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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.

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.

Celebrity Chef Art Smith To Open New Restaurant At Disney Springs in Summer 2016

With farm-to-fork cuisine, Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine, Chef Art Smith’s new restaurant concept, opens in Summer 2016 at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort.

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You might remember Chef Smith from his years as Oprah’s chef, or for his appearances in “Iron Chef America,” “Top Chef” and “Top Chef Masters.” The James Beard Foundation award winner was born and reared in the town of Jasper, Fla., on the Florida-Georgia border, where his family still raises cattle, pecans and heirloom vegetables. And after 25 years of preparing award-winning meals for celebrities and heads of state and appearing on television, he is making Florida his home once again.

The Homecoming menu will feature Southern favorites like homemade pimento cheese, Church Lady deviled eggs, low country shrimp and grits, kale salad with Sweet Grass Dairy cheese and spiced pecans and a grilled Blackstrap pork chop with sawmill gravy. “Each dish has a little Florida twist and make guests feel like they’re on the back porch with me for every meal,” says Smith. Desserts will be a specialty, with cakes, pies and delectable sweets made daily and shipped from a bakery in Hamilton County, including the restaurant’s signature Mockingbird Cake.

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The “rustic-chic” restaurant has a glass-walled show kitchen and the Southern Shine bar, featuring whimsical cocktails, punches and coolers that celebrate an era where characters might have created some homegrown spirits on their homesteads just beyond the springs.


Morimoto Asia Opens Sept. 30 at Disney Springs

If you’re keeping an eye on construction at Disney Springs, you may have noticed the 36-foot-tall building going up along the waterfront – it’s Morimoto Asia, set to open Sept. 30, a creative collaboration between world-famous Chef Masaharu Morimoto and Patina Restaurant Group.

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It’s the first “pan-Asian” dining experience for Chef Morimoto, and includes his eclectic take on his favorite Asian flavors including moo shu pork, Peking duck, lobster chow fun, sweet and sour crispy whole fish, and spicy kung pao chicken. Weekends, dim sum will be served during brunch, with dumplings, shumai, bao, spare ribs and more. (Don’t worry there’s plenty for kids, such as chicken ramen, kakuni pork bao, and karaage fried chicken.)

The sushi bar, sculpted from hundreds of pieces of hand-selected ash wood that’s backed with a wall of hammered copper, has just 14 coveted seats, with global inspiration from toro, kanpachi, Japanese red snapper, uni, sea eel, hamachi, fluke, salmon and more – whatever is freshest. If you’re in the lounge or dining rooms, a selection of specialty rolls and sushi platters will be available.

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The restaurant will serve sake, including the Morimoto signature line, wines from around the globe, signature cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks. Beers, bottled and draft, will be mostly Asian, including the Morimoto signature beer by Rogue Ales. (Beer fans, the collector’s edition Imperial Pilsner and Morimoto Soba Ale and the highly coveted Black Obi Soba will be available.)

The expansive restaurant includes beautiful lounges, dining spaces, open kitchen and a two-story outdoor terrace overlooking the water. The main entrance features a three-story glass corner, and the sculptural bar is one of the largest in the world, more than 270 feet long, connecting the grand dining room on the ground floor with the upper level Forbidden Lounge as it wraps around the staircase. Look for custom glass beaded chandeliers and glass mosaics based on ancient Japanese prints.

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Morimoto Asia will begin to accept reservations on Sept. 16 through Open Table. Or beginning Sept. 30, you can make reservations through the restaurant at 407-560-6686. Reservations through 407-WDW-DINE begin Nov. 1. Hours are daily from 11:00 a.m. to 2 a.m. serving lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.

By the time it’s complete in 2016, Disney Springs will double the number of shops and restaurants currently found at Downtown Disney and grow to more than 1 million square feet, including 350,000 square feet of new leasable space. Disney Springs will include four distinct, outdoor neighborhoods with a high-quality, diverse mix of retailers – including premium, affordable luxury and fast fashion options. Sophisticated restaurants will provide experiences for families and convention-guests alike.


