Thursday, August 31, 2017

Epcot Food and Wine Festival Starts Today!

Kicking off today - August 31, 2017 - and celebrating 35 years of Epcot® with 35 delectable marketplaces, the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is bigger and better than ever, with sips and tastes throughout the park, celebrity chefs, culinary workshops, live music and special tasting experiences. And it’s 75 days, so you have until November 13, 2017 to experience it all. 
To get started, make the Festival Center your first stop to pick up a schedule and a complimentary festival passport and check out options for navigating the festival. Here are some don’t-miss experiences of the festival:
  • The global marketplaces. There are 35 this year for you to sip and taste your way through Future World and World Showcase, and while some favorites are back, you can check out the five new additions: Active Eats (sweet avocado crema with strawberries, cake and tortilla streusel); The Almond Orchard (cauliflower risotto with pulled chicken, artichokes, spinach and Parmesan cheese); Coastal Eats (lump crab cake with slaw and avocado lemongrass cream); Flavors From Fire (smoked corned beef with crispy potatoes, pickled onions and Blonde Ale Beer fondue); the Light Lab with all sorts of spirited concoctions. You might consider a Tasting Sampler voucher ($65) for eight food or beverage items (some exclusions may apply). Plus you'll get a limited-release Epcot Food & Wine Festival trading pin. 
  • Celebrity sightings. Start yout day Sunday, September 3, with Chef Shaun O’Neale (winner of FOX TV’s “MasterChef”) first up for “What’s Cookin’ With . . .” held on select Friday and Sunday mornings in the Festival Center ($129). A cooking demo, breakfast and time for Q&A is all part of the fun. Also catch returning favorites such as Alex Guarnaschelli, Buddy Valastro, Geoffrey Zakarian, Jamie Deen, Robert Irvine and more (schedule at epcotfoodfestival.com; reservations 407-939-3378).
  • Live music every single night. There’s impromptu entertainment all around World Showcase Promenade, but each evening rocks out with the fantastic Eat to the Beat Concert Series on the outdoor stage at America Gardens Theatre three times nightly. First up: Delta Rae, a folk rock band from North Carolina, playing August 31-September 1.
  • Culinary demos. Every day in the Festival Center (2:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 12:15 and 2:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday) you can meet a chef and hear stories and tips while they create a dish that everyone gets to taste ($17). On a sunny afternoon, it’s a great respite from the Florida heat! Reservations recommended.
  • Mix It, Make It, Celebrate It! If you like hands-on experiences, this is for you — chefs, bakers, mixologists and other pros show you the ropes ($49). Opening day, it’s Chef Emily Ellyn mixing up fun with Cask & Crew Whiskey, and you get to play bartender and mix your own cocktail. (Mondays through Thursdays).
  • Kids part of the equation? Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak returns, a fun way to play together in this culinary scavenger hunt that takes you all over World Showcase. And many of the global marketplaces are featuring dishes geared toward kids’ palates.  

Looking ahead, some of our favorite celeb chefs are coming up: Sept. 15, Stuart O’Keeffe; Sept. 17, Jet Tila; Sept. 29, Graham Elliott. And there are five Party for the Senses grand tasting events this year (Sept. 23, Oct. 7, Oct. 14, Oct. 21 and Nov. 11), an extravaganza of food, beverages and themed live entertainment. 
The festival runs through November 13 – 75 days in all! Back to Basics series, Eat to the Beat concerts, cultural adventures, Festival Passport and all attractions and park entertainment are included with regular Epcot admission. Party for the Senses grand tasting events, signature dinners and other special wine and culinary programs require reservations and separate event admission. To book your Food and Wine Walt Disney World Resort vacation, email me - lauren@magicaltravel.com. Or use this fast and easy form to request a free quote!
I'm a Disney Vacation Planner with hundreds of satisfied clients and I want to help you plan a magical vacation for your family at no extra charge! You won't pay one penny more to book with me but you'll get personalized help, tips, advice and much more (which you're not going to get if you booked on your own).  
Just a few of the few things I'll do for you for FREE: help to find you the perfect Walt Disney World Resort; I'll make your Advance Dining Reservations and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Reservations; make your FastPass+ selections; and send you tips and tricks!  

