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TouringPlans Travel Beat 7-29-2023

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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? (Hint: menus, menus, and menus.) 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!

  • Disneyland Fantasmic Reopening Delay
  • Trail’s End & Crockett’s Tavern Reopen at Fort Wilderness
  • PlanDisney Recruiting New Panelists
  • New Menus & Alcoholic Options Coming to Disneyland Resort
  • Limited Time Savings on VIP Tours for Disney Vacation Club Members
  • EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival Opens
  • Interactive Search & Sniff Coming to Magic Kingdom
  • Hatbox Ghost Comes to Disney World and Other Haunted Mansion News
  • Halloween Horror Nights 32 Updates: New Houses & pre-Event Tasting Package
  • 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.

Disneyland Fantasmic Reopening Delay

You may remember that when the Fantasmic Dragon at Disneyland caught fire, Disney announced that the show would be on hiatus until at least Labor Day. That time frame has been extended with this week’s announcement that the nighttime spectacular won’t return until Spring of 2024. At that time, it won’t include the dragon figure and brand-new special effects will be used to portray a battle scene between Maleficent and Sorcerer Mickey.

Trail’s End & Crockett’s Tavern Reopen at Fort Wilderness

Trail’s End and Crockett’s Tavern have reopened this week, after their reimagining. Trail’s End was formerly a sit-down buffet experience, and has returned as a Quick Service / Grab ‘n’ Go market. Many of the buffet’s favorites such as fried chicken and ribs are available on the new menus, as well as pizza.

© Disney

Next door at Crockett’s Tavern, Guest Experience Managers Hunter Bernreuter and Eric Borgsmiller have debuted a heritage cocktail menu featuring small-batch distillers and “back-country” favorites such as moonshine and applejack. The lounge bites menu features sliders and charcuterie, as well as sure-to-be-crowd-pleasers from the Hoop-de-Doo menu such as the Crispy Cauliflower with Garlic Aioli.

Moonshine Flight at Crockett’s Tavern © Disney

PlanDisney Recruiting New Panelists

Do you not bother reading Travel Beat because you already know it all? Do your friends ask you everything about Disney because you know it all? Do you have great spelling, punctuation, and grammar? Have you wanted to share your Disney knowledge with everyone? Well, here’s your chance. Nope, we’re not looking for new bloggers, but PlanDisney is looking for new panelists. The search runs from August 1 to August 7, 2023; you can read up on the process and eligibility here: PlanDisney Recruiting.

New Menus & Alcoholic Options Coming to Disneyland Resort

© Disney

Three Table Service locations at Disneyland will be getting new menus on September 12, and for the first time those menus will include cocktails. Previously Disneyland was a “dry” park, with alcohol available only at Club 33 and across the way at Disney California Adventure. In September, the list of locations serving alcohol will grow to include Carnation Café, River Belle Terrace, and Café Orleans. Disney has confirmed that there are no plans to introduce alcoholic beverages to Quick Service menus in the park. Over on the other coast, Magic Kingdom has served alcohol at lunch and dinner seatings of Be Our Guest since 2012, and at all of the park’s other Table Service restaurants since 2018.

Limited Time Savings on VIP Tours for Disney Vacation Club Members

For a limited time, eligible Disney Vacation Club Members can save 20% on a Disney VIP Tour at Walt Disney World Resort. These savings are available on select dates in August & September, 2023.

© Disney

You might be thinking: OMG the heat who wants to spend all day in the parks in that heat? An alternate take: when it’s hotter than the surface of the sun, you really need to make the most of your time. Beginning August 15, 2023, call (407) 560-4033 to book. This discount is available only to Disney Vacation Club Members who are eligible for Membership Extras.