Looking For A Fresh Disney Vacation Idea?

If you have been to Walt Disney World a few times and are looking for a fresh idea on where to stay, the all-new B Resort & Spa in Walt Disney World Resort, brings a burst of contemporary style and an approachable lifestyle hotel experience to Orlando’s Tourism Corridor.

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Rising from the site of the former Royal Plaza Hotel, B Resort & Spa is set in the heart of the Downtown Disney area, minutes from Walt Disney World Theme Parks and the Orange County Convention Center.

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Following a massive, top-to-bottom redesign, the new 394-room resort offers luxurious appointments, modern touches, innovative technologies, unique activities and ample event space.

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“B Resort & Spa is the first resort designation for the B Hotels & Resorts brand and we are thrilled to introduce travelers to such an incredible, unique product in one of the world’s top business and leisure travel destinations,” said Keith Wolling, the property’s general manager. “This is a four-star resort with attractive prices and a team that is committed to delivering unforgettable, customized experiences to virtually every type of traveler.”

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The new B Resort & Spa offers an outstanding array of signature offerings and amenities, including:

  • Inspiring, playful design -B Resort & Spa’s stylish lobby features white marble floors, soaring ceilings and comfortable yet lively lounge areas that invite guests to work, socialize and relax. In the corridors off the lobby, bright pops of color come from the B Artistic exhibition, a contemporary art gallery showcasing the vibrant Central Florida arts scene. Guest rooms and suites are appointed with sleek blue-and-white décor and floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping views of the area’s theme parks, lakes, and evening fireworks celebrations. Rooms are equipped with designer furnishings, the signature Blissful Bed®, large HD LED interactive flat-screen televisions and a B Treated Box of whimsical (and affordable, at $5 each) in-room snacks. Complimentary gaming consoles are available upon request. Many rooms also feature bunk beds, kitchenettes and wet bar
  • Innovative technologies – Guests can B in touch with resort-wide FreeB Wi-Fi (complimentary wireless internet access), complimentary loaner iPads and the Monscierge digital concierge service and destination guide. Custom-designed for each B property, the Monscierge touchscreen and mobile app provide useful information, from hotel amenities to flight updates, even allowing printing capabilities of boarding passes from a lobby screen to the front desk. Also with Monscierge, guests can B Adventurous with access to unlimited localized content, such as tips on excursions, dining and sightseeing adventures within the destination.
  • Zero-entry pool and relaxation area – A heated outdoor pool is the perfect place to decompress and enjoy the afternoon at B Resort & Spa, with interactive water elements, a nearby kids’ zone and a pool bar and grill.
  • Stylish, flexible function space – With state-of-the-art ballrooms, several boardrooms and an expansive 5,000-square-foot terrace, B Resort & Spa offers more than 25,000 square feet of flexible meeting and celebration space. Guests will revel in new options for enchanting weddings, meetings and other private functions in this world-class destination.
  • B Humane – As part of the brand’s B Humane program, each guest room has a plush toy gopher frog, a species indigenous to Central Florida, perched on the bed. Guests can “adopt” the stuffed animal to take home, with a portion of the proceeds from sales going to the Wildlife Foundation of Florida, a nonprofit organization that helps protect the preservation of Florida’s fish and wildlife resources and their habitats.
  • Unique food and beverage offerings – Opening on the heels of the B Resort & Spa will be American Q, a new signature restaurant developed in partnership with restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow and China Grill Management. The renowned group, of China Grill and Asia de Cuba fame, is continuing its tradition of food and beverage innovation with the inaugural location of this concept. American Q puts a modern twist on classic barbeque, featuring specialties from regions throughout the U.S. and Latin America. Guests can expect spontaneous line dancing led by friendly “cowboy/cowgirl” servers and an appetizer and salad station served from the bed of a 1951, cherry-red, Ford F1 pickup truck.
  • For convenient grab-and-go fare, The Pickup, located just off the lobby, has a full coffee bar and ice cream shop, as well as a variety of snacks and sundries for on-the-go needs. Complimentary coffee is available daily until 11 a.m. B Resort & Spa also offers a pool bar and grill, customized catering menus for weddings and meetings, a specialty spa menu and 24/7 in-room dining.
  • B Indulged® Spa by AVEDA – Set to open later this summer, B Resort & Spa is home to the brand’s first full-service spa. Well-deserved after a fun-filled day at the area’s many theme parks or a productive business meeting, this haven nurtures the body and soul, pairing pure botanical products with the ancient science of AVEDA. Travelers can treat themselves to customized massages, facials, hair and makeup services and a nail boutique, as well as unique offerings for busy business men and women, children and teens. The adjacent B Active® Fitness Center features state-of-the-art exercise equipment.

