Jan 13

Details on Disney’s Limited Time Magic “True Love Week”

Valentine's Day Magic KingdomLove is in the air at Walt Disney World Resort as fairytale princesses find true love with their princes, and “happily ever after” becomes reality. It all happens during True Love Week February 11-17, 2013.

The week long love fest is all part of Limited Time Magic at Disney Parks, where each week in 2013 guests will be treated to a sprinkling of Disney magic where unexpected surprises and delights enhance vacation memories.

During True Love Week, a tapestry of romance is woven throughout the resort — from limited- time Valentine’s merchandise and special entertainment, to romantic dinners for two and new themed photo locations offering greetings with beloved Disney sweethearts – all for a limited-time only.

The week long event celebrates the love of friends and family, and invites couples to rekindle the flame. Here is the lineup:

  • Romantic Setting: Guests will feel the romance at every turn, as banners proclaiming True Love, heart-shaped signage and sweetheart-themed décor adorn the Magic Kingdom.
  • Blushing Castle: At dusk, hues of pink, red, lavender and blue bathe Cinderella Castle with themed lighting synced to a musical melodies adding to the ambiance.
  • Dinners for Two: Candlelit dinners for two with prix fixe menus at select restaurants  during the most romantic week of the year.  Specially-created menus at Artist Point (Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort);  The Wave…of American Flavors (Disney’s Contemporary Resort); Hollywood Brown Derby (Disney’s Hollywood Studios); Yachtsman Steakhouse (Disney’s Yacht Club Resort) make an ideal setting for a romantic evening. To book visit Disneyworld.com or call 407/WDW-DINE.
  • Valentine’s-themed Takeaways: Limited-edition pins, plushes, newly-designed apparel and Vinylmations available at select merchandise locations.
  • Royal Gathering:  The rare opportunity to get a photo with Disney Princes as they escort their Princesses to enchanting character greeting locations.

In Town Square Theater you may find Mickey and Minnie, Aurora with Phillip or Rapunzel and Flynn. Mary Poppins joins Bert in Fantasyland, while Prince Naveen and Princess Tiana meet guests in the Enchanted Glade in Liberty Square.

Romantic Photo Locations in Magic Kingdom with your Sweetie:

  • Carriage Awaits: New Fantasyland invites lovers to create memories alongside Cinderella’s Glass Coach situated by the new Castle wall for True Love Week.
  • Wishes Come True: Hearts and flowers enhance Cinderella’s Wishing Well creating the perfect backdrop for a cherished moment.
  • Rose Walk:  The Rose Garden in Central Plaza is all decked out with enchanting decor.

And more…

Disneyland Park in California will celebrate True Love week with similar in-park offerings.

For more information about “Limited Time Magic,” guests may search for Twitter hashtag #LimitedTimeMagic.

Jan 13

25,000 2013 Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend Spots Go POOF!

sold_out_mickyA little more than 26 hours after opening on-line sales to the general public, the Disneyland Half Marathon, Disneyland 10K and Dumbo Double Dare reached capacity and set a runDisney sell out record.  Coming off successful back-to-back capacity filled race weekends, in which more than  65,000 registered runners participated in the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend and more than 19,500 in the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort, runDisney races have reached a new threshold with record fast sell out times, joining the ranks of other sell out races Marine Corps Marathon, ING New York City Marathon and Boston Marathon.

Of the more than 25,000 runners who registered for the race weekend, 17,500 runners will participate in the Disneyland Half Marathon and 8,000 in the Disneyland 10K – including 5,000 in the Dumbo Double Dare.  The new 10K race, the latest in the popular runDisney series, will be a timed event and will take runners through Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and the streets of Anaheim.  Each finisher will receive a specially designed commemorative finisher medal. Runners looking for an extra challenge registered for the Dumbo Double Dare, which involves running the10K on Saturday and the Half Marathon on Sunday (19.3 miles total).  Participants who signed up for the Dumbo Double Dare will receive a Dumbo Double Dare tech shirt and a special finisher medal, in addition to the Disneyland Half Marathon and 10K finisher medals.

 “Runner response to the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend is overwhelming,” says Disney Sports Marketing and Communication Director Faron Kelley.  “This points to the growing popularity of runDisney events and runner demand for two-day, back-to-back race challenges, along with the ever popular 10K distance.”

A very limited number of registrations are available for the half marathon and 10Kthrough charity and travel groups.  Runners can get more information on these opportunities by going to rundisney.com.

