My Interview With Geekin’ On WDW

Geekin' on WDW

Passionate Geeks For Disney World

Have you had a chance to listen to the Geekin’ On WDW podcast yet? This family friendly show is hosted by a father/daughter team of Disney fans – Curt and Lindsay Stone. Each week you can join these two Disney geeks sharing stories about all things Disney. I recently sat down with Curt and Lindsay to discuss my books – A Tale of Two Resorts and 501 Ways to Make the Most of Your Walt Disney World Vacation. We were having a great time and talked so much that Curt split our conversation into two episodes! Please click here to listen to Part 1 and click here for Part 2. I had a wonderful time chatting with Curt and Lindsay and hope to visit their show again in the future!

Please check out A Tale of Two Resorts!

Please check out 501 Ways to Make the Most of Your
Walt Disney World Vacation
!

Please check out Geekin’ on WDW!

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2015 Epcot International Food And Wine Festival First Details Released

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival ©Disney

Back in January, Disney announced the dates for this year’s Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, but since that time there hasn’t really been any news to report. Until now! Disney has just released the first details of its plans for the 20th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and it looks like it is going to be another fabulous event. Here’s the scoop from Disney:

Milestone Celebration Queues Up New Tastings and Events

A global culinary journey celebrating 20 delicious years of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival will tantalize taste buds from September 25 – November 16, at Walt Disney World Resort. The 2015 festival, presented by Chase, will welcome celebrity chefs, debut new marketplace tastes from around the world and celebrate guests’ favorite dining traditions.

Disney chefs and festival programmers are whipping up a feast of surprises to celebrate the 20th annual event in style. New wine tastings, rockin’ parties and culinary experiences built around the 20-year milestone will bring together loyal festival fans and first-timers. As part of the celebration, Chef Remy of the Disney animated film “Ratatouille” will invite guests to join a culinary scavenger hunt.

Growing in scope each year since 1996 and lauded by the Travel Channel as one of America’s top food festivals, the 53-day Epcot event features inspired bites and sips from around the world at more than 25 outdoor marketplaces, nightly Eat to the Beat concerts of many musical genres, signature dinners and featured tasting events.

This fall, the 20th festival will debut dishes like Pepper Bacon Mac ‘n Cheese at the Farm Fresh Marketplace and refreshing sips like the Scottish Citrus Thistle at the Scotland Marketplace. Culinary icons like Cat Cora, Jamie Deen and John Ash will entertain foodies and inspire their palates at new and returning premium events that include weekly Party for the Senses grand tastings in October.

Festival guests can pair wines and beers with savory and sweet dishes as they stroll the World Showcase Promenade and earn stamps on their complimentary festival passports. Champagne, cocktails and “mocktails” also will bubble up on festival menus. In Future World, the popular Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog returns for a fourth year so that families can discover the cranberry’s rich agricultural heritage and learn fun facts about the tart fruits.

Whether guests’ taste buds prefer savory, spicy, sweet (or all of the above), there are plenty of delectable surprises at every stop along the way. Here’s a sneak peek:

New marketplace menus debut and chefs celebrate festival favorites – Among many dishes set to debut are Seared Venison Loin with Wild Mushroom Ragout and Kumara Dumpling at the New Zealand Marketplace and Grilled Sweet and Spicy Bush Berry Shrimp with Pineapple, Peppers, Onions and Snap Peas at the Australia Marketplace. For many, there’s nothing like a yearly dip into classic favorites like the Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup.

Four new Eat to the Beat concert acts debut; fan favorites return to festival stage – Rock singer-songwriter David Cook opens the Eat to the Beat concert series September 25 – 27. Four new acts in the concert series lineup — Tiffany, Everclear, Maxi Priest and Chaka Khan – will belt out chart-topping tunes. Other popular acts, including Wilson Phillips, Smash Mouth, The Pointer Sisters, Jo Dee Messina, Boyz II Men and Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, will return to rock the America Gardens Theatre stage this fall.

Celebrity chefs dazzle – Renowned chef and cookbook author John Ash, who participated in the inaugural Epcot International Food & Wine Festival in 1996, will return to celebrate the 20th milestone year. Other notable chefs including Cat Cora, Robert Irvine, Jamie Deen, Rock Harper, Kenny Gilbert and Buddy Valastro will cook for Epcot guests and share their culinary know-how during demos and premium events.

Ratatouille rocks — Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak invites kids of all ages to join a World Showcase scavenger hunt for little Remy statuettes hidden around the park’s World Showcase. Maps, stickers and prizes are involved.

Festival Center gets cookin’ – Guests can join culinary demonstrations, beverage seminars and mixology seminars daily for a nominal fee. More festival fun will include the complimentary Back to Basics weekend series featuring epicurean tips and tricks from the pros.

Chase Lounge offers perks – Anyone who owns or wants to own a Chase debit or credit card will find complimentary refreshments and interactive fun at the Chase Lounge at American Adventure.

