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Nine Dragons Restaurant in China Pavilion at Epcot Celebrates ‘Year of the Monkey’ Beginning Feb. 8

posted on January 25th, 2016 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Nine Dragons Restaurant in the China Pavilion at Epcot has been a longtime favorite, maybe because we’ve had the privilege of meeting the talented Asian chefs in the kitchen who create authentic Chinese dishes. Yes, they cater to Americanized tastes with favorites such as Kung Pao chicken and sweet-and-sour pork, but it’s also the place where you can enjoy braised pork belly steamed buns, shrimp and taro lollipops and Shanghai xiaolongbao, the ultimate steamed pork soup dumplings.

In celebration of the Chinese “Year of the Monkey,” Nine Dragons is offering some special menu items and a new prix fixe lunch menu.

The lunch special (3 courses for $17.98) starts with spring rolls or pot stickers. There is a choice of three entrees: Happily Family, with sliced chicken breast, beef and shrimp stir fry; Moo Goo Gai Pan with stir-fried chicken breast, mushrooms and snow peas; and General Tso’s Chicken Buns Lunch Box with three steamed buns and hot-and-sour soup. Dessert is strawberry-red bean ice cream or ginger-caramel ice cream.

Another addition to the menu, just for Year of the Monkey are three steamed buns: braised pork belly served with chili aioli; sweet-and-sour, batter-fried fish buns topped with pork floss; and General Tso’s Chicken buns with batter-fried chicken breast. (Pork floss is dry, fluffy shredded pork seasoned with soy sauce and sugar.) Add a cold Tsingtao beer for a real treat.

The menu specials run through January 27, 2017, so you have plenty of time, with the restaurant open daily for lunch and dinner (Disney Dining Plan accepted). Passholder, Disney Vacation Club, Tables in Wonderland and Golden Oak discounts are accepted (to celebrate the Chinese New Year, all these discounts are 20% for the month of February). For reservations, visit Disneyworld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.

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If you’d like to try to make the steamed buns at home, here’s a recipe. Happy Year of the Monkey!

Sweet-and-Sour Fish on Steamed Buns
Makes 4

Sweet-and-Sour Sauce

  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup vinegar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch

Fish

  • 8-ounce fillet white fish, such as cod, snapper or grouper
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus additional for seasoning
  • Pinch ground white pepper
  • ¾ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 2 tablespoon vegetable oil, plus additional for frying
  • 4 prepared bao buns (folded Chinese-style steamed buns–see Cook’s Note below)

Garnish

  • Thinly sliced onion, carrot, and lettuce
  • Pork Floss (see Cook’s Note below)

For sweet-and-sour sauce:

  1. Combine water, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, vinegar, and salt in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer.
  2. Combine cornstarch with 2 tablespoons water, stirring until dissolved. Stir cornstarch mixture into sauce, stirring constantly. Simmer, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Set aside.

For fish:

  1. Pat fish dry and cut into four equal-size pieces.
  2. Season fish with salt and white pepper. Set aside.
  3. Whisk together flour, cornstarch, and baking powder in a medium bowl. Whisk together water and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil. Add water mixture to flour mixture, whisking just until no lumps remain.
  4. Pour vegetable oil into a deep pan to a depth of at least two inches. Heat oil to 350°F.
  5. Dip seasoned fish into prepared batter. Shake off excess. Drop gently into oil. Fry 2 to 3 minutes, until golden brown.
  6. Transfer cooked fish to a plate lined with paper towels. Sprinkle with salt.
  7. Reheat steamed buns by placing in a steamer basket over simmering water 4 to 5 minutes.
  8. On a plate, assemble bun by inserting a slice of fried fish between a bun, ladle sweet and sour sauce over fried fish, and place garnish over sauce. Sprinkle with pork floss (optional). Serve immediately.

Cook’s note: Bao buns are available in the refrigerated or freezer section of Asian markets. Pork floss is a sweet and salty dried, shredded pork product available in most Asian markets.

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TradNation Brings a French Canadian Musical Tradition to Epcot

posted on January 20th, 2016 by Shawn Slater, Communications Manager, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Creative Entertainment


The rich, cultural heritage of French Québec has come alive at the Canada Pavilion in World Showcase, with the introduction of musical performances by TradNation.

In Québécois tradition, music is often a community experience that brings families, friends and neighbors together to play at every opportunity, from front porches to festival stages. TradNation features a broad repertoire, including traditional songs as well as original family compositions passed down through generations.

Come on by the Mill Stage, and immerse yourself in this interactive, musical celebration of life! You can catch this limited engangement of TradNation five days a week in the Canada Pavilion at Epcot.