EPCOT International Food & Wine Festival Opens

This one feels like it should be headline news, but somehow we had no headlines this week. If you’re prepping for a visit during the Festival, you can see our Preview here: EPCOT Food & Wine Festival 2023 Preview: What’s Returning? What’s New?, the menus here: 2023 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival Menus, and in the next few weeks we’ll have our coverage of the best ways to spend your money, including our take on the Pickle Milkshake at Brew-Wing. One thing to be aware of: Disney has quietly removed all the gluten-friendly markings from its menus, both on the ground and online. Many gluten-friendly items are still available, but if you have an allergy you’ll want to consult the allergy menus or speak with a Special Diets-trained Cast Member.

Interactive Search & Sniff Coming to Magic Kingdom

© Disney

At the Magic Kingdom, Storybook Circus in Fantasyland will be getting a new interactive experience. “Smellephants on Parade” will offer a family-friendly “search and sniff” experience. The attraction will be sponsored by Scentsy, which has had a partnership with Walt Disney World since 2021 and has also sponsored scent gardens at EPCOT’s Flower & Garden Festival.

Hatbox Ghost Comes to Disney World and Other Haunted Mansion News

© Disney

The Haunted Mansion Movie is out, and the long-teased Hatbox Ghost will finally be making its debut in the Disney World version of the ride. This happy haunt will appear as you pass the Endless Hallway, grinning at you from the shadows as your Doom Buggy passes by.

In the parks, Disney is celebrating the launch with an array of Haunted Mansion-themed food, drink, and merch on both coasts. These items are available for an unspecified “limited time”, which means they could be there a few weeks from now or they could be gone once the weekend is over.

Halloween Horror Nights 32 Updates: New Houses & pre-Event Tasting Package

Universal Orlando announced three new houses for Halloween Horror Nights this week: The Exorcist: Believer, Chucky: Ultimate Kill Count, and Universal Monsters: Unmasked. We might not normally feature HHN night announcements on Travel Beat, but they also announced a brand-new bookable event.

© Universal

Universal has really been upping its food game for the past few years, and the HHN food is a much-anticipated part of the event. This year, you can pay $159 for an all-you-can-eat preview of some of the hottest ghastly food items from the event. HHN doesn’t open until September 1, but the previews run from August 10-26. I have to say, this is a cool idea, but I feel like they offered it as a preview because the price of this experience is so horrifying that you won’t even need to attend the event.

Headline News Recap

There was lots of little stuff this week, but not so many big announcements. Two of the big items involved … us. We were pleased to announce this week that TouringPlans Travel will be taking over sponsorship of the Disney Dish podcast (TouringPlans Travel Sponsors the Disney Dish Podcast) and for those who love a good meetup we released details of our Third Annual Gingerbread Snapdown. TouringPlans Travel 3rd Annual GingerBread Snapdown

Over at Disneyland, San Fransokyo Square doesn’t officially open until August 31, but Lucky Fortune Cookery has already received its new menu. See what Guy had to say about the food: Review: New Big Hero 6 Menu at Lucky Fortune Cookery

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.

2 thoughts on “TouringPlans Travel Beat 7-29-2023

  • I don’t eat GF but have friends who do; what in the World (sorry) was the reasoning behind removing the GF markings from menus? Does this apply to all food menus in the parks or only to the ones for the Food & Wine Festival? Disney does some strange stuff but this takes the cake (sorry, sorry).

    • Hi Mike, what was written here applies specifically to the Food & Wine menus, to the best of my (possibly flawed) knowledge the regular menus have never had gluten-free markings. Instead, regular menus have allergy-friendly sections that indicate which foods are friendly to gluten/wheat allergies. These allergy-friendly menus are available for the F&W Festival as well and it’s my understanding that the markings have been moved there. As to what was the reasoning? My guess is that this is precisely it; a desire to make handling for all kinds of food-sensitivities consistent. If you think about the idea that there have never been nut-friendly or dairy-allergy-friendly markers on the menus, then the removal of the gluten-friendly ones makes a little more sense, and it’s my understanding that information for the other allergy-types is more readily available under the new system.


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