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What’s New in Walt Disney World Resort Dining: 16 for 2016

2015 was full of culinary news for Walt Disney World Resort, and 2016 promises to be equally exciting, especially at Disney Springs. From new restaurants to more fun with Disney characters, here’s a look ahead at 2016.

1. Sunday brunches are the hot weekend ticket. Narcoossee’s Waterfront Brunch at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a new one, and Brunch at the Top debuts February 7 at California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

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2. Get over to the new Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen in the Magic Kingdom Park and try a rice noodle bowl, sustainable local farm-raised shrimp in chili-garlic sauce, or the Kungaloosh!, an African-inspired chocolate cake with caramelized bananas with cashew-caramel ice cream. This is an all-new menu for the Disney chefs.

3. Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival expands to 90 days, March 2 to May 30 (from 75 days last year). Fresh garden produce, savory bites and sweet treats will be abundant at the festival’s Outdoor Kitchens, returning for a fourth year with guest favorites and new food and beverage offerings.

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4. Tiffins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will celebrate the art of traveling, featuring foods from places that inspired the creation of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Open for both lunch and dinner. (“Tiffin” is an Indian English word for a midday meal or a type of container used to carry food while traveling).

5. Adjacent to Tiffins, Nomad Lounge will feature hand-crafted cocktails using the art of mixology with African, Asian and South American flavors, beers and wines from those regions, and a selection of specialty non-alcoholic beverages in addition to small bites.

6. Flying Fish Cafe at Disney’s BoardWalk will temporarily close the end of January, then reopen in the fall with a whole new look – and while the kitchen is working on new menu items, Chef Tim Keating promises that potato-wrapped snapper and the popular New York strip steak will be back. Stay tuned for details.

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7. Minnie’s Seasonal Dine at Hollywood & Vine at Disney’’s Hollywood Studios debuted in 2015, but guests can look forward to new themes coming in 2016, including Minnie’s Silver Screen Dine, Minnie’s Springtime Dine, Minnie’s Summertime Dine and Minnie’s Halloween Dine.

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8. Let’s start 2016 with a taste of the chocolate at The Ganachery at Disney Springs – the proprietary blend of chocolate and cream made right in the shop is not to be missed. The lovely little space elevates sweets to an experience akin to a wine tasting.

9. Coming to Disney Springs in early 2016 is STK, a modern steakhouse mixed with the ambiance of a sleek lounge and emphasizing a social and fun environment. It will be one of the largest STK locations in the world, occupying 14,000 square feet in a two-story building, including a main level and a rooftop-dining area with incredible views of Disney Springs.

10. Sprinkles, the world’s first cupcake bakery, as named by Food Network and others, will serve up handcrafted cupcakes, slow churned ice cream and homemade cookies at Disney Springs in 2016. Their innovative Cupcake ATM will satisfy sweet-toothed epicureans 24/7.

11. Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza also comes to Disney Springs in 2016, 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 will feature an interactive assembly-line format that allows guests to customize their pizza, choosing from over 40 fresh toppings.

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12. Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine will showcase the cuisine of Chef Art Smith at Disney Springs when it opens in Summer 2016. Smith, who was born and reared in the town of Jasper, Fla., on the Florida-Georgia border, will feature farm-to-fork cuisine that showcases the bounty of Florida, and design inspired by turn-of-the century Florida architecture of the late 1800s.

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13. Also opening in Summer 2016 at Disney Springs, Frontera Fresco by Chef Rick Bayless will showcase the gourmet Mexican cuisine that has made Chef Bayless a culinary legend. The restaurant will feature authentic Mexican specialties such as hand-crafted tortas, tacos, salads, fresh-made guacamole and classic Mexican braised meat entrees, all prepared from time-honored recipes with natural, locally sourced ingredients. Frontera Fresco also will serve an extensive selection of margaritas, cocktails and craft beers and wine.

14. Look for a re-imagined Planet Hollywood at Disney Springs as the flagship venue is transformed into a star-themed Planet Hollywood Observatory to match the look and feel of Disney Springs. As part of the makeover, the venue will add a new outdoor terrace and bar space called Stargazers and feature live entertainment.

