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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.

Victoria & Albert’s Voted #2 Restaurant in U.S. by TripAdvisor for Second Year

Victoria & Albert’s Voted #2 Restaurant in U.S. by TripAdvisor for Second Year

Victoria & Albert’s, located in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, was voted the second-best fine dining restaurant in America among TripAdvisor’s 2017 Best Fine Dining Restaurants in their Travelers’ Choice awards – the only Florida restaurant to make this prestigious list.

Victoria & Albert’s Voted #2 Restaurant in U.S. by TripAdvisor for Second Year

Under the helm of Executive Chef Scott Hunnel, Chef de Cuisine Aimee Rivera, maître d hotel Israel Perez and Master Pastry Chef Erich Herbitschek, this is the second time Victoria & Albert’s has received high honors from TripAdvisor. The restaurant also is a recipient of AAA’s highest achievement, the Five Diamond Award.

Victoria & Albert’s Voted #2 Restaurant in U.S. by TripAdvisor for Second Year

The ultimate in fine dining, Victoria & Albert’s 50-seat main dining room allows guests to choose between a 7-course menu and a 10-course Chef’s Tasting Menu with optional wine pairing selected by the sommelier. The intimate Queen Victoria Room offers a 10-course meal with tableside presentation and wine pairings.

Victoria & Albert’s Voted #2 Restaurant in U.S. by TripAdvisor for Second Year

The highly sought-after 10-seat Chef’s Table, located in the restaurant’s kitchen, grant diners a behind-the-scenes look at the Victoria & Albert’s team crafting the evening’s dishes. The restaurant’s impressive cellar boasts over 700 wines from over 35 regions.

Victoria & Albert’s Voted #2 Restaurant in U.S. by TripAdvisor for Second Year

Travelers’ Choice winners are determined using an algorithm that takes into account the quality and quantity of reviews from TripAdvisor users gathered over a 12-month period.

Victoria & Albert’s is among an illustrious group of restaurants. Here is a full list of the impressive top 10 fine dining restaurants:

Daniel – New York City, New York
Victoria & Albert’s – Orlando, Florida
Charleston Grill – Charleston, South Carolina
Alinea – Chicago, Illinois
Chef and the Farmer – Kinston, North Carolina
Halls Chophouse – Charleston, South Carolina
Geronimo – Santa Fe, New Mexico
Mama’s Fish House – Paia, Hawaii
Restaurant Gary Danko – San Francisco, California
Merriman’s – Kapalua, Hawaii

Congratulations to the entire Victoria & Albert’s team!

Appetizing Occasions at Walt Disney World Resort

Appetizing Occasions at Walt Disney World Resort

If you’re looking for an unforgettable event to add to your Disney vacation, try one of these upcoming culinary experiences from around Walt Disney World Resort and be sure to book these events in advance to get in on the fun!

Appetizing Occasions at Walt Disney World Resort

Highway in the Sky Dine Around – Additional Dates Now Available

Additional dates through December have now been released for the popular Highway in the Sky Dine Around.

This culinary journey on the Walt Disney World Monorail takes you to three Disney resort hotels, where each destination offers a distinctively delicious experience. The journey starts with appetizers and cocktails at The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. You’ll soon travel to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort to partake in dishes inspired by the South Pacific, and then it’s off to Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa where you’re invited to sit back, sip champagne and enjoy an artisanal selection of cheeses or charcuterie before enjoying the main course of your trip at Cítricos. The final stop on this magical journey drops you back off at Disney’s Contemporary Resort where you’ll retire to a private patio to enjoy a delectable array of desserts, cordials and coffee. Here, you’ll be able watch in wonder as fireworks light up the night sky over Cinderella Castle for the grand finale of your adventure.

Appetizing Occasions at Walt Disney World Resort

Mickey’s New Year’s Eve BBQ at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort!

Join Mickey, Minnie and friends for a family-friendly barbecue at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort as they celebrate the new year at Mickey’s New Year’s Eve BBQ. During this special finger-licking, foot-stomping barbeque event, you’ll feast on mouth-watering items such as Bacon Jam Burger Sliders grilled on site, Wagon Wheel Mac’n’Cheese for the kiddos, and Mini S’mores served in Mason Jars!

