as you get ready to set out for a day of endless magic at Walt Disney World Resort. It’s a hearty “bon voyage” celebration, featuring popular characters from favorite Disney stories like “Tangled” or “The Little Mermaid.” During your visit, be sure to share the tales of your own hopes and dreams, the adventures you’ve had… and those still to come with our favorite princess or prince!

This unique, new character breakfast is slated to begin in late spring. Keep checking back because we’ll be sharing more details, including the opening date, when you can make reservations, and menu offerings!

Reservations Now Open for Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival Premium Events

When the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival returns March 10 through April 16, 2017, the festival will host hundreds of events, seminars and demonstrations. Today,we’re sharing the current schedule of the superstar chefs, wineries and breweries that will be partaking in the 2017 premium events.

lkznj09The popular “In the Kitchen with…” series debuts for the 2017 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival. See your favorite celebrity chefs Guy Fieri, Robert Irvine, Cat Cora, G. Garvin, Graham Elliot and Jet Tila demonstrate their skills in the kitchen, try a tasting menu created by the chef and even get an autograph! Cost is $99 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

The popular Sweet Sundays events are back! Join celebrity pastry chefs Duff Goldman, Emily Ellyn and Keegan Gerhard as they show how to make some of their delectable desserts. Cost is $79 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

Winemaker Dinners highlight wines from California vintners Duckhorn Vineyards and Flora Springs Winery, with a four-course meal carefully selected to enhance the flavor of the wine. While you dine, enjoy insights and inspiration behind the pairings by a knowledgeable winemaker. Cost is $150 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

A special Winemaker Dinner featuring Disney Family of Wines includes Fess Parker Winery, GoGi Wines, Lasseter Family Winery and Silverado Vineyards. The wineries at this event each have a special connection to the Disney legacy. Cost is $200 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival Premium Events

Beer lovers, rejoice! New to this year’s festival, Brewmaster Beer Dinners feature prix fixe dinners where hand-selected beers from California-based breweries will be paired and served with a four-course specialty menu prepared by Disney chefs. Knowledgeable brewmasters present each beer and describe the chef’s inspiration for the pairing. Cost is $150 per person, plus tax and gratuity.

There are plenty of other ways to take part in the 2017 Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival! Learn cooking techniques and get sample tastings during informative Culinary Demonstrations by talented local, visiting and Disneyland Resort chefs. Quench your thirst for knowledge with engaging Beverage Seminars, which feature informative, guided tastings of wine, beer or spirits. There’s fun for the whole family! Kids ages 3-11 can partake in the return of a complimentary, hands-on experience called Jr. Chef, which will take place daily.

Events taking place March 10 through April 1 are now available to book, and reservations will continue to become available 60 days prior to each event’s date. To view a full listing of Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival events or to make reservations visit Disneyland.com/FoodAndWine.

Separate admission to Disney California Adventure park is required and is not included with the cost of signature events. Space is limited for all ticketed events; advance reservations are recommended. Full payment may be due at time of booking, and cancellation fees may apply. No refunds, credit or date or time changes. Guests must be 21 years of age or over to consume alcohol; valid photo ID required. Events and demonstrations are subject to change or cancellation without notice.

“Garden Rocks” Concert Series Returns!

The America Gardens Theatre will once again come alive with some of the best music from the 1960s, ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s as the 2017 Epcot® International Flower & Garden Festival presents the “Garden Rocks” concert series at Walt Disney World® Resort. And, for the first time this year performances are scheduled not just Friday through Sunday, but every Monday, too!

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“Garden Rocks,” brings favorite stars from the rock and pop history to Epcot. Returning favorites like Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone and The Spinners join brand new artists like Berlin featuring Terri Nunn.

Poised to be one of the best ever, this year’s line-up shakes out like this:

  • March 3-4 – Jon Secada – “Just Another Day
  • March 5-6 – Dennis DeYoung – The Music of STYX – “Grand Illusion
  • March 10-13 – Pointer Sisters – “I’m So Excited
  • March 17-18 – Simple Plan – “Welcome to My Life” – NEW
  • March 19-20 – Plain White T’s – “Hey There Delilah
  • March 24-27 – Night Ranger – “Sister Christian
  • March 31-April 3 – Little River Band – “Reminiscing
  • April 7-10 – Blood, Sweat & Tears featuring Bo Bice – “Spinning Wheel
  • April 14-17 – Gin Blossoms – “Hey Jealousy
  • April 21-24 – The Orchestra starring former members of ELO – “Evil Woman
  • April 28-29 – Exposé – “Point of No Return” – NEW
  • April 30-May 1 – Berlin featuring Terri Nunn – “Take My Breath Away” – NEW
  • May 5-8 – STARSHIP starring Mickey Thomas – “We Built This City
  • May 12-15 – The Guess Who – “American Woman
  • May 19-22 – Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone – “I’m Henry VIII, I Am
  • May 26-29 – The Spinners – “Working My Way Back To You

“Garden Rocks” concert performances are held each Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday of the Festival. Show times are at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. & 8 p.m. each night. Concerts are included with regular park admission to Epcot.

