Disneyland Resort Announces Dates for 2019 Lunar New Year, Food and Wine Festival

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The Disneyland Resort has confirmed the dates for 2019’s Lunar New Year Celebration and Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival!

Disney California Adventure will once again be celebrating Lunar New Year beginning January 25th and continuing through February 17th.

Look for multicultural performances, crafts, food, and merchandise, plus the return of Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession. Since it’s the Year of the Pig, the Three Little Pigs will join Mulan and Mushu during the procession!

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In 2019, the Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival will expand to eight weeks! Guests will be able to enjoy California-inspired cuisine beginning March 1st and continuing through April 23rd.

The Festival Marketplaces will return, along with live entertainment, family-friendly seminars, and cooking demonstrations.

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More information for both events will be released soon!

Source: Disney Parks Blog

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Garden Rocks Dining Packages Open Dec. 13; New Acts Announced for 2019 Flower & Garden Festival

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The 2019 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival will be held March 6-June 3, 2019 and will boast a wide selection of tasty bites at outdoor kitchens along with dozens of Disney-themed topiaries in full bloom around the theme park.

The Festival’s Garden Rocks Concert Series is expanding to seven days a week in 2019, with a total of 270 concerts spanning multiple genres over the course of the 90-day event. The best news of all is that the concerts are included with daily admission into Epcot.

Returning favorites like The Spinners and Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone will be joined by brand new artists like TobyMac, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Colin Hay of Men at Work. Additional artists will be announced in the near future.

  • March 9-10: Glass Tiger “Don’t Forget Me (When I’m Gone)”
  • March 17-20: Simple Plan “Welcome to My Life”
  • March 28-29: Berlin featuring Terri Nunn “Take My Breath Away”
  • March 30-31: The Smithereens (NEW to Garden Rocks) “Top of the Pops”
  • April 3-4: Christopher Cross (NEW to Garden Rocks) “Sailing”
  • April 5-7: The Spinners “Working My Way Back to You”
  • April 12-13: Sister Sledge (NEW to Garden Rocks) “We Are Family”
  • April 17-19: Sister Hazel (NEW to Garden Rocks) “All For You”
  • April 20-21: Steven Curtis Chapman (NEW) “Cinderella”
  • April 22-23: TobyMac (NEW) “The Elements”
  • April 24-26: Lonestar “Amazed”
  • April 27-30: The Orchestra starring former members of ELO “Evil Woman”
  • May 1-4: Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone “I’m Henry VIII I Am”
  • May 5-7: Don Felder, Formerly of the Eagles “Hotel California”
  • May 20-21: Colin Hay of Men at Work (NEW) “Who Can It Be Now?”

Performances are set to take place at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8:00 p.m. each night of the festival. Garden Rocks Dining Packages will be back and include enjoying breakfast, lunch, or dinner at select Epcot restaurants. Reservations for concert dining packages will be accepted beginning December 13 online or by calling (407) WDW-DINE.



Source: Disney Parks Blog

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Disneyland’s Appeal Hearing for Fine Related to Legionnaires’ Outbreak Begins

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Testimony began this week in the Disneyland Resort‘s appeal to the $33,000 fine that was levied by the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal-OSHA) related to bacteria inspections of cooling towers located behind the New Orleans Square train station that allegedly were the source of a Legionnaires’ Disease outbreak that affected 22 people last year.

Orange County Health Care Agency medical director for epidemiology Dr Matthew Zahn testified that cooling towers, such as the ones at Disneyland Park, are typically the most common source of outbreaks. When tested, tower#4 at Disneyland showed high levels of Legionella bacteria.

Zahn said, “Most likely those cases were related to a common exposure. Cooling tower #4 was the most likely source of exposure.”

He added that once tower #4 was sanitized, new infections appeared to stop.



Three of the people that were infected had not visited Disneyland, but were nursing home patients. Zahn said that Disneyland could have been the source of their illness as well since the droplets from the cooling towers “can spread two to four miles.”

There were no likely sources of the bacteria in the nursing homes when health workers visited.

Zahn did say, when cross-examined by lawyers for Disney, that he couldn’t be certain that the towers at Disneyland were the source without more testing. Cal-OSHA never formally identified a cause for the Legionnaires’ outbreak.

