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Writer’s Stop To Remain Open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

TouringPlans.com Blog - April 01, 2016 - 03:08 pm

By Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

This weekend marks the closure of may Disney’s Hollywood Studios attractions. They include Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure, the Monster’s Inc. meet and greet, and Studio Catering Co. One of the places that was also slated to close was the Writer’s Stop. Now it appears as though that will be changing, at least temporarily.

Guests will be able to still continue to visit the Writer’s Stop, which will nowserve as a lounge/waiting area for Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant. Guests will be able to enjoy refreshments and small plates beginning at 11:30 a.m. and lasting until one hour prior to Sci-Fi’s closure.

Guests will be able to purchase and enjoy appetizers, a selection of wine and beer, and non-alcoholic beverages.

Do keep in mind that this is only slated to be open on a limited time basis, so stay tuned to the blog for its official closure.

 

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Writer’s Stop To Remain Open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a post from the TouringPlans.com Blog. Signup for a premium subscription today! Or get news via Email, Twitter, & Facebook.


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Our Favorite Epcot Restaurants

Disney Food Blog - March 31, 2016 - 11:14 am

We are big fans of Epcot around here, just like you are. It may not be the original Disney World Park, but it holds a charm that few other spots in the Disney universe can. After all, walking around there feels like  you’ve stepped into the dreams of Walt Disney himself. It didn’t start life as the Experimental Prototype City Of Tomorrow for nothing!

Epcot!!!

The park has evolved a bit through the years, but we’re still enchanted by its dual personalities: Future World, celebrating technology and the promise of what’s to come; and World Showcase, which encourages visitors to embrace cultures from around the globe in order to learn from them.

While there’s so much to do and see, tops on our list are the eats! Today, we’re sharing with you our favorite Epcot Restaurants — the ones we don’t want you to miss.

Via Napoli

Via Napoli is a rare Disney restaurant in my book, and there are two reasons why. First, I eat there nearly every time I visit Walt Disney World, whether I tell you guys about it or not. And two, the food is pretty much always good.

Via Napoli in Epcot’s Italy Pavilion is One of My Favorite Epcot Stops

There’s no disputing, in my opinion, that Via Napoli is your top destination for good pizza in Disney World. But there is so much more than that here!

To begin, they have some terrific beverages. And while inventive cocktails and exclusive craft beers number among them, you should try the completely refreshing (and non-alcoholic) Acqua Fresca at least once…especially if you’re visiting on a hot day!

Acqua Fresca

Appetizers and starters are fresh and interesting as well. When I order the Fritto Misto, I always request extra nuggets of Fried Mozzarella Cheese. So good!

Fritto Misto Platter

Mozzarella Caprese — Up Close

You can’t go wrong with pizzas at Via Napoli. The crust is prepared with imported flour and water similar to what you’ll find in Southern Italy. The pies are fired hot and fast, and arrive to your table still steaming from the ovens.

Piccante Signature Pizza

But don’t overlook Via Napoli’s pasta dishes, either. Whether you’re going for tomato-based sauces or something decadent and creamy, we’ve had some real winners.

Paccheri alla Crema con Pollo

And save room for dessert. I’ve had some delicious options, but the Zeppole wins my vote for the best, hands down!

Zeppole with Chocolate Sauce and Whipped Cream

But then, how could you possibly go wrong with what amounts to an Italian doughnut?

Garden Grill Restaurant

What’s not to love about Garden Grill Restaurant in The Land Pavilion?

Garden Grill

This place has everything! It rotates (yes — it, like, physically rotates in a circle), so you see an ever-changing landscape — courtesy of Living with the Land, one of the attractions that shares real estate with the restaurant.

Living with the Land as seen from Garden Grill — The Farmhouse

And the food, which is served family-style and is all you care to enjoy, is really, really good. These days, they are serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and frankly, I can’t decide which I like the best. Here are a few pics. You decide!

Breakfast Platter at Garden Grill

Cinnamon Bun Bake

Garden Grill Entrees

So it spins…and the food is guuuuuuud.

Harvest Skillet Cake — So Yum!!

Surely, that’s enough, right? Nope! On top of all that, there are characters! Enjoy interaction with Chip n’ Dale, Farmer Mickey, and Pluto while you dine.

Farmer Mickey!

And because of the round structure of the restaurant, character interaction always feels even more special in some way, like you’re the only guest there. Plus the circular architecture makes it easy for Mickey and Pluto to sneak up on you and play peek-a-boo! SUPER FREAKING FUN for the toddler set. If you haven’t had the chance to dine at Garden Grill, be sure to book your advance dining reservation on your next visit!

Sunshine Seasons

But you aren’t out of luck if you prefer counter service to table service. Because you’ll find plenty to love at Sunshine Seasons.

Sunshine Seasons at The Land pavilion in Epcot

Located in The Land Pavilion (yep — just an escalator ride away from Garden Grill — that building has more than its fair share of good Disney food karma), this is counter service food that tastes more like table service quality. They serve breakfast (a little-known fact), lunch, and dinner here, so there’s always something delicious to try. They also have some interesting Grab and Go selections — including some super yummo cupcakes, which change up seasonally.