Guests From Kingdom Magic Vacations Enjoy an Exclusive 20% Off Best Available Rates Plus a FREE Room Upgrade When Available!

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Get Ready For the ‘Great Irish Hooley’ at Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant

The best of Irish entertainment featuring headliner Screaming Orphans will take over Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant at Downtown Disney Sept. 4-7 for the 4th annual “Great Irish Hooley.”

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The rockin’ long weekend, celebrating the half-way mark to St. Patrick’s Day, also will commemorate the iconic pub’s 10th year at Downtown Disney with performances by seven top Irish bands, authentic step dancing, and first-rate contemporary Irish cuisine by celebrity chef Kevin Dundon. In addition to its featured menu of beer, wine, spirits, and cocktails, Raglan Road will spotlight four limited-edition craft beers brewed just for the Hooley by Ireland’s Rye River Brewing Company.

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Labor Day weekend guests can celebrate Orlando’s only boutique Irish festival with performances beginning at noon Friday through Monday and continuing throughout each day. The Hooley also will feature Celtic face-painting Saturday through Monday.


New Downtown Disney Dining Locations and Roadway Ramps Opening Soon

Downtown Disney gives guests an assortment of options to “eat in style.” World-renowned chef Masaharu Morimoto and the Patina Restaurant Group will open Morimoto Asia, Morimoto’s first Pan-Asian restaurant, at Disney Springs in fall 2015. Morimoto Asia’s culinary elements will provide flavors from across Asia, while exhibition kitchens will showcase the continent’s traditions. Included among them are street-food stalls, Peking duck carving, and dim sum.

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Guests with a flair for adventure (even those afraid of snakes) can visit Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar in fall 2015. With a storyline centered on the pilot from the “Indiana Jones” films, this aviation- themed lounge will feature unique drinks and small plates. Themed décor like propeller-based ceiling fans, vintage travel posters and correspondence between Jock and Indy will immerse guests in a world of adventure. With a prime location along Lake Buena Vista and seating for 150, the venue is perfect for a sky-high good time.

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A new way to get around also will be introduced to Downtown Disney this fall, improving access to the Orange garage. The flyover ramp on Buena Vista Drive will likely open first, with the I-4 slip ramp (with direct access from I-4, connecting near Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon Water Park) slated to open in time for the holiday shopping season.
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The largest expansion in Downtown Disney history, Disney Springs will provide even more opportunities for guests to relax and enjoy themselves. When completed in 2016, Disney Springs will double the shopping, dining and entertainment experiences, with an eclectic and contemporary mix from Disney and other noteworthy brands.


Super Hero Headquarters Assembles at Downtown Disney West Side

A new retail location, Super Hero Headquarters, recently opened in Downtown Disney West Side at Walt Disney World Resort.

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Enthusiasts and emerging super hero fans alike will find merchandise featuring their favorite super hero characters, including action figures, collectibles, apparel, costumes, accessories and Vinylmation.

