Category: Travel

You Could Win Tickets to the ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Opening Night Party at Walt Disney World Resort

By M and M Travel and Tours on in Travel

The entry period has ended. Please keep your eye on the Disney Parks Blog for future opportunities.

We know many of our readers are as excited as we are about the official debut of the “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” film, so we’re offering a chance to see the film at Disney Springs and then join us for a Star Wars after-hours party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on Thursday, December 17, 2015.

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You can enter for a chance to win two (2) tickets to the sold-out “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” party which begins at 7 p.m. EST on Thursday, December 17, 2015 at AMC Disney Springs 24 (check-in begins at 8 a.m. EST). Winners will have a confirmed seat at one of the first public showings of “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” And the party will continue after the film, as winners can join a private after-hours party at Disney’s Hollywood Studios until 2 a.m.

At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, winners will have access to the new Star Wars Launch Bay exhibit, the Star Tours – The Adventures Continue attraction, a DJ dance party and other special event experiences. The night will be highlighted with the preview of a new fireworks spectacular set to the iconic “Star Wars” score.

You can enter for a chance to win by clicking here and following the entry instructions to complete an official entry form. Your entry must state your valid email address and full name.

Also, there are a few things you should know:

All entrants must be 18 years or older (or the age of majority in their state of primary residence, whichever is older) at time of entry, but guests of the winners do not need to be 18 or older (as long as the guest is the child of the winner).

  • We will send a notice, via email, to the winning entrants.
  • Limit one guest per winner.
  • It will be necessary for the winner and guest to check-in in advance of the party. Instructions will be provided to winners.
  • Winners must provide their own transportation to/from Disney Springs and Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • Valid photo I.D. will be required at check-in.
  • Winning prizes are non-transferrable and have no cash value.

Hope to see you there.

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Starts 11:00 A.M. ET on December 14, 2015, and ends 3:00 P.M. ET on December 14, 2015. Open only to legal residents of the 50 U.S. or D.C. who are 18 years of age or older at time of entry. To enter, follow the instructions at http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2015/09/disney-parks-blog-hosts-star-wars-the-force-awakens-opening-night-party. Prize does not include accommodations or transportation between winner’s home and the party taking place on December 17, 2015. Limit one (1) entry per person. For full details including eligibility requirements, odds of winning and prize limitations, see Official Rules. Void where prohibited.

You Could Win Tickets to the ‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’ Opening Night Party at Walt Disney World Resort by Thomas Smith: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

‘Brunch at the Top’ Debuts February 7th, 2016 at California Grill

By M and M Travel and Tours on in Travel

We love the nighttime views from California Grill high atop Disney’s Contemporary Resort, but the daytime skyline is equally spectacular, with a bird’s-eye view of Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot and Disney’s resort hotels. And now a new Sunday brunch opens the beautiful restaurant for daytime dining for the first time ever.

‘Brunch at the Top’ at California Grill at Disney's Contemporary Resort

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‘Brunch at the Top’ Debuts February 7th, 2016 at California Grill

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The new Brunch at the Top is the perfect way to indulge on a leisurely Sunday – not quite breakfast, not quite lunch. Chef Brian Piasecki’s team is excited to launch a whole new menu to showcase their fresh, market-driven cuisine. Of course a glass of bubbly or wine (the restaurant has more than 1,600 bottles on display) pairs nicely. And there’s an over-the-top Bloody Mary Bar as well as cocktails and craft brews, as well as a signature brunch cocktail and faux “mimosas” for kids (though you can also stick with the custom-roast French press coffee).

And here’s the fun part – you get the chance to interact with the culinary team in the open show kitchen while savoring charcuterie, sushi and market-inspired salads. Start the experience with an assortment of house-made breakfast pastries delivered to your table (think caramel apple Monkey bread, Tillamook Cheddar biscuit and cranberry scones pecan) with house-made jam and orange blossom honey butter. Then head to the show kitchen for small tastes such as house smoked orange honey ham, deviled Lake Meadow Naturals eggs, Greek yogurt with vanilla-scented granola and fresh berries, kale and apple salad, baby iceberg wedge with Cherrywood bacon and avocado-buttermilk Ranch dressing, hardwood smoked salmon, California rolls with jumbo lump crabmeat, spicy tuna rolls and shrimp tempura with orange drizzle and mango. (That’s just a sampling.)

