08 August 2013

World News Roundtable - 8 August 2013

Roundtable Contributors: Estelle Hallick (This Happy Place Blog), Alan Mize, Blake Taylor (BlakeOnline.com), and Andrew (Disney Hipster Blog).

On the (Festival) Menu

Andrew (Disney Hipster Blog)

Every Summer, without fail, the 'Disney community' gets a little jittery.  These jitters are brought on in anticipation of the Food and Wine Festival booth menus.  I know it seems silly, but the nervousness that these booths inflict upon us is decidedly palpable.  But guess what friends?  The menus have finally been released!  A lot of perennial meaty favorites have returned...cheddar cheese soup, escargot, tuna poke etc... But you might be excited (like myself) to note that some of the phenomenal vegetarian options will be returning as well!  I am completely obsessed with the spinach paneer pockets at the Africa booth and the zapiekanki at the Poland booth!  There will also be some amazing new dishes as well! Tofu and grilled veggies in Japan! What?!

Changing Tables

Alan Mize

If you're currently a member of Walt Disney World's dining discount program Tables in Wonderland(TiW), you may want to keep reading.  Beginning next summer, some pretty significant changes are taking place to the program.  So far, it appears that only one restaurant is leaving the program, but we'll come back to that in a bit.  I want to lead off with the fact that the blackout dates for program use are expanding pretty significantly for several of the more popular restaurants.  Currently, the program can not be used on Mother's Day, Easter Sunday, July 4th, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, or New Year's Day.  That applies to all restaurants that accept the program.  Effective August 1, 2014 Le Cellier, Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, 1900 Park Fare, 'Ohana, Chef Mickey's, and Cinderella's Royal Table will be expanding their blackout dates to include November 23-29, December 21-27, March 8-April 4, and May 31-June 20.  That's an increase from 8 blackout days to 63 blackout days which is a considerable difference.  In addition, Victoria & Albert's has completely terminated their participation in the program.  Boy am I glad that I took advantage of that this past March.

My TiW card expires before these changes take place so it won't affect my use at all, but I still hate to see this announcement.  I really feel like this is a good program for locals and frequent visitors to WDW and these changes have a pretty substantial negative impact on their ability to use the program to its fullest.  I do understand that Walt Disney World is in the business to make money and if they can sell their restaurants out to full price paying guests as opposed to guests with a 20% discount, it doesn't take long to realize which option they'd prefer.  I get that, but I hate to see WDW taking yet another perk away from their most loyal customers: the locals, the DVC members, and the frequent WDW visitors. 

Blake Taylor (BlakeOnline.com)

In a surprise, this week Disney debuted the first teaser trailer for Muppets Most Wanted, hitting theaters March 2014. It stars Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, and Ty Burrell in what looks like a riot. In true Muppet form, the trailer blatantly acknowledges its attempt to follow-up a success with a sequel. If you look closely, you'll even spot a few celebrity cameos. This is going to be good.

Disney could have easily held the trailer just a few days longer and premiered it exclusively at the D23 Expo, so I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw it was live online. Nice integrity move, Disney!
Walking Down Main Street

Andrew (Disney Hipster Blog)

The sidewalk along Main Street USA at the Magic Kingdom is undergoing an extensive refurbishment over the next few months.  Does this seem like minor news to you?  It shouldn't.  The obtrusive construction walls dedicated to this project are totally killing my buzz! I'm not delusional, I know that these lengthy "refurbs" are necessary to maintain the gorgeous atmosphere of the main corridor. However, it seems like when it comes to Main Street USA we never get the total package. If its not the sidewalk, its the facades, if its not the facades, its the train station. (thats in October, by the way...)  All I want in life is a totally pristine, scrim free Main Street...undergoing no refurbishments or transitions.  Maybe that could be a Limited Time Magic!?!?  "Construction Free Magic Kingdom!!!"

Magical Music Coming August 20th

Estelle Hallick (This Happy Place Blog)

I am a huge fan of theme park music, and because of my dad's love for collecting things, I have many of the park albums from the 90s in my possession. So it's a huge disappointment to see basically the same album being released later in the month. There are podcasters and bloggers who painstakingly research the background music happening around the parks. I wish this was realized by the company in some capacity, even if it was just an exclusive album sold at D23 events or something. It bothers me that these park albums are repackaged to look like something new, and instead, are basically a reproduction of an old souvenir. 

Blake Taylor (BlakeOnline.com) 
August 20 will see an update to the Official Albums of both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. The 2-disc CD sets are periodically revised to include new park music. They will be available on their respective coasts and, for the first time, will also be sold for digital download online. This is happy news for those who already own a previous version of the soundtrack since now you can simply buy the new songs instead of re-purchasing the whole album!

Since it's been 5 years since the last update, there is a pretty significant amount of new music, with 13 new tracks for Disneyland and 8 for Walt Disney World. Disney seems to be paying attention to fans clamoring YouTube for background music loops because there's finally some included (they're my personal favorites, too: Main Street and Storybook Circus!). Other notable additions are a good helping of tunes from California Adventure's big expansion and from New Fantasyland.

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