In addition, registration remains open for the Family Fun Run 5K and runDisney Kids Races. These races are filling quickly so runners are encouraged to register today

Jan 13

Limited Time Magic Brings Us “Long Lost Friends Week” at Walt Disney World

Limited Time magic long Lost Friends Week Disney

Rarely seen Disney characters such as Jiminy Cricket, Pinocchio and Geppetto have returned to the Magic Kingdom this week for a limited time only. It is all part of ‘Limited Time Magic,’ featuring 52 weeks of magical experiences big and small in 2013 that appear, then disappear as the next special surprise debuts. During ‘Long Lost Friends Week,’ lesser-known Disney characters will step into the spotlight January 21-27, 2013 for meet and greets at Town Square in Magic Kingdom park at Walt Disney World Resort. Fans will have the unique chance to get up-close and personal and enjoy photo opportunities with characters that could include Clarabelle Cow, Robin Hood or The Three Little Pigs.

Jan 13

Dates and What’s New for the 2013 20th Annual Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival

Epcot Flower and Garden festival 20th

A blooming bounty of festival firsts will welcome Disney guests to the 20th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV March 6-May 19, 2013 at Walt Disney World Resort.  First, the news:

  • Epcot chefs will cook up first-time festival food and beverage fun, with special cooking stations offering exclusive-to-the-festival bites along the park’s World Showcase promenade.
  • A new circus-like “Land of Oz Play Area,” based on the Disney fantastical film adventure “Oz: The Great and Powerful” to be released in March 2013, will debut a kaleidoscope of interactive fun.
  • Disney topiary experts will grow, shape and manicure a Fab Five Disney character topiary with Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Pluto and Donald Duck (with Daisy Duck in a cameo) featured in a celebratory floral cookout scene in living topiary color at the park’s front entrance.
  • New illuminated gardens in the park’s Future World and World Showcase will cast a colorful glow over each festival evening.

Throughout the 75-day garden party, guests will discover festival surprises around every corner including new topiary triumphs, colorful garden displays, a butterfly bounty, HGTV celebrity designers, interactive gardening seminars and whimsical children’s play areas.  On weekends, top Flower Power rockers of the 1960s and ’70s will perform.

Every Friday through Sunday, HGTV design celebrities will host Festival Center seminars.  During opening weekend, March 8-10, Chris Lambton of “Going Yard” will appear; other designers scheduled to take the stage include Brandon Johnson of “My Yard Goes Disney” and Meg Caswell of “Meg’s Great Rooms.”

Now the details:

  • Festival-themed flavors:  Guests will discover culinary creations and refreshing libations at multiple festival-themed food and beverage locations.  Chefs are tweaking the menu to include backyard barbecue and a variety of garden-inspired and global tastes.  Around the World Showcase promenade
  • Fab Five topiary barbecue: 14-foot-tall topiary Goofy will bobble an anniversary cake while Donald and Daisy play badminton, Mickey fires up the grill, Pluto swipes a link of hot dogs and Minnie chills out on a colorful blanket of blossoms. At Epcot Front Entrance
  • Land of Oz Play Area:  This interactive new children’s play zone will feature play systems adorned with giant flowers and designed to stretch kids’ imaginations and muscles. Midway-style games, red-and-white circus-themed tents and the “Oz Movie Garden” of intriguing plants will capture the spirit of the upcoming “Oz: The Great and Powerful.”  Also on tap: fun games, photo opportunities, the “great and powerful Oz’s” crashed hot-air balloon and lush plants inspired by the movie.  On the Imagination Walkway
  • Illuminated Gardens:  Every night when the sun sets, many of the festival’s world-famous Disney topiaries and gardens will twinkle and shine in a new light.  Throughout World Showcase and Future World
  • “Monsters University” topiary:  Floral representations of Mike and Sully from the hit Disney-Pixar film “Monsters, Inc.” and stars of Disney-Pixar’s June 2013 release, “Monsters University,” will join the festivities as new topiary family members.  On the Future World Walkway
  • Phineas and Ferb topiary:  The popular Disney Channel animated celebs limit their shenanigans to go green for a family photo-op.  Behind Spaceship Earth
  • “Radiator Springs” interactive play zone:  Race car Lightning McQueen and tow truck “Mater” of the Disney-Pixar film “Cars 2″ will be the well-maintained topiary stars of this play area.  On the Test Track Walkway
  • Flower Power Firsts1970s top disco band The Village People (April 19-21) and 1960s singer-songwriter Tommy Roe (May 3-5) bring on the Flower Power beat when they take the concert stage.  At America Gardens Theatre

And a new twist:

  • Tinker Bell’s Butterfly House: Eight fanciful fairy topiaries of Pixie Hollow, including Tinker Bell, Fawn, Vidia and Terrence, take over the Butterfly House this year where hundreds of colorful winged beauties flit to life.  On the Imagination Walkway.

