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Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report: Australia – Guest Blog Post

What does this land “Down Under” have in store for us in 2013?  Kingdom Magic Vacations‘ own Rick Howard had the answer to that question way back in 2012.

Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report: Australia - Guest Blog Post

Rewind your clock and take a listen to last year’s Australia-focused episode of the Travel with Rick video-cast.  When referring to that marketplace’s Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies, Rick described them as “nibble-to-the-bone good”.  If that’s not a glowing endorsement, then I don’t know food or wine.

Check out the  Australia video from Travel with Rick at last year’s Food and Wine Festival:

Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report: Australia - Lamb Chop

The Lamb Chop from last year’s Australia Marketplace

As I go about preparing my plan for “attacking” Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, I reach out to a number of resources, but I’ve told Rick that his video-cast, in past years, has played the biggest role in the construction of my “menus”.  Now that I have the honor of being included in Kingdom Magic Vacations’ and Travel with Rick’s efforts to bring Food & Wine to you before it even arrives, it’s a whole new (and VERY fun) ballgame for me.

But, back to Australia.  I have to admit, I’m not a huge fan of lamb.  In spite of that, I did sample Australia’s lamb chop last year.  Rick’s right.  It IS outstanding.  And, it’s back for an encore in 2013.  Way to go, Australia!

One of the things that pleases me most about Australia’s offering this year is that they’ve kicked their shrimp up a notch.  For the past few years, we’ve seen a simple “Shrimp-on-the-Barbie”.  However, in 2013, we get a Garlic Shrimp with Roasted Tomatoes, Lemon Myrtle (a lemon herb native to Australia), and Rapini (broccoli rabe).  An outstanding improvement, in my opinion!

Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report: Australia - Garlic Shrimp

Way to “step it up”, Australia!

Australia’s upcoming menu is rounded out by Pavlova (Crispy Meringue Shell with Fresh Driscoll’s Berries and Vanilla Custard) and several choices of wine:

  • Rosemount Estate Merlot
  • Rosemount Estate Pinot Grigio
  • Wolf Blass Gold Label Chardonnay
  • Penfolds Bin 8 Cabernet Shiraz
Food & Wine 2013 Scouting Report: Australia - Pavlova

Is this what we have to look forward to?

With the Pavlova, we should expect a crisp crust with a soft, light inside.  It seems to be a step up from the coconut-covered Lamington of the past few years.  However, it is the newly “jacked up” shrimp and the lamb chop’s repeat engagement that highlights Australia’s offering this festival season.

My Pre-Festival Grade?  I’m really optimistic.  Sight unseen and samples un-tasted, I’m going to give the Aussies an “A”!


Guest Author – Bob Sikon

Guest Author Bob SikonBob Sikon is a Cast Member “Wanna-Be”. He fell in love with Walt Disney World on his first visit to Mickey’s Florida home in 1999, and it was all because of the Cast Members. In his words, “The way they take care of you, they make you want to be part of The Magic.” Someday, his dream will come true, and he’ll proudly wear a Cast Member name badge, but, for now, you can find him in Atlanta, GA, planning his next trip to “The World”, and blogging about the place “Where Dreams Come True” at allinwdw.com.

 

Springfield Eateries Now Open at Universal Studios Florida

Moe’s Tavern, Krusty Burger and more iconic Springfield eateries are now open at Universal Studios Florida – and these guests were among the first to chow down on some of the unique dishes from The Simpsons.

Doh! JUST OPENED: MoeÕs Tavern, Krusty Burger and more iconic Springfield eateries are now open at Universal Studios Florida Ð and these guests were among the first to chow down on some of the unique dishes from The Simpsons. For the first time ever, guests can visit some of the eateries located on SpringfieldÕs famed Fast Food Boulevard, including Krusty Burger, MoeÕs Tavern, CletusÕ Chicken Shack, LisaÕs Teahouse of Horror, LuigiÕs Pizza, Frying Dutchman, and Flaming MoeÕs.   Later this summer, Springfield will also feature additional landmarks and experiences inspired by The Simpsons, including the all-new attraction, Kang & KodosÕ Twirl ÔnÕ Hurl. For more information, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com.

For the first time ever, guests can visit some of the eateries located on Springfield’s famed Fast Food Boulevard, including Krusty Burger, Moe’s Tavern, Cletus’ Chicken Shack, Lisa’s Teahouse of Horror, Luigi’s Pizza, Frying Dutchman, and Flaming Moe’s.

Doh! JUST OPENED: MoeÕs Tavern, Krusty Burger and more iconic Springfield eateries are now open at Universal Studios Florida Ð and these guests were among the first to chow down on some of the unique dishes from The Simpsons. For the first time ever, guests can visit some of the eateries located on SpringfieldÕs famed Fast Food Boulevard, including Krusty Burger, MoeÕs Tavern, CletusÕ Chicken Shack, LisaÕs Teahouse of Horror, LuigiÕs Pizza, Frying Dutchman, and Flaming MoeÕs.   Later this summer, Springfield will also feature additional landmarks and experiences inspired by The Simpsons, including the all-new attraction, Kang & KodosÕ Twirl ÔnÕ Hurl. For more information, visit www.UniversalOrlando.com.

Later this summer, Springfield will also feature additional landmarks and experiences inspired by The Simpsons, including the all-new attraction, Kang & Kodos’ Twirl ‘n’ Hurl.

Free Dining Offer for Disney Visa Card Holders

Disney’s Visa cardholders can get a FREE Disney Dining Plan when you book a full price Magic Your Way package and check in between 9/2/13 – 9/25/13. You must purchase a package that includes a minimum of 3 nights accommodation at an on-site Walt Disney World resort and a minimum 2-day Base Ticket at full price.

Get a FREE dining plan when you purchase a non-discounted 6-night/7-day Magic Your Way room and ticket package at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels, valid for arrival most nights September 2 - September 25, 2013:

Guests who book a vacation package at one of Disney’s Value Resorts will receive the Quick Service Dining Plan.

Guests who book a vacation package at Disney’s Moderate, Deluxe and Deluxe Villa resorts will receive the regular Dining Plan.

Dining upgrades can be added:

  • Guests staying at a Value Resort can upgrade from the Quick Service Dining Plan to the regular Dining Plan for less than $19 per adult, per night, and less than $3 per child, per night.
  • Guests staying at a Moderate, Deluxe or Deluxe Villa Resort can upgrade from the regular Dining Plan to the Deluxe Dining Plan for less than $45 per adult, per night, and less than $20 per child, per night.

Tickets can also be upgraded to add Park Hopper, Water Park Fun & More and/or No Expiration, for an extra cost.

Book by 7/31/13. A $200 deposit using your Disney’s Visa card is required at the time of booking. Vacation package can be booked up to a maximum of 14 days. Everyone in your party must purchase the same package and same tickets.

Ft. Wilderness campsites, 3-bedroom villas and Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation Resort are not included in this offer. As with all Disney promotional discounts, some resorts, room types and date combinations will not be available. It’s important to be flexible if you want to book a discounted package. The number of vacation packages available with free dining are limited and are subject to availability.

Click Here to Book this Amazing Offer

HGTV Magazine’s Sara Peterson Stops by Epcot’s International Flower & Garden Festival Marketplaces

Sara Peterson, editor-in-chief of HGTV Magazine, will take the HGTV Designers’ Stage at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival this weekend to talk tips on boosting your home’s curb appeal.

While she was at Epcot, she took time to sample a few of the Garden Marketplaces located around World Showcase. Check out her review below!

Celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Earth Day April 22

Are you planning on attending the 15th anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom this Earth Day, April 22? After attending the anniversaries of Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot in 2011 and 2012, respectively, we’ll be there for sure.

Celebrate the 15th Anniversary of Disney’s Animal Kingdom April 22

 

Here are a few of the details of what’s planned for the park’s anniversary.

  • Special opening ceremony – Meet at the Tree of Life at 8:40 a.m., to hear from Josh D’Amaro, Vice President of Disney’s Animal Kingdom; Dr. Jackie Ogden, Vice President of Animals, Science and Environment. Make sure you arrive early for this!
  • Earth Day “Party for the Planet” festivities – Special interactive activities that focus on animals and nature will take place throughout the park from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Artists and other vendors will present their work on in Africa and on Discovery Island, with their work available for purchase.
  • Opportunity to purchase special 15th anniversary merchandise, available in limited quantities.
  • Special food & beverage.

We’ll have more details on Party for the Planet fun, food & beverage and merchandise closer to the event date – stay tuned!

It’s National French Bread Day! And a Great Time to Grab a Baguette at the France Pavilion at Epcot

It’s official: March 21 is National French Bread Day, a perfect excuse for you to head to Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie at the France Pavilion at Epcot.

It’s official: March 21 is National French Bread Day, a perfect excuse for us to head to Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie at the France Pavilion at Epcot.

We’ll start with the iconic baguette, baked fresh daily – it’s fun to watch bakers at work in the onstage kitchen. The long, thin loaves have that perfect, golden crust that cracks when you tear off a bite, with a soft, chewy inside. Because baguettes are just wheat flour, water, yeast and salt and take more than 48 hours to make from start to finish, they’re baked fresh every single day, all day long.

You can also find that fresh baked bread at the adjacent Chefs de France and Monsieur Paul.

Great Time and Money Saver for Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival

Stop and smell the roses, while sporting this new mini Disney Gift Card with an exclusive Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival design. This Disney Gift Card has all the functionalities of a regular Disney Gift Card, with the convenience of wearing it around your wrist. As you enjoy the sights and scents that the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival has to offer, the mini Disney Gift Card will help you quickly satisfy your taste buds by purchasing foods that highlight the taste of spring.

This design will be available exclusively at Epcot for a limited time during the festival.

Stop and smell the roses, while sporting this new mini Disney Gift Card with an exclusive Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival design.

Activate your Disney Gift Card with as little as $5 and just swipe to pay for food and more. Your Disney Gift Card can even be reloaded as many times as you want at the majority of festival kiosks. When the festival is over, you can continue using your card since, like all Disney Gift Cards, it’s good for practically all things Disney here at the Walt Disney World Resort and beyond.

Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is a Perfect Match with Food and Beverage

This year’s Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival elevates the “farm to table” trend to new heights, with Festival Farms around each Garden Marketplace to show how the plants grow that are part of the delicious food and beverages served daily at the festival through May 19 at Epcot..

This fun video highlights the synergy between the garden and kitchen teams, and gives a little insight into the connections. We can’t wait for a taste of tomato wine with shrimp and grits, or the Florida watermelon salad with arugula!

We’re Almost Ready for the 2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, How About You?

The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will return to Walt Disney World Resort Friday, Sept. 28, and preparation is already flowing at a fast pace behind the scenes.

Here’s a look at just how two of our chefs are adding character to this year’s event.

Vintage Epcot: A Return to Seabase Alpha

I’m a huge fan of The Seas with Nemo & Friends attraction at Epcot where you can interact with the stars of the hit Disney•Pixar film, but there is one thing I miss about the original The Living Seas Pavilion – the hydrolater.

The Living Seas Pavilion – the hydrolater.

Iconic to The Living Seas Pavilion, this 20 passenger capsule elevator took guests on a 30-second trip to the ocean floor where they experienced water rushing by as electronic indicators measured the progress of their decent while the floor beneath them was shaking.

The Living Seas Pavilion

This 185,000 square-foot pavilion that opened in 1986 is home to a coral reef environment that holds 5.7 million gallons of seawater. When guests disembarked at Seabase Alpha (now known just as Seabase), they explored a model undersea research facility.

Seabase Alpha

The previous queue at The Living Seas had artifacts that had a more nautical feel than the beach queue guests encounter today.

The previous queue at The Living Seas

While saying “dude” as much as possible is today’s norm when leaving The Seas with Nemo & Friends attraction, I still like to yell out “the deluge” when it downpours here in Florida. Those two words are still memorable all these years later from the original The Living Seas preshow.

VIDEO: Custom Choreographed Dance Down the Aisle at Disney’s Wedding Pavilion

Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings & Honeymoons recently had the honor of kicking off the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration where they held a surprise vow renewal ceremony for Walt Disney World couple, Kristen & Greg. We’re seeing more and more couples look for unique and interesting ways to make their grand entrance, so they wanted something fun and energetic to introduce our bride Kristen. Disney enlisted the help of some friends and Franck himself to make operation ‘Rock the Pavilion’ come to life!

‘Phineas and Ferb & YOU: A Brand New Reality’ Opens at Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World Resort September 1

First there were “Phineas & Ferb” character meet and greets at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Then Agent P’s World Showcase Adventure opened at Epcot. Now, the brothers will invade another area of Walt Disney World Resort: Beginning September 1, guests of all ages can participate in a complimentary augmented reality offering at Downtown Disney called “Phineas and Ferb & YOU: A Brand New Reality.”

Phineas and Ferb & YOU: A Brand New Reality

The experience, which will take place next to Bongos Cuban Café, will allow guests to step onto a platform and virtually interact with Phineas, Ferb, Dr. Doof and Agent P (in their animated forms) on a screen above. Fans can expect to experience any one of 20 different interactions, from dancing “The Platypus Walk” to getting caught in Dr. Doof’s Freeze-inator.

Click On Each Image For A Larger View

Phineas and Ferb & YOU: A Brand New Reality Phineas and Ferb & YOU: A Brand New Reality Phineas and Ferb & YOU: A Brand New Reality Phineas and Ferb & YOU: A Brand New Reality Phineas and Ferb & YOU: A Brand New Reality Phineas and Ferb & YOU: A Brand New Reality Phineas and Ferb & YOU: A Brand New Reality Phineas and Ferb & YOU: A Brand New Reality

Afterward, guests can digitally share a complimentary souvenir photo of their animated interaction with their family and friends.

Special “Phineas & Ferb” merchandise will also be available.

“Phineas and Ferb & YOU: A Brand New Reality” will run through December 1, and is open from 2-9:30 p.m., daily.

Adventures by Disney Brings History to Life with New Privately Guided Itineraries in 2012

kayak abdGuests will now journey through Greece, Egypt and Northern France – Award-winning lineup of family-friendly group adventures offers hassle-free ways to experience culture in the world’s most desired destinations

Adventures by Disney, the leader in guided family travel, announces the addition of two new destinations to its repertoire of immersive family vacations – Greece: “Greek Odyssey” and Northern France: “Esprit de France” – available to travelers in 2012. The adventure continues in Egypt with “Pyramids, Pharaohs & Ancient Treasures,” an unforgettable expedition. New for 2012, Adventures by Disney will feature distinct enhancements to its Australia, London and Paris and Galapagos Islands departures.

16th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival: A Passport to a World of Flavors Sept. 30-Nov. 13

Paradise Found: Tastes of Hawaii and Caribbean now on the Menu. Exotic cocktails will pair like a tropical daydream with fresh new tastes from more than one island paradise at the 16th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival epcot-food-wine-festival-2011-300Sept. 30-Nov. 13, 2011, at Walt Disney World Resort®. The one-of-a-kind 45-day festival serves up international cuisine, culture and entertainment from six continents, with more than 25 international marketplaces featuring tapas-sized portions paired with beer, wine and inventive new cocktails.

Be sure to watch Travel with Rick for updates with videos, pictures and other special information direct from Epcot during this amazing event.

ESPN Wide World of Sports to Host 2011 Old Spice Classic at Walt Disney World

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ESPN Wide World of Sports DisneyThe eight-team college basketball tournament again will be held over Thanksgiving weekend – Thursday, Friday and Sunday, November 24, 25 & 27, 2011 – at the HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Arizona State, Dayton, DePaul, Fairfield, Indiana State, Minnesota, Texas Tech and Wake Forest make up the field. Seven of the teams reached the 2010 postseason. The Old Spice Classic will feature 12 games over the three days. Each team will compete in one game per day, advancing through a bracket-tournament format. The two teams that remain undefeated throughout will face off in a championship match Sunday, November 27. Additional information can be found on the Old Spice Classic website at OldSpiceClassic.com

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