Slinky Dog Dash Ride Vehicles Arrived at DHS!

The Slinky Dog Dash attraction, currently under construction in Toy Story Land, celebrated a major milestone today – National Slinky Day – with the reveal of the coaster’s first Slinky Dog ride vehicle.
Slinky Dog Dash is one of two major attractions coming to Toy Story Land, a 12-acre expansion that’s set to open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios® in Summer 2018. In Toy Story Land, you will shrink to the size of a toy and explore the world of Andy’s backyard on two fun family attractions – Slinky Dog Dash and Alien Swirling Saucers. 
Slinky Dog Dash is a family coaster themed as if Andy built it in his backyard using his Mega Coaster Play Kit and some of his other favorite toys. The attraction’s ride vehicles, inspired by the character of Slinky in the film, will send riders dipping, dodging and dashing around turns and drops Andy has created to stretch Slinky’s coils to the max. 
The second attraction, Alien Swirling Saucers, is designed as a toy play set that Andy got from Pizza Planet, inspired by the first “Toy Story” film. Aliens are flying around in their toy flying saucers and trying to capture your rocket toy vehicle using “The Claw.”



To book your Walt Disney World Resort vacation, email me - lauren@magicaltravel.com. Or use this fast and easy form to request a free quote!
I'm a Disney Vacation Planner with hundreds of satisfied clients and I want to help you plan a magical vacation for your family at no extra charge! You won't pay one penny more to book with me but you'll get personalized help, tips, advice and much more (which you're not going to get if you booked on your own).  
Just a few of the few things I'll do for you for FREE: help to find you the perfect Walt Disney World Resort; I'll make your Advance Dining Reservations and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Reservations; make your FastPass+ selections; and send you tips and tricks!  

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

World Showcase to Feature New and Returning Musical Acts for Food and Wine Festival

The delicious bites available in the record 35 Marketplaces at the 22nd Epcot International Food & Wine Festival aren’t the only treats you will find at the park this fall! There is also an exciting lineup of live entertainment planned. In addition to the “Eat to the Beat” Concert Series, featuring 11 new artists, you will also want to look for authentic performers throughout World Showcase, with some new acts and returning favorites.
Suroît – New to Epcot, this renowned band hails from Canada’s Magdalen Islands in eastern Quebec. For four decades, their infectious sound has embraced influences from Cajun, Celtic, bluegrass and rock music. Join Suroît on the Mill Stage at the Canada pavilion, August 31 – October 1, 2017.
Margret Almer & The Bavarian Band – World-famous yodeler Margret Almer makes an encore appearance at Epcot this fall. She’ll be performing with The Bavarian Band at the Germany pavilion, beginning August 31 and continuing through the holiday season.
Musique Aramenco – Another returning favorite takes the stage at the Morocco pavilion September 1 - December 30, 2017 Musique Aramenco presents a fusion of traditional and modern Moroccan music.
Bodh’aktan – Back by popular demand, Bodh’aktan mixes Quebecois, folk and polka to make fantastic rock and dance music. After rocking stages across Quebec, the United States and Europe, this incredibly popular, kilted band is returning for an Epcot encore at the Canada pavilion October 2 – 22, 2017.
Raffy – This musical quartet makes their Epcot debut October 23 - November 26, 2017 on the Mill Stage. Raffy’s infectious energy has been embraced across Canada through a live tour, appearances on television and radio airplay of their first hit single.
This fall, there are lots of reasons to head out to World Showcase for all the singing, dancing, sipping and dining during the 22nd Epcot International Food & Wine Festival! Plus there is plenty of time to book your Walt Disney World Resort vacation - with a Disney Discount too! Email me - lauren@magicaltravel.com. Or use this fast and easy form to request a free quote!
I'm a Disney Vacation Planner with hundreds of satisfied clients and I want to help you plan a magical vacation for your family at no extra charge! You won't pay one penny more to book with me but you'll get personalized help, tips, advice and much more (which you're not going to get if you booked on your own).  Just a few of the few things I'll do for you for FREE: help to find you the perfect Walt Disney World Resort; I'll make your Advance Dining Reservations and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique Reservations; make your FastPass+ selections; and send you tips and tricks!  

