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June 19, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Zuri’s Sweets Shop in Harambe Market at Animal Kingdom opened this week.

*  Starbucks Animal Kingdom mugs are now on sale at the newly opened Starbucks Creature Comforts on Discovery Island in Animal Kingdom.

*  Frozen Summer Fun began this week at Hollywood Studios.

*  Magic Slider time pieces will soon go on sale as accessories for MagicBands at WDW:  a Minnie Mouse analog watch and another with a digital display.  They slide onto your MagicBand and turn it into a watch.

*  Disneyland Paris has now banned selfie sticks, too.

*  ‘Inside Out‘, Pixar‘s new animated movie opens today!  It has received a 98% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes!  (++editorial below++)

*  Hans Solo had a wife.  Who knew?

*  Season 2 of “Daredevil” on Netflix will feature the popular comic character The Punisher.

*  A new Disney radio station, Radio Disney Country, will start broadcasting this fall.  Woo-Doggies!

*  Dreamfinder and Figment will return in “Figment 2,” an all new comic series coming this Fall.

***We are attempting again to redo our website this weekend.  Our new name will be Family Travel Escapades (familytravelescapades.com).  We will try to switch each of you over with us. *****

++Editorial:  I am really looking forward to seeing Inside Out!  I have heard over and over about how original it is.  I am really not convinced, though.  “Herman’s Head,” a show from the early ’90s that I and about 6 other people watched for 3 years on the fledgeling Fox network had the exact same premise.  I liked the show.  I think that Pixar will do an even better job with the concept, but I would not call talking, anthropomorphized emotions original.++

June 12, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Disney now states that MagicBand+ will not be coming to Disneyland in Anaheim anytime soon.  They say it doesn’t fit the demographics with most guests being local or staying off property.

*  The new Starbucks in Animal Kingdom will open on June18 in the prior location of Creature Comforts on Discovery Island.

*  Frozen Summer Fun at Hollywood Studios will return on July 17 featuring Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf.

*  The animated short, ‘Frozen Fever‘ will be shown in the ABC Sound Studio at Hollywood Studios twice every hour from 10 a.m till closing starting on June 17 and running through September 7.

*  Registration for Star Wars Half Marathon will open on June 16, 2015.  The race is held on January 17, 1016 at Disneyland in California.

*  New merchandise is now available in Cars Land at Disney California Adventure.

*  A world class lounge from Los Angeles will be opening a sister location in 2016 at Disney Springs  in WDW to be called ‘The Edison’ .  It will feature American food, craft cocktails, live cabaret and live music.

*  Tokyo DisneySea‘s 15th anniversary will be celebrated from April 15, 2016 through March 17,2017 with “The Year of Wishes,” and will feature a new harbor show called “Crystal Wishes Journey,” an updated Big Band Beat, and a new projection show in the Hangar Stage in Lost River Delta.

*  Mickey‘s Backyard BBQ at Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground at WDW has expanded from 2 to 4 days per week.

*  Walt Disney Animation Studios has released a trailer for the film ‘Zootopia‘ which is be released next.  It looks promising!

*  A preview for ‘Frozen Ever After,” the attraction set to replace Maelstrom in the Epcot Norway pavilion has been released.  I miss Maelstrom.

*  DisneyXD will premiere ‘Gamer’s Guide to Pretty Much Everything’ on Wednesday, July 22.  Cameron Boyce of Disney Channel‘s ‘Jessie will star.

WDW Healthy Snacks

Long days at WDW, while fun, can leave you tired and hungry.  There are a plethora of options for snacks available seemingly around every turn.  Healthy options are harder to find, though.  If you don’t pay attention, a trip to WDW can make your comfy jeans fit like skinny jeans.  I offer a guide  for those of us who have a medical condition (hypertension, diabetes, arteriosclerosis), do not want to loosen our belts, and/or just want to eat healthy.

First, let me explain what I mean by “healthy.”  Nutritional guidelines seem to stay in a state of flux.  Current general consensus recommends limiting salt, refined sugars, and processed foods, while consuming more “whole foods:”  fruits, veggies, whole grains, dairy, eggs, and non-processed meats.  While each of my suggestions may not fit all of these criteria, I will try to follow remain fairly close.  In addition, to me, the calorie content should not be extreme.

The “Disciple’s Prayer” from the Bible states, “Lead us not into temptation.”  While not referring to food, it is still good advice.  Just as someone trying to quit smoking should avoid contact with cigarette smoke; those of us trying to watch our diet should try to avoid surrounding ourselves with the sights and smells that will tempt us.  Healthy snacks can be found scattered all over the parks,.. right next to sweets, pastries, and other temptations.  Fortunately, without too much effort, temptation can be avoided.

harambe-fruit-market-00

The best park options, where you are surrounded by healthy choices with minimal temptations, are at the marketplaces.  There are options that are natural, non processed, and relatively low calorie; mostly fruit.  Each location has similar offerings:  fruit (apples, grapes, oranges, pineapple, watermelon and bananas), pickles (high in salt, though), trail mix, and yogurt.  In addition to these staples, each marketplace offers 1 or 2 things unique to it:  cheese, clementines, tomato bisque.  In Magic Kingdom, if you are on the Tomorrowland/Fantasyland side of the park, then Prince Eric’s Village Market is the nearest option, located across from Ariel’s Grotto in New Fantasyland.  On the Adventureland/Frontierland side of the Magic Kingdom, Liberty Square Market is the closest.  In Hollywood Studios, Anaheim Produce on Sunset Boulevard is your choice.  In Animal Kingdom, it is the Harambe Fruit Market in Africa.  Surprisingly, Epcot does not have a market.  You can find similar options scattered on treat carts, though.

