World News: Wednesday, July 13th

My birthday is pretty bittersweet. I spend all summer looking forward to July 4th and my birthday, then summer seems to fly by after that. Are we really only 23 weeks away from Christmas? I just started writing ads for Christmas decorations at work and had to check the calendar! There’s a lot of exciting things going on at Disney this week. It seems like something new is opening up every week now! Here’s a roundup of the news:

Chef Art Smith’s Homecoming to Open at Disney Springs

I first heard about the restaurant last week when it popped up on my newsfeed. I had no clue! Seriously, so many awesome spots are opening in the parks and at Disney Springs that I’m having trouble scheduling time for the parks! Between grabbing ice cream at Ample Hills, a burger at D-Luxe Burger, saving room for a crepe at Aristrocrepes and now some fried chicken at Homecoming! I’m gonna need a month to try everything (and to burn it off!)

The menu at Homecoming looks great. It features Southern comfort food, such as doughnuts and fried chicken, fried catfish sandwiches and hush puppies. The restaurant opened yesterday and I’m anxiously anticipating Disney Food Blog’s review. I’m assuming this will be a counter service, although I can totally see Disney making it a Table Service if it’s on the meal plan.

Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular Dessert Party” moves to Launch Bay

InsideTheMagic-

After stuffing your face with a large assortment of sweets (themed cupcakes, cookies and brownies and a selection of savory snacks including cheese and flatbread and dip), guests will also have the option to gulp down some alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverages. You will then be escorted to a VIP viewing area for the main event: Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular. Personally, I think it’s one of the most incredible evening experiences that the Walt Disney World Resort has to offer.

The cost of the dessert party is $69 for adults, $39 for children age 3-9. Admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is required to attend, obviously. So what do you guys think of this awesome opportunity to enjoy the Star Wars fireworks in style? Let me know what you think in the comments below, and stick with ITM for all things Disney and Star Wars!

I’m not big on dessert parties. Rarely does it really offer you a better view of the fireworks. Finding a solid spot for the fireworks and parades is easy if you show up early enough and I’d much rather use a snack credit on some popcorn or fill up on a big dinner beforehand. BUT—this is enticing. Alcoholic beverages being included in the dessert party could be a huge win. With the beverages being so expensive, this can certainly make the plan worth it and give it a huge value. I’m sure Disney will cap it at one or two drinks (if they offer them as part of the price at all.) But, if Disney includes alcoholic beverages in the price (even if it’s just one or two) then that’s a value that would be difficult to pass up!

Disney Parks Blog-

Earlier this year, Disney Early Morning Magic launched at Magic Kingdom Park to give eager guests the opportunity to be among the first to experience theme park attractions and breakfast inside the park. Today we’re happy to share that not only has Disney Early Morning Magic been extended through September 30, 2016, for Magic Kingdom Park, but Disney’s Hollywood Studioswill soon offer Disney Early Morning Magic as well!

Beginning August 1, a select number of guests can experience Disney Early Morning Magic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Beginning at 7:45 a.m., guests can enter the park and experience Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, Toy Story Mania!, Pixar Place character greetings (with Woody and Buzz), and Mickey and Minnie on Commissary Lane and Olaf at Celebrity Spotlight. Guests can also partake in an all-you-care-to-enjoy breakfast at ABC Commissary from 8-10 a.m.

I think the Early Morning Magic holds more value than the late night event Disney held a few months ago. At the late-night event, Magic Kingdom offered a few snacks, such as ice cream and soft drinks. There really wasn’t a ton of value, outside of getting to experience many attractions at a dramatically reduced wait time. The morning event, on the other hand, offers breakfast. When you figure that a normal Counter Service breakfast costs around $20, paying another $40 or so to experience popular attractions before the park opens to the public isn’t terrible.

I do think Disney missed a little on this one, though. For one, I don’t think there’s a big crowd problem at Hollywood Studios right now. The park isn’t in high demand. Many guests visiting Disney for a short stay are passing on Hollywood Studios. If you’re going for an extended stay, you can either polish off the park in one day or strategically use your FastPass+’s to see and do everything over the course of two half days. And, with the third track being added to Toy Story Midway Mania, I’m not sure a “lower wait time” has as much value. If you go during off-peak dates, you can get on the ride in under 40 minutes. I think Disney needs to consider doing this in EPCOT’s Norway. I’d pay $100 for early access to Norway and a Table Service breakfast at Akershus. With the new Frozen ride seeing wait times of 3 hours+, there would certainly be a demand (and value) in that!

Look – Disney is trying to make Hollywood Studios more appealing. I can appreciate that. But I’m not sure that asking guests to pay extra for early access to a park they can finish in 4 hours is the way to do it. I loved the addition of the food stands and the new Star Wars fireworks show, from what I’ve heard, is outstanding. The goal should be to keep guests in the park, not add a way to leave earlier.

DisneyFoodBlog gives a full review of the new Coca-Cola store at Disney Springs. Nothing too special here, until you get to the rooftop (or if you’re a Coca-Cola merchandise collector.) The idea of the rooftop is pretty cool. I love the international sampler and the float sampler. I can definitely see myself sharing some floats with my family on a warm day. I’ll definitely give it a try during our next trip!

And last… InsideTheMagic released the full menu for Food & Wine. I had my first Food & Wine experience last year. With my family springing for Beach Club this Christmas, we decided to forgo returning for Food & Wine. But… I’m tempted. I’ve started looking for flight deals. I may just do a 3-day weekend at Food & Wine. Check out the menu. If you’re on the fence about going, GO. I highly recommend it.

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