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Explore the New Bourbon Trail at Disney Springs

There’s something exciting – and tasty! – coming to Disney Springs on May 1. Kick off your summer by exploring this brand-new Bourbon Trail, where guests ages 21 and older can discover bourbon-inspired beverages and food pairings. Meander through the many shops and restaurants throughout the area and find your favorites!

Each of these drinks has been carefully paired with a delicious dish, and there’s even a map that shows where to find all of them! Whether you’re a bourbon aficionado, or just enjoy sipping and savoring new drinks, this trail is perfect for an afternoon stroll or a night out with friends.

I’ve put together this guide to everything being offered on the trail, so be sure to read up and prepare your taste buds, because these offerings will only be available through June 17 and you won’t want to miss out! You might even find me strolling about and sipping on a tasty beverage myself …

House of Blues Restaurant & Bar

  • Fine and Mellow – featuring Knob Creek Bourbon, St. Elder, lemon juice, strawberry, and rhubarb bitters
  • Hurry Sundown Old Fashioned – featuring Maker’s Mark Bourbon, Benedictine, butter pecan syrup, bitters, and caramel pecan bacon
  • Smoked Brisket or Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich
  • Homemade Bread Pudding – topped with toffee sauce and bourbon butter
    Splitsville Dining Room

    • The Trifecta – a stirred concoction of Old Forester 100, Carpano Antica Vermouth, Benedictine, and Pimento Dram
    • BBQ Chicken Pizza – smothered in BBQ sauce, topped with marinated grilled chicken, BBQ sauce, smoked gouda, mozzarella, cilantro, and red onion

    Bongos Cuban Café

    • Angel’s Envy Bourbon Mojito – featuring Angel’s Blue Envy Bourbon, simple syrup, soda water, and fresh mint leaves
    • Authentic Cuban Style Churrasco Certified Angus Beef – a 10-ounce skirt steak hand-cut and served with house-made chimichurri sauce, white rice, and beans

    YeSake

    • Strawberry Bourbon Sour Slushie – bourbon, sweet strawberry puree, and lemonade

Citrus Fresh – salmon, green leaf lettuce, cucumber, onion, spinach, and jalapeño tempura crunch wasabi ponzu sauce (available as a bowl or wrap)


Planet Hollywood Observatory

  • Bulleit Frontier Old Fashioned – featuring Bulleit Bourbon, sugar, and bitters
  • BBQ Ribs – fall-off-the-bone St. Louis-style ribs, slow cooked in-house, smothered with BBQ sauce, and served with triple fries

STK Orlando

  • Double Down – featuring Woodford Reserve and lemon juice
  • Double Smoked Bacon – served with date chutney, oven-dried tomatoes, and crispy garlic
  • Bag O’ Donuts – enhanced with dulche de leche filling and spice chocolate and raspberry sauces

Enzo’s Hideaway

  • Enzo’s Bourbon Swizzle – featuring Bulleit Bourbon, lemon juice, ginger syrup, bitters, and fresh mint sprigs with notes of spice, rye, and cedar

Salumi and Formaggi Board – an impressive selection of meats and cheeses


The Edison

  • Peach Tree Downs – a refreshing peach mint julep with a nutty pecan finish featuring Knob Creek Bourbon and Old Camp Peach Pecan Whiskey, with a rich, sweet, woody, full-bodied and almost-fruity flavor and aromas of toasted nuts, grain, and oak
  • DB Clothesline Candied Bacon – maple and black pepper-infused bacon served with a sour pickle

Paradiso 37, Taste of the Americas

  • Kentucky Sunrise – featuring Jim Beam Bourbon, orange juice, and grenadine
  • Argentinian Skirt Steak – 10-ounce char-grilled skirt steak topped with caramelized onions and chimichurri and served with wasabi or truffle fries

The Ganachery

Woodford Reserve Bourbon – comprised of more than 200 delectable flavor notes, from bold grain and wood to sweet aromatics: spice, fruit, and floral notes


Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant

  • The Gold Cup – featuring Bulleit Bourbon, Jameson Black Barrel Irish Whiskey, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and muddled mint, lime, and cucumber
  • Dub Schpuds – herb roasted potato wedges with a Smithwick’s & Dubliner cheese dip

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar

  • Coffee Old Fashioned – Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Kahlua Coffee Liqueur, Joffrey’s Cold Brew Coffee, Vanilla Syrup, Aromatic Bitters, and served with a coffee ganache square

Snakebite Sliders – three gourmet beef sliders with tomato-bacon jam, house-made pickles, shredded lettuce and cheese


The Boathouse

  • Orlando Pride – featuring Old Forester Bourbon and a homemade blackberry citrus purée

Calamari – hoisin chili marinated calamari rings lightly fried with a medley of peppers and served with a side of hoisin chili sauce


Paddlefish

Southern Sangria – featuring Medley Bros. Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, peach liqueur, Tempranillo, and seasonal fruit with warm notes of caramel, oak, and spices that are followed by touches of creamy vanilla, milk chocolate, and caramelized sugar

The Pork Chop – a 10-ounce pork chop served with house-made applesauce and fresh green beans