In addition to this all-you-care-to-enjoy BBQ spread, you’ll get to enjoy the sounds of a live bluegrass band and a DJ. After dinner, cowpokes can mosey on over to the dance floor for line dancing led by Disney Friends! Then get ready to count down to midnight and watch the world-famous Magic Kingdom fireworks from a special viewing area.

Appetizing Occasions at Walt Disney World Resort

Down in New Orleans: A Disney New Year’s Eve Experience

Calling all fine-dining aficionados: prepare to pamper your palate at an event you’ll remember for years to come! Ring in the new year in style with Down in New Orleans: A Disney New Year’s Dining Experience inspired by the New Orleans French Quarter and Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog.”

When you arrive at the Sorcerer’s Apprentice Ballroom of Disney’s Contemporary Resort, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful French Quarter-inspired décor and an array of stations that will immerse your senses in unique and extraordinary flavors, such as smoked salmon mousse cones and oyster beignets fried right before your eyes. Then, when dinner time finally approaches, you’ll be guided to a premier dining destination for the main course of the night where you’ll be welcomed by art-adorned walls with visions of New Orleans. Take in the rich scents and vibrant flavors as you enjoy herb-crusted Louisiana redfish, crayfish étouffé, Black Angus beef, braised short ribs and roast filet of beef with truffled celery root silk, all while enjoying the authentic sounds of a live jazz band. At the evening’s end, a spirited vocalist will join the band and bring the classic sounds of Disney’s “Princess and the Frod” by legendary composer Randy Newman to life. Soon after, you’ll be ushered to a private viewing area near the Porte Cochére, for champagne and the unforgettable sights of the world-famous Magic Kingdom fireworks to ring in the new year!

From beginning to end, it’s a beautiful way to welcome 2018 and it’s sure to be a night you’ll remember. Reserve your seats for this once-in-a-lifetime event today! Down in New Orleans – A Disney New Year’s Eve Experience will take place on December 31, 2017, from 7 p.m. to 12:15 a.m. at Disney’s Contemporary Resort and will feature restaurant-style reserved seating.

Disney Parks Best Bites: May 2017

Disney Parks Best Bites: May 2017 New out-of-this-world menu items have premiered at at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, including new burgers featuring a signature blend of beef. The Drive-In BBQ Burger has house-made barbecue sauce, bacon, cheddar, crispy-fried jalapeño and onion straws on a brioche bun. Vegetarians will love the new Falafel Burger with a crispy chickpea falafel patty, arugula, tomato, Tatziki sauce and red pepper aioli on a brioche bun.

Disney Parks Best Bites: May 2017

Hear ye, hear ye! A new pasta dish is on the menu at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall at Epcot! You’ll feel like royalty enjoying the Fylt Pasta; a four-cheese stuffed pasta with white wine-cream sauce, roasted vegetables, chive oil and balsamic glaze.

Disney Parks Best Bites: May 2017

After a year-long hiatus, Surf and Turf has returned to the menu at Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa! The dish pairs a six-ounce lobster tail with a six-ounce sirloin served with Yukon gold rustic mashed potatoes and roasted spring vegetables.

Disney Parks Best Bites: May 2017

New specialty candy-inspired beverages are now available at Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort! Relax with the Gummy Oasis, which features gummy bears lounging in a delicious frozen pool of frozen cotton candy lemonade. The Watermelon Crush features Nerds® candy mixed into frozen watermelon and cherry lemonade. These drinks are also available in alcoholic versions for adults.

A new Specialty Hot Dog will debut June 4 at Casey’s Corner in Magic Kingdom Park! The Buffalo Chicken Dog features an all-beef hot dog loaded with shredded buffalo chicken, garlic-ranch dressing and celery.

Pizza lovers, rejoice – Frusta has landed at Cool Ship in Magic Kingdom Park. Pizza Frusta is a folded pizza-like snack that is easy to eat on-the-go! Choose from tomato and cheese or pepperoni and sausage.

Disney Parks Best Bites: May 2017

Have you tried the new open-faced BLT Sandwiches at The Smiling Crocodile at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Each sandwich is one snack entitlement on the Disney Dining Plan. Choose from turkey, salmon or pimento-cheese on toasted ciabatta with lettuce, tomato, and thick-cut smoked, house-roasted bacon.