Apple Spice Cupcake, A Recent Favorite From Sunshine Seasons

As for entrees, you can choose from LOTSA goodies, including Asian specialties and yummy vegetarian options, too. But hands down, my favorites at Sunshine Seasons are the Oak-Fired Grilled entrees.

Roasted Chicken with Black Beans and Rice

I can always go for their Roasted Chicken, but the Pork Chop is delicious as well. And if you prefer fish, be sure to check out their Salmon — people love it!

Tutto Gusto

For our next choice, we’re headed back to World Showcase — and right back to the Italy Pavilion, in fact — to hang out at Tutto Gusto Wine Cellar.

Fireplace Area Seating at Tutto Gusto

I mean look at that. How many theme parks that you’ve been to have a cozy wine bar where you can sit on couches next to a fireplace?!?

Ever since this uber cozy spot opened, I have been a fan. Featuring small plates and fantastic Italian wines, a respite at Tutto Gusto is like a tour of Italy. Via food. Which we all know if the best way to see a country.

To explore like a native, check out their Wine Flights. It’s a great way to learn more about the various regions where wine is produced.

Best of Italy Wine Flight

But there’s a full bar as well. While you can enjoy just about anything you can dream up, I suggest you explore some of their special cocktails, especially those using liquors and liqueurs from Italy.

Tutto Gusto Cocktail

But the drinks are only half the story here, because there’s also some seriously great food. The Panini aren’t what we normally get here in the US. But the “small bread sandwiches” feature really interesting combos, like Fontina with Artichoke or Salametto — or both!

Tutto Gusto Panini — Artichoke Fontina and Salametto Fontina

Other small plates feature Pasta, like Ravioli de Ricotta.

Ravioli di Ricotta

This rich dish packs a ton of flavor.

Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie

There’s a lot to love about Epcot’s France Pavilion. You’ll find wonderful ice cream treats to enjoy at L’Artisan des Glaces. And taking in lunch or dinner at Les Chefs de France is always high on my list. But whatever time of day it is, I can always find a reason to visit Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie!

Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in Epcot’s France Pavilion

Seriously — are you looking for a French-inspired breakfast? Pastries and baked goods are prepared authentically and fresh right in Les Halles’ own kitchens and ovens.

Bakery Case at Les Halles

My favorites are the Frangipane Triangles. With flaky pastry and a rich almond filling center, it makes for a great start to my day. I know — they look totally boring. There’s no chocolate! No cream! But ERMEHGERD they are SOOOOO good. And this is coming from a cupcake and frosting devotee.

Frangipane Triangle

For a light lunch or dinner, you can’t go wrong with one of Les Halles’ sandwiches. Enjoying a Jambon Beurre always reminds me of my broke college student days in Switzerland when I had to eat at train stations. Wait a minute. That doesn’t sound right. Let me put that into context by saying that the ham, cheese, and butter sandwiches served at Swiss gas stations and train stations are THE BEST!!!!!!

Jambon Beurre Sandwich

But one of my favorite things to do is to grab a Cheese Plate and a Baguette and people watch from a bench or a spot by the fountain.

And don’t forget — Les Halles is a great place to stop for a drink. That includes mimosas that are on the menu starting at 9AM!!! Yep — Les Halles is not only the ONLY place you can eat in World Showcase before 11AM without a reservation…it also serves ALCOHOL at 9AM. I’m just gonna put that right there.

Don’t Forget the Wine!

Coffee or hot chocolate, beer or wine…you’ll find great options at this counter service cafe any time of the day.

La Hacienda de San Angel

La Hacienda de San Angel hasn’t always impressed me. My visits to the restaurant, which is the Mexico Pavilion’s newest place to dine, have been evenly split between great and not so much. But this is definitely a place where I consider the big picture when it comes to formulating an opinion. What do I mean by that? Mostly, I consider La Hacienda’s location to be a great big part of its charm.

The View from La Hacienda de San Angel

Open only for dinner, La Hacienda de San Angel occupies primo real estate right on Epcot’s World Showcase Lagoon. That makes this a beautiful location for taking in Illuminations.

Fireworks View at La Hacienda

But that’s jut the outside view (which is pretty awesome, fireworks or no). Inside the restaurant is nearly as beautiful as the view, with Mexican artwork and punched tin lights. The terraced seating and round booths facing the windows takes full advantage of the views.

But what about the food? While pricey, I’ve had some real standouts here. Don’t skip the handcrafted margaritas, which are on par with those you’ll find at La Cava del Tequila across the way. And if they’re serving Crema de Elote, or Creamed Corn Soup, do yourself a favor…

Pouring the Crema de Elote

…And order two bowls.

Le Cellier Steakhouse

There is NO WAY I can discuss my favorite Epcot restaurants and not talk about Le Cellier Steakhouse.