Get ready for . . .

  • More than 270 chefs including Disney chefs and culinary stars from across the country.
  • Party for the Senses grand tasting events every Saturday in October showcasing tempting bites from eminent chefs, more than 50 wines and beers and live entertainment.
  • Premium events including the new “French Family Meal Traditions” lunch on Fridays and Sundays; new “Rockin’ Burger Block Party” on select dates; and new beverage events to include “Exploring Wines from 1996 to Now” that salutes the festival’s 20th year.

Included with Epcot Admission: Back to Basics series, Ocean Spray Cranberry Bog, World Showcase Scavenger Hunt, special book signings, Eat to the Beat concerts, cultural adventures, Marketplace Discovery Passport and all attractions and park entertainment are included with regular Epcot admission.

Special Programming by Reservation: The Party for the Senses grand tasting events, signature dinners and other special wine and culinary programs require reservations and separate event admission. When a reservation booking date is announced this summer, guests can call 407-WDW-FEST and get details at EpcotFoodFestival.com.

This year I am very lucky to be planning a visit to Disney World during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. Although I am an extremely picky eater, I always seem to find lots of tasty dishes to try and I’m hoping to do the same this fall. If you get the opportunity to visit during the festival, I highly recommend it. It is tons of fun for the whole family!

501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Will you be attending the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival?
What is your favorite part? Please leave a comment!

More Dining And Shopping Locations Coming To Disney Springs

Disney Springs

Downtown Disney is really making progress in its transformation into Disney Springs. We’ve already seen a parking garage, pedestrian walkway, restaurants, and shops open, but now Disney has announced even more to come. Here’s the latest information from Disney:

Exciting new high-profile tenants, including fashion retailers Zara, Tommy Bahama, Lilly Pulitzer, UNIQLO and PANDORA, are the latest to sign on as Downtown Disney continues its expansion into Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort.

A total of 13 new tenants were announced, including eight retail shops. With new retailers already aboard and new restaurants either open or coming soon, Downtown Disney is transforming into an exciting new waterfront district for world-class shopping, unique dining, and high-quality entertainment.

By the time it’s complete in 2016, Disney Springs will double the number of shops and restaurants currently found at Downtown Disney and grow to more than 1 million square feet, including 350,000 square feet of new leasable space. Disney Springs will include four distinct, outdoor neighborhoods with a high-quality, diverse mix of retailers – including premium, affordable luxury and fast fashion options. Sophisticated restaurants will provide experiences for families and convention-guests alike.

“Over the past few months we have opened several new dining and retail locations, which have quickly become the top producers in their chains,” said George A. Kalogridis, president of Walt Disney World Resort. “This type of momentum builds on the historical strength of the Downtown Disney area and its popularity with our guests from around the world as it evolves into Disney Springs,” he said.

Coming to Disney Springs:

RETAIL

Zara: Owned by the Inditex Group, one of the world’s largest fashion retail groups. Zara is known for its men’s, women’s and children’s clothing and accessories, and how it expertly interprets current fashion and style trends of the season, delivering original designs to the consumer in a matter of weeks.

Tommy Bahama: Iconic island lifestyle brand Tommy Bahama embodies relaxed sophistication. The hallmarks of this casual collection include island-inspired sportswear, denim, and swimwear for men and women in luxuriously soft silks and cottons, richly woven textures and eclectic prints.

Lilly Pulitzer: The authentic American resort wear brand, Lilly Pulitzer, is landing in the heart of Disney and will be offering their clothing and accessories, optimistic outlook, and happy prints to those who’ve loved the brand for years and new Lilly Girls out there. 

UNIQLO: Leading global retailer UNIQLO designs, manufactures, and sells casual apparel that comes from the company’s Japanese values of simplicity, quality and longevity. The simplest design hides the most thoughtful details in clothing that is constantly being innovated to bring more warmth and lightness, better design and comfort to people’s lives.

PANDORA: Building on its existing relationship with Disney Parks, the popular jewelry brand offers classic yet modern charm bracelets, along with necklaces, rings and earrings, as well as a line of exclusive Disney-themed jewelry.

UGG: The UGG® brand is recognized as a premium lifestyle brand offering men’s, women’s and kid’s footwear as well as loungewear, outerwear, home products, cold weather accessories and handbags.

L’Occitane en Provence: L’Occitane en Provence is an international skincare and beauty line celebrating the culture and beauty of Provence, France.

Edward Beiner: A leading eyewear designer, purveyor and retailer, Edward Beiner offers today’s aspiring lifestyle-oriented customer the world’s most original, authentic and innovative designer, fashion and high performance eyewear.

DINING

Edison: Inspired by The Edison venue in Los Angeles, this lavish “Industrial Gothic” -style restaurant, bar and nighttime destination is themed to a 1920s-period power plant, recalling an exuberant era of invention and imagination. It will feature exceptionally good classic American food, craft cocktails and live entertainment including cabaret and music.

