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2019 Garden Rocks Concert Series Details & Other Disney News This Week

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Every week I gather the latest news from Walt Disney World, Disneyland Resort, and other Disney parks to help you keep up with all of the changes. Here is the most recent Disney news for the week of Dec. 3-Dec. 9, 2018:

1. More Garden Rocks Concert Series Details

New details for the 2019 Garden Rocks Concert Series, which takes place during the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival (March 6-June 3, 2019), were released this week. First, come the beginning of the festival, the Garden Rocks Concert Series will take place SEVEN days a week. Also, if you’d like to book a Garden Rocks Dining Package, reservations open Dec. 13. So far, here is a list of the returning and new musical acts performing at next year’s concert series:

  • March 9-10: Glass Tiger
  • March 17-20: Simple Plan
  • March 28-29: Berlin featuring Terri Nunn
  • March 30-31: The Smithereens (NEW)
  • April 3-4: Christopher Cross (NEW)
  • April 5-7: The Spinners 
  • April 12-13: Sister Sledge (NEW)
  • April 17-19: Sister Hazel (NEW)
  • April 20-21: Steven Curtis Chapman (NEW)
  • April 22-23: TobyMac (NEW)
  • April 24-26: Lonestar 
  • April 27-30: The Orchestra starring former members of Electric Light Orchestra
  • May 1-4: Herman’s Hermits starring Peter Noone 
  • May 5-7: Don Felder, Formerly of the Eagles
  • May 20-21: Colin Hay of Men at Work (NEW) 

2. Lunar New Year & DCA Food & Wine Return

Two exciting events are returning to the Disneyland Resort in early 2019. First, there is Lunar New Year at Disney California Adventure from Jan. 25 to Feb. 17. The 24-day event celebrates Asian cultures and welcoming in a year of good fortune. From multicultural performances to themed-decorations to amazing food and beverages to special merchandise, you definitely won’t want to miss Lunar New Year. PLUS, there is even Mulan’s Lunar New Year Procession! That’s right, Mulan hosts her very own parade with Mushu by her side! Seeing as it is the Year of the Pig, the Three Little Pigs will be part of the parade, as well.

Then, there is DCA Food & Wine Festival. This year, the festival will run for eight weeks, from March 1 to April 23! Visitors can taste California-inspired food and beverages. There will also be live entertainment, seminars, and cooking demonstrations, and, of course, more than a dozen Festival Marketplaces. Hands-on “cooking” experiences will also be available for kids.

3. Check Out The Art Of ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ Exhibit

If you’re visiting Disneyland park, you’ll definitely want to stop by The Art of Mary Poppins Returns exhibit located in Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln’s lobby. The limited-time display features original art, costumes, props, and videos from the new film starring Emily Blunt as the Mary Poppins.

4. Tokyo Disneyland’s ‘BATB’ Ride Looks Incredible

If you haven’t heard, an Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast attraction is currently being built at Tokyo Disneyland. As you can imagine, it looks beyond amazing! Be sure to take time to watch the video below for a sneak peek of the ride, which will be located inside the Beast’s castle, the center piece of the new area in Fantasyland. If that isn’t enough, there will also be the Village Shoppes and La Taverne de Gaston. 

Tokyo Disneyland’s major expansion will also see the new indoor Fantasyland Forest Theatre featuring entertainment and beloved Disney characters. In Tomorrowland, there will be The Happy Ride with Baymax attraction! The land of the future is also adding a new outer space-themed shop, The Big Pop, offering multiple popcorn flavors. Finally, Minnie’s Style Studio is coming to Toontown. It’s the first character greeting spot in Tokyo Disneyland for guests to meet Minnie herself.

All of the above are set to open in spring 2020. Who else is ready to head to Tokyo Disneyland ASAP?

