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New 10-Course Menu at Victoria & Albert’s Expands Exquisite Dining Experience

posted on July 9th, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


With the distinction of being the only AAA Five Diamond restaurant in Central Florida (and one of only three in the state), Victoria & Albert’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa continues to raise the bar.

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The award-winning dining room is adding a new Chef’s Degustation Menu, a series of 10 small courses featuring some of Chef Scott Hunnel’s favorite dishes inspired by the seasons and by his world travels to Asia, Spain, Italy and France. The seven-course Chef’s Tasting Menu will remain, and the kitchen will continue to meld tradition with innovative cuisine “for an avant-garde culinary journey,” says Israel Perez, maître d’hôtel.

Other big changes include a focus on food-and-wine pairings in the adjacent Queen Victoria Room. With just eight seats, diners will be offered Chef Hunnel’s 10-course menu paired with exclusive wines from Victoria & Albert’s impressive wine cellar. “The wine pairings will be exclusive to the private room, and we want to enlighten our guests about how the chef and sommelier work together to perfectly pair food and drink,” says Perez.

Adding the 10-course menu in the main dining room creates a more leisurely dining experience, and other special tableside touches have been added, such as a cheese trolley, tableside butter carving and a custom chocolate box for selecting post-prandial sweets.

The popular Chef’s Table, tucked in a cozy kitchen alcove with a front-row seat for watching the action in the kitchen, continues to offer 10 to 13 courses, small tastes of everything from caviar to Japanese Wagyu beef, paired with wine and spirits. The dinner lasts nearly four hours, the time filled with delectable tastes and conversations with the chef and his team.

“Diners now have a choice of three distinct dining experiences with food-and-wine pairings in Queen Victoria Room, two menus in the main dining room and the Chef’s Table in the kitchen,” says Perez. “Whichever they choose, they will enjoy the finest quality ingredients and impeccable service.”

The seven-course menu is $185 ($250 with wine pairings); the 10-course menu is $235 ($340 with wine pairings). Dinner in the Queen Victoria Room is $340, and includes 10 courses paired with wine. The Chef’s Table in the kitchen is $250. The restaurant is open daily for dinner. For reservations, call 407-939-3862.

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‘Czech’ing Out Prague with Adventures by Disney

posted on July 8th, 2015 by Amanda Adler, Public Relations Manager


I’ve recently returned from an Adventures by Disney trip to Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic and I’m finding it hard to hold back my joyful yodels declaring what an amazing experience I had in this Alpine region of Europe (in fairness I’ve never heard a sad yodel, they are generally rather lively in nature). But, as this 9-day, 8-night adventure begins in the rather non-snow-capped mountain city of Prague, a yodel is hardly appropriate for this post (or ever, as those who sit near me in the office would argue).

Famous sites like St. Vitus Cathedral can be seen on the Adventures by Disney Austria, Germany and Czech Republic vacation.

While I’ve always wanted to visit Prague, it is a city I previously knew little about. And that’s the great thing about traveling with Adventures by Disney; no matter how much (or how little) research you’ve done about an area prior to taking a trip, you can rest easy knowing that many of the key planning details have already been taken care of for you.

And upon landing in the Czech Republic I was not disappointed. Our group was welcomed with a dinner in a centuries old building complete with amazing stained glass, traditional Czech cuisine and live accordion music (I know that being a fan of both yodeling and accordion music might put me in the minority here, but the authenticity of this sort of ambience truly makes for an outstanding welcome to Central Europe). A cultural tour of Prague, including a charming cruise down the Vltava river, helped us to get acquainted with the city.

The beautiful landscape of Prague is one of the sights of this Adventures by Disney vacation.

Another great thing about Adventures by Disney is that you don’t simply observe the area you’re visiting, you also have the chance to get hands-on and truly immerse yourself in the region. At dinnertime on night two that meant not watching professional dancers swing and twirl, but also putting our own dancing skills to the test. And I confirmed that yes, I do still possess two left feet!

After two nights in Prague we set off for the UNESCO World Heritage Site Český Krumlov. This small city in the Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic proved to be even more beautiful than I imagined. The cobblestone streets were charming and the castle (guarded by actual, real-life brown bears) looked like it was drawn from a fairytale.

The author of this article is shown posing in front of the Bavarian Alps while vacationing with Adventures by Disney

And then it was time for the Bavarian Alps! I’ll leave you with this shot of me standing literally above the clouds to tempt you to follow along on the rest of my journey (complete with location appropriate yodeling) right here on the Disney Parks Blog.

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The Sights of Iceland with Disney Cruise Line

posted on July 6th, 2015 by Jonathan Frontado, Disney Cruise Line


Disney Cruise Line is in stunning Iceland, the land of fire and ice! The Disney Magic arrived to Akureyri today, after an overnight stop in Reykjavik this weekend.

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Iceland is shaped by its dramatic volcanic landscape, and it is home to a rugged coastline, volcanic craters and geothermal areas, including the famous Blue Lagoon in the middle of a lava field. Check out this photo gallery to see some of them magnificent sights Disney cruisers are enjoying here …

To learn more about the exciting excursions we offer in Iceland, take a look back at Arnaldo’s post about Port Adventures in Reykjavik and Akureyri.

Our time in Iceland is part of the Disney Magic’s 11-night voyage from Copenhagen to Dover, England that includes three destinations in Norway and another in Scotland. It’s been an amazing summer in Europe so far! If you missed Cruise Director Brent’s live report of our first-ever Norwegian fjords voyage, take a look back at his posts:

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Disney Parks After Dark: Seeing ‘Wishes’ at Magic Kingdom Park

posted on July 2nd, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


In just a few days, Walt Disney World will be alight with fireworks in celebration of the Fourth of July.

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Tonight’s “After Dark” image celebrates one of the grandest nighttime spectaculars we have on our property – “Wishes” fireworks at Magic Kingdom Park.

Do you plan on spending the holiday with us? Which nighttime show are you planning to see? Tell us in the “Comments” section below.

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Learn Culinary Secrets of Disney Chefs in New Backstage Adventure at Walt Disney World Resort

posted on July 1st, 2015 by Pam Brandon, Disney Parks Food Writer


Ever wonder how to make a buttery pasta noodle or fork-tender filet mignon? Beginning July 8, the new “Disney Family Culinary Adventure” at Disney’s Contemporary Resort whisks guests backstage for a fun, interactive evening that includes plenty of time with the Disney chefs, hands-on cooking and a festive, five-course dinner with beer and wine served in the kitchen by the professional catering staff.

Aimed at guests 9 and older, the evening starts at 5 p.m. with a friendly introduction to the massive catering kitchen. A maximum of 30 guests put on aprons, hats and gloves and are divided into five cooking groups. And every station has a wow technique, from the ease of making homemade butter (equal parts buttermilk and heavy cream) to a fresh pasta with just three ingredients.

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“We want to show them the tricks of the trade,” says Chef Frank Brough. “It’s a guided experience but they do everything from making cheese and butter to rolling out pasta and breaking down a whole beef tenderloin.”

The five stations:

  • Garde manger, is the French term for food produced in the cold kitchen, where guests learn how to make farmer cheese, from-scratch butter, and how to plate a gourmet salad on a rapidly moving electric belt in the professional kitchen.
  • Sushi, with sushi chefs teaching the art of rolling sushi and sashimi. (This station may rotate with other culinary ideas.)
  • Boucherie, or butcher station, where guests learn how to trim a beef tenderloin to make the perfect filet mignon.
  • Pasta, with just three ingredients (semolina, olive oil and egg), guests learn to make tender noodles from scratch, along with fresh basil pesto.
  • Patisserie, or bakery, where guests get to play with chocolate, mousse and other sweet endings.

Once the food prep is complete, guests move freely about the big kitchen to chat with the chefs – no culinary question goes unanswered. It takes about an hour for all the prep work, then everyone is seated at a long table in the center of the kitchen to enjoy the five-course meal they’ve just prepared. (Vegetarian, vegan and selections for guests with allergies are options for dinner.)

Lights are dimmed, background music plays, and a toast begins the special meal, where each course is served with wine and beer. At the meal’s end a special molecular gastronomy demonstration wows guests (we’ll keep that a secret), and they receive a special toque (chef’s hat) to take home, along with a Disney cookbook signed by the chefs.

“We really want them to leave the kitchen with ideas for a spectacular dinner party that they can do at home without opening a can or reaching for something frozen,” says Chef Brough.

The program is planned two evenings a week (days vary), starting at 5 p.m. Cost is $175 plus tax, $125 plus tax for ages 9 to 12. (Younger guests may have their own cooking station.) Complimentary transportation is provided for Disney Resort hotel guests. To book or for more information, call 407-WDW-PLAY.

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Disney Parks After Dark: Bon Nuit from Epcot’s France Pavilion

posted on June 25th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


I adore tonight’s “After Dark” image, which was shot at Epcot‘s France Pavilion.

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The pavilion’s Belle Epoque architecture, the winding gardens and pink Florida sky make this really look like a perfect fairytale destination, don’t they?

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PHOTO GALLERY: A ‘Brave’ Princess Merida

posted on June 24th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


On this week in Disney History, “Brave” debuted in theaters, introducing us to the bold, strong Princess Merida.

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In the film, Merida, daughter to King Fergus and Queen Elinor, is determined to shape her own future. In doing so, Merida’s actions unleash chaos among the Scottish Lords, and accidentally unleashes a dangerous curse. In the end, Merida must discover the true meaning of bravery to save her family before it’s too late.

Thanks to Photographer Ryan Wender for these great shots.


For more from our Princess Photo series, visit the post below:

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PHOTO GALLERY: Pocahontas Marks 20 Years

posted on June 23rd, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Today in Disney History, Pocahontas made her debut.

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In the film, Pocahontas meets explorer John Smith and teaches him the wonders of earth and true value of its many riches. Despite an agreement to marry Kocoum, Pocahontas falls in love with John Smith, which leads to Chief Powhatan declaring war on the team of explorers. Pocahontas later saves John Smith from execution. When the gold-obsessed Governor Ratcliffe attempts to shoot Chief Powhatan, John Smith dives in front of the bullet, saving Pocahontas’s father.

Thanks to Photographer Ryan Wender for these great shots.

For more from our Princess Photo series, visit the post below:

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Zuri’s Sweets Shop Now Open at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

posted on June 22nd, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


Zuri’s Sweets Shop recently opened its doors in Harambe Market at Disney’s Animal Kingdom to showcase a bevy of new animal-inspired treats.

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The location features 80 new items, including decorative candy apples, uniquely flavored chocolate bars, African-spiced popcorn, animal-shaped lollipops, animal crackers, chocolate mini crocodiles and other treats. Zuri’s Sweets Shop will also offer African spice rubs, a gourmet cocoa set and Flame Tree Barbeque sauce.

Which item are you most excited to try? Tell us in the comments section below.

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This Week in Disney Parks Photos: More Pics From Frozen Summer Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

posted on June 20th, 2015 by Jennifer Fickley-Baker, Social Media Manager


This week we shared a ton of fun photos from Disney’s Hollywood Studios, where Frozen Summer Fun is now in full swing!

Take a look at the gallery below for a peek at the offerings that debuted this week, including the Frozen Royal Welcome, Olaf’s Summer Cool Down and more.

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Check the Disney Parks Blog next week for more coverage of Frozen Summer Fun.

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