Le Cellier Steakhouse — Outside View

Some feel that Le Cellier is overrated. While I love it, I must admit that I was disappointed when this signature restaurant in the Canada Pavilion started serving its more expensive (and 2 Disney Dining Plan Credit) dinner menu for the midday meal too. But even there, we’ve seen a bright side. What previously had been a nearly impossible advance dining reservation to score is now a lot easier to come by.

Le Cellier is aptly named. They have done a great job with themeing, and actually using the windowless space to their advantage.

Le Cellier Steakhouse

It really lends to the cozy feel of the place. Whether it’s 40 or 90 degrees outside, it still manages to feel like you’re in Canada, and not Florida, in the snug dining room.

But even more remarkable is the consistently great food and service I’ve experienced here.

Le Cellier’s Filet Mignon

I’ve never had a bad meal at Le Cellier. And even weaker menu spots, like desserts, showed improvement during my most recent visit.

The one caveat? The dining room really is small. If you’re like me and enjoy your space while dining, ask for a table that’s not a banquette along the walls so you don’t feel like you’re eating at a communal table.

Rose and Crown Pub

Our last stop in Epcot takes us over to the UK Pavilion, as we drop into Rose and Crown Pub and Restaurant.

While Rose and Crown offers good food, I think a big part of what makes it special to me is nostalgia. I’ve been coming to this pub on the UK Pavilion’s High Street since the days that I visited Disney World as a child with my family. And really, nothing has changed. You’ll find the same homey atmosphere and solid comfort food that was the hallmark of the spot then.

New York Strip Steak with Loaded Yorkshire Pudding

But the nostalgia isn’t just about those visits when I was a kid. When I began visiting Disney on my own as an adult, I came to know the pub as well as the restaurant. After all, having a drink and a bite at the Rose and Crown’s beautiful bar is a Disney rite of passage. And if you have the pleasure of visiting with Carl the Bartender while there — then so much the better!

Rose and Crown’s Famous Carl!

Now, if they would just bring back that English Bulldog

La Cava del Tequila

Ok…so it’s not so much a restaurant as a bar. But — it has tables and chairs. And some food. And about the best drinks that you can get anywhere in the Disney Universe. And this is my list, so I’m totally including it.

La Cava del Tequila

Seriously — I would be remiss as both an Epcot Lover and a Disney Food Blogger if I didn’t tell you to make room on your itinerary and in your tummy for La Cava del Tequila. Located inside the Mexico Pavilion’s Pyramid, this tiny spot has been practically standing room only since it opened a few years ago. One sip of their artisan margaritas, and you’ll understand why.

Avocado Margarita at La Cava del Tequila

These aren’t your neighborhood Tex-Mex chain ressie drinks. Featuring premium spirits (no joke — I follow on instagram the guys who choose the alcohol for this place and their feeds are pretty much constantly filled with agave fields they’re visiting to select the best possible stuff), freshly prepared juices, and all kinds of interesting flavor combos, it’s one of the best places I can think of to send you for a quiet and cool break. My drink du jour these days is the Tamarind Margarita — a perfect sweet and tangy balance of flavors.

Tamarind Margarita — One of My New Favorites

And they do pour ‘em strong here, so do yourself a favor and try a few of their small bites.

La Cava Trio Combo

I love their Trio Combo for a variety of flavors! The white queso — when it’s on the menu — is to die for.

So, there you have it!! These are the places you can’t miss in Epcot! I’d love to hear about your favorites, too!

Ready for All of Our Best Tips?

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Now let’s hear from you! What are your favorite Epcot Restaurants? Leave a comment and share your personal list with us!

Disney Food Blog Fans, be sure to check out our DFB Disney World Dining Guide e-Books! Find great deals at DFBStore.com! Also, come on over and:


Related posts:

  1. Our Favorite Magic Kingdom Restaurants
  2. Our Favorite Disney’s Hollywood Studios Restaurants
  3. Review: Beignet at Les Halles Boulangerie Patisserie in Epcot’s France Pavilion


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Additional Dates Added for Club Villain

AllEars - March 30, 2016 - 05:57 pm

Club Villain at Disney's Hollywood Studios has been extended yet again. It will now be offered Saturdays through the end of May. The event features performances, food, cocktails and encounters with some of the greatest Disney villains. The mysterious Dr. Facilier is host for the evening, welcoming guests and his friends from the "other side" to his parlor of mystical mishaps, with musical numbers and a wicked mix from his house DJ. Also stopping by to socialize are those divas of evil, Maleficent, Queen of Hearts, Cruella De Vil and the Evil Queen. Reservations can be made in advance online or by calling 407-939-3463. Price is $129/person. A separate ticket for admission to Disney's Hollywood Studios is required.
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Review: Cheese Danish at Magic Kingdom’s Cheshire Cafe

Disney Food Blog - March 30, 2016 - 09:09 am

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been on the hunt for a good Cheese Danish.

