Category: Travel

Are you ready to runDisney? Fast Facts about Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend

By M and M Travel and Tours in Travel

Have you ever participated in a runDisney event? If so, you know that there is no other race like it! Whether it’s your first time participating in an event or you are a seasoned racer, here are a few “fast” facts you might not have known about Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna.

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Who exactly likes to runDisney?

Not only are all 50 states represented during marathon weekend, but athletes from 67 countries participate as well. In fact, there are over 56,000 unique runners registered in all of the events.

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The start line of the Walt Disney World 5K, Walt Disney World 10K, Walt Disney World Half Marathon and Walt Disney World Marathon will have approximately 113,500 pairs of shoes that will cross the combined start lines.

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Are you a fan of our theme parks? If you’ve visited Epcot and explored World Showcase, you might not be too far off from completing a 5K! Walking from Mexico to Canada clockwise is roughly 1.2 miles. If you walk around World Showcase three times, you’ve gone a little bit further than the distance of a 5K, which is 3.1 miles. When you think of distance in Disney terms, it’s completely achievable!

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What do you love most about runDisney?
Or, have you ever considered joining the fun?
For more information on upcoming races visit runDisney.com.

Participating in the upcoming races? Share your #WDWMarathon experience with us:

Are you ready to runDisney? Fast Facts about Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend by Aubrey Hang: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

New Hyperlapse Video: See What’s Included on a Disney Cruise in 100 Seconds

By M and M Travel and Tours in Travel

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the thousands of pictures in our new hyperlapse video say it all. This fast-paced look at a Disney cruise to the Bahamas gives you an exciting glimpse at what’s included on a Disney Dream voyage – in just 100 seconds. Check it out!

New Hyperlapse Video: See What’s Included on a Disney Cruise in 100 Seconds by Jonathan Frontado: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

The Ganachery Chocolate Shop Now Open at Disney Springs

By M and M Travel and Tours in Travel

The Ganachery is now open at Disney Springs, a jewel box of a shop that showcases the beauty of chocolate with an experience much like a wine tasting. The star of the show is a custom-made ganache, Disney’s own recipe for a luxurious mixture of melted chocolate and cream.

Thanks to Walt Disney Imagineering, the little shop expands the story of chocolate through the design, costumes, graphics, props and packaging, says Imagineer Theron Skees.

“We like to tell a story, because when guests arrive they want to feel like it’s a real place,” says Skees. Like all the buildings at Disney Springs, there is a history – the shop used to be an apothecary where residents of the springs came for medicinal needs. Then, as the story goes, the space was taken over by a South American couple who turned their love for the cocoa bean into a fantastic chocolate shop. (Most of the cocoa beans are sourced from South America, so the Imagineers wanted to layer in a Latin American flair, from the ceramic drawer pulls to music seasoned with South American sounds.)

“It’s a fresh take on an old apothecary,” says Skees. Bottles, scales and other props are inspired by drugstores of another era, and well-used copper pots add a layer of history. Be sure to check out the chandelier made from authentic copper pots and kettles used to make chocolate.

Walls are painted the color of dark chocolate, another the color of caramel. Photos on the wall are the couple that opened the shop, making a fictitious history seem more real. “Our cast members will bring our story to life and make our guests feel part of it,” says Skees.

The theming carries through right down to the packaging, says Skees. “Traditional Apothecary labels are ‘blocked’ with spaces for weights, measurements and descriptions, so we were inspired by that idea and made it more modern for the elegant chocolate bars and chocolate boxes.” Thus the clever tagline, “the cure for common chocolate.” The packaging design and all of the shop’s coloration are browns, caramel, cream and ivory, inspired by all the colors of chocolate.

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The Ganachery Chocolate Shop Now Open at Disney Springs

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A big show window looks into a gleaming white, stainless steel kitchen where you can see chocolatiers preparing all the chocolate. “This is where Old World meets New World,” says Skees. Stop by and try one of the 16 flavors of ganache, like dark chocolate with a touch of shaved Egyptian salt, or milk chocolate with a dash of dark chocolate and a pinch of Sri Lankan cinnamon. You’ll never think of chocolate the same.

