WDW Restaurant and Dining News

DECEMBER 2009

Picnic in the Park, Animal Kingdomwill not be offered after January 2nd. The program will move to seasonal operations.

Wishes Fireworks Dessert Party in the Magic Kingdom will close after January 2nd for facility refurbishment. The dessert party should return in early Spring 2010.

Tables in Wonderland members: A Holiday Harvest Dinner will be held Thursday, December 17, at Epcot's Norway Lounge, featuring foods from the theme park's Land Pavilion. The event begins with a reception at 6 p.m. and includes special seating at the 8:15 performance of the Candlelight Processional. Reservations are available at WDW.Tables.In.Wonderland@disney.com on a first-come, first-served basis, and a credit card is required to guarantee the reservation. Cost $98/person, gratuity included. The event is limited to 80 guests.

NOVEMBER 2009

Beginning Feb. 7, 2010, Fairytale Dining is the new name for the Character dining experience for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at Cinderella's Royal Table. (There no longer will be specific names - such as "Once Upon a Time Breakfast" and "A Fairytale Lunch." The current pricing will remain in effect. Reservations are now available.

In this Fairytale Dining experience, Guests will have a photo opportunity with Cinderella in the castle lobby, as she welcomes all to the feast at Cinderella's Royal Table. Cinderella's Royal Friends, the Disney Princesses, will mingle with Guests as they dine.

Picnic in the Park, Animal Kingdom - Several changes have been made to the Picnic in the Park process and offerings. Guests will be able to order their picnic at Guest Relations until 2:30 p.m. daily, as well as at the Picnic in the Park podium located outside Island Mercantile.

Tier 1 picnics will only be available for pick-up from DinoBites, located near Restaurantosaurus.

Tier 2 picnics
will offer rotisserie chicken and will continue to be picked up from the Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery, near Tusker House Restaurant.

Guests can also put together a "grab 'n go" bag at Beastly Bazaar, with their choice of sandwiches, individual bags of potato chips, desserts and water.

Reader Reviews

Walt Disney World is offering several new ways to celebrate New Year's Eve this year:

-- A special two-hour, all-you-care-to-enjoy dinner, dessert and exclusive viewing of the Wishes fireworks show will be offered at the Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station on December 31 between 6:30 and 8:30 p.m. The Dinner and Dessert Party includes artisan breads, fruit, cheeses, sushi, salads, seared tuna, beef short-ribs and carved pork. There will also be a child-friendly section available during the party. A wide-range of desserts will be available, and you can toast the New Year with a non-alcoholic sparkling beverage before the fireworks. Check in Party begins at 6:15 p.m. Prices are $139.99 for ages 10 and older; $69.99 for children 3 through 9.

-- The Fantasy in the Sky Dessert Party at Magic Kingdom begins at 9:50 p.m. The Party includes a self-service buffet featuring sweets and beverages and non-alcoholic sparkling drinks. Prices: $35.99 for ages 10 and over; $19.99 for children 3 through 9. Park admission is required. The Disney Dining Plan is not currently being accepted and pre-payment will be required when reserving seats for the night.

-- Victoria & Albert's restaurant at the Grand Floridian will offer an eight to 10 course menu on New Year's Eve, including caviar from around the world and an eclectic assortment of champagnes. Chef Scott Hunnel and his team will make appearances during the event, which, with wine and gratuity will be $375 plus tax for those 10 years of age (those under 10 can not attend). You must be older than 21 to be served alcohol. Booking has already begun for the event.

Visit www.disneyworld.com for more details or call 407-WDW-DINE.

OCTOBER 2009

REMINDER: Starting today, Walt Disney World Advanced Dining Reservations may once again be made 180 days in advance. With the Dining Reservations System now online, you can now book most Walt Disney World table-service restaurants at www.disneyworld.com . Reservations can be made for up to 10 guests (more than 10 requires a call to Disney Dining Reservations). The only restaurant that cannot be booked online is Victoria & Albert's. Special dining currently is not included either (Fantasmic! Dinner Package, My Perfectly Princess Tea Party, Jiko Dinner Series, Wanyama Safari Resort Tour and the Sweetheart Dinner for Two). You also can cancel reservations online if no payment has been made. For booking by phone, call 407-WDW-DINE.