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runDisney Princess Half Marathon Weekend Medals

posted on January 20th, 2016 by Aubrey Hang, Sports Marketing Community Manager, runDisney


The runDisney Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals is less than a month away. The event takes place at Walt Disney World from February 18 – 21. This year’s finisher medals are inspired by “The Little Mermaid” and are fit for a princess!

The Disney Princess 5K kicks off the race weekend with a magical morning run through Epcot. Ariel, Sebastian and Flounder are featured on the finisher medallion ready to congratulate you on your accomplishment!

The Disney Princess Enchanted 10K is a run for royalty. The shell-inspired medal is better than a crown.

Disney Princess Half Marathon is the most magical race on earth! The course runs right through Cinderella Castle at Magic Kingdom Park before having a storybook ending at Epcot with this magnificent medal.

If you complete the Glass Slipper Challenge, which is a 19.3-mile adventure held over two days. It starts by running the 10K on Saturday followed by the half marathon on Sunday. Once completed, you are awarded the beautiful Glass Slipper Challenge medal in addition to your half marathon and 10K finisher medals.

Here is a look at all of the medals, including the runDisney Kids Races.

Are you participating in any of the weekend’s events? Which medal are you looking forward to? Follow @runDisney on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to join the royal fun using the hashtag #PrincessHalf.

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Disney Parks After Dark: Fountains Light Up Epcot’s France Pavilion

posted on January 14th, 2016 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Editorial Content Manager


Who’s ready for a nighttime walk through Epcot?

Tonight’s “After Dark” image was snapped at the France Pavilion, where guests can experience the “Impressions de France” film, have dinner at Chefs de France or Monsieur Paul, or do one of my favorite things – grab a sugary treat at Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie.

Which activity is your favorite?

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A World Showcase of Unforgettable Shopping at Epcot – Canada Pavilion

posted on January 14th, 2016 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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There are many Unforgettable places to shop at Walt Disney World Resort. This month, I’m beginning a new series featuring my favorite place to shop, dine and play – World Showcase at Epcot. A new story each month throughout 2016 will highlight unique products from each of the 11 World Showcase countries. I’m starting my trek around the “World” with a visit to Canada Pavilion.

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Impressive totem poles surround the entrance to the Northwest Mercantile that is home to products inspired by the diverse and rich culture of Canada. Inside, guests will find Canadian flag-inspired apparel, decorative items and more. This location also contains hockey-themed products celebrating popular Canadian teams.

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Guests will also find the popular “O Canada” logo merchandise first introduced in 2012. This program includes short and long sleeved apparel, drinkware and headware. You can read more about the program in this Disney Parks Blog article from 2013.

Other favorite products include Canadian maple syrup, pajamas by Hatley, jewelry and soap from Goat Mountain Soap Company.

Merchandise from Northwest Mercantile in the Canada Pavilion at Epcot Merchandise from Northwest Mercantile in the Canada Pavilion at Epcot

New this year is an updated Canada Native program that includes colorful graphics of native wildlife such as fish, moose and owls. Look carefully at each graphic to find a hidden Mickey Mouse icon included somewhere in the artwork.

Canada Pavilion also has a kiosk along World Showcase Promenade that offers additional items including personalized leather goods.

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Being a long time fan of Epcot, one of my favorite things I found in the shop were the intricate and beautiful carvings. Many of these totem poles and designs have existed since World Showcase opened in 1982.

Here is an image gallery of other items I found during my visit.

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Decorate Your Home with New Disney Parks-Inspired Figurines

posted on January 13th, 2016 by Steven Miller, Merchandise Communications Manager


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During a recent Disney Parks Blog Unboxed video, I gave you a first look at three new decorative figurines coming to Disney Parks this year. These figurines were inspired by characters and icons from attractions found at Disneyland or Walt Disney World Resorts. Here’s a closer look at these decorative items.

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We originally released a few decorative figurines when Disney Centerpiece opened in the Marketplace Co-Op at Disney Springs Marketplace in June 2014. You may recall seeing a stylized Sleeping Beauty Castle, Mr. Toad, the Orange Bird, elephants from The Jungle Cruise attraction, and a pineapple ice cream trinket box.

This year, we are adding the crocodile from Peter Pan’s Flight, Big Al from Country Bear Jamboree, and Figment from Journey into Imagination at Epcot.

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Other figurines include Monstro the whale found at Storybook Land Canal Boats at Disneyland park, and a hippopotamus from the “it’s a small world” attraction.

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My favorite figurine is a miniature version of the Moonliner from Tomorrowland at Disneyland park (read about the history of this out-of-this-world icon in this Disney Parks Blog article.

Look for these items in select merchandise locations at Disney Parks in 2016. Once released, you will also find them available using the free Shop Disney Parks mobile app. This app gives you access to thousands of Disney Parks’ products which you can have shipped directly to your home. To download, please visit DisneyWorld.com/Shop.

