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Robert Niles

Tokyo Disney Resort Announces its Fourth Hotel, to Open Next Year

Published: September 1, 2015 at 9:29 PM

Tokyo Disney Resort has announced plans for its fourth hotel, the Tokyo Disney Celebration Hotel.

Tokyo Disney Celebration Hotel

The hotel will open next June and appears to be replacing the Palm & Fountain Terrace Hotel, a Tokyo Disney partner hotel that appears to be closing next February. (We are relying on a translation of the Japanese press release here, so forgive us if we're getting the details about the Palm & Fountain Terrace Hotel wrong. Corrections and clarifications from our multilingual readers are welcomed in the comments.)

The Palm & Fountain Terrace Hotel site is about five kilometers east of the Tokyo Disney Resort, so the Tokyo Disney Celebration Hotel will not be an on-site hotel, even though it will be an official Disney property. In addition to Tokyo Disney's three on-site Disney hotels — the Tokyo Disneyland Hotel, the Disney Ambassador Hotel, and the Hotel MiraCosta — six non-Disney hotels operate on the Tokyo Disney Resort property, including a Hilton and a Sheraton. The Palm & Fountain Terrace Hotel is one of five nearby Tokyo Disney partner hotels.

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Amanda Jenkins

Where to Eat: Beaches and Cream Soda Shop at Disney's Beach Club Resort

Published: September 1, 2015 at 2:34 PM

Planning our visit to Disney’s Beach Club Resort involved one must-have dining reservation: Beaches and Cream Soda Shop. I have read so many rave reviews about the ice cream concoctions that I was in danger of shorting out the keyboard from drool. As soon as I booked our hotel, I booked a dinner at Beaches and Cream. I had heard that this restaurant had limited seating. I just didn’t quite grasp how limited we were talking.

Beaches and Cream Soda Shop

I booked this reservation for our first night at the Beach Club. Upon entering within the place, I was immediately struck with the lack of space. Within this tiny eatery, there are about 10 tables and 11 chairs at the counter for patrons to sit and enjoy their meals. When I say tiny space, I mean that you better enjoy sitting very close to those at other tables and being able to hear every single word of their conversations. We were seated at a table that reminded me of the small patio tables one typically finds out on someone’s deck.

Our dining time was around 5:45pm, which is a popular dinner time. Every table was full. After adjusting as well as we could to our seating, I then began to notice that the place does possess some charm. The décor, castmembers’ clothing, and the jukebox playing oldies reminded me of George Lucas’s movie American Graffiti. This was the place you wanted to go to after dancing at the hop and were in desperate need of a chocolate malt.

Angus Beef Burger

The boys and I ordered the Angus Beef Burgers ($15.99). I exchanged my fries for onion rings. The burgers were well cooked and the onion rings were nice and crispy. Chuck ordered the Beaches Seafood Salad Sandwich ($14.99). It consisted of shrimp and crab salad tossed in an avocado vinaigrette with pickled cucumber and onions. The type of roll that the seafood salad was on took away from the ease of eating. Chuck ended up just using a fork to eat the in inside. He said it was okay, yet it would not be something that he would order again. Now, I know I keep bringing up the space, but our table was squeezed between two other tables. Each time we moved our arms, we bumped into our neighbors chairs. This did not make for a pleasant dining experience. Due to the confinement, we ordered our desserts to go.

Beaches Seafood Salad Sandwich

Chuck and Sam each ordered ice cream on a cone ($4.19). They were very satisfied with this, especially being able to eat it outside. Luke ordered a chocolate milk shake ($5.29) and declared it tasty. Since none of them would work with me and actually order some of the more creative ice cream temptations, I had to try something new and ordered the No Way Jose ($8.49). No one warned me that this would be large enough to feed myself and the rest of my family. The No Way Jose is a peanut butter and hot fudge delight featuring chocolate and vanilla ice cream, peanut butter and chocolate morsels, whipped cream, and a cherry. As soon as I took a bite of this gooey perfection I wished I had not eaten so much at dinner. It is heavenly. This was the wow factor I was looking for.

No Way Jose

Due to the close quarters, I will not be returning here for a sit down meal. The food we had was fine, but not enough to tempt me to make another reservation. Now if we have a craving for the ice cream, I will most likely go to their “to go” counter. The counter is at the front with a separate door. One can stand in line and order from a limited menu. This will be what I do next time we visit the Beach Club Resort. With its close proximity to Stormalong Bay, one can sit outside, enjoy their favorite ice cream treat, and watch people splash down from the water slide.

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Robert Niles

Breakfast Expansion Continues at Walt Disney World

Published: September 1, 2015 at 9:13 AM

Walt Disney World announced this morning that it is adding breakfast to yet another table-service restaurant at the resort. This time, it's at the Sci Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant in Disney's Hollywood Studios.

Mickey wafflebr>The ubiquitous Mickey waffles will be on the menu, as well as a puff pastry with eggs and crab, grilled beef tenderloin, shrimp and grits, and macadamia-crusted brioche French toast.

We'll leave aside for a moment the incongruity of having breakfast at a drive-in theater. The Sci Fi Dine-In is one of the Studios' more popular restaurants and has been home to character breakfasts during Star Wars Weekends in the past. The new "Out of This World" breakfast service starts November 1 and offers a fixed-priced menu for $23.99 per person, $12.99 ages 3 to 9. The meal includes breakfast pastries for the table, as well as a choice of appetizer, entree and beverage for each person.

So far this year, Disney also has added breakfast service at Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom and Garden Grill in Epcot. One of the goals of Disney's new MyMagic+ initiative was to create a system that helped to better distribute guests throughout the parks, effectively increasing the resort's capacity by moving people from traditionally crowded areas to less-crowded ones. Opening previously empty restaurants in the morning hours helps to serve that purpose.

Of course, the big push-back against breakfast in the parks has been the fact that so many guests want to spend their first hour going on rides while the lines are short. But MyMagic+ helps here, too. With so many Walt Disney World guests having their three Fastpass+ reservations for the day in hand before entering the park, more guests now are willing to spend some of their early-morning time eating breakfast instead of rushing to rides. So Disney's taking advantage, by adding breakfast service at more of its popular restaurants. Ideally, that might reduce the crush at these restaurants later in the day, too, as some of the people who really want to eat them will be able to get in for breakfast, instead.

Will these new breakfast offerings entice you and your family to have breakfast in the park instead of rushing to the rides on your next Disney World visit?

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Robert Niles

What are the Best Places for Kids to Play in a Theme Park?

Published: August 31, 2015 at 1:53 PM

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Robert Niles

Universal Orlando Expands the Cabana Bay

Published: August 31, 2015 at 8:30 AM

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Rob McCullough

Eight First Impressions from Tokyo Disney and Universal Studios Japan

Published: August 28, 2015 at 7:47 PM

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Amanda Jenkins

Where to Stay: Review of Disney's Beach Club Resort at Walt Disney World

Published: August 27, 2015 at 10:58 AM

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Jacob Sundstrom

Knott's Berry Farm Announces its 2015 Halloween Haunt Lineup

Published: August 27, 2015 at 9:50 AM

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Robert Niles

What's Next in Orlando? Here are 16 New Reasons for Fans to Visit in the Next Five Years

Published: August 26, 2015 at 10:11 AM

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