The Polite Pig

Winner’s Circle – featuring Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Pamplemousee grapefruit liqueur, and elderflower tonic, with a rich and complex flavors and hints of vanilla, toffee, and candied fruit

The Southern Pig Sandwich – mouthwatering pulled pork, fennel-apple slaw, tangy mustard BBQ and Dukes Mayonnaise

Frontera Cocina

  • Bórbon Néctar – featuring Basil Hayden’s Bourbon, 3 dashes of organic agave, 5 drops of Elemakule Tiki Bitters, and orange peel with lean oak, corn, and caramel flavors and finishes of warm toffee, spice, and drying wood
  • Carne Asada – garlic and red chili-marinated Creekstone Natural Black Angus Steak, black beans refritos with queso fresco, and caramelized plantains with crema and Cotija cheese and served with tomatillo salsa and warm tortillas

    D-Luxe Burger

    • Smoked Bourbon Gelato Shake – vanilla gelato blended with Knob Creek Single Barrel Bourbon, hickory smoke, and dark chocolate sauce and topped with a bacon strip
    • Southern Burger – signature blend beef patty topped with a fried green tomato, pimento cheese, lettuce, grilled onion, and bacon

    Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’

    • The Old Fashioned Elder – featuring Michter’s Bourbon and St. Germain Elderflower
    • Basil Hayden’s Mint Julep – featuring Basil Hayden’s Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whisky, simple syrup, and sprigs of fresh mint
    • Famous Thigh High Chicken Biscuits – three biscuits topped with Chef Art’s fried chicken thighs, drizzled with hot honey, and served alongside bread and butter picklesEverything on this tasty Bourbon Trail will be available at Disney Springs from May 1 to June 17, so come on out, grab a drink and a snack, and take a walk with us! You can even pick up a Bourbon Trail Passport that contains all of this info and more at the Disney Springs Welcome Center and at any participating location.

Thanks to  Alex Dunlap and the Disney Parks Blog for this post on the Bourbon Trail at Disney Springs!

 

Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail Debuts Extended Weekend and Holiday Hours

Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail Debuts Extended Weekend and Holiday Hours

With Thanksgiving behind us, the holiday season is here. And at Disney Springs, it’s not only here, but bigger and better than ever. That goes for everything from holiday shopping
to entertainment, and of course, to the Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail!

Back for its second year, the Tree Trail now boasts 25 Disney-inspired trees, including ten
additions featuring iconic characters. Wondering what’s new? Peter Pan, Robin Hood, Sleeping
Beauty, Pinocchio, Snow White, Dumbo, Fantasia, and Lady and the Tramp now take center
stage with trees themed to these beloved stories. There’s also a tree featuring an assortment of
ornaments that are all available at the nearby Disney’s Days of Christmas store. (Tip: look for
the featured ornament on ALL the trees, housed inside a special display lantern; most are
available for purchase, while supplies last.) And one of my favorites—the Disney Springs
Tree—showcases the many retail brands here on property – one look reminds me that I can
pretty much complete all of my Christmas shopping without leaving property.

Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail Debuts Extended Weekend and Holiday Hours

Call me a traditionalist, but in spite of the many options, my top pick is still the classic Mickey
and Minnie tree. That’s the beauty of the expanded Tree Trail – there really is something for
everyone!

Disney Springs Christmas Tree Trail Debuts Extended Weekend and Holiday Hours

Based on the popularity of this new seasonal staple, hours have been extended an additional
hour every Friday and Saturday and also on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The Tree Trail is
offered through the holiday season, and will run through January 7, 2018. The updated
operating hours are as follows:

Monday – Thursday:   12 pm to 10 pm
Friday – Saturday:  10 am to 11 pm
Sunday:  10 am to 10 pm
Christmas Eve, 12/24:  10 am to 11 pm
Christmas Day, 12/25:  10 am to 11 pm

From my family to yours, have a very Happy Holiday and awesome New Year!

Fantastical Gingerbread Displays Decorate the Walt Disney World Resort

Fantastical Gingerbread Displays Decorate the Walt Disney World Resort

As the holiday season draws near, the Walt Disney World Resort pastry chefs are bustling with excitement as they prepare their magnificent gingerbread displays! Each year, guests travel from around the world to see the beautifully-crafted gingerbread creations that adorn our parks and resorts. Today, we’re giving you the inside scoop on what’s in store for this year!

Starting at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Tusker House Restaurant will have a 3-foot long African-inspired gingerbread marketplace on display from Dec. 10 to Jan. 2, created by Pastry Chef Amber Vega. Over at Epcot, Pastry Chefs Noah French, Jason Stricker, and Crystal Saunders will be putting together two gingerbread displays at The American Adventure featuring the United States Capitol Building as well as the Lincoln Memorial. These will be on display starting Nov. 19 and will contain over 50 pounds of gingerbread! On Black Friday, Nov. 24, Pastry Chefs Yoly Lazo and Joseph Lodato from Disney Springs will have a set of gingerbread icons that celebrate the story behind Town Center; look for a display in the window of Amorette’s Patisserie where you can enjoy a sweet treat in between shopping stops.

