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Hello, welcome! This is a first for me, and I hope you will be patient with me as I learn how to do this. I am a Disney fan and Walt Disney World Personal Shopper. Here I will talk about what is going on at the Walt Disney World resort…be it events, food, merchandise, or just the day to day goings on at the park. So please join me as I go on this Magical Journey!

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NEW Kidcot Fun Stops Around the World Showcase at Epcot

There is a brand new activity at the Kidcot Fun Stops around the World Showcase at Epcot!

Younger guests visiting the eleven Fun Stops will now receive traveler’s cards and stickers at each country.

New sponsor Ziploc is also providing exclusive Kidcot Ziploc bags meant to look like a suitcase. Guests can use the bags to collect the new traveler’s cards.

Where to Find Kidcot Fun Stops

*Mexico Pavilion (near Animales Fantasticos)

*Norway Pavilion (at The Puffin’s Roost)

*China Pavilion (near the exit of Reflections of China)

*Germany Pavilion (at Volkunst)

*Italy Pavilion (outside, near La Bottega Italiana)

*American Adventure Pavilion (outside, near Heritage Manor Gifts)

*Japan Pavilion (in the Bijutsu-kan Gallery)

*Morocco Pavilion (at the Marketplace in the Medina)

*France Pavilion (at Souvenirs de France)

*United Kingdom Pavilion (at The Toy Soldier)

*Canada Pavilion (at the exit of O Canada!)

Watermelon Salad from EPCOT’s Flower and Garden Festival

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Preview Refreshing Festival Tastes
Sample some of the spring aromas the festival has to offer with this recipe for a flavorful Watermelon Salad. Whether you bring a watermelon home or grow your own, enjoy a totally fresh take on one of Florida’s most popular fruits!

Watermelon Salad
Serves 6

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 cup white balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons finely diced shallots
2 tablespoons roasted garlic*
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
Step 1: Combine white balsamic vinegar, shallots, garlic, honey and lemon juice in a blender. Blend until well combined.

Step 2: With blender running, slowly drizzle in olive oil. Blend until thickened. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Pickled Onions

1/2 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons grenadine syrup
1 tablespoon salt
1/4 pound red onions, sliced into 1/4-inch-thick rings
Step 1: If using frozen raspberries, thaw first. Purée raspberries in a food processor before pouring the purée through a fine-mesh sieve. Then, discard the seeds and set the purée aside.

Step 2: Combine raspberry purée, water, sugar, grenadine and salt in a medium saucepan placed over medium-high heat. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring throughout the duration to dissolve the salt and sugar.

Step 3: Add onions. Stir to coat and then remove from heat. Set aside for 20 minutes.

Watermelon Salad

4 cups cubed, seedless watermelon
3 cups baby arugula
1/4 cup white balsamic vinaigrette
Coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup pickled onion
1/4 cup balsamic glaze*
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
Step 1: Divide watermelon among plates. Toss arugula with white balsamic vinaigrette in a medium bowl and lightly season with salt and pepper.

Step 2: Top each portion of watermelon with arugula. Then, top each serving with 2 to 3 picked onion rings before sprinkling with feta. Drizzle with balsamic glaze.

Cook’s Note: Balsamic glaze can be found in most supermarkets on the oil and vinegar aisle. To prepare your own, place 2 cups balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and simmer for about 40 minutes until reduced to 1/4 cup.

Pop’t Art Cookies – from EPCOT International Festival of the Arts

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Pop’t Art

Makes 6

SUGAR COOKIE

1/2 cup sugar

1 cup butter

1 egg white

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1/8 teaspoon salt

TOPPING

6 tablespoons chocolate-hazelnut spread

GLAZE

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

3-4 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Food coloring

FOR SUGAR COOKIE:

Cream sugar and butter in bowl of an electric mixer fitted with

a paddle attachment until fluffy. Add egg white and beat for 1 minute.

Slowly add sifted flour and salt and beat at medium speed until a soft

dough forms.

Cover bowl and chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment or silicone

baking mat.

Roll dough into a 1/4-inch thick rectangle on a lightly floured surface.

Cut into six, 3×5-inch rectangles.

Place cookies on prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, until

golden brown.

Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes.

FOR TOPPING:

Spread 1 tablespoon of chocolate-hazelnut spread on each cookie,

leaving a border of about 1/8 inch around the edges of each cookie.

Set aside.

FOR GLAZE:

Whisk powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons of the milk, and the vanilla

extract in a pie plate until smooth. Add additional milk if the glaze is

too thick.

Set aside 2 tablespoons of glaze in a small bowl.

Dip each cookie, chocolate-hazelnut side down, in the glaze to cover

the chocolate.

