All posts tagged Friday

Festival of the Masters ~ Activity Times, Locations and Bonus Tips!

Published October 24, 2013 by

Festival of the Masters

At last, fall is in the air, and the 38th annual Festival of the Masters is back November 8-10 in 2013. Festival of the Masters is one of the premier gatherings of artists in the Southeast with it’s one-of-a-kind and limited-edition paintings, photography, sculptures, jewelry and more.
Listen to the live music and enjoy hands-on fun for all ages. And this year, artistic cocktails take a front seat with a new twist called “Mixers and Masters,” with dining locations featuring specialty drinks for sipping and strolling. Look for feather banners to indicate which restaurants will be participating, with each cocktail priced separately.
Three times a day you can stop by “The Art of Mixology” at the Waterside Stage, with experts showing what goes into making an artfully delicious cocktail during each 10-minute demo.
Festival hours are 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. November 8 and 9, and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. on November 10. Admission and parking are free. Valet parking will be offered for $15 or if you are a Tables in Wonderland cardholder, you can valet for free with a qualifying meal receipt. Don’t forget to tip your valet!



CHALK ART: Chalk Artists will transform more than 1,000 square feet in the Marketplace and West Side into a colorful display of art.

FINE ART MASTERS: Throughout Downtown Disney® West Side, you’ll find over 150 award winning Fine Artists, including original, one of a kind, and limited-edition painting, photography, sculpture, jewelry, glass, wood, and more.
Emerging Masters: Come see more than 20 up-and-coming artists located in the Marketplace.

HOUSE OF BLUES FOLK ART FESTIVAL: “Where the Art Meets the Soul” Featuring more than 30 local and national folk artists, located on the West Side near House of Blues®. In addition to the art displays, guests can enjoy live musical performances by regional blues musicians Friday and Saturday night in the restaurant, as well as a variety of Southern dishes whipped up from the House of Blues kitchen daily, opening at 11:30am.

ART OF DISNEY: Come visit the flagship art gallery at the Marketplace full of art from the Disney Masters! Artist appearances will be scheduled throughout the weekend.

DISNEY ARTIST VILLAGE: Visit  Disney Artist Village on the West Side where you will find a wide array of art featuring your favorite Disney characters. Meet the artists behind these works of art throughout the weekend. The Disney Artist Village is located between Cirque du Soleil® theater and House of Blues®.

D STREET at Downtown Disney® West Side: Celebrate the 5th Anniversary of Vinylmation™ all weekend long at D Street with the new, limited edition figure celebrating this milestone event. Disney Design Group Artist, Thomas Scott, will appear on Friday, November 8, from 10:00am – 12:00pm to sign the latest Vinylmation™ figure.


ART CHATS at the WATERSIDE STAGE!: during the day at the Waterside Stage, located in the Marketplace, there will be fun interactive chat shows about art and what art can be. Get exclusive behind the scenes details on the design development of Disney’s Art of Animation Resort with a Disney Artist.

LIVE PERFORMANCE ARTISTS!: Art comes alive as artists create a masterpiece on stage before your eyes, bringing their inspiration to life! Live shows with Disney Artists will be performed throughout the weekend at the Waterside Stage, located in the Marketplace.

CHILDREN’S CHALK ART: Back by popular demand, Children’s Chalk Art. Visit the Marketplace to find a section of walk to creatively chalk.

FAMILY ACTIVITIES: Enjoy family friendly activities provided by: Michaels®, LEGO®, Little MissMatched™, Rainforest Café®, Disney Interactive, and Festival of the Masters Children’s Chalk Art.

MICHAELS: The Michaels Design Team is excited to entertain and inspire you with fun interactive art and crafting experiences for the whole family located on the West Side.



Friday- 2:30pm-4:00pm and 5:00pm
Saturday- 11:00am-12:00pm, 2:00pm-3:30pm, and 4:30pm-5:30pm
Sunday- 11:00am-12:00pm, 1:00pm-2:30pm and 3:30pm-4:30pm

Enjoy appearances on the plaza between DisneyQuest and Cirque du Soleil by performers from La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil on Friday and Saturday between 4:00pm-4:15pm

Live Entertainment on the Front Porch throughout the Weekend

Live All Day Entertainment on Outdoor Patio throughout the Weekend

Live Entertainment Saturday and Sunday from 12:00pm-4:00pm on the Outdoor Patio and inside the restaurant on the Main Stage


  • Be on the lookout for special outdoor demonstrations of acrobatic artistry by performers from Cirque du Soleil.
  • Don’t forget your camera so you can create your own artistic photo memories.
  • Stop in the House of Blues Folk Art Festival – where there will be more earthy creations on display

Least crowded dates for Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2013

Published July 8, 2013 by


It’s like Christmas in July!

Tickets have been on sale for quite some time for the 2013 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, and I know some of you out there are already making plans to come celebrate your holiday here in Walt Disney World! If you prefer wide open spaces to walk and shorter lines for attractions, you may be wondering what some of the best dates are to come and party. In researching the best date for the Disney Parks Podcast team to get our holiday on – I stumbled on some great information from that I wanted to share with you today.

According to the site –  last year’s crowds indicate that Tuesday Christmas parties are less crowded on average than parties held on any other day of the week. Friday is the next-best day to attend a Very Merry Christmas Party.  We can enjoy lower crowds for the Christmas parties right between the Thanksgiving and Christmas busy periods. Four of the five parties between December 3 and 10, 2013, are among the top 7 least-busy parties – but they expect Sunday, December 8th to be a bit busier. While there are no Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties during Thanksgiving week, the parties just prior to and just after that break are traditionally busy. Thursday and Sunday are the busiest days – and many November dates rank among the most crowded. You may also want to avoid the last few parties before Christmas, because they are also quite crowded.


In general the wait times during the Christmas parties are quite low, averaging only about 9 minutes. The Christmas parties may be your best bet to enjoy some of your favorite attractions.

Bottom line: If you’re looking for the least crowded, best day to visit Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in 2013…


Touring Plans says to circle Tuesday, December 10, 2013 on your calendar.

That Christmas Party, on a Tuesday in early December, was the least-crowded event in 2012’s schedule. If that date doesn’t work for you – just refer to the recommendations above for help. Don’t forget – Epcot and Hollywood Studios have SO much to offer as well during this time of year.  I hope you’ll consider coming “home” for Christmas – and we will see soon!

My 2012 Experience with “3D” – Disney’s Dessert Discovery Party

Published October 8, 2012 by

Even though I was born and raised in Orlando, I didn’t know about 3D Disney’s Dessert Discovery Party until I actually took a job booking Disney dining for guests. Most of us that are born here have heard of the Epcot Food and Wine Festival but really don’t know much about it, we only think we do. When I excitedly tell my friends and family that the Epcot food and wine festival is coming – I usually get a raised eyebrow and the same question, Isn’t that the thing where you get to try food and wine from all the countries?”

Well… yes… but it’s also the chance to book some wonderful experiences, demos, and tastings – the way only Disney could do them. You just might even meet some TV stars, and you’ll definitely get  a chance to rock out to some tunes courtesy of some of  the best bands of the 80’s, 90’s, and 2000’s. But these are just the Food and Wine Festival opportunities that Disney tends to focus their advertising on. There is so much more to enjoy!

You may want to book early for the Dessert Party, although there still seem to be seats available for this year.  If you are planning ahead – and you enjoy this sort of thing – you will want to start studying up on what’s new, what’s popular and what’s changed…beginning in early August, and even July 2013.

Events like this one are VERY popular and sometimes sell out on the first day we can book them.

I had been reading about Epcot’s “3D” Dessert Discovery Party for years. It sounded like a wonderful experience – and being the dessert lover that I am, I thought, how could I go wrong?

“Join us for a dessert lover’s dream at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival 2012! Indulge in decadent desserts and cordials, then enjoy a V.I.P. viewing of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth.

Where: World ShowPlace Events Pavilion, located between the Canada Pavilion and the United Kingdom Pavilion in World Showcase.

When: Fridays, October 5, 12 and 26 and November 2 from 8:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Cost: $55 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included. Epcot Theme Park admission required.

For General Admission reservations, please book online or call (407) WDW-FEST or (407) 939-3378. Space is limited, so be sure to book in advance.:”

You read that right — FIFTY FIVE DOLLARS plus tax. Whew!! Pretty steep for me. I justified it as a “research” expense for my readers and busted out my credit card on the very first day of bookings. After months of waiting, the occasion  finally arrived. October 5th fell on a Friday this year. All this time I thought I would be going by myself, but I was pleasantly surprised to have my neighbor Tristan express interest in coming along. Luckily she was able to book a seat just in time – and we were off on our quest to discover wonderful Disney desserts.

We were headed to The World Showplace Events Pavilion. It is located between the Canada and UK pavilions in World Showcase at Epcot. This is where they hold many of these type of special events. I think it looks so pretty at night. This photo belongs to – the rest are from Disneyways.

The party didn’t start until 8PM, so Tristan and I decided to sample some of the best and most popular eats that the Food and Wine Festival had to offer.  Before taking off though, I double checked with a cast member who told us we would be given a wrist band upon entrance – and they can usually just look up the reservation by last name. People were already lining up by 7pm – but Tristan and I were hungry – and we are not much for lines. At $55 a seat we figured it wasn’t a big rush, Epcot could afford to save 2 seats and some desserts for us. This proved to be a smart decision. There were a lot of people – but the pavilion is BIG, and the dessert stations are plentiful – so there was no shortage of food or seats when we got in.

After our snacks from the kiosks of the “world” we checked in at the podium and were handed some pretty cool 3D glasses.  There is just no way to describe what you see through these things unless you look at these chandeliers and imagine Mickey icons being all around them. 

From here we were treated to the sounds of a live band singing all your typical “sweet” and “candy” themed songs…Sugar SugarLollipopCandy…you get the idea.

I loved the music and thought the band was great. But that’s no surprise – I’m pretty cheesy like that.

The very end of this blog contains a link where you can learn more about the details, dates, and how to book the 3D Disney’s Dessert Discovery Party.

Today I wanted to take you on pictorial and video tour of my personal experience – but first – here’s a few Disneyways tips:

  1. Don’t sweat the long line -unless you really want to be one of the first ones inside! There are plenty of food and seats for everyone – and you won’t have to be in the serving lines nearly as long if everyone else has gotten their desserts already.
  2. Have a snack before you go – something substantial. I recommend the Coq Au Vin from the French Kiosk! There is a “Savory” station but of course that is the longest line during the first hour of the party. This is really a time where you can eat dessert first! Pace yourself and go back for the savory stuff later – you’ll be glad you did!!
  3. Do NOT miss the donuts flambé! They are bathed in sugar are cooked in a pan of rum – right in front of you! 

4. I am not much for alcohol but even I had to try the flavored vodka!  

5. I mixed it with some of the blue lemon-aid and Tristan suggested I call it the Krista Cocktail. Feel free to try it OR you could mix some flavored vodka with the Chocolate or Cranberry Water they had available and create your own signature drink!

Overall, the event was fabulous, and more than I expected. One of the best parts of the party however, is the special fireworks viewing area.

We were literally right on by the water – and I got some cool video.

Watching the fireworks through the special 3D glasses they had given us earlier was pretty much the coolest thing I had ever seen. There was no way to film it through the glasses – but believe me I tried! In fact, much to my embarrassment, you can hear my reaction and see how I turned the video camera sideways – without even realizing it. Listen closely before that… and you’ll hear the Dad behind me telling his son “I SEE MICKEYS!” Awesome.

  SO – if you are big on sweets, booze, fireworks, and feeling like you are getting VIP treatment – you may want to look in to the “3D Dessert Discovery Party” as I like to call it! In closing, here are some pictures of the food stations, atmosphere, and fun!

To learn more about booking your own 3D Party – including Sweet Seats click here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Photo and Video Tour: Put on your coconut bra and grass skirt! It’s time for the Luau!

Published May 4, 2012 by

I have wanted to go to Hawaii for pretty much as long as I can remember.  I’m a BIG Elvis fan and the movie Blue Hawaii probably influenced this in some way. A tan, handsome, young Elvis gyrating among the beautiful scenery of a Polynesian background? What’s not to like?! I guess since I love the thought of Hawaii, I love the thought of a luau, even if it’s just right here in my home town of Orlando Florida.