Christopher Casteel, an associate safety engineer with Cal-OSHA’s Department of Industrial Relations, testified that Disneyland didn’t following proper procedures for disinfecting the cooling towers, allowing the bacteria to grow and spread. Casteel was part of the investigation into Disneyland’s violations.

Administrative law judge Christopher Merrill is expected to rule on Disneyland’s appeal within 60 days.

In a somewhat related lawsuit, the family of a young girl who developed Legionnaires’ is suing Disneyland, however her visit to the theme park falls outside of the dates of the larger outbreak.

Disneyland spokesperson Suzi Brown said in a statement, “the facts don’t support these claims and the lawsuit has no merit.”

Source: Los Angeles Times



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Downtown Disney to Host Toys For Tots Collection on December 8

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United States Marine Corp Reserves will once again be on hand in Downtown Disney to collect donations for Toys For Tots on Saturday, December 8 from 10am to 5pm.

Donation bins will be set up near the Downtown Disney LIVE! stage to collect new, unwrapped toys valued at $10 or more.

If you are unable to bring a toy from home, Downtown Disney will even offer a pop-up shop to purchase toys.

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The Walt Disney Company is a founding sponsor of the Toys For Tots program. Over the years, guests and cast members of the Disneyland Resort have donated over 100,000 toys to less fortune children in Orange County!

If you’re not in the Disneyland area, but still want to help kids in your area, visit the Toys For Tots website to find a drop-off location near you!

Source: Disney Parks Blog

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Universal Now Charging 2 Dollars for Large Lockers While Riding

Back in the summer, Universal starting changing up their lockers at select attractions to now include two different sizes – a Standard Locker and a Large Locker. At the attractions with both sizes, guests now have to pay $2 while riding the attraction, while the smaller sized locker remains free. Prior to the changes, the large lockers were free during the duration of any attraction that doesn’t allow bags on the ride.

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Using crude calculations from the measure app on an iPhone, the opening of the small locker is approximately 5″ x 13″ and the large locker is approximately 10″ x 12″. The large locker will be able to accommodate larger bags easier, but the small lockers can still hold a lot with some precision packing. Obviously cups would have to be empty and sideways to fit. Popcorn buckets can fit as well with the lid removed and the proper approach, but this will surely affect you if you overpack when visiting the theme parks.

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There are options rather than paying the $2 for the large locker. First, you could consider renting one of the lockers at the front of the park for the entire day. It will cost you around $10 dollars, but if you frequent attractions where you’ll need a large locker then it could save money in the long run. The second, option is doing a bag swap – same concept as a child swap, but with a bag instead.

If you would like to voice your concern about the new locker policy at Universal Orlando, you can stop by Guest Services at the parks to leave feedback, email them by visiting this website – http://www.visitorsatisfaction.com/contactus/, or you can call them at (407) 224-4233 during park hours.

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The First Official Movie Trailer Has Arrived – ‘Avengers Endgame’

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UPDATE 12/7/18: The first movie trailer is finally here – Avenger’s Endgame! “Part of the journey is the end.”

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The film opens in theaters on April 26, 2019.




UPDATE: In honor of former President George H.W. Bush’s funeral, the planned date for The Avengers 4 trailer has been moved to Thursday, December 6.


The newest Captain Marvel trailer was released earlier this morning but its release prior to The Avengers 4 trailer may have some fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe wondering why.

Fans have been anxiously awaiting any information regarding The Avengers 4 which is set to land in theaters May 3, 2019. The film has yet to be titled, but anticipation is high and having released the Captain Marvel trailer first ensures that Marvel’s first female-led solo movie gets some time in the spotlight prior to the release of The Avengers‘ newest trailer.

Although Marvel hasn’t confirmed the name of the movie, many fans are speculating that the trailer will reveal it.

Tune in to Good Morning America on ABC from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. Eastern on Wednesday, December 5 where the trailer will be broadcast first. This post will be updated to include the trailer once it’s aired in case you miss it.

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An Introvert’s Guide to Adventures by Disney Group Travel

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For years I had heard about the incredible quality of service provided by Adventures by Disney (ABD), and considered going on one of their adventures. ABD offers guided, structured tours to many different places all over the world. They offer longer adventures to Asia and Europe, and shorter adventures to places like New York City and Southern California. From my research, I knew that these trips were premium experiences; however, the traveler reviews always seem to say that it was “worth every penny.”