Fantastical Gingerbread Displays Decorate the Walt Disney World Resort

If you’re planning to go resort hopping to see the festive holiday decorations, our deluxe resorts will be featuring gingerbread displays that you won’t want to miss. Starting Nov. 9 on the 4th floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, you’ll find the beautiful Cinderella Castle, designed by Pastry Chef Jeff Barnes and his talented pastry team. This display recreates the castle in the style of legendary artist Mary Blair on a backdrop inspired by “it’s a small world.” With oversized gingerbread cookies depicting Cinderella and Prince Charming greeting guests from the castle forecourt, this 18-foot tall display is crafted from thousands of gingerbread blocks, rolled fondant, and a mouth-watering amount of modeling chocolate!

This year also marks the 18th anniversary of the Holiday Carousel – a life-size, edible spinning carousel that’s become a holiday tradition at Disney’s Beach Club Resort. This year’s carousel is designed by Pastry Chefs Thomas Huebner, Jennifer Ladisky and Cindy Roman. The Lilo and Stitch-themed carousel will feature horses with hand-painted holiday characters and hand-crafted gingerbread snow flakes. See if you can spot all 18 hidden Mickeys on this display!

There will also be a limited-edition pin featuring Lilo and Stitch available for purchase starting 11/17 at the Beach Club Marketplace. And right next door at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, you’ll also find the annual Holiday Miniature Train! These beautiful holiday displays will be in the lobbies of each resort starting Nov. 17.

Fantastical Gingerbread Displays Decorate the Walt Disney World Resort

And for our “Grand” finale, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is celebrating the 19th anniversary of its famous life-size gingerbread house, which will be located in the main lobby of the resort Nov. 15-Jan. 1. Each year, the Grand Floridian pastry team, led by Executive Pastry Chef Erich Herbitschek, spend over 400 hours baking the gingerbread and over 160 hours constructing and decorating the house, which also contains The Bake Shop. There you can find gingerbread ornaments, cookies, and gingerbread house kits, all made using a classic gingerbread recipe from Austria. On Nov. 18, there will be a pin trading event with a special limited-edition pin featuring the penguins from “Mary Poppins.” What’s more, decorating aficionados will be excited to attend gingerbread house decorating demos conducted daily in the lobby in front of the display starting Dec. 1.

Note: Parking at the Walt Disney World Resort hotels is for the exclusive use of guests with confirmed rooms, dining and recreation reservations. However, bus transportation is available from each of the four parks and Disney Springs. Guests may also park at the Ticket and Transportation Center and visit Epcot, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Disney’s Contemporary Resort via the Walt Disney World Resort Monorail.

Festive Holiday Shopping and New Family Traditions Begin Nov. 10 at Disney Springs

Festive Holiday Shopping and New Family Traditions Begin Nov. 10 at Disney Springs

Beginning Nov. 10, the “bah-humbug” hassle of holiday shopping becomes a joyful family celebration at Disney Springs. Like nowhere else, the holidays come to life at this one-of-a-kind retail, dining and entertainment complex complete with sparkling holiday décor, unique gift-giving (and gift-getting) ideas, tantalizing treats, special entertainment and more.

Only at Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort can the entire family join together in the holiday shopping experience while also creating new family traditions and memories. There are more than 150 locations to explore. And around every corner, Disney Springs is wrapped and ready for the season with strolling carolers, living statues, themed stilt walkers and live music adding to the festive atmosphere.

Here’s a sampling of what’s new this holiday season:

  • An Even Bigger Christmas Tree Trail – To capture the spirit of the season, guests can stroll among an even bigger Christmas Tree Trail. Twenty-five custom decorated holiday trees, each dedicated to a popular Disney theme, will be on display including 10 new trees inspired by Disney classics like Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Snow White and Dumbo.
  • Santa’s Chalet – Santa Claus is accepting Christmas wish lists and welcoming guests to his chalet newly located by the Christmas Tree Trail Nov. 10 through 24.
  • Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt – Stitch returns to Disney Springs with an expanded scavenger hunt now featuring 16 stops, including a special stop at the even-bigger Christmas Tree Trail.
  • Meet & Greet with the Coca-Cola Polar Bear – This huggable eight-foot tall brand ambassador is available for holiday photos on the second floor of The Coca-Cola Store.
  • La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil: This gravity-defying, jaw-dropping show takes its final bow on Dec. 31. Limited tickets are available at CirqueduSoleil.com/la-nouba. Since its premiere, La Nouba has entertained more than 11 million guests and performed more than 8,600 shows. 

One-stop holiday shopping

From top-name brands and one-of-a-kind retailers to Disney-inspired merchandise, there’s something for everyone – and every stocking – at Disney Springs.

Trendsetters will find unique apparel and gift items at UNIQLO, Under Armour Brand House, Marketplace Co-Op, PANDORA, Sephora and Sugarboo & Co. Disney fans can select from a cornucopia of choices at The LEGO Store, Star Wars Galactic Outpost and World of Disney, the world’s largest Disney merchandise store featuring more than 50,000 different items.

For Star Wars fans on the list, tickets are now on sale for the highly anticipated hyper-reality experience, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, debuting at Disney Springs on Dec. 16.