Planet Hollywood Observatory Opens at Disney Springs

Planet Hollywood Observatory has opened its flagship location in the heart of Disney Springs™ at Walt Disney World® Resort, transforming its iconic globe into a four-story stargazing observatory with new spaces including an outdoor terrace, a new menu and an exciting new look and feel.

Inside it’s an immersive theatrical dining experience, with each floor providing a different ambiance, including the fabulous curated collection of film-making memorabilia and a 4,500-square-foot video wall the uses trompe l’oeil 3D technology – images with such realism that they appear to be in three dimensions.

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Classic Planet Hollywood dishes are on the new menu, as well as a selection of over-the-top burgers and sandwiches by celebrity Chef Guy Fieri. Desserts are a hallmark of the restaurant, like the hand-dipped milkshakes and generous sweets made for sharing.

Beer, wine and cocktails offer a little something for every taste, and Stargazers Lounge has a beverage menu that focuses on Florida craft beers (with 20 on tap) and 10 signature cocktails.

The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner. The new 5,000 square-foot Stargazers Lounge that will let you relax under the stars will be opening soon.

Re-Imagined Planet Hollywood Observatory Opens at Disney Springs

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Planet Hollywood Observatory has opened its flagship location in the heart of Disney Springs, transforming its iconic globe into a four-story stargazing observatory with new spaces including an outdoor terrace, a new menu and an exciting new look and feel.

Inside it’s an immersive theatrical dining experience, with each floor providing a different ambience, including the fabulous curated collection of film-making memorabilia and a 4,500-square-foot video wall the uses trompe l’oeil 3D technology – images with such realism that they appear to be in three dimensions.

Classic Planet Hollywood dishes are on the new menu, as well as a selection of over-the-top burgers and sandwiches by celebrity Chef Guy Fieri. Desserts are a hallmark of the restaurant, like the hand-dipped milkshakes and generous sweets made for sharing.

Beer, wine and cocktails offer a little something for every taste, and Stargazers Lounge has a beverage menu that focuses on Florida craft beers (with 20 on tap) and 10 signature cocktails.

The restaurant is open daily for lunch and dinner. The new 5,000 square-foot Stargazers Lounge that will let guests relax under the stars will be opening soon.

Paddlefish Set to Open Feb. 4 at Disney Springs

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Adding to the spectacular dining lineup at Disney Springs, Paddlefish will open Feb. 4 following a multimillion-dollar transformation and a seafood-centric menu that includes a few guest favorites from the former Fulton’s Crab House.

The iconic paddleboat at Disney Springs has been reimagined into a modern yacht experience by Levy Restaurants, with clean lines, crisp designs, refined woods and a sophisticated color pallet of blues and grays.

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As the name suggests, Paddlefish showcases a seafood-centric menu, featuring delectable Maine lobster, King and Snow crabs and a selection of fresh fish including sea bass, catfish and salmon. Branzino for two is carved tableside, and a new lobster guacamole is also mixed in the dining room. Fan favorites and classic dishes from Fulton’s Crab House remain, such as Lobster Corn Dogs and crab legs.

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Cocktails are inspired by classic turn-of-the-century American cocktails, and an expansive wine list includes both Old and New World wines.

Paddlefish will be open daily for lunch and dinner, as well as Sunday brunch.

Season of the Force Now at Disneyland Resort

During Season of the Force at Disneyland® Resort, your can transport yourself and your family into a faraway galaxy filled with epic encounters and thrilling attractions.

On Hyperspace Mountain, you can board the re-imagined Space Mountain attraction and join in a dogfight between Rebel X-wing fighters and the Imperial TIE fighters!

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Then, you can step inside Star Wars Launch Bay to come face to face with some favorite heroes and villains from the saga. You can even explore replicas of movie props and models from Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.