Since the trips are run by Disney, you get the legendary Disney service, but you don’t have Mickey Mouse leading your tour group. Instead you will become part of a group of 30-40 guests who are interested in visiting a location, with two amazing tour guides who know the area and whose number one priority is making sure you have a great vacation.

Even though my whole family enjoys traveling, from time-to-time my husband or I will take a solo trip (or as I call it, a me-cation), sometimes to Walt Disney World, or sometimes to another location that only interests one of us. We decided it was my turn to take one of these trips, so I started thinking about where I would want to go, and if an ABD trip could be right for me.

A Little Bit About Me

I enjoy touring Disney Parks with my family, as well as by myself; I also describe myself as an introvert. While extroverts tend to get energized by being around other people, introverts tend to get energized by being alone, and often prefer spending time with people they know. That means when I tour a park alone, I’m not that likely to strike up conversations with the people around me. With ABD travel groups being 30-40 people, I wasn’t quite sure that a group trip by myself was going to be fun for me. Plus, I needed a relatively short trip, since I’d be away from my family for that time.



Then I heard about an upcoming DIS Exclusive Backstage Magic ABD trip to Southern California, which included two nights in Hollywood, and three nights at the Disneyland Resort, with behind-the-scenes tours of Jim Henson Studios, Disney Studios, Imagineering, Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure.

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Touring around Hollywood I learned how my feet measure up to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson

I decided that five nights was a reasonable amount of time for me to be away from my family. Plus, it was open only to people who heard about it on the DIS, so I knew I would instantly be with people who had similar interests. Plus, this trip would be attended by Pete and Ryno from the DIS Unplugged Podcast! After only a day or two of consideration I booked the trip, and was glad I did, because it sold out! I admit that I did have a few reservations entering the trip, mainly around the uncertainty of if I would enjoy group meal dining and the lack of knowing the exact itinerary ahead of time. In the end, I enjoyed this trip so much! I saw some cool things, made some new friends, and even got a few new Twitter followers.

Here are some of the top reasons this group trip was perfect for a self-proclaimed introvert like myself:

The Tour Guides are Amazing!

The tour guides on our trip were amazing, and this seems a common theme with all ABD adventures. They knew the local area, were highly knowledgeable and trained in all things Disney, and were very committed to ensuring everyone on our trip was having an awesome time.

My trip got off to a rough start with a 13-hour flight delay, and I missed the welcome dinner, but our tour guide still met me at the door to my hotel at midnight with all the information I needed. The next day, the guides made an extra effort to introduce me to everyone, and all the folks on the trip were great about catching me up on anything I missed. Throughout the trip the tour guides were friendly, accessible and always willing to go the extra mile. One thing that I really appreciated as a solo traveler was all the pictures they took for us. I never had to worry about asking someone to take my picture (though I’m sure no one would have turned me down)!

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Our tour guides, Summer Rose and Lauren, were fantastic!

The Itinerary Is Action-Packed – If You Want It to Be

Going into this trip I was a bit nervous because I had heard that these would be long days and that there was a lot planned, but my itinerary only had a rough outline of what we were doing each day. I knew there would be some “on-our-own” time, but I didn’t know how much time that would be. There were some things that I wanted to see and do, and I wanted to make sure I had the time to do everything.

Once the trip started we got a more detailed schedule of the events. There certainly was scheduled on-your-own time, though sometimes a surprise event (like an ice cream party at Ghirardelli’s) would pop up during that time. Honestly, I surprised myself by attending most of these types of events, but still made sure I did the things I really wanted to do.

For the Disneyland part of the tip, I was very prepared to have lots of park touring time on my own, and I was looking forward to doing that. But with the dynamic that developed within the group, I wound up touring the parks with a few other people who liked the same rides and wanted to do the same things. What I liked about this was that it was entirely optional for me to be part of a group or to head off on my own. There were no judgments, just folks who loved Disney and wanted to have a good time.



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An impromptu photo with most of the group. Thanks Jim! (Photo credit Jim VanOstenbridge, @vanomedia on Instagram)

The Group Dynamics are Dynamic

On this trip there were 33 people in our group, including three that were associated with the DIS. The rest of the trip consisted of couples, different types of families (i.e. mother/daughter, sisters, or families with adult or teen children), and a few solo travelers like myself. The welcome dinner was designed to introduce people to each other, and this was the only meal that had assigned seats. I think the goal of the assigned seats the first night is to help set up some chances for finding folks that you can connect to.

With ABD trips being quite long, there is plenty of time for connections and friendships to develop naturally. This was a DIS exclusive trip, so I already had a lot in common with these folks. If there was ever a time we needed a topic to connect on, we could always talk about Disney or the DIS Unplugged podcast. Over the next couple of days though, we saw some pretty amazing things together, and would discuss what we liked about the different things that we saw. Some people naturally connected with some more than others.

One thing I noticed also is that even though most travelers had one or more “traveling buddies,” that didn’t mean they wanted to all see the same things at the same time. It felt very natural for me touring different places with the group, and I would sometimes wander into different conversations or activities with different folks. Overall, I felt I had the opportunity to engage with others when I wanted to, and to take a step back and be by myself when I wanted to.

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Being in Disneyland before park opening is one experience from this trip I’ll never forget!

I would highly recommend an Adventures by Disney trip.Don’t let uncertainty about group travel hold you back. These trips can be enjoyed by extroverts and introverts alike!



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Disney Toy Manufacturers in China Among Those Accused of “Nightmare” Working Conditions

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While those of us in the United States are busy in stores or online trying to check items off our holiday shopping lists, a recent report from China may be cause to stop and reflect on the human cost of the products we purchase.

Between April and September of this year, four Chinese factories which manufacture products sold at large international retailers — Walmart, Costco, Target, and others — were the subject of undercover investigations by China Labor Watch, ActionAid, CiR, and Solidar Suisse. The products themselves were being manufactured for companies such as Hasbro, Mattel, and Disney.

The report which compiled their findings is titled “A Nightmare for Workers” and alleges a number of unsafe working conditions and labor practices.

A CNBC article recently summarized the findings, which describes workers laboring up to 175 overtime hours a month during peak production season. While the maximum overtime according to Chinese labor law is 36 hours per month, the report claims that these factories would work with local governments to create a “comprehensive working hour scheme” to circumvent regulations.



According to law, employees should also have undergone a 24-hour safety training course to prepare them to deal with toxic chemicals involved in manufacturing. Not only were the workers not provided with the training to protect themselves, but they also did not have access to the necessary equipment to handle the chemicals safely and prevent injury. One of those chemicals was benzene, according to Solidar Suisse, which has been linked to leukemia.

Employees were housed in ramshackle living conditions without hot water, sometimes as many as eight persons per room.

The findings also state that workers were forced to sign blank employment contracts, making them vulnerable to mistreatment.

The report claims that these conditions are largely a result of price pressure from multinational companies. “International brand companies are not accepting responsibility for the rights abuses in their supply chain,” according to the report. “To meet their targets, they (use) short-term contracts with a fierce price competition and change orders on a very short-term basis. Every year many companies will request toy factories to increase their production quotas while decreasing the costs of production.”

CNBC’s article referenced one example of this practice: “In the Wah Tung factory, an employee producing Disney’s Princess Sing and Sparkle Ariel Doll would have a daily quota of up to 2,500 toys per day. They would work 26 days a month, earning $435 per month plus one cent for each doll produced. The Ariel doll currently retails on Amazon at $34.97 in the U.S.”

Hasbro, who confirmed that two of the factories in question produce for them, told CNBC, “The allegations in the report are not substantiated by Hasbro’s extensive monitoring and audits conducted throughout 2018, and both suppliers are in good standing with Hasbro’s robust ethical sourcing requirements.”

Target told CNBC that they took the allegations seriously, and that they “expect all vendors supplying products to Target to uphold our standards and treat everyone with respect, dignity and equality.”

Disney, Walmart, and Mattel have yet to comment on the report; Costco declined to comment.

Source: CNBC



Image: Walmart.com, ©Disney

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Visiting the Walt Disney World Resort as a Solo Adult

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Visiting Solo – Overview

Typically when people are considering taking a vacation to a Disney theme park, they automatically think it’s a destination for kids so they aren’t sure that it’s the best place to visit if they’re traveling as a solo adult. We’ve put together some fun tips and suggestions, a guide if you will, for traveling as a solo adult to Walt Disney World including a look at why it might be your very best Disney vacation ever!

Maybe you’ve made plans with friends or family to visit Walt Disney World, all the details have been planned out but someone backs out at the last minute. Maybe their work schedule changed or finances suddenly became an issue. Maybe they decided that they just don’t like Disney enough to spend time with someone like you who has Pixie Dust running through their veins. Whatever the case might be, you are now faced with a tough decision – go solo or don’t go at all.

If you’re the kind of Disney fan I have a hunch you might be, not going at all isn’t really an option, so next on your agenda is to make a plan for a party of one! This can be a whole lot of fun because you get to do whatever you want and you don’t have to take anyone else’s opinions or desires into account. If The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh is your favorite attraction, you can ride it all day long if you choose to.

Let’s begin by taking a peek at these two episodes of our Best & Worst of Walt Disney World shows to see what the team thinks about traveling solo.

Choosing a Resort Hotel

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Choosing where to stay on your solo Disney vacation depends mostly on what you can afford since you won’t be sharing the cost with anyone. If you’re looking for some sophisticated elegance during your solo vacation, you might think about staying somewhere like Disney’s Contemporary Resort where you’ll be close to monorail and watercraft transportation along with being situated within walking distance of the Magic Kingdom.

Each of the Disney Resorts have their own theming and each one is so different. From the African theme of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge to the Pacific Northwest theming of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, there is something for everyone. If you want to step into a little bit of New Orleans, take a look at the Port Orleans Resorts – there’s Riverside that feels like you’re visiting the Bayou and then there’s the French Quarter complete with all the vibes you’d expect to see if you were actually visiting that part of New Orleans.

If you’re a kid at heart, any of the five Value Resorts would be a fun and affordable choice, but be sure to take into account that these resorts are often where large groups of athletes and cheerleaders stay when in town for various competitions that take place at the ESPN Wide World of Sports.

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The location of the resort you choose can play an important factor too. If you’d like to be within walking distance or a quick boat ride to Epcot, there is a small handful of choices from Disney’s Boardwalk Inn, Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts, or the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin hotels. These locations are all a quick boat ride to and from Disney’s Hollywood Studios as well.

Related: First-Timer’s Guide: Best Resorts for an Adults-Only Trip

Staying at an offsite hotel can also be an option if you’re renting a car. There are many options closeby who offer transportation to the theme parks, but you may be on your own for getting to and from the airport; there are plenty of options with Lyft, Uber, and taxi services.

Dining Alone

Want ice cream for breakfast? Go for it! Are you someone who loves taking selfies and posing with Disney characters? Book a character meal – it’s not unheard of to go as an adult by yourself. You may think it will be weird, but no one else will bat an eye. Something really fun to keep in mind is that the characters who speak know their respective movies well and you can guarantee yourself a great experience if you ask them a question or two from it.

Related: Meeting Disney Characters as an Adult

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Related: Can You Dine Alone at ‘Ohana and Other Walt Disney World Buffet Restaurants?

Traveling solo is also a fantastic time to dine at that Signature restaurant you’ve always wanted to try but the prices were too steep to bring the whole family. Even a party of two can cost a small fortune, but if it’s just you, splurging might be just the thing. Dining alone can be a fabulous experience if you allow it to be. It’s also a lot easier to obtain an Advanced Dining Reservation for a party of one than it is for a group.

Riding the Rides

When you go on a Walt Disney World vacation, you might have some members of your family who are adrenaline junkies and want to ride all of the roller coasters and others who would prefer to ride the “no height requirement” attractions. This can cause issues when you’re planning because unless everyone enjoys the same things, folks will need to either split up to accomplish what they want or sit some rides out. When you’re by yourself, you can do whatever you want with no one telling you otherwise!

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A few of the attractions at Walt Disney World even have a Single Rider Line. The way this line works is let’s say a family of 3 is loaded into a ride vehicle that accomodates four guests. Rather than letting the ride go with that empty seat, a Cast Member will pull a guest from the Single Rider line to fill in that available space. More often than not, you don’t have to wait nearly as long to ride. Just like with anything else, your experience may vary.


No matter what the reason is for you visiting the Walt Disney World Resort solo, it is an opportunity for you to have the best trip you’ve ever had. We hope that if you are presented with the ‘go solo or don’t go at all’ conundrum, you will make the decision to go solo.

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VIDEO: Durch & Durch in Germany | Epcot International Festival of the Holidays 2018

Durch & Durch is a group out of Köln, Germany playing a few holiday songs and a few that may or may not be holiday songs, but it’s interesting for sure! #EpcotHolidays

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