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Washington D.C and Philadelphia ADB

On the Adventures by Disney®, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia tour, you will discover iconic landmarks and historic locations that helped forge America. From Independence Hall and the battlefield at Gettysburg to the U.S. Capitol, you will walk in the footsteps of the men and women who fought for and shaped our great nation as they visit the extraordinary destinations on this fascinating adventure through history. Check out this video featuring Adventure Guide Byron, who guides this exciting vacation.

If you're interested in this Adventures by Disney vacation (or any other ABD vacation) and want to experience the Disney Difference (Adventure Guides, VIP access, signature Disney service and more!), email me at lauren@magicaltravel.com for a FREE, no obligation vacation quote!  As a Disney vacation specialist, let me put my expert knowledge to your benefit and help you plan a magical vacation!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Disney Hotel Review: Disney's Paradise Pier



I went to Disneyland this summer! It was such an amazing trip, as a Walt Disney World veteran getting to visit Walt's park is always special (you can read about my thoughts on the parks here). While we were visited I stayed at a Disneyland Resort so we could get the benefits that one gets by staying at a Disneyland Resort (early park hours and being close enough you can walk back to your room for a nap or quick refresher). In case you didn't know, Disneyland Resort has 3 resorts - Disney's Grand California Resort and Spa, Disneyland Hotel and Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel. All 3 resorts are within walking distance of both Disneyland Theme Parks and come with unique perks that are extremely beneficial to park goers. This visit to Disneyland, we stayed at Disney's Paradise Pier Hotel.  This Resort is quite lovely, has a cute beach theme, and I thoroughly enjoyed our stay there. We were fortunate to stay in a Club Level room as well that allows guests staying in a Club Level room access to the Club Lounge along with other perks.

As soon as you walk into the lobby of Disney's Paradise Pier one is greeted by a familiar face and it also lets you know that you've definitely made your way to a Disney hotel!
Hello Surfin Goofy!
To the left of Goofy is the check-in desk. TO the right of Goofy is the gift shop, restaurant and lounge area. Behind Goofy is the elevator to the resort rooms, arcade and the exit to get to the theme parks. The lobby and check-in area gives off the beach, relax vibe that the hotel is themed around.
Front Desk with sun umbrella awnings. 
One of my favorite parts of the lobby is the clear elevator that whisks you away to your room's floor. When we arrived on our floor, the top floor, we were rewarded with this amazing view of Disney's California Adventure!
View from the top of DPP!
Another cool feature, is the way you get on an elevator. There are key pads and you tap which floor your room is located on and the elevator would tell you which elevator bank to go wait at.  There are two other elevators that also reminded you of the beach theme at the resort as they have cute surfboards on the back of the walls.  Much to our delight, the hallway carpeting had Hidden Mickies on them!
Hidden Mickey Alert!
The room's at Disney's Paradise Pier are very big- which is great for families as there is plenty of room for everyone to have their own space. Our room had a king bed, a queen-sized couch bed, a desk with chair, an armoire, enclosed closet and a large bathroom.
The bed with cute beach ball pillow.
We didn't sleep on the couch bed, as there was only two of us, but it gave my fiance a spot to sit and relax while he waited on me to get ready.
Queen-sized sofa bed.
The beach touches in the room were perfect, not overwhelming but completely adorable and reminded you that you're staying a beach-themed resort. I mean, how cute is this Mickey Lifeguard Lamp?
Cute Mickey lamp.
The bathroom was even large and spacious. There was only one sink but with only two of us we had no problem with it plus there was plenty of counter space to spread all of our toiletries out on. The tub/shower combo is perfect for families. The shower curtain with the surfboards fits perfectly into the beach theme of the resort. I absolutely loved having the basket under the sink to throw our used towels in (I have no clue as to why all hotels don't do this as the bathroom felt tidier after showers because of this)!
Bathroom
 There were complimentary Disney toiletries as well. I love the Disney H2O toiletries and their grapefruit smell. I always know I'm on a Disney vacation by using these!
Disney toiletries
Of course there were Disney touches in the room as well.  The bed's coverlet had Mickey heads on them that were subtle enough but definitely noticeable.
Zoom in on the bedding for Hidden Mickeys!
This lamp next to the couch bed combines Disney with the beach theme by placing a Mickey head on a surfboard!
Ignore the crooked lamp shade please.
Disney's Paradise Pier has a rooftop pool with slide and our room happened to have a view over the pool and the firework viewing deck. There are rooms on the pool deck level that have private patios!
DPP pool with plenty of seating and shade.
DPP Pool slide!
The firework viewing deck was the cherry on top of our stay. We spent the first night of our stay there watching the view of the Disneyland Parks fireworks go off as the resort piped in the music.
Disneyland Park fireworks from DPP firework viewing deck!