For up-to-date information on Black Friday specials and other offers throughout the holiday season, visit disneysprings.com.

Indulgent treats and family feasts

Holidays are all about gathering around a table with family and friends. Kids of all ages will love indulging their sweet tooth at Ghirardelli Ice Cream & Chocolate Shop. Busy shoppers can take a break and enjoy a satisfying meal at Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza or D-Luxe Burger.

For those large gatherings when no one wants to cook, families and friends can treat each other to a night out at one of Disney Springs’ signature restaurants. Menus feature everything from steak and seafood to home-style favorites, many created by celebrity and award-winning chefs. New offerings since last holiday season include Paddlefish, Planet Hollywood Observatory and Polite Pig.

Complimentary self-parking is available at all Disney Springs garages and surface lots. Walt Disney World Resort guests enjoy complimentary transportation between their Disney Resort hotels and Disney Springs.

About Disney Springs 
Disney Springs is a one-of-a-kind retail, dining and entertainment district located in the heart of the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. With its namesake springs, beautiful open-air promenades and lakefront setting, Disney Springs evokes the charm of Florida waterfront towns at the turn of the 20th century. It’s also home to a collection of more than 150 shops and restaurants, including top-name retail brands, specialty boutiques and dining experiences created by celebrity and award-winning chefs. Located in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., Disney Springs is open daily.

Buon appetito! Disney Springs Welcomes Three New Italian Concepts

Buon appetito! Disney Springs Welcomes Three New Italian Concepts

Coming this winter, three modern Italian restaurants will be arriving at Disney Springs. These restaurants, all new concepts created by the Patina Restaurant Group, each feature unique menus and authentic Italian food in a beautiful and expansive dining complex. The complex will be located adjacent to The Edison, a lavish “Industrial Gothic”-style destination also being developed by Patina. The new concepts all tie into Disney Springs’ storyline of a restored Florida waterfront town, bringing unforgettable food and wine direct from Italy to the Sunshine State, with stunning scenery you can only find at Disney Springs.

The first concept, called Maria & Enzo’s, is a trattoria set in the town’s abandoned 1930’s airline terminal which has now been transformed into an open and airy restaurant. Featuring gorgeous views of Lake Buena Vista and incredible 50-foot ceilings, the interior dining room is adorned with artifacts that reflect air travel of the time such as maps and historic flight paths. Inspired by Sicily, the menu has a delightful range of family-friendly dishes – Arancini di Carne (rice balls stuffed with meat), Melanzane Parmigiana (eggplant parmesan), and handmade pastas including Busiate con Granchio (spiral pasta with crab) and ‘Ncasiata al Forno (Sicilian baked pasta) – all served tableside. Other delectable highlights include fresh fish, richly flavored steaks and chops.

The second concept is Enzo’s Hideaway – Enzo’s own personal speakeasy inspired by Roman aperitivo bars. Located in the storied rum-runner tunnels that adjoin Maria & Enzo’s and steeped in Florida’s true history of rum-running, Enzo’s Hideaway will pour Prohibition-era cocktails at its Tunnel Bar and serve a casual menu of hearty Roman Dishes such as the city’s legendary Bucatini alla Carbonara (hollow spaghetti with creamy egg and pancetta sauce) and Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe(square-cut spaghetti with pecorino and black pepper).

Finally, Pizza Ponte rounds out the group with a fast-casual restaurant serving pizza, pastries, Italian sandwiches and espresso. With the perfect blend of savory and sweet, Pizza Ponte is the ideal place quick bite. On the savory side, the menu features Pizza al Taglio (Sicilian-style pizza served by the slice), signature Tirangolo (stuffed pizza bread) sandwiches, and Porchetta (roast pork). To satisfy your sweet tooth, pastry specialties include Bombolini (Italian donuts), Sfoglia di Riso (pastry with rice cream), and Tiramisu.

Maria & Enzo’s, Enzo’s Hideaway, and Pizza Ponte are set to open at Disney Springs this winter, and are sure to leave you saying, “Delizioso!” If you want to learn more about the Pantina Restaurant Group and their incredible restaurants such as these, visit www.patinagroup.com

These new concepts are just the beginning of a whole new list of exciting food and beverage concepts coming to Disney Springs. Coming soon are new locations such as The Edison, Terralina Crafted Italian, Wine Bar George, Jaleo by José Andrés, and Wolfgang Puck Bar and Grill! Stay tuned for more updates on these amazing new locations.

A First Look at The NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort Coming Summer 2019

A First Look at The NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort Coming Summer 2019

As the 2017-18 NBA season tips off, we want to give you a first look at the new NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort coming to Disney Springs.

Inspired by the modern architecture of new NBA arenas around the country, the building design exudes the same spirit and energizing impact, while creating an unmistakable and entertaining connection to the NBA in a way that only Disney can.

It’s one of several ways Disney Springs is still growing and adding new experiences to delight and entertain our Guests.

“We are inspired by the design of the new building and the energy that it will bring to the West Side of Disney Springs,” said Senior Vice President of Disney Springs and ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Maribeth Bisienere.

