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Fall in Love with the Holiday’s at Walt Disney World

Fall in Love with the Holiday’s at Walt Disney World

Fall in Love with the Holiday's

at Walt Disney World

Summer is officially over, which means our favorite time of year is right around the corner. There is truly something so magical about the theme parks during the Holiday season. This year is definitely different than previous years, however, there are lots of new and exciting things to look forward to in the coming months!

Fall & Halloween at Magic Kingdom

News13

    Although Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party has been canceled this year, fall is still such a wonderful time to visit the theme parks.
    From September 15th through October 31st, Magic Kingdom will be adorned with beautiful seasonal decor throughout the park. Characters including Mickey, Minnie, Pluto and pals will wave to guests from a special Halloween cavalcade. You may even see some of your favorite Disney villains along for the ride. Disney is also allowing guests for the first time ever to wear their favorite Halloween costume to the parks to celebrate.

New Projection Show for Cinderella’s Castle Starting Nov. 6th 

Each year during the Holiday season, Cinderella’s Castle lights up with over 200,000 beautiful crystal lights that emulate icicles dripping from every angle. This year, in place of the icicle lights, Disney has created an incredible projection show that will run through the evening starting at sun down. According to Disney Parks Blog, “the appearance of the iconic castle will be transformed with a rotating series of designs including a whimsical Christmas sweater and a regal overlay of red, green and gold ornamentation”.  Get your cameras ready! This new addition will make for an incredible Holiday card backdrop for the whole family.  

Character Sitings throughout the Parks

One thing we have truly missed about the parks is being able to meet all of our favorite characters and princesses. This holiday season, however, the Disney parks have created ways for us to see all of our favorites while staying safe with social distancing. Starting November 6th, guests will be able to see special character cavalcades through Magic Kingdom including gingerbread men, elves, reindeer and our personal favorite, the toy soldiers! Guests can also enjoy festive flotillas at Animal Kingdom, Holiday Promenades at Epcot, and Merry Motorcades at Hollywood Studios. Santa Claus will also be available to wave to guests at all four parks and Disney Springs.

Minnie Mouse to Host Seasonal Dine at Hollywood & Vine

We are so excited to see character dining slowly returning to the parks. Starting November 6th, Minnie Mouse will host a seasonal dining experience at Hollywood & Vine located at Hollywood Studios park. Santa Goofy will also be in attendance along with some of Minnie’s other friends. The characters will not be available for personal photos, however will be available to wave to guests and pose for photos.

Celebrate the Holiday’s at Disney Springs

If you are heading to the theme parks this Holiday season, make sure to stop by Disney Springs. Disney has announced that the “elaborately-decorated Disney Christmas trees are spread throughout this retail, dining and entertainment destination”. These beautiful trees will be displayed all throughout Disney Springs, which is perfect for an unplanned afternoon, or evening after a busy day at the parks. Another special addition to Disney Springs this year will be a magical snowfall throughout three of the main areas: The Landing, Town Center, and West Side.

Jock Lindsey Hanger Bar will transform into Jock Lindsey’s Holiday Bar with returning holiday decor and a limited-time festive menu for guests to enjoy this Holiday season.

    Stay tuned for more Walt Disney World and Universal Studios updates in our October newsletter. You can also stay up to date on all park and resort information by following us on Facebook and Instagram.

     

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    Cooking Around the World Showcase – Pan Fried Noodles from the Japan Pavillon

    Cooking Around the World Showcase – Pan Fried Noodles from the Japan Pavillon

    Cooking Around the World Showcase - Pan Fried Noodles from Japan Pavillon

     The next stop on my culinary adventures around the World Showcase is Japan. I am not going to lie, this one made me nervous. Would I have the right cooking equipment? Was I going to be able to find all of the ingredients I needed? Have no fear! I am happy to report back that my dish of Pan Fried Noodles was a huge success and a big hit with the family.

    Pan Fried Noodles

    Japan Pavillon
    Teppan Edo

    Out of the three sit down dining options located in Epcot’s Japan pavilion, Teppan Edo, Tokyo Dining, and Takumi-Tei, Teppan Edo is truly the star. Teppan means “iron griddle” in Japanese, so the name is very fitting for this hibachi style dining experience.  My family and I have been dining here for as long as I can remember. It is especially my husband’s favorite as he studied Japanese in college. Depending on the size of your party, you will be seated alone, or with a combination of other families all around a large flat top grill. Here your chef will cook your dinner with flair and serve an amazing meal along with a show. The recipe I used to recreate Teppan-Edo’s delicious noodles is by Dinner at the Zoo and can be found here.

    Ingredients:
    4 servings

      

    • 1 tablespoon + 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
    • 1 cup shredded carrots
    • 1/2 cup white onion
    • 1/2 cup green onions 
    • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
    • 12 ounces cooked fresh noodles 
    • 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
    • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
    • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
    • 1 cup bean sprouts
    • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds

    Directions:

     
    1. Heat 2 teaspoons of vegetable oil over medium high heat in a large pan. Add the carrots and white onions to the pan. 
    2. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until vegetables are softened.
    3. Add the green onions and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Remove the vegetables from the pan, and cover to keep warm.
    4. Rinse the noodles under hot water to separate them.
    5. Heat the remaining tablespoon of vegetable oil in the pan. Add the noodles and cook for 3-4 minutes per side or until browned and crispy on the edges.
    6. Add the vegetables back to the pan.
    7. In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of cold water.
    8. Add the bean sprouts to the pan, and toss to combine.
    9. Add the sauce to the pan and bring to a simmer. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until sauce has just thickened and bean sprouts have wilted.
    10. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and additional green onions if desired, then serve.

     

    Since this meal did not require too much cooking on the stovetop, my little ones were able to be a lot more hands-on, which they loved!

    The veggies that this recipe calls for are shredded carrots, white onion and bean sprouts. I chose to shred the carrots and onions at home with my grater. However, you can buy them pre-shredded at the grocery story if you prefer.

    The kids got to shred the carrots and onions and mix together all of the ingredients for the sauce. Mom stepped in when it was time to start cooking.

    One tip I found online that turned out to be my saving grace was buying precooked noodles, which you can find in the international isle of your grocery store.

    Since these noodles come precooked, all you need to do is rinse them and throw them in the pan and voila! The longer you keep the noodles in the fry pan, the crispier they get. The texture is needed in this dish so that everything is not too soft.

    The best part of these noodle is that it can easily be a side dish or a main course! We decided to cook up some chicken to mix in with the noodles for the first night. For night two, we had the noodles as a side dish.

    To make your Japan experience even more authentic, open a bottle of sake and bring out the chop sticks! We have sets that we purchased from the gift shop located directly underneath the restaurant.

    All in all, this dish was much easier to make than I anticipated. Cooking it myself may not have been quite as fun as watching it made hibachi-style at Teppan-Edo, but this recipe is definitely one we will be making more often.

    I planned on making the green tea mousse cake from Teppan-Edo’s dessert menu as well, however, it was not as easy or as successful as the noodles. It is The Japan Pavilion that has had me conceding that I am a much better cook than I am a baker!

    Enjoy! (Tanoshi!)

    Follow us on social media so you can follow our Cooking Around the World Showcase journey. Next week, we are recreating a special dish from Italy! Can you guess which one we chose?

    About Me
    Hi everyone! My name is Kara and I am so excited to help you plan a magical Disney vacation. My love of Disney started during my very first trip there in March of 1994. Disney quickly became my family’s “happy place”. There was never any question, when it was time for a vacation, we packed our bags and headed to the most magical place on Earth. Nowadays, it is extra special for me to experience the Disney magic again through the eyes of my 4 year old son, Liam, and 2 year old daughter, Jennie. Seeing their eyes light up when Mickey and Minnie pass by and seeing their faces all sticky from Mickey ice cream bars make special memories that only Disney can bring. I can’t wait to help you build those memories together as a family!

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    The Johnson Family

    Dallas Johnson and his family are some of Disney’s biggest fans, so it is always such a pleasure for us to plan their trips. At My VIP Tour, we have always said that Disney World is about so much more than just the rides, it’s all of the extra magic that happens in between. The Johnson family couldn’t agree more. Check out our interview with Dallas below. We love his enthusiasm and we are so grateful for the continued support of him and his family over the years.

     

     

     

    MVT: Most parents say that Disney vacations are all about the children, but what are some ways that YOU enjoyed the parks? As a parent, what did your VIP guide do to ensure that you were having an easy, stress-free experience with your children?

    Dallas Johnson: OH goodness.. all about the kids? Yeah love to see their faces light up.. but Monica helped us make this about us too by taking photos for us.. letting my wife and I ride rides together and letting us act like kids again.. it was amazing.

    MVT: Magic Kingdom is the “Most Magical Place on Earth” and we can think of many reasons why! Is there a certain attraction that you and your family can’t wait to experience again?

    DJ: All of it.. it’s more than a theme park to us.. it’s a feeling of escaping reality for a while and all of us being kids just enjoying the atmosphere, wonder, music, rides, smells. All of it.. it’s amazing.

    MVT: Between My VIP Tour and its affiliate company Katie Bean Travels, we are able to create unforgettable experiences like the one you had in Orlando all over the world. Where are you dreaming about taking your next family vacation and would you find value in using your vacation planning services outside of Orlando?

    DJ: Oh man.. I want to get back to Hawaii sometime soon with the family.. or a Mediterranean cruise. Those are the two things I want my kids to experience. And of course I would be interested in using Katie Bean Travels.

    MVT: As parts of the US and other countries begin to open up again, many people are wondering if it’s safe to travel. When do you think you and your family will be ready to vacation again?

    DJ: Fall 2020, Spring 2021.

    My VIP Tour: One of our favorite aspects of planning Disney vacations is that while the trips themselves may fly by, we often make vacation memories that last a lifetime. What memory from your trip to Orlando will always make you look back and smile?

    DJ: The thing I will remember from my last vacation is how relaxing it was. We literally put everything in VIP’s hands and we just sat back and relaxed.

    MVT: What would you say to a friend who was thinking about using My VIP Tour’s vacation planning services for their next trip?

    DJ: DO IT! There should be NO decision process. If you are looking for a team that will make your vacation process easy and relaxing and truly make your vacation enjoyable.. use My VIP.

    Ready to begin your own experience with My VIP Tour?
    Click on the button below and one of our VIP concierges will reach out to you shortly!

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    Nothing makes us happier than to hear that our services helped to create a seamless, stress-free experience. Over the last year we have built a special relationship with Ron Janci and he always has nothing but the kindest and most positive things to say about his time with us and his grandchildren. Not only did Ron and his family get to fit as much as possible into their quick trip to Orlando, but they created special memories that will last a lifetime. See below to hear more about Ron and his family’s experience and how their trip with us compared to past Disney World trips. 

    MVT: Most grandparents say that Disney vacations are all about the grandchildren, but what are some ways that YOU enjoyed the parks? As a grandparent, what did your VIP guide do to ensure that you were having an easy, stress-free experience with your grandchildren?

    Ron Janci: We took our children to DisneyWorld 6 times when they were younger and were beyond exhausted after each visit. My VIP Tour  – Megan, Austin and Danielle – took all the stress away and this was BY FAR the best trip ever! When everyone in our group of 7 asked me “what’s next” I said “Follow Megan”.

    MVT: Disney World is known as “The Happiest Place on Earth” and we can think of many reasons why! Is there a certain attraction that you and your family can’t wait to experience again?

    RJ: Pandora Pandora Pandora!!!! Megan did a GREAT job minimizing our wait and the ride was fantastic!

    MVT: Between My VIP Tour and its affiliate company Katie Bean Travels we are able to create unforgettable experiences like the one you had in Orlando all over the world. Would you find value in using your vacation planning services outside of Orlando?

    RJ: Yes – we are going to wait until the threat of the pandemic recedes.

    MVT: As parts of the US and other countries begin to open up again, many people are wondering if it’s safe to travel. When do you think you and your family will be ready to vacation again?

    RJ: When there is a Covid-19 vaccine.

    My VIP Tour: One of our favorite aspects of planning Disney vacations is that while the trips themselves may fly by, we often make vacation memories that last a lifetime. What memory from your trip to Orlando will always make you look back and smile?

    RJ: Our two grandchildren recall with GREAT detail and twinkles in their eyes about the ride experiences and Megan (our guide) and Austin.

    MVT: What would you say to a friend who was thinking about using My VIP Tour’s vacation planning services for their next trip?

    RJ: My VIP Tour is A+++++. They think of EVERYTHING! I would highly recommend them and look forward to our next trip to Disney.

    Ready to begin your own experience with My VIP Tour?
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    Cooking Around the World Showcase – Baklava from the Morocco Pavillon

    Cooking Around the World Showcase – Baklava from the Morocco Pavillon

    Cooking Around the World Showcase - Baklava from the Morocco Pavillon

    Next stop – The Morocco Pavilion! Located within the World Showcase at Epcot, this pavilion can be easy to overlook. There is no giant landmark that draws attention, no movie or ride found within, and no street performers. Without the bells and whistles of the other pavilions, guests can often walk right on through. If this is you, you are missing out on a plethora of unique merchandise, delicious tastes and smells and architecture that makes you feel like you’re wandering through a bazaar.