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In addition to the numerous super hero offerings, guests will love the little details found throughout the shop. The clocks above the main entrance were a nice touch, especially the one showing the time in Tahiti.

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Super Hero Headquarters is located adjacent to D Street in Downtown Disney West Side.


New Retail and Dining Experiences Announced for Disney Springs

Exciting new high-profile tenants, including fashion retailers Zara, Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, UNIQLO and PANDORA, are the latest to sign on as Downtown Disney® continues its expansion into Disney Springs at Walt Disney World® Resort.

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A total of 13 new tenants were recently announced, including eight retail shops. With new retailers already aboard and new restaurants either open or coming soon, Downtown Disney is transforming into an exciting new waterfront district for world-class shopping, unique dining, and high-quality entertainment. Newly announced tenants include:

Retail Locations

  • Zara: Owned by the Inditex Group, one of the world’s largest fashion retail groups. Zara is known for its men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and accessories, and how it expertly interprets current fashion and style trends of the season, delivering original designs to the consumer in a matter of weeks.
  • Tommy Bahama: Iconic island lifestyle brand Tommy Bahama embodies relaxed sophistication. The hallmarks of this casual collection include island-inspired sportswear, denim, and swimwear for men and women in luxuriously soft silks and cottons, richly woven textures and eclectic prints.
  • Lilly Pulitzer: The authentic American resort wear brand, Lilly Pulitzer, is landing in the heart of Disney and will be offering their clothing and accessories, optimistic outlook, and happy prints to those who’ve loved the brand for years and new Lilly Girls out there.
  • UNIQLO: Leading global retailer UNIQLO designs, manufactures, and sells casual apparel that comes from the company’s Japanese values of simplicity, quality and longevity. The simplest design hides the most thoughtful details in clothing that is constantly being innovated to bring more warmth and lightness, better design and comfort to people’s lives.
  • PANDORA: Building on its existing relationship with Disney Parks, the popular jewelry brand offers classic yet modern charm bracelets, along with necklaces, rings and earrings, as well as a line of exclusive Disney-themed jewelry.
  • UGG: The UGG® brand is recognized as a premium lifestyle brand offering men’s, women’s and kid’s footwear as well as loungewear, outerwear, home products, cold weather accessories and handbags.
  • L’Occitane en Provence: L’Occitane en Provence is an international skincare and beauty line celebrating the culture and beauty of Provence, France.
  • Edward Beiner: A leading eyewear designer, purveyor and retailer, Edward Beiner offers today’s aspiring lifestyle-oriented customer the world’s most original, authentic and innovative designer, fashion and high performance eyewear.

Dining Locations

  • Edison: Inspired by The Edison venue in Los Angeles, this lavish “Industrial Gothic” -style restaurant, bar and nighttime destination is themed to a 1920s-period power plant, recalling an exuberant era of invention and imagination. It will feature exceptionally good classic American food, craft cocktails and live entertainment including cabaret and music.
  • Sprinkles: The world’s first cupcake bakery, as named by Food Network and others, serves up handcrafted cupcakes, slow churned ice cream and homemade cookies. Their innovative Cupcake ATM satisfies sweet-toothed epicureans 24/7.
  • Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza: Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza is a modern day “pizza joint” known for its custom-built artisanal pizzas, freshly made salads, blood orange lemonade and s’more pies. The fast-casual restaurant features an interactive assembly-line format that allows guests to customize their pizza, choosing from over 40 fresh, artisanal toppings – all for one price. The generously sized, 11-inch pizzas are “fast-fired” in a blazing hot open-flame oven and ready to enjoy in just 180 seconds.
  • Vivoli Gelateria: Vivoli Gelateria serves expertly crafted gelato made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, panini sandwiches and espresso drinks.
  • Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s: Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s specializes in premium loose-leaf teas (hot, iced, blended) featuring customs blends, accessories and packaged teas from all over the globe; created to go or for a tea experience in the café.