The Crystal Palace will close for refurbishment on January 3, 2010, and will reopen February 15, 2010. As of January 3, 2010, Liberty Tree Tavern will then begin to host a character breakfast, lunch, and dinner, with all meals served in an all-you-care-to-enjoy, family-style setting. When the Crystal Palace reopens, Liberty Tree Tavern will resume its normal operating hours, serving lunch and dinner as a non-character location. Reservations for Liberty Tree Tavern's character meals are available now.

Prices for the Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue at Fort Wilderness increased as of October 4. The new pricing is as follows: Category 1 - $61.99 Adults, $31.99 Children; Category 2 - $56.99 Adults, $27.99 Children; Category 3 - $52.99 Adults, $26.99 Children.

This year, spectators at the Children's Miracle Network Classic, taking place November 12-15, can "sip, sample and savor elaborate dishes, unique wines and select beers along the fairways of Disney's Magnolia Golf Course." The 2009 Classic will feature the Wine & Dine Walk, which runs Friday through Sunday of tournament week, with food, beer and wine stations positioned on key holes along the back nine of the Magnolia course, offering fans the flavors of New England, Africa and India. Cuisine from some of Disney's newest and most popular restaurants will be featured, including The Wave (ContemporaryResort), Sanaa (Kidani Village at Animal Kingdom Lodge) and The Turf Club Bar & Grill (Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa). The wine, beer and cuisine offerings will range from $3.25 to $7.50.

http://tinyurl.com/ygkzwmr

According to an article in the Orlando Sentinel, Walt Disney World is experimenting with new crowd-control methods in some of its busiest quick-service restaurants in the Magic Kingdom. Disney has begun restricting access, but guaranteeing seating, during particularly busy lunch rushes. Managers say the approach helps smooth out traffic in part by eliminating the need for groups to split up and send someone to order food while another person holds an open table, something that can clog up as much as one-third of a restaurant's capacity at any given time. For the full article: http://tiny.cc/M1svH

SEPTEMBER 2009

Ratatouille's Remy, the Audio-Animatronic rat that has been charming diners at Chefs de France restaurant in Epcot's France pavilion, has been extended indefinitely. His appearances were supposed to end in early September, but it seems he has still been performing daily at the restaurant. There has been no official word on how long he will remain at this location.

The Crystal Palace Restaurant in Magic Kingdom will be closed for rehab January 3 - February 13, 2010.

The Magic Kingdom Fireworks Dessert Party has been extended through December 29, 2009. The party is held nightly one hour before Wishes starts at the Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station and includes a dessert buffet and exclusive viewing area. Offerings for special dietary needs will be available. Reservations are not required, but are bly suggested. Call (407) WDW-DINE to make reservations. Seating is limited. Space permitting, seating for walk-ups may be available on a first-come, first-served basis. The price (including tax) is $23.42 for guests 10+ and $12.77 for guests 3 to 9. Park admission to Magic Kingdom Park is required. The Disney Dining Plan is not currently being accepted. Prepayment will be required reserving seats for this event in advance.

As of September 18, participants in the Fantasmic! Dinner Package are being sent to the Highlands Gate on Sunset Boulevard (located between Beauty and the Beast theater and Once Upon a Time store) 30-45 minutes prior to the show.

The 2009 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival starts Friday, September 25. Senior Editor Debra Martin Koma will be visiting the World during the event's opening weekend, so watch for her reports and photos soon!

Team Member Jack Spence attended a special media preview for the festival and shares some of the fun and photos in his latest blog here:
http://land.allears.net/blogs/jackspence/2009/09/epcot_international_food_wine_1.html

Once you attend the Festival and have sampled the food booths, please take a moment to complete our Festival Food Booth Survey here:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=MQiCLhbKzG_2feWSIuYMPlSA_3d_3d

And don't forget to share your thoughts on the other Festival events in our Rate and Review section:
http://land.allears.net/reviewpost/showcat.php?cat=68

AllEars® previously reported that Tables in Wonderland members could receive discounts on advance purchase of tickets to the upcoming Food and Wine Festival seminars. We have since learned that Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club members are also eligible for the discount. To obtain discounted tickets:

http://www.register123.com/profile/form/index.cfm?PKformID=0x798134aa2b

Kouzzina by Cat Cora officially opens at Disney's Boardwalk in the space previously occupied by Spoodles at dinnertime on September 17. The restaurant will serve breakfast and dinner. For reservations, call 407-WDW-DINE. AllEars® writer Jack Spence will be attending the opening -- look for more in an upcoming blog! Read the AllEars® preview of Kouzzina here:

http://land.allears.net/blogs/guestblog/2009/08/kalimera_from_kouzzina_at_disn_1.html

