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.

(more…)

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Customize Your Asian Rice Bowl! Guests Select Ingredients at New Lucky Fortune Cookery in Disney’s California Adventure

Lucky Fortune Cookery at Disney's California Adventure

The colorful new Lucky Fortune Cookery, debuting Friday, Sept. 4, 2009, is the newest addition to the variety of dining options at Disney’s California Adventure park.  Located in the Pacific Wharf section of the park, Lucky Fortune Cookery offers guests the opportunity to create their own Asian Rice Bowl meals and enjoy them in an outdoor plaza.

* Lucky Fortune Cookery can be found in the location previously occupied by Cocina Cucamonga, which has relocated directly across the Pacific Wharf outdoor dining plaza

* The quick-service restaurant features colorful décor, paper lanterns, oversized pots filled with bamboo and iconic dragon designs.

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New La Cava del Tequila Serves Up Tastes of Mexican Tequila Heritage (Photos)

Some of the offerings at La Cava del Tequila in EpcotLAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Tasty tequilas and mouthwatering margaritas are on tap at La Cava del Tequila, a new offering for Epcot guests to explore the heritage and tradition of tequila-making in Mexico.

Tucked away in the Mexico pavilion at Epcot, La Cava del Tequila beckons guests with more than 70 types of authentic tequila, ranging from the simplest to the rarest of them all, aged to perfection and made from the finest distilled spirits from the agave plant. Tequilas range in price from $8 to $50 for a specialty tequila.

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Details Emerging on the 2009 Candlelight Processional Package for Dining; 2 TS Credits, Includes Illuminations

The following information has recently become available on dining packages Epcot’s Candlelight Processional (CPP):

The CPP has been raised to 2 TS credits this year if you are on the Disney Dining Plan (and choose to use it).

In addition to preferred seating for the Candlelight Processional (that is, the CPP line being able to enter the America Gardens Theater prior to the standby line), the package also includes access to a reserved area for Illuminations viewing (specifics not yet known).

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It’s Official: ADRs for Walt Disney World Return to 180 Days in Advance Beginning October 27

Disney has made the official announcement today, the ADR period will return to 180 days after being shortened to 90 days from 180 days from 90 days (and so on, and so on, and so on). The change will take effect beginning October 27.

This goes for all reservations which have been affected by the last 90 day change with the introduction of the new dining reservation system, A La Carte (which stands for Application for Celebrations, Activities, Recreation, Tours and Events (but not dining)). So all tours (which used to be up to a year) will then be available for booking 180 days out, as will items like specialty cruises (which used to be at 90).

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Kouzzina by Cat Cora Information Now Online, Complete with Menus

The Walt Disney World website has introduced the page on Kouzzina by Cat Cora at the Boardwalk Inn (replacing Spoodles) which marks its soft opening tomorrow with the grand opening on September 17.

You can visit the site which includes PDFs of the breakfast, dessert and dinner menus here.

As reported earlier, Kouzzina by Cat Cora accepts 1 TS credit on the Disney Dining Plan.

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New Tequila Bar at Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion Scheduled to Open Late August

La Cava del Tequila, will become the newest addition at Mexico Pavilion on August 28, 2009. Through the décor, art work, original artifacts and products served it will celebrate the heritage and tradition of Tequila making in Mexico.

Guests visiting La Cava del Tequila will have the opportunity to enjoy over 70 types of authentic tequila from several major brands, ranging from the simplest to the rarest of them all, aged to perfection and made from the finest distilled spirits from the Agave Plant.  A Tequila Ambassador will be on-hand to educate Guests on the history of Tequila making and its rich Mexican heritage.

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LCI Remy Could be Staying at Les Chefs de France Beyond September 5

While Luxo Jr. has problems staying, it appears that the gastronomical Remy may have problems leaving.

Initially scheduled to perform at Les Chefs de France through September 5, the Walt Disney World Resort is set to cast additional escorts for the Living Character Initiative Remy, who entertains diners throughout lunch and dinner, in late August. The position makes no mention of the job taking them elsewhere so it would seem a tad bit odd to hire someone for just a couple of days when all is said and done.

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