Rumor round-up for October 1, 2014: Censoring Halloween Horror Nights, CityWalk 3.0, and a sneak peek at 2015

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The evolving – and ever-more-reactionary – nature of HHN This week, the Orlando Sentinel reports that a key element of the Bayou of Blood scare zone from Halloween Horror Nights 2014 has been ix-nayed: a mini-show performed every hour on the hour of an “innocent” individual being sacrificed by a voodoo queen and her zombie henchmen. On the one hand, such an alteration isn’t the biggest of deals – yes, even considering that the performance essentially forms the narrative and atmospheric … [Read more...]

Epcot Food & Wine Festival 2014: More selection, better value, and the best showing in years

Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

I have to admit, after the past two years of the annual Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, I was becoming a cynic. It felt to me as though the food and beverage offerings were smaller portions and higher prices than ever before. I am happy to say that, this year, there have been some vast improvements, making 2014’s festival a better experience than in years past. Let's dig in!   The best of the booths During my research visit, I made it my goal to try at least one … [Read more...]

Halloween 2014 in Orlando: A list of our favorite family events in the parks and around town

Brick-or-Treat at LEGOLAND Florida.

Nowadays, Halloween is essentially a two-month-long affair in Orlando. We have more spooky events than you can shake a broom at! From toddlers to teens, from hayrides to haunted houses, there is something to put just the right level of creepy into every child’s holiday. My own kids have enjoyed these events since they were barely walking, and, as teenagers, they still look forward to going. First we'll recap the Halloween events at the big three, then we'll share our recommendations for the … [Read more...]

Epcot trip report – September 2014 (saying farewell to Maelstrom and a sampling of this year’s Food & Wine Festival)

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My family and I visited Walt Disney World’s Epcot on a beautiful sunny afternoon this past weekend. The trip promised to be bittersweet, as I looked forward to smaller crowds and sampling some unique culinary treats at the International Food & Wine Festival, on the one hand, but I also had to say goodbye to some Epcot favorites, on the other. A highlight of my visit this month was riding more attractions in a shorter time span due to the low wait times (Spaceship Earth was at just 10 … [Read more...]

Rumor SPOTLIGHT for September 17, 2014: Disney’s Frozen obsession vs. Universal’s Harry Potter love affair

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The news, although not even a week old, has already exploded across the theme park world like a thermonuclear blast: Disney is closing Maelstrom at Epcot’s Norway Pavilion to make way for the first-ever Frozen attraction. The move, of course, has been extraordinarily controversial, with many enthusiasts asking why more and more of Disney’s highly selective attention is being spent on integrating the animated film into nearly every one of Walt Disney World’s four theme parks (instead of, say, … [Read more...]

Epcot’s Norway Pavilion: The controversy over “Frozen” and bidding farewell to Maelstrom

Epcot's Norway Pavilion.

“Let the storm rage on.” As Elsa so famously sang, a storm of controversy is blowing through the world of Disney fandom. On Friday, September 12, Walt Disney World announced a flurry of Frozen offerings coming to the resort. The largest and most impactful of them, of course, is the Frozen takeover of Epcot’s Maelstrom boat ride in the Norway Pavilion. The announcement has resulted in an avalanche of comments, tweets, emails, and more from Disney fans and casual park guests alike, both for and … [Read more...]

THE BIG 5: Top five new snacks and sips at Walt Disney World theme parks

The Top five new snacks and sips at Walt Disney World.

Walt Disney World has really upped their gastronomic game this year, introducing a bounty of new food and beverages. In 2014 alone, the amount of new food and drinks across all of Disney World could make up multiple BIG 5 posts, but I’ve done the legwork to scope out the best. As we go through our list, it should be noted that we limited this BIG 5 just to the Disney theme parks and any new snack or drink that has been introduced this year.   #5 – Gourmet Cake Cups (Magic … [Read more...]

Rumor SPOTLIGHT for September 3, 2014: King Kong, audio-animatronics, and Universal’s future

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Skull Island’s surprise development: It’s going retro A little over seven months ago, we all got our first glimpse at what the currently-under-construction Skull Island attraction will entail, from the queue to the ride vehicles to the finale. And although we have gotten some word on the new land’s opening date since then, not much else has worked its way out from the dark recesses of the rumor mill to either confirm or negate what was initially reported – until now. Orlando Park News has a … [Read more...]

Reader poll: Winning the theme park wars – which park has the best photo-op?

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The theme park wars aren’t over yet, and, this time, the battle’s striking pretty close to home for a giant swath of the theme-loving audience out there: the best photo-op. Now, of course, there are so many of them in each and every park, we need to whittle the list down to just the most iconic ones - and, not coincidentally, most of these just so happen to be the parks' icons themselves. What is an icon, you ask? It’s the symbolic structure that has come to define and embody that … [Read more...]

Rumor round-up for August 27, 2014: Disney’s amazing new tech and a more intense Star Wars experience

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Brought to you by Disney Drones™ Who says Disney isn’t innovating anymore? Universal might be building Skull Island and developing a brand-new water park, but Disney is looking to push the very frontier of theme park design into a whole new direction – literally. According to Disney and More, Walt Disney Imagineering has filed new patents not even a week ago to utilize quadcopter drones in their parks in unpredictable – and surprisingly delightful – ways. Light shows First up is two … [Read more...]

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