The Ganachery Chocolate Shop Now Open at Disney Springs by Pam Brandon: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

Celebrate National Cupcake Day at Contempo Café at Disney’s Contemporary Resort

By M and M Travel and Tours in Travel

It’s no secret that I love cupcakes. The pastry team at Disney’s Contemporary Resort creates beautiful cupcakes, each one a work of art. (Check out how they’re made in this video!) Each month, cupcakes are themed to the season, holidays and more. To celebrate National Cupcake Day, I’ve got a sneak peek of the Contempo Café 2016 cupcake calendar:

  • January (December 26 – January 30): Strawberry Cupcake with strawberry filling and buttercream icing; Vanilla Cupcake with cookies and cream filling and chocolate buttercream. Also look for a cupcake to commemorate the winner of ‘The Big Game.’
  • February (January 31 – February 27): Mexican Coffee Cupcake–chocolate cake with Mexican coffee cream filling; Vanilla Cupcake with cookies and cream filling and chocolate-orange swirled vanilla buttercream. Look for a special Sweetheart Cupcake on Valentine’s Day, as well as a special cupcake to during the runDisney Princess Half Marathon Weekend.

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  • March (February 28 – April 2): Strawberry Shortcake Cupcake–vanilla cake with strawberry filling and buttercream; Indiana Jones Cupcake–chocolate cake with peanut butter filling and chocolate-raspberry buttercream. Special cupcakes will also be offered on St. Patrick’s Day, as well as Easter.
  • April (April 3 – April 30): Carrot Cake Cupcake with cream cheese filling and white chocolate buttercream; Indiana Jones Cupcake.

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  • May (May 1 – May 28): Watermelon Cupcake with watermelon cream filling and buttercream icing; Churro Cupcake–cinnamon cake with vanilla-cinnamon custard filling and vanilla buttercream. Make Mom smile with a Coconut Cream Cupcake, available only on Mother’s Day.
  • June (May 29 – July 2): In addition to the Churro Cupcake, the café will serve a Pineapple Cupcake–pineapple cake with pineapple filling and raspberry buttercream. Look for a Peanut Butter Cupcake, available only on Father’s Day–vanilla cake, peanut butter and chocolate chip filling topped with peanut butter buttercream.

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  • July (July 3 – July 30): Cherry Cupcake with cherry filling and pistachio buttercream; Banana Flip Cupcake–vanilla cake with banana cream filling and banana buttercream. You won’t want to miss the Independence Day S’mores Cupcake—graham cracker cake with chocolate ganache filling and marshmallow buttercream—available only on July 4.
  • August (July 31 – Aug. 27): Banana Flip Cupcake, as well as the Turtle Cupcake with caramel cake and chocolate-pecan filling topped with caramel-chocolate icing. On August 4, look for a Neapolitan Cupcake to celebrate the birthday of Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

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  • September (August 28 – October 1): Candy Apple Cupcake with vanilla cake and candy apple filling and buttercream; Candy Bar Cupcake with chocolate cake, peanut-caramel filling and caramel buttercream. On Labor Day (September 5), look for a special red velvet cupcake with blueberry pie filling, topped with cream cheese buttercream.

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  • October (October 2 – November 5): Candy Bar Cupcake, as well as the Pumpkin Cupcake with cream cheese filling, topped with cinnamon buttercream. Just for Halloween (October 23-31), look for a spooky Skeleton Cupcake.

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  • November (November 6 – December 3): Apple Cupcake with cinnamon cake and apple filling, topped with apple-butter rum buttercream; Villain Cupcake with vanilla cake, topped with vanilla buttercream. For Thanksgiving (November 24), look for a pumpkin cupcake with cherry pie filling and cream cheese buttercream.
  • December (December 4 – December 31): In addition to the Villain Cupcake, enjoy the Eggnog Spice Cupcake with eggnog cream filling and vanilla bean buttercream. On Walt Disney’s birthday (December 5), celebrate with a Lemon Meringue Cupcake—Walt’s favorite! For the holidays (December 23 – December 25), enjoy a Mickey Santa Hat Cupcake with gingerbread cake, chocolate buttercream filling, topped with vanilla buttercream.

In addition to the cupcakes listed above, you’ll find a “Frozen“-themed cupcake every month in addition to the popular Dirt and Worms Cupcake.

How will you celebrate National Cupcake Day? Let us know in the comments below!

Celebrate National Cupcake Day at Contempo Café at Disney’s Contemporary Resort by Rachel Bshero: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

U.S. Marine, Five-Year-Old Daughter Reunited with Help of Santa Claus at the Disneyland Resort

By M and M Travel and Tours in Travel

Yesterday, I was honored to witness what the holidays are all about, right here at Disneyland park! After a seven-month deployment, U.S. Marine Brian Demo was reunited with his five-year-old daughter, Abigail, whose one and only wish was to have her daddy home in time for Christmas.

Abigail brought a letter to Santa sharing her special wish. Santa asked Abigail to close her eyes and ring a magic bell. He said that if her heart was true, then her wish just might come true.

It is moments like these that make the Disneyland Resort the Happiest Place on Earth. Watch their heartfelt reunion!

U.S. Marine, Five-Year-Old Daughter Reunited with Help of Santa Claus at the Disneyland Resort by Kevin Rafferty, Jr.: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

Watch ‘Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular’ Debut At Disney’s Hollywood Studios December 18 at 11 p.m. EST

By M and M Travel and Tours in Travel

Earlier this month, many new Star Wars offerings debuted at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, including Star Wars Launch Bay and Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple. We’re happy to share with you today that the next offering set to debut, the “Symphony In The Stars: A Galactic Spectacular” fireworks show, will blast off at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on December 18 – and we’ll be there to live stream the first show for all of you.

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“Symphony In The Stars: A Galactic Spectacular” is a dazzling Star Wars-themed fireworks show that’s set to memorable music featured throughout the saga. The spectacular will be featured nightly at the park.

Interested? Tune back in on Friday, December 18 at 11 p.m. EST. We’ll launch a fresh blog post just before showtime. We hope you can make it!

Watch ‘Symphony in the Stars: A Galactic Spectacular’ Debut At Disney’s Hollywood Studios December 18 at 11 p.m. EST by Jennifer Fickley-Baker: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

Latest in Behind the Scenes: Carnival Vista Video Series Showcases Ship’s Innovative Accommodations and the First IMAX Theatre at Sea

By M and M Travel and Tours in Travel

In episode five in the Behind the Scenes: Carnival Vista video series, host Peter Gonzalez takes viewers on a tour of the ship’s IMAX Theater – the first ever on a cruise ship – as well as the innovative accommodations that will be featured aboard the new 130,000-ton vessel which is currently being constructed at the Fincantieri shipyard in Italy.

The video, which can be viewed here, examines the logistical challenges of installing the massive three-deck-high screen that will comprise the IMAX Theater, which is part of the Carnival Multiplex that also includes the Thrill Theater, a multi-dimensional cinema experience, and a concession stand. Workers must cut through the ship’s hull to install a series of three panels weighing a collective 7,300 pounds. The 182-seat IMAX Theater will showcase the latest Hollywood blockbusters, IMAX classics and IMAX documentary content.

Gonzalez also visits Fincantieri’s stateroom warehouse where the Carnival Vista’s 1,977 cabins are pre-fabricated. It is a painstaking process as each stateroom – from unique tropical-themed Havana cabins and the new Family Harbor accommodations to cove balcony staterooms closer to the water line – is constructed individually and then placed within its respective location on board.

The newest, largest and most innovative “Fun Ship” to date, Carnival Vista is set to debut May 1, 2016, in Europe before repositioning to New York in November to operate a pair of 11-day voyages then launch year-round Caribbean service later that month.

Morse Named Senior Vice President of Hotel Operations For Carnival Cruise Line

By M and M Travel and Tours in Travel

Richard Morse

Richard Morse – an accomplished professional with more than 35 years of experience in the hotel and resort industry – has been named senior vice president of hotel operations for Miami-based Carnival Cruise Line, the world’s largest cruise operator.

In this capacity, Morse will be responsible for all guest-facing aspects of the Carnival vacation experience, including entertainment, culinary and dining, beverage, housekeeping, and guest services and logistics. He joins Carnival January 11, 2016, reporting to Gus Antorcha, Carnival’s executive vice president of guest shipboard operations.

Prior to joining Carnival, Morse spent 36 years at Marriott International, one of the world’s largest hotel companies, most recently serving as general manager of Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at the National Harbor in Maryland.

In addition to on-property experience, which included management positions at the New York Marriott Marquis in Times Square and the Renaissance Miami Biscayne properties, Morse served as regional vice president of Renaissance Hotels for the eastern U.S. and area vice president for Marriott’s Select Service and Extended Stay properties in the eastern U.S. Morse earned his bachelor’s degree in hotel administration from Cornell University.

“Richard is the ideal candidate for this position, possessing extensive experience in all aspects of guest operations, while assembling a talented team for one of the world’s most successful hotel companies,” Antorcha said. “His wide-ranging experience, outstanding management skills and commitment to innovation will be of great benefit as we continue to build upon our leadership position in the cruise industry,” he added.

New Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen Opens Dec. 16 in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort

By M and M Travel and Tours in Travel

Diners at Magic Kingdom Park can soon set off on a culinary adventure at a new eatery in Adventureland featuring “World Famous Jungle Cuisine.” The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen will open on December 16 at Walt Disney World Resort.

Just steps from the legendary Jungle Cruise attraction you can enjoy the bold, flavorful tastes of Asia, South America and Africa at this new 222-seat table-service restaurant staffed by the wisecracking crew of the Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd.

The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen at Magic Kingdom Park

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New Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen Opens Dec. 16 in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort

view allBuck Breast Rice Noodle Bowl at The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen at Magic Kingdom ParkAmazon Annie’s House-made Arepas from The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen at Magic Kingdom ParkPunch Line Punch from The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen at Magic Kingdom ParkDr. Falls’ Signature Grilled Steak from The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen at Magic Kingdom ParkCoconut Bar with Pineapple-Basil Compote and Vanilla Cream from The Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen at Magic Kingdom ParkThe Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen at Magic Kingdom Park

There are three dining destinations within the company’s headquarters-turned-restaurant: Hungry passengers may find themselves in the mess hall or the jungle-inspired parlor once used by the company’s founder, Dr. Albert Falls and his family. Behind the once secret bookcase lies an additional dining room in a former meeting room of the mysterious Society of Explorers and Adventurers.

The Jungle Skipper Canteen touts an adventurous menu with some new and interesting dishes inspired by the exotic flavors of the rivers traveled on the Jungle Cruise. You can try head-on shrimp or sustainable fish collar, or stick with delicious, familiar tastes such as a grilled steak, pork tenderloin or chicken breast.

  • House-made arepas with slow-cooked beef, black beans, tostones and queso fresco;
  • Dr. Falls’ Signature Grilled Steak, a strip loin marinated in sofrito and served with yuca planks, avocado and house-made chimichurri;
  • Rice Noodle Bowl with an Asian pho broth with choice of chicken, duck breast or tofu served with jalapeños and mix of fresh herbs;
  • Trader Sam’s Head-on Shrimp, with sustainable, local, farm-raised shrimp tossed in a chili-garlic sauce and served with Chinese broccoli and choice of five-grain or white rice;
  • Coconut Bar with Pineapple-Basil Compote and Vanilla Cream – a vanilla chiffon cake with coconut and lime topped with white chocolate ganache;
  • Kungaloosh! This African-inspired chocolate cake is served with caramelized bananas and cashew-caramel ice cream topped with coffee dust.

Little ones can try something a little different:

  • Junior Skip’s Special Mac and Cheese is inspired by an Egyptian dish with ground beef, pasta, Béchamel Sauce and house-made cheese gratin, served with broccoli;
  • Amazon Annie’s House-made Arepas with slow-cooked beef, black beans and queso fresco served with yuca planks;
  • Sizzling Savanna Grilled Flank Steak with steamed broccoli and fingerling potatoes;
  • Smiley’s Little Croc of Chicken Noodle Soup;
  • Kids Volcano! (This gooey chocolate cake with caramel lava and exploding chocolate rocks will make your little one shout “ ‘UH OA!”)

Two non-alcoholic specialties will be served: the Punch Line Punch, with tropical fruit juice and mango puree (also available with a spiced rim for an extra zinger); and the Schweitzer Slush, with frozen apple juice and passion fruit topped with bursting green apple boba balls (legend has it this was first concocted by the noted explorer and humanitarian, Dr. Albert Slush).

The Disney Dining Plan is accepted, as well as Tables in Wonderland discounts.

New Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen Opens Dec. 16 in Magic Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort by Pam Brandon: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog

VIDEO – Holiday Gift Ideas from Newly Expanded World of Disney at Disney Springs Marketplace

By M and M Travel and Tours in Travel

With the holiday shopping season in full swing at Disney Parks, I visited World of Disney in Disney Springs Marketplace at Walt Disney World Resort to find great gifts for loved ones. You may recall the shop was recently expanded with additional 6,000 sq. ft of retail selling space, a new entrance to the location, and more. Here is a video recap of my shopping adventure!

For guests using the Shop Disney Parks mobile app, free shipping continues through January 2, 2016. To download this free app, please visit DisneyWorld.com/Shop.

Happy Shopping!

VIDEO – Holiday Gift Ideas from Newly Expanded World of Disney at Disney Springs Marketplace by Steven Miller: Originally posted on the Disney Parks Blog