Victoria and Albert’s to Host New Year’s Eve Event for First Time

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Orlando’s single five-star restaurant, Victoria and Albert’s at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, will be hosting a New Year’s Eve celebration dinner. The dinner will run from 6:30 pm – 10:30 pm with a chef and sommelier preparing an 8 – 10 course menu that includes caviar from around the world and a collection of some of the most eclectic and famous champagnes available. Chef Scott Hunnel and his team will also make personal appearances during the event.

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New Video from Disney Parks Takes a Look at What’s New (and Almost New) at Walt Disney World

Via its YouTube channel, DisneyParks released a seven minute video which takes a look at some of the recent additions to the Walt Disney World resort such as the American Idol Experience at Disney’s  Hollywood Studios and the Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It street show at the Magic Kingdom as well as an extended look at the Contemporary Resort, from its design and construction in 1971 through the introduction of the Bay Lake Tower DVC resort and the Treehouse Villas.

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Walt Disney World Begins Offering Free WiFi Internet Access

WiFi Access at Innoventions EastSeveral months ago, reports of the WiFi near the Beach Club lobby was open to the public as opposed to the traditional means of charging for it. While some speculated that it must have been in error and would only be temporary, recent reports not only confirm it’s still available in the common areas at the resort, but that resort staff has confirmed it was an intentional, permanent change in policy.

This has now appeared to carry over to other Convention resorts (which all offer WiFi in public areas such as the lobby and pool areas) as we have seen reports that the Contemporary Resort also makes WiFi available at no charge.

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WDW Refurb Update: Uzima Pool at Jambo House Closure in January

From January 4 through January 29, the Uzima pool at Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jambo House will be closed for refurbishment. During this time, guests of the resort may use the Samawati Springs Pool at Kidani Village instead. ReSearch has been updated to reflect this and subscribers affected by this change have been notified.

Planning a trip to Walt Disney World? Be the first to know when changes that potentially affect your trip occur by signing up with ReSearch!

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Villas at Grand Californian Hotel Grand Opening and Tour (Video)

Disneyland has just released this video of the grand opening of the Disney Vacation Club’s first west coast entry, the Villas at the Grand Californian at the Disneyland Resort. Also featured are several cast members talking about the new addition to the DVC family as well as a tour of the rooms and facilities.

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Disney Vacation Club Premieres First West Coast Disney Venture at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa

Photo © DisneyANAHEIM, Calif. (Sept. 23, 2009) – Disneyland Resort today unveiled a stunning new addition to its Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, including 203 new guest rooms and 50 two-bedroom equivalent Disney Vacation Club villas, the first Disney Vacation Club property on the West Coast.  Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa immerses guests in the magic of the Disneyland Resort by capturing the spirit of early California through design and architecture.  Many of the new vacation villas offer guests spectacular views into Disney’s California Adventure Park.

“This expansion reinforces Disney’s long-term commitment to investing in Anaheim’s Resort District,” said Ed Grier, president of Disneyland Resort.  “Since opening in 2001, Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa continues to impress our guests with its timeless sophistication and exquisite service.  The new villas and hotel rooms will give more guests the opportunity to enjoy the immersive vacation experience Disney is known for.”

The 2.5-acre addition to Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa, which increases accommodations by more than 30 percent, is part of ongoing resort expansion work.  Currently underway is a multiyear expansion of Disney’s California Adventure Park, which will add new attractions, entertainment experiences and an entirely new 12-acre Cars Land.  In addition, the resort’s historic Disneyland Hotel also began a major three-year renovation last month.

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WDW Refurb Updates: Early Openings, Water Park Closures, Resort Pools, Golf Courses and More

I’ve got a HUGE refurb update here, so bear with me.

At the Magic Kingdom, Crystal Palace will be closed from January 3 through February 13.

At Epcot, Living with the Land is now scheduled to re-open on October 4, which is several weeks earlier than the original date of November 1. Also, the new exhibit in the Japan pavilion (which was the tin toy museum) is now slated to open on October 16.

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the Boneyard is now scheduled to be closed October 5 through October 18

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Kouzzina by Cat Cora Opens at Disney’s Boardwalk; First Look at Menu Items (Photo Gallery)

Chef Mickey and Iron Chef Cat Cora open Kouzzina by Cat Cora (Gene Duncan/Disney)LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (Sept. 17, 2009) — Chef Cat Cora and Disney today celebrated the grand opening of Kouzzina by Cat Cora, an exciting new family dining restaurant at Disney’s BoardWalk at Walt Disney World Resort.

This is the first table-service restaurant for the celebrity chef, featuring a menu of Mediterranean-style cuisine that pays tribute to the Cora family’s Greek roots.

Owned and operated by Disney and open daily for breakfast and dinner with seating for about 200 guests, the new restaurant features “time-honored recipes passed down from my ancestors, as well as my favorite Greek and Mediterranean dishes that my family loves,” Cora says.

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Get to Know Kouzzina by Cat Cora’s Chef Dee Foundoukis

Kouzzina by Cat Cora Chef Dee Foundoukis (Photo: Disney)Hometown: Bronx, N.Y

Education: Graduated from New York Restaurant School, New York City

Years with Walt Disney World Resort: 18

Years as a chef: 25

Other notable restaurants where you have worked: Before coming to Disney, I worked at the New York Hilton and the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. In my 18 years at Walt Disney World Resort, I have worked everywhere in the theme parks from Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano and The Hollywood Brown Derby at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Cinderella’s Royal Table, Tony’s Town Square and Crystal Palace in Magic Kingdom.  In Disney resorts, I’ve worked at Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Shutters at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, and Chef Mickey’s and Contempo Cafe at Disney’s Contemporary Resort.

Your biggest inspiration? My mom taught me everything I know about respecting food, flavors and tradition.

Describe your culinary style: Uncomplicated with big flavors from fresh ingredients.  Live simply, eat big!

What do you enjoy most about being a chef? The incomparable emotion of being in a kitchen entertaining guests.  And also leading a passionate culinary team to orchestrate a great meal.

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Kidani Village’s Pembe Savanna Opens September 1 with New Animals and New Challenges

Red River Hogs on the Pembe Savanna at Kidani VillageThis debut marks the opening of the last phase of this Disney Vacation Club (DVC) resort. The final wing of Kidani Village will offer an additional 160 two-bedroom, savanna-view villas, plus windowed hallways to offer Guests clear views of the animals. Because of Pembe savanna’s unique location, it will not connect to the main savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, making it exclusive to Kidani Village Guests.

Animals that can be found in this new area may include okapi, yellow-backed duiker, Red River hogs, nyala, impala, waterbuck, spur-winged geese and blue crane.

According to Animal Curator Greg Peccie, creating this new savanna required contributions from many different teams – including Animal Programs, Horticulture, Operations and Walt Disney Imagineering – that worked together to design, build and launch this new area into operation.

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