Learn About:
Cheshire CafeMagic Kingdom
Disney World Restaurants

And why is that? Well, because one of my favorite treats — the Biggest Cheese Danish You Ever Did See — may soon be losing its home, and I don’t know what’s going to become of it. You see, it’s located at one place, and one place only… the Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Trouble is, that location is closing to make way for construction of the new lands coming to the Studios: Toy Story and Star Wars. (While the spot may have a brief respite, we can’t believe it’s long for this “World” in its current state.)

While the other signature snack at Writer’s Stop — the Carrot Cake Cookie — is (and hopefully will remain) available at Sweet Spells, I know of no other home for the monster-sized Cheese (not to mention Apple and Cherry) Danish you can find there.

So, yeah… I’m on a hunt. And it’s led me to another park entirely: Magic Kingdom.

Welcome back to the Cheshire Cafe in Fantasyland.

Cheshire Cafe Sign

You remember Cheshire Cafe, right? It was a pretty low-key locale until the arrival of Gourmet Cake Cups — a heavenly cupcake-meets-parfait-meets-mountain-of-frosting that — for reasons we’ll never understand — is no longer served here.

Cheshire Cafe

These days it still serves its old standbys like muffins, Frozen Lemonade Slushes, and… well, whaddya know? A Cheese Danish.

Cheese Danish sign at Cheshire Cafe

I know — it doesn’t sound all that exciting. But I’m on a mission here, folks. So let’s see how this one stacks up!

Cheese Danish

Honestly, at first glance it almost resembles a flat cinnamon roll more than a Cheese Danish.

Cheese Danish and Cinnamon

But it does have its pros: like my beloved Cheese Danish at Writer’s Stop, this one is twisted with cinnamon and sugar between the layers. The pastry is soft and buttery. And it gets a point or two for the generous icing drizzle.

Icing and Cheese Filling

But the heavy vanilla cream cheese center sinks to the bottom of the snack, and while it’s that same delicious sweet and cheesy mixture, there just isn’t as much as I wish there was. Plus, it’s on the smaller size, making it far less…  you know, epic.

Cross-Section of the Cheese Danish

It’ll do for a quick morning munch at Magic Kingdom, but for the time being, my quest is still very much on. If you have a favorite cheese danish in Disney World, let me know in the comments below!

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Will you be trying the Cheese Danish from Cheshire Cafe? Leave us a comment and tell us your thoughts!

Disney Food Blog Fans, be sure to check out our DFB Disney World Dining Guide e-Books! Find great deals at DFBStore.com! Also, come on over and:


Related posts:

  1. Review: Cheese Danish at Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  2. Review: NEW Gourmet Cake Cups at Magic Kingdom’s Cheshire Cafe
  3. First Look!: Magic Kingdom’s Cheshire Cafe Photos and Menu


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Rumor: A Second Chance for Writer’s Stop?

Disney Food Blog - March 29, 2016 - 01:35 pm

Oh, could it be?!? Has the Writer’s Stop been given a second chance?!

Learn About:
Writer’s StopDisney's Hollywood Studios
Disney World Restaurants

If you follow Disney news, you’ll likely recall the announcement that the Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show attraction will give its final performances on April 2nd in order to make way for construction of the future Toy Story and Star Wars Lands at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

It was subsequently announced that some of the eateries in the same Streets of America section of the park where the attraction is housed would be closing along with it as well. These include Studio Catering Co. and High Octane Refreshments as well as my much-beloved Writer’s Stop.

Home of the famous Carrot Cake Cookie, I also loved Writer’s Stop as an often quiet respite from a busy park. So, though it wasn’t exactly a surprise when its closure was announced, I — like many other like-minded fans — was saddened by the thought.

Writer’s Stop

But it’s possible that there is some VERY good news! According to the folks at wdwmagic.com, Writer’s Stop may remain open for “a limited time” beyond April 2nd!

Changes, however, may still be in the works, as they also shared that the menu will be revamped a bit. While still serving their usual coffee and bakery treats (which would include, we would hope,  the Carrot Cake Cookie), it seems charcuterie and a cheese plate will be up for grabs, as well as alcoholic beverages.

Carrot Cake Cookie at Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Pretzels may also make the cut. And while that may sound like small news compared to the other additions, it’s quite welcome considering that we don’t know if the Pretzel Garden will find another home in the Studios after April 2nd.

There may be more to the story yet, though… wdwnt.com is also reporting that Writer’s Stop will remain open for a time after April 2nd. However, they anticipate that it will serve as more of a lounge for guests waiting for their tables at Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant.

Will Writer’s Stop, then, only be available for guests with an Advance Dining Reservation at Sci-Fi? Or will a portion of it remain available for folks coming in and out in hopes of snagging one last look at the classic location before the limited-time run is over? With April 3rd fast approaching, the answers should come to light soon.

Either way, there are LOTS of changes in the works, my friends! But hopefully we’ll at least be able to enjoy the special spot that is the Writer’s Stop in some shape or form for at least a little while longer. We’ll see… .