5. A Grand Gingerbread Experience

If you’re staying at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa at the Disneyland Resort during the holidays, you may want to check out A Grand Gingerbread House Experience. Hotel guests can take a gingerbread house making class with the pastry chefs who also created the gingerbread house on display at the hotel. In addition to enjoying hot cocoa and cookies, guests will take home a miniature gingerbread house. Classes are: Dec. 11, 20, 21, 22, and 23 from 2-3:30 p.m. on each day. If interested, hotel guests can call Guest Services or visit the Guest Services Desk for further information and to also register.

6. Napolini Pizzeria Is Now Open

Are you in the mood for Neopolitan-style pizza? If you’re at the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort, you’re in luck! The renovated Napolini Pizzeria is now open for business! You can choose from signature pizzas, build-your-own pizzas, delicious sandwiches, salads, Italian desserts, and even Italian bottled soda!

7. #ShareYourEars Was A Huge Success

Here is some amazing news! Disney donated $3 million to Make-A-Wish after it’s extremely successful #ShareYourEars campaign for Mickey’s 90th birthday. Through Nov. 27, Disney encouraged park visitors to take a photo of their ears and post it on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter with the #ShareYourEars hashtag and then pledged to donate $5 to Make-A-Wish. As a result, $3 million was donated.

8. Animal Kingdom’s New Tasting Sampler

This sounds like a great way to enjoy Disney’s Animal Kingdom’s food and beverages. There is a new limited-time Tasting Sampler for guests to try that also offers preferred seating for the second showing of Rivers of Light.

Starting today, you can get a pre-loaded $35 digital gift card via email for only $30 that you will be able to scan at over 40 outdoor carts and kiosks. Those who have the Tasting Sampler will even be able to taste some new dishes, including Shrimp Curry and Chicken Curry Bowls at Kusafiri Bakery, House-smoked Pastrami Sliders at Smiling Crocodile, Buffalo Chicken Chips at Trilo-Bites, Pulled Pork or Shrimp Mac and Cheese plates at Eight Spoon Cafe, Korean Fiery Beef Sliders, and Tuna Bao at Caravan Road. These particular items will only be available from Dec. 22 through Jan. 2, 2019.

The Tasting Sampler will also allow guests to enjoy some regular options, like popcorn, craft beer, and ice cream, Dole Whip, among many other choices. To see all of the options, you can get a map at Creature Comforts or Isle of Java, both located in Discovery Island. If interested, you can purchase the Tasting Sampler online or by calling 407-939-3463 and it must be bought at least 24 hours prior to arriving at Animal Kingdom. Also, a limited number of Tasting Samplers are available for each day.

9. The Newest Giraffe Calf’s Name Is…

There is another giraffe calf at Animal Kingdom walking around the savanna that was born on Oct. 1 — and her name is Amira! Amira and Aella, the other giraffe calf born in late June, can both been seen on Kilimanjaro Safaris. They are seriously so cute!

10. Preview  ‘KINGDOM HEARTS III’ At Disney Springs

If you can’t wait for KINGDOM HEARTS III, you can preview the game at Disney Springs in Town Center from Dec. 14 through Jan. 31, 2019! Those who attend the pop-up interactive experience can play a 15-minute preview of the game that’s set to release on Jan. 29, 2019. 

11. Walt Disney World Railroad Is Now Temporarily Closed

Now, until an known date, Magic Kingdom’s Walt Disney World Railroad is closed as work on the Tron attraction commences. If you’re bummed you can’t ride the train, you can take pictures and get a closer look at the locomotive while it’s parked at the Main Street station for the time being. On Jan. 2, the Tomorrowland Speedway will also be closing due to Tron, but will it’s slated to reopen in summer 2019. 

12. The First Close-Up Look Of The Millennium Falcon! 

Star Wars fans, you need to see this! The Disney Parks Blog released the first close-up look at the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, which is set to open at Disneyland in summer 2019 and at Disney World in fall 2019. The Millennium Falcon: Smugglers Run is an exciting attraction that “puts guests behind the controls of the most famous ship in the galaxy in one of three unique flight crew roles.”

That’s it for Disney news from this past week. I’ll continue to collect park updates, so be sure to keep your eyes open for my weekly news post!

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