Candlelight Dinner Packages, which include dinner at a select Epcot restaurant and guaranteed general seating at the America Gardens Theatre during the Candlelight Processional, are now available for booking 90 days in advance at 407-WDW-DINE (939-3463). Guests will receive Candlelight Seating badges at the restaurant for guaranteed seating at the America Gardens Theatre for the booked show time and for viewing of IllumiNations: Reflection of Earth. This year, for Disney Dining Plan Guests, the C andlelight Dining Packages will require TWO Table Service Entitlements. For details: http://allears.net/tp/h_cpfaq.htm

The Fireworks Dessert Party held every night at the Magic Kingdom has been extended through at least October 31. One hour before the Wishes fireworks begin, you can enjoy a self-service dessert party buffet at the Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station that features a wide range of sweets and beverages. (Offerings for guests with special dietary needs will be available.) You can then stay to enjoy Wishes from this exclusive viewing area. Price for the dessert party has increased: $23.42 for ages 10 and over; $12.77 for ages 3 - 9. Seating is limited. Reservations are not required but are highly recommended due to the popularity of this experience. For reservations, call 407-WDW-DINE. NOTE: Park admission to Magic Kingdom is required. The Disney Dining Plan is not currently being accepted. Prepayment will be required reserving seats for this event in advance.

AUGUST 2009

Tables in Wonderland members have a special opportunity to purchase discounted advance tickets to the culinary demonstrations and wine/beverage seminars at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, taking place September 25 - November 8, 2009. Beginning Wednesday August 26, a limited number of discounted tickets will be available for Tables in Wonderland members to purchase online in advance of the general public. The discounted rate is $5 a person (regularly $8 a person) while they last. (Events are expected to sell out.) Note that the discount won't be available at the event, so advance purchase is required to get the discounted rate. Discounted tickets, if available, may be purchased until 24 hours before the start of any individual session. The culinary demonstrations and wine/beverage seminars, which last about 45 minutes, let participants learn from featured chefs and wine presenters, pick up a few tips and taste the featured items. Everyone must have a ticket to attend, and attendees must be 21 years of age or older to consume alcoholic beverages. To register for the culinary demonstrations and wine/beverage seminars at the discounted rate, visit http://www.register123.com/profile/web/index.cfm?PKwebID=0x173908616f

Cat Cora's new restaurant Kouzzina opened on the site of the former Spoodles on Disney's BoardWalk, Saturday, August 15. AllEars Reader Cedric Ching shares some photos and his impressions of the restaurant in our guest blog: http://land.allears.net/blogs/guestblog/

Breakfast Menu: http://allears.net/menu/menu_kouzb.htm
Kid's Breakfast Menu: http://allears.net/menu/menu_kouzkb.htm
Dinner Menu: http://allears.net/menu/menu_kouzd.htm
Kid's Dinner Menus: http://allears.net/menu/menu_kouzkd.htm

Have you tried the new Kouzzina yet? Please share your experiences on our Rate and Review section:
http://land.allears.net/reviewpost/showcat.php?cat=41

Columbia Harbor House in Magic Kingdom has added a 10-piece shrimp platter to its menu. The platter comes with fries and cole slaw and costs $9.69.

Effective October 27, 2009, you will again be able to make Disney dining reservations 180 days in advance.

The Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station will be open for Sunday dinner August 16-October 3, 5:30-9 p.m. with an all-you-can-eat buffet.

The Diamond Horseshoe will be open and providing table service dinner August 16-October 3 from 5-9 p.m. nightly, except on nights with hard-ticketed events (Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party).

La Cava del Tequila, a new tequila bar at Epcot's Mexico Pavilion, is scheduled to open August 28.