    Baklava

    Morocco Pavillon
    Spice Road Table

    There are 3 dining options in The Morocco Pavilion:
    1. Restaurant Marrakesh: a table service restaurant tucked away in the back of the pavilion with live music and belly dancers.
    2. Tangierine Cafe: a quick service location offering casual Moroccan fare such as Mediterranean shawarma, kebabs, and hummus.
    3. Spice Road Table: a table service restaurant with a beautiful indoor/outdoor setting located on the lagoon.

    This week I created Baklava, which is a rich and sweet pastry that can be found on the dessert menu at Spice Road Table. I found a really great recipe posted online by Back To Our Roots, which I have included below.

    Baklava Ingredients:
    Serving Size: 1 9″ x 13″ pan

     

    • 1 lb raw, unsalted nuts
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp each of the following spices:
      • ground nutmeg
      • ground cloves
      • mace
      • ground cardamom
      • allspice
    • 1 16oz package phyllo dough at room temperature
    • 1 cup melted butter

    Baklava Directions:

     

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and butter a 9×13 inch baking dish.
    2. Chop the nuts very fine and mix the ground spices into them.
    3. Unroll the phyllo and cover it with plastic wrap and then with a damp cloth.
    4. Place 4 to 6 sheets of phyllo in the bottom of your baking dish and brush generously with the melted butter.
    5. Sprinkle 5 to 6 tablespoons of the nut mixture evenly over the phyllo.
    6. Add 2 more sheets of phyllo dough and brush with butter.
    7. Continue to layer the nuts and phyllo sheets, brushing the sheets with butter as you go, until you have used all of the nut mixture. For the top layer of phyllo, use 6 to 8 sheets, buttering each one.
    8. Using a very sharp knife, cut the Baklava all the way through, into 4 long rows. Then cut diagonally to make diamond shapes.
    9. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, until golden brown.

    I will admit, this recipe called for a run to the grocery store as it features many spices that I don’t normally use. However, now that I have them in my pantry, I will certainly find more recipes that call for Mace, Cardamom, Cloves and Nutmeg.

    The recipe did seem a bit intimidating at first, but I actually found it quite simple to put together. First, I chopped up all of the nuts. I did this by hand with no problem, but if you have a food processor it would definitely make this step easier and quicker!

    I then alternated layers of well buttered dough and the chopped nuts.

    I decided to use puff pastry dough instead of the traditional phyllo dough, which is why my baklava looks slightly different. They came out a little fluffier and delicious!

    After cutting my Baklava into diamond shapes and placing it in the oven, I got started on the syrup.

    Syrup Ingredients:

     

    • 1 cup packed sucanat or brown sugar
    • 1 cup water
    • 1/2 cup honey
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 tsp lemon juice
    • The peel from 1 orange – washed, cut in strips, and pith removed
    • 2 cinnamon sticks
    • 6 whole cloves

    Syrup Directions:

     

    1. Combine the brown sugar and the water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.
    2. Add the honey, cinnamon sticks, cloves and orange peel and return to a boil.
    3. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
    4. Remove and discard the cloves and cinnamon sticks. The orange peel is now “candied”.
    5. Add the lemon juice and the vanilla and mix well.
    6. Remove the syrup from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
    7. After removing the Baklava from the oven, immediately spoon the syrup over the top. Allow the Baklava to cool completely before serving.

     

    The syrup is what really brings this dish together and makes each bite melt in your mouth! With brown sugar, honey, cinnamon, cloves and orange peel, I could have just dunked my spoon in it all day.

    The best part of my baklava making experience was that my whole house smelled like Christmas! With your baklava fresh, you can now cuddle up, put on Aladdin, light some incense, and feel like you are back exploring Morocco.

    Follow us on social media so you can follow our Cooking Around the World Showcase journey. Next week, we are recreating a special dish from Japan! Can you guess which one we chose?

    About Me
    Hi everyone! My name is Kara and I am so excited to help you plan a magical Disney vacation. My love of Disney started during my very first trip there in March of 1994. Disney quickly became my family’s “happy place”. There was never any question, when it was time for a vacation, we packed our bags and headed to the most magical place on Earth. Nowadays, it is extra special for me to experience the Disney magic again through the eyes of my 4 year old son, Liam, and 2 year old daughter, Jennie. Seeing their eyes light up when Mickey and Minnie pass by and seeing their faces all sticky from Mickey ice cream bars make special memories that only Disney can bring. I can’t wait to help you build those memories together as a family!

