Walt Disney World

The Green Army Drum Corps

The Green Army Drum Corps

Walt Disney World remains closed for now, but if you were able to visit, a must-see stop would be a performance of the Green Army Drum Corps in Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. This is a percussion trio outfitted in the style of the Green army Soldiers of the Toy Story movies. They march and perform several times a day, so check a Times Guide when you’re there.

Posted by Donald Fink in blog, Disney, Theme Parks, Video, 0 comments
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort: A Photo Tour

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort: A Photo Tour

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort has gone through some changes over the past two years, so we thought it might be time for another look. From the new Skyliner, the new neighbor to the north called The Riviera, to new buildings outside Old Port Royale, the resort has seen changes to its skyline.

The Skyliner

There’s a new form of transportation available at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and that’s called the Skyliner. The Skyliner is an aerial gondola that runs to Hollywood Studios and Epcot. It makes a stop at the new Riviera Hotel and has connecting services to Disney’s Pop Century Resort and Disney’s Art of Animation.

When the Skyliner first opened, we took a ride from Epcot to Hollywood Studios with a stop at the Skyliner Station at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. We found the ride comfortable and very enjoyable. It affords a unique view of some of the Disney Skyline we hadn’t seen before.

The newest transportation system at Walt Disney World is the Skyliner. this is an aerial tram similar to trams used all around the world, mostly at ski resorts. There is quite a bit of speculation about how this system will work in the heat of Florida’s summers since they do not have air conditioning. Our experience has been positive so far. There are several windows in each cabin and there’s quite a bit of air flowing when it’s moving. We’ll see.
Disney’s new Skyliner has a central hub at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. Guests leaving here can travel to Disney’s Art of Animation and Pop Century Resorts on one line, Hollywood Studios on another, and a third line goes to Epoct with a stop at the new Disney’s Riviera Resort. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
There are two entrances to each Skyliner. Here is an entrance for wheelchairs. the coach is brought off the main line and stopped, allowing more time to board. It’s then re-inserted into the flow when everyone on-board is safely situated. Other passengers will board a slowly moving tram as it makes its way around the terminal. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
There’s a Joffrey’s Coffee Kiosk at the Beach Resort Skyliner Station, just in case you need something to drink or a big ol’ donut. Photo by Bonnie Fink.

Our understanding is that bus service from Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios has started running every hour instead of the customary 20-minute interval found at most resort bus stops. This is because of the Skyliner service to these parks. It’s like Disney hotels that have boat service to another attraction, like the Yacht and Beach Club to Hollywood Studios. So, if you’re not fond of the Skyliner, your wait for a bus could be a bit longer than you expect.

The Grounds

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is situated around a water feature called Barefoot Bay. Each country has a beachfront along this small lake, but the nature of being along a lakefront means that things tend to get spread around. In fact, one of the biggest complaints we see on social media about Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is that it’s too big. It takes too long to walk from your room to the food court and lobby at Old Port Royale. Fortunately, there’s a bridge in the middle of the hotel that connects old Port Royale from the countries on the opposite side of the lake. There’s also an internal bus service that moves guests around the hotel grounds. It’s really not hard to get around once you know the drill.

This bridge, which spans the narrow part of Barefoot Bay, goes between Caribbean Cay Playground and Jamaica and Aruba. Another smaller bridge connects Caribbean Cay and Old Port Royale. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
Take a look at some of the things we found as we walked the grounds at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort.
Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is themed after five different Caribbean Countries: Trinidad, Barbados, Jamaica, Aruba, and Martinique. Here is a view of Barbados, located to the left of the bridge near the Main Entrance. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
Each one of the countries at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Hotel has a beach. No swimming or wading is allowed as you can see by the fence at the shoreline, but you can enjoy a total of six swimming pools on the property. In the meantime, if your aim is some quiet downtime on the beach, you can grab one of these hammocks or a lounge chair. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
The main swimming pool at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is called Fuentes del Morro. It’s patterned after a Spanish fort of the 18th century; an architecture that’s prevalent all throughout the Caribbean. This is the main fun spot for the resort, located near all the other amenities like Old Port Royale and the Banana Cabana. Photo by Donald Fink.
There are five quiet pools at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. This pool is at Aruba. Photo by Donald Fink.
The attraction to Caribbean living and Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort for many people has got to be the party atmosphere, especially for the kids around the main pool. But sometimes you just need a quiet spot to reflect or do whatever you might do in a quiet spot. Fortunately, there are many secluded and quiet areas around the resort that offer a place to unwind. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
The new lobby at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort is at Old Port Royale. The old one, at the Customs House, was removed to make way for the new Riviera Resort. Photo by Donald Fink.
In October, 2018 the check-in to Disney’s Caribbean beach resort moved from the Customs House to Old Port Royale. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
In most Disney hotels, there’s an area where kinds can entertain themselves while you take care of the business of checking in. And of course, the TV is playing Disney. Photo by Bonnie Fink.

The Food

 Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort has several places where you can grab a meal. The most obvious is the main food court in Old Port Royale, called Centertown Market. You can get all three of your meals and there’s inside or covered outside seating available.

If you’re in a hurry, there’s Centertown Market Grab & Go, where you can get salads, sandwiches, and snacks already made and ready to enjoy. You can get bakery items too.

Dining is at Sebastian’s Bistro, which is outside Old Port Royale in the building it shares with the Banana Cabana. Sebastian’s in only open for dinner.

The way you get your meals at Centertown Market is that you first place your order at this order desk. From there, you make your way to the pick-up windows, located to the left of this image. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
Just around the corner from where you place an order at Centertown market is where you’ll find the pick-up windows. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
You can also place your orders through your MyDisney app on your phone, and pick it up here. It’s a good way to avoid the lines. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
Like many of the Disney Resorts, the food courts have a toaster or two and a microwave for your use. You can bring your own food and prepare breakfast if you prefer. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
It might be Florida, but it certainly looks like the Caribbean when you sit down to enjoy your meal at Centertown Market. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
The Grab N Go in Centertown Market is a great place to go if you’re looking for a quick dessert. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
At Centertown Market, there’s covered seating outside too in case that’s more to your liking. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
Sebastian’s Bistro opened in Oct. 2018 and is open for Dinner. Photo by Donald Fink.

Sebastian’s Bistro is the new dining restaurant at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. It is a new building since 2018, located outside Old Port Royale and next to the Fuentes del Morro Pool. Sebastian’s replaced Shutters, which was located inside Old Port Royale.

Sebastian’s is considered casual dining with island-inspired cuisine, like Jerk Chicken with Black Beans, Cilantro Rice, and Dark Rum Glaze. You can find their menu here.


There’s a comfortable bar next to the Fuentes del Morro Pool called Banana Cabana. It’s a walk-up bar and also has seating in a covered area. You can enjoy tropical drinks with names like Caribbean Smuggler, Guave-Rita, or a Bourbon Breeze. And yes, there’s beer too. Photo by Bonnie Fink.

And Finally

The skyline is changing at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. To the west is the Skyliner, but north of the hotel is the new Riviera Resort. This is Disney’s newest Disney Vacation Club resort and has been open for only a short time. Photo by Donald Fink.

There’s a lot to like about Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort. The times we’ve visited and even stayed at this hotel, we couldn’t escape the feeling that there was a lot of emphasis placed on the party atmosphere of Caribbean life. The Fuentes del Morro Pool seemed to be the center of activity around the resort, promoting outside activities all day, every day.

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort seems to have a place for everyone. Whether your notion of fun is an active day at the pool or a quiet place by yourself to reflect, it’s here.


Posted by Donald Fink in blog, Disney, Theme Parks, 0 comments
Frontierland

Frontierland

The Liberty Belle River Boat in Frontierland at Disney’s Magic Kingdom has been off-line and out of service since January of this year. It has been going through an extensive refurbishment, as all things in Disney do from time to time.

A couple of days ago, we happened to be walking through Frontierland and noticed that this magnificent old boat is back in the water and traveling around the Rivers of America. She’s not taking passengers just yet, but we’re told that she will be in the next couple of weeks.

Oh, and for you folks who are sticklers about the details, the Liberty Belle has a new whistle.

