Do you love all things "Frozen"? Do you look forward to even more ways to enjoy your favorite "Frozen" characters at the Walt Disney World Resort? This holiday season, the wintry wonder and magic of Disney’s “Frozen” is coming to the Magic Kingdom Park with “A Frozen Holiday Wish.”
"A Frozen Holiday Wish"
“A Frozen Holiday Wish” features Anna and Elsa in an all-new show on the Castle Forecourt Stage. With special appearances by rugged mountain man Kristoff and lovable snowman Olaf, the show culminates in Queen Elsa using her incredible powers to present a gift to everyone in the kingdom, transforming Cinderella Castle into a glimmering ice palace for the holidays.
“A Frozen Holiday Wish” begins November 5 and will be presented nightly through December 31, 2014.
It was just announced that Chef Masaharu Morimoto, who many of you know from his appearances on Iron Chef America, is opening a one-of-a-kind dining experience in the heart of Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort.
According to the Disney Parks Blog:
Morimoto Asia will be the Japanese master chef’s first-ever pan-Asian restaurant featuring flavors from across the continent. This Disney Springs dining destination will include unique exhibition kitchens showcasing traditions like Peking duck carving, and dim sum.
“I’m very excited to bring this new concept to Disney, something I’ve always dreamed of,” said Chef Morimoto. “It’s a wonderful chance to share some of my favorite foods from across the Asian continent.”
The two-story restaurant is scheduled to open in the Summer 2015 at The Landing (formerly Pleasure Island) in Disney Springs. Morimoto Asia will feature waterside seating, terraces, a grand hall and a cocktail lounge.
Also today, another new concept dining experience, The BOATHOUSE, was announced for The Landing in Disney Springs.
The BOATHOUSE will be an upscale, waterfront dining experience that’ll immerse guests both on land and on water with live music, guided tours aboard the Captain’s piloted 40-foot Italian Water Taxi with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries and guided Amphicar rides that launch from land, enter the water, and take guests on a 20-minute tour of the landmarks of Disney Springs.
“We are very excited that the BOATHOUSE is joining the Walt Disney World family at Disney Springs,” says creator Steven Schussler. “Walt Disney Imagineering has created a wonderful, interactive, culinary and entertainment experience at Disney Springs. We are proud to be part of this magical experience.”
The BOATHOUSE will open in the Spring of 2015 in Disney Springs. The restaurant’s gourmet menu (served daily until 2 a.m.) will feature steaks, chops, seafood and a raw bar. The BOATHOUSE is the latest project of Schussler Creative, the creators of Rainforest Cafe, T-Rex and Yak & Yeti at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Pictures, Photographs, Snapshots, Pics, whatever term you use to call them, are the most popular souvenirs for guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort and with the new Memory Maker Option it is easier than ever to have a lot of great pictures to remember your Disney World Vacation.
Disney Memory MakerWe were anxious to try out and review the Disney Memory Maker so we purchased it for our recent trip to Disney World. The Memory Maker is a new way to enjoy unlimited digital Disney PhotoPass photos captured at locations throughout Walt Disney World Resort including select attraction and dining locations. The photos are conveniently connected to your online Disney account with a touch of your Magic Band or card.
The cost of the Memory Maker (MM) is $199.00 but you can save $50.00 if you purchase the MM at least five days before your vacation. We found the Disney Memory Maker very easy to use. If purchased online, the MM will be automatically linked to your Magical Disney Experience (MDE). If you are traveling with family and friends to celebrate a special occasion, you can add people to your family and friends list to enable you to view and download their photos – a big plus in our opinion. When each photo is taken at the various locations, the photo will be linked to your MDE account with a touch of your magic band. Once you download the first photo, you have 30 days to capture more photos. Photos remain in your account for 45 days after they are taken. You are able to add special features to the photos such as the date and magical effects (characters, Disney borders, and dates). After downloading you can use your photos however you wish – get prints at your local photo store or post to Facebook.
Disney Vacation Tip: Don't forget to ask your Disney Photopass Photographer to also take pictures on your camera or phone. They will do this whether you have purchased the Memory Maker option or not!
Overall we were very satisfied with the Memory Maker. There’s no need to purchase each photo individually so if you’re a family who typically orders a lot of photo pass pictures, the MM is for you. We loved the ride pictures and we were so surprised to see our ride video from Tower of Terror (TOT) and Seven Dwarfs Mine Train (7DMTP. If you happen to dine at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Chef Mickey's or Be Our Guest Restaurant for dinner these photos will also be included. There were lots of photo opportunities at Magic Kingdom but we wish there were a few more photo opportunities at the other parks. We think the Disney Memory Maker is especially a great idea for special Disney vacations such as birthdays and family reunions. It allows you to enjoy your vacation simply knowing that your Disney memories are being captured for you.
Robert Irvine is a recognized Chef and personality. It is only when you see him live and in person that you realize that outgoing personality that you witness on television is the same Robert Irvine that exists in real life!
Epcot International Food & Wine FestivalDisney World presents one of the most amazing Food & Wine Festivals each year for the past 19 years and 2014 is no exception! One of the best parts of the Festival is to see celebrity chefs in person and see them create culinary specialties and interact with the audience.
Robert Irvine made two appearances for the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. The first was a supposed to be a simple dish preparation and question and answer session. Well 45 minutes turned into over an hour and the audience that we were gladly a part of got a chance to experience and witness Robert Irvine up close and see far more of the personality that is presented across a wide number of shows on tv recently.
Robert Irvine the ChefLet's start with the dish that Robert Irvine prepared for the audience. After all, he has gained his fame from being an acclaimed chef.
The food that he prepared for us was:
Tasting of Hudson Valley Duck: Brined Moulard Breast, Puy Lentil, Butternut Squash, Preserved Duck Confit, Cashew Mousse, Fermented Garlic Jus
Cutting ahead to the final results, we are talking about an amazing dish! This comes from a person that really does not like duck and cannot recall ever having duck prepared in a manner that was enjoyed. This definitely broke the mold and surprised me with the incredible flavors.
Robert Irvine - Beyond The Food!Robert Irvine is much more than a Chef, he is a dynamic storytelling personality! He spent his time at the center of attention cooking, teaching, and entertaining. There is no doubt that in real life he really is the dominate personality that he appears to be on television.
He brought volunteers on stage from the audience and got them to participate as he described the ingredients that he used and explained his choices for oils and salts.
The more that Robert talked, the more that you realized that he is a humanitarian that really becomes emotionally attached to some of the people that he interacts with on his shows and the problems and issues that they fight to overcome.
Without a doubt the culinary demonstration that starred Robert Irvine was a highlight of a recent visit to the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. You can't fake the amount of passion that Robert has and the devotion to his staff.
Robert even came out into the audience to continue his discussion and answer questions.
Summary - Robert Irvine at Disney WorldThe culinary demonstrations at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival can sometimes be hit or miss, but Robert Irvine definitely hit a home run! besides preparing a great dish that tastes as great as it looked he did a great job being both storyteller and entertainer for the audience. He came of as genuine and larger tan life at the same time with his outgoing personality.
He felt comfortable enough to both bring his wife and children to the session and introduce them to the audience.
He definitely turned me from a casual fan of him and his shows to someone that is now engaged with what he becomes involved in. He was not only entertaining, but his passion for what he does was infectious!
Whether you enjoy him on the Food Network for Restaurant Impossible or one of the other shows that he appears upon he is quite the talented entertainer.
Best of luck to Robert Irvine in his future endeavors and take the opportunity to see him in personal if the opportunity presents itself!
October 5th, 2014 marked the final day for the Maelstrom attraction in the Norway Pavilion in Epcot. As preparations are underway to re-purpose this space into a Frozen movie based attraction, we wanted to take this opportunity to say goodbye what was the best attraction in the Epcot World Showcase.
Maelstrom - A High Seas Norwegian AdventureThe last of the 11 current countries of the Epcot World Showcase to be added, the Norway Pavilion debuted in the Summer of 1988 with its showcase attraction called Maelstrom that would differentiate it from the other international pavilions.
The striking waterfall was sure to get your attention where passersby would see the ships make brief appearances before the soon to follow screams as people descended the "big" drop,
As you made your way to the back of the Norway Pavilion you were greeted with signs that let you know that this attraction was definitely different than any other that could be found in Epcot's World Showcase.