Then choose your next course, delivered tableside:

  • Pan-Fried Buttermilk Organic Chicken Cutlet with Haricots Verts, Toasted Almonds, Frisée, Beurre Noisette;
  • Sweet Potato Pancakes with Caramelized Heirloom Apples, Dried Cranberry and Raisin Compote, Vanilla
  • Custard, Warm Canadian Maple Syrup;
  • Shrimp and Grits, Gulf White Shrimp with Tillamook Cheddar Grits, Spicy Tomato Broth,
    Espellette-Spiced Tomato Ragout;
  • Poached Lobster Benedict with Butter-Poached Tail, Two Soft-Poached Eggs, Honey Ham,
    Yuzu Hollandaise, Marble Potato Hash;
  • Chef’s Frittata with Three Lake Meadow Farms Eggs, Florida Heirloom Tomatoes, Roasted Poblanos, Chorizo, Creamy Goat Cheese, Marble Potato Hash;
  • Grilled Flat Iron Steak with Soft Poached Eggs, Chimichurri, Marble Potato Hash and Charred Red Onion.

If there’s room, share sweet mini-desserts, macarons and chocolate truffles while enjoying the beautiful skyline out the floor-to-ceiling windows. The restaurant’s Mid-Century Modern design has a different vibe in the daytime – Disney fans will want to check out the carpet, inspired by artist and Disney Legend Mary Blair’s sketches. Mary created the character designs for iconic Disney attractions such as “it’s a small world” and inspired the colorful mosaic tile art stretching 10 floors high on the fourth floor of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Fun little detail.

Cost is $80, $48 ages 3 to 11. Reservations open December 16, and can be made by visiting DisneyWorld.com/dine or by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

‘Brunch at the Top’ Debuts February 7th, 2016 at California Grill by Pam Brandon: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

Disney Doodle: Tarzan & Jane Enjoy Jingle Cruise

By M and M Travel and Tours on in Travel

In this week’s Disney Doodle, artist Ashley Taylor imagines what it would look like if Tarzan and Jane explored The Jungle Cruise at Magic Kingdom Park during this month’s “Jingle Cruise” transformation.

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It’s an amazing nighttime tour!


See the posts below for more Disney Doodles:

Disney Doodle: Tarzan & Jane Enjoy Jingle Cruise by Jennifer Fickley-Baker: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

Moms Panel Monday: Need Dinner Recommendations?

By M and M Travel and Tours on in Travel

When it comes to planning a Disney vacation, very few people can offer better advice than the Disney Parks Moms Panel. Their knowledge and experience makes them the best source for planning tips. For Moms Panel Monday, we asked our panelists to share their favorite questions from the year.

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A guest from Alabama wanted to know what dining options were available before her family headed to the Chip ‘n’ Dale’s Campfire Sing-a-long at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. Moms Panelist Anne gave great recommendations on all the delicious and entertaining options available including feasting on a picnic to-go or enjoying a classic singing and dancing family dinner show.

Another guest from West Virginia asked for suggestions on how to surprise her daughter with the news they were going to a character breakfast. Moms Panelist Rachel offered a very special and creative idea that she used with her own children. This answer will melt your heart for sure!

And Moms Panelist Sue gives splendid advice about all the fun and unique things to do at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. The question came from a mom traveling with her six kids and the grandparents and wanted more information about this exquisite resort. Sue said this was just a fun question to answer.

Do you have a question about planning a Disney vacation? Be sure to ask the Disney Parks Moms Panel.

Moms Panel Monday: Need Dinner Recommendations? by Leanne O'Regan: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

VIDEO: Disney Legend Dick Van Dyke Celebrates 90th Birthday at Disneyland Park

By M and M Travel and Tours on in Travel

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“In this whole wide world there was no happier bloke” than entertainment icon and Disney Legend Dick Van Dyke as he celebrated his 90th birthday with family, friends and fans at Disneyland park on Sunday.

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From a special dedication inside the Jolly Holiday Bakery Café to a cavalcade down Main Street, U.S.A., during a day filled with love and laughter “…nowhere was there a more happier crew than them what sings ‘Happy Birthday to you!’”

VIDEO: Disney Legend Dick Van Dyke Celebrates 90th Birthday at Disneyland Park by George Savvas: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

Reservations Now Open for ‘Paint the Night’ Parade Dining Packages at Disneyland Park

By M and M Travel and Tours on in Travel

A few weeks ago, fellow Disney Parks Blog author, Erin Glover, shared the exciting news that “Paint the Night” parade dining packages are coming to Disneyland park beginning January 11, 2016. And now, reservations for these packages are open!

At Blue Bayou Restaurant, the “Paint the Night” parade package is offered with regular dinner service and menu from 4 p.m. – close. Enjoy an appetizer, entrée and choice of dessert. Kid’s meals are available for guests ages 3 to 9.

