The holiday season is in full swing at Disney World and we have a lot of new offerings to highlight and review. And speaking of holidays, make sure you follow along on our Very Merrytime Cruise next week on the Disney Dream. Disney released a bunch of information this week for the upcoming Epcot Festival of the Arts. A new breakfast option is now available, and we have information on your New Year’s Eve options around property. All this and more in this week’s Walt Disney World news roundup below.
1 – Details & Dates Released for Epcot International Festival of the Arts
It’s crazy to think that the Epcot Festival of the Arts is just about two months away. The festival runs from January 17- February 24, 2020. This week Disney released more details on performers for the Broadway music series and more. Head to the link below for more information.
2 – Everything You Need Know About Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in 2019
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party is one of the best offerings during the holiday season at Walt Disney World. Cindy recently enjoyed the party and had a chance to chat with some Disney cast members. She learned more about the entertainment, food, and merchandise offered at the event. She also put together a guide with everything you need to know about the party with lots of tips! Click the line below for more!
3 – Come Sail Away With Us – Follow Along on Our Very Merrytime Cruise on the Disney Dream
Monday, November 18 is the day we sail on the Disney Dream for our first Very Merrytime Cruise! We’re so excited, and we can’t wait to share it with you! During the cruise, our primary coverage will be on Instagram where we’ll be adding to our Story all day, in addition to photos and videos. We’ll also have daily articles posted to our website with the day’s activities. Disney Cruise Line is a fantastic vacation choice, and we can’t wait to show you what a cruise on the Disney Dream is like. Learn more about our upcoming cruise at the link below!
4 – New Holiday Projections, Décor, & More – Now at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
In years past at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, holiday decorations were minimal. Yes, there was a Christmas tree outside the park and a few decorations, but nothing to really get excited about. This year all that has changed with holiday décor in every land and some fantastic holiday offerings sprinkled throughout the park. We enjoyed a family afternoon and evening at the park to check out the holiday offerings. Read all about it, along with what you need to know in the link below.
Cindy had a chance to go back and learn more about the holidays at Disney’s Animal Kingdom from Disney cast members. Learn more details about the decorations and holiday offerings at the link below.
5 – Celebrate the Holidays at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Disney’s Hollywood Studios offers some fantastic holiday offerings such as Sunset Seasons Greetings and Jingle Bell! Jingle Bam! This year there is also a great variety of holiday treats such as the cinnamon-apple lunch box tart from Woody’s Lunch Box and Mickey’s Santa Hat Mousse at ABC Commissary. For everything you need to know about the holiday season at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, head to the link below.
6 – Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World Resort
On New Year’s Eve night, there are so many unique ways to ring in the new year at Walt Disney World. If you’re looking for more than a night in the parks, Disney has you covered with multiple roof-top dining experiences and more. Head to the link below to see what’s available! Hurry! Many experiences are already sold out!
7 – Breakfast Now Available at Saana at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge
Sanna, at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, offers a delicious lunch and dinner. Now the restaurant is offering breakfast! Disney cast member Alex Dunlap shares more:
Sanaa is one of the most popular restaurants at the Walt Disney World Resort, known for its incredible bread service, African-inspired cuisine, and, of course, its incredible views of the lush Sunset Savannah. It is here that you can sit back and enjoy a delectable meal while taking in the spectacular views of African wildlife right outside the windows of the restaurant. With animals including gazelle, zebras, kudu, giraffes, ostriches, cranes, and more, they’re sure to make your meal a memorable experience.
The restaurant currently offers wonderful table-service dining for both lunch and dinner, but did you know that Sanaa now features a delicious breakfast menu? Recently, our talented chefs at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge created the Sanaa Kuamsha Breakfast – served from 7:00 am to 10:00 am – for those guests looking for an early-morning meal. Highlighting a variety of different flavors inspired by authentic African cuisine, this new dining experience transforms Sanaa into a casual quick-service restaurant featuring grab-and-go options as well as a few familiar dishes with a unique twist that you can only find at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.
When you approach the counter, you’ll be greeted with a variety of grab-and-go items, including yogurt parfaits, fruit plates, banana bread with house-made African chocolate-hazelnut spread, and more. And if you’re looking for a heartier, sit-down dining experience, you can browse a full menu of entrees that can be ordered at the counter and brought directly to your table!
On the entrée menu, you’ll find several familiar dishes complemented with unique African flavors. These dishes include Eggs Benedict (with two brown poached eggs, farmer’s ham, spice route hollandaise, arugula, and berries), Shahi Tukra French Toast (with saffron-scented sultan raisins, whipped chai cream, and almonds), and the Methi Paratha Wrap, which features scrambled eggs, potatoes masala, gouda, chermoula, and papaya achar. And for a plant-based option, you can try the Enriching Grains and Fruit dish with mixed grains, seasonal fruit, South African rusk, and coconut milk yogurt.
The Boere Breakfast is another incredible plate with two cage-free eggs, African home fries, house-made boerewors sausage, bacon, and a coconut drop biscuit.
For the kids, they can enjoy the Kid’s Explorer Platter with one cage-free egg served any style, African home fries, bacon, and a coconut drop biscuit. Or they can chow down on some classic Mickey waffles and bacon!
