While Disney was hoping to have guests back in its U.S. theme parks by April 1st, a LOT has happened since that original closure announcement was made.
This post was last updated on: March 29th
The last few weeks have been twinged with a peculiar air of uncertainty due to the widespread yet unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 virus, otherwise known as Coronavirus.
When news first came out that some of the overseas Disney parks would be closing down in an abundance of precaution against the highly contagious virus, many of us were concerned about what would happen here in the States. Now it seems we finally have an answer.
This post was last updated on: March 28th
When Disney officials announced Disneyland and Disney California Adventure would be closing Saturday, March 14th, it was only a few hours later Disney World also made the decision to shut down its theme parks at the end of day Sunday, March 15th. While the parks were originally supposed to reopen April 1st, Disneyland and Disney World have both decided to extend their closure indefinitely.
Even if you’ve been following along with our coverage of how the Coronavirus has been impacting Disney parks across the world, now that all the Disney parks and Disney Cruise Line are closed, you might be at a loss for words while also having more questions than you can possibly ask. That’s why we’ve been tirelessly searching for answers to help you make sense of this very difficult time.
When Disneyland Resort introduced a brand new Pixar Fest Afternoon Tea a couple of weeks ago, we were chomping at the bit to learn more — and to get in on that tea and sandwiches action! The Pixar Fest Afternoon Tea is a part of the on-going (and delicious!) Pixar Fest, so guests can reserve tea through September 3, when the festival ends.
We were there on DAY 1 to enjoy it, so let’s head over to Steakhouse 55 and enjoy afternoon tea!
The cost of the Pixar Fest Afternoon Tea is $52-$65 per adult and $35 per child, and its location at Steakhouse 55 raised our expectations. We’d already had a great experience at Steakhouse 55 for regular old afternoon tea. Imagine what would happen when they Pixar-fied it!
It’s that time of year again – time to start placing your bets on when the 2017 Free Disney Dining Plan will be announced. We all know how popular free dining has become in recent years and we’re betting that this year won’t be any different!
If you’re not familiar, the Disney free dining offer includes a free Disney Dining Plan with the purchase of a Walt Disney World Resort hotel and ticket package. The “free” part of the name pulls you in, just remember that you’ll be paying full price for your resort hotel room when you book free dining.
In the past, free dining was announced for less crowded (non-peak) times during the year – late summer, early fall, and early winter (before the holiday season). But let’s be honest, there’s really no such thing as a non-peak season anymore. So we’re expecting this year’s free Disney Dining dates will include more summer dates, in addition to the usual fall and early-winter (non-holiday) dates.
Velkommen til Akershus!
Today we’re visiting Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot’s Norway! This Pavilion has certainly seen its fair share of changes over the past year or so, primarily due to the influence of all things “Frozen.” The biggest headline of them all, of course, was the closing of the Maelstrom attraction in October 2014 (prompting a memorial Maelstrom Margarita at La Cava del Tequila in the neighboring Mexico Pavilion) to make way for “Frozen Ever After,” anticipated for a 2016 opening.
But that’s not the only change. We learned that Akershus — best known as being home to the Princess Storybook Dining character meal — had undergone a test alteration of its own. Typically featuring a cold buffet (Norwegian Koldtbord) along with hot breakfast, lunch, or dinner entrees served at your table, a test run recently brought about a new service style to Akershus. While it remains an All-You-Care-to-Eat option, the cold buffet was closed and several of the previous options are now brought to the table and served family style as part of a trial run at this popular restaurant.
This test has since ended, but we were told that it’s now up to guest feedback as to whether it comes back permanently.
Let’s head back inside the fortress walls to see what’s changed, what hasn’t, and what we think about this proposed update to the serving style at Akershus! [Read more…]
For those (like me!) who have eagerly been awaiting the news about booking a reservation for the post-refurbishment California Grill restaurant in Disney’s Contemporary Resort, we’ve got a few new details for you!
While there’s no solid date for California Grill to re-open yet, reservations ARE currently available on November 18th. The reservations agent I spoke to said that booking times were also available after this date. (This means that for the next couple of days, you’ll need to have a Disney resort reservation and be calling at exactly 180 days out, using your opportunity to book 10 days after your check-in date in order to make a reservation.)
It’s my guess that they cannot open reservations earlier in the year until they have the final opening date set, but that they’ll be coming soon!
Availability is always subject to change, but I wanted to be sure those of you eager to book were made aware of every last detail. As is often the case with new reservations opening up, your experience could be different (you can see in the comments that some folks have not been able to book) — but keep calling [Read more…]
We’re being told by readers that at this point, reservations made for Be Our Guest via the automated system that do not have a credit card guarantee will not be cancelled (thank goodness). It’s still a roller coaster ride, my friends. I was told this morning that they would be cancelled, but many readers have written to let me know that the tune seems to have changed this afternoon. Call to be sure, but it looks like we’re out of the weeds.
Well, what a morning it’s been! For those of you who have battled the phone lines as I have, I feel your pain. Here are a few learnings and warnings from this morning…also some action steps:
Automated Booking Service and Credit Card Numbers
For those who booked reservations for Be Our Guest Restaurant through the automated booking service this morning (i.e. you did NOT speak to an actual human being), these reservations have not been held with a credit card guarantee and may be cancelled today due to a glitch. You will need to call back on the dining line today and modify your reservation, adding a credit card number guarantee.
My personal experience: I booked via the automated line and ended up battling busy signals for over an hour before finally getting back through to the system. The dining reservation agent I spoke to put me through to the Dining Help line. The Dining Help line agent added my credit card number to the reservations and gave me new confirmation numbers.
If you do this, continue to confirm your reservations today and tomorrow as a precaution.
Current State of Reservations
Currently, I’ve heard nothing negative about reservations that were booked through an actual agent today. Those should still be in place.
For those of us still trying to get reservations, from what I can tell many Disney dining and reservations lines are still busy, and many dates in [Read more…]
A few more details have been released on La Hacienda de San Angel, opening mid-September in Walt Disney World’s Epcot.
Reservations will be available for dates after October 15th, and the dates from opening through October 15th will be a soft opening period (i.e. walk-up guests only).
The Disney Parks Blog caught up with Richard Debler, the president of San Angel Inn LLC, and Executive Chef Ernesto Zendejas, in charge of the big changes at the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot. Here are some of the new insights:
New “Flex-Space” Concept for Disney Dining
The space will be used as an air-conditioned dining room for La Cantina de San Angel next door during the day, and as a full-service restaurant after 4pm.
The Cuisine and Menu
Two taco specialists are being brought in from one of the best taquerias in Mexico to work with the La Hacienda team. Corn tortillas will be made fresh on the premises daily for La Hacienda and La Cantina (the counter-service restaurant next door). Tomato, chipotle and serrano, tomatillo, and mango salsas will be made fresh as well, and there will be unique flavors from different regions of Mexico represented, including cilantro and habenero flavors Southern Mexico.