15. Also at Disney Springs, new Disney quick-service locations and kiosks will be blooming this spring. Perfect for a quick bite.

16. Two new Disney cookbooks for 2016: a new Delicious Disney: Sweet Treats book due out in the fall, and one celebrating both the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (dates still TBD for the food & wine fest when the book will debut).


Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival Returns

Fresh flavors, lush gardens, lively entertainment and more await you as the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival returns to Walt Disney World Resort March 4-May 17, 2015.

Epcot Guests can delight in a dazzling array of Disney-themed topiaries, including a new Disney character topiary saluting the blockbuster animated film, “Frozen.” Plus, new Chip and Dale topiaries will star in two whimsical Epcot front-entrance “Goofy About Spring” floral vignettes.

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Eleven Outdoor Kitchens with “grow your own” gardens will tempt your taste buds with sweet and savory bites. The new Botanas Botánico Outdoor Kitchen between the France and Morocco pavilions will showcase treats like Cachapas with Farmer’s Cheese, a sweet yellow corn pancake, and Seafood Ceviche with shrimp, scallops and grouper with mango and avocado. Guests can sip the new La Tizana, a non-alcoholic punch finished with fresh fruit that can become an adult beverage with a splash of Santa Teresa RHUM Orange Liqueur.

Over at the America Gardens Theatre, the Garden Rocks Concert Series will keep crowds rockin’ every Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Little River Band, Pablo Cruise, Gin Blossoms, and Village People join the lineup of top bands representing four decades of pop music.

Plus, each weekend, Disney gardeners will lead how-to Gardening Seminars and workshops at the Festival Center.

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Guests can also discover magical gardens and interactive exhibits throughout the park. A new Healing & Health Garden near The Land pavilion in Future World will display ancient medicinal plants including garlic, aloe, chamomile, fennel, mint and others. In the United Kingdom pavilion, a new Shakespeare Garden will feature roses to represent “Romeo and Juliet,” rosemary from “Hamlet,” lavender from “The Winter’s Tale” and more. Plus, the Butterflies on the Go exhibit will follow the Monarch butterfly’s epic journey across the continent.

Young Guests can clamber around play gardens featuring state-of-the-art climbing equipment and hands-on activities in Mike & Sulley’s Monstrous Garden and Cactus Road Rally Garden with Mater and Lightning McQueen topiaries. And, when the sun sets, illuminated topiary and play gardens will glow brightly for an after-dark festival experience.

There’s something for everyone at the 22nd Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival!


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Kermit and Miss Piggy Topiaries Will Debut at 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Kermit and Miss Piggy Topiaries Will Debut at 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Kermit the Frog will find it is easy being green when his artfully-crafted character topiary debuts during the 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV March 5 to May 18, 2014 at Walt Disney World Resort.  With flamboyance to spare, a floral Miss Piggy will join Kermit and his blooming banjo in the World Showcase topiary display.

Kermit and Miss Piggy Topiaries Will Debut at 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Nearly 100 topiaries will animate the landscape during the 75 days when Epcot transforms to a rainbow-hued wonderland of sweeping gardens and exhibits. Back for a second year: outdoor food-and-beverage marketplaces exclusive to this festival that feature sweet and savory bites worthy of indulgence.  After debuting at the 2013 festival, the marketplaces will return with new menu items like Piggylicious Bacon Cupcakes and a Barbecued Chicken Leg at the Smokehouse Barbecue marketplace.  Floral-flavored lemonades will feature rose and violet notes, and specialty cocktails, wines and beers will offer menu-pairing possibilities.  Last year’s top menu picks like the Watermelon Salad with local baby arugula, feta cheese, pickled red onions and balsamic reduction will be back for an encore at the Florida Fresh marketplace.

Kermit and Miss Piggy Topiaries Will Debut at 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

More Festival News . . .

