6 Dining Changes Happening Now at Walt Disney World (December 2016)



Though it may not initially seem like it, Walt Disney World has truly come into its own in recent years as a real food lover’s paradise. If you count yourself as one of the many who love eating their way around the Walt Disney World parks and resorts, there are some big changes taking effect right now and very soon that you should know about.

For December’s Walt Disney World dining update, a new dining package for early 2017 is now available for booking at Epcot, alcohol availability expands at the Magic Kingdom, plus the All-Stars Resorts introduce a number of new options just in time for the new year!

1. Dining packages now available for Broadway performances during Epcot International Festival of the Arts

Image: Disney

Last week Disney announced the lineup of Broadway stars who will take the stage at America Gardens Theatre to perform the award-winning music of Disney on Broadway as part of the inaugural Epcot International Festival of the Arts, and this week it was confirmed that a new dining package that includes guaranteed seating for these performances will be available.

Reservations for this new meal and performance combination are now available via phone (1-407-WDW-DINE), and guests can choose between having breakfast, lunch or dinner as part of the package. No matter what meal you choose, dining package holders will enjoy either a three-course meal or full buffet as well as guaranteed seating for the 8:00 PM concert of the day. Prices range from $39-$69 (plus tax) for adults, $23-$41 (plus tax) for children aged 3-9. Though reservations are not yet available online, they should be in the next few days.

2. Gasparilla Island Grill returns from refurbishment

Image: Disney

The Grand Floridian’s Gasparilla Island Grill reopened last week following a two month refurbishment. Though this establishment was closed for awhile, there weren’t that many changes made to this 24-hour restaurant, save for an updated menu as well as a newly-installed Coca-Cola Freestyle machine.

3. Disney’s All-Star Music Resort to offer special brunch on January 1

Image: Disney

Disney’s All-Star Music Resort has announced that it will transform the back section of the Intermission Food Court into a table-service location for one day only on Sunday, January 1, 2017. Guests visiting the hotel on this day will be able to enjoy a brunch offering that will have an extensive all-you-care-to-eat menu from 9:30 AM to 2:00 PM This offering will cost $21.99 for adults and $11.99 for children. Interestingly, menu selections have not been posted online, reservations are not available, and seating will be walk-up only.

4. Alcohol availability expanded at the Magic Kingdom

Be Our Guest

Image: Disney

Though the Magic Kingdom has historically been the only “dry” park at Walt Disney World (save for at Be Our Guest), alcoholic beverages are now on the menu at all table service restaurants in this park, just as the seasonal crowds are arriving for the Christmas holiday.

However, there are some stipulations, as alcohol is not be served at all in this park prior to 5:00 PM, and the number of drinks guests can order with their meal will be limited. Here is what guests visiting the Magic Kingdom can now find on the drink menus at table service restaurants:

Tony’s Town Square Restaurant: This Italian restaurant at the front of the park will feature Italian wines and beers on offer, including a Chianti Superiore which is designated to pair with the grilled pork chop with mushroom-bean pancetta ragu and marsala reduction.

Liberty Tree Tavern: This dining location will serve beer, cider and domestic wines designed to compliment its American cuisine.

Jungle Navigation Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen: The newest restaurant at Walt Disney world will have a more global menu that will include international beers as well as mixed drinks

Cinderella’s Royal Table: This iconic restaurant inside Cinderella Castle will have the most limited drink menu of all, only serving champagne and sparkling wine to guests during dinner service.

5. Bus stop kiosk service expands

Image: Disney

A few weeks ago Disney began offering a grab and go pizza option near the bus stops at Disney’s All Star Resort, and as we predicted, this new offering has been quite the success. Disney has now expanded the operating hours of these kiosks and are now serving breakfast daily from these popular curbside locations. The kiosk at the All-Star Movies Resort is now serving breakfast pastries and donuts from 7:30 AM to 10:00 AM, and the kiosk at All-Star Music will serve breakfast sandwiches from 8:00 AM to 10:30 AM.

6. New Monorail-themed dining experience now available through March

Earlier this month Disney began offering a new dining experience that allows guests to board the monorail with “priority” access and enjoy a three course meal spread out at different stops on the Magic Kingdom monorail loop.

Named the Highway in the Sky Dine Around, guests who take part in this event will begin at Disney’s Contemporary Resort’s The Wave… of American Flavors restaurant for appetizers and specialty cocktails. Next up, guests will visit Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort for island-inspired libations and more appetizers.

Then it’s time for the main course at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa’s Cítricos restaurant where guests will be treated to a special Chef’s main course selection. Afterward, guests will be able to sip champagne and savor a selection of artisanal cheeses In the hotel’s lobby.

Finally, guests can return to Disney’s Contemporary Resort to watch the nighttime Wishes spectacular from an outdoor patio while enjoying a number of desserts, cordials and coffee.

The cost for this scheduled monorail dining crawl? $150 per guest. But at least this price includes food, drinks, gratuity, and a rooftop view of the nightly Wishes spectacular, which actually makes it an OK value (dining at the monorail resorts isn’t exactly cheap under normal circumstances either). Though this new upcharge was only offered for a few weeks at first, it looks like it has been quite successful in its first few weeks and is now available for select dates all the way through the end of March.

What do you think about some of these weird dining changes at Walt Disney World?

 – Originally published in Theme Park Tourist By , Wednesday, December 28, 2016 05:44

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Don Korta
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