Sources: wdwmagic.com and wdwnt.com

Disney Food Blog Fans, be sure to check out our DFB Disney World Dining Guide e-Books! Find great deals at DFBStore.com! Also, come on over and:


Related posts:

  1. Review: Cheese Danish at Writer’s Stop in Disney’s Hollywood Studios
  2. News and Review! Writer’s Stop Debuts Mickey Macaroons!
  3. Review: Writer’s Stop at Disney’s Hollywood Studios


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Main Gate

Main Street Gazette - March 28, 2016 - 09:00 am

Why do we continue to visit Walt Disney World?
As the costs for everything from a ticket, to a room, to a meal, to after-hours events, and even to parking continue to skyrocket, we still continue to go. At some point you would think we would be priced out of the market. At some point we would all say enough is enough. We would take our hard-earned dollar, that doesn’t stretch as far as it used to outside the resort’s berm either, and visit somewhere else. After all, Walt Disney World is not the eighth wonder of the world.
The idea that the folks at Disney are grabbing at money while offering little in return has reared its head again. Between the premium parking spots that now cost an additional 75% above the already outrageous $20, the limited capacity three hour after hours Magic Kingdom event for $150, and the seasonally adjusted pricing for one day tickets, many guests have started to perceive that there is a pinch going on. Consider that what was the cost of an annual pass around six years ago has now double and that same amount from a 2010 annual pass will only provide for a week of admission in 2016. Add all of this to the boiling cauldron that already includes entertainment offerings that have been slashed to a shadow of their former glory or cut altogether, and you have the perfect potion for an explosive populace.
For the longest time, Walt Disney World could hang its hat on the fact that its parks and attractions created the most realistic environments and had storytelling that was above reproach. While it still may have the largest quantity of these theme environments, the details that we all love and adore, the environmental storytelling that we crave is beginning to become more and more prevalent at other theme parks. Universal, for one, has been ramping up its game for a long time and between the Wizarding World and Skull Island, appear to be nipping at the heels of Disney. So perhaps the product isn’t as unique as it once was.
Caught between competitors who are closing the storytelling gap and the need to continue to be seen as the most valuable ticket in town, and you can begin to see the quandary Walt Disney World has found itself in, and the precarious position it has put itself in with even some of its most loyal guests. So, why do we continue to go?
No matter who we all are in the real world, when it comes to Walt Disney World we are all unapologetic optimists. We may complain, but we still find some reason to hope that tomorrow will be a better day. Part of that comes from our memories, Walt Disney World is a place where we made memories as children or with our children, and that nostalgia brings us back time and again. Part of it comes from the knowledge that Walt wanted a park where everyone could go, but that was always changing, so we believe these ideals will once again align someday.
Think about how optimistic we all are. Some of us continue to think of Disney’s Hollywood Studios as our favorite park, even as more and more areas and attractions shutter to make way for the Star Wars and Toy Story expansions. It is perfectly okay to take a step back and say it was our favorite park, and that we believe it will be again, but with everything shuttered there we’re leaning more towards Epcot/Magic Kingdom/Animal Kingdom right now. And yet, there are those among us who absolutely refuse to budge on their favorite park. Talk about optimistic!
We remember simpler times. When Walt Disney World was smaller and our favorite moment from a trip was huddling under a poncho with our parents, waiting and hoping for fireworks. And, just when the rain was about to douse our last whisper of hope, the skies cleared, we were able to come out from underneath the smelly, opaque plastic poncho and watch the darkened sky become as bright as the midday with each burst of firework during Illuminations. We remember the first time our child was able to climb aboard Big Thunder Mountain Railroad and the almost instantaneous love they had for the roller coaster. We reminisce about meeting Mickey for the first time, riding aboard a monorail, meeting the Ninja Turtles/Power Rangers/Anna and Elsa, taking a flight with Dumbo, putting on a pair of mouse ears, and all of our other memories that are just as unique as we are. We refuse to put a price on the memories we have, and therefore continue to pay whatever the price is so that we can continue to make these types of memories, or revisit the places where we made these memories to begin with.
The first spark of what would be Disneyland, and then a theme park empire, came to Walt Disney while he was out with his daughters one day. He dreamed of a place where all were welcome and that would continue to evolve and change. Those two items, to those of us who have spent our lives in and around the theme parks, are not mutually exclusive. How many stories have we heard about children who started out their lives with very limited income, but their parents would let them wander around Disneyland in the afternoons. Because they were safe there and it didn’t break the bank to be able to let them wander and dream, even if they couldn’t afford to jump on every attraction that they saw. These children are some of the very same individuals leading the company today. In our hearts, we believe that they remember what those days were like, what the heart of the parks have always been, and will turn the attention back to being a place for all someday soon.
Perhaps that belief is misguided, but so often with optimists, their beliefs cannot be swayed by even the most overwhelmingly logical argument. Where did we get that unbridled sense that the sun will come out tomorrow and not just that Disney will maybe one day have a “coupon day” to borrow from Jurassic Park? We got it from Walt Disney World.
We know that the future is bright for the parks, we’ve seen the renderings for new lands and attractions, and we’ve seen what has already come to pass with New Fantasyland and Disney Springs. We know that the future of Walt Disney World is secure in terms of their ability to tell stories in incredible environments, but will we all be able to see and experience them the way that we always have?
I don’t mind a scattering of ticketed events, but I think there has to be a better way than to be seen as ostracizing those who love you the most. Think about the International Flower and Garden Festival as an example. The majority of why guests come to this event, the topiaries and gardens, are included with admission to Epcot. There are some classes, extra merchandise, food offerings, etc. that have additional costs. Just because I don’t get to partake in these pieces doesn’t mean I don’t love what I do get to see. This is a model I’d love to see flourish more within Walt Disney World, and I don’t know if it will happen, but I hope that it can take root.