If you want to experience hyperspace and outrun the Empire, you can hop aboard Star Tours – The Adventures Continue and fly through everyone’s favorite galaxy far, far away. And, young Padawans can really feel strong with the Force as they test their Lightsaber skills in an immersive show at Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple where they can face Darth Vader!

Be sure you don’t miss Season of the Force at Disneyland Resort!

Figment Leads Kids on Artsy Adventure Around the ‘World’ During Epcot International Festival of the Arts

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The Epcot International Festival of the Arts event is a celebration of the arts for the whole family, happening each weekend now through February 20. And there’s something special just for little ones during the festival: a clever scavenger hunt hosted by the lovable dragon, Figment! Figment’s Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt takes place around World Showcase, exposing kids to some of the world’s greatest masterpieces.

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To begin the hunt, you first need to purchase a World Showcase map and stickers from a retail location at Epcot ($6.99). As you journey around each World Showcase Pavilion, you search for artwork that has Figment in the picture. He’s curious about art, and as you will see, he jumps right in to take a super close look. Once you spot the purple pal, just add the corresponding Figment location sticker on the map to the right Pavilion. After you have hunted for all the hiding Figments, turn in the map to a cast member at a retail location for a special surprise!

This kid-centric hunt is sure to ignite curiosity and appreciation for some of the most iconic works of art such as Leonardo da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” and Monet’s “Water Lilies.” Come check it out when the festival returns this weekend!

New Culinary Options Debut at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort

Disney’s Vero Beach Resort recently debuted a makeover that includes a new restaurant, market and bar with new menus; the expansive Wind & Waves Grill, with the adjacent Wine & Waves Market. And, out by the pool, there is the new Wind & Waves Bar.

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The 68-seat Wind & Waves Grill has a casual, beachy feel with classic nautical touches and features on-stage cooking with an oak-fired grill and brick oven. The menu showcases American cuisine with a focus on Florida seafood and locally sourced produce, such as brick-oven-roasted Florida clams in local IPA broth with fennel and garlic, oak-grilled grouper and the restaurant’s signature shrimp with creamy cheese grits. The flatbreads made in the wood-burning oven include versions such as cheeseburger, barbecued chicken and a bacon-lettuce-tomato creation. Kids will love the interactive desserts.

Wind & Waves Market is open daily and offers “grab ‘n’ go” selections as well as freshly prepared dishes from breakfast through dinner. You can enjoy hot breakfast sandwiches, yogurt, smoothies, specialty coffees for breakfast, and burgers, hot dogs, deli sandwiches and salads throughout the day – perfect beachside eats. You’ll also find grocery items that formerly were in the Island Grove Packing Company shop. And best of all, Disney’s classic Dole Whip!

Wind & Waves Bar features poolside craft beers, signature cocktails and light snacks.

You can make reservations for Wind & Waves Grill by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

Make Seeing The World With Adventures By Disney Your 2017 Resolution

Cologne and Rhine river, Germany

Looking for a great News Year’s Resolution?  Resolve to see more of the world with your loved ones in 2017. How motivating would that goal be? And to make it even easier, Adventures by Disney can help by offering pre-planned trips to more than 30 destinations across six continents!

While Adventures by Disney offers vacation options all across this great nation, there are two destinations in particular that I’m eyeing:

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Montana

Glamping under the stars at night then exploring Yellowstone National Park by day?  On the Montana vacation you also stay at a Dude Ranch, zipline through Big Sky country, go whitewater rafting and more. It’s just the right amount of rugged to earn me bragging rights without leaving me sore!

Arizona & Utah

Confession time: I have never been to the Grand Canyon. This has been a destination on my “must” list for some time. If it is for you as well, a Grand Canyon tour with Adventures by Disney is definitely the way to go. You’ll also visit Arches National Park, explore the mesas of Monument Valley and more. It’s sure to be unforgettable.

If you’re looking for something more far-flung, resolving to travel to Europe is always a winner. From exploring the fjords of Norway to kayaking in the Greek isles to dancing the flamenco in Spain and beyond, there is so much beauty to behold on this continent. But if it’s your first trip abroad, or you’re looking to knock some “must sees” off your travel wish list, here are my suggestions:

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Italy

Italy is a country that I’ll never grow tired of exploring. Adventures by Disney offers three different land trips that explore this culinary wonderland, but the classic destinations of Rome, Tuscany and Venice are always a great choice. Want to explore the famed Sistine Chapel after hours on a private tour? You got it. Attend an authentic pasta-making class at a Tuscan farm, sail through Venice on a gondola and more. Mama Mia, sign me up!

