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TouringPlans Travel Beat 6-17-2023

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At Travel Beat we have all the “other” news from the last week or so—the stuff that wasn’t big enough to stop the presses for. What did the newsroom bring us this week? (Spoiler alert: it’s Christmas, Christmas, and more Christmas.) Bullets are just ahead if you’re in a hurry, and more details follow below. Don’t forget to check out the Headline News Recap, in case there was something you missed!

  • Christmas Activities Sneak Peek for Disneyland
  • runDisney Virtual 12K’s Announced for the Christmas Season
  • New Entertainment on Disney Cruise Line Very Merrytime sailings
  • Christmas Activities at Disney World
  • Menu, Soft Opening for Illuminations Minion Cafe at Universal Orlando
  • Headline News Recap

If anything you read below tickles your feet, feel free to reach out to our friends at TouringPlans Travel for a free quote.

Christmas Activities Sneak Peek for Disneyland

I’ve gotta be honest, it’s me that called this a sneak peek and not Disney. But the entire news blast was new outfits for Mickey and Minnie, one returning ride overlay, and some get-in-the-mood-now treats that came and went in the span of 3 days. Somehow, I think Christmas at Disneyland is going to involve a tiny bit more than that. Still, it’s good to have confirmation that its a small world Holiday will be back again this year. And the fashion-forward among us will look forward to seeing Mickey & Minnie in “the mid-century modern inspired looks they’ll sport in Disneyland park, putting a spin on the classic red and green with the addition of pastel colors and playful prints.”

Pastel blues, pinks, and aquas give a wintry theme to the dolls of its a small world as a snowman holds a Happy Holidays banner between his outsretched arms in the background
its a small world Holiday © Disney

runDisney Virtual 12K’s Announced for the Christmas Season

Can’t make it to the World for a runDisney race because you’re saving your vacation time to spend with your family and friends at the holidays? That’s OK, Disney’s got you covered. This year, runDisney is hosting a new Virtual 12Ks of Christmas that you can run from anywhere. The Virtual 12Ks of Christmas features three 4K running events and a challenge. And of course, favorite Disney friends will be there. Details are still to come and those interested will want to keep an eye on for more info that will be released this summer. But there’s one important detail that we do know now: registration opens on July 25, 2023.

New Entertainment on Disney Cruise Line Very Merrytime Sailings

Disney promises to deck the halls with boughs of holly from stem to stern on its Very Merrytime sailings. (Shouldn’t that be deck the decks?) Either way, the fun holiday theming of these cruises is all returning, with two new entertainment additions. A Tree Lighting Ceremony will take place on the first night of each cruise, with tunes, treats, and an introduction to the guest of honor. (Hint: he’s that guy in the red suit.) Later in the cruise, guests will be invited to a brand new deck party: Mickey and Minnie’s Holiday Party.

Mickey and Minnie sport sparkling Christmas red outfits with evergreen green touches as they stand in front of the funnel of a DCL ship
© Disney

Christmas Activities at Disney World

In addition to some headline news zingers, this week Disney announced details about new and returning Disney World holiday entertainment for the Christmas season.

  • At the Magic Kingdom, you’ll find a new Frozen-inspired experience where you can see your favorites from Arendelle as they illuminate Cinderella’s Castle in “a whole new way”. Frozen Holiday Surprise will run during regular park hours and also during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.
  • The Merry Menagerie returns to Animal Kingdom for the season. If you’re tempted to skip Animal Kingdom on a holiday trip, I’d say don’t — this collection of animal puppets and their charming antics is a delight.
  • EPCOT hosts many fan favorites: the Candlelight Processional as well as the Holiday Storytellers, Holiday Kitchens, and musical acts and performers that together make up the EPCOT International Festival of the Holidays. All will be here again this year.
  • At Hollywood Studios, the yuletide projection show on the Hollywood Tower Hotel will be back, and over in Toy Story Land you’ll be able to see some Toy Story favorite characters all dressed up for the season.
  • Last but not least, over at Disney Springs you’ll be able to get your holiday shopping done … and while you’re there you can take in the Christmas Tree Stroll and a snowfall in Town Center.
Anna and Elsa stand to either side of a snowflake "window" showing a picture of Cinderella Castle
© Disney

The Christmas season’s most iconic individual (that’s Santa Claus) will be making appearances in all four parks and Disney Springs, and apparently even at a Water Park. Disney is advertising tropical holiday beachwear for that one … lacking details, my thoughts go immediately to garish Hawaiian shirts decorated with evergreens, pinecones, and shiny red Christmas ornaments. But I’m sure Disney probably means something more tasteful than that.

Menu, Soft Opening for Illumination Minion Cafe at Universal Orlando

Universal is stealthy, but we noticed that they put up the menu for Illuminations Minion Cafe on their website this week. Minions Cafe will be one of the eateries in the all-new Minion Land opening this summer, and it’s actually having a soft opening today. What will it be serving? Looks like an interesting assortment that includes

  • Otto’s Noodle Bowl – $17.99
    slow roasted porchetta, udon noodles, tare egg, cilantro, roast corn, shrimp dumpling, tonkotsu broth
  • El Macho’s Salsa y Salsa Ropa Vieja – $17.99
    braised beef with tomato cucumber salad, cilantro rice, salsa roja and El Macho tostones
  • Uncle Dru’s Belly Fillin’ Pork Sandwich – $14.99
    slow roasted porchetta, chimichurri sauce, mustard aioli, apple butter, bacon jam, arugula, Hawaiian pretzel bun, green banana chips

And of course, there are bananas – you can buy a side of Green Banana Chips for $3.99.

Headline News Recap

Disney Cruise Line released fall 2024 itineraries, with lots and lots of sailings to the Bahamas and the Caribbean. Plus 9 and 10-night Hawaii sailings and a pair of 2-week repositioning cruises to Sydney. See all the details: Disney Cruise Line Announces Fall 2024 Itineraries – Includes Halloween and Holiday Sailings

Discounts! Lots and lots of discounts, up to 35% off at Disney World resorts beginning October 2, 2023. Fall and Early Winter 2023 Room Discounts Available at Disney World

2023 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Dates and Ticket Info; tickets go on sale at the end of the month.

Last, but not least, one Christmas party was apparently not enough because Disney rolled out a new one. You might want to bookmark this and check again in a month or two; we’ll be filling in details as they’re released. Brand-New Disney World Christmas Party: Jollywood Nights at Hollywood Studios!

That’s it for this week’s Travel Beat. What news are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments!

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Jennifer Heymont

Jennifer has a background in math and biology, so she ended up in Data Science where she gets to do both. She lives just north of Boston with her husband, kids, and assorted animal members of the family. Although it took three visits for the Disney bug to "take", she now really wishes she lived a lot closer to the Parks.

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