Toy Story 4 Teaser Trailer Now Available!

The first teaser trailer for Toy Story 4 is out!

Woody and the rest of the toys are back for an all-new adventure in “Toy Story 4,” welcoming new friends to Bonnie’s room, including a reluctant new toy called Forky. “Like most people, I assumed that ‘Toy Story 3’ was the end of the story,” said director Josh Cooley. “And it was the end of Woody’s story with Andy. But just like in life, every ending is a new beginning. Woody now being in a new room, with new toys, and a new kid, was something we have never seen before. The questions of what that would be like became the beginning of an entertaining story worth exploring.”

Toy Story 4 teaser trailer is here! Click To Tweet

Review: The Edison Restaurant in Disney Springs

We had a chance to visit one of Disney Springs’ newest restaurants, The Edison, this fall, and it’s worth a visit. The space itself is grand and fascinating. You enter on the top floor of the restaurant; we were escorted down a grand staircase and were seated on the lower level. Decor is consistent and on point, with early 20th-century Industrial and Steampunk flair.  The Edison is a family-friendly restaurant during the day, but does turn into an over-21-only venue at 10 PM, with a cover charge on weekends.

The Edison

Let’s get my one complaint — but a significant complaint — out of the way. The chairs.

The Edison

You might not be able to tell but this is the singularly most uncomfortable chair I’ve ever sat on. And that’s saying something. The chair is fairly small. The back leans at too much of an angle, so there’s no back support. The cushion … is not a cushion. It’s a piece of wood. I may bring my own padding to the party, but I was no match for this rock-hard seat of agony. After a few minutes I was uncomfortable, and after an hour I was miserable. When I got up to powder my nose, and also to escape the Edison torture device I’d been sitting on, I had to crawl there at a snail’s pace. I mentioned it to a server nearby and he sympathetically said, “Believe me, you’re not the only one who thinks so.” I’m sure I’m not, friend.

There is perfectly comfy-looking seating elsewhere in The Edison, couches and plush leather chairs. These must be prime seating in the evenings, given how industrial and uncomfortable the bar stools were, as well (I tried them out), but aren’t conducive to dining. I saw some banquettes on the upper floor, and would have to request one if I were to return. And I might, given the rest of our experience.

With that said, on to, happily, the food. We started with drinks and appetizers. My husband ordered the DB “Clothesline Candied Bacon.” The bacon itself was excellent, though he thought slightly too peppery. Eating it with the pickles cut that and is highly recommended.

The Edison

I ordered the Deviled Eggs, served on smoked prosciutto with crisp potatoes on top. I don’t care for prosciutto and didn’t love the pairing here, but the eggs were delicious. I loved the serving size; any more eggs would have been  too many, and fewer would have left me wanting more.

The Edison

I also ordered a mocktail, the Apple Propellant (pictured above). I’m baffled by this drink. The ingredients were listed as “fresh cider, lemon, honey & ginger, and ginger ale.” I loved every single one of those flavors, but what they brought me tasted like grapefruit juice and nothing else. It was very strange. They were great about bringing me a plain ginger ale in its place, though, so all was well that ends well.

Moving on to entrees, I ordered the Organic Tomato Soup and Gooey Grilled Cheese. The grilled cheese included Fontina, Muenster, Gruyère, and Alpine Swiss. The portion size on this was ENORMOUS. It was essentially two grilled cheese sandwiches piled up on top of each other. The sourdough bread had a great buttery crunch to it. The soup was terrific as well. I’d recommend this highly to anyone looking for a filling, yummy dinner.

The Edison

The Edison has a “burger of the month” special, and when we were there in September, it was the Croque Burger, which my husband very much enjoyed. The Croque Burger featured a beef blend burger of sirloin, short rib, and brisket, and this was topped with honey mustard, maple cured ham and Swiss on sourdough bread that has been dipped in egg then grilled. This was not a burger you could pick up; he ate it with a knife and fork and said it was wonderful. The maple and the egg in the bread really stood out.

The portion size, again, was ginormous. I happened to peek at the 28-Day Aged Prime Rib King Cut, ordered at a table nearby, and it was so huge it was dropping over the side of the plate, and accompanied by the largest popover I’ve ever seen. Apparently, you need to come to The Edison hungry.

The Edison

We didn’t come close to finishing our entrees, either of us. I wanted to leave a little room to try to Lollipop Tree of cheesecake pops.

The Edison

This was a little disappointing. First, it came with this “bubblegum whipped cream,” not pictured here because the Pepto-Bismol color was unappetizing to the extent that I didn’t want to look at it while I enjoyed dessert. The cheesecake pops themselves were fine. Small, not especially flavorful, creamy, and fine, but not anything I would order again.

Our dinner was at 6 PM, and live entertainment does not start, I was told, until 9 PM. Music is live, varied, and from everything I’m hearing, well worth hearing. But even during the day, though, there’s an atmosphere. A young man dressed in Steampunk fashion was making the rounds of tables in the dining room, visiting with guests for quite some time. I didn’t catch much of what he was saying, but he introduced himself as an investor. This young lady came striding out of the back room of the restaurant (I still can’t figure out how she got through that small door!) and went outside to greet guests as they arrived.

The Edison

The Edison has a unique theme and is a welcome addition to Disney Springs. It’s great to have something with such a definitive point of view to break up the sometime-monotony restaurants that seem all too similar to each other. The food is good and generously sized, and the service was good. I’d definitely go back for another visit, but I might just bring my own cushion.

 

New Trailer for “Mary Poppins Returns” released

In Disney’s “Mary Poppins Returns,” an all new original musical and sequel, Mary Poppins is back to help the next generation of the Banks family find the joy and wonder missing in their lives following a personal loss. Emily Blunt stars as the practically-perfect nanny with unique magical skills who can turn any ordinary task into an unforgettable, fantastic adventure and Lin-Manuel Miranda plays her friend Jack, an optimistic street lamplighter who helps bring light—and life—to the streets of London.

“Mary Poppins Returns” opens in theaters nationwide December 19, 2018.

Toy Story Land is a blast!

We had a chance to visit Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and it was a blast!

Woody greeting guests at the entrance to Toy Story Land.

Woody is there to greet you with a “Howdy, Pardner!” and you find yourself shrunk down to the size of one of Andy’s toys.

We went during Extra Magic Hours, from 7 to 8 AM. Disney World is offering daily Extra Magic Hours for Hollywood Studios through August, 2018. If you can, take advantage of them! Crowds were incredibly light. Everyone seems to be running straight to Slinky Dog Dash, and you can do that too and have only a short wait. We walked onto Alien Swirling Saucers and Toy Story Mania twice, each, no waiting. We also were able to meet Buzz, Woody, and Jessie with waits of less than five minutes.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Woody before but I’ve been waiting FOREVER to meet Jessie!

The new entrance to Toy Story Mania.

Toy Story Mania has a new entrance and queue, but it’s still the amazingly fun ride you know and love. Alien Swirling Saucers is kind of like the teacups on steroids — all the swirly fun but some added bits. I loved it, but I’m a fan of spinny rides.

We had been chosen! Swirling around in Alien Swirling Saucers.

As for Slinky Dog Dash, it’s a great coaster. Not a thrill ride for sure, but not a kiddie coaster either. The speed is comparable to Seven Dwarves Mine Train and the trajectory is similar to Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, but the ride is very, very smooth. For a more intense ride, sit in the back; for a calmer experience, try the front.

One disappointment was Woody’s lunchbox. Some of the more interesting items, the brisket sandwich and the grilled cheese and totchos, are only served at lunch, after 10:30 AM. The breakfast offerings we tried did not impress. The turkey and egg sandwich was okay but not exciting and the tater tots were cold.

There’s no actual gift shop in Toy Story Land, which is a little surprising — for one thing, it would be nice if there was one place to go that provided shelter from the elements and even a little air conditioning. Instead, merchandise is sold from carts. There are a few fun toys, Slink eats, alien ears, and an alien souvenir cup, as well as t-shirts, hats, and pins.

Toy Story Land isn’t jaw-droppingly innovative, but it is a great and much-needed addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which has been rightly called a “half-day Park” for some time. The Toy Story franchise has enthralled both children and adults for years and this new land is a long-overdue expansion we were very glad to see.

Toy Story Land Preview and More from INSIDE Disney Parks!

Anyone else super excited for Toy Story Land’s opening next week, on June 30, 2018, in Disney World’s Hollywood Studios? I know I am. Here’s a peek from INSIDE Disney Parks, as well as some previews of exciting news for Disneyland’s Pixar Pier as well.