JULY 2009

Walt Disney World® Resort Fall Free Dining Now Available for All! For a limited time you can book a Walt Disney World® Resort Magic Your Way package and you'll get a Free Dining Bonus! Book a select Value Resort - Get Quick Service Dining - FREE! Book a select Moderate, Deluxe or Villa - Get a Dining Plan - FREE! Valid Most Nights: 9/27/09 - 12/17/09 - black out dates apply. You may book a minimum of 3 nights and a maximum of 10 nights at a variety of rates. Gratuities and alcoholic beverages are not included and are an additional cost. Don't wait to long! Book by 9/26/09 For more details, visit AllEars.Net's preferred travel sponsor www.MouseFanTravel.com

Kouzzina by Cat Cora at Disney's BoardWalk is now scheduled to have its grand opening September 17, 2009. Reservations for Kouzzina may be booked starting July 24. Call 407-WDW-DINE.

Disney Rewards® Visa® Cardholders: Book a Walt Disney World vacation Magic Your Way package and get a select dining bonus - FREE! This offer requires a minimum stay with park admission and is valid for travel most nights 9/27/09 - 12/17/09. Some blackout dates apply. Book by 9/26/09.

Book a stay at a value resort and get the Quick Service Dining Plan FREE!
Book a moderate or deluxe resort or a villa and get the regular Dining Plan FREE!

Offer is based on resort category booked and availability. Offer is available most nights 9/27/09 - 12/17/09; some blackout dates also apply. Minimum stay is required and the cardholder must use the Disney VISA card for the entire purchase. The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same package. Junior and child rates apply only when occupying room with an adult. Tickets are for one Theme Park per day and must be used within 14 days of first use. No group rates or other discounts apply. Note: Other restrictions may apply.

For more details, visit AllEars.Net's preferred travel sponsor www.MouseFanTravel.com

JUNE 2009

The order location for Animal Kingdom's Picnic in the Park has moved to the counter outside the Island Mercantile store in Discovery Island. This new, permanent location is now the one and only spot to order picnic baskets. Picnics are now available for groups of two: Tier 1 meal for two is $17.99 + tax (2 sandwiches, 1 side, 2 desserts, 2 bottles of Dasani water); T ier 2 meal for two is $20.99 + tax (4 pieces of rotisserie chicken or 3/4 lb. of ham, 1 side, 2 desserts, 2 bottles of water). Picnics can be ordered until 1:30 p.m. daily. The pickup location is still at the Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery in Africa.

The Tomorrowland Terrace Wishes Dessert Party is held every night at the Magic Kingdom through August 28th. One hour before the Wishes fireworks begin, you can enjoy a self-service dessert party buffet at the Tomorrowland Terrace Noodle Station that features a wide range of sweets and beverages. (Offerings for guests with special dietary needs will be available.) You can then stay to enjoy Wishes from this exclusive viewing area. Price for the dessert party is $17.99 for guests ages 10 and over; $9.99 for ages 3 - 9). Seating is limited. Reservations are not required but are highly recommended due to the anticipated popularity of this experience. For reservations, call 407-WDW-DINE. Space permitting, seating for walk-ups may be available on a first-come, first-served basis. NOTE: Park admission to Magic Kingdom is required. The Disney Dining Plan is not currently being accepted. Prepayment will be required reserving seats for this event in advance.

Advance Dining Reservations can now be made through the disneyworld.com website. You can find the links to online booking via the main restaurant page (see the yellow block with the link to online booking under restaurants that accept ADR): http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/restaurants/ When making your reservations, you can choose the date, and time, number of adults and children who will be dining. (You can also choose a range of dates if you are flexible.) If the dates/times you choose are not available, the system will offer alternatives. If you've used the online booking system, drop us a line and tell us about your experience: allearsnet@yahoo.com

Free Disney Dining offer has been extended! Now you can book a Walt Disney World vacation Magic Your Way package and get Free Dining, too! This offer requires a minimum 3-night stay with park admission and is valid for travel most nights 8/16/09 - 10/3/09. The number of rooms is limited for this offer, so don't wait too long! You must book by 7/26/09. AllEars® recommends MouseFanTravel.com, its preferred travel services provider.

If you're booking the Fantasmic! Dinner Package, you'll find now that only Hollywood & Vine has a fixed price for the dinner -- the price of the buffet. You may now order from the a la carte menu at Brown Derby and Mama Melrose's when using this package. http://allears.net/din/fantdin1.htm

The Village Fry Shoppe in Magic Kingdom is now called "The Friar's Nook."

MAY 2009

Fresh Mediterrean Market, located in the Walt Disney World Dolphin Resort, is only open for lunch on a seasonal basis. Be sure to check with the Dolphin before your visit. Fresh continues to offer breakfast each morning.

In July and August, Spoodles on the Boardwalk will undergo some minor kitchen renovations in anticipation of its conversion to Cat Cora's new restaurant, Kouzzina, which is due to open later this fall:

-- July 1 through mid-August: Spoodles breakfast will not be offered. During this time, breakfast will be served daily at Flying Fish Cafe, 7:30 - 11 a.m.
-- July 6 through August 1: A buffet dinner menu will be served at Spoodles. A la carte offerings will NOT be available at this time.
-- August 2 through mid-August: The restaurant will be closed completely for dinner. For advanced reservations during the closure, try Captain's Grille at Disney's Yacht Club Resort or Flying Fish Cafe. Same-day walk-up dining also might be accommodated at ESPN Club or Big River Grille & Brewing Works.

All dates are subject to change. The official grand opening date of Kouzzina has not yet been determined.

Animal Kingdom Lodge's Jiko - The Cooking Place features a Wine Dinner Series, offered on the first Thursday of each month, that serves a memorable pairing of exceptional food and superior wines. Join Chef Brett Hill and Megan DeVries with their teams in Jiko's private dining room, the Cape Town Wine Room, as they present a very special dinner featuring modern African cuisine infused with the cultural influences of Europe, India and Asia. The evening begins with a reception, followed by dinner and wine pairings. You may book via WDW-DINE 407-939-3463 OR email JikoWineDinnerSeries@email.disney.com. The price per person is $160 inclusive; this includes 6.5% sales tax and 18% gratuity. Reception starts at 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m.

The Picnic in the Park meal program at Animal Kingdom now includes two vegetarian items on the menu:

-- Portobello Mushroom and Vegetable Wrap - entree available with Tier 1
-- Tandoori Spiced Tofu and Zucchini Squash - a side dish available with either tier

Seasonal Pricing Returns May 24 - July 12, 2009 at these locations: 1900 Park Fare, Akershus, Biergarten, Boma, Cape May Café, Chef Mickey's, Cinderella's Royal Table, Crystal Palace, Garden Grill, Hollywood and Vine, Liberty Tree Tavern (dinner only), 'Ohana, Trails End, Tusker House. Prices will increase $4 for ages 10 and above and $2 for those 3-9.

APRIL 2009

Paradiso 37, a restaurant and bar featuring cuisine from North, South and Central America, will open in early May at Pleasure Island at Downtown Disney. The menu will represent the 37 countries of the Americas, plus an international wine bar, 37 varieties of tequila and 10 signature frozen margaritas. The new concept was developed by Orlando-based E-Brands Restaurant Group, which currently owns and operates Timpano Chophouse, Samba Room, Taqueria Canonita, Aquaknox, David Burke and other restaurants in a number of locations across the United States. The restaurant will feature nightly entertainment and will be open daily from 11 a.m. until late night.

As of April 7, Disney's Animal Kingdom will be offering a new meal program called Picnic in the Park. As part of this program, you will be able to purchase a meal for the family packaged in an "Every Tree Has Character" reusable bag, which can then be taken to one of a number of picnic spots throughout the park. Plates and utensils are provided. Meals include a choice of entrees, side dishes, desserts, and water. There are two tiers available:

-- Tier 1 features a chicken wrap, ham grinder, tuna pita, or turkey focaccia sandwich, with pricing starting at $24.99 plus tax for a meal for three.

-- Tier 2 offers a choice of rotisserie chicken or ham, with pricing starting at $29.99 plus tax for a meal for three.

A Vegetarian Picnic is also available.

A variety of side dishes and desserts are available. (No modifications or substitutions are allowed.) Guests with food allergies should let the Cast Member know when ordering, and they will contact a chef. You'll be able to place an order at the Picnic in the Park podium located in front of Guest Relations at Animal Kingdom, between 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. daily. After that time, or if you decide to get a picnic pack after you're in the park, go directly to the podium at Tusker House Restaurant to place the order. Pick-up time needs to be at least two hours from the time the order is placed, and you'll need to bring the copy of the order form as confirmation. The pick-up location is at Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery. Payment is due upon pick-up of the order. If you're on the Disney Dining Plan, Picnic in the Park may be used as a Quick Service Meal (requires one adult entitlement per meal amount). For example, a meal for three will require three adult entitlements.

For details, visit: http://allears.net/din/akpicnic.htm

MARCH 2009

The Diamond Horseshoe will be open as a Table Service for dinner Saturday, April 4 through Tuesday, April 14th. - Hours of operation will be 5:00-9:00 p.m.  - Dinner will be $33.99 for adults, $16.99 for Guests ages 3-9. Prices do not include tax or gratuity. Dinner will be served family-style, all-you-care-to eat, and will offer roasted turkey breast, carved beef, pork loin, mashed potatoes.

Free Dining Packages Are Back!

Electric Umbrella in Epcot's Future World closed through April 6, 2009

Les Chefs de France restaurant As of March 9, guests who dine are being treated to a unique kind of entertainment, allowing them to meet the culinary rat Remy, from the movie Ratatouille. Remy is an Audio-Animatronics puppet who, along with the restaurant maitre d' (a comedic actor), engages guests by performing a series of humorous, theatrical vignettes, using a moving food cart with a silver-domed cheese platter as their stage. Remy can make a variety of noises and comes across as a living, breathing little character with a point of view all his own. The Remy Cart was conceived by WDI Research & Development with support from WDI Creative Entertainment. Remy can be seen 12:30 - 6 p.m. at Les Chefs de France through September 5, 2009. (Remy can also be seen at Disneyland Paris where he's been entertaining guests since last summer.)

A blog in the Orlando Sentinel last week leaked the info that Iron Chef Cat Cora was working with Walt Disney World on a new signature restaurant concept. Today, the story was confirmed. The new eatery, to be named Kouzzina (Greek for "kitchen"), is scheduled to open by fall 2009 in the space currently occupied by Spoodles on Disney's Boardwalk. The restaurant, which will feature Mediterranean cuisine and Chef Cora's philosophy to create simple yet sensational meals, will be owned and operated by Disney. The first and only female Iron Chef on Food Network's "Iron Chef America," Cora is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in New York, and is Executive Chef for Bon Appetit magazine. Cora has worked with Disney to create a Disney Video on Demand series on healthy eating habits, and has been a featured chef at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival and at Disney's California Food & Wine Festival at Disneyland Resort.

Full press release: http://land.allears.net/blogs/dnews/2009/03/celebrity_chef_cat_cora_to_ope.html

Sanaa (pronounced sah-NAH), the new table service restaurant at Animal Kingdom Villas' Kidani Village is set to open May 1, 2009. Named for the Swahili word for "artwork," Sanaa will feature African-inspired cuisine with an Indian touch and will be open for lunch and dinner. The restaurant will serve familiar foods prepared in tandoor ovens, along with slow-cooked specialties showcasing the flavorful spices of Africa. Menu items for Sanaa include Lamb Kefta with Tamarind and Papaya Sauce, Grilled Flank Steak, with spinach and mushroom pancake served with oven-dried chutney, Tandoori Chicken served with basmati rice or seven-grain pilaf, Tandoori Lamb Chops served with basmati rice or seven-grain pilaf, Grilled Pork Chop Loin, glazed with pickled lime and ginger served with sauteed spinach. For photos of these items and more:

http://land.allears.net/blogs/dnews/2009/03/sanaa_at_animal_kingdom_villas_1.html

Effective March 1, 2009, the cost of membership in Tables in Wonderland (formerly Disney Dining Experience) has increased. Regular annual membership in this dining discount program is now $100, for Florida residents who are not annual passholders. Passholders can purchase TIW for $75/year. (The program is open ONLY to Florida residents or Disney passholders.) An additional card for a spouse or partner is $50.

FEBRUARY 2009

The Carnevale di Venezia (English translation: carnival of Venice) runs at Tutto Italia Ristorante, located in the Italy pavilion at Epcot, February 23 to March 4. A special lunch and dinner menu will be available. During the celebration, Guests can choose one of two pre-selected appetizers, entrees and desserts. Lunch ($19 per person) is served daily from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., with dinner ($28 per person) from 4:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m. Musical trio "Viva Venezia" will give a special performance of traditional Italian music each evening during dinner inside the restaurant. No substitutions on specialty menu offerings will be allowed, and reservations are recommended. Call 407-WDW-DINE (939-3463) to make a reservations.

San Angel Inn, (Epcot's Mexico) will begin renovations beginning May 10, 2009. No other details are available at this time.

UPDATED as of 2/24/09 - renovation has been postponed, new dates are not available. Spoodles (Boardwalk) will have a minor kitchen renovation beginning May 11, 2009 through May 29, 2009. During this time the restaurant will remain open for a limited breakfast menu but dinner will not be served. The Boardwalk Spoodles Pizza window will remain open.

The holiday surcharge for buffet and character meals around the World is returning, as previously announced. Prices for meals during these dates will be several dollars more per person than at other times of the year. The dates affected are April 5 - April 18, 2009, and May 24 - July 11, 2009. For example, at the Magic Kingdom's Crystal Palace, prices will be as follows:

Breakfast: $22.99/Guest (10 and older)--$12.99/Guest (3-9) (regularly $18.99/$10.99)
Lunch: $24.99/Guest (10 and older)--$13.99/Guest (3-9) (regularly $20.99/$11.99)
Dinner: $34.99/Guest (10 and older)--$16.99 Guest (3-9) (regularly $28.99/$13.99)

The new Chef De Cuisine at Animal Kingdom Lodge's Jiko is John Clark. Clark, who joins Jiko after a stint at the Grand Floridian, has been with Walt Disney World 24 years. Prior to Jiko, Clark worked at a number of locations, includng Epcot (at the Coral Reef), and Victoria and Albert's and Narcoossee's at the Grand Floridian.

JANUARY 2009

Sanaa (pronounced sah-NAH), the new table service restaurant at Animal Kingdom Villas' Kidani Village set to open May 1, 2009, will begin taking reservations for Disney Vacation Club Members ONLY (via Member Services) beginning February 16. Named for the Swahili word for "artwork," Sanaa will feature African-inspired cuisine with an Indian touch and will be open for lunch and dinner. The restaurant will serve familiar foods prepared in tandoor ovens, along with slow-cooked specialties showcasing the flavorful spices of Africa.

Non-DVC Members can make reservations at Sanaa beginning February 23 by calling 407-WDW-DINE (939-3463).

The prices at the Akershus Royal Banquet Hall in Epcot's Norway pavilion have increased. New prices are as follows:

-- Breakfast $28.99 adult /$17.99 child 3-9
-- Lunch $30.99 adult/$18.99 child 3-9
-- Dinner $35.99 adult /$19.99 child 3-9

(Note that a additional holiday surcharge will be added on specific dates, currently April 5-18 and May 24 -July 11)

Rainforest Cafe located at Downtown Disney Marketplace is now able to book reservations. Reservations can be made for Monday through Friday; Saturday and Sunday remain Walk-up Only. Rainforest Cafe accepts the Magic Your Way Premium and Platinum package dining and wine entitlements.

Chef Brian Piasecki has left Animal Kingdom's Jiko and is now the new Chef de Cuisine at the California Grill! Brian started with Walt Disney World over eighteen years ago with the Disney Culinary Apprenticeship program. He then proceeded to round out his experience at Disney's Yacht & Beach Resort, Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, Disney's All-Star Sports Resort, Disney's Boardwalk Resort and Epcot's Coral Reef restaurant.

As a Chef de Cuisine, Brian lead the culinary teams at Epcot's Le Cellier and Rose and Crown complex. Most recently, as Chef de Cuisine at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, Brian has worked extensively on the opening operational aspects for the upcoming Kidani Village project.

If you see Chef Brian, please tell him Deb and the All Ears team wishes him well in his new home!

A restaurant and bar opening in spring 2009 in Downtown Disney will feature Mexican and South American cuisine, an international wine bar and a tequila bar of more than 50 kinds of tequila and 10 signature frozen margaritas. The new, as-yet-unnamed restaurant is being developed by E-Brands Restaurant Group, a multi-concept restaurant group that currently owns and operates Timpano Chophouse and Martini Bars, Samba Rooms, Taqueria Canonita, Aquaknox, David Burke, Salsa Orlando and Canonita Express in a number of cities across the United States. The restaurant will be open daily from 11 a.m. until late night, with nightly entertainment.

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