The newly refurbished Liberty Belle River Boat at Disney’s Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Florida, is back on the Rivers of America at Frontierland. She’s making trial runs for now, and will resume carrying guests in the near future.
Posted by Donald Fink in Disney, Florida, Theme Parks, Video, 0 comments
The United Kingdom Pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase

The United Kingdom Pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase

Not long ago we made our way through the United Kingdom at Epcot, in world Showcase. We found authentic merchandise from England and Scotland, sampled the traditional British food, and enjoyed Disney’s recreation of the British architecture. The pavilion seems packed full of British culture and history and, to us, represents a good cross-section of how the United Kingdom really is. Take a look at what we found:

The Architecture

The front of the Tea Caddy is a thatched roof timber frame construction that represents a building from the early 1600s’. This particular building is where you can get a good selection of Twinings Tea products. It’s interesting to note that the thatches on this roof-and all thatched roofs we’ve checked at Disney-are actually made of aluminum. It’s the magic of Disney after all. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
Our information tells us that the Tea Caddy is supposed to depict the home of Anne Hathaway, the wife of William Shakespeare. The fireplace, as well as many other decorations inside the building certainly indicate a home setting and the period of the building is certainly right. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
Next to the Tea Caddy are two other buildings. The one on the left is from the 1700s’ and the building on the right is from the 1800s’. Both are basic timber frame construction. The building on the left is called The Biscuit Barrel even though it’s unmarked and the building on the right is The Queen’s Table. To be clear, these are really the same building with different facades. Inside, you’re walking through several shops as though they’re just one continuous store. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
One thing you learn if you go to England (the real England) is that pubs are important. Even if you don’t drink, you’ll find yourself in a pub if you want to eat since that’s where much of the food is served. The Rose and Crown at Epcot’s United Kingdom is an example of pretty much any well maintained pub you’d find in England. We were told that the name, Rose and Crown, was decided because Imagineers did a survey of all pubs in the United Kingdom and discovered that the words that appeared most often were Rose and Crown. Photo by Donald Fink.
You would expect to see a statue in a town square in Great Britain, but here at Epcot there’s a vertical sundial. Our research didn’t reveal why this particular sundial is here in Epcot, but sundials do figure prominently in Britain’s history. As for determining when sundials were first used in England, this subject seems to be a discipline of its own. For us, the sundial is an interesting object and a good place to rest for a minute before walking on. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
Behind the main shops is a town square that we’ve read is patterned after Hyde Park in central London. We’re not quite seeing the resemblance, but it could be true. Behind the park is a building facade that is made to look like some of London’s typical Row Houses, which is very realistic. Photo by Donald Fink.
Hedges are popular in gardens in Great Britain, and hedge mazes are sometimes found in parks and gardens across the country. At the United Kingdom in Epcot, you can find a kid-sized hedge maze in the back garden near the stage. Photo by Donald Fink.
This garden is located behind the Tea Caddie and the Queen’s Table. We believe it symbolizes a garden found at an Apothecary in historical England. During the International Flower and Garden Festival, Twinings Tea offers free tours of this garden, showing off some of the plants that go into various tea blends. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
It turns out there are about 115,500 mailboxes in the United Kingdom; enough to place a box within 1/2 mile of 98% of the British population. The idea of using free-standing postal boxes dates back to an 1840 Postal reform. These Victorian style boxes began appearing in 1852. They usually have a cipher, or insignia, of the reigning monarch at the time of placement. This one, with its EIIR insignia, bears the insignia of Queen Elizabeth II, as do about 60% of the Royal Postal Boxes in the U.K. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
This is known as a K6 Phone booth. The K represents the word “Kiosk.” When introduced around 1935, it was to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George V. It was oftern referred to as simply a “Jubilee Box.” The K6 remained the current phone booth in use in England until 1968, when it was replaced by the K8. Photo by Donald Fink.

The Food

The Rose and Crown is a pub in the United Kingdom at Epcot. As with many pubs across England, it’s also a restaurant. In fact, it’s the only table service restaurant at the United Kingdom pavilion. Entering these doors will get you into the pub. To get a table at the restaurant, there’s a station to the left of the pub, not shown here. Photo by Donald Fink.
Inside the Rose and Crown Pub, you’ll find a bar decorated like many pubs we’ve seen in the United Kingdom. This one absolutely took us back to a pub we visited for lunch in Windsor near the Windsor Castle a few years ago. Photo by Donald Fink.
Inside the Rose and Crown, guests can stand at the bar or find seating at a table. Photo by Donald Fink.
The restaurant part of the Rose and Crown has a warm, welcoming feeling about its decor. We felt at home when we had lunch here. The menu is traditional English with items like fish and Chips, Bangers and Mash, Shepherd’s Pie, and Corned Beef Cabbage, it’s easy to find something British. Or at least, what we Americans think might be British. Photo by Donald Fink.

Most of us here in the US know what Fish and Chips is, but some of us may have never heard the term, Bangers and Mash. Simply put, Bangers and Mash is an English dish made of sausage and mashed potatoes. It’s often referred to as Pub Grub. In 2009, Bangers and Mash was listed as Britain’s most popular comfort food in a survey by the TV channel, Good Food. Here’s a menu from the Rose and Crown.

The quick service restaurant at the United Kingdom in Epcot is called the Yorkshire County Fish Shop. There’s one entree item on the menu, which is Fish and Chips. It consists of two strips of fish served with chips. When we say chips, that’s British talk for French Fries. If you like fish, or even only occasionally like fish, this might be some of the best quick service food at Epcot. It’s certainly worth a try. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
Seating at the Yorkshire County fish Shop is outdoor, overlooking Crescent Lake. Photo by Bonnie Fink.

The Shopping

We’ve seen kids walking around Disney, bouncing a ball, and wondered about the wisdom of bringing your child to Disney with a toy that has the potential to go horribly wrong in such a crowded environment. It turns out that soccer balls like this one can be purchased right here in the United Kingdom. We found a bin of these and other balls in The Sportsman’s Shoppe. Photo by Donald Fink.
At the Crown and Crest in Epcot’s United Kingdom, you can search for your family crest and have it printed along with a brief description of your family name. The framed version depicted here is a bit expensive, but you can have the pages printed without the matting and framing for a reasonable price. Both versions are available “same day,” but if you need it shipped home, it can take four to six weeks to arrive. We looked up Don’s family name of Fink and discovered that it was listed as “Finck.” Our research indicates that his family name was indeed Finck in Germany, before his family came to America in the 1700s’. Photo by Donald Fink.
These penguins are from the movie, Mary Poppins. You can find them in Epcot’s United Kingdom at the Toy soldier. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
When we found these cups at the Biscuit Barrel, we were surprised at the price. They seemed to be very expensive. But when we examined them carefully, they also seemed to be of extremely high quality. Also, they’re made in England; a rare find for fine for porcelain these days. Photo by Donald Fink.
These cups are showing Alice in Wonderland. In this scene, she’s trying to play Croquet using a Flamingo as a mallet and a hedgehog as a ball. Alice in Wonderland, in addition to being a classic Children’s story, was a Disney animated film, initially released in 1951. A Live action version of the story, directed by Tim Burton, was released in 2010. You can find these cups in the Biscuit Barrel. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
Here’s a purse we found at the Queen’s Table at Epcot’s United Kingdom. There are many different British themed items, as you might expect. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
There’s a selection of packaged sweets from the British Isles at the Biscuit Barrel. Here is a package of Clotted Cream Fudge from Scotland. Clotted Cream is apparently a big deal in Britain, thought to date back to the time of the Phoenicians. It’s described as having a nutty, cooked milk flavor, often containing as much as 60% fat. This is no doubt some serious fudge. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
You can find a wide variety of Twinings Tea at the Tea Caddy. Photo by Donald Fink.
Outside of the Tea Caddie, along the main thoroughfare, you can see Alice, from Alice in Wonderland. Photo by Bonnie Fink.
In the garden behind the shops at the United Kingdom Pavilion, you can find Mary Poppins. Like Alice, Mary Poppins appears at different times during the day. You can find a sign posted near the spot listing the times she’s expected to be thee. Photo by Bonnie Fink.

At this year’s D23 Expo, Disney announced the creation of a Mary Poppins attraction at Epcot. No details were given about whether it would be a ride, a show, or maybe a small neighborhood. What we do know is that Epcot is undergoing a major overhaul at the moment, so it could be nearly anything.

At the Rose and Crown, you may find Carol Stein at the piano playing for guests. She is a talented lady that’s fun and entertaining to watch. Video by Donald Fink.
There’s a band playing at the United Kingdom pavilion called the British Revolution, and you may not be surprised to know that they perform mostly British rock music. they perform several times a day, most days. you can check a Times Guide as you enter the park to see when they’ll perform. It’s worth planning your day to be there for one of their shows.

We’ve spent time in the United Kingdom here in Epcot. We’ve sampled the food, shopped the merchandise, and enjoyed the entertainment, and it never gets old. We can recommend that anyone visiting Epcot and especially World Showcase, spend some time here and see what you can find.