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    Cooking Around the World Showcase – French Onion Soup from the France Pavillon

    Cooking Around the World Showcase – French Onion Soup from the France Pavillon

    Cooking Around the World Showcase - French Onion Soup from France Pavillon

     

    As we continue along Epcot’s World Showcase in our weekly Cooking Around the World blog series we find ourselves at the France Pavillon. After passing over the Pont des Arts inspired footbridge you will be met with cobblestone lined streets, flower carts, streetside artists and of course, a replica of the Eiffel Tower. This week I decided to recreate a dish from Chefs de France, which is one of our favorite restaurants to book for our families within the France Pavillon. And what better menu item to cook than their delicious French Onion soup!

    French Onion Soup

    France Pavillon
    Chefs de France

    French Onion Soup is a well-known classic. With a combination of sweet caramelized onions, rich beef broth and a delicious cheesee crusted top, this is the ultimate comfort food. Thankfully, it is super easy to make as well! The recipe I chose to follow was found on Spend With Pennies and it turned out amazing. Follow along below to see the process!

    Ingredients:
    6 servings

     

    • 3 large onions, peeled and sliced
    • ½ teaspoon brown sugar (optional)
    •  cup butter
    • 8 cups beef broth
    •  cup dry white wine
    • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
    • 1 bay leaf
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 baguette
    • 3 cups gruyere cheese
    • 6 tablespoons fresh parmesan cheese

    Directions:

     

    1. Slice onions ¼” thick then cook them for about 30-45 minutes while stirring occasionally over low heat in melted butter until golden.

    2. Add wine, beef broth, bay leaf, thyme, black pepper and worcestershire. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour. Remove bay leaf and thyme and discard.

    3. Meanwhile, slice bread and brush with olive oil. Broil 2 minutes per side or until golden. 

    4. Ladle soup into ceramic bowls. Add 2 slices of bread in each bowl. Divide cheeses over bowls and broil until golden and bubbly.

     

    The first step is to cut up all of your onions. If your eyes typically water while cutting an onion, try placing it in the freezer for about 5 minutes before cutting and make sure you’re using a very sharp knife when slicing.

    It is important to cook the onions slowly and keep a watchful eye on them to ensure they do not brown and instead become soft and golden. If you would like to prep your onions the evening before to save some time, you can caramelize your onions in a slow cooker instead.

    After my onions were the perfect color and texture, I added in the rest of the ingredients. This is when it became time to play the waiting game!

    In order to successfully achieve all of those decadent flavors that make French Onion Soup so special it requires about an hour of simmering. Once finished the broth should be transparent with some caramel coloring. 

    This next step is super important! Putting the sliced pieces of baguette in the oven and broiling them before adding them to the soup helps ensure that they do not immediately fall apart. 

    I kept them in there for about two minutes per side and made sure they were perfectly golden. Having toasty bread is vital for the overall texture and structure of your soup.

    Finally, I poured the soup into oven safe bowls, added the bread, placed the cheese on top and broiled it until it started bubbling. While any and all cheese combinations are acceptable, I highly recommend using gruyere as suggested – it is extremely flavorful and gives the soup a delicious, creamy texture on top.

    All ovens are different, so be sure to watch your soup closely while broiling to ensure the cheese does not burn!

    Overall, while this was the easiest recipe I have recreated so far, it was also one of the most flavorful. All of the ingredients really came together into a perfect and delicious combination. I thought my little ones (ages 2 and 4) would be skeptical to try this dish, as they are not the biggest fans of onions, but they surprised me by finishing their bowls clean! I can definitely see myself making this recipe again in the near future.

    Follow us on social media so you can follow our Cooking Around the World Showcase journey. Next week, we are recreating a special dish from Morocco! Can you guess which one we chose?

    About Me
    Hi everyone! My name is Kara and I am so excited to help you plan a magical Disney vacation. My love of Disney started during my very first trip there in March of 1994. Disney quickly became my family’s “happy place”. There was never any question, when it was time for a vacation, we packed our bags and headed to the most magical place on Earth. Nowadays, it is extra special for me to experience the Disney magic again through the eyes of my 4 year old son, Liam, and 2 year old daughter, Jennie. Seeing their eyes light up when Mickey and Minnie pass by and seeing their faces all sticky from Mickey ice cream bars make special memories that only Disney can bring. I can’t wait to help you build those memories together as a family!

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