  • Goofy, Donald Duck and Daisy Duck topiaries will appear in a new Epcot front entrance garden vignette celebrating spring with a butterfly hunt adventure.  The topiaries will have a new computer-generated look while telling an entertaining story.  Goofy’s butterfly net will prove useless as topiary butterflies light on the back of his floral garb.  A topiary bee buzzes on an exasperated Donald’s head.  The garden will feature a real waterfall and pond with water lilies.
  • A new Timon topiary will join Pumbaa near the park’s Outpost location between China and Germany.  Meanwhile, Peter Pan, Captain Hook and Croc return for a second year to the United Kingdom showcase.  Dozens of additional character topiaries, including Mickey Mouse, will surprise guests beyond the park’s iconic Spaceship Earth.
  • The Flower Power Concert Series welcomes two new acts this year:  Gary Lewis and the Playboys (“This Diamond Ring”) March 14-16, and The Alan Parsons Live Project (“Eye in the Sky”) May 16-18.  During opening weekend, the series kicks off at America Gardens Theatre with fan-favorite band The Guess Who (“American Woman”) March 7-9.  Other pop acts set to perform include Chubby Checker & the Wildcats, The Village People and Paul Revere & The Raiders. (Entertainment is subject to change).
  • Florida agriculture will be in the spotlight at a large World Showcase garden exhibiting fresh Florida crops to include citrus, sugar cane, berries and vegetables.
  • For the second year, illuminated gardens will cast a festive glow across the park when the sun sets each evening.
  • Back by demand, the Disney-Pixar “Cars” garden and playground will bring favorite movie characters to life.  Tinker Bell’s Butterfly House will be aflutter with hundreds of the winged beauties and fairy topiaries of Tinker Bell and Periwinkle.
  • At the Festival Center in the park’s Future World, twice-daily interactive gardening workshops will set the stage for outdoor do-it-yourself inspiration, and gardening guest speakers will appear daily.  Fridays through Sundays, HGTV design celebrities will host home, garden and design seminars.

As they sample from marketplace menus, guests can wander among multiple themed gardens and children’s play areas.  Dozens of Disney-crafted “flower towers,” herb gardens and beds of multi-colored blooms will add to the floral splendor of the park’s landscape.  Disney’s garden gurus estimate 70,000 bedding plants will surround the Future World east and west lakes alone; on the water, 220 mini-gardens will be set afloat.  Several special weekend happenings, including the popular Art in the Garden Weekend, will be scheduled.

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HGTV Stars Return to Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

We love our festivals here at Walt Disney World Resort!

Having just finished the 2012 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, we now turn to the 2012 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. This year’s food and wine extravaganza runs from September 28 to November 12, and we’re excited to announce the return of some your favorite HGTV stars.

As regular watchers of HGTV (and I’m one of them) know, HGTV programs go beyond just home renovation and gardening. They feature ideas and helpful hints for party planning, catering and tons of other food and beverage topics, which makes them a perfect fit for our festival.

Are you watching this season of “Design Star”? I am loving it; and not just because we got to interview judge Genevieve Gorder on the “Design Star” set. I can’t wait to see who wins and gets to come to Epcot.

In addition to the “Design Star” winner, here are the other HGTV stars that are scheduled for this year’s festival:

HGTV Stars

September 28-30  – “Design Star” Season 7 Winner (To be announced July 25)
October 5-7  – Casey Noble – “Design on a Dime”
October 12-14  – Alison Victoria – DIY Network’s “Kitchen Crashers”
October 19-21  – Brian Patrick Flynn – HGTV.com, “Design Happens” contributor
October 26-28 – Meg Caswell – “Meg’s Great Rooms”
November 2-4 – Marianne Canada – HGTV.com, “Design Happens” contributor
November 9-12 – Emily Henderson – “Secrets From a Stylist”

 

Woody and Buzz from the Disney Pixar “Toy Story” movies are getting ready for their March 2 debut in topiary form at the 18th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival

Buzz and Woody Get Ready for the 18th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden FestivalClick Here to Book your Disney Vacation Now!

You can see here that Wood and Buzz are almost ready for their March 2 debut in topiary form at the 18th annual Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. Guests will see Woody in front of Spaceship Earth at the front entrance garden. The festival will run for 75 days through May 15 at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. and it will feature dozens of Disney character topiaries.

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