Victorian Elegance Meets Modern Sophistication at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Relax in the sumptuous lobby as the live orchestra plays ragtime, jazz, and popular Disney tunes at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Bask on the white-sand beach, indulge in a luxurious massage, and watch the fireworks light up the sky over Cinderella’s Castle. Just one stop away from Magic Kingdom park on the complimentary Resort Monorail, this timeless Victorian-style marvel evokes Palm Beach’s golden era.

Disney's Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

Recreation:
Soak, splash, or go for a slide down to the 181-foot-long waterslide at the crystal-clear Beach Pool or enjoy a more peaceful swim at the Courtyard Pool. Both pools have zero-depth entries similar to that of a beach. Also located at the Beach Pool are poolside cabanas which offer luxurious comfort and amenities such as padded lounge chairs, an LCD television, complimentary sodas and water, and more! Cabanas can be reserved in advance and are the perfect way to relax in style and comfort with your family for a half day, full day, or evening.

The Grand Floridian also offers fishing excursions, jogging trails, basketball courts, motorized boat rentals, and many more activities to keep you and your family busy for days!

Senses Spa at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort

Senses – A Disney Spa:
Invigorate your mind and body at this retreat reminiscent of a serene Floridian garden at the turn of the 20th. century. Senses is a full-service spa and health club in a Victorian-themed setting offering massages, body treatments, and more. Their treatments are designed to elevate the mind and have you looking and feeling your best.

1900 Park Fare Breakfast at Disney's Grand Floridian

Dining:
Restaurants of all shapes and sizes can be found at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, including character dining at 1900 Park Fare, signature dining at Narcoossee’s and Victoria & Albert’s, and quick-service poolside dining at Beach Pool Bar and Gasparilla Island Grill.

For a one-of-a-kind dining experience, you won’t want to miss Highway in the Sky Dine Around: a progressive dinner including five courses at three Disney Resort hotels. The monorail will first take you to Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort for island-inspired drinks and appetizers. Next is Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa for champagne, charcuterie, and the main course. To end, you’ll be taken to Disney’s Contemporary Resort for coffee and desserts while you watch Wishes nighttime spectacular fireworks over Cinderella’s Castle.

Monorail at Disney's Grand Floridian

Transportation:
Breeze from The Grand Floridian to Magic Kingdom and Epcot on the monorail or explore other areas of Walt Disney Resort such as the water parks and Disney Springs with Disney’s bus transportation.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a lavish escape to the Palm Beach’s golden era and is fun for the whole family. For more information about this resort and booking your next Disney vacation, visit us online today! We are you concierge to the magic and much more!

‘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.

Bookings Begin July 21 for Premium Events for Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

While there are plenty of events included with Epcot admission for the 21st Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, this year’s “premium events” include some don’t-miss options.

Party for the Senses

Here are a few top picks:

  • Four all-new interactive culinary adventures in the Disney resorts encourage guests to ask the experts, taste and cook alongside our chefs at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney Yacht Club Resort.
  • The new “Mix It, Make It Celebrate It” hands-on workshop gives guests the opportunity to learn from the pros – cake decorating, garnishing, cocktail mixing and other fun activities.
  • The always-popular Cheese Seminars return. Learn “the wheys of the world” paired with wine, beer and other beverages with Max McCalman along with other experts.
  • Rockin’ Burger Block Parties are back for just three Fridays at World ShowPlace – and each party features a celebrity chef and all-you-can-eat specialty sliders paired with beverages. Join Chef Maneet Chauhan on September 30, Chef Alex Seidel on October 14, and Chef Jehangir Mehta on November 11.
  • You’ll want to masquerade in chic yellow and black for the Yelloween Masquerade Party for the Senses October 28 and 29, an elegant, dance-the-night-away, gourmet tasting party with Champagne, wine, craft beers and specialty cocktails paired with food.
  • This year’s Party for the Senses will be every weekend in October (that’s it!). October 8 features all the new chefs from Disney Springs; October 15 is a reprise of last year’s popular evening with Disney chefs from around the world.
  • What’s Cookin’ With … some of the country’s top celebrity chefs will begin the morning with a delightful plated brunch and sparkling wine toast. The fun starts with a demo, and the chefs answer questions from the audience and share secrets of their successes. The brunch is on select Fridays and Sundays at 10 a.m.

