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Walt Disney World Resort Non-Park Discussion Thread

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Animal Kingdom Lodge and the Polynesian are the two WDW resorts I want to visit the most.


^ I want to return to the Polynesian, if I can afford it by the time I go.

We were there in 1987, and spent several wonderful nights onsite.


If you guys are looking to stay onsite check out renting DVC points from a member. Can save you a ton of money in the long run. Example, early 2013 we rented points form a member for 4 nights at Boardwalk and it turned out to cost me about $160 a night compared to over $300 a night if you book direct with Disney.

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Opening day is set for December 18 for Trattoria al Forno, the new restaurant at Disney’s BoardWalk that will showcase classic Italian cuisine including handcrafted mozzarella made daily, fresh cavatelli pasta and pizzas baked in wood-burning ovens.


Open daily for breakfast and dinner, with reservations starting October 21, Chef Dee Foundoukis and her team in Trattoria al Forno’s kitchen are creating a true taste of all of Italy’s diverse regions.


We’re so excited to finally share the menu with you – in upcoming posts we’ll be sharing details from Walt Disney Imagineering about the décor and more as we get closer to opening. And some delicious recipes for you to try at home!


Trattoria al Forno will be open 7:30-11 a.m. for breakfast, 5-10 p.m. for dinner, and accepts the Disney Dining Plan. For reservations, call 407-WDW-DINE or http://www.disneyworld.com/dine.






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Enjoy upscale, family-friendly waterfront dining featuring spectacular floating artwork: dream boats from the 30’s, 40’s & 50’s. Immerse yourself both on land and on water with live music, guided tours aboard the Captain’s piloted Italian Water Taxi, as well as guided Amphicar rides. Enter the water with a splash, while you go for a 20 minute tour of the landmarks of Disney Springs. This incredible culinary experience is showcased in an expansive restaurant with three distinctive bars, including The Dock Bar, built over the water. The BOATHOUSE is managed by the internationally renowned and award winning Gibsons Restaurant Group, celebrated for exceptional food and extraordinary service. Delight in our gourmet menu served daily until 2 a.m. featuring steaks, chops, fresh seafood and our raw bar.


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It was just announced that Chef Masaharu Morimoto, who many of you know from his appearances on Iron Chef America, is opening a one-of-a-kind dining experience in the heart of Disney Springs at the Walt Disney World Resort.


Morimoto Asia will be the Japanese master chef’s first-ever pan-Asian restaurant featuring flavors from across the continent. This Disney Springs dining destination will include unique exhibition kitchens showcasing traditions like Peking duck carving, and dim sum.


“I’m very excited to bring this new concept to Disney, something I’ve always dreamed of,” said Chef Morimoto. “It’s a wonderful chance to share some of my favorite foods from across the Asian continent.”


The two-story restaurant is scheduled to open in the Summer 2015 at The Landing (formerly Pleasure Island) in Disney Springs. Morimoto Asia will feature waterside seating, terraces, a grand hall and a cocktail lounge.


Also today, another new concept dining experience, The BOATHOUSE, was announced for The Landing in Disney Springs.

The BOATHOUSE will be an upscale, waterfront dining experience that’ll immerse guests both on land and on water with live music, guided tours aboard the Captain’s piloted 40-foot Italian Water Taxi with champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries and guided Amphicar rides that launch from land, enter the water, and take guests on a 20-minute tour of the landmarks of Disney Springs.


“We are very excited that the BOATHOUSE is joining the Walt Disney World family at Disney Springs,” says creator Steven Schussler. “Walt Disney Imagineering has created a wonderful, interactive, culinary and entertainment experience at Disney Springs. We are proud to be part of this magical experience.”


The BOATHOUSE will open in the Spring of 2015 in Disney Springs. The restaurant’s gourmet menu (served daily until 2 a.m.) will feature steaks, chops, seafood and a raw bar. The BOATHOUSE is the latest project of Schussler Creative, the creators of Rainforest Cafe, T-Rex and Yak & Yeti at the Walt Disney World Resort.


Keep checking the Disney Parks Blog for more updates on Morimoto Asia and The BOATHOUSE as well as other new experiences coming to Disney Springs.





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For years, environmentalists have tried to prevent 3,000 acres of land called Mira Lago, bordering the Disney Wilderness Preserve, from becoming a housing development.


Now, Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has bought the property in Osceola and Polk counties with plans to conserve it. Environmentalists hail the purchase as a triumph. It also signals major growth on the way: In exchange for saving Mira Lago, Disney World wants permission to develop up to 350 acres of wetlands during the next 20 years.


Disney's purchase of Mira Lago, said Charles Lee of Audubon Florida, is "going to be a huge conservation victory for Central Florida." Disney's plans for the property include restoring wetlands, starting controlled burns and controlling nuisance and exotic plants. Disney also hopes to enhance upland habitats for the Florida scrub jay and red cockaded woodpecker.


The wetland acreage Disney wants government approval to develop in return is about the same amount as the resort's total wetland impacts during the past two decades, which included development of Celebration and Animal Kingdom.


"Three hundred and fifty acres ... is a significant wetlands impact in Central Florida," attorney and conservationist Clay Henderson said. "That's a big number for around here."


Disney did not make executives available for an interview. A spokeswoman said the company wants flexibility for long- term planning, including for new roads. Disney has about 12,000 acres of wetlands on its 45 square miles.


Disney is seeking approval from the South Florida Water Management District and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for its plans. South Florida Water Management District spokesman Randy Smith said regulators want Disney to provide more information on the location of the wetlands it wants to impact. A permit application says they would be across Disney's property to accommodate expansion of theme parks, resorts and "support areas." It does not provide details.


The Disney company bought the Mira Lago site July 31, paying $11.5 million.


The site lies west of the Disney Wilderness Preserve, about 20 miles southeast of Disney World. That nature sanctuary was established in 1992 through an agreement in which Disney bought a former cattle ranch and donated it to the Nature Conservancy. In exchange for that, Disney received regulators' permission to destroy 600 acres of wetlands.


About half of those 600 acres have been impacted so far, Smith said. Disney's newest request would bring the total up to 950 acres of wetlands permitted for development.

It's standard practice, called mitigation, for developers to buy and protect an area of land in exchange for building on wetlands elsewhere.


The 12,000-acre Disney preserve, at the headwaters of the Everglades water system, is widely viewed as an environmental success. Land has been restored to near its original state as it was first described by Spanish missionaries. Nature lovers hike and watch birds there.


Next door at Mira Lago, however, a development group called Avatar Properties had the rights to build about 4,000 homes.


Development would have cut off the paths of wildlife. Environmentalists feared having homes nearby would create pressure to cut back on controlled burns that are critical to the preserve's management.


And "the development that was intended would have actually threatened some of the great wetland restoration we've done on the Disney Wilderness Preserve," said Doria Gordon, director of conservation science at the Nature Conservancy's Florida office.


In 2007, Avatar reached an agreement to negotiate possible sale to the Nature Conservancy. But money for land purchases has gotten tight, and the conservancy couldn't afford it.


Though it does not yet have approval for its plan, Disney decided to purchase the land now to lock in the price.


Disney's permit application to the water management district also seeks to add five parcels totaling more than 800 acres to its permit for potential development. The largest piece, almost 600 acres, stretches from the recently-started Flamingo Crossings hotel-and-retail complex near State Road 429 a mile west to Avalon Road.


Disney said it does not have concrete plans yet for that parcel or the other ones around the edges of its property.


The largest parcel — which includes property owned by Reedy Creek for about 20 years — would be a logical site for another theme park, said Duncan Dickson, who teaches at the University of Central Florida's Rosen College of Hospitality Management.


Disney's long-range plans for years have allowed for a potential fifth theme park, but the company said it does not currently have plans for a new Orlando one. Instead, Disney is focusing on upgrading and expanding its existing parks.


Throughout the property, industry experts say there is potential for much more development, including more hotels and time share resorts. Even new uses such as office parks wouldn't be out of the question, said John Gerner, founder of Leisure Business Advisors in Richmond, Va.


"As long as it doesn't conflict with the quality and reputation of the brand, pretty much anything is possible," he said.

Edited by jedimaster1227
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Check out these photos of the new Exposition Park at Downtown Disney West Side, the permanent home of the four Disney-owned food trucks.


“Guests can always find one or more of the Disney food trucks at this location, with visiting local food trucks joining the fun from time to time” says Darcy Clark, Downtown Disney marketing manager. “With nightly entertainment and extra seating, this West Side location is sure to become a favorite.”


The four Disney food trucks, along with the ESPN food truck, may be there – Namaste Café with flavors from Disney’s Animal Kingdom (think butter chicken and Tandoori spiced shrimp); Superstar Catering with favorites from Disney’s Hollywood Studios like a Margarita Flatbread; Fantasy Fare with Magic Kingdom Park goodies like the corn dog, and World Showcase of Flavors with Epcot tastes from grass-fed beef sliders to Pierogies.


You’ll find Exposition Park between Bongo’s Cuban Café and Starbucks – an expansive grassy area that take advantage of the pretty waterfront. Hours may vary during peak times and special events.



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