Teaser trailer for Solo: A Star Wars Story is here!

Board the Millennium Falcon and journey to a galaxy far, far away in Solo: A Star Wars Story, an all-new adventure with the most beloved scoundrel in the galaxy. Through a series of daring escapades deep within a dark and dangerous criminal underworld, Han Solo befriends his mighty future copilot Chewbacca and meets the notorious gambler Lando Calrissian, in a journey that will set the course of one of the Star Wars saga’s most unlikely heroes. The film stars Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Paul Bettany.

Solo: A Star Wars Story opens in U.S. theaters on May 25, 2018.

Watching Happily Ever After fireworks from inside Cinderella’s Royal Table

We love the fireworks show at Magic Kingdom, Happily Ever After, and we’re always looking for new and different ways to view the show … especially since that front-of-the-castle mob scene can be exhausting! We’ve tried watching from Fantasyland, from the deck of California Grill, from ‘Ohana at the Polynesian, and soon will be attending the dessert party at Magic Kingdom. This last trip, though, we tried something outside the box: we had dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table during the show.

To start with, some tips on how to watch Happily Ever After from the castle. Once you pick a day to go, find out what time Happily Ever After is scheduled for that night and then try to get a reservation for Cinderella’s Royal Table for dinner shortly before that time.  This can be a tough-to-get reservation, so you have to make it a priority when you can make dining reservations 180 days before your trip. Once you get the reservation, make sure to re-check that timing of the fireworks show when it gets closer to your trip. Times can change, and you’d need to make adjustments.

Cast Members will start roping off access to the castle as much as an hour before the fireworks show, so leave yourself plenty of time to get to Cinderella’s Royal Table, which is located in the rear of the castle. We had been shopping on Main Street, for example, and at 8 PM started heading to the restaurant. Front and side entrance to the castle was already roped off, and we had to go around the long way either through Liberty Square or down by the tea cups, and for the most part, you’re going against the crowdflow. We had plenty of time to get to our 8:30 reservation, but were glad we’d left early. Even when you reach the back, you’ll need to let them know you have a dining reservation or you won’t be let into the roped-off area around the castle. At your reservation time you’ll be checked in and taken in to meet Cinderella, and then escorted up to your table. For an ideal view of the fireworks, you’d want to be seated at the windows.

fireworks

Watching Happily Ever After from our table at Cinderella’s Royal Palace.

Unfortunately, Cinderella’s Royal Table does not take seating requests of this nature. As we and every other person who asked was very politely told, it’s simply not possible due to the fact that almost everyone would make this request. You’ll still be able to see from a great many tables in the restaurant, but the window spot is definitely best. You’ve just got to cross your fingers and hope for a little pixie dust on this one. Here’s a bit of information, though — there are a number of two-person-only tables at the windows. At least one or two four-tops as well, but because of the small, angled space, it seems like the restaurant tries to take advantage of every bit of space and sort of crams those tables in there. So if you’re just a party of two … you might stand a better chance. Still not a guarantee, though — we saw couples seated at four-tops elsewhere in the restaurant.

When Happily Ever After begins, the princesses leave the dining area and the music and voiceover from the show is piped in to the restaurant. The fireworks begin and you have a truly magical view.

Some of the fireworks are shot off behind Fantasyland and you have a perfect view of those here. Others shoot off from the castle itself, literally right above your head! It isn’t too loud but it can be dazzling.

fireworks

Obviously, you miss the castle projections that are part of what tells the story of Happily Ever After — you’re in the castle they’re being projected on. I certainly don’t recommend skipping those entirely, so catch the show with a clear view of the projects another time. But if you’re looking for a different experience, I very much recommend this one.

A bit of video from the show — you’ll hear a lot of “Oh mys!” from a young lad seated nearby. We were all glued to the view.

Review: Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian

Having Afternoon Tea at the Grand Floridian’s Garden View Tea Room has been on my Disney bucket list for some time.  Since the tea room is relatively small, reservations can be a little hard to come by, and it’s also difficult sometimes to carve out time in a busy Disney Parks afternoon. I very highly recommend doing so, though, after our delightful experience there.