Guests include:

  • Friday, September 16 – Elizabeth Falkner
  • Sunday, September 18 – Bryan Voltaggio
  • Friday, September 23 – Andrea Robinson
  • Sunday, September 25 – Robert Irvine
  • Friday, September 30 – Graham Elliot
  • Sunday, October 2 – Buddy Valastro
  • Friday, October 7 – Jamie Deen
  • Sunday, October 9 – Cat Cora
  • Friday, October 14 – Emily Ellyn
  • Friday, October 21 – Andrew Zimmern
  • Sunday, October 23 – Rock Harper
  • Sunday, October 30 – Geoffrey Zakarian
  • Friday, November 4 – Alex Guarnaschelli
  • Sunday, November 6 – David Guas
  • Friday, November 11 – Sarah Fioroni
  • Sunday, November 13 – Jehangir Mehta

Included in regular Epcot admission are the Back to Basics series, special book signings, Eat to the Beat concerts, cultural adventures, Festival Passport and attractions and park entertainment.

Contact your Kingdom Magic Vacations Travel Planner for information on how to book your event!

New Gourmet Hot Dogs Debut at Gasparilla Island Grill at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

Gasparilla Island Grill at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa recently started dishing up seven new gourmet hot dogs, each themed to a different city or region of the United States. Each specialty dog (besides one … you’ll see what I mean) is served on a bun fresh-baked daily by the Grand Floridian Bakery. With a different hot dog for each day of the week, you’ll want to plan your visit accordingly.

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Cleveland – Available on Sundays, the Cleveland dog is topped with French fries, coleslaw and hot sauce.

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Seattle – Lovers of spicy food will want to visit on Monday, when they can get the Seattle, topped with cream cheese, raw jalapeños, chopped cabbage and finished with Sriracha.

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Kansas City – Simple and oh-so-good—the Kansas City dog is served on a sesame seed bun, sauerkraut and Swiss cheese. Look for it on Tuesdays.

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Memphis – Barbecue lovers rejoice, the Memphis dog is topped with two slices of bacon, barbecue sauce, chopped scallions and shredded cheddar cheese. This dog is available on Wednesday.

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Idaho – On Thursdays, you’ll find the exception I mentioned earlier—the Idaho dog is (fittingly) served on a baked potato instead of a bun and piled high with bacon bits, chives, sour cream and shredded cheddar cheese.

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New York – This hot dog will have you saying TGIF in a New York minute. Mustard, sauerkraut and onion sauce top the New York dog, served on Fridays.

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Chicago – If you’re from the Midwest, you’ll recognize this staple, served at Gasparilla Island Grill on Saturdays: A traditional Chicago-style hot dog: a pickle spear, celery salt, tomatoes, whole sport peppers, chopped onions, green relish and mustard on a poppy seed bun.

Which hot dog will you try on your next visit to Gasparilla Island Grill?


New Dining Room at Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – True Disney foodies know you haven’t arrived until you’ve dined at the crème de la crème of restaurants – Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa.  But now the top-rated dining room has a new “must do”: the gorgeous Queen Victoria’s Room.

Queen Victoria’s Room is behind closed doors just off the main dining room.  With just four tables, restaurant manager Israel Perez promises attention to your every whim.  They’ve brought back French gueridon service – a gueridon is a fancy rolling cart that goes from table to table for customized service and “wow” factor – a flourish of Himalayan sea salt atop your filet, a decadent wine sauce or a lavish display of cheese, for instance.

Anyone who’s tasted Chef Scott Hunnel’s exquisite creations knows this is a memorable affair.  How often do you savor perfectly seared Kurobuta pork tenderloin and belly, or butter-poached lobster with bisque and lobster roe foam?  And vegans and vegetarians are Hunnel’s favorite challenge.  The sommelier happily will pair something delicious with each of the 10 courses.  Yes, 10 courses, but they’re small.  Still, plan on three to four hours of leisurely dining.

It’s worth the price of a baby-sitter – no kids under 10 are allowed in the dining room, so you’re guaranteed an evening of blissful quiet.  Be advised, men must wear jackets (tie optional) for this formal affair.

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