 

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar to Open this Fall at Downtown Disney

Tucked in between the soon-to-be-expanded Paradiso 37 and recently opened BOATHOUSE restaurant, a new Disney owned and operated Food & Beverage offering has been taking shape. Disney Parks has shared more details on this aviation-themed lounge, Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar.

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With a prime location along Lake Buena Vista and seating for 150, the venue will feature unique cocktails – such as the “Hovito Mojito” with Barsol Quebranta Pisco, fresh lime juice and simple syrup – and small plates such as “Air Pirates Everything Pretzels” with house-made mustard and beer cheese fondue.

The design team has gone to great lengths to ensure that every element – from the propeller-based ceiling fans and diving bell “booth” to the “Rolling Boulder Meatballs” on the menu – fits within the storyline.

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And just what is that story? Ardent fans of the “Indiana Jones” films may recognize Jock Lindsey as Indy’s frequent pilot; he’s also the owner of a pet snake named Reggie – an important detail, trust me on this! In the main room, guests will discover an expansive bar, aviation decor filling the room, vintage travel posters covering the walls and correspondence between Jock, Indy and their fellow adventurers on display. Guests can eat, drink and be merry outside as well, in Jocks’ old steamboat, now in permanent dry dock and aptly named “Reggie;” and in nearby seating on the adjacent deck.

Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar is set to open this fall at Downtown Disney. If you’re as excited about this next adventure as I am, let me know in the comments below!


Splash Into The BOATHOUSE At Downtown Disney

Over the past year, The BOATHOUSE: Great Food, Waterfront Dining, Dream Boats has been hoisting up along the Downtown Disney skyline. The venue has opened, is the first of several new restaurants coming to The Landing, a new neighborhood that will be part of Disney Springs.

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The BOATHOUSE is an upscale waterfront dining experience showcasing steaks, chops, fresh seafood and a raw bar. Built over the water, the 600 seat nautically themed restaurant also features a display of rare dream boats from the 1930s – 1950s, a beautifully crafted water taxi and a fleet of amphibious autos, called Amphicars.

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Amphicar Rides – Is it a car? A boat? Yes. And yes! Guests can experience the thrill of a Captain’s guided tour aboard a rare Amphicar that drives on land and floats in the water. The $125 price tag includes your own Car Captain and seating for up to three guests. Along the way, you’ll have a great view of Downtown Disney, direct from the water.  Tours are available daily from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., weather permitting, and will be available soon.

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Italian Water Taxi Cruise – The Venezia, a breathtaking 40-foot wooden Italian Water Taxi also offers a Captain’s guided tour of Downtown Disney; this one is complete with live music, chocolate-covered strawberries and a champagne toast. Tours will be offered hourly from 10 a.m.-10 p.m., weather permitting, starting soon, for individuals and groups of up to 20. The cost is $75 per person or $50 per child under age 13. (Want a more private tour for two? Ask about the Antique Steamboat Tour aboard Lady Rose; the cost is $150 per couple.)

“Floating Art” – They are not only beautiful, but they are part of a multi-million dollar fleet of rare boats. Gathered from museums, private collectors, and boat shows from around the world, be sure to take some time to stroll the marina. Photos are not only allowed, but encouraged, so have your camera handy.

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Interior Décor – Boat motors mounted on the wall. Trophies from regattas of days gone by. Stunning photography and artwork, some historical, some richly modern. It’s all incredible. Of course, the true visual hero, even from inside the restaurant, is the water. The good news is that every single table has a great view, so there’s no such thing as a bad seat.

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Entertainment – Harbor Master festivities take place throughout the day and evening, with flag ceremonies and lively musical performances of beloved bugle songs, performed aboard Lady Rose. Inside, live entertainment takes center stage with a variety of musical styles.

Make plans to visit The BOATHOUSE on your next Walt Disney World vacation!


New Tastes At Raglan Road Just In Time For St. Paddy’s

Hard to believe it’s been nearly 10 years since Raglan Road Irish Pub & Restaurant opened its doors at Downtown Disney, and the food just keeps getting better. Under the creative eye of Irish Master Chef Kevin Dundon, the kitchen with Chef Heberto Segura continues to shine a spotlight on the very best of Irish food and drink with a focus on seasonal ingredients.

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The spring menu debuts just in time for the Mighty St. Patrick’s Festival March 13-17 (for more info about live music, Irish dance, face painting and other activities, go to www.raglanroad.com).

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We got a taste of the new dishes and craft cocktails, starting with the Rollicking Raglan Weekend Brunch (10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays). Each brunch starts with a complimentary sip of Suave Smoothie, a new seasonal drink with fresh fruit and honey yogurt. Heartier is the Pork Hash Tagged, a generous plate of potato hash with bits of crispy braised pork belly topped with fried eggs and a dollop of shallot puree. Heartiest is Ellis Isle Steak ‘n Eggs, featuring a grilled New York strip steak, roast potatoes and poached eggs that are fried and battered for a whole new taste sensation. If you prefer light, go for the Smoked Salmon Potato Cakes with beautiful smoked salmon atop thin potato cakes (made with mashed potatoes) with crème fraiche and a drizzle of caper dill vinaigrette. A beautiful Irish farmhouse cheese platter rounds out the brunch additions.

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Three new items join the lunch and dinner menus. Cod Cornucopia stars perfectly pan-roasted cod with crispy skin atop warm potato salad and a drizzle of chorizo vinaigrette. (Fish is flown in three times a week from Boston, according to Chef Heberto.) Proud Pork is a generous grilled chop with traditional colcannon potato mash with cabbage, buttermilk and onion. The cider port jus took the chops over the top. The table favorite was the Double Joint, a cowboy cut rib-eye steak served with duck fat fries, roast veggies and a lightly dressed salad. Add béarnaise or red wine jus, both served on the side.

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New cocktails compete with popular Irish beers and whiskies, all made with cold-pressed organic juices for delightful sipping: grapefruit gin and tonic; Strawberry Fields with Prosecco and vodka (brunch only); Ginger Mojito; Smoking Margarita with tequila and Irish whiskey are just a few gems.

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Raglan Road is a true slice of Ireland in a lovely setting with antique bars and Irish antiques, and live Irish music nightly. For reservations, call 407-938-0300.


Fifteen Reasons To Visit Walt Disney World In 2015

It’s a brand new year – do you have a Disney Parks vacation on your bucket list for 2015?

Whether it’s new dining experiences, sports milestones, holiday celebrations or the return of annual theme park festivals, there’s a lot to look forward to at Walt Disney World Resort in 2015. Here are 15 reasons you should consider planning a trip this year.

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1. Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s Boardwalk – The newest Disney restaurant just opened its doors a few days ago. The menu features authentic Italian cuisine and wines – and is now an option on the Disney Dining Plan.

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2. Exposition Park Food Trucks – While we’re on the topic of food, 2015 will give you time to check out the recently opened food trucks at Downtown Disney. This dedicated outdoor area also has live entertainment at night (subject to change, of course).

3. 2015 runDisney Races Are Off & Running – Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend will take place January 7-11.

4. Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic – Soccer fans can get their kicks at the Walt Disney World Pro Soccer Classic February 1-March 1 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. In it, eight pro teams, including six Major League Soccer squads, will compete in 16 games.

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5. Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto – This nightspot is based on the popular themed lounge at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim, and is set to open here in spring. Trader Sam’s will offer tiki cocktails served in souvenir mugs, as well as smaller food offerings.

6. Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Returns – This princess-themed weekend of running events returns to Walt Disney World February 19-22.

7. Starbucks to Open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios – A new Starbucks location will open at the park in February, 2015. The new location, dubbed The Trolley Car Café, will be themed to a classic trolley car along Hollywood Boulevard and offer a unique experience for coffee lovers visiting the park.

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8. The Atlanta Braves Return For Spring Training – The Braves will return to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for their 18th consecutive year of spring training.