The waiting area provided a view to a magnificent mural depicting images of Norway, past and present. This mural is so large that we will have to break it down into four sections to look at.
The first section depicts a scene from the early settlements of Norway and their ties to the mythology of the trolls and the spirits of the land.
The second section shows the transition from the great warriors to the hard life on the frozen sea with the fishing boats and the sailing ships.
The third section depicts a coastal fishing village and a nod to the booming cruise ship industry.
The last section shows the vast oil fields that live off-shore from Norway. This worker is who we affectionately refer to as "Chuck Norse" since he bears a striking resemblance to actor Chuck Norris!
Now it is time to board your rustic Norwegian vessel to begin your journey.
The boat transports you through time to view the early origins of Norway and to understand the lives and folklore of its people. You see ancient warriors and the not so cute three-headed trolls.
At this point you reach a dead end and you retreat from the troll sighting in reverse and make your way make full size (and angry) polar bears and back up to the edge of the waterfall.
Here you start moving forward again only to realize that it means that you are going to descend down a drop that is somewhere between Pirates Of The Caribbean and Splash Mountain to end up in the shadow of a deep sea oil drilling platform as you are transported back to present day Norway.
Finally you exit the area to dock in a quaint Norwegian Fishing Village. Here you depart and can stop to see a brief film about Norway before you continue on to the gift shops.
As you make your way to the shops you may have noticed this plaque that states:
The Norway Showcase was officially inaugurated on the third of June 1988 at EPCOT Center in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses, Crown Prince Harald and Crown Princess Sonja.
The other landmark in the shops is the giant troll that may not remain after the redesign to integrate the world of Frozen with their friendlier "boulder trolls."
Goodbye MaelstromAlthough change is not always bad, we will miss Maelstrom and its depiction of the history, culture, and people of Norway. It also represented the first and until now only "thrill" ride in the World Showcase. Since 1988, this has been our version of a vacation to Norway and immersion into its culture.
The replacement attraction will promise to bring the amazing characters from the movie Frozen to a ride that is sure to be popular, but it also moves Epcot further away from its origins, and that makes us sad.
We are not sad that it was time to replace Maelstrom, but by the fact that the replacement does not have ties to Norway and takes Epcot's World Showcase further away from being a World Showcase that focuses on the majesty that is the diversity of cultures from around the world and more of a vehicle to place characters from various Disney/Pixar movies.
Some things are just too good to pass up! One such temptation can be found at the 2014 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. It is called Ghirardelli Drinking Chocolate and you don't want to miss your chance to try it!
Epcot International Food & Wine FestivalThe 19th annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival highlights the Fall season at the Walt Disney World Resort by transforming Epcot from September 19 to November 10, 2014. Among the multitude of food and drink offerings to discover is a Hidden Gem tucked away in a corner that can easily be missed by most Epcot Guests.
The Festival Center for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival is set up inside the former Wonders Of Life Pavilion located between Ellen's Energy Adventure and Mission Space int eh Future World Section of Epcot.
Once inside the Festival Center, in order to find this special treat you need to proceed all the way to the far side of the Pavilion to an area that is not visible from the Entrance.
The section that you are looking for is called: The Chocolate Experience: From The Bean To The Bar presented by Ghirardelli. Inside you will be greeted by a cast member handing out small complementary square of Ghirardelli chocolate, which we will consider an appetizer to the main treat awaiting visitors.
There is a great collection of dioramas created entirely of chocolate that are fun to look at. Pictured above is a model of the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Attraction and a great Toy Story scene.
The main event is where they sell the Wine and Drinking Chocolate. This simple little counter is where you can find one of the most amazing tastes in the entire Food & Wine Festival!
Whether you purchase your Ghirardelli Drinking Chocolate with or without the glass of red wine to accompany it, you are in for a treat. The smooth chocolate has a thinner consistency than just a melted chocolate bar, but don't dare confuse this to be your ordinary Hot Chocolate.
The intense warm chocolate flavor is amazing. When combined with alternating sips of the well paired red wine, in this case the Buena Vista Winery (Sonoma, CA):The Count Founder's Red Wine, you have a combination that is absolutely wonderful!
At only $2.50 per serving, the Ghirardelli Drinking Chocolate is something that you cannot afford to pass up!