WDW Parking Fees Increase to $22 a Day on 02/11/2018

Expect traffic into DHS to be bad.

WDW parking lot.

New WDW Parking Fees 02/11/2018:

Guests pay one fee per day to receive a parking pass good for all Disney theme park parking lots.

  • Standard parking: car or motorcycle – $22 per day
  • Preferred parking: car or motorcycle – $45 per day
  • Oversized Vehicle Parking: Shuttle, Limo, Camper Trailer, RV, Bus or Tractor Trailer – $27 per day

Disney Resort Hotel Guests:
Self-parking at theme parks and Disney Resort hotels is complimentary for Disney Resort hotel guests.

Universal Studios Orlando:

And, no surprise here, Universal Studios Orlando raised their parking fee to $22 also! Universal Parking Fees

Disney has the best fireworks shows in the world!

Fireworks over the Cinderella Castle

Rumor has it that Disney uses the revenue from all their parking lots to help cover the cost of the fireworks. So, when you pay for parking, you’re really paying for the evening’s fireworks show.  Be sure to stay for the fireworks and not leave the parks early!!

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The new fireworks show ‘Happily Ever After’ debuted summer 2017 at the Magic Kingdom.

With the new high def  ‘Happily Ever After’ fireworks show that launched last summer, it’s no surprise that car parking has now gone up to $22/day.

New ‘Happily Ever After’ fireworks show

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We love the new fireworks show!!

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Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney.

Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

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Magic Kingdom’s Magician Mickey to Stop Talking

magician

Magician Mickey talks and performs simple magic acts while interacting with guests.

It’s being reported that Magician Mickey – the only “head” character that talks – will stop talking to guests at the Magic Kingdom in May 2018.

Head (i.e., total body) characters never speak, so as not to ruin the magic. But, for the past 4 years, Magician Mickey in his theater on Main Street USA has been talking and performing simple magic tricks for guests.

The line to meet him can be very long, over 2 hours in the summer.

Throwback Thursday:  Caroline’s Birthday Magical Moment

For Caroline’s 22nd birthday, we went to the Magic Kingdom and immediately walked in to see Magician Mickey Mouse as there was no wait line.

Mickey wished Caroline a very Happy Birthday and then performed a magic card trick for us.  So cute!

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Caroline getting a big birthday hug from Magician Mickey.  Feb 2014

November:  Magician Mickey at MK

Celebrating Caroline’s 22nd birthday with Magician Mickey!  We like his costume.

Meeting Mickey

Magician Mickey prepping in front of his mirror before greeting us.

Here’s a video of our family’s meet & greet with Magician Mickey a few months later.

So fun!

Magician Mickey Meet & Greet: This is the one location at Disney World where you can meet talking Mickey! For now, Magician Mickey can sing, ask questions, perform card tricks, and interact with guests.

Location: Town Square Theater is one of the first buildings on the right as you enter Magic Kingdom. It’s a convenient location if you want to stop in the first thing in the morning or on your way out of the park.

Rating: Worth it!

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two disney sisters

Two Disney Sisters

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney.

Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

book

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

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Celebrating the 2018 Chinese Lunar New Year: The Year of the Dog

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It’s the Year of the Dog!

Disney is celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year at both Disneyland in California and at Hong Kong Disneyland this year!

Happy New Year from Disney Parks Blog!

Chinese Mickey

Mickey and Minnie in special costumes for the Chinese New Year celebration.

1. Disney California Adventure Park:  Paradise Pier

January 26 to February 18, 2018

Kick off the Year of the Dog with the popular Lunar New Year Festival at Disney California Adventure park!

lunar

So colorful!

From January 26 through February 18, 2018, this spectacular festival will feature live entertainment, delicious food and more. Take a look at the favorite experiences returning for this year’s celebration:

Hurry Home — Lunar New Year Celebration, a nighttime water show on Paradise Bay featuring Mulan, Mushu and a loveable little lantern in a heartwarming tale of family and friendship

Disney characters such as Mulan and her friend Mushu, along with Mickey Mouse and his pals, all dressed up for the occasion — including Goofy dressed as the God of Good Fortune

Specialty Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese foods at marketplaces and Paradise Garden Grill

Commemorative merchandise featuring designs inspired by the different cultures of East Asia

Lucky Wishing Wall, where you can add your own wish for a good year

The festive Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession parade

Watch the 2017 California Adventure Park Celebration!