A First Look at The NBA Experience at Walt Disney World Resort Coming Summer 2019

The state-of-the-art space will include interactive games and competitions, immersive experiences, a retail store and an adjacent restaurant.

NBA President, Global Partnerships Sal LaRocca, recently commented on the project, sharing, “This one-of-a-kind experience is sure to be enjoyed by basketball and Disney fans of all ages who visit Disney Springs from around the world.”

Tickets Are Now On Sale for Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire Immersive Hyper-Reality Experience

Tickets Are Now On Sale for Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire Immersive Hyper-Reality Experience

Tickets are now on sale for the highly anticipated hyper-reality experience, Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire, debuting at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando on December 16 and Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort in Anaheim on January 5.

Tickets for Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire can be purchased now at www.thevoid.com.

FIRST OF ITS KIND HYPER-REALITY EXPERIENCE: Total immersion in the Star Wars universe. 

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will transport guests deep into the beloved Star Wars universe allowing them to walk freely and untethered throughout the multi-sensory experience with friends and family. In groups of four, teams will go undercover as Stormtroopers to capture Imperial intelligence vital to the budding rebellion’s survival.

“We are so excited about this magical collaboration between three boundary-pushing companies in the burgeoning out-of-home VR entertainment sector,” says Curtis Hickman, co-founder and chief creative officer at The VOID. “We can’t wait to share the experience of hyper-reality with everyone.”

Guests can experience the excitement of hyper-reality with this first look at Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire.

 

“People have longed for a chance to step into the Star Wars universe and this incredible new hyper-reality experience will allow them to do just that in a totally unique way,” notes Vicki Dobbs Beck, executive in charge, ILMxLAB. “It’s a group experience that evokes the senses in bold new ways.

Enjoy Florida Craft Beers and Oktoberfest-Inspired Eats This Fall at Disney Springs

Enjoy Florida Craft Beers and Oktoberfest-Inspired Eats This Fall at Disney Springs

Since October is just beginning, I was surprised to learn that Oktoberfest – the premiere annual beer festival in Munich, Germany – officially ends today. No need to worry … if you’re here in Central Florida, Disney Springs will be serving up cold brews and hot eats all month long and through the fall

Disney recently caught up with a few of my favorite craft beer connoisseurs, including Disney Springs Food and Beverage Proprietor, Jamie Entwistle. According to Jamie, “Disney Springs is a melting pot of beer options. Here, you can enjoy craft beer from a wide mix of local and national breweries in addition to tried and true favorites – each guest is sure to find their favorite style and may even expand their palate by trying something unique as they walk the promenade and enjoy our great entertainment options.”

Enjoy Florida Craft Beers and Oktoberfest-Inspired Eats This Fall at Disney Springs

Disney Springs Senior Duty Manager, Mike England, echoed the sentiment. Though he’s here five days a week for work, he’s often here during his weekends, too, trying out the newest beers on tap. Of all my friends, Mike is one of the most knowledgeable when it comes to ales, lagers and everything in between, so I asked him for his “Top Five” list at Disney Springs; not one to shy away from a challenge, he came back with ten.

“Here are my current favorites,” Mike shared, “they’re all Florida Craft beers, and they’re listed in no particular order, except for Cigar City Jai Alai – it always tops my list!”:

1. Cigar City Jai Alai (AMC Dine-In, House of Blues and multiple other locations)
2. Big Storm Wavemaker Amber (Boathouse)
3. Orange Blossom Pilsner (Dockside Margaritas)
4. Crooked Can McSwaggers Own (Frontera Cocina)
5. Cask & Larder Five Points IPA (Polite Pig)
6. Coppertail Brewing Miriam’s Irish Coffee Stout (Raglan Road)
7. Orlando Brewing Blonde Ale (Paddlefish)
8. Funky Buddha Hop Gun (Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’)
9. Swamp Head Brewery Stump Knocker APA (Planet Hollywood Stargazers Lounge)
10. 3 Daughters Brewing Seasonal (Dockside Margaritas)

Enjoy Florida Craft Beers and Oktoberfest-Inspired Eats This Fall at Disney Springs

If the above doesn’t suit your fancy, remember that Disney Springs’ offerings are always evolving. One of the upcoming additions I’m most looking forward to is a new Disney Springs beer that will soon debut in partnership with a local craft brewery; the selection will rotate seasonally and will even have a custom “Disney Springs” tap, only found here.

Have you discovered any “must-try” sips during your Disney Springs visits? If so, share in the comments below – I’m always eager to find a new favorite!

Disney Springs Is the Place to Start New Traditions This Holiday Season

Disney Springs Is the Place to Start New Traditions This Holiday Season

This holiday season at Disney Springs, you can create family memories, celebrate the season and find special gifts for all of the special people on my list – plus a treat or two for yourself! Make your holidays more magical, too, by enjoying everything Disney Springs will have to offer this holiday season…

While holiday shopping is certainly more magical here at Disney Springs, here’s some of our seasonal “must-dos”:

  • A Bigger, Better Disney Springs’ Christmas Tree Trail: Last year Disney introduced custom decorated holiday trees to the Marketplace, each themed to a popular Disney story or character. This year, the Christmas Tree Trail will expand to twenty-five trees – many of them larger than last year’s evergreens – including ten new trees inspired by Disney classics such as Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Snow White and Dumbo.