The cost of visiting Walt Disney World is always going to climb, there is never going to be a day when Disney announces that ticket prices are going to be going back down by 5, 10, 25 dollars. I think the realists inside all of us understand that. That doesn’t mean that it should grow exponentially, putting the burden of tomorrow’s dreams on the shoulders of those struggling to just step through the gates today. It may be misguided, and it may just be flat wrong, but I’m choosing to believe there is a brighter day coming or all of us that love Walt Disney World. I may only be seen for how fat my wallet is these days, but since it was Disney that thought me to believe in the impossible and take chances, I’m taking the chance that they will see there is a value, and one not tied to a dollar sign, in the guests that have loved Walt Disney World for their entire lives and want to share that with as many people as they can.


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You Could Widen Your World

Main Street Gazette - March 21, 2016 - 09:00 am

There is something to be said for being able to find a different perspective inside of a Walt Disney World theme park, resort, or recreation area. Whether it is getting closer to some of the details, seeing them from a different angle than they were originally intended, or taking in a panoramic view of massive swaths of the property, we are drawn to these unique viewpoints.
If you think about it some of our favorite views of the parks come from a different, usually related to height, perspective. In the Magic Kingdom we wait impatiently to reach the point just before the plunge down Chickapin Hill on Splash Mountain, peek through the canopy branches of the Swiss Family Treehouse, and marvel at the vistas from the Tomorrowland Peoplemover. In Disney’s Hollywood Studios we will scare ourselves half to death just to catch a glimpse of the park before the Hollywood Tower Hotel’s elevator gives out on us. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom we crane our necks to lookout over the park or wait in line to be at the very front of Expedition Everest’s tea train to see all of Walt Disney World lay out in front of us. Elsewhere, we reach for the skies on Disney Springs’ Characters in Flight, Humunga Kowabunga at Typhoon Lagoon or Summit Plummet at Blizzard Beach, and even when we dine at California Grill.
But what about Epcot?
Once upon a time Epcot had some of the greatest height defined views in all of Walt Disney World. And with good reason, the pavilions of Future World and World Showcase are big and bold, almost reaching out desperately to be examined in all their glory The vantage points of Epcot vanished, slowly but surely, and we became accustomed to keeping our eyes looking up at the wonders, our feet firmly on the ground. It happened in ways where we lamented the loss of an attraction or welcomed in something new, and forgot to think about the details we were losing.
The thought came to me recently when I was watching an old home movie someone had posted of World of Motion. Prior to becoming Test Track, the omnimover ride vehicles languidly climbed out, up, and around the front of the circular building. During this slow ascension, guests could were able to take in all of Future World East, including Horizons and Communicore, with a bird’s eye view that included Spaceship Earth. You could notice the manner in which the walkways were set out, the landscaping, and hold your breath that you could see a monorail whizz by. I will credit Test Track that there is still an outside section, but what you really see now are some product placement vehicles and, just when your car approaches Future World where you’d love to see what’s happening, the banked curve turns you in towards the building and the view is obstructed.
I started thinking of other heights that could be reached in and around Epcot, and I immediately thought of the Image Works of the Imagination pavilion. Granted, most of us were usually in a hurry to run down the Rainbow Corridor, play with the Pin Screens, hop around on the Stepping Tones, and color with Figment’s Coloring Book to ever notice the view. However, our parents definitely took note of the view, and it was enough that on a bright, sunny Florida day, even children would stop and take note of how cool Future World looked.
In the case of the Image Works, I know there is talk of it becoming a Disney Vacation Club lounge, but like the lounges scattered all around Future World, they aren’t there for every guest to enjoy. Currently, the best way to get a bird’s eye view of Epcot is to take a ride aboard the monorail from the Transportation and Ticket Center. I highly recommend taking this trip, not just to get a different view of Future World and World Showcase, but also because it’s the best monorail leg anywhere in Walt Disney World. That said, it isn’t exactly a view offered up by Epcot itself.
I’m not trying to bash Epcot, and I certainly don’t have all of the answers as to how these views should come back into the park. I do believe, however, that there is a certain catch your breath moment when you get a different view of a park, icon, or area that you’ve never had before. Those moments serve Epcot well during its formative years, and would certainly be welcomed back into world of Epcot’s outlook on tomorrow. What about you, would you like to see Epcot give guests a way to view the park from more unique vantage points?

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Antiquities Dealer

Main Street Gazette - March 02, 2016 - 09:00 am

Once Upon A Time returns this Sunday for the second half of its fifth season, and it promises to be an adventure as characters long deceased appear set to make a return. For the next few weeks, Mr. Gold’s will also still be visible as part of Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In 2015, Mr. Gold’s shop joined the facades of the Streets of America and immediately captured the attention of Once Upon A Time’s followers. The windows features a variety of artifacts for that both the novice viewer and those who know every corner of Storybrooke’s tale to find and share.
One such artifact is this little beauty, Pandora’s Box. The box first appeared during the seventh episode of season three, Dark Hollow, and was last seen during the tenth episode of the same season, The New Neverland. Of course, that doesn’t really tell you the story of the box, does it? It’s a long twisted tale, but the Cliff Notes version is as follows… Gold wishes to use the box to trap his father, Peter Pan. However, the box is switched for a fake and Pan ends up springing the trap on Gold instead. Gold is eventually released, but during his second attempt to trap Pan, Gold inadvertently sucks Henry into Pandora’s Box as Pan has switched places with Henry. Later, at the town line, Henry is released, but is still believed to be Pan. He pleads his case and, once Henry is believed, the group hurries off to confront the real Pan. This is the last we see of this box, and it seems like nothing but trouble, huh?
The long and winding story that is Once Upon A Time has featured, and will continue to feature an encyclopedia’s worth of enchanted, magical, and well-known artifacts from our favorite fairy tales and stories. Some are winks and nods, while others come right out and make their presence felt, such as Pandora’s box. The addition of Mr. Gold’s shop on the Streets of America has been terrific, but as this area will be closed within a few weeks so that it can be converted to new experiences for the park, you had best hurry on by if you want your Once Upon A Time fix in person!
Oh, and if you happen to see Chip peeking out at you from behind the glass, tell him I said hello.

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'Disney Diaries' Blog: Iconic Toy Story franchise comes to Disney's Hollywood Studios

icFlorida.com - October 02, 2015 - 03:04 pm

The removal of the 'hat' as the icon of Disney's Hollywood Studios marked the first of many big changes coming to the park.

After a series of attraction closures, the D23 Expo gave us a glimpse into the two new lands and attractions that will be coming to the park.

...
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'Disney Diaries' Blog: What to know before you go to Star Wars Weekends

icFlorida.com - October 02, 2015 - 03:04 pm

Every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at Disney's Hollywood Studios, fans of the Star Wars Sagas come together for five weekends of fun.

At this year's Star Wars Weekends guests will find more celebrities, special entertainment, highly themed dining options, Star Wars Character meet & greet opportunities, event merchandise, and more.

...
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'Disney Diaries' Blog: Searching for Hidden Mickeys in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

icFlorida.com - October 02, 2015 - 03:04 pm

New Hidden Mickeys appear on Disney property at a relatively constant rate. Disney doesn’t keep an official list of Hidden Mickeys; they just place new Hidden Images and wait for us to find them! Alas, Hidden Mickeys are also lost constantly, for example, when an area or attraction is refurbished. ...
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studioscentral: Monsters University Bash announced as next Limited Time Magic at Disney's Hollywood Studios http://t.co/7uTg5UoHYo

Studios Central Twitter - June 07, 2013 - 04:44 pm

studioscentral: Monsters University Bash announced as next Limited Time Magic at Disney's Hollywood Studios http://t.co/7uTg5UoHYo
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wdwmagic: Limited Time Magic brings Monsters U party and pep rally to Disney's Hollywood Studios next week http://t.co/wzI9dy6SdB

WDWMagic - June 07, 2013 - 11:51 am

wdwmagic: Limited Time Magic brings Monsters U party and pep rally to Disney's Hollywood Studios next week http://t.co/wzI9dy6SdB
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studioscentral: RT @Daveh787: New Park Maps coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios: June 9

Studios Central Twitter - June 03, 2013 - 09:22 pm

studioscentral: RT @Daveh787: New Park Maps coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios: June 9
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wdwmagic: PHOTO - Jim Cummings visits Disney's Hollywood Studios - the voice of IllumiNations, Winnie the Pooh, and MUCH more http://t.co/bYlQf3rvWw

WDWMagic - May 29, 2013 - 03:10 pm

wdwmagic: PHOTO - Jim Cummings visits Disney's Hollywood Studios - the voice of IllumiNations, Winnie the Pooh, and MUCH more http://t.co/bYlQf3rvWw
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studioscentral: RT @InsideTheMagic: American Idol winner Candice Glover visits @WaltDisneyWorld, minus the hype or hoopla at Disney’s Hollywood Studios htt…

Studios Central Twitter - May 28, 2013 - 01:29 pm

studioscentral: RT @InsideTheMagic: American Idol winner Candice Glover visits @WaltDisneyWorld, minus the hype or hoopla at Disney’s Hollywood Studios htt…
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studioscentral: RT @AllEarsDeb: Don't miss the Legends of the Force Motorcade #starwars weekend at Disney's Hollywood Studios http://t.co/HRWX7BzKCI

Studios Central Twitter - May 27, 2013 - 08:22 am

studioscentral: RT @AllEarsDeb: Don't miss the Legends of the Force Motorcade #starwars weekend at Disney's Hollywood Studios http://t.co/HRWX7BzKCI
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studioscentral: RT @TouringPlans: Parking lot at Hollywood Studios has reopened.