Which figurine is your favorite?

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Costa Does It Again at the Walt Disney World Marathon

posted on January 10th, 2016 by Darrell Fry, Sports Media Director, Walt Disney World Resort


Fredison Costa is only about 140 pounds soaking wet, but he said he felt very heavy on Sunday. Maybe it was from the weight of five – count them, five – Walt Disney World Marathon medals he now has in his possession.

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Costa, the Brazilian runner who trains at Walt Disney World Resort, continued to pile on the victories Sunday morning, winning his third straight Walt Disney World Marathon and his fifth in the last six years.

Costa’s win, along with Natasha Yaremczuk’s victory in the women’s division (2:52:23), capped the 23rd Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna. The signature runDisney event drew more than 100,000 runners and fans for races of all levels, a Health & Fitness Expo and the first-ever runDisney Race Director Series for race executives from around the world.

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Costa, 38, provided the perfect punctuation to the weekend and is quickly gaining on Adriano Bastos for the title of winningest runner in Walt Disney World Marathon history. With his fifth victory, Costa is only three behind Bastos, who is an eight-time winner.

It’s been anything but easy, especially Sunday. His win – he crossed the finish line in 2:33:24 – was the slowest of his five victories, roughly 15 minutes slower, in fact, than his winning time last year (2:18:06). That’s because he was coming off a recent calf injury that forced him to suspend his training for 10 days. And it didn’t help that it was a warm and wet morning, which also zapped some of his speed as he navigated the 26.2-mile course through all four Disney theme parks.

Nevertheless, Costa said he achieved the one thing he wanted more than anything. He won.

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“I was not happy with my time,’’ said Costa, who trains with former Olympic track & field coach Brooks Johnson at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort. “But I’m the happiest man on earth.’’

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Filed: Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Special Events, Walt Disney World Resort

#DisneyTweens: Thrills and Adventures Await Your Tweens at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on January 8th, 2016 by Raquel Giorgio, Public Relations Manager, Walt Disney World Resort


Hi! I’m Raquel Giorgio, Public Relations Manager at Walt Disney World Resort, and the mother of one very adorable and enthusiastic Tween. My nine-year-old daughter is just starting to yearn for independence … but still wants to know her family is within arm’s reach. Sound familiar to you?

I want to welcome you to the latest series on the Disney Parks Blog. It’s all about … you guessed it … Tweens! While we know that Walt Disney World Resort is a favorite vacation destination for families with younger children, I’m here to tell you that Walt Disney World Resort is also the perfect place to bring your older kids! Thrilling and adventurous experiences in all FOUR of our Walt Disney World Resort theme parks, TWO water parks and Disney Springs await them! Now that they are older, Tweens can do and experience so much more! They’re taller and height restrictions may no longer apply to them. And they may be up for more adventure now!

Just check out brothers Graeme and Corbin as they try to one-up each other with a challenge to go on The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Summit Plummet at Disney’s Blizzard Beach Water Park.

Whenever I bring my daughter to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, it’s mandatory that the family ride Expedition Everest three times … in a row! She just loves it! And then she’ll exit the ride to search out a chance to meet Mickey and Minnie in their trendy safari outfits!

What are some of your favorite thrill rides here at Walt Disney World Resort that you’d like to share with your older kids? Is it Space Mountain, Splash Mountain or Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at Magic Kingdom Park? Perhaps Test Track at Epcot or Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? I’d love to hear! Please share in the comments below.

For more information on planning a trip to Walt Disney World Resort with your Tween, check out www.disneyworld.com/Tweens.

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What’s New in Walt Disney World Resort Dining: 16 for 2016

posted on January 7th, 2016 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


2015 was full of culinary news for Walt Disney World Resort, and 2016 promises to be equally exciting, especially at Disney Springs. From new restaurants to more fun with Disney characters, here’s a look ahead at 2016.

  1. Sunday brunches are the hot weekend ticket. Narcoossee’s Waterfront Brunch at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is a new one, and Brunch at the Top debuts February 7 at California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. For reservations, visit DisneyWorld.com/dine or call 407-WDW-DINE.

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  1. Get over to the new Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen in the Magic Kingdom Park and try a rice noodle bowl, sustainable local farm-raised shrimp in chili-garlic sauce, or the Kungaloosh!, an African-inspired chocolate cake with caramelized bananas with cashew-caramel ice cream. This is an all-new menu for the Disney chefs.
  2. Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival expands to 90 days, March 2 to May 30 (from 75 days last year). Fresh garden produce, savory bites and sweet treats will be abundant at the festival’s Outdoor Kitchens, returning for a fourth year with guest favorites and new food and beverage offerings.