Set on a wire rack to dry.

Mix remaining glaze with desired color or colors of food coloring. Use a

fork to drizzle colored glaze on top of the cookies.

2018 Epcot® International Festival of the Arts – Jan 12 to Feb 19, 2018

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It’s that time of year again!

EPCOT’s 2nd Annual International Arts Festival, this year’s festival will be from January 12 through February 19, 2018. New for this year, the majority of the Festival activities will be around 7 days a week. The Disney Broadway Concert series will still be a weekend only event, like last year.

This is an all-inclusive event that will introduce your inner aficionado to the annual Festival of the Arts, an exciting extravaganza replete with phenomenal artists, gourmet fare, musical performances, stage productions and other amazing acts.

Guest walking around the World Showcase will find an assortment of entertaining events:

Performing Arts Highlights:

Disney on Broadway Concert Series

Community arts showcases

Live performance art

International music and variety acts

Acrobatics and gravity-defying feats of strength

Amazing living statues

Visiting marching bands

And more!

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The concert series happens every Fri, Sat, Sun, and Mon.  Each weekend they will have 2 Disney Broadway actors/singers performing Disney songs from Disney Broadway shows.

2018 Appearance Schedule

The Disney on Broadway Concert Series is currently scheduled to take place on the following dates:

3 shows a night: 5:30pm, 6:45pm, 8:00pm

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January 12 to 15 Kara Lindsay and Kevin Massey

January 19 to 22 Kara Lindsay and Kevin Massey

Kara Lindsay will be new for the 2017 season…but Kevin Massey is returning from last year.

Video from 2017: Kerry Butler (played Belle on Broadway) and Kevin Massey (played Tarzan on Broadway), performed favorites from Disney Broadway shows.

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January 26 to 29 Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White

February 2 to 5 Kissy Simmons and Alton Fitzgerald White

Kissy and Simmon both performed during last years festival. I’m looking forward to watching them again.

Video from 2017: Kissy Simmons (played Nala on Broadway) and Alton Fitzgerald White (played Mufasa on Broadway), performed favorites from Disney Broadway shows.

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February 9 to 12 Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland

February 16 to 19 Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland

Ashley Brown and Josh Strickland will also be returning from last years festival. They did a wonderful job last year, so looking forward to this year.

Video from 2017: Ashley Brown (original Mary Poppins on Broadway) and Josh Strickland (original Tarzan on Broadway), performed favorites from Disney Broadway shows.

If you’d like priority seating for one of these performances, Dining Packages are available for booking at select Epcot restaurants (listed below). Reservations can be made by calling (407) WDW-DINE*.

Akershus Royal Banquet HallBreakfast: Adult $60.00 / Child $62.00 Lunch: Adult: $70.00 / Child $42.00 Dinner: Adult: $70.00 / Child $42.00
BiergartenLunch: Adult: $44.00 / Child $25.00 Dinner: Adult: $51.00 / Child $29.00
Coral Reef RestaurantLunch: Adult: $66.00 / Child $22.00 Dinner: Adult: $66.00 / Child $22.00
Rose and CrownLunch: Adult: $57.00 / Child $21.00 Dinner: Adult: $57.00 / Child $21.00
The Garden GrillBreakfast: Adult $43.00 / Child $27.00 Lunch: Adult: $57.00 / Child $36.00 Dinner: Adult: $57.00 / Child $36.00

*Tip: When calling, ask for the (name of the restaurant) Festival of the Arts (meal period, breakfast, lunch or dinner) package.

FOOD STUDIOS:

Along with all the great art and performances found around the lagoon of the World Showcase, you will find Food Studios…that will take you on a culinary and art adventure.

FOOD STUDIOS Details: 

  • World Showcase, Epcot
  • Daily from January 12 to February 19, 2018
  • Food studios open from 11:00 AM to 9:00 PM
  • Epcot admission required
  • Alcohol will only be served to Guests 21 and older
  • Events are subject to change or cancellation without notice

Please note: the following menu items marked with (GF) are gluten/wheat-friendly and those with (V) are vegetarian.

Here is an album with the menus and offerings from 2017 season,

 

 

Recipe: Epcot International Festival of the Holidays – Holiday kitchen of the Feast of the Three Kings – Three Kings Bread

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Feast of the Tres Reyes! – Epcot International Festival of the Holidays is the holiday kitchen of the Feast of the Three Kings!

Here’s the recipe for the Three Kings Bread so you and your family and make it and enjoy it at home!

