Osborne Lights Being Installed

On the 15th we reported that they were installing the Dream Lights on Cinderella’s Castle over at the Magic Kingdom.  Well, the elves are even busier now.

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Lights installation is underway on the Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

This year’s display will be held from November 30, 2009 to Janaury 3, 2010.  This is a NOT TO BE MISSED spectacle.

Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee Coming to the Magic Kingdom

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Starting Oct. 26, Magic Kingdom guests will be treated to first-ever appearances by Princess Tiana, star of the upcoming Walt Disney Pictures animated feature film “The Princess and the Frog.”

Besides meet and greets with guests, Princess Tiana, Prince Naveen and other characters from the motion picture will star in “Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee!,” a rousing, colorful parade with a jazz-filled Mardi Gras theme. The good times are guaranteed to roll as festively-dressed, bead-tossing paraders lead Magic Kingdom guests to the Liberty Belle Riverboat dock.

The party moves onboard as the Liberty Belle paddlewheels her way along the river to singing, dancing and all that jazz. Songs from the film will add to the show, which will be performed 3-4 times daily.

“Tiana’s Showboat Jubilee!” also will be performed at Disneyland, beginning Nov. 6. The experience will run through Jan. 3, 2010, in each park.

Princess Tiana as she will appear in Disney parks was recently sneak-previewed for delegates to the National Association of Black Journalists convention in Tampa.

A hilarious movie adventure through the mystical bayous of Louisiana, “The Princess and the Frog” will open in limited release in New York and Los Angeles on Nov. 25, 2009, before expanding nationwide on Dec. 11, 2009.

Hours and Events Beefing Up To Meet Demand

With the Free Dining promotion (running today through October 3) drawing more people to the parks that imagined, Walt Disney World is adding shows, dinners and hours across property to accommodate everyone.

For example, Mickey’s Backyard BBQ has added August 18 & 25, and September 1, 11, 15, 22 and 29 to their dinner buffet schedule.

Chef Mickey’s, at the Contemporary, has added a Character Lunch Buffet from 12:30-2:30 pm from August 16-29 and September 20-October 3.

On an unrelated note, Animal Kingdom will be seeing extended operating hours in Africa and Asia today through the end of August. This is because of a computer glitch that allowed guests to book Dining Reservations in some restaurants after closing time. Oops!

Christmas in August?

It’s August, so it’s hard to believe that the parks are getting ready for Christmas already!

But, it’s that time again when the Magic Kingdom is beginning to see the castle dream lights go up for Cinderella’s Holiday Wish. As of today, several of the turrets on the castle are already covered in what will ultimately be over 200,000 bright white LEDs.

If you’ve never seen the castle lit up for Christmas, you don’t know what you’re missing. Plan your next trip during Disney’s Christmas season.

Children’s Activity Centers

An alternative to in-room sitters – for potty-trained children ages 4-12 – are the Children’s Activity Centers.

Located in the Polynesian, Grand Floridian, Animal Kingdom Lodge, Wilderness Lodge, Yacht Club, Beach Club and Dolphin resorts, parents may pay an hourly fee and leave their kids with trained and certified Disney Cast Members who play games and allow them to watch Disney movies and participate in other activities while parents have a night out together.

Facilities for Mommies

You’re in the middle of the Magic Kingdom and your baby is screaming its little head off. It’s hungry! You’re not real comfortable nursing your baby in the middle of a crowded theme park, and bathrooms are nasty. What do you do?

Head to the Baby Care Center!

Located in all four theme parks, these centers are for parents with young children. Note that they are NOT day cares – all children must be accompanied by a parent.

Each Baby Care Center offers rooms with rocking chairs and couches for nursing mothers, and Disney movies are playing for young children to watch while waiting for mommy to finish.

Additionally, there are facilities for changing infants, preparing formula, warming bottles and washing bottles.  If you’re in need of supplies, they sell diapers, bottles, formula, pacifiers and baby food.

The Baby Care Centers are shown on the Theme Park Maps.  And if you just need to do a quick diaper change, there are Changing Stations in most restrooms.

2009 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

EPCOT will be hosting the 14th annual International Food & Wine Festival from September 25 – November 8, 2009.

This 45-day delicious event, presented by Vanity Fair, EPCOT celebrates food from cities around the world.  Take a leisurely stroll around the World Showcase and indulge in authentic flavors at more than 25 International Marketplaces.

View or download the official guide in PDF format here.

La Cava del Tequilla

We talked about it back in June, and now it’s time for an update.

The new tequila bar at the Mexico pavilion in EPCOT will be named La Cava del Tequila.  The plans are to get it open in time for this year’s Food and Wine Festival, as follows:

Mexico Tequila Tastings
Come taste authentic Mexican tequila and learn about the history and
traditions around its production from a true Tequila Master. This new
location offers appetizer samplings of ceviche and tostada as guests
embark on their tequila flight.

La Cava del Tequila, Mexico Pavilion 

Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 3:00 p.m. 

Price: $35.00 per person, plus tax. Gratuity included. Theme park admission is required.

Fantasyland Maintenance

It’s A Small World and Pinocchio’s Village Haus are receiving some tender, loving care.

Small World has been receiving a minor facelift for the past couple of weeks.  They’ve removed the screens and a very nice, fresh coat of paint has been revealed.  They’re still re-attaching some of the ornaments and decorations on the facade, but otherwise it looks great.

Pinocchio’s refurbishment is still underway.  Most of the exterior, closest to the Carousel and Dumbo, is covered by construction walls and screening, which has been painted to reflect what the finished product will look like – which is fabulous.

About half of Fantasyland has been refurbished now, making it look almost as good as new. Not bad for a park that’s almost 40 years old!