Lasagna BologneseHerb-Marinated Grilled Chicken with Seasonal VegetablesVegetarian Lasagna

Aladdin’s Oasis will have special On-the-Go meals that include “Paint the Night” parade viewing. Meals can be picked up beginning at noon. Adult entrees include salad with choice of dressing, dinner roll, marbled cheesecake and a beverage in addition to your choice of:

  • Herb-marinated grilled chicken with seasonal vegetables
  • Lasagna Bolognese
  • Vegetarian lasagna
Kids' Herb-Marinated ChickenKids'Macaroni and Cheese

Kids’ meals include seasonal vegetables, fresh fruit, a dinner roll, Mickey-shaped cookie and a beverage in addition to your choice of:

  • Herb-marinated chicken
  • Pasta
  • Macaroni and cheese

Each dining package includes a voucher for preferred viewing of “Paint the Night” parade for that day. Each voucher will list the location, arrival time and show performance time for the parade viewing. Availability of “Paint the Night” parade dining packages are limited. For reservations, visit Disneyland.com/dine or call 714-781-DINE.

Reservations Now Open for ‘Paint the Night’ Parade Dining Packages at Disneyland Park by Rachel Bshero: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

Recipe: Peanut Butter Blondies from Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats

By M and M Travel and Tours on in Travel

Today I’m sharing the recipe of another delectable dessert at Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats on the Disney Dream – peanut butter blondies filled with caramel chocolate cream. We make these blondies with a fun “Wreck-It-Ralph” wafer on top, but you can get creative to decorate yours for the holidays or other special occasions.

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Peanut Butter Blondies filled with Caramel Chocolate Cream
Makes 15 blondies

Ingredients: Peanut Butter Blondies

  • 13 Oz White Couverture Chocolate / Chopped
  • 5 Oz Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Oz Crunchy Peanut Butter
  • 14 Oz Brown Sugar
  • 5 each Eggs
  • 11 Oz All Purpose Flour
  • 5 Oz
  • Pecans / Chopped
  • Dark Coating Chocolate for Dipping

Directions:

  1. Melt the chocolate, butter and peanut butter in a pan over medium heat.
  2. Whisk the eggs and brown sugar together until thick.
  3. Fold the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, and then fold in the flour and pecans.
  4. Pour the mixture in a prepared brownie pan and bake at 360 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. The brownie should be soft in the middle.
  5. Remove the brownie from the oven to cool. Once cooled, cut into rectangle shapes.

Ingredients: Caramel Chocolate Cream

  • 4 Oz Granulated Sugar
  • 1 cup Heavy Cream
  • 11 Oz White Couverture Chocolate / Chopped
  • 4 Oz White Coating Chocolate / Chopped

Directions:

  1. Place the heavy cream in a saucepan, and on low heat, warm the cream.
  2. Make a caramel with the sugar by adding a small portion of the sugar in a saucepan over a medium-high heat. Stir the sugar constantly as it starts to melt and turn golden brown. Continue to add the remainder of the sugar into the hot caramel.
  3. When the caramelized sugar turns to a golden color, carefully pour the warm cream into the caramel. Stir in the cream until all the sugar and cream is combined and there are no lumps.
  4. Pour the hot caramel mixture over the two white chocolates and stir together until smooth. Set aside to cool.
  5. Melt the dark coating chocolate in a bowl over a double boiler saucepan on low heat. Stir until the chocolate is melted. Remove the bowl from the heat.
  6. To assemble the peanut butter blondies, dip the brownies into the melted chocolate. As you remove the brownie, scrape off the excess chocolate and place on trays with wax paper on the bottom. Let the chocolate set.
  7. Place the caramel chocolate cream in a pastry bag with a plain nozzle on the end of the bag tip. Pipe the caramel chocolate over the blondie and decorate accordingly.

Find out more about Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats from my previous posts:

Recipe: Peanut Butter Blondies from Vanellope’s Sweets and Treats by Kelly Vanarsdall: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

Carnival’s ‘Merry Grinchmas’ Celebrations Bring Holiday Cheer To Kids At Medical University Of South Carolina Children’s Hospital In Charleston And Baltimore’s Ronald McDonald House

By M and M Travel and Tours on in Travel

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Carnival RMDHCB Merry Grnchmas 2

Carnival Cruise Line, in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises, brought some holiday cheer to kids at the Medical University of South Carolina Children’s Hospital in Charleston and The Ronald McDonald House in Baltimore, hosting fun-filled “Merry Grinchmas” celebrations with appearances from The Grinch and more.

Carnival also presented each facility with a $10,000 donation during the festivities.

In addition to a reading of the classic Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas, entertainment and youth staff from the Charleston-based Carnival Fantasy and Baltimore-based Carnival Pride cruise ships recreated the line’s popular holiday show with the ships’ singers and dancers performing for kids in each facility’s respective play areas.