Disney Springs Is the Place to Start New Traditions This Holiday Season

  • Santa’s Chalet: Santa Claus is accepting Christmas wish lists and welcoming guests to his chalet near the exit of Disney Springs’ Christmas Tree Trail, making the Marketplace the most magical nook in all of Disney Springs. You’ll be visiting in your holiday best, smiling for Disney PhotoPass Photographers who will be on hand to capture photos, and probably taking a few selfies with your own camera, too! Santa Goofy will take over when Saint Nick heads back to the North Pole on December 25 – so we may have to visit twice.
  • Stitch’s Holiday Gift Hunt: The mischievous experiment 626 is at it again with an expanded scavenger hunt featuring four new stops, including a special stop at the more-magical-than-ever Disney Springs’ Christmas Tree Trail. A great activity for families with kids older than mine, it’s your chance to work together, decipher clues, and discover all the spots where Stich is hiding. Complete the mission and receive a limited-edition button.
  • La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil: After nearly twenty years, “La Nouba” will take its final bow on December 31, 2017. I’ve seen the show a handful of times and can attest that there’s nothing else quite like the gravity-defying, jaw-dropping thrill of this stunning 90-minute show. There’s a good chance we’ll be getting a sitter so we can see it one last time before the curtain closes. Limited tickets available; visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/la-nouba for additional information and to purchase.

Complimentary and adjacent self-parking keeps things simple and hassle-free. With the retail delivery service available at all Disney Springs stores, I won’t have to add anything else my overloaded stroller, making it easier for guests to pop in to one of the award-winning restaurants to relax and refuel. Fan favorite eateries include Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza or D-Luxe Burger for a quick bite or any of our signature restaurants – featuring everything from steak and seafood to home-style favorites – for a more substantial sit-down meal.

What’s your first stop at Disney Springs this Holiday Season?

Force Friday II Merchandise Event Coming to Disney Parks on September 1

Force Friday II Merchandise Event Coming to Disney Parks on September 1

We are delighted to announce Force Friday II is coming to Disney Parks!

New Star Wars themed merchandise and more will land in our galaxy at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts on September 1, 2017 at 12:01 a.m. (Midnight).*

The Force Friday II event is your opportunity to be among the first to purchase new Star Wars and Star Wars: The Last Jedi themed merchandise, including unique products found only at Disney Parks.

 

Please see details below if you are planning to attend this free event in California or Florida.

Disneyland Resort – World of Disney Store, Downtown Disney District
Pre-registration for the Force Friday II event is required for guests attending the event in Downtown Disney District at Disneyland Resort.

Registration will be accepted only on DisneyParksMerchandise.com beginning August 24 at 11:00 a.m. (Pacific) / 2:00 p.m. (Eastern).

Once registered, guests will receive additional instructions via email. Doors open at 12:01 a.m. on September 1.

Walt Disney World Resort – World of Disney, Disney Springs

For guests attending the event at Disney Springs, registration for Force Friday II will take place outside the World of Disney store entrance across from Basin on August 31 beginning at 6:00 p.m.

Guests will be given a numbered wristband on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once a wristband is received, guests are invited to return to World of Disney by 11:30 p.m. where they will be lined up in sequential order. Doors open at 12:01 a.m. on September 1.

Please park in the Lime Parking Garage at Disney Springs for shopping convenience.

Set your hyperspace coordinates for this merchandise event in preparation of the highly anticipated film release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi on December 15.

May the Force Be With You!

*Event subject to change.

New VOID Experience Centers Coming to Downtown Disney and Disney Springs This Holiday Season

New VOID Experience Centers Coming to Downtown Disney and Disney Springs This Holiday Season

Lucasfilm, ILMxLAB and The VOID recently announced the new Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire hyper-reality experience. This ground-breaking experience will open to the public at two new VOID Experience Centers at Downtown Disney at Disneyland Resort and Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort beginning this holiday season, giving Star Wars fans the opportunity to step beyond reality and into a galaxy far, far away.

“At The VOID, we combine the magic of illusions, advanced technology and virtual reality to create fully immersive social experiences that take guests to new worlds,” said Curtis Hickman, co-founder and chief creative officer at The VOID. “A truly transformative experience is so much more than what you see with your eyes; it’s what you hear, feel, touch, and even smell. Through the power of The VOID, guests who step into Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire won’t just see this world, they’ll know that they are part of this amazing story.”

ILMxLAB, Lucasfilm’s Immersive Entertainment division, created this first of its kind experience, in collaboration with The VOID. Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire will plunge guests directly into the iconic Star Wars galaxy. Guests will move freely throughout the untethered, social, and multi sensory experience as they interact and engage with friends, family and Star Wars characters.

“At ILMxLAB, we want people to step inside the worlds of our stories,” explained Vicki Dobbs Beck, executive in charge of the division. “Through our collaboration with The VOID, we can make this happen as guests become active participants in an unfolding Star Wars adventure. By combining Lucasfilm’s storytelling expertise with cutting-edge imagery, and immersive sound from the team at Skywalker Sound, while invoking all the senses, we hope to truly transport all those who experience Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire to a galaxy far, far away.”

Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire marks an important milestone in the continued expansion of The VOID, which also joined the 2017 Disney Accelerator earlier this year.

Enjoy Special Character Experiences and Photo Opportunities During Disney PhotoPass Day

Enjoy Special Character Experiences and Photo Opportunities During Disney PhotoPass Day

August 19 marks World Photo Day, and we’re excited to celebrate the occasion with the return of Disney PhotoPass Day at Walt Disney World Resort! During this event, Disney PhotoPass Service will offer a number of exclusive photo opportunities that will let you take home even more picture-perfect memories of your visit.

You can also celebrate Disney Princesses during Disney PhotoPass Day! In honor of Disney’s “Dream Big, Princess” campaign, you’ll find photo opportunities focused on some of your favorite Disney Princesses.

Check out all of the special opportunities that are planned in each of the four theme parks and Disney Springs on August 19:

Entertainment and photo opportunities are subject to change. Some locations could be affected by inclement weather.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Character Experiences:

  • Meeko joins Pocahontas at Character Landing on Discovery Island
  • Timon joins Rafiki at Rafiki’s Planet Watch
  • Princess Atta joins Flik at Discovery Island near Creature Comforts

Photo opportunities:

  • Dream Big Princess photo backdrop before the park entrance (daylight hours only)
  • Jungle Book Magic Shot near Yak & Yeti Restaurant
  • Visit the PhotoPass photographer in DinoLand U.S.A. from 9-10 p.m. to have magical Mickey light effects added to your photo (example below)

Enjoy Special Character Experiences and Photo Opportunities During Disney PhotoPass Day

Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Character Experiences:

  • The Queen from “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,” Maleficent, and Cruella de Vil will meet with guests at Sunset Showcase. This opportunity will be available from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Photo opportunities:

  • Dream Big Princess photo backdrop outside the Theater of the Stars (daylight hours only)
  • Poison Apple Magic Shot on Sunset Boulevard
  • Fisheye lens in the Chinese Theatre Courtyard area

Epcot
Character Experiences:

  • Genie will join Princess Jasmine in the Morocco Pavilion
  • Mushu will join Mulan in the China Pavilion

Photo opportunities:

  • Dream Big Princess photo backdrop near Epcot Character Spot (daylight hours only)
  • Baymax Animated Magic Shot with the PhotoPass photographer located near Mouse Gear and the Fountain of Nations
  • Fisheye lens near the fountain close to the entrance to Spaceship Earth

Enjoy Special Character Experiences and Photo Opportunities During Disney PhotoPass Day

Magic Kingdom Park
Character Experiences:

  • Dopey joins Snow White at Town Square Courtyard
  • Captain Hook joins Peter Pan in Fantasyland

Photo opportunities:

  • Dream Big Princess photo backdrop in Fantasyland (daylight hours only)
  • Cinderella’s Coach in Fantasyland
  • “Tangled” light painting photo opportunity near Ariel’s Grotto (available after dark)
  • Mickey Mouse Magic Shot on the bridge near Fairytale Garden
  • Main Street Vehicle near the Plaza Ice Cream Parlor (available in the morning and early afternoon)

Disney Springs 
Photo opportunities:

  • Dream Big Princess photo backdrop next to the Marketplace Stage
  • Fairy Wings Magic Shot from the PhotoPass photographer roaming around the Marketplace near Tren-D (available from 1-10:30 p.m.)
  • You can also visit the Disney PhotoPass Studio at Disney Springs to enjoy special $99.95 plus shipping pricing on a Personalized Storybook now through August 20!

Don’t forget to share your photos using #DisneyPhotoPassDay and #DreamBigPrincess, and if you want access to all of your PhotoPass photos from Disney PhotoPass Day, purchase Memory Maker One Day for $59 in the My Disney Experience mobile app during or after your visit!

‘American Idol’ Bus Tour Visits Disney Springs for Open Auditions

‘American Idol’ Bus Tour Visits Disney Springs for Open Auditions

The groundbreaking series, “American Idol,” will debut on its new home at ABC in 2018. And, there’s more exciting news! For the first time, the ‘Idol’ bus will kick off open auditions at the Walt Disney World Resort.

If you think you could be the next “American Idol”, head over to Disney Springs on August 17 to audition with “American Idol” Producers. (Celebrity Judges will not be on site.) Early arrival is encouraged. And, for you early birds, parking will be available as early as 4 a.m. – but not before. Registration will begin at 6 a.m. with auditions starting at 8 a.m. Early arrival is encouraged, as registration will close at 12:00 p.m or sooner due to capacity. No overnight camping please.

‘American Idol’ Bus Tour Visits Disney Springs for Open Auditions

The auditions will take place outdoors, so make sure to bring water, sunscreen, and a hat to stay in top shape for your audition. Parking will be available at the surface parking lot on the West Side of Disney Springs, near House of Blues and Cirque du Soleil.