Posted by Donald Fink and Bonnie Fink in blog, Disney, Theme Parks, 0 comments
Easter Eggs at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Easter Eggs at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort

Over the past 24 years, the chefs at the Grand Floridian Resort at Walt Disney World have been preparing giant chocolate Easter Eggs. They display them in the lobby right around Easter.

Here are a few of the Easter Eggs we found:

Here are a few more impressions of this year’s Easter Egg display at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa at Walt Disney World.

Posted by Donald Fink and Bonnie Fink in blog, Theme Parks, Video, 0 comments
The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

The Epcot Flower and Garden Festival

Amaryllis

One of the nearly half million flowers planted during the Flower and garden Festival is the Amaryllis, seen here in the United Kingdom pavilion. Photo by Don Fink.

The 25th Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is underway and it’s one of our favorite times at Walt Disney World, especially Epcot. It’s spring in Florida and the weather is usually cooperative; not too hot and humid, and not too much rain and a typical day is in the low ‘80s or high ‘70s.

The Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival is an annual event at Epcot that showcases, as you might expect by the name, gardening, the earth, and just about anything dealing with flowers, vegetable gardens, and so on.

While Epcot in its normal state is far from a wasteland with it’s typical Disney over-the-top landscaping, the international Flower and Garden Festival is yet another level of excellence. There are over 500,000 plants, trees, and shrubs planted for the Flower & Garden Festival each year. Of those, 250,000 are annual blossoms. And this year, because the festival runs for 90 days, there’ll be two crop rotations to keep the flowers fresh for the entire event. That seems like a lot of effort, but that’s Disney.

There were over 400 horticulturists needed to transform Epcot into the Flower & Garden landscape we see during the festival, and it takes 100 cast members dedicated to maintaining the display.

Lady and the Tramp

Lady and the Tramp can be found in Italy. It’s one of our favorite displays because of the flowing grasses that make up Lady’s ears. Photo by Bonnie Fink.

We focused our attention on the topiaries this year at the Flower & Garden Festival, you should remember that there’s plenty to do while you’re admiring the color.

There are 15 outdoor kitchens with over 70 different beverages and 40 featured food items. One outdoor kitchen to be sure to see is the new Honey Bee-stro. It’s located along the walkway from Future World West to Showcase Plaza. The kitchen is sponsored by the National Honey Board and features dishes like their Local Wildflower Honey-Mascarpone Cheesecake, with Orange Blossom Honey Ice Cream. For a beverage you might try a Honey-Peach Cobbler Freeze, served with Blueberry Vodka.

We can’t forget the Garden Rocks Concert Series. This year you’ll find old favorites like Herman’s Hermits (May 4th through May 7th), but you’ll also see seven new artists. Earlier during the Festival, we saw Jo Dee Messina. Being country fans like we are, this was a treat. She appeared on April 20th and the 21st. Hopefully she’ll return next year, and many of the artists do perform every year.

This year, the Epcot International Flower and Garden Festival runs until May 28th. If you happen to be in Florida, this is an event worth seeing.

One of our favorite attractions at the International Flower and Garden Festival at Epcot are the topiaries. There are many topiaries that appear year after year, and always fun to see. Videos and stills by Don and Bonnie Fink.
 

 
Posted by Donald Fink and Bonnie Fink in blog, Disney, Florida, Theme Parks, 0 comments
Disney’s Magic Kingdom – A Photo Gallery

Disney’s Magic Kingdom – A Photo Gallery

There are only a handful of places on earth where millions of people plan for years to come and spend a week, and the Magic Kingdom is one of them. You would think that a simple amusement park wouldn’t hold so many in awe, but people come to see it, and come back again and again. It’s not just marketing either. For many people, it’s been a life long relationship. Walt Disney set out the rules for making an amusement park that everyone could enjoy over 60 years ago, and that foundation holds true today. After all it’s still the “happiest place on earth”.

Posted by Donald Fink in blog, Gallery, Theme Parks, 0 comments
Downtown Disney, or is it Disney Springs?

Downtown Disney, or is it Disney Springs?

Downtown Disney is in full construction mode these days. It’s rare to walk through and not see something new from the day before. It’s getting exciting because new businesses are starting to open, parking areas are in full construction mode, and things are just changing on a daily basis. Here are a few images of some of the newest developments at Downtown Disney.

Posted by Donald Fink in blog, Disney, Gallery, Theme Parks, 0 comments