Hollywood-Studios-Starbucks-Trolley-Car-Cafe-19-528x625

Even though you may love fruit, being on vacation, there are times that you may desire something more decadent, more savory than fruit.  I have those times covered, too.  Starbucks are now located in each WDW park:  Main St. Bakery in Magic Kingdom, Fountain View in Epcot, Trolley Car Cafe’ in Hollywood Studios, and Creature Comforts in Animal Kingdom.  Please allow me to state that most of the options at Starbucks are sugar/calorie laden diet busters.  I do not personally like coffee, but there is one viable option that I consider as more of desert or sweet treat:  the “skinny” latte’.  Any latte’ (vanilla, mocha, pumpkin spice,..) can be made “skinny.”  They are made with coffee (caff, half-caff, or decaf), whipped skim milk, and sugar free flavoring.  A Grande’ (medium) has only 150 calories!  Not bad for a sweet treat.There are still more options!  The famous pineapple DoleWhip has only 80 calories per half cup!  It will not blow your diet!  It is high in sugar, but still not bad.  The DoleWhip is available in Magic Kingdom at Aloha Island in Adventureland.  Epcot has several choices.  La Boulangerie Patisserie des Halles in the France pavilion has Bisque de Homard (lobster bisque), fromages (cheese plate), and Pissaladiere (olives, tomatoes, and cheese).  Tangerine Cafe’ in the Morocco pavilion offers hummus, couscous salad, lentil salad, tabouleh, and marinated olives.  In the Norway pavilion, Krigla Bakeria og Cafe’ has sugar free chocolate mousse.  les halles epcot

So, while WDW vacation can make eating healthy more challenging, it is not impossible.  Please note below specific illness considerations.

** For diabetes:  pineapple, bananas, watermelon, and DoleWhips are loaded with sugar.

**For hypertension and/or edema:  pickles, trail mix, olives, cheese, soups, and salads can be high in sodium.

Pongo:  working husband, father, and Disney-phile.  

I hope that you find these recommendations helpful.  Any comments and/or further suggestions are welcome.  If you would like to read more articles from us, then click on the “Follow” tab and each new article will be emailed to you.

5 Disney Father’s Day Gift Ideas

With Memorial Day behind, the next “major” holiday, Father’s Day, is fast approaching on June 21…. I know, even Hallmark has been unable to generate much excitement for Father’s Day. That said, we dads do appreciate any acknowledgement,..and gifts. Don’t forget the gifts!

So with no further ado, here is your Father’s Day gift guide for a Disney Dad. We will stick with the obvious, because most of us dads will be glad to get just about anything. Let’s talk about Men’s Fashion. Like many men, I have no “style,” but I do have “a style.” We typically wear khaki shorts or jeans, a polo or t-shirt, and oftentimes a cap. About the most bold statement made from our clothes is our team color (red) and logo (UofL/Go Cards!!). So, in general, for clothing, sticking with the basics and avoiding anything too flashy or over the top is a good idea.

1.  Shirts – Most of you know your dad’s taste. If your gift is something that he will wear at home and not just at WDW or Disneyland, then it will be much more appreciated. Again, for most of us, nothing too wild. Simple designs with basic colors usually work best. There are great selections at your local Disney Store or there is still time to order from DisneyStore.com. Target has Marvel and Star Wars shirts. Stick with t-shirts and polos. These are usually cheaper and will get more wear. IMG_3871
2.  Swim trunks – Summer is here. If your dad likes the pool, lake, or ocean, then this would work well. I recommend something discreet and tasteful like these. IMG_3875
3.  Caps – A lot of us, especially those who are or are becoming follicularly challenged really like caps. Be careful, though, because most of us are particular about the “style” of cap: baseball, trucker, flat-bill, golf, etc. These are hard to order online. Get a good look and feel of you dad’s favorite cap(s), go in person, and pick out one of the same style. If in question, then it is best to choose something else.IMG_3867
4. Watches – I absolutely love my Mickey Mouse watch! I wear it every day. I get compliments on it frequently from children and adults. Most dads will love a watch and will not feel weird wearing it. Classic colors (black, brown, tan) and materials (leather, cloth) work best. Just avoid wild bands. It does not have to be expensive either. DisneyStore.com has a good selection. Target has Marvel watches.IMG_3866
5.  Mugs – Mugs are an excellent, and inexpensive choice. I don’t drink coffee, but I love mugs for my hot tea. I use several; so, a new one is never a bad thing. Some people, like our accountant, place Disney mugs on display in their office. The Disney Store currently has some good options including Pooh Bear and “Inside Out” mugs. DisneyStore.com has great options, too. If you will be at WDW or Disneyland prior to Father’s Day, then the new Starbuck’s Disney commemorative mugs are a sure fire hit. **TIP** Buy 2 mugs; one for each of his 2 favorite parks. Give him the mug of his second favorite on Father’s Day. He will like it, but it will leave him wanting the one from his favorite park. Stash the other mug away until Christmas or his birthday and then give it to him. You have scored twice!IMG_3908IMG_3910IMG_3909

Don’t forget your dads on Father’s Day this year. Your Disney dad will be thrilled with one of the above options.  I hope this helps.
If you have any other ideas, I would love to hear them. Please leave a comment.

Pongo: Working father and Disneyphile.