Sprinkles: The world’s first cupcake bakery, as named by Food Network and others, serves up handcrafted cupcakes, slow churned ice cream and homemade cookies. Their innovative Cupcake ATM satisfies sweet-toothed epicureans 24/7.

Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza: Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza is 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 features an interactive assembly-line format that allows guests to customize their pizza, choosing from over 40 fresh, artisanal toppings – all for one price. The generously sized, 11-inch pizzas are “fast-fired” in a blazing hot open-flame oven and ready to enjoy in just 180 seconds.

Vivoli Gelateria: Vivoli Gelateria serves expertly crafted gelato made with fresh, seasonal ingredients, panini sandwiches and espresso drinks.

Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s: Tea Traders Café by Joffrey’s specializes in premium loose-leaf teas (hot, iced, blended) featuring customs blends, accessories and packaged teas from all over the globe; created to go or for a tea experience in the café.

501 WaysHeading to Disney World soon?

If you are planning a vacation to Disney World, be sure to check out these valuable resources to help you save time and money:

Excited about any of the new shopping or dining locations?
Please leave a comment!

TouringPlans – The Amazing Race Around Disney World

Three things that my family loves are Disney World, reality TV, and competition. So once a year during our summer Disney World vacation, we combine all of these together into what we affectionately call “The Amazing Race Around Disney World”. In case you aren’t familiar with the popular reality TV series “The Amazing Race“, the basic premise is that teams of two compete in challenges while racing around the world for a million dollars. We follow this same format (minus the million) and create new challenges each year.

Please read my latest article on TouringPlans – The Amazing Race Around Disney World for a complete copy of one of our races and to learn more about how to create your very own “Amazing Race Around Disney World” for your next vacation!

Have you ever done a challenge at Disney World?
Please leave a comment!

Disney World Enthusiast And Destinations In Florida Team Up

Book Your Disney Vacation

Exciting news, folks! Disney World Enthusiast has teamed up with Destinations in Florida to bring you an incredible new offer. For a limited time, clients that book a Disney World vacation package priced at $2000 or more will receive a free copy of my new book
501 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Walt Disney World Vacation“!

Jennifer HardyLet me introduce you to my friend, Jennifer Hardy. Jennifer is a Disney Vacation Planner with the Destinations in Florida travel agency. Now before you close this page thinking a travel agency is not for you, give me just a moment to tell you more. Destinations in Florida is absolutely free to use! Not only are they free, they guarantee the lowest prices on Disney vacation packages!

And that’s not all, by booking with Jennifer you’ll receive all sorts of amazing benefits like:

  • Discount Watching – As soon as discounts are released, Jennifer will update your reservations, so you get the best deal available. She does this even if your vacation is paid in full!
  • Restaurant Recommendations and Reservations – Jennifer can make restaurant recommendations for you, and then she’ll wake up at the crack of dawn and make all of your dining reservations too. No work for you and no phone calls to make. You just sit back and relax. This service is valued at $69, but is free for Disney World Enthusiast readers that book with Jennifer!
  • Personalized Travel Itinerary – Jennifer will help you plan your days at Disney World so that you can avoid the crowds, ride the attractions best for your family, and even hit the restaurants you will love. On average, Destinations in Florida guests save four hours in lines at Disney theme parks, and you know that saying about how time is money. This service is valued at $149, but is free to Disney World Enthusiast readers that book their package with Jennifer!
  • MousePerks – Valued at $299, but free to you if you book with Jennifer; MousePerks are Magic in your Inbox! Do you want insider information from Disney Cast Members? Do you want fun Disney activities for the kids to get them ready? How about a few exclusive discounts? Every week Jennifer will email you a MousePerk to get you excited about your Disney vacation!
  • 501 WaysGifts For The Kids – Jennifer mails clients free fun gifts for the kids when she mails your final travel documents. Kids love the special items like pencils, stickers, and autograph books!
  • Gift For You – For a limited time, clients that book a Walt Disney World vacation package valued at $2,000 or more with Jennifer, will receive a free copy of my new book501 Ways To Make The Most Of Your Walt Disney World Vacation“!

Still not convinced? To learn more about Jennifer and Destinations in Florida including recognitions, licensing, experience, Better Business Bureau record, testimonials and more, please click here. By the way, they are impressive!

Does Jennifer just book Disney World? No way! Jennifer and Destinations in Florida can arrange a vacation anywhere you want to go. Want to try Disneyland, a Disney Cruise, Universal, or maybe even a tropical all-inclusive resort? Jennifer’s got you covered!

Ready to book? Please fill out this form and Jennifer will having pricing details for you shortly!

Jennifer and I would like to say:
“Congratulations! We are both so excited that you are making the first step towards a magical Disney vacation for you and your family. We will be glad to help you make this dream come true anyway that we can!”

Please join our Facebook group to join in the fun of your Next Disney Vacation. Ask your questions, get them answered, and share the magic! :)

Next Disney Vacation