In all, more than 100 topiaries, 240 floating mini-gardens, dozens of flower towers and sweeping beds of multi-colored blooms will add floral splendor to the park landscape.  Daily hands-on gardening seminars, and other Festival Center events will offer innovative ideas, design tips and gardening know-how to park guests.  The festival, including all gardening programs and exhibits, is included in regular Epcot admission.

Jan 13

A Look at the runDisney Pasta in the Park Party Menu Offerings

Pasta in the Park Party disneyAll these runDisney races and I have never had a chance to attend one of the Pasta in the Park Parties. Well last weekend at the 2013 Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend I made up for lost time!

Pre-Race carb loading…everyone has their own methodologies. Thank goodness runDisney has brought on their own nutrition consultant, Tara Gidas, to steer us in the right direction and they’ve also tried to demystify “where should we eat?” before a runDisney race by offering an alternative…the Pasta in the Park Party.

I must admit that as unstructured as my life and training are, my pre-race fuel has pretty much been consistent. For night races, I usually go for a McDonald’s Southern Style Chicken Sandwich with extra pickles and cheese and an unsweet iced tea.  For morning races…sky’s the limit on dinner the night before. I’ve done Mexican, pizza, pasta and for my last half marathon, a five star meal at Carthay Circle Restaurant in Disney California Adventure. I know lots of runners at Walt Disney World will try and hit up Via Napoli or Il Mullino to get their pasta on.

This dining adventure was shared with some of my fellow running fanatics. I hope that you go check out their sites! But wait until you get through this post first ok? =) (Left to Right) Carrie Burrows <– She lost 200 lbs!!!, Amanda Tinney, Karla Bruning, Karen Karnis, Toni Carey, Andrea Vincent, Ashley Hicks, and Carla Gomes.

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

The Pasta in the Park Party is held inside the World Showplace pavilion which is nestled in between the Canada and UK Pavilions inside Epcot’s World Showcase.  This building is HUGE and is only used now for special events and at this particular party (runDisney has three scheduled throughout Marathon Weekend) the place was packed! I don’t know how they did it…but the lines were short and the food was plentiful.  Here’s a look at the spread…

Mixed Greens with Lite Vinaigrette & Cucumber Yogurt Dressing

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Herb Balsamic Potato Salad

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Herb Roasted Chicken

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Bowtie Pasta with Grilled Vegetables and Basil Pesto

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Wheat Penne Pasta with Marinara Sauce

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

House-made Focaccia Bread with Butter

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Whole Bananas

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Chocolate Brownies

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Ice Water with Lemons and Limes, Lemonade and Fruit Punch

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

There was also a cash bar for those adventurous enough to imbibe…and the guests at the party who weren’t running =)

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon bar

I must admit that as a foodie, when I first saw the buffet I had my reservations on how good it would be. I was pleasantly surprised. The wheat penne pasta was the runaway hit for me! I’d have killed for that marinara sauce recipe. The chicken was also really tasty as was the potato salad.

The pavilion was decorated to the nines and really made the atmosphere feel like a party.

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

Another big draw for this event was the opportunity to have your photo taken with several different Disney characters with little to no wait.

minnie mouse

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

The party atmosphere continued with a live DJ spinning tunes throughout the evening.

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon DJ

Gangnam Style

Pasta in the Park Party disney

We were also treated to a live performance by James Durbin of American Idol fame.

Pasta in the Park Party Disney Marathon

The Pasta in the Park Party is buffet style and food is served from 6:30 – 8:30 pm. Following dinner, guests are escorted to Worldview Plaza for viewing Illuminations: Reflections of Earth at 9:00 pm.  The cost is $47.50 for Adults (ages 10 and up) and $28.35 for Children (ages 3-9). If an adult were to dine at say Via Napoli here would be the breakdown of the same meal: Beverage $3, Salad $7, Entree $26 and dessert $8. That works out to about $44 give or take. With the Pasta in the Park Party you get unlimited food, drinks and entertainment as well as reserved viewing for Illuminations. I’d say that’s a pretty good deal.

Have you been to the Pasta in the Park Party before? What was your take on it? I’d love to hear from you. Leave me a comment below.

Special thanks to runDisney for providing complementary admission to the Pasta in the Park Party. I was not required to write this post and all opinions are my own.