Sanaa is located in Kidani Village at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The Sanaa Kuamsha Breakfast is offered 7–10 am, and reservations are not required. If you’re dining for the lunch or dinner period, reservations are highly encouraged. For more information and to make reservations, check out the My Disney Experience mobile app or visit the Walt Disney World Resort website. And with the holiday season upon us, be sure to make your reservations today, as bookings fill up fast!
8 – Disney and Points of Light to host ‘Family Volunteer Day’ Event November 23 at Disney Springs
Disney Parks, Experiences and Products and nonprofit organization, Points of Light, will host “Family Volunteer Day” activities on Saturday, November 23, 2019, at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort. The event will celebrate the power of volunteerism and encourage families to volunteer in their communities in Central Florida or back home.
The event kicks off at 10:30 am with an inspiring ceremony hosted by Bob Chapek, chairman of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. Honored guests will include the Aguirre family of McAllen, Texas, who were recently named the first-ever Disney and Points of Light Volunteer Family of the Year following a nationwide search conducted on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
Following the ceremony, Disney Springs guests can participate in hands-on, family-service activities from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm in the Marketplace at Disney Springs. Guests who participate in these activities will receive discounts or special offers at select Disney Springs retail and dining locations on November 23.
Disney is a long-time sponsor of “Family Volunteer Day,” an annual day of service that takes place on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.
Disney and Points of Light have inspired more than three million hours of service through the Disney Family Volunteering Reward Program, which rewards eligible U.S. nonprofits and schools with Disney theme park tickets for hosting family-friendly volunteer projects.
Since the program launched in January 2018, nearly 700,000 people have volunteered, representing more than 8,500 nonprofits and schools. Of these, more than 1,700 organizations were introduced to family volunteerism because of the program.
To learn more about the Disney Family Volunteering Reward Program, visit www.pointsoflight.org/disneyrewards.
9 – Ron Jon Surf Shop Now Open at Disney Springs
Ron Jon Surf Shop has a brand-new store in Disney Springs! Disney cast member Kelsey Noland shares more below:
Just in time for holiday shopping Ron Jon Surf Shop celebrated its official grand opening [on Friday] at Disney Springs! This new 10,000 square-foot store marks Ron Jon Surf Shop’s 12th location and is located in the heart of Town Center just near the Lime Garage.
Never visited a Ron Jon Surf Shop? You’re in for a beachgoers shopping paradise because this shop is two stories and filled with your favorite beach essentials including but not limited to: apparel for the whole family, swimwear, home goods, games, and souvenirs commemorating “60 years of surfing.” You’ll also discover other recreational swag like skateboards, GoPro cameras, and of course, surfboards. A fun favorite store detail of mine? The door handles are shaped like surfboards!
10 – Disney Cruise Line Takes Top Spots in U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 Best Cruise Line Rankings
For the seventh consecutive year, Disney Cruise Line has earned top spots in the U.S. News & World Report’s Best Cruise Lines rankings, with first place awards in the Best Cruise Lines for Families and Best Cruise Lines in the Caribbean categories. These prestigious rankings celebrate excellence in the cruise industry and identify the best cruise lines for a variety of traveler types in a range of regions.
“This important recognition from U.S. News & World Report highlights our focus on creating fun, immersive vacation experiences for every member of the family and delivering great service every step of the way,” said Jeff Vahle, president of Disney Cruise Line. “The energy and enthusiasm our Crew Members bring to their roles is the driving force behind why Disney is such a trusted name in cruising.”
The U.S. News & World Report ranks more than 150 cruise ships based on an analysis of expert and user opinions, utilizing a methodology that factors in health and approval ratings as well as reputation in the industry and variety of itineraries.
Disney Cruise Line blends the magic of Disney entertainment with the excitement of ocean cruising, offering incredible onboard experiences and itineraries to the sun-drenched destinations of the Caribbean year-around and awe-inspiring seasonal sailings throughout Alaska and Europe. Most Caribbean itineraries also include a stop at Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s award-winning private island in The Bahamas. Plus, for the first time next year, Disney Cruise Line will set sail from New Orleans onboard the Disney Wonder. The world of “The Princess and the Frog” is brought to life like never before onboard the Disney Wonder, which features exciting new enhancements, including the addition of a New Orleans-themed lounge that transports guests deeper into the heart of the city’s iconic French Quarter.
Disney Cruise Line continues to expand its horizons, with new ships scheduled for delivery in late 2021, 2022, and 2023. The name of the highly anticipated fifth Disney Cruise Line ship, Disney Wish, was recently announced along with the ship’s featured stern characters – Rapunzel and her feisty sidekick Pascal. The Disney Wish is scheduled for delivery in late 2021 and will set sail in January 2022. All three new ships will be powered by liquefied natural gas and, at approximately 144,000 gross tons and 1,250 guest staterooms, be slightly larger than the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.
11 – Creating a Mediterranean Mural at Disney’s Riviera Resort
Disney’s Riviera Resort is getting the final touches in the last few weeks of construction and a new mural is coming! Here is more form Disney cast member Yolanda Cade:
It’s only one month until the grand opening of Disney’s Riviera Resort, the newest upcoming Walt Disney World Resort, and Disney Vacation Club property! As I’ve shared with you, the art and décor at the resort will be truly distinctive and will reflect a European theme with a Disney twist.
The one-of-a-kind art collection at Disney’s Riviera Resort will be comprised of more than 40 original pieces designed for the resort. The Mediterranean-inspired feature mural at Bar Riva, the open-air pool bar, is among these custom works of art exclusive to Disney’s Riviera Resort.
This piece is particularly special as it’s painted directly on the wall. Here’s a sneak peek at the making of this beautiful mural and some secrets revealed about the creation of this one-of-a-kind work of art.
You’ll enjoy celebrating the sea and sun, and refreshing poolside at Bar Riva with European- and Mediterranean-style fare and beverages made to order.
The mural at Bar Riva is just one of many exciting and unique details at Disney’s Riviera Resort, and I can’t wait for you to discover them all!
Disney’s Riviera Resort is under construction now and projected to open December 16, 2019.
12 – Disney Teams Up with Disaster Relief Agencies to Support Recovery Efforts in The Bahamas
As part of its commitment of more than $1 million in cash and in-kind support to help Hurricane Dorian relief and recovery efforts in The Bahamas, Disney announced it has teamed up with three leading disaster relief and recovery organizations – the American Red Cross, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and All Hands and Hearts.
“We know the road to recovery is long and difficult for many people in The Bahamas, and we remain committed to helping them put their lives back together,” said Jeff Vahle, president of Disney Cruise Line. “From providing food and supplies, to supporting children and rebuilding schools, the collective efforts of these agencies should bring much-needed relief to our friends and neighbors in the islands.”
The American Red Cross continues to provide critical aid to those recovering in The Bahamas. Disney has provided $250,000 to support the organization’s on-the-ground relief efforts, including the delivery of food staples and basic construction materials. Disney has also encouraged its employees to contribute financially to the American Red Cross to help further support these immediate needs. Eligible employees’ donations were matched through the Disney Employee Matching Gifts program, dollar for dollar.
Hurricane Dorian forced thousands of residents to evacuate the island. One of the biggest priorities has been for children to return to school. Disney Cruise Line has a long history of supporting education efforts throughout The Bahamas and recognizes how important schooling is for children. Disney gave $250,000 in support of UNICEF’s efforts to help provide lifesaving supplies and psychosocial support for affected children and adolescents. In partnership with The Bahamas Ministry of Education, UNICEF is working to register approximately 10,000 displaced students in schools. Registered students will receive medical screenings, uniform and lunch assistance, referrals for counseling services and free bus transportation for social, sporting and extra-curricular activities.
Over the last few months, Disney Cruise Line Cast and Crew Members have worked diligently to provide immediate short-term relief to those impacted. Disney Cruise Line Cast Members assembled more than 1,500 Clean the World personal hygiene kits. Clean the World is a global health organization committed to providing sustainable resources, programming and education focused on water, sanitation and hygiene for those impacted by natural disasters, poverty and homelessness. The Disney Dream delivered these kits to Nassau where they were distributed to shelters for hurricane evacuees from Abaco and Grand Bahama.
Disney also donated food, water, medical supplies, cleaning supplies, generators and construction materials, which the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy delivered to points in Nassau and the Abaco Islands – as well as supplies that others have helped deliver to Grand Bahama. Additionally, Disney Cruise Line is supporting its Bahamian-based Crew Members who live in impacted areas. So far, Disney has provided an additional $500,000 in supplies and direct aid to affected employees.
Additionally, as the community focuses on the long-term plans for rebuilding, Disney has provided $500,000 to All Hands and Hearts to support the rebuilding of community schools in Abaco, home to many Bahamian-based Disney Cruise Line Crew Members. All Hands and Hearts is a volunteer-powered disaster relief organization that addresses the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters.
What’s New at Walt Disney World!
It’s a very exciting time growth and development at Walt Disney World. In fact, there are so many new things opening, coming and happening, it’s hard to keep track. Here’s a cheat sheet to help keep things straight and make sure you haven’t missed anything.
2019 Holiday Season at Walt Disney World – Now Through January 5, 2020
Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge – Now Open
Epcot International Food & Wine Festival – Now Open Through November 23
Disney Skyliner – Now Open
Epcot Forever – Now Open
The Epcot Experience – Now Open
Reimagined Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort – Now Open
NBA Experience at Disney Springs – Now Open
Coming Soon to Disney World!
Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance – Opening December 5, 2019
Epcot Reimagined – Now Through Fall 2021 for Walt Disney World’s 50thAnniversary
New Cirque du Soleil Show – April 17, 2020
Walt Disney World’s 50th Anniversary Celebration – 2021
Star Wars Hotel – unknown
Disney Cruise Line’s Lighthouse Point – Disney’s 2nd Island in the Caribbean – unknown
For a no obligation, FREE Quote on a Disney vacation package, please contact our travel partner Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-0227 (407-442-0215 for Spanish). You can also request a FREE quote online by Clicking HERE.