posted on April 28th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer
Time for another lap around World Showcase to taste more of the creative flavors in the Outdoor Kitchens – with 11 different stops, it’s nearly impossible to get a bite of everything before the festival ends on May 18.
We caught up with Epcot Executive Chef Jens Dahlmann for the 411:
We had to try the turkey rib – what, exactly, is it?
Chef Jens: The turkey rib at The Smokehouse: Barbecue and Brews [at American Adventure] is a brand-new item, and we’re pleased to be the first to feature it at Walt Disney World Resort. It’s actually a turkey wing that is split in half, dry rubbed, slow cooked in the oven for about two hours, then slightly smoked in our on-stage smoker for another 45 minutes. The meat is moist, tender and full of flavor.
Which new dish has been the hands-down crowd favorite?
Chef Jens: It has to be the Piggylicous Bacon Cupcake with maple frosting and pretzels, also at The Smokehouse. It was a big hit from day one and a true must-try. Second would be the Ghost Pepper-Dusted Tilapia at Urban Farm Eats.
Which returning dish is the biggest hit?
Chef Jens: This is a three-way tie between the Pulled Pig Slider at The Smokehouse, Shrimp and Grits at Florida Fresh and the Potato and Cheddar Cheese Biscuit with Smoked Salmon Tartare at Buttercup Cottage in the United Kingdom.
Any surprise favorites?
Chef Jens: The Eggplant Scallop at Urban Farm Eats is popular, as guests seem to enjoy the meat-like texture of slowly cooked eggplant with classic Romesco (sweet red pepper) sauce and spaghetti squash.
Marianne Hunnel, the festival’s libations expert, chimed in with the most popular drinks this year: Watermelon Passion Fruit Slush and Hurricane Class 5 White Sangria at Florida Fresh, the frozen Desert Violet Lemonade in Pineapple Promenade and the Chilled Rose Blush Lemonade in the Buttercup Cottage.
And our new finds:
- The divine duck confit at Fleur de Lys in France, a stack of buttery duck, potatoes and caramelized onions;
- Lemon scones with strawberry preserves and crème fraîche at Buttercup Cottage (swirl the two toppings together and dip in the scone);
- Beijing-style Candied Strawberries at Lotus House in China;
- And, perhaps our most favorite, the Sweet Potato-Cinnamon Waffle with Pineapple Soft Serve at Pineapple Promenade. Perfect serving size – a warm waffle with ice cream. Now that’s a happy ending.
For more information about the 21st Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival, call 407/W-DISNEY (934-7639) or visit www.epcotinspring.com. The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.
posted on April 21st, 2014 by Michelle Harker, Manager, Merchandise Marketing & Communications, Disneyland Resort
Here are the merchandise events headed your way this May at Walt Disney World Resort!
Before we jump in, here’s one last event taking place at the end of April that you should definitely check out!
Stop by Art of Disney, Downtown Disney Marketplace April 26 -27 for a special Disney Design Group Artist Showcase! Not only do you get the opportunity to add beautiful masterpieces to your own Disney collection, but you also get the chance to meet Disney artists Costa Alavezos, Brian Blackmore, Alex Maher, Randy Noble and Darren Wilson. Check the website for artist appearance times. Learn more.
Now on to May!
May 1 – 4: Look for special appearances by artist Larry Dotson throughout the day at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Not able to make it? Look for Larry later in the month from May 21 – 24 at Main Street Cinema in Magic Kingdom Park. Learn more.
May 2: Ahoy there! Meet Disney Design Group artist Casey Jones, who will be on hand to sign the new “Pirates of the Caribbean” Vinylmation Series 2 from 5 – 7 p.m. at D Street in Downtown Disney West Side.
May 7 – 11: Artist Greg McCullough returns May 7 – 11 to Art of Disney in Epcot and will appear later in the month from May 21 – 25 at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace and May 28 – June 1 at Animation Gallery at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Be sure to stop in and say hello! Learn more.
May 10 – 20: Artist David E. Doss will be appearing daily at Art of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace. Stop in and find a new piece of art to add to your collection! Learn more.
May 17 – 18: Dana and Melanie Harvey from HARVEYS seatbeltbags are headed to Walt Disney World Resort! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to pick up some of the newest silhouettes inspired by their Pop Art Mickey collection and meet Dana and Melanie, May 17 from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. at Tren-D in the Downtown Disney Marketplace; May 18 from 12:00 to 2 p.m. at Uptown Jewelers in Magic Kingdom Park; and May 18 from 5 -7 p.m. at Summer Lace at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Learn more.