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Happy New Year!

A Wonderful New Year Wishes

Ring in the Chinese Lunar New Year with unforgettable experiences at Disney California Adventure Park.  (The Chinese Lunar New Year is February 16, 2018.)

It’s a perfect opportunity to focus on family—all while offering warm wishes for a wonderful future and celebrating the occasion as well!

Sensational Sights to Behold

Over the course of this special event, certain areas of the park will be decked out with festive décor and a variety of continental colors.

Stroll along walkways where awe-inspiring ornamental lanterns have been woven into the walls for all to enjoy. Then, marvel as you feast your eyes upon banners and signs high in the sky—each presented in English, Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese, wishing one and all a Happy Lunar New Year!

Entertainment for Young and Old

No matter who you choose to visit with, be sure to catch an impressive array of authentic performers. And be on the lookout for a few familiar Disney Characters too, dressed in their best and ready to take part in all the fun. 

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Celebrating the Year of the Dog with ‘God of Fortune’ Goofy!

2. Disneyland Hong Kong

 January 18 – March 4, 2018

Ring in Chinese New Year at the Disneyland Hong Kong Resort—and help bring luck, health and happiness to the year ahead!

(Note:  There might be a few blackout days for cast members in February: Hong Kong Disneyland Blockout Dates)

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Mickey and Friends at Hong Kong Disneyland

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort is welcoming the Year of the Dog from January 18 to March 4, 2018 resplendent in colorful peach blossoms and festive Chinese New Year decorations.

Romance will be in the air on February 14th. The Resort creates elegant dining settings for couples to celebrate together on Valentine’s Day at this Happiest Place on Earth.

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Duffy celebrating the Chinese Lunar New Year!

CNY Family Fun with Disney Friends adds some Disney Magic

During the Chinese New Year celebration, Disney friends Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Goofy, Pluto, Chip & Dale, Duffy & ShellieMay, will change into bright Chinese New Year outfits to share best wishes with guests daily at Main Street, U.S.A.

Festive Dining In Abundance

A range of 80 gourmet delights with distinct Chinese New Year flavors will fill the menus of the restaurants in the park and the two themed hotels. Why not celebrate the beginning of the Year of Rooster with a cheeky Happy Albert Chocolate Mousse from the Market House Bakery, and enjoy savory and sweet snacks bearing auspicious names like “Lucky Ball” and “Happy New Year Fish”. Celebrate family togetherness with a “Chinese New Year Treasure in Pot Set Menu” at River View Cafe in Adventureland, or feast on the Plaza Inn’s “Chinese New Year Special Set”. 

merch

So cute!

Collectible Keepsakes Bestow Endless Blessing

Mystic Point’s monkey, Albert, is among the great variety of more than 30 memorabilia in the “Chinese New Year Assortment” to aptly mark the Year of the Dog. Do not miss the Chinese New Year Limited Edition Pin 2018 and the Chinese New Year Jumbo Pin exclusive for Magic Access members.

Romantic Celebration on Valentine’s Day

For Valentine’s Day, the Resort presents special dining menus creating the perfect romantic rendezvous for couples. Valentine’s Day buffets and set dinners are served at the restaurants of the two hotels. Guests can also enjoy specially created beverages like “The Love Rose” and “Pink Valentine”. Bestow your loved one with the most elaborate Valentine’s Day dinner set for two at Walt’s Cafe – it comes with a lovely pair of Duffy & ShellieMay Tsum Tsum Plush and a photo taken with Duffy & ShellieMay to commemorate the special occasion. Make the day even more memorable by sharing “his and hers” keepsakes from the Valentine’s Day and the Season of Love assortments featuring sweet pairs – Mickey and Minnie, and Duffy and ShellieMay.

Shanghai Disneyland Celebrates the New Year

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January 28, 2017:  The Chinese Lion ceremony at Shanghai Disneyland theme park.

lanterns

Shanghai Disneyland:  So pretty.  The red color signifies good fortune.

Mickey-shaped lanterns dangle over the streets of Disneytown, Shanghai Disneyland Resort’s shopping, dining & entertainment district.

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In Chinese zodiac, the Dog is the symbol of loyalty and honesty.  People born in the Year of the Dog possess the best traits of human nature.  They are honest, friendly, faithful, loyal, smart, straightforward, venerable, and have a strong sense of responsibility.

Years of the Dog include: 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006, 2018.

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housing1-2

Caroline with Mushu

 Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney. Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

book

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

***

2018 Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts

arts1

What:  2018 Epcot International Festival of the Arts

When:   January 12 to February 19, 2018

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Artist at work

Festival Highlights Include:

  • Artist appearances
  • Artful photo ops
  • Workshops and seminars with visiting artists
  • Commemorative merchandise
  • Community arts musical showcase
  • Culinary masterpieces
  • Destinations Discovered Tour
  • Disney on Broadway Concert Series
  • Gallery exhibits
  • IllumiNations
  • Interactive mural
  • Living statues
  • Walking chalk gallery and more!

arts2Even More to Explore!

  • Figment’s Brush with the Masters Scavenger Hunt
  • Kidcot Fun Stops
  • World Showcase: DestiNations Discovered Tour
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Cookie painting!

The Festival of the Arts features five unique food booths, each with an eclectic menu that puts an emphasis on presentation and plating as much as bold flavors.

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Paint your own pop tart (with icing!).

Original artwork will be on display at the Odyssey Festival Showplace located in the Odyssey building near the entrance to World Showcase.

In addition, chalk artists will reproduce classic works on canvas as well as park sidewalks, Epcot Living Statues literally come to life and guest performance artists create magic on the spot—with only a wave of their paintbrush!

cake

Almond Cake

Several Disney artists will be appearing throughout the festival including Jason Grandt, David Buckley, Jerrod Maruyama, and Kristin Tercek.

4

Disney on Broadway concert series

The America Gardens Theatre offers the free Broadway Concert Series, with songs from Aladdin, Newsies, The Lion King and more. Guests can sing along to sensational, show-stopping renditions of unforgettable Disney hits… bravo!  Visit the America Gardens Theatre stage at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m. and 8 p.m. on each festival day to catch the Disney on Broadway Concert Series.

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The 2018 International Festival of the Arts at Epcot!

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Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney. Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

***

Christmas Holiday at Epcot France Pavilion

IMG_6481

La Tour Eiffel jumbo ornament surrounded by poinsettias.

The France pavilion at Epcot is especially pretty at Christmastime with all it’s holiday décor.

epcot france

Epcot France 2017

We especially love the oversized Christmas ornaments out by the fountain.

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Arc de Triomphe jumbo ornament. So pretty!

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Celebrating Buche de Noel served on on Christmas Eve.

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All the buildings and windows are draped with holiday decor.  (The 30 year old Impressions de France film really needs updating!!!)

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Elly and Ian on Epcot’s Friendship Bridge.

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Epcot France at Christmastime.

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It’s very romantic at night.

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The Eiffel Tower in red, white, and blue.

mickey christmas

Epcot’s Holidays Around the World celebration is going on right now!

tea

Let’s not forget about the Christmas Tea at the UK pavilion!


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two-disney-sisters

Two Disney sisters.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney.

Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

book

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

****

The Christmas Pickle Tree at Epcot Germany

DSC00448

The Christmas Pickle is sold at Epcot Germany. $20

Something fun to buy at Epcot for the holidays is a Christmas Pickle!

Christmas Pickle Backstory: In the early 1890s, Woolworth department stores started selling glass ornaments imported from Germany that were in the shape of various fruits and vegetables, including a pickle.

Around the same time it was claimed that the Christmas Pickle was a “very old German tradition” and that the pickle was the last ornament hung on the tree on Christmas Eve, buried deep in the tree’s branches.

DSC00447

A whole tree of Christmas pickles!

The first child to find it on Christmas morning is rewarded with one of three things: the privilege of opening the first gift, the receiving an extra gift from Santa, or being granted a year of good luck.

We are friends with an ICP from Germany who worked at Epcot’s Germany pavilion and he said that he never heard of the ‘Christmas Pickle’ before coming to America, and neither did any of his coworkers!

In fact, a survey conducted in 2016 revealed more than 90 percent of Germans asked had never heard of the Christmas pickle.

green pickle

It seems like this pickle would be easy to find on Christmas morning…

Bottom line, the Christmas pickle is actually an American Christmas tradition, not German!

But, we still like the idea of getting an extra present on Christmas morning!

Read more about our visit to Epcot Germany here:  Epcot Germany Pavilion.

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Epcot Germany – A beautiful town square with a real clock tower.

The Germany pavilion is one of our favorite places to shop at Epcot.

Crystal princesses.

Crystal princesses.  So pretty!!