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  1. Tiffins at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will celebrate the art of traveling, featuring foods from places that inspired the creation of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Open for both lunch and dinner. (“Tiffin” is an Indian English word for a midday meal or a type of container used to carry food while traveling).
  2. Adjacent to Tiffins, Nomad Lounge will feature hand-crafted cocktails using the art of mixology with African, Asian and South American flavors, beers and wines from those regions, and a selection of specialty non-alcoholic beverages in addition to small bites.
  3. Flying Fish Cafe at Disney’s BoardWalk will temporarily close the end of January, then reopen in the fall with a whole new look – and while the kitchen is working on new menu items, Chef Tim Keating promises that potato-wrapped snapper and the popular New York strip steak will be back. Stay tuned for details.

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  1. Minnie’s Seasonal Dine at Hollywood & Vine at Disney’’s Hollywood Studios debuted in 2015, but guests can look forward to new themes coming in 2016, including Minnie’s Silver Screen Dine, Minnie’s Springtime Dine, Minnie’s Summertime Dine and Minnie’s Halloween Dine.

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  1. Let’s start 2016 with a taste of the chocolate at The Ganachery at Disney Springs – the proprietary blend of chocolate and cream made right in the shop is not to be missed. The lovely little space elevates sweets to an experience akin to a wine tasting.
  2. Coming to Disney Springs in early 2016 is STK, a modern steakhouse mixed with the ambiance of a sleek lounge and emphasizing a social and fun environment. It will be one of the largest STK locations in the world, occupying 14,000 square feet in a two-story building, including a main level and a rooftop-dining area with incredible views of Disney Springs.
  3. Sprinkles, the world’s first cupcake bakery, as named by Food Network and others, will serve up handcrafted cupcakes, slow churned ice cream and homemade cookies at Disney Springs in 2016. Their innovative Cupcake ATM will satisfy sweet-toothed epicureans 24/7.
  4. Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza also comes to Disney Springs in 2016, 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 will feature an interactive assembly-line format that allows guests to customize their pizza, choosing from over 40 fresh toppings.

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  1. Homecoming: Florida Kitchen and Southern Shine will showcase the cuisine of Chef Art Smith at Disney Springs when it opens in Summer 2016. Smith, who was born and reared in the town of Jasper, Fla., on the Florida-Georgia border, will feature farm-to-fork cuisine that showcases the bounty of Florida, and design inspired by turn-of-the century Florida architecture of the late 1800s.

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  1. Also opening in Summer 2016 at Disney Springs, Frontera Fresco by Chef Rick Bayless will showcase the gourmet Mexican cuisine that has made Chef Bayless a culinary legend. The restaurant will feature authentic Mexican specialties such as hand-crafted tortas, tacos, salads, fresh-made guacamole and classic Mexican braised meat entrees, all prepared from time-honored recipes with natural, locally sourced ingredients. Frontera Fresco also will serve an extensive selection of margaritas, cocktails and craft beers and wine.
  2. Look for a re-imagined Planet Hollywood at Disney Springs as the flagship venue is transformed into a star-themed Planet Hollywood Observatory to match the look and feel of Disney Springs. As part of the makeover, the venue will add a new outdoor terrace and bar space called Stargazers and feature live entertainment.
  3. Also at Disney Springs, new Disney quick-service locations and kiosks will be blooming this spring. Perfect for a quick bite. Keep checking the Disney Parks Blog for more information on these locations.
  4. Two new Disney cookbooks for 2016: a new Delicious Disney: Sweet Treats book due out in the fall, and one celebrating both the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival and for the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival (dates still TBD for the food & wine fest when the book will debut).
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Filed: Disney Dining, Disney Springs, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Epcot, Hotels & Resorts, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort

ALEX AND ANI to Retire Mickey, Minnie and Pluto Character Bangles at Disney Parks

posted on January 5th, 2016 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort


The new year is here, and new styles and designs from ALEX AND ANI are on their way. In order to make room, for the very first time, the following character silhouette ALEX AND ANI bangles will retire beginning January 11, 2016.

Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse ALEX and ANI Bangles Will Retire Beginning January 11, 2016 Mickey Mouse and Pluto ALEX and ANI Bangle Will Retire Beginning January 11, 2016

If you’re looking to add one of these bangles to your collection or someone else’s, be sure to get them before they’re gone! Look for these ALEX AND ANI pieces and more online and in stores at:

Disneyland Resort

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Which character silhouette is your favorite?

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Filed: Disney California Adventure Park, Disney Springs, Disney's Animal Kingdom, Disney's Hollywood Studios, Disneyland Park, Disneyland Resort, Downtown Disney District, Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Walt Disney World Resort