Luau 2

My mother first came up with the idea a few months before. She wanted to get the family all together for something really special and fun. I promise I did not suggest or influence her in any way to pick the Disney luau, she came up with it all on her own.  It took about a month to get our entire group to agree on a date but it finally happened. We picked Friday April 27, 2012. This also happened to be my cousin’s birthday. Matt is a quiet guy who doesn’t like a lot of hoopla or attention on his birthday but he agreed this might be ok as long as we didn’t buy gifts or go to crazy.

Luau Matt

I sent out the first email and everyone seemed excited about the big day! I made a list of all the names and counted it 4 times. Could we really be a group of 16??? Yes we could – and in fact — we ended up adding one more a couple weeks later for a grand total of 17. Wow! We lost my Dad about a year ago and I just couldn’t stop thinking about how much he would have loved this. I missed him through the whole process (and again on the big night) but I feel like he was watching the whole time. I think he would’ve loved to make it a party of 18.

My Mom decided on category 2 seating. When I called to make the reservation – all that was left was category 1. There was no changing the date now — so we went with it.  I read and researched all I could about the luau just so I could make sure it was something everyone would like AND to try and help things to go as smoothly as I possibly could. The main thing that bugged me was why we had to be there an hour early. Disney policy states this for the luau and they even read you that policy again when you book the reservation. There was very little I could find on the internet about why this policy was in place.

My Mom and I headed to the Polynesian a couple of days early to pick up what I thought were going to be “tickets” to the luau, which are normally at the concierge desk. It was that magic time of around 7:30pm however. I knew there would be cast members at the luau podium this time of night so we made a beeline for the podium first with my list of questions in hand.

Sure enough, the crowds were filing in for the 8pm show and there were cast members waiting to greet us. I told them we were early for the Friday night show (this was Wednesday) and I had some questions. They were happy to assist. My first question was about parking. When my Mom and I pulled up that night we got one of the last spaces available. I was fearful with our big group that there might not be enough spaces for all of us! The cast member didn’t really know what to say. Just then I really lucked out and a manager approached us! The cast member repeated the question for him and just like that – that manager was MINE. The poor guy had no idea what he was getting in to. He politely calmed my fears by stating that parking has never been a problem for luau guests– and we could always pay to valet if we really needed to. He was surprised to hear the lot was so full on this particular evening. OK, so I was satisfied with that answer. I smiled sweetly and asked, “Do you have a few more minutes to answer my other questions?”

“Sure!” he replied in all his typical Disney helpfulness. So off we went…

“We have a group of 17. Do we really need to be here an hour early?” His response: “There is no reason for you to get here that early IF you have already picked up your ticket.”

“Ticket?” I asked, “I thought there would be 17 tickets.”

“Nope,” he replied, “ What you actually get is a slip of paper that has your confirmation number on it and says party of 17. That acts as your admission to the luau.”

WOW! One little slip?

I was shocked. This was a wonderful thing because I had no idea how I would see everyone beforehand to give them a ticket and what if they lost it? It’s just one little slip so I didn’t have to give anyone anything. Awesome.

Next I asked him about being tardy. My nephew Jason would be working that night and not able to get to the luau until probably 9pm or later. The manager said that wasn’t a problem and if my nephew was REALLY late we could ask for a refund on his ticket.

Finally, I asked him about seating. All he could promise me was that we’d be in Category 1 because that’s what was paid for. Oh well, I tried.

Friday night finally came and we all met at my Mom’s to carpool.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We got through all the gates and parking without incident. Everyone was in a great mood when we arrived. I was SO glad I had talked to the manager because even though we weren’t super early, we still ended up standing around outside with no where to sit for 20 minutes or so, even after the formal pictures were taken.

When we finally got in however, things went great. The food was fantastic, the show and costumes were awesome. I couldn’t help but bob my head and wiggle a little in my chair to that music. It was a wonderful night. One of the highlights of the night was that they just happened to pick my nephew, pull him up on stage, and have his shake his booty like a rock-star. He was a great sport!

Here’s a few photos from our big night.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is not video that I took but it’s a great 4 minute clip of what the show is like.
All in all, we had a blast. Go see this thing if you get a chance! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.


Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2012

Published April 25, 2012 by

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party 2012

Dates announced!!
















































%d bloggers like this: