Orlandotastic!
Hello and thank you for visiting OrlandoTastic! What started out as a top Disney World blog, OrlandoTastic is now a wonderful source of information for couples, groups and families planning an upcoming Orlando vacation. Through a vast network of theme park and attraction contacts, we’re able to bring our visitors the latest news, rumors, and stories covering just about everything in Orlando. Whether it’s a new ride at Walt Disney World, a new attraction at Universal Studios, a new restaurant opening downtown or a music festival planning a weekend concert, OrlandoTastic is happy to get the word out. And, of course, we’re always trying to partner with companies able to offer discount tickets to all the excitement. We hope you all enjoy our Disney blog, and if you have any questions, please contact us. Happy vacationing!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Can't get enough of the Epcot Food and Wine festival? GOOD NEWS!

Finally, the popularity of the annual Epcot International Food and Wine Festival has been given a boost -- an entire extra week to nosh and nibble!


The Disney Parks blog announced that the 2014 festival will be extended to a record 53 days this year. That's terrific news for those of us who want to return again and again, but don't always dig the crowds during the busiest days. The official dates are September 19-November 10, 2014. No other details have been announced (such as pavilions, special dinners and tastings, Eat to the Beat line-up, or special guests), but we will be keeping ears (and mouths!) open and let you know as soon as we do.

Mmmmm. I can taste Fall already. Can't you?



Thursday, January 30, 2014

Missing Disney? Now you can have a bit of it with your morning coffee

Joffrey's Coffee and Tea Company is bring you a little Disney magic -- exclusive coffee and tea blends based on the ones they serve in the resort!



Joffrey's is the official specialty coffee provider to Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, and the Disney Vacation club. The blends were developed with the assistance of Disney Parks chefs; each one is inspired by the menus and restaurants in which the coffees and tea are served. Here's the list, so far:


  • Artist Point: 
  • Carthay Circle
  • Flavors of Africa
  • Flying Fish Cafe
  • Flying Fish Cafe Espresso
  • French Bistro In-Room Blend
  • Jiko -- The Cooking Place
Those are all coffees; there's no word on the tea blends yet, but we will keep you posted. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Final Days to See A Year in the Life: Backstage to Onstage at Universal Orlando Resort

Some of you may remember that we told you about this exhibit last year. For the past year, the Orange County Regional History Center has been giving visitors a chance to see just what goes into all the massive holiday celebrations at Universal Studios.



If you put off visiting before now, this weekend is your last chance. Don't miss this opportunity to learn how the magic, scares, and wonder happen. Tickets are just $9 for adults and $6 for children ages 6-12. For more information on hours and admission, visit the Museum's website.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Diagon Alley Coming to Universal Studios

Harry Potter is The Boy Who Lived, and Universal Studios Islands of Adventure is the only theme park that will let you step into his life. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is already (in my humble opinion, at least) the best part about Universal Studios, and now the park is expanding the experience to include a new area: Diagon Alley. 

"On Thursday, the resort will offer a webcast preview of Diagon Alley, scheduled to open this summer. The webcast will be followed by a three-day event for people hungry to know more about the characters created by Potter author J.K. Rowling. The combination of events will help Universal make its case for being the center of the Harry Potter universe." (Source.)



If the expansion, which will include a ride through Gringott's, wasn't enough, the Weasley twins (known in real life as Jasmes and Oliver Phelps) will be on site for this week's Potter-themed park events.

"Universal has released few details about its Potter expansion since it was announced in December 2011. There will be a major ride based on Gringotts Wizarding Bank, which appears in books and films, a Leaky Cauldron restaurant and shops. An artist's rendering shows a fire-breathing dragon perched above visitors. And the Hogwarts Express train will carry visitors between the original Wizarding World at Islands of Adventure and its sequel next door at Universal Studios." (Source.)

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Like nifty food? Then you're gonna love NiFTE Food Trucks!

As if the fantastic Mills 50 area of Orlando doesn't already offer enough to do, eat, drink, and shop, Thursdays now offer a whole new reason to brave I-4 and head on down: the NiFTE!


This weekly food truck event event will feature different trucks every week, so you can sample more foods each time and discover your new favorites. The debut trucks are Au Naturel juice and smoothies, Soup To Nuts soups and grilled cheese, and Voodoo Kitchen Cajun and Creole cuisine. 

I can't wait to check this out and I trust Mills 50 to plan all kinds of great treats as the weeks go by. See you there -- I'll be the one eating my weight in grilled cheese!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

A fun holiday treat from Disney and "Convos with My 2-Year Old"

OK, so technically this is Disneyland and therefore not Orlando at all, but it's just too adorable not to share. 

Disneyland recently invited well-known 'net personalities to join them for the premiere gathering of Social Media All Stars Show Your Disney Side. The fantastic Matthew Clarke of the sensationally-funny Convos with My 2-Year Old showed up, along with his wife, daughter Coco, and of course David Milchard -- the grown man who portrays Coco in every video. 

The video series is based on actual conversations Matthew has had with Coco, but the twist is Milchard. Anyone who's ever been around a toddler knows those conversations can breach the surreal under ordinary circumstances, but when you have the kid played by a tall, skinny, scruffy-faced full grown man, things take a comedic turn that YouTube was made for. 

Enjoy this special episode, filmed at Disneyland. Happy Holidays, Clarke family -- including Mr. Milchard!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas Eats!

OK, so the unspoken tradition of food on Christmas Day is delicious takeout Chinese goodies, sometimes you want something a little less A Christmas Story and a little more formal celebration-ish. If you are in Orlando on the big day, Visit Orlando has got you covered, with a regularly-updated list of terrific restaurants that will not only be open on Christmas Day, but will also be offering special menus to help you and yours celebrate the holidays. 

I recommend trying for reservations NOW, especially for some of the more upscale options. But the list is pretty big and it will get bigger, so do check back if you can't find someplace that works for you. 

Here are my picks from the list as it stands right now:

Bull & Bear at Waldorf Astoria Orlando: Four exceptional courses, served from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., at $105 per person. Wine pairing is also available at additional cost. Reservations required: 407-597-5409.

Emeril's Tchoup Chop: Enjoy an Emeril-style Christmas meal created by Chef Ryan Vargas offers a Christmas meal a'la Emeril, which is my favorite eatery of any at the Universal Orlando hotels. 

CafĂ© Osceola at Rosen Shingle Creek: This my best pick for a holiday buffet. Over 44 dishes will be offered, including holiday favorites, carving stations, desserts galore, and unlimited champagne mimosas. It's served all day long on December 25, from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.  Cost is $65.95 per person or $29.95 kids (4-12 yrs. Old); kids under 3 years old eat free. Plus complimentary valet parking and a 25% discount for Florida residents.


Thursday, December 12, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Universal Orlando CityWalk Announces New Eateries

You read that right, Orlando fans -- entirely new restaurants are coming to Universal Orlando's City Walk. Let's run through the delicious list, shall we?


The Cowfish: You know how annoying it is when half of you want sushi and the other half wants burgers? Well, that is no longer going to be a problem -- Welcome to The Cowfish, the burger AND sushi joint coming to City Walk in 2014. This bar restaurant will feature the finest in meat on a bun along with exceptional sushi and sashimi for your dining pleasure.



Looking for an all-American treat? How about hot dogs every which way? Look no further than the Hot Dog Hall of Fame! This is where you can get dogs of all shapes and sizes, with toppings galore. I can't wait until we get more information on this one, as I hear the menu choices will be mind-boggling. Let's hear it for the dog!



Viva! Mexican food is coming too. Antojitos will feature Mexican street food (the name literally translates to "little cravings" and this will be the place for both full meals and terrific snack options. 



Handcrafted sandwiches are another new option coming your way. The Bread Box is the place where you can sit down and relax or grab something to go so you can munch as you wander the park. 


In addition to these great new eateries, Starbucks will be moving location from downstairs to up, and expanding their footprint for all you coffee drinkers. Coldstone Creamery is also coming, as well as Menchies Frozen Yogurt. 





Friday, December 06, 2013

Get ready for a big 2014

Great new things are coming to Orlando in 2014. Theme parks are expanding, restaurants are coming, and the arts are getting bigger and bigger. 

Parks:

Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom will complete their Fantasyland expansion in 2014. The new addition to the park is already experiencing record visitors, including a months-long wait for a table at Be Our Guest. New for 2014 will be the Dwarfs' Mine Train Coaster, a family-friendly ride that will take guests on a musical journey to the mine where "a million diamonds shine. Also expect a brand new daytime parade: The Festival of Fantasy. This new event will showcase classic characters and music from best-loved Disney films.

Walt Disney World accommodations are going to reach a new level of luxury in 2014 when the Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World opens. This gorgeous property will be located mere minutes from EPCOT and the Magic Kingdom. It will offer 376 standard guest rooms (if anything at the Four Seasons could ever be considered "standard"), 68 suites, a Tom Fazio-designed golf course, a full-service luxury spa, three restaurants, and -- of course -- a spectacular pool area. 

Universal Orlando certainly isn't going to be outdone by the Mouse House. They will be expanding their INCREDIBLY successful World of Harry Potter. London locations from the adored book and film series are being added, including the shops, restaurants, and even famous "bank" of Diagon Alley -- the wizard high street. But the even bigger news is how guests will travel from "London" to "Hogsmeade" -- via The Hogwart's Express. So get your owls and trunks ready. The run for Platform 9 and 3/4 is coming soon.

Universal is also opening their fourth park hotel: the Cabana Bay Beach Resort. It will be the largest on-property hotel, with 1800 rooms including moderately-priced family sites and value-priced smaller rooms. The resort will be retro-chic a'la the 1950s and 1960s, and will include a bowling alley and two huge pools complete with water slides sandy beaches, and a lazy river. 

Aquatica at Sea World is looking to break some records of their own with a new water slide that will be the tallest and steepest in the Orlando area. The Ihu Breakaway Falls will be a multi-slide attraction that is entirely unique to the area. 

LEGOLAND Florida is adding more toddler attractions based on DUPLO toys. The attractions will be farm-themed and will include a train, mini tractor rides, and a water play area geared toward kids from two to five years old.


Arts:

The Doctor Phillips area of Orlando will have an all-news arts center: the Doctor Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The center will feature two performance theatres for Broadway productions and Orlando ballet (among many other things), a 300-seat community theatre, an outdoor area, and a banquet hall.


    

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Live Like Royalty - at Least for the Day

Admit it. You've always known you were special. Royal, even. So why not take advantage of Living Social's current deal to live it up like royalty at Medieval Times Orlando?


For a paltry $39 (regular price is $68), you can watch the court drama unfold from your royal table. Brave knights will joust for your honor! Serving wenches will bring delicious food to your table! Ladies will faint for the honor of being in your presence!

Your "traditional" meal includes oven-roasted chicken, herb-roasted potatoes, tomato bisque soup, garlic bread, spare rib, and a pastry, plus two rounds of soft drinks, coffee, or tea. The only thing not included is your mead. Er..wine. I'm not exactly sure that's a traditional meal for the 11th century Spanish castle that you'll be sitting in, but details! And don't worry, your little prince or princess won't be left out. Children's tickets are also available for the deal for $29 (regularly $42). You can use your ticket anytime between now and January 31, 2014.
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