Studios Central Twitter - May 25, 2013 - 05:34 pm

studioscentral: RT @TouringPlans: Parking lot at Hollywood Studios has reopened.
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wdwmagic: Disney's Hollywood Studios parking lot reopens after earlier closing due to capacity http://t.co/GeivnFaCVB

WDWMagic - May 25, 2013 - 05:00 pm

wdwmagic: Disney's Hollywood Studios parking lot reopens after earlier closing due to capacity http://t.co/GeivnFaCVB
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wdwmagic: Disney's Hollywood Studios parking lot at capacity http://t.co/wN2YmOKPTY

WDWMagic - May 25, 2013 - 03:44 pm

wdwmagic: Disney's Hollywood Studios parking lot at capacity http://t.co/wN2YmOKPTY
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studioscentral: RT @ADPIndy: Team Studios Central Profile - Courtney Anne Maclaren - Disney's Hollywood Studios Blog http://t.co/2iyduEgjZ7 via @studioscen…

Studios Central Twitter - May 21, 2013 - 09:20 pm

studioscentral: RT @ADPIndy: Team Studios Central Profile - Courtney Anne Maclaren - Disney's Hollywood Studios Blog http://t.co/2iyduEgjZ7 via @studioscen…
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studioscentral: Taking up my slack RT @shelleycaran: Another 13 hour day at Hollywood Studios...what is happening? 3rd week in a row...@studioscentral

Studios Central Twitter - May 17, 2013 - 09:44 pm

studioscentral: Taking up my slack RT @shelleycaran: Another 13 hour day at Hollywood Studios...what is happening? 3rd week in a row...@studioscentral
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studioscentral: Check out what's new at Disney's Hollywood Studios with our guest photo update http://t.co/1ClVuD4109

Studios Central Twitter - May 13, 2013 - 07:50 pm

studioscentral: Check out what's new at Disney's Hollywood Studios with our guest photo update http://t.co/1ClVuD4109
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studioscentral: Woot RT @DisneyFoodBlog: Hey Howdy Hey! We review one of our favorite kiosks in Disney’s Hollywood Studios: http://t.co/jY4du2KcFT

Studios Central Twitter - May 07, 2013 - 05:48 pm

studioscentral: Woot RT @DisneyFoodBlog: Hey Howdy Hey! We review one of our favorite kiosks in Disney’s Hollywood Studios: http://t.co/jY4du2KcFT
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studioscentral: Next, here's our #StarWars Day photo update from Disney's Hollywood Studios http://t.co/jhaJHZAXua

Studios Central Twitter - May 06, 2013 - 08:30 am

studioscentral: Next, here's our #StarWars Day photo update from Disney's Hollywood Studios http://t.co/jhaJHZAXua
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studioscentral: How about TWO photo updates today? First here's our weekly Disney's Hollywood Studios photo update http://t.co/1s9FNx9i44

Studios Central Twitter - May 06, 2013 - 08:29 am

studioscentral: How about TWO photo updates today? First here's our weekly Disney's Hollywood Studios photo update http://t.co/1s9FNx9i44
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studioscentral: RT @scarlettashley1: I never thought I would say my favorite day ever would be in Hollywood Studios. I’m sure @studioscentral will be happy.

Studios Central Twitter - May 04, 2013 - 10:42 pm

studioscentral: RT @scarlettashley1: I never thought I would say my favorite day ever would be in Hollywood Studios. I’m sure @studioscentral will be happy.
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studioscentral: The #Starwars fireworks are LIVE from Disney's Hollywood Studios at http://t.co/cVplOh9QUh

Studios Central Twitter - May 04, 2013 - 09:51 pm

studioscentral: The #Starwars fireworks are LIVE from Disney's Hollywood Studios at http://t.co/cVplOh9QUh
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studioscentral: Dusk is approaching at Disney's Hollywood Studios http://t.co/qmumrSY8F9

Studios Central Twitter - May 04, 2013 - 07:15 pm

studioscentral: Dusk is approaching at Disney's Hollywood Studios http://t.co/qmumrSY8F9
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studioscentral: It turned into a really beautiful day at Disney's Hollywood Studios http://t.co/whJt7UulTJ

Studios Central Twitter - May 04, 2013 - 06:57 pm

studioscentral: It turned into a really beautiful day at Disney's Hollywood Studios http://t.co/whJt7UulTJ
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