When you stay in a Club Level room at Disney's Paradise Pier, you have access to the Beach Comber Club which is the lounge was located on the second floor of the resort. There is also an overlook of Goofy down below once you're in the lounge.
Sign letting you know you're here!
The Beach Comber is open for breakfast, snacks in the early afternoon, appetizers and beverages in the early evening and dessert in the evening. There is also a Cast Member desk located in the lounge and they will help you with a variety of things from helping you secure a dining reservation to printing your boarding passes. Breakfast was our most used benefit as the lounge was a perfect spot to make on our way out to the parks in the morning and get a bite to eat. They had a variety of juices, cereal, fruit and pastries in the morning. My favorite was a cup of coffee in the cute Disney cups and a piece of fruit with a bagel!
Coffee in the Beach Comber lounge.
Fruit available for breakfast. 
A variety of dry cereal and juices were available for breakfast.

 In the early afternoon the Beach Comber offers guests a variety of snacks including bagged snacks, fruit, granola, and cookies.

The granola and trail mix available.
Bagged snacks and fruit.
In the evening the Beach Comber Club serves both hot and cold appetizers plus beverages. During our visit we stopped in for one night and there was (I'm sorry no pictures, I got excited about the food...) hot mini pizzas, a cheese display with breads and crackers. We also enjoyed glasses of sparkling wine for myself and a beer for my fiance.
Chocolate Chip Micky Muffins.

The best treat overall by staying Club Level at Paradise Pier? Was coming home to these guys after a long day in the parks!
In room treats for Club Level rooms.

There are so many benefits of staying at one of the Disneyland Resorts for your Disneyland Park visit! My personal favorite is the Extra Magic Hour for Disneyland Resort Hotel Guests. Extra Magic Hour allows Resort Hotel Guests into the parks an hour earlier than the general public every day of your hotel stay! This perk alone allowed us to ride all of the major rides (including Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout!) and get FastPass to ride them again - all before the park even opened! Another one of my favorite perks was how easy it was to get to the parks! Disney's Paradise Pier is the hotel located the furthest away from the parks -compared to all 3 of the Disneyland Resorts - and it only took us 10-15 minutes to walk there through Downtown Disney. Some other great parks include Disney Character Dining right at your resort, Disney Character Wake-Up Calls, Preferred Access Reservations to restaurants and Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, Purchased delivered to your resort and magical in-room celebrations!


Feel like you need to visit Disneyland Resort? Email me, lauren@magicaltravel.com, to book your Disney Vacation today! As a Disney vacation specialist, let me put my expert knowledge to your benefit and help you plan a magical vacation. Combine that with my free planning services, a free Disney Gift card and more - you're bound to have a magical vacation!