9. The 22nd Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival: A Spring Tradition Returns March 4-May 17 – Character topiaries, home gardening seminars, floral displays and much more will return to the park’s festival in 2015.

11.  The Expedition Everest Challenge – The Challenge runs it’s last race this year so you don’t want to miss the final expedition!  Check out the special runDisney offer for this year’s race weekend!

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11. Star Wars Weekends Returns – This annual event will return to delight fans of the Force and the Empire May 15 – June 14 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Plus, this year, you can take your Star Wars Weekends experience to a whole new galaxy with out-of-this universe dining experiences including Star Wars Dine-In Galactic Breakfast and Jedi Mickey’s Star Wars Dine at Hollywood and Vine!

12. Annual Events – 2015 means the return of our favorite annual events, including The Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties, Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties, and more.

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13. New Eats at Downtown Disney – The area continues to evolve into Disney Springs, and in 2015, The Landing, the first of four interconnected neighborhoods will open to guests. Keep your eye open for more dates and details on the openings of Morimoto Asia, THE BOATHOUSE and STK Orlando, three restaurants planned for the area, as they come available.

14. Another Year of #DisneySide Fun – Guests loved showing their Disney Side – that side each one of us has that isn’t afraid to have fun and show our silly sides – at Disney parks in 2014.

15. Your Family Vacation – If this is the year for your family’s vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort, then there’s nothing to look forward to more than your family’s special time together. If you visit our parks in 2015, we hope you have a wonderful time.

Which event or new offering are you looking forward to most? Let us know in the “comments” section below.


New Year’s Eve Celebrations At Walt Disney World Resort

Are you are ringing in the New Year at the Walt Disney World Resort? Here’s a reminder of some of the magical ways you can welcome in 2015!

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Countdown at Magic Kingdom Park

The new year kicks off with fireworks galore at Magic Kingdom Park. Along with “Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season,” you can enjoy “Fantasy in the Sky” fireworks, capped off with a breathtaking musical show. This special fireworks display will be presented on Dec. 30 and Dec. 31, 2014 at 11:50 p.m.

New Year’s Around the Globe at Epcot

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All across World Showcase at Epcot, guests can explore each countries’ traditions at participating pavilions – including Morocco, Italy, China, France, the United Kingdom and the USA – as they soak up the sounds of favorite bands and DJs.

Plus, World Showcase promenade is the place to be as IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth lights up the sky with a message of peace and goodwill. Two showings of this nighttime spectacular will take place on New Year’s Eve, at 6 p.m. and 11:40 p.m.

Celebrate at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

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Guests of all ages will enjoy the fabulous family-style fun and entertainment that New Year’s Eve unreels at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Come nightfall on Dec. 31, 2014, the “rake and roll” cover band Mulch, Sweat and Shears takes the stage for a set of iconic songs.

And, as midnight approaches, the evening ignites into an amazing shower of shimmering light. Guests can watch in wonder as majestic fireworks glitter, glisten and inspire awe in one and all.

Dining and Entertainment at Downtown Disney

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If you wish to enjoy New Year’s Eve at Downtown Disney, please remember, as in previous years, there are no fireworks displays.

However, there are a variety of exciting offerings to enjoy this year at Downtown Disney, including special New Year’s Eve food and beverage tents, merchandise stands and entertainment. Guests can also enjoy dining experiences, movies, bowling, Cirque du Soleil, shopping and more. Or, they can explore some of the newest offerings including the Food Trucks at Exposition Park and the flagship Starbucks location at Downtown Disney West Side, as well as the Marketplace Co-Op at the Downtown Disney Marketplace.

If you are arriving in your own vehicles, please follow signs to available parking, which may be located adjacent to the Downtown Disney area. It is recommended that guests arrive at least 60 minutes in advance of all reservations and planned activities. If you are staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, it is recommended that you use complimentary transportation, as parking may be limited.


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