Dates & Menus Announced for 8th Annual WDW Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic

WDW Swan Dolphin Food Wine Classic

Without a doubt, one of the events in Orlando that I look forward to each year. The two day event is full of music, fun and great food! Each of the restaurants located on the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin property showcase their best and each sampling leaves you wishing for a full sized portion, and makes you want to visit the restaurant as soon as you can.

I always like to use this event as an opportunity to meet up with old friends, sip a few cocktails, enjoy delicious treats and listen to great music. It’s an event that everyone should experience at least once. I know that once you go – you’ll want to be sure to be there every year!

The Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic will return for its eighth year Friday, October 27, and Saturday, October 28, with exciting new dishes debuting alongside returning festival favorites. Fans can now visit to view the 2017 food menu as well as book overnight packages and purchase tickets.

Highlights of the 2017 menu include featured items from the hotel’s signature restaurants: Kobe beef mini burgers with truffle aioli, Applewood smoked bacon and roma tomato chutney from The Fountain; seared Yellowfin Tuna salad from Todd English’s bluezoo; ricotta gnocchi with wild mushrooms, baby spinach and fennel sausage from Il Mulino Trattoria and oven-roasted beef ribeye with mashed potatoes and sauce bordelaise from Shula’s Steakhouse. Returning dishes include the popular dragon sushi roll from Kimonos and fish ‘n’ chips with sea salt and vinegar potato chips from Garden Grove.

Also returning this year will be Carnival Corner and Chinatown, offering specialty cuisine in immersive themed areas, as well as the Sunday Bubbles Brunch on Sunday, Oct. 29. Original dessert offerings will once again be served by World Champion Pastry Chef Laurent Branlard. For a full list of current menu offerings, please visit

The Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic offers guests unlimited tastings at more than 50 stations featuring culinary selections from the hotel’s award-winning restaurants and wine from more than 30 wineries amidst a festive backdrop of live entertainment on the hotel’s scenic causeway. Upgraded ticket options allow guests to enjoy access to a beer garden featuring a wide selection of craft beers and Oktoberfest-inspired cuisine. The event also includes hands-on seminars with the hotel’s chefs and certified beverage experts.

Overnight and multiple-night package options are available for the eighth-annual Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic and can be booked by phone at 1-888-828-8850:

  • One-night packages start at $424, and include room accommodations and two tickets to the outdoor festival (seminar tickets and beer garden tickets may be added for an additional fee)
  • Two-night packages start at $824, and include room accommodations and two tickets to the outdoor festival for both nights (seminar tickets and beer garden tickets may be added for an additional fee)

Individual ticket options are also available for the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic and can be purchased at (pricing is inclusive of tax and service fees):

  • Advance-purchase, event-only tickets to enjoy unlimited tastings on the causeway are $115 per person
  • Upgraded tickets, including unlimited tastings on the causeway and access to the beer garden, are $140 per person

With 17 restaurants and lounges, and a distinguished culinary and beverage team, the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Hotel continually earns national recognition for its food and beverage program. The hotel features more than 70 certified wine sommeliers and 1,400 wine selections.

For the latest information about the event, guests can visit, like or call 1-800-227-1500.

About the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort

In the heart of the Walt Disney World Resort, the award-winning Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort resides amongst the greatest theme parks and attractions in Central Florida. The resort is located between Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and nearby Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park and Magic Kingdom Park. Guests can discover 17 world-class restaurants and lounges, sophisticated guest rooms with Westin Heavenly Beds and the luxurious Mandara Spa. The resort features five pools, two health clubs, tennis, nearby golf, complimentary transportation throughout theWalt  Disney World Resort, the extended park hours benefit, where each day, one of the four Walt Disney World Theme Parks is open extra time for guests to enjoy select attractions (Valid Theme Park admission and Resort ID required) and Disney FastPass+ service, where guests can reserve up to 3 select theme park experiences up to 60 days in advance of their visit. The resort can be reached at 800-227-1500, or through Facebook at

Summer Fun ~ The Top 3 Ways to Roast a Pig

Roast Pig

Warm weather is upon us which means that it is likely that you will be vacationing outdoors or enjoying family meals with loved ones. If you are hosting a family cookout or a large gathering, serving pig as the main entree is always a huge hit. As with any type of specialty cooking, roasting a pig takes time, effort, and careful planning. This article will help identify a few ways that you can successfully roast a pig for your next family function.

  1. The first thing you need to decide is how you want to cook your pig. There are several ways to do so such as on a grill, spit, or rotisserie. Some prefer to use a large, box roaster that cooks the pig over a period of time in a covered container. A pig roaster can make some of the tastiest meat on the planet. The charcoal and wood mixture flavors the meat in a unique way and adds a latin flair to it. Be sure to account for the amount of time it will take to cook a big thoroughly. Using a roasting box, you can count on needing 4 hours of roasting time for an entire hog.
  2. Consider what kind of flavor you want the roasted pig to have. If you love the flavor of the natural pig, you can skip this tip. Some enjoy marinating the pig, adding spices, or injecting flavorful juices into the meat before starting the cooking process. If you would like to add some additional flavors to your pig, be sure to plan accordingly as this may require more supplies as well as time and effort on your part. You can find a number of recipes and other flavorful ideas by doing a quick search online.
  3. When cooking the pig, it is important to light the charcoal and heat the meat just right. You do not want the heat to be too hot or you will scorch the meat. You want it to be hot enough that the pig can cook evenly throughout, being careful to turn the pig every so often so that you can achieve this goal. It is important to avoid using instant charcoal as this can infect the meat with unnecessary chemicals and taint the taste of the pig. It is important to find a charcoal that lights easily and burns fast. Use lighter fluid and dose the charcoal with the liquid. Allow the liquid to penetrate into the coals for 30 minutes before lighting the fire. This will ensure that you will have a longer, more consistent burn which will provide great cooking time for your pig.

Whether you are hosting a big family cookout, making a smaller dinner for friends, or want to try roasting a pig on your own, these simple tips will help you get started. Your efforts will be noticed and appreciated by friends and family alike and your flavorful pig roast will surely be the talk around the water cooler on Monday morning!

Did You Know These Secrets of WDW’s Cinderella Castle?

Cinderella Castle Secrets

Cinderella Castle Secrets

