Epcot® readies for the 2014 Epcot® Food and Wine Festival Presented by Chase®. Plus… A new restaurant coming to Disney’s BoardWalk Inn later this year, an update on the construction at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and more!
Another Fourth of July has come and gone, and the dog days of Summer are officially upon us. As the calendar shifts to August, we find a plethora of excitment on tap in the coming weeks and months at the Vacation Kingdom of the World. So, let’s get to it. Time for the latest edition of the WDW Radio Newswire….
We begin the August edition of the WDW Radio Newswire at the Experimental Prototype Community Of Tomorrow, where preparations for the 2014 Epcot® International Food and Wine Festival Presented by Chase® are currently underway. This will be the nineteenth edition of the annual event, with festivities set to kickoff on Friday, September 19th. World Showcase Promenade will feature over 30 unique Marketplaces for this year’s incarnation of Food & Wine, and the event will run for a record-breaking 53 days, wrapping up Monday, November 10th. But, what’s new for 2014, and what’s been scrapped? Well, let’s start with the kiosks that won’t be making their return to the festival this year. Unfortunately, the Argentina, Florida Local, and Cheese Marketplaces have all been discontinued for 2014. But there are some great new kiosks set to make their debut at this year’s festival. First up is the Patagonia Marketplace. This kiosk will feature some old favorites from the now extinct Argentina kiosk, with dishes such as Beef Empanada and Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce on the menu. The Patagonia Marketplace will also include Chile-inspired dishes like the Roasted Verlasso Salmon as well. But that’s not all, as the Farm Fresh Marketplace will also debut in 2014. This kiosk will feature many of the locally brewed beers once found at the now extinct Florida Local Marketplace, and will also include new menu items such as Griddled “Yard Bird” with Braised Greens and Nueske’s Pepper Bacon Hash with Sweet Corn, Potatoes and Pickled Jalapeños!
But the Patagonia and Farm Fresh Marketplaces aren’t the only newbies coming to this year’s big event, as Epcot Food and Wine Festival – Late Nights LIVE! is set to make its debut in 2014. Tuesdays and Thursdays this Fall, when the sun goes down and the park closes to the general public, this all-new after hours street party kicks into full gear. Taking place from 9:45pm-1am in the area between the United Kingdom Pavilion and World Showcase Plaza, this “Hard Ticket” event mixes a combination of delicious food and live entertainment together to form an unforgettable late night Epcot® experience. For $79 (plus tax), partygoers can sample up to six different food and beverage options from select marketplaces. There will only be a limited number of kiosks open, with Canada, Greece, Desserts & Champagne, and Hawai’i expected to all be main headliners (other kiosks in the area between the UK Pavilion and WS Plaza include: Ireland, Refreshment Port, Scotland, and Craft Beers). Live bands will also be a part of the mix, and there will even be a DJ on hand to spin tunes in between sets. Epcot Food and Wine Festival- Late Nights LIVE! is set to kickoff Tuesday, September 23rd, and the event will run every Tuesday and Thursday night thereafter throughout the duration of this year’s Food & Wine Festival. For anyone interested in purchasing tickets, call: 1-407-939-3378.
Now let’s hop aboard the Monorail and venture over to the Magic Kingdom® Park for an update on several upcoming attraction closures. Let’s start in Adventureland®. The skies over Agrabah will be clear and quiet for a brief period this Fall, as The Magic Carpets of Aladdin will be grounded from Monday, November 10th, through Friday, November 21st. The carpets will resume their flight pattern over Adventureland® on Saturday, November 22nd, putting the total downtime for the attraction at just twelve days.
Following the hub over to Fantasyland®, we find another attraction closure on the horizon. The immensely popular Mickey’s PhilharMagic® will close for a brief refurbishment on Monday, September 8th, with a re-opening date scheduled for Saturday, September 20th. As with The Magic Carpets of Aladdin, the closure time for Mickey’s PhilharMagic® will be just under two weeks.
Next door in Tomorrowland® we find another refurb on tap, as Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress will be taking a one-week hiatus from Monday, September 22nd to Sunday, September 28th. This is the second phase of a two-part refurb for the attraction, the first taking place this past May. There’s quite a bit of work going on in the Land of Tomorrow right now, as the Astro Orbiter has been closed for refurb since early June. Rocket Tower Plaza just isn’t the same right now with all these construction walls dominating the landscape! There is an end in sight however, as the attraction is slated to re-open on Sunday, September 28th. In addition, the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover recently resumed operations along its Tomorrowland® route. Shut down since Monday, June 2nd, the beloved mode of transportation finally re-opened on Tuesday, August 5th, putting the total downtime for the attraction at just over two months. The audio soundtrack and ride itself have not been altered in any way; however, there is a new red and orange paint scheme in place.
Let’s park-hop over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park now for an update on It’s Tough To Be A Bug!®. In the July edition of the Newswire, I reported the 3-D film would be taking a hiatus from Monday, July 7th-Monday, August 11th. Well, it looks like Flik and friends have decided to extend their vacation, as the attraction’s re-opening date has been pushed back to Monday, September 29th. The Tree of Life Theater will now remain closed for seven weeks longer than originally anticipated, putting the total downtime for the attraction at a whopping twelve weeks.
There’s one more bit of news to address inside the parks, and for this one we venture over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios®. The immensely popular Frozen Summer Fun- LIVE! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios® has been extended an additional month. The Frozen festivities were initially scheduled to wrap up their run at DHS on Monday, September 1st, but the event has now been extended through Thursday, September 28th. However there is one change to the entertainment lineup for the extended period, as the Frozen Fireworks Spectacular will only run on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights throughout the month of September .
Time to hop out of the parks now for some news on a new dining option coming to Disney’s BoardWalk Inn this Winter. Fans of Italian cuisine rejoice, as Trattoria al Forno is set to make its Grand Opening on the BoardWalk near the end of the calendar year. The restaurant will feature menu items from the many diverse regions of the Italian countryside. From Milano to Rome and all points between, each region is represented with a deliciously unique dish, and if you’re looking for a beverage to accompany your meal, the restaurant is set to feature a wine list of 100% Italian-made wines available by the bottle or glass. Italian beers and coffees will also be part of the beverage menu as well. Trattoria al Forno will be taking up residence in the space formerly occupied by Kouzzina by Cat Cora®, which is slated to close up permanently on Tuesday, September 30th.
Our final stop today takes us over to the south-sea shores of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The Nanea Volcano Feature Pool recently closed down on Monday, July 28th for a major overhaul. At this time, the pool and surrounding area will be expanded to accommodate the additional villa guests. But that’s not the big news here, as it’s been confirmed that a hot tub will also be added into the mix during the refurb! The resort has been engulfed with construction walls ever since work began on the new DVC addition last September. However, it appears as if most of the units are now in place, as work has recently begun on the interior furnishings of many of the villas. Completion of both the DVC Villas and Great Ceremonial House projects are still firmly on track for Spring 2015.
Well, that’s gonna do it for the August edition of the Newswire, but I’ll be back again next month with lots more news, notes, and happenings from Walt’s beloved Florida Project!
Don Myers covers news and recent events in Walt Disney World®. He has been enamored with the World of Disney since his first trip to WDW in 1986. As they say, the rest is history! Don was also a contributing writer for Celebrations magazine, submitting over 30 articles and 7 cover stories for the publication.