Plus…. More affordable options added to the lunch menu at Tiffins, Update on the Disney’s BoardWalk Inn’s Flying Fish Café, and more!
We begin the July Edition of the WDW Radio Newswire at Epcot, where the narrator lineup and dining package details have just been released for the 2016 Candlelight Processional. The yearly tradition will be kicked off by Steven Curtis Chapman on Friday, November 25th. Other confirmed narrators include celebrities from years past like Neil Patrick Harris (Nov 28-Dec 1), Whoopi Goldberg (Dec 2-3), Meredith Vieira (Dec 13-15), and Joe Morton (Dec 19-21). There’s also a new narrator joining the lineup this year, as MLB baseball legend Cal Ripken Jr. will be onstage to close out the event December 28th-30th. There’s still three more slots yet to be filled, so stay tuned for updates as the remaining names are announced. As for the dining package info, the list of participating restaurants includes all the names featured last year, and has expanded beyond the park this year, as Disney’s BoardWalk Inn’s Trattoria al Forno and the Captain’s Grille at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort are now eligible for package bookings. In addition, for the first time there are now four breakfast options available to choose from, the two aforementioned restaurants, along with the Garden Grill in The Land and Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Norway. Reservations for Candlelight Processional Dining Packages are available for bookings now, so get em’ before your favorite restaurant sells out!
Let’s park-hop over to Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park now for some news on the recently-opened Tiffins. Since opening for business on May 27th, Tiffins has gotten rave reviews, instantly shifting the dining landscape for the park. Being a signature restaurant, the cost of the meal can be a potential deal breaker for many park goers on a budget. To combat this, Tiffins has just introduced the “Taste of Tiffins” and “Light Bites” menu options for lunch. The full lunch menu is still available, but the restaurant is now offering up some more affordable dishes. The Taste of Tiffins combines your choice of two smaller portioned entrees with Jade Blend Rice for $28. This shakes out quite favorably when compared to the other entrees on the menu, many of which exceed $40. Entree choices for the Taste of Tiffins include 72-Hour Beef Short Rib, Black-Eyed Pea Fritters, Chermoula Rubbed Chicken, Crispy Yellowtail Snapper, Flash-Fried Icy Blue Mussels, Marinated Grilled Octopus, Market Vegetable Curry, Masa and Pulled Pork Tamale, Salad of Roasted Baby Beets, and Sustainable Seasonal Fish Crudo. In addition, the Light Bites menu offers up even more affordable options. You’ll find items like the Archeologist Salad, Tiffins Signature Bread Service, Lobster-Popcorn Thai Curry Soup, and more, all priced between $10 and $14.
Time to hop over to Magic Kingdom Park now for some summer refurbishment news. Our first newsbit takes us down the Avenue of the Planets and into the heart of Tomorrowland, where Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress will be seeing a brief closure later this month. The attraction will be closing on Monday, July 25th, and will be re-open to Guests four days later on Thursday, July 28th. Our second refurb newsbit takes us across the park to Frontierland, where of the tracks of Big Thunder Mountain Railroad will be going silent later this summer. The closure is scheduled to begin on Monday August 8th, with a re-opening date set for Friday, November 18th. This will put the total downtime for the attraction at just under 3 1/2 months.
For more news on the refurbishment front, let’s hop over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Muppet*Vision 3-D will take a week-long hiatus later this summer, as Kermit and the gang will be on vacation from Monday, August 15th to Monday, August 22nd.
Time to venture out of the parks now for some Resort news. Let’s head downriver to the bayou banks of Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter, where a lengthy closure has just been announced for the Sassagoula Floatworks and Food Factory. The food court will cease operations on Monday, July 11th, with an unconfirmed re-opening date slated for sometime this Fall (I’m hearing possibly just before Thanksgiving). In the meantime, a temporary food and beverage area will be set up in the main building near the lobby, with tasty offerings including Beignets, Gumbo, Jambalaya, Po-Boys, and more. In addition, a wide variety of grab-n-go items will also be available. The Resort will also be offering bus transportation to Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside, where you’ll find two dining options in Boatwright’s Dining Hall and the Riverside Mill Food Court. Or, you can choose to enjoy a meal in-room, as the Sassagoula Pizza Delivery will still be available daily from 4pm to midnight.
Our final bit of news today takes us over to the wooden planks of Disney’s BoardWalk Inn, where the Flying Fish Café is in the midst of a major renovation. The signature restaurant has been out of action since early February, with an undertaking underway on a complete overhaul to both the kitchen and dining areas. The restaurant’s new interior design will open up more space in the main dining room, with plans also calling for several private dining areas tucked away throughout. The signature piece of the dining room will be a mammoth-sized Flying Fish chandelier. As for the menu, look for offerings similar to what was previously featured (fish and other seafood at the forefront), with a slightly more upscale tone. There’s one more major change coming as well…the name! The restaurant will be dropping the “café” moniker from its title, as it will simply be known as the Flying Fish. There’s even more exciting news here, as a brand new cocktail lounge is also in the mix. AbracadaBar is currently under construction in the adjoining area formerly occupied by Seashore Sweets. The cocktail lounge will have a whimsical theme and backstory, transporting Guests back in time to the golden age of magic. As the backstory goes, the AbracadaBar was a secret hangout for the traveling magicians, illusionists, and assistants of the day. They’d gather at the lounge to exchange tricks and stories, conjure up new drinks, tonics, and potions, in an overall spectacle of wits, magic, and friendship. But wait…there’s more. One night, every single magician, illusionist, and worldly being in the lounge vanished into thin air, never to be seen again. Was it a trick gone awry? Or is something out of this realm going on at the AbracadaBar?
Whatever the case, the lounge is being re-opened after sitting there a vacant shell of itself for 70 years. I can’t emphasize enough how happy it makes me Walt Disney Imagineering is putting this much thought and effort into things like this 50 years after Walt’s passing. The backstories and attention to detail have always been there, but the thought and effort they’ve exhibited the past few years is a real throwback to the heroes of imagineering past. I truly believe Walt would be proud to see this much effort, imagination, and attention to detail still being conjured up today. Flying Fish and AbracadaBar are both slated to open in mid-August.
Well, that’s gonna do it for the July Edition of the WDW Radio Newswire. But I’ll be back again next month with lots more news, notes, and happenings from Walt’s beloved Florida Project!
Don Myers has covered Walt Disney World news and recent/upcoming events for the WDW Radio Blog since 2011. He has loved “all things Disney” since his first family trip to WDW in 1986. As they say, the rest is history! Don was also a contributing writer for Celebrations Magazine, penning over 30 articles and 7 cover stories for the publication from 2009 to 2012.