All singers must be at least 15 years old to audition. Pre-Registration is encouraged. To Pre-Register and for additional details, full eligibility requirements, submission forms, and terms and conditions, visit www.americanidol.com. Those auditioning can bring one guest to accompany them and the guest must be over 5 years old.

The search is on for the next American Idol. Could it be you?

Disney’s Old Key West Resort

Experience the romance of the Florida Keys at this tranquil community of Conch Flats—a sprawling island hamlet with shimmering waterways, swaying palm trees and manicured golf-course fairways. Delight in sun-soaked pools, casual dining and such amenities as fully equipped kitchens or kitchenettes.

Recreation
At Disney’s Old Key West Resort, there are 4 pools for your enjoyment. The Sandcastle Pool is 149,600-gallon pool with a 125-foot-long waterslide that flows through a giant sandcastle and features a sand beach that is waiting for you to lounge around on. Nearby is a whirlpool spa and a dry sauna where your cares will melt away.

There are 3 leisure pools all located at their own sections of the resort: Old Turtle Pond, South Point, and Miller’s Road. These pools offer a quiet spot where you can lounge the day away.

There’s no shortage of activities to keep you busy at this resort. From sports such as volleyball, basketball, tennis, and fishing to bike rentals and movies under the stars, there is something for everyone! There is also a community hall where you can play foosball, video games, check out equipment for sports, and rent DVD’s to take back to your room.

Dining
While you’re lounging around the pool, you’ll need snacks and beverages which is why there are 3 quick-service pool bars at this resort. Good’s Food to Go, Turtle Shack Poolside Snacks, and Gurgling Suitcase are your go-tos. Options include burgers, hot dogs, pizza, salads, desserts, and plenty of beverages – alcoholic and non alcoholic.

Olivia’s Cafe is a casual dining restaurant that’s open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For breakfast, you absolutely can’t miss the banana bread french toast. Lunch options include conch fritters, conch chowder, stacked sandwiches, and their signature burger, while dinner offers heartier choices such as pan-seared scallops and barbecue pork ribs.

Transportation
Disney’s complimentary bus system is available to take you from the resort to all the theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs. You can also get to Disney Springs from the water taxi.

Disney’s Old Key West Resort is a peaceful tropical paradise awaiting you and your family. For more information about this resort and booking your next Disney vacation, visit us online today! We are your concierge to the magic and much more!

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa

Inspired by historic Saratoga Springs—a late-1800s’ New York retreat famous for its spas and horse racing—this charming, Victorian-style Resort hotel is nestled between rolling golf course greens and the shimmering Village Lake. Delight in stately Studios and multi-bedroom Villas, dazzling pools and a spa.

Recreation
At Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, there are five pools (that’s right, 5!) for you and your family to enjoy. The High Rock Spring Pool features gushing waterfalls, a zero-depth entry similar to a beach, and a 128-foot-long waterslide. Nearby are 2 whirlpool spas for you to enjoy.

The Paddock Pool has a massive146-foot-long waterslide that you can slide down from atop a water tower. This pool also has a zero-depth entry and a nearby horseshoe-shaped whirlpool spa. Nearby is The Paddock Grill. Open from7:30am – 9pm, this quick-service dining option has quick and delicious bites such as sandwiches, cheeseburgers, fish, and more.

Three leisure pools are located at the Treehouse Villas, Congress Park, and The Grandstand and they each have their own whirlpool spa.

Saratoga Springs is home to endlessactivities such as movies under the stars, campfire activities, bike rentals, fishing, golfing, and a community hall where you can play ping-pong, foosball, rent DVDs, board games, and more!

Senses – A Disney Spa at Saratoga Springs
Senses is a full service spa and health club where you can relax and rejuvenate your mind and body in a calming environment that draws inspiration from the American countryside. Some of their spa services include massage therapies, facial treatments, body therapies and wraps, and more!

A 24-hour fitness center is also available for you to keep fit even while on vacation.

Dining
The Turf Club Bar & Grill is nestled alongside the Lake Buena Vista Golf Course and is the perfect place to enjoy a meal after a round of golf or a day at the parks. This dimly-lit, sophisticated restaurant surrounds you with vintage equestrian memorabilia and a beautiful view of the golf course and Disney Springs. Here you can enjoy a cocktail and a round of pool in their lounge before your hearty meal of American classics like prime rib or oven-roasted lamb.

The Artist’s Palette Restaurant is a quick-service restaurant open from 7am – 11pm where you can grab breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Featuring grourmet sandwiches, soups, salads, and grab ‘n’ go items, be sure to stop by any time of the day for mouth-watering meal.

The Backstretch Pool Bar serves up refreshing beverages, non-alcoholic and alcoholic, and a selection of poolside snacks and sandwiches from 12:30pm – 6pm.

Transportation
Disney’s complimentary bus system is available to take you from the resort to all the theme parks, water parks, and Disney Springs. You can also get to Disney Springs from the water taxi. One boat launch is located by the Treehouse Villas and the second is near The Turf Club Bar and Grill.

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa takes you back to the charming Victorian age of New York. For more information about this resort and booking your next Disney vacation, visit us online today! We are your concierge to the magic and much more!

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