We’ve bought some crystal figurines there and we can’t talk about Germany without talking about the wonderful caramel popcorn at the Karamell Kuche shop!!!

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Werther’s Original Caramels at the Karamell Kuche shop….so delicious!!!!

And, Snow White meets there every afternoon by her wishing well.

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Do you hang a Christmas Pickle on your tree on Christmas Eve?

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two-disney-sisters

Two Disney sisters.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney. Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

book

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

***

2017 Festival of the Holidays at Epcot

bread

Mini Three Kings Bread Rolls

Returning this year to 2017 Festival of the Holidays at Epcot is the Feast of the Three Kings!

We love Mickey & Minnie's costumes for the event!

We love Mickey & Minnie’s fiesta costumes!

Inspired by food and drinks of the Caribbean, the kitchen pays homage to the Día de los Reyes Magos, a holiday celebrated in the Caribbean, Latin America and Spain, not only with the food but also with history, as you get to learn about the celebration itself.

The Feast of the Three Kings features drinks like Coquito (with and without rum) and dishes like a roasted pork with mashed yucca and pickled green bananas, the very traditional Three Kings Bread and a shredded beef tamale with avocado crema.

kings

The Three Kings

Feast of the Three Kings

Dine like royalty as you enjoy scrumptious foods and delicious drinks of the Caribbean. Inspired by the story of the Magi, this holiday kitchen celebrates the tradition of Three Kings’ Day—El Dia De Los Reyes Magos.

Food

  • Shredded Beef Tamale with Avocado Crema and Cilantro Rice
  • Roasted Pork with Smashed Yuca and Pickled Green Bananas
  • Three Kings Bread

 Beverages

  • Presidente Pilsner, Dominican Republic
  • Coquito with a Bacardi® Rum Floater
  • Coquito (non-alcoholic)

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Here’s the recipe for Epcot’s Three Kings Bread so you and your family and make it and enjoy it at home!

Three Kings Bread

 DOUGH

  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons shortening
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • Zest of 1 orange
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3- 3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 4 teaspoons instant yeast

SUGAR PASTE

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 egg

GLAZE

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-4 tablespoons milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

FINISHED BREAD

  • 1 egg
  • 16 Maraschino cherries, chopped
  • Red and green sugar

FOR DOUGH:
1. Place the eggs and water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.
2. Add the sugar, butter, shortening, salt, orange zest, vanilla, and 3 cups of the bread flour to the mixing bowl. Sprinkle instant yeast on top of the flour.
3. Knead on medium speed for 12 minutes, until soft dough forms. Dough will be slightly sticky. If dough is not soft after 12 minutes, add 1/4 cup of flour at a time and knead for 1 additional minute.
4. Portion the dough into 16 balls on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until doubled in size.

FOR SUGAR PASTE:
1. Cream shortening, sugar, and cake flour in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
2. Add egg and mix, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl, until well blended.
3. Set aside.

FOR GLAZE:
1. Whisk powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons of the milk, and vanilla extract together until smooth.
2. Add additional tablespoon of milk, if needed.
3. Set aside.

FOR THREE KINGS BREAD:
1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
2. Beat egg and brush on top of dough.
3. Pipe the sugar paste in an “x” over the top of the balls of dough.
4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
5. Cool for 15 minutes and top with glaze.
6. Sprinkle red and green sugar and chopped maraschino cherries on top of glaze.

You can also find delicious food at Las Posadas holiday kitchen near Mexico. They are serving one of my favorite dishes for the holidays: Buñuelo Navideño – a thin round fried pastry, drizzled with honey and dusted with cinnamon and brown sugar. Delicioso!

Makes 16

Epcot International 2017 Festival of the Holidays takes place until December 30, 2017.

Rosca de Reyes cake

Rosca de Reyes cake – yummy!

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two-disney-sisters

Two Disney sisters.

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

   by Elly Collins & Caroline Collins

Ever wonder what it’s like to work for Disney???

We worked at WDW for a year in the Disney College Program and have written a book about what it’s like to be a cast member working for Disney.

We’ve included advice on how to successfully get into the DCP program, including some of the actual phone interview questions, how to have a successful internship, and how not self-term before your program ends. Our book is filled with lots of behind-the-scene stories of the magic of Disney.

Available now at Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats. Published by Theme Park Press.

Book link on Amazon.com:  Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

book

Two Girls and a Mouse Tale

****