England and France

Scones and tea. Windsor Castle. The Eiffel Tower. Notre Dame Cathedral. What’s not to love about a trip to these iconic locales? Plus, on an Adventures by Disney England and France vacation you’ll tour the famous Louvre Museum; and while you’re admiring the Mona Lisa, the Junior Adventurers will take part in an interactive scavenger hunt. This is truly a trip that offers the best of two worlds.

Of course you can set your sights even higher and resolve to climb the Great Wall of China, snorkel in the Great Barrier Reef, marvel at Machu Picchu or set off on an African safari. And Adventures by Disney can help you reach those goals as well! But whatever destination you choose, committing to making long-lasting travel memories with the people you hold most dear is a resolution you’ll never regret.

‘Brunch With a Twist’ Feb. 11 Debuts at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

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“Brunch With a Twist” debuted as part of the 2016 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and now the popular Saturday event is back – at noon Feb. 11, hosted by Cítricos and featuring the award-winning chefs at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.

Guests join some of Disney’s top chefs for the five-star, five-course brunch, tasting the creations of Executive Chef Scott Hunnel, Chef Dominique Filoni, Chef Noah Estabrook, Chef Nick Mussara, Chef Lawrence Searl and Executive Pastry Chef Erich Herbitschek. The chefs represent Victoria & Albert’s, Cítricos, Narcoossee’s, Grand Floridian Cafe and the Grand Floridian Bakery.

The on-stage kitchen at Cítricos is ideal for the chefs to share cooking techniques, and guests can ask questions while watching the courses being prepared. Each dish is thoughtfully paired with Champagne for the ultimate dining experience.

The menu:

Chef Nick presents…
Passed Hors d‘oeuvres

Farm Egg Omelet with King Crab and Caviar
Bloody Mary Shooter with Jumbo Shrimp
Smoked Bacon Fritter

Prosecco Cocktail

Chef Dominique presents…
Tuna Carpaccio “Niçoise”, Tuna Confit, Niçoise Olives
Bolla Rosé | Veneto | NV

Chef Scott presents…
Farm Fresh Egg Ravioli with Lobster and Corn Butter
Iron Horse Fairy Tale Celebration Cuvée | Brut | Green Valley of Russian River Valley | 2013

Chef Lawrence presents…
Duo of Duck
Crispy-skin Breast and Confit Leg Raviolo,
Butternut Squash, Cauliflower, Pomegranate

Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label | Brut | Reims | NV

Chef Noah presents…
Veal Tenderloin, and Cheek, Porcini Mushrooms,
Caramelized Onion Potato Croquette, Violet Mustard

Raventós i Blanc De Nit Rosé | Barcelona | 2011

Chef Erich presents…
Orange Scented Chocolate Sphere
Vietti Moscato d’Asti | NV

Cost is $169 plus tax (gratuity and valet included). For reservations and to pre-pay, call 407-939-3463.

Next Brunch With a Twist (with another fabulous menu) is already on the calendar for noon May 6.

Disney Cruise Line Takes Spotlight with Porthole Cruise Magazine Award

We want to share some exciting news about Remy, the French-inspired fine dining restaurant onboard the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.

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Porthole Cruise Magazine just honored Remy with its 2017 Editor-in-Chief Award for Best Specialty Restaurant. These awards recognize the magazine Editor-in-Chief Bill Panoff’s “favorite travel experiences” that left “amazing impressions in terms of service, quality, and memorable moments.”

Disney Cruise Line is honored that Remy was among his favorite experiences last year!

Remy offers the most luxurious dining onboard Disney Cruise Line ships exclusively for our adult guests and serves the finest French fare. Named after the tiny star and master chef of the Disney•Pixar film “Ratatouille,” Remy transports guests to an authentic fine-dining restaurant in the City of Lights. The elegant dining room is softly lit and designed in a timeless Art Nouveau style with tasteful nods to the film, including artful appearances of Remy.

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The gourmet selection was masterfully crafted by Chef Arnaud Lallement of l’Assiette Champenoise—a Michelin 3-star restaurant just outside Reims, France—and Chef Scott Hunnel from award-winning Victoria & Albert’s at Walt Disney World Resort. The menu features decadent offerings such as smoked bison with fennel and blood oranges from Chef Scott Hunnel and langoustines royale (Norway Lobster with Caesar sauce) from Chef Arnaud Lallement.

Remy is truly a culinary adventure like no other. You can learn more about dining at Remy during your next Disney Cruise Line voyage here. Bon appétit!

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