Category Archives: Meeting Disney Characters

Mother’s Day brunches delight moms at Walt Disney World Resort

If you and your family are planning to be at Walt Disney World Resort this Mother’s Day, May 10, why not take Mom out to a bountiful Mother’s Day brunch, Disney-style? Several eateries are hosting lavish, hearty buffets to pamper mothers visiting the Mouse.

Pluto greets young guests at Garden Grove. (courtesy of WDW Swan & Dolphin Hotel)
Pluto greets young guests at Garden Grove. (courtesy of WDW Swan & Dolphin Hotel)

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel‘s Garden Grove is the perfect venue for families with kids of all ages, as it comes complete with character interactions under a whimsical, 25-foot oak tree centerpiece. From 7-10 a.m., a special Mother’s Day breakfast menu includes hand-crafted bacon, open-faced crab sandwiches, potato gratin Dauphinoise, and yogurt mousse parfaits. Little ones will be happy with the scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and Mickey waffles–and, of course, seeing their favorite Disney characters. (Chip and Dale, Goofy, and Pluto will be in attendance.)

Pluto captivates a happy guest at Garden Grove. (photo courtesy of WDW Swan & Dolphin Hotel)
Pluto captivates a happy guest at Garden Grove. (photo courtesy of WDW Swan & Dolphin Hotel)

Additionally, a special Mother’s Day brunch menu, served from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., features herb-crusted prime rib, quiche, and green bean almondine. There are also a variety of other options at the different buffet stations, including Florida Red Snapper Piccata, and smoked salmon.

 

Pluto is a star performer at Garden Grove's Mother's Day brunch. (photo courtesy of WDW Swan & Dolphin Hotel)
Pluto is a star performer at Garden Grove’s Mother’s Day brunch. (photo courtesy of WDW Swan & Dolphin Hotel)

Both Mother’s Day dining experiences at Garden Grove are $35.99 for adults, $19.99 for children (ages 3-9), and free for kids under age 3. For reservations, call 407-934-1618.

 

Oven-roasted filet of beef stars on the menu at Todd English's bluezoo. (courtesy of WDW Swan & Dolphin Hotel)
Oven-roasted filet of beef stars on the menu at Todd English’s bluezoo. (courtesy of WDW Swan & Dolphin Hotel)

You can also celebrate Mom at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel by dining at Todd English’s bluezoo, where guests will receive a $25 gift certificate and a rose for every two adult entrees purchased on Mother’s Day. To make reservations, call 407-934-1111.

 

Minnie signs an autograph to the delights of fans at Chef Mickey's. (courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort)
Minnie signs an autograph to the delights of fans at Chef Mickey’s. (courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort)

Captain’s Grille at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort features a nautical setting reminiscent of an old-fashioned New England yacht club. Drop anchor there on Mother’s Day (7:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m.) for a brunch your whole crew will love, featuring a carving station with Roasted Top Sirloin, an omelet station, breakfast selections (including French toast, scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, pancakes, and Mickey waffles), brunch selections (including clam chowder, peel-and-eat shrimp, baked whitefish, crab cakes, and grilled asparagus), and bakery selections (including pastries, breads, muffins, brownies, and cookies). Book online or call 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463).

 

Mickey gets a hug from a young guest at Chef Mickey's, where character interactions are part of the fun. (courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort)
Mickey gets a hug from a young guest at Chef Mickey’s, where character interactions are part of the fun. (courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort)

Mom and her brood can join some favorite Disney friends for a fun-filled feast at Chef Mickey’s on Mother’s Day at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Served from 7:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., Chef Mickey’s Mother’s Day Brunch features Donald Duck, Goofy, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, and Pluto.

Minnie Mouse makes a new friend at Chef Mickey's, Disney's Contemporary Resort. (courtesy of WDW Resort)
Minnie Mouse makes a new friend at Chef Mickey’s, Disney’s Contemporary Resort. (courtesy of WDW Resort)

 

Breakfast selections include scrambled eggs, cheese omelets, roasted potatoes, and smoked salmon. Brunch selections include beef sirloin, seasonal salads, BBQ roast chicken, vegetable lasagna, and steamed broccoli with cheese sauce. Book online or call 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463).

 

Mickey greets families at Chef Mickey's, with plenty of time for photo opportunities. (courtesy of WDW Resort)
Mickey greets families at Chef Mickey’s, with plenty of time for photo opportunities. (courtesy of WDW Resort)

At The Wave…of American Flavors, also at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, you can make your mom’s special day even more magical with a Mother’s Day Brunch (7:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m.) that includes a carving station (bone-in-ham with rum raisin sauce, and prime rib with rosemary au jus), and an omelet station, as well as many more buffet items like grits with smoked cheddar and bacon, pork chops with cinnamon apples, chicken with wild rice pilaf, chimichurri waffles, and grilled cheese sandwiches. There are also plenty of bakery selection (including fruit danish, muffins, bread, and croissants) and lots of desserts to appeal to your mom’s sweet tooth. Book online or call 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463).

 

Chef Mickey's offers a bountiful buffet for families on Mother's Day. (courtesy of WDW Resort)
Chef Mickey’s offers a bountiful buffet for families on Mother’s Day. (courtesy of WDW Resort)

 

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is spook-tacular

Disney Halloween by Ali Nasser, courtesy of Walt Disney World
Disney Halloween by Ali Nasser, courtesy of Walt Disney World

What’s it like to celebrate one of the most fantasy-driven holidays in one of the most magical places on earth? Guests who buy tickets to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort get the chance to find out.

