DISNEY NEWS ROUNDUP: Flower & Garden Menus; Change to Park Reservation Policy; 3 Big After Hours Announcements; Free Cruise Giveaway; Genie+ Change & More

A big week in Disney news! We got our first look at the full menus for the 2023 EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival, along with some big announcements about special after-hours events happening at Walt Disney World. We also got starting dates for a change to the park reservation policy we’re thrilled about and a new perk for Disney’s Genie+ service. One of our favorite resort restaurants is reopening, and we have a look at some of the delicious new offerings. Disney Cruise Line fans can get an extraordinary peek behind the curtain at what it takes to build one of these massive floating cities and a chance to win a free Disney Cruise Line cruise. All this and more below in this week’s news roundup.


1 – Menus Released for 2023 EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival – Opening March 1

We’re only a few days away from the start of the 2023 EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival! Disney has released the menus for the 15 Outdoor Kitchens. Many new items are available, along with fan favorites from years past.

Click here to view the complete lineup of menus.

Credit: Disney

2 – Disney Makes 3 Big Announcements About Disney After-Hours Events at Disney World

After-hours events at Disney World are some of our favorite special experiences and can be a fantastic, cost-effective way to experience the parks. Disney made three announcements this week regarding after-hours events, including one of our favorites returning this Summer.

Click here for full details.

3 – Disney Announces Starting Date for Park Reservation Policy Change & New Perk for Genie+

We have a date for a significant change to the park reservation policy that we’ve been eagerly waiting for. We also have a start date for an additional perk for guests who purchase Disney’s Genie+ service adds a little more value to the controversial add-on.

Click here to learn more.


4 – Making of the Disney Wish National Geographic Documentary Now on Disney+

Bringing the Disney Wish, the latest Disney Cruise Line ship, from an idea to the sea was a five-year undertaking by thousands of dedicated crew and Cast Members. If you’ve ever wondered what goes into the process, a new documentary by National Geographic gives a fantastic behind-the-scenes look at the last year and a half of construction. “Making the Disney Wish: Disney’s Newest Crise Ship” debuted on Disney+ on February 17. We were able to catch a screening of the show and talk to the filmmakers to learn more about this documentary.

Click here to learn more.


5 – Narcoossee’s to Make Its Grand Return on April 1

A long-time favorite for fans of Disney World fine dining, Narcoosee’s at the Grand Floridian has been closed for a while for a refurbishment of the space and updates to the menu. We have great news on when Narcoossee’s will reopen, along with a look and some delicious food offerings. Disney Cast Member Nicole Cantore shares more below. 

Hello there fellow foodies. I hope you’re ready because I’ve got some exciting news to share fresh off the shore of Seven Seas Lagoon. On April 1, 2023, Narcoossee’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa will once again welcome guests for culinary delights in its newly reimagined space. This signature dining restaurant with its spectacular panoramic views, is a staple of the resort, with its waterside location, and over the past several months has seen an enhanced interior revamp as well as a refreshed menu crafted by Chef Noah Estabrook and Pastry Chef Kristine Farmer in a perfect balance of updated classics and new epicurean delights.

Credit: Disney

The new space incorporates the concept of “land and sea” and that’s exactly what the culinary teams drew inspiration from when developing the new menu. Upon sitting down for your meal, you’ll be greeted with a recipe created by Chef Kristine specially for this location – an Artisan Boule of Sourdough made with a perfectly toasty crust and baked daily in the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa bakery.

Credit: Disney

As you enter your first course, you’ll continue to be met with masterfully crafted dishes. For years, the Bisque has been a mainstay on the menu, so flavor connoisseurs will be thrilled to see it return, but now with an enhanced tableside presentation. The culinary team has also created two new starters. First up, the Beef and Ricotta Tortelloni accompanied by luscious brown butter, parsnip puree, and sultana raisins.

Credit: Disney

Next, the Ocean-inspired Charcuterie Board is a fresh take on a classic featuring ahi tuna pastrami, charred octopus, and house-made sausage from the sea. This plate is a true collaboration, with each component representing the style of a different chef on the Narcoossee’s team.

Credit: Disney

Moving on to the main course of your dining experience, the team has sourced sustainable seafood from both local waters and around the globe, including Chef Noah’s signature dish, the Blackened Redfish. This meal is served with a crispy chorizo-sunchoke hash with hominy, Florida sweet corn, and red pepper rouille. What makes this fish a standout is the secret blend of blackened spice which has been passed down from chef to chef of the location, with each culinary mastermind finding their own unique way to feature it on the menu.