Here are a few other things you don’t want to miss!
posted on April 17th, 2014 by Nate Rasmussen, Archivist, Marketing Resource Center
Celebrating its 21st year, the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival is in full bloom. My favorite part of the festival is all the topiaries throughout the Park. Here’s a look at a past topiary from the 1998 festival – Phil. (Hercules’s trainer)
There are almost 100 topiaries at Epcot this year with 79 character topiaries to enjoy. What’s your favorite topiary past or present from the festival? Tell me in the “Comments” section below!
Wildlife Wednesdays: The Seas with Nemo & Friends Earns Praise for Conservation Efforts, Animal Care from Accrediting Association
posted on April 16th, 2014 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks
Earth Month is a time when we give extra thought to how we can protect our planet year-round, including our amazing oceans and marine wildlife. So it is with tremendous pride that I share the news that The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot was granted accreditation once again by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
“The Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredits only those aquariums and zoos that meet the highest standards,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy. “As a leader in wildlife conservation and animal care, inspiring millions of visitors each year, The Seas is ranked among the best aquariums in the world.”
To be accredited, The Seas underwent a thorough review to ensure it has and will continue to meet ever-rising standards, which include animal care; veterinary programs; conservation, research and education; safety; guest services; and quality of staff.
The accreditation process, which must be repeated in its entirety every five years, includes a detailed application and a meticulous on-site inspection by a team of trained zoo and aquarium professionals. The inspecting team observed all aspects of the operation at The Seas, and met with and interviewed Seas and other Disney leadership and Cast.
Some of the points of particular achievement noted by the inspection team included:
- The Seas conservation programs, including its partnership with the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund and conservation efforts in the state of Florida and beyond.
- Education programs that address both local and global conservation, including guests with special needs.
- Excellence in animal care, including enrichment, a strong program of veterinary care and nutrition, and research projects that foster animal health and knowledge focused on animals at The Seas and in the wild.
- Staff who are dedicated, knowledgeable and exhibit a spirit of teamwork.
Being accredited by the AZA is an important way the team at The Seas with Nemo & Friends shows how much they care about connecting people with animals, and inspiring families and children to protect wildlife and nature.
posted on April 11th, 2014 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer
Just imagine, after IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth fireworks show at Epcot, instead of heading to your car or back to the resort, you could head to one of four spots in World Showcase for end-of-day relaxation with appetizers and beverages.
You can do just that beginning April 17 through September 15. Choose either La Cava del Tequila at the Mexico Pavilion; Spice Road Table in the Morocco Pavilion; Tutto Gusto in the Italy Pavilion, or Rose & Crown Pub in the United Kingdom Pavilion. Each location will have small bites paired with a beverage flight (additional beverages can be purchased) from 9:20 – 11 p.m. It’s a magical time as the park quiets down.
Cost is $35, plus tax and gratuity. To make a reservation, go to www.disneyworld.com/spring, call 407-WDW-DINE, or check in with Epcot Guest Relations to see if space is available.
posted on April 11th, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager
Planning a trip to Epcot this summer? Definitely add a Sounds Like Summer Concert Series performance to your itinerary. Our 2014 concert schedule has just been released, with many new favorites – such as Slippery When Wet ~ The Ultimate Bon Jovi Tribute – returning to the stage.
This year’s concert line up includes:
- June 8-14: Hotel California ~ A Salute to the Eagles
- June 15-21: Don’t Stop Believin’ ~ Journey Tribute Band
- June 22-28: Good Vibrations ~ A Tribute to The Beach Boys
- June 29-July 5: Don’t Look Back ~ Boston Tribute Band
- July 6-12: Stayin’ Alive ~ A Tribute to the Bee Gees
- July 13-19: Slippery When Wet ~ The Ultimate Bon Jovi Tribute
- July 20-26: 2U ~ A Tribute to U2
All performances take place at America Gardens Theatre in World Showcase at 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. – except on July 4 (when show times are 5:15, 6:30, 7:45 and 9 p.m.). Concerts are included with park admission and entertainment is subject to change.
Wildlife Wednesdays: Party for the Planet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom; More Earth Day Fun at The Seas with Nemo & Friends
posted on April 9th, 2014 by Jackie Ogden, Ph.D., Vice President, Animals, Science and Environment, Disney Parks
In what has become a beloved annual tradition, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is hosting a Party for the Planet in celebration of Earth Day (April 22). Guests can find out what they can do to make their backyards wildlife-friendly and discover other ways to connect with, and conserve, wildlife and nature. They also can learn about some very special wildlife — brown bears in Alaska — in celebration of the release of “Bears,” Disneynature’s newest theatrical release.
As guests enter the park, they can stop by a display in the main entrance area featuring wildlife-friendly backyard habitats and pick up a Party for the Planet postcard.
The fun continues at Rafiki’s Planet Watch where families can play a supermarket game and learn how their purchases can make a big difference for wildlife and wild places, discover new ways to spend time in nature, talk to cast members who work on conservation projects around the world, participate in a variety of nature activities—including activities focused on brown bears — and find out more about the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.
Face painters and caricature artists will be extending into Rafiki’s Planet Watch, and featuring bear-themed and other animal designs.
Special merchandise will be available at locations throughout Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and, through April 30, a Safari-costumed Duffy the Disney Bear will be sold at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. One dollar from each sale will be donated to the National Park Foundation through Disney’s Worldwide Conservation Fund to celebrate Disneynature “Bears.”
At Epcot, Earth Day will be celebrated at The Seas with Nemo & Friends, where children can find out (by trying it!) how turtle excluder devices protect sea turtles, and learn about conservation efforts to protect coral reefs, manatees, sharks and the many other amazing creatures that inhabit our oceans. At VISION House in Innoventions at Epcot, a ground-breaking green show home exhibit, guests can learn about sustainable living, and on Earth Day, also can play the supermarket game to learn how their purchases can help wildlife and nature.
Be on the lookout for other Earth Day activities at the Walt Disney World Resort.
Did you know?
- Disneynature’s new True Life Adventure “Bears” arrives in theaters April 18, just in time for Earth Day. See the movie during its opening week (April 18-24, 2014) and Disneynature will make a donation to the National Park Foundation through the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund to protect wildlife and nature.
- Bears are one of the featured animals in the new free Disneynature Explore app. Click here to download Disneynature Explore free on the App Store.
Upcoming 2014 events for connecting families with nature (as always, dates subject to change):
At Disney’s Animal Kingdom:
- May 6: International Migratory Bird Day
- May 20: World Turtle Day
- June 10: Pollinator Day
- July 29: Big Cat Day
- August 5: Primate Day
- September 23: Elephant and Rhino Day
At The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot:
- May 20: World Turtle Day
- June 4: World Ocean Day
posted on April 3rd, 2014 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager
Wildlife Wednesdays: Animals From Disney Parks, Films Come to Life in New Free Disneynature Explore App
posted on April 2nd, 2014 by Beth Stevens, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, Environment and Conservation
We want you to be among the first to experience our new free app, Disneynature Explore made possible by Disney Citizenship. Kids and families can now explore the outdoors like never before through the world of animals.
Launching to coincide with Earth Month and the theatrical release of Disneynature “Bears”, Disneynature Explore combines an augmented reality experience with fun animal-behavior game play that encourages children and families to discover and play in nature. Now available for free on the Apple App Store, the app features five animal adventures— brown bear, monarch butterfly, chimpanzee, African lion and loggerhead sea turtle—each with four unique challenges. Families can search their own backyards with the lion to hunt for a warthog, view their surroundings through a butterfly’s eyes, follow tracks along with the bear to find its cub, crack a nut like a chimpanzee and more. Take a look at the fun video.
At Disney we are passionate about inspiring kids to connect with nature and encouraging them to spend more time outdoors. This app can be one of many ways to help kids develop lifelong conservation values through nature discovery and exploration. Play along with your children and be sure to take a moment to visit the parents’ page that includes suggestions for outdoor play. Kids can earn virtual Disneynature pins throughout the experience and consider going on “photo missions” found in the Disneynature Journal that will extend your family’s engagement with nature beyond the app.
I hope you and your family will take some time to discover the wonders of nature during Earth Month and year-round.
Click here to download Disneynature Explore free on the App Store.
Did you know:
- Planting three million trees with The Nature Conservancy (Disneynature “Earth”)
- Protecting more than 40,000 acres of coral with The Nature Conservancy (Disneynature “Oceans”).
- Protecting 65,000 acres of savanna with African Wildlife Foundation (Disneynature “African Cats”).
- Protecting nearly 130,000 acres of chimpanzee habitat, educating more than 60,000 children, and caring for orphaned chimpanzees with the Jane Goodall Institute (Disneynature “Chimpanzee”)