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Animal Kingdom 2017

Animal Kingdom 2016 was Disney Darling's most popular post last year, and it's time to do an update! DAK definitely will have t...

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Food and Wine 2017

It seems Food and Wine starts a little earlier and earlier each year. This year, Food and Wine will be kicking off in August and running through November 13.

New booths include Active Eats, Coastal Eats, Flavors from Fire, Light Lab, and The Almond Orchard.

The Eat to the Beat concert series is another highlight to the Festival. Old favorites such as Boyz II Men and Hanson will be returning this year. Some new additions to the line up include the Baha Men and Kenny G, will grace the crowd while performing on his majestic saxophone.

Guests can sign up for the Feat for the Senses tasting sampler. For $65, guests will receive a voucher for 8 different food or beverage items around the World Showcase and a limited-release trading pin. The sampler can be purchased at the Festival Center.

Also returning this year is Remy’s Hide n Squeak. Guests can embark on a scavenger hunt around the World Showcase to find Remy from Ratatouille. Once the game is completed, prizes will be awarded. The scavenger hunt map can be found at the Festival Center. 

For more information on what the Food and Wine Festival has to offer, go click here.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Disney Darling News: Thumper and Miss Bunny Meet and Greet

August 21st is the 75th anniversary of Disney’s classic, Bambi. To acknowledge and celebrate the event, a special meet and greet will be held. Thumper and Miss Bunny will be meeting at Animal Kingdom. They can be spotted at Rafiki’s Planet Watch. This is a short term meet and greet. They will only be meeting Friday, August 25th through Sunday, August 27th, 10:20am – 4pm. 

Occasionally, Thumper and Miss Bunny have unscheduled meet and greets at the entrance to Animal Kingdom. They used to meet regularly in Camp Mickey-Minnie before it closed down in 2014.

Reveiw of Spireside's Disney Candles

Sunday, July 30, 2017

My Thoughts on Soarin' Around the World

I had wanted to ride the newest update to Soarin’ ever since it was announced, which was during my Disney College Program back in 2015. In fact, refurbishment began the very same day my program ended. This summer, I finally got the chance to ride it. I was apprehensive about the changes, as I did not hear good things about them.

The only thing that seemed to change with queue was the addition of monitors similar to the ones at airports that post the time of flights. The monitors show trivia questions about the different places Soarin’ takes its passengers. This is a great way to pass time in line. I love that this adds an educational component to the attraction as Epcot was made to be an educational park.

Fortunately, the preshow video with Kronk Patrick Warburton still remains. Before he appears, a video of an airplane flying over a map shows the audience where it will take its passengers. My first impression of seeing the map was that there are a lot of places on it, 13 to be exact. Turns out, this was the same number of locations Soarin’ Over California took us.

This was the first time riding Soarin’ that I was in the second row rather than the first. It is true that you see the feet of the first row passengers dangling down. However, I found it easy to focus on the screen and tune out the feet. The ride is about 30 seconds longer now, but it feels even longer than that. Everyone’s favorite orange grove smell is gone, but there are other delightful smells like roses when the ride takes us over the Taj Mahal.

The transitions between each location were very well done, even though it did scare the teenaged girls sitting next to me. My only complaint of the attraction is that they decided to literally scream at every single transition. The unnecessary screeching took me out of the moment a few times. But that’s a complaint about annoying guests and not the ride itself.

I have heard complaints that the ride isn’t “Disney enough” (whatever that means), but I disagree. There are little nods to Disney all throughout the ride. For example, the first place the ride takes its passengers is around the Matterhorn in Switzerland. As any Disney Parks fan knows, the Matterhorn bobsleds are a famous attraction in Disneyland. Another place is Sydney, Australia like in Finding Nemo. The flight also goes around the stunning Neuschwantsteitn Castle in Germany, which served as inspiration for the Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom. Then there’s the Great Wall of China that was featured in Mulan and the Eiffel Tower, which can be seen in The Aristocats and Ratatouille. Furthermore, Soarin’ Around the World fits perfectly with the theming of Epcot. Even though the attraction itself is in Future World, it is reminiscent of the World Showcase area of the park. Both are designed to take guests around the world.

One of my other apprehensions was about the Disneyland scene at the very end of the flight. Seeing Tinkerbell fly in always put a smile on my face. To my surprise, the flight did take us back to not Disneyland, but Epcot! This makes more sense for the Epcot version as it feels as if guests are flying back to Epcot to continue their day exploring the park.

Soarin’ Around the World truly does fit the theme of Epcot so much better than Soarin’ Over California did. However, I still wish the California version remained on the west coast, as it would fit the theme of Disney California’s Adventure. This could also be a compromise for Californians as the original version of the ride is special to them. The technology upgrades are stunning and the longer runtime makes standing in line for half an hour worth it. Soarin’ Around the World is a testament that changes to the Disney Parks can be for the better.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Disney Darling News: Grand Avenue at Hollywood Studios

Over its 27-year history, Disney’s Hollywood Studios has undergone a lot of changes. From Star Wars Land, to a giant sorcerer hat icon and even a name change, Studios has arguably changed the most of any Walt Disney World theme park. And the part of the park that has experienced the most changes is Streets of America. Its original name was New York City Streets. The Streets were initially part of the Backlot Tour attraction. In 1991, Muppets Vision 3D was added to the land, along win the show Lights, Motors, Action in 2005. The Streets was also the location for Walt Disney World’s most famous Christmas show, the Osborne Family Spectacle of the Dancing Lights. In 2016, the Streets of America closed for good to make room for the newly announced Star Wars Land.

Earlier this year, reports of a small section of the Streets not yet knocked down were prevalent. Some people, including Cast Members, said that the only reason they remained is because construction workers had not yet gotten to that area. However, several guests noticed the building facades were being repainted. This sparked rumors of at least some part of Streets of America being preserved, and perhaps reopened soon. There was no announcement of this made during the 2017 D23 expo. Earlier this week, Disney did officially announce that this section of Streets of America would in fact be reopened to the public. The Streets of America, which once mimicked New York City, are soon to be known as Grand Avenue for the street in Los Angeles. This change makes sense for Hollywood Studios, as Hollywood is a region of Los Angeles.

Along with a new name comes a new addition to Disney dining. The Writer’s Stop coffee shop may have fit in perfectly with New York, but the Baseline Tap House fits in with Los Angeles theme. Baseline will offer beers, wine and appetizers. It has not been announced if any other additions will be made to Grand Ave. Concept art of Baseline is pictured below:

Grand Avenue will open in fall 2017. This should give guests something new to experience to hold them over until Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land opens at Hollywood Studios. Toy Story Land is expected to open summer 2018 and Star Wars Land is projected for 2019.  

What are your thoughts on Grand Ave? Comment below!