Credit: Disney

Plant-based diners will be delighted with the Roasted Vegetable Paella featuring market vegetables, cannellini beans, and preserved artichoke finished with charred Meyer lemon. Those looking for land-based fare will savor the new Dry-Aged Pork Ribeye Chop served with creamy goat cheese-potato pave and turnips with onion jam and a touch of fig jus.

Of course, chef has kept Narcoossee’s guest favorites like the Plancha-seared Scallops with Parisian Gnocchi and Surf and Turf featuring tender filet mignon and butter-poached lobster tail on the menu for new and returning guests to indulge in.

Credit: Disney

The dessert course also features a favorite that has garnered near legendary status over the years amongst diners of Narcoossee’s – Chef Kristine’s incredible Almond-crusted Cheesecake with Lambert cherry sauce and Chantilly cream.

When developing the new additions to the dessert menu, the pastry team was inspired by bright flavors that really complement the overall experience. The Berry Pavlova, for instance, is artfully crafted with Florida fresh berries and citrus delicately placed over meringue and yuzu crémeux and finished with a tableside pour of anglaise. The Pineapple Bavarois is truly a work of art with a roasted-pineapple center and house-made blackberry-buttermilk ice cream. These dishes make for a perfect and sweet finish to a memorable evening.

This waterfront hideaway is the ideal spot to wind down with a fabulous cocktail or zero-proof beverage. The wine list has been refreshed to reflect a diverse portfolio of varietals, with Proprietor Matt Cristi and the sommeliers on his team available to help you create the perfect pairing for each dish. Our team of mixologists have also thoughtfully curated a new cocktail program, inspired by the Victorian era. A must-try is the signature Empress Lime Gimlet, a modern twist on a classic gimlet with Empress Gin, Rockey’s Botanical Liqueur, and cold-pressed lime.

The reopening of Narcoossee’s comes as part of the multi-year transformation of Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, honoring its rich history at the Walt Disney World Resort while enhancing its iconic Victorian charm and elegance. Reservations will open for this grand return on March 1, and we look forward to welcoming you back starting April 1 to this enhanced experience destined to become a new favorite!

6 – Disney Cruise Line 25th Anniversary Sweepstakes Celebrating the Silver Anniversary at Sea

What could be better than a Disney Cruise Line cruise? How about a FREE Disney Cruise Line cruise? To celebrate the 25th Silver Anniversary of Disney Cruise Line, DCL is giving away three free cruises. Disney Cast Member Jordan Copeland has all the details below. 

This summer, experience the 25th Anniversary of Disney Cruise Line with a shining, shimmering and splendid celebration on board a magical cruise vacation! Celebrate 25 years of making magic, fun and memories with special limited-time offerings, like a new fireworks show on select “Silver Anniversary at Sea” itineraries, characters in anniversary attire, specialty merchandise and more.

Now through March 22, 2023, you can enter the Disney Cruise Line 25th Anniversary Sweepstakes for a chance to win one of three grand prizes for you and up to three guests to be part of the Silver Anniversary at Sea.

Three grand prizes, each for up to 4 persons:

      • One 7-night cruise from Port Canaveral on the Disney Fantasy
      • One 5-night cruise from Miami on the Disney Dream or Disney Magic
      • One 4-night cruise from Port Canaveral on the Disney Wish

Plus, get ready to enjoy everything else that makes a Disney cruise vacation special—playing the day away with some favorite Disney Characters, marveling at shows, relaxing in adult-exclusive spaces or adventuring into incredible kids’ clubs—all on your way to dazzling destinations in the Caribbean and Bahamas including a stop at our private island paradise, Castaway Cay.

For all the details on the Disney Cruise Line 25th Anniversary Sweepstakes, visit our sweepstakes website which includes information on the prizes, instructions on how to enter, and more.

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.


What’s New and Happening Now at Walt Disney World Resort

Now Open – Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind

Click here for our review and what you need to know about Guardians of the Galaxy: Cosmic Rewind, now open at EPCOT

Now Through March 31,  2023 – The Most Magical Celebration – 50 Years of Walt Disney World

Click here for The Celebration Continues…What’s New & Everything You Need to Know About the 50th Anniversary Celebration of Disney World

Coming Soon to Walt Disney World

March 1 – July 5, 2023 – EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival

Click here for the menus for the 2023 EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival.

Click here for details on the 2023 Garden Rocks Concert Series.

March 23, 2023 – Opening Date for Roundup Rodeo BBQ

Click here for the opening date and menu for Roundup Rodeo BBQ.

April 3, 2023 – Happily Ever After Returns to Magic Kingdom

Click here about Happily Ever After and its return to Magic Kingdom in 2023.

April 4, 2023 – Tron Lightcycle Run Coming to Magic Kingdom

Click here to learn more about TRON / Lightcycle Run coming to Magic Kingdom in spring 2023.

Click here for details on how to ride Tron Lightcycle Run.

Spring and Summer 2023 – Disney After Hours Events at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, EPCOT, and Typhoon Lagoon.

Click here for details on extended dates for Disney After Hours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, New Disney After Hours at EPCOT, and H2O Glow After Hours returning to Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon.

Late 2024 – Tiana’s Bayou Adventure

Click here for storyline details of the upcoming Tiana’s Bayou Adventure.


New & Coming Soon to Disney Cruise Line

Pixar Day at Sea on the Disney Fantasy – Spring 2023, Spring 2024

Articles with Cruising Tips and Tricks 

Learn more about the Disney Cruise line and our Pixar Day at Sea Cruise on the Disney Fantasy!

TRAVEL LOG: Our Pixar Day at Sea Cruise on the Disney Fantasy – Getting Ready to Sail!

TRAVEL LOG: Our Pixar Day at Sea Cruise on the Disney Fantasy – Day 1

TRAVEL LOG: Our Pixar Day at Sea Cruise on the Disney Fantasy – Day 2

Click here for a full review of the Hey Howdy Breakfast with Woody and Friends to learn more and get tips and tricks for the best dining experience.

TRAVEL LOG: Our Pixar Day at Sea Cruise on the Disney Fantasy – Day 3 – Part 1

TRAVEL LOG: Our Pixar Day at Sea Cruise on the Disney Fantasy – Day 3 – Part 2

TRAVEL LOG: Our Pixar Day at Sea Cruise on the Disney Fantasy – Day 4

TRAVEL LOG: Day 5 of Our Pixar Day at Sea Cruise on the Disney Fantasy – San Juan, Puerto Rico

TRAVEL LOG: Day 6 of Our Pixar Day at Sea Cruise on the Disney Fantasy – Sea Day

TRAVEL LOG: Day 7-Part 1 of Our Pixar Day at Sea Cruise on the Disney Fantasy – Castaway Cay

TRAVEL LOG: Day 7-Part 2 of Our Pixar Day at Sea Cruise on the Disney Fantasy – Final Evening on the Ship

TRAVEL LOG: Day 8 of Our Pixar Day at Sea Cruise on the Disney Fantasy – Debarkation Day

Instagram Story with Photos and Video of our Cruise

Day 1 – Instagram Story Highlight – Arrival Day

Day 2 – Instagram Story Highlight – Sea Day

Day 3 – Instagram Story Highlight – Pixar Day at Sea

Day 4 – Instagram Story Highlight – Tortola, British Virgin Islands, and Pirate Night

Day 5 – Instagram Story Highlight – San Juan, Puerto Rico

Day 6 – Instagram Story Highlight – Sea Day

Day 7 – Instagram Story Highlight – Castaway Cay

The Disney Wish

Click here for an overview of the Disney Wish, including our thoughts and a review of our recent experience.

Click here to learn more (and watch) the Christening Ceremony Celebration of the Disney Wish!

Click here to learn about staterooms and our room review on the Disney Wish.

Click here to learn about upper deck fun and the AquaMouse – the first Disney attraction at sea!

Click here for an overview of family dining on the Disney Wish!

Click here to learn more about stage show entertainment on the Disney Wish!

Itineraries in 2023 and 2024

Click here for information on Marvel Day at Sea on Disney Cruise Line in 2023.

Click here for information about Disney Cruise Line’s Summer 2023 Itineraries.

Click here for details on Disney Cruise Line Fall 2023 Itineraries.

Click here for details on Disney Cruise Line Early 2024 Itineraries.

Click here for details on Pixar Day at Sea and Marvel Day at Sea Coming Spring 2024

Coming to Disney Cruise Line

Click here for details on the name and theme of the upcoming Disney Cruise Line Ship, the Disney Treasure.

Click here to learn about new port options and an update, including concept art, of Lighthouse Point.

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.


Chad & Cindy Nykamp

After years of multiple Walt Disney World vacations, Cindy and Chad's dream of living in Orlando came true in 2010. After friends and family made them their go-to-people for Walt Disney World advice, Cindy and Chad launched DisneyLists.com in August 2015 to share their knowledge and love of Disney. Chad and Cindy have been Disney World Annual Passholders for years, DVC members, together have raced more than 70 runDisney races, and particularly love cruising on the Disney Cruise Line. Chad and Cindy also regularly represent DisneyLists.com at Walt Disney World media events. While attending these events, they get an insiders view of all the new things that have come to Walt Disney World. These experiences have helped them gain knowledge and expertise they happily pass on to their followers. They still can't believe how lucky they are to have such an amazing opportunity and will continue to share Disney with anyone who will listen!
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