The shows were highlighted by a visit from The Grinch as the cantankerous curmudgeon did his best to “stop Christmas from coming” by stealing the cruise directors’ favorite holiday ornament. After being transformed by the real meaning of Christmas, the legendary green character returned the item in a heartwarming end-of-show celebration. The Grinch is entertaining guests throughout the Carnival fleet in December as part of the line’s exclusive Seuss at Sea program in partnership with Dr. Seuss Enterprises.

Dr. Seuss characters and the shipboard team members also distributed Dr. Seuss-themed gift bags to each child. Kids were also given their own Grinch Good Deed Tracker with a list of good deed suggestions to allow them to, just like The Grinch, grow their heart “three times its size.”

“As a proud member of the Charleston and Baltimore communities, we’re delighted to support these two outstanding organizations and create memorable moments for these wonderful kids at this special time of year,” said Christine Duffy, Carnival president.

“Carnival’s Grinchmas, specially coordinated for the children and families in the MUSC Children’s Hospital, brought much color, music and excitement to their hospital stay! The opportunity to meet the Dr. Seuss characters and watch the cruise line performers created fun-filled positive memories for our patients in what can be a stressful environment,” said Betsy McMillian, child life manager at MUSC Children’s Hospital. “Additionally, their generous donation will help make our new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Women’s Pavilion a reality!”

Added Sandy Pagnotti, president of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Baltimore,

“The Carnival entertainment team not only spread smiles and holiday cheer to the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Baltimore, but delivered a very generous and much appreciated gift that will go toward providing care to those who use our services in the coming year.”

Carnival Cruise Line operates year-round departures from both Charleston and Baltimore carrying more than 100,000 guests annually from those ports.

For additional information and reservations on Carnival’s holiday sailings and other cruises throughout the year, contact any travel agent, call 1-800-CARNIVAL or visit carnival.com.

Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap

By M and M Travel and Tours on in Travel

This week, we continued sharing some great holiday stories from Disney Parks, including another behind the scenes look at one of your favorite attractions. The Disneyland Resort Entertainment team has turned the Jungle Cruise in Disneyland park into the Jingle Cruise and we took a special tour to see how they did it.

It takes about two weeks of work to change the Jungle Cruise into the Jingle Cruise for the holidays. For more information, check out Shannon’s original story.

And we also featured 16 new products that will make 2016 an Unforgettable year at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts in our exclusive Disney Parks Blog “unboxed” series. The items shown in the video will be released throughout 2016 (we don’t have exact dates at this time).

Once released at Disney Parks, you may find select items using the Shop Disney Parks mobile app. This free app gives you access to thousands of products we carry at Disney Parks which you can have shipped directly to your home. To download, please visit DisneyWorld.com/Shop.

Let us know which item is your favorite in the comments.

Here are some of the other stories we worked on this week.

Discover Holidays at the Disneyland Resort with Santa Claus – Recently I had the chance to sit down with the big man in red himself, Santa Claus. We chatted about all there is to see and do during the holidays during the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration.

#DisneyFamilia: Get Festive at Walt Disney World Resort With Gifts, Events and More! – The holiday season is in full swing at Walt Disney World Resort! Here are a few ideas on things to do and gifts for your familia!

Take a Look at These Chocolates From New Ganachery at Disney Springs – The Ganachery chocolate boutique at Disney Springs opens December 15, where delectable chocolate is the star of the show. An extraordinary custom-blended dark chocolate is blended with cream, then covered in a “chocolate waterfall” to create 16 fabulous flavors, from coffee to cinnamon and curry. Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate!

Enjoy the Holidays at the Hotels of the Disneyland Resort – This year, the holiday season sparkles even brighter during the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. It’s one of the best times to not only visit our parks, but also stay at one of our three hotels.

The Walt Disney Archives Brings Walt’s Office Back to the Disney Studios Lot – Today Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger presided over a special ceremony to dedicate the newly restored office of Walt Disney in the Animation Building at the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank.

Disney Parks Blog Weekly Recap by Thomas Smith: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

This Week in Disney Park Photos: ‘Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season’

By M and M Travel and Tours on in Travel

When I first saw the collection of pictures Jennifer Fickley-Baker shared of this fireworks display, I thought they were paintings. The burst of colors and festive images projected onto Cinderella Castle are so vivid. Here’s another look in case you missed it:

‘Holiday Wishes’ Fireworks at Magic Kingdom Park

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11 Photos Of ‘Holiday Wishes’ Fireworks at Magic Kingdom Park

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One of my favorite parts of the holiday season is seeing light displays of all kinds. And this one – combining lights, projections and fireworks – is a pretty spectacular gift for our guests visiting during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom Park.

What’s your favorite holiday display at Disney Parks?

This Week in Disney Park Photos: ‘Holiday Wishes: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season’ by Victoria Lim: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog