NEWS: Dateline Disney: November/December 2014
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19th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival Rocks on Through Nov. 10 with Great Tastes, Live Bands and Celeb Chefs
A culinary adventure set to the tune of live entertainment continues during the final leg of the 19th Epcot International Food & Wine Festival at Walt Disney World Resort. Disney guests can enjoy the popular fall festival that continues through Nov. 10, 2014.
More than 25 ethnic and specialized marketplaces are open for a tasting experience like no other along the World Showcase Promenade, and many dishes feature a beverage “perfect pairing.” The festival’s new and final “Late Nights LIVE!” after-hours party on Thursday, Nov. 6, offers late-night festival access with a variety of marketplace tastes, live music and dancing until 1 a.m.
Disney guests can catch culinary demonstrations by notable chefs like Cat Cora and Paula DaSilva. Daily wine tastings and mixology seminars offer new sips and tips. Eat to the Beat concerts keep on rockin’ through Nov. 10 with a stellar lineup:
Nov. 1-2 38 Special “Caught Up in You”
Nov. 3-5 Boyz II Men “End of the Road”
Nov. 6-7 NEW! David Cook “The Time of My Life”
Nov. 8-10 Big Bad Voodoo Daddy “Go Daddy-O”
New Back to Basics seminars, special book and bottle signings, Eat to the Beat concerts and all attractions and park entertainment are included with regular Epcot admission. The final Party for the Senses (Nov. 1) grand tasting event and other special wine and culinary programs require reservations and separate event admission. Guests can call 407/WDW-FEST (939-3378) to make reservations. Information and reservations for select programs is at www.epcotfoodfestival.com.
Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend Celebrates Fifth Anniversary November 7-9
Runners will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World Resort on Nov. 7-9. Participants in the Wine & Dine Half Marathon, which is sold out, will run a 13.1-mile nighttime race on Nov. 9 through Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot.
The race weekend also will include Mickey’s Jingle Jungle 5K and runDisney Kids races on Nov. 8. To register for the runDisney kids races and to purchase the few remaining tickets for the Disney Wine & Dine Pre-Race Taste Party at Epcot, visit www.runDisney.com.
Orlando Classic Returns to ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex November 27-30
Eight of the top men’s college basketball teams in the country will compete in the Orlando Classic over Thanksgiving weekend, Thursday, Friday and Sunday, Nov. 27, 28 & 30, at HP Field House at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The 2014 Orlando Classic features 12 games over the three days. Each team will compete in one game per day, advancing through a bracket-tournament format. The two teams that remain undefeated throughout will face off in the championship game Sunday, Nov. 30. For more information, visit www.espnevents.com/orlando-classic, or www.disneysportsnews.com.
A Feast of Disney Tastes Featured on Thanksgiving Day
Walt Disney World Resort guests can indulge in a fresh take on an American tradition by enjoying their Thanksgiving feast Nov. 27 with a bounty of Disney tastes. With more than 30 different dining choices at the theme parks and resorts, families and friends can gather around a variety of Thanksgiving lunch and dinner offerings.
Special holiday menus include roasted turkey breast with all the trimmings plus traditional Norwegian meatballs and pan-seared salmon at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, poppy seed lavash, house-made naan, and apple-cranberry achar at Sanaa, roasted heirloom beets with candied walnuts and mulled apple cider at Artist Point, and other unique dishes to enjoy with the holiday classics.
At Epcot, guests can dine on Thanksgiving menus during lunch and dinner seatings at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, Biergarten Restaurant, Coral Reef Restaurant, Le Cellier Steakhouse, and Rose & Crown Pub & Dining Room, as well as quick service at Sunshine Seasons.
Holiday menus also are offered at Be Our Guest Restaurant and Tony’s Town Square Restaurant in Magic Kingdom, Hollywood & Vine and The Hollywood Brown Derby in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Tusker House Restaurant in Disney’s Animal Kingdom and in resort hotels throughout Walt Disney World Resort.
Availability is limited and dining events are subject to change. For information and reservations, call 407-WDW-DINE.
Walt Disney World Resort Glistens with Holiday Cheer
New this year, Queen Elsa from “Frozen” will use her incredible powers to transform Cinderella Castle nightly beginning Nov. 5 into a glistening ice palace for the holidays — thanks to a special effects spectacle bathing the castle in 200,000 shimmering white lights. Magic Kingdom guests are treated nightly to the dramatic “Castle Dream Lights” celebration and “A Frozen Holiday Wish” stage show.
Santa’s elves have transformed Magic Kingdom into a winter wonderland with festive wreaths, bows, garland, sparkling lights, parades and towering Christmas trees. The fun includes Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season nighttime fireworks spectacular, plus live entertainment with Disney characters all dressed up for the holidays on special nights.
Also for the holiday season, the iconic Jungle Cruise will temporarily transform into “Jingle Cruise” for Magic Kingdom guests with festive decor in the attraction queue and boathouse, holiday names for the Jungle Cruise boats and a slew of seasonal jokes from the Skippers. This seasonal takeover of the attraction debuts Nov. 7 in Adventureland.
On select nights from Nov. 7 – Dec. 19, 2014, guests with tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, a special, after park hours event, can enjoy for the first time Princess Anna, Queen Elsa, Kristoff and Olaf from “Frozen” joining the festive procession, “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade,” along with a flurry of skaters, skiers and ice cutters from the Kingdom of Arendelle.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party presents a night of holiday splendor with lively stage shows featuring Disney characters in their holiday best, a unique holiday parade and favorite holiday traditions including complimentary cookies and hot cocoa, and snow flurries on Main Street, U.S.A.
The fun continues with a holiday “Celebrate the Magic” castle projection show and Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season nighttime fireworks spectacular. Tickets for this event may be purchased online at WaltDisneyWorld.com or by calling 407/WDW- 7679.
From Dec. 20-31, “Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime Parade” is presented to day guests in the park in place of Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade.
Candlelight Processional is one of the most beloved holiday traditions Walt Disney World Resort, with the joyous retelling of the Christmas story by a celebrity narrator, accompanied by a 50-piece orchestra and glorious mass choir. Among new celebrity narrators this year is Jonathan Groff, who voiced the rugged mountain man Kristoff in “Frozen.” Candlelight performances are at 5, 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. at America Gardens Theatre. (Show times on December 7 are 6:45 and 8:15 p.m. only)
11/28 – 11/29: Jodi Benson
11/30 – 12/2: Neil Patrick Harris
12/3 – 12/4: Jonathan Groff NEW!
12/5 – 12/6: Whoopi Goldberg
12/7* – 12/9: LeVar Burton
12/10 – 12/11: Edward James Olmos
12/12 – 12/14: Joe Morton NEW!
12/15 – 12/17: Chita Rivera
12/18 – 12/20: Ana Gasteyer NEW!
12/21 – 12/23: Marlee Matlin
12/24 – 12/25: Isabella Rossellini
12/26 – 12/27: Blair Underwood
12/28 – 12/30: Steven Curtis Chapman
Please note that narrators are subject to change without notice.
Guests may purchase Candlelight Dining Packages to reserve a seat at the Candlelight Processional. These packages, available on select nights, include a delicious meal, a guaranteed seat for one of the Candlelight Processional performances and a pre-arranged location for fireworks viewing. Guests may call 407.WDW DINE for reservations or at www.disneyworld.com. Availability is limited.
JOYFUL! A Gospel Celebration of the Season why is this in italics and Candlelight, MVMCP, etc. are not? blends the soulful expressiveness of Gospel and inspirational music with the sounds of jazz, R&B and urban music daily from November 28 – December 29 at the Future World Fountain Stage.
The World Showcase Promenade comes alive with IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth that incorporates a unique finale celebrating the season. The song “Let There Be Peace on Earth” and a TBD narrator who offers a special message of peace and good will nightly at 9:30 p.m.
Other festive holiday offerings include the Gingerbread Village at The Land pavilion, which showcases sweet recreations of Walt Disney World Resort’s theme park icons, plenty of holiday merchandise and food and beverage offerings around World Showcase, and guests can celebrate each country’s holiday traditions with storytellers at each pavilion during Holidays Around the World.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
For the first time for the holidays and continuing indefinitely, guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios can sing along to “Frozen” songs with Queen Elsa, Princess Anna, Kristoff and the Royal Historians of Arendelle daily during “For the First Time in Forever – a ‘Frozen’ Sing-Along Celebration” inside Premiere Theater. Close to the theater and also inspired by the film as the little log cabin in the mountains, Wandering Oaken’s invites guests to shop for “Frozen” merchandise and invites them to enjoy a large play area with real snow.
The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights features millions of dancing lights, plus animated displays and 3-D effects perfectly synchronized to electrifying holiday tunes amidst snowfall. The rich tradition takes place on the Streets of America, dazzling guests from November 7, 2014 – January 4, 2015.
Starting in November, Festival of the Seasons returns to Downtown Disney with joyous holiday entertainment and festive décor, as well as a meet and greet with the jolly man himself, Santa Claus.
Walt Disney World Resort Hotels
Shining bright with merry décor, gingerbread houses and more, the Walt Disney World Resort hotels are all glittery for the season. Guests will find a sugary showcase of holiday displays throughout the magical resort hotels. From enhancing visual feasts created from all kinds of sweets to refreshing stops offering tasty beverages and treats, each display has its own charming features.
New Year’s Eve Dining All Across Walt Disney World Resort
Guests visiting Walt Disney World Resort can ring in the new year with special holiday meals at more than a dozen spots within the theme parks and resorts.
At Epcot World Showcase, Biergarten Restaurant in Germany is offering both lunch and dinner celebrations; La Hacienda de San Angel in Mexico is offering a New Year’s Eve dinner; Le Cellier Steakhouse in Canada has three seatings, and Monsieur Paul in France starts celebrating at 11:45 a.m. with seatings throughout the day and evening. The World ShowPlace pavilion also will host a custom dinner package.
In the Magic Kingdom, Tomorrowland Terrace will feature a New Year’s Eve fireworks dessert party twice nightly on December 30-31. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Hollywood & Vine will host a special holiday dinner buffet.
In the resorts, special dining for ringing in the New Year is planned at Flying Fish Café at Disney’s BoardWalk; Victoria & Albert’s and Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa; The Wave…of American Flavors and California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort; and Trail’s End Restaurant at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground (lunch and dinner).
For information and reservations, 407-WDW-DINE.