The cafe is small, light and airy, but the seating is comfortably intimate without being too tight. We were seated and offered ice water while we went over the tea options on the menu.

afternoon tea

Having already had lunch that day, we opted for the simplest/smallest tea, the Bedfordshire Tea. I will end up saying this over and over, but it was far more food than you might think. Somehow even now it seems like a few finger sandwiches and desserts would not be enough to fill anyone up, especially if you’re Disney foodies like we are. But it was substantial. We noted another couple two tables over ordered the Cheshire Tea, which adds a fruit and cheese plate. The plates were enormous. Next time, we’ll skip lunch and order the Cheshire. Neither of us are fans of caviar so I don’t think we’ll ever go for that option, but it’s available for those who are, with the Berkshire Tea.

Then we made our dessert choice. The Bedfordshire Tea has these three courses. The first is finger sandwiches, the second is a scone, and then the final course is dessert. You each choose between one of three desserts: pastries, including a mousse-filled swan, macaroons, and a chocolate-covered strawberry; strawberries topped with whipped cream; or,  an English trifle with custard, ladyfingers, fruit and cream.  We decided to each choose something different and share. I got the trifle, and my husband got the pastries.

afternoon tea

Next, we made our tea selections. There were a few that looked interesting, and I decided to go with the Rose Garden black tea. It was really good. My husband can’t have caffeine of any kind, so we were happy to see a very nice herbal tea selection on the menu. It’s nice when there’s more than just your basic chamomile. He chose Thoroughly Minted and liked it a lot, but wants to try Golden Caramel Rooibus next time.

afternoon tea

afternoon tea

Very soon, a pot of your chosen tea is brought to your table, complete with a tea cozy. This keeps the tea very warm — in fact, be careful when you remove the cozy and pour, the pot is hot. It holds a lot of tea, but if you run out, they’ll happily bring you more.

afternoon tea

The first course of finger sandwiches arrived. This was the only disappointing part of the experience, with one notable exception. Starting clockwise from twelve o’clock, the sandwiches pictured below were chicken curry, goat cheese and fire-roasted tomato, cucumber, caramelized onion tart, and egg salad. I found the chicken curry, goat cheese, and cucumber sandwiches to be fine but bland, and the egg salad to be unpalatable because it contained celery (that might be just me, but I hate celery in egg salad). My husband, on the other hand, considered the onion tart to be one of the best things he’s ever eaten, so it saved the day.

afternoon tea

Moving forward, though, things went back to being delectable. The scone (second and bottom tiers, below) was nicely made, not too dense; I think it was orange and golden raisin in flavor.  I tried each of the accompanying gooey bits in turn. Loved the marmalade and clotted cream. The lemon curd was too tart for me, and overpowered the scone. The berry tart was a quick, enjoyable bite.

afternoon tea

Finally, dessert. The macaroons were light and flavorful, and the strawberry dipped in chocolate certainly didn’t disappoint. The mousse-filled swan was beautiful to look at, airy, and a perfect bite. As for the trifle , I enjoyed every bite — and it’s a lot of bites! The trifle is seasonal, so mine was a lemon custard and blueberries. Not even two of my favorite flavors, but still delicious. And filling. The trifle alone, with tea, would have been a nice-sized dessert/snack. I recommend each getting different selections and sharing as we did.

afternoon tea

The Afternoon Tea at the Garden View Tea Room of the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa is held seven days a week, on the following schedule:

Review: Cake Decorating at Amorette’s Patisserie

Amorette’s Patisserie, a delightful bakery in Disney Springs, recently began offering an early-morning cake decorating class. While originally scheduled just for the summer, Disney and Amorette’s have extended this experience through the end of 2017, and recently my husband and I had a chance to attend.

cake decoratingThe class is small — only 14 students at a time — and begins at 8:45 am, before most of the stores in Disney Springs are open. (If you’re driving, park in the Lime Garage, and Amorette’s is just a few steps away from the entrance.) You are greeted promptly and offered your choice of specialty coffee, water, juice, mimosas or bellinis, and refills are encouraged.  You choose your station, fully stocked with the supplies you’ll need, and then the fun begins!

There are two instructors, both pastry chefs at Amorette’s, and they begin with a little bit of the history of Amorette’s and an overview of the cake making process, including descriptions of flavor profiles, ingredients, and their tools of the trade.

Here’s the best news: even though the gorgeous Mickey cake you’ll be decorating is a work of art, this isn’t an advanced class. Amorette’s does all the heavy lifting for you. When they started talking about frosting with the buttercream and the crumb coat and the second layer and showed us how to smooth out the knife strokes, I got pretty dubious we’d be able to pull this off. But they know that and aren’t expecting more than a novice can do, so the cake with its many layers has been crafted and baked and frozen and frosted in advance.

cake decorating

From here on out, Amorette’s walks you through the process step by step, bringing additional supplies (and even taking them away, to prevent mess and save space) as needed. The key to this instruction is learning how to pour glaçage and coat Mickey’s sculpted ears, tail, belt and buttons with edible paint.

cake decorating

There are actually three layers of glaçage on each cake! In between, your cake is whisked away to spend some time setting in the freezer. In the meantime, you paint Mickey’s ears, tail, and buttons. After the final layer is set, you add these elements to the cake, as well as Mickey’s belt. For the finishing touch, you step to the front to write your name, or anything else you like, on the back of the cake. I let my husband do this part — it looked really hard!

cake decorating

And voila! Your cake is finished, kept into the cooling case until you’re ready to leave. Amorette’s can hold the cake for you until the end of the day, if that suits your plans better. When you pick it up, either way, they pack it for you in a delightful hat box and send you on your way with a delicious treat to enjoy. The cakes do need to be refrigerated, so you do need to think about what you’re going to do with it ahead of time. If you’re dining at a Disney restaurant that evening (and can get to it easily), you might be able to call ahead and arrange for them to hold it in their fridge for you. Or, you can take it back to your resort. If you’re staying at a Disney resort, I can report that we were just able to fit it in our room fridge by taking it out of the box.

cake decorating

 

The 90-minute cake decorating class is currently offered Sunday through Thursday at 8:45 am. There are two different classes to choose from:

Classic Mickey Design: Featured in Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday classes
Artist’s Current Seasonal Mickey: Featured in Monday and Wednesday classes

The cost is $129 plus tax (there was no AP discount), which covers up to 2 guests (who must be age 10 and up) decorating one cake.  The cost is really rather reasonable when you consider that the Mickey Cake itself retails for around $60. Once you consider the beverages, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic, that are included, the class fee itself, per person, is nominal.

Cake Decorating

We had a terrific time. The teachers are friendly and encouraging and ready to help in any way you need. We learned a lot without needing to do anything that required special skills. The small class size lent to a fun atmosphere and at the end of it all, you take home a really delicious cake. Was our cake perfect? No, but it looked pretty good considering we’re total amateurs. If you’re looking for a fun new experience to try at Disney, you’ll definitely enjoy the cake decorating class at Amorette’s Patisserie!

New Dooney & Bourke Haunted Mansion merchandise now available

A new Dooney & Bourke Haunted Mansion collection is now available online and at Disney Parks!

The collection was first released as a Parks exclusive, alongside a Princess Tiana collection. As reported by the Disney Parks Blog, a release party was held on July 22 in the Marketplace Co-Op at Disney Springs.

dooney & bourke haunted mansion

The handbag artwork was created by Paola Gutierrez, Senior Graphic Designer with Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media Creative Group, and comes in a rich purple hue with a repeating pattern featuring the Haunted Mansion’s Madame Leota. Three bags are available, a Shopper ($268), Letter carrier ($198), and Wristlet ($98).

dooney & bourke haunted mansion

The letter carrier was my favorite bag in this new collection, seen here at the Marketplace Co-op.

Important to note: pictures on the Disney Blog and elsewhere on the net made the bags, and the band, look more of a blue-violet than a true purple, but as you can see in the photo above, taken at the Marketplace Co-Op at the first weekend of release, the actual bag is a rich, vibrant color.

The Madame Leota design also appears on a limited release retail MagicBand, presented in a specially designed box. As with all MagicBand 2’s, guests can use  their bands to enjoy their Disney vacation to the fullest, with “effortless theme-park entry, FastPass+ redemption and Disney PhotoPass , to skipping the front desk and going directly to your resort room.”

dooney & bourke haunted mansion

The new Dooney & Bourke Haunted Mansion collection can now be purchased at select merchandise locations at Disney Parks, on DisneyStore.com, or via the Shop Disney Parks app.

« Older posts