Makes 16

 

DOUGH

4 eggs

1/4 cup water

1/3 cup sugar

4 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

4 tablespoons shortening

1/8 teaspoon salt

Zest of 1 orange

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3- 3 1/2 cups bread flour

4 teaspoons instant yeast

 

SUGAR PASTE

1/2 cup shortening

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup cake flour

1 egg

 

GLAZE

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

3-4 tablespoons milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

 

FINISHED BREAD

1 egg

16 Maraschino cherries, chopped

Red and green sugar

FOR DOUGH:

  1. Place the eggs and water in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.
  2. Add the sugar, butter, shortening, salt, orange zest, vanilla, and 3 cups of the bread flour to the mixing bowl. Sprinkle instant yeast on top of the flour.
  3. Knead on medium speed for 12 minutes, until soft dough forms. Dough will be slightly sticky. If dough is not soft after 12 minutes, add 1/4 cup of flour at a time and knead for 1 additional minute.
  4. Portion the dough into 16 balls on two baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, until doubled in size.

 

FOR SUGAR PASTE:

  1. Cream shortening, sugar, and cake flour in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.
  2. Add egg and mix, making sure to scrape the sides of the bowl, until well blended.
  3. Set aside.

 

FOR GLAZE:

  1. Whisk powdered sugar, 3 tablespoons of the milk, and vanilla extract together until smooth.
  2. Add additional tablespoon of milk, if needed.
  3. Set aside.

 

FOR THREE KINGS BREAD:

  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Beat egg and brush on top of dough.
  3. Pipe the sugar paste in an “x” over the top of the balls of dough.
  4. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
  5. Cool for 15 minutes and top with glaze.
  6. Sprinkle red and green sugar and chopped maraschino cherries on top of glaze.

 

You can also find delicious food at Las Posadas holiday kitchen near Mexico. They are serving one of my favorite dishes for the holidays: Buñuelo Navideño – a thin round fried pastry, drizzled with honey and dusted with cinnamon and brown sugar. Delicioso!

 

Epcot International Festival of the Holidays takes place until December 30.

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – Chocolate Chip Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen medium cookies OR 18 large cookies

2 ½ cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

10 tablespoons (1 ¼ sticks butter), softened

1 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup powdered sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

 

Preheat oven to 330 degrees F.

 

Sift flour, baking soda and salt into a large bowl and set aside.

 

Combine butter, brown sugar and powdered sugar in a separate bowl and cream with electric mixer until fluffy.

 

With the mixer running, add eggs, one at a time. Then add vanilla. Mix until combined, scraping sides of the bowl.

 

Slowly add flour mixture, scraping sides of the bowl. Stir in chocolate chips.

 

Scoop 1 tablespoon dough for medium cookies OR 2 tablespoons for large cookies, onto an ungreased baking sheet.

 

Bake until lightly golden, 10 to 12 minutes for medium cookies; 12 to 14 minutes for large cookies.

 

 

 

CHEF ART SMITH’S HUMMINGBIRD CAKE – Homecomin’ Florida Kitchen at Disney Springs

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CHEF ART SMITH’S HUMMINGBIRD CAKE

Homecomin’ Florida Kitchen at Disney Springs

Yield: 12 servings

Butter and flour, for prepping pans

Cake batter:

3 cups self-rising flour, preferably White Lily brand

2 cups granulated sugar

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 cups chopped ripe bananas

1 cup crushed pineapple

1 cup vegetable oil

2 large eggs, beaten

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Icing:

8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

8 ounces butter, at room temperature

1 pound confectioners’ sugar (about 4 1/2 cups sifted)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For serving:

Fresh seasonal fruit for garnish

Vanilla bean ice cream

For the cake:

1. Position racks in the center and bottom third of the oven and preheat to 350F. Lightly butter two 9-inch roundcake pans, sprinkle evenly with flour and tap out the excess. (If you wish, butter the pans, line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper, then flour the pans and tap out the excess.)

2. In a large bowl, sift the flour, sugar, cinnamon and salt into a bowl.

3. In second large bowl, stir or whisk the bananas, pineapple, oil, eggs and vanilla until combined. Do not use an electric mixer. Pour into the dry mixture and fold together with a large spatula just until smooth. Do not beat. Spread evenly into the pans.

4. Bake until the cake springs back when pressed in the center, 30-35 minutes. Transfer the cakes to wire racks and cool for 10 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the racks (remove the parchment paper now if using). Turn right side up and cool completely.

For the icing:

Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat the cream cheese and butter in a large bowl until combined. On low speed, gradually beat in the confectioners’ sugar, then the vanilla, to make a smooth icing.

To assemble:

Place 1 cake layer, upside down on a serving platter. Spread with about 2/3 cup of the icing. Top with the second layer, right side up. Spread the reaming icing over the top and sides of the cake. The cake can be prepared up to 1 day ahead and stored, uncovered in the refrigerator. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before serving. Serve slices with a scoop of icing and a fruit garnish.