Boo to You!

One of the best perks of going to the Party is that even adults get to dress up in costume. Some of the costumes are extraordinarily inventive (I saw a guy dressed up as a Slab of Bacon, and a couple dressed up in “Where’s Waldo?” garb, complete with walking canes, but with red-and-white striped Mickey ears for Waldo caps.) You’ll be amazed at other guests’ creativity, and if you aren’t careful, you’ll spend a lot of precious Park time wandering around gawking. Even the familiar Disney characters are in Halloween costumes, which makes photos of your own costumed tots with their beloved Disney icons extra-special.

Courtesy of Walt Disney World, by David Roark
Courtesy of Walt Disney World, by David Roark

Don’t be afraid to bring the whole family to this event. It’s far removed from other theme parks’ creepy “horror haunts”–it’s just fiendishly good fun, even for the littlest ghosts and goblins.

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World
Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

Although the frightfest officially lasts from 7 p.m. until midnight, guests are admitted as early as 4 p.m., giving them eight full hours at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, a real benefit. Between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., guests can ride all the attractions; then after 7 p.m., twenty-seven of the most popular attractions stay open, with shorter-than-usual queues. (My experience during Party hours was being able to walk right on to nearly all the rides.)

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World
Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

Be sure to grab a Guidemap to the Party on your way into the Park, and also pick up a trick-or-treat bag if you haven’t brought one of your own along. Yes, I said, “trick-or-treat bag!” It doesn’t matter if you’re four years old or 104–you’re never too old to be a kid at Disney Parks. It’s so much fun to be a starry-eyed child again, collecting candy from Disney Cast Members along the trick-or-treat trails set up in the Park–even if you’re middle-aged. Kudos to Disney for letting ALL Park guests, regardless of age, join in the merriment! (Just don’t get into fights with your spouse when you start trading candy!)

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World
Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

A Disney Cast Member confided to me that Mickey had to hand out cheaper varieties of candy during the Recession, but that this Halloween season, the good stuff is flowing once again into the trick-or-treat bags along Magic Kingdom trails. In other words, you can make quite a haul. Cast Members are extremely generous when doling out the loot, even handing some costumed children additional trick-or-treat bags, bulging with goodies. And, at the tail end of Mickey’s “Boo-to-You” Halloween Parade, Goofy rides by on a Candy Machine Mobile, and admonishes guests to “be sure to get lots and lots of candy!” (You can’t argue with Goofy.)

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World
Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

The parade itself is one of the best I’ve ever seen, particularly because it presents some little-seen characters, including Winnie- the-Pooh‘s Christopher Robin, and the ballroom dancers and hitchhiking ghosts from the Haunted Mansion. You’ll feel a chill creep up your spine when you watch these ghostly apparitions bow to each other just inches away from you! The parade begins with the entrance of the Headless Horseman, who really gets the crowd in the mood. And the grave diggers are stupendously mystifying, as they strike sparks from the pavement with their shovels. Wreck-It-Ralph is a fun addition this year. Keep a close eye out for the caretaker of the cemetery, out for a stroll with his trusty, sad-eyed bloodhound. The whole spectacle is positively spellbinding.

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World
Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

Other highlights of the Party include a “Celebrate the Magic” nighttime projection show, which transforms Cinderella Castle into a hauntingly realistic display of Disney Villains; “Happy HalloWishes,” a spectacularly-themed Halloween fireworks show, narrated by none other than the Ghost Host from the Haunted Mansion attraction; two Character Dance Parties (Monstrous Scream-O-Ween Ball and Woody’s Happy Harvest Roundup), and Disney Villains’ Dance Mix and Mingle, on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage.

Jack & Sally Return to Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

And, of course, there are Disney Character Appearances throughout the event, including a special debut appearance by Jack Skellington and Sally from Tim Burton‘s The Nightmare Before Christmas. They’re dying to meet you.

Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World
Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World

A wide variety of gastronomic delights await you and your little ghouls–including Spiced Pumpkin Waffle Sundaes in Sleepy Hollow, Ghost Cupcakes at Gaston’s Tavern, Candy Corn Soft-Serve Ice Cream at Storybook Treats, and a plethora of specialty cupcakes (including chocolate mummies) and cookies at Sweet Treats on Main Street. Popcorn carts serve up delicious popped goodness (how can you resist that enticing smell?) in Hitchiking Ghost Mickey buckets.

Photo by Todd Anderson, courtesy of Walt Disney World
Photo by Todd Anderson, courtesy of Walt Disney World

Just walking through Magic Kingdom during the Party is a magical experience. Special lighting, music and theming effects transform the park into a series of happy haunted hollows.

Photo by Kent Phillips, courtesy of Walt Disney World
Photo by Kent Phillips, courtesy of Walt Disney World

Judging by the enraptured expressions on the faces of other guests at the Party that I attended, Halloween festivities just can’t get any more spook-tacular.

THE FINE PRINT: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is a special event that takes place in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World Resort on select fall nights from September 1-October 31, 2014. Purchase of an additional event admission ticket is required to attend. Purchase your tickets at the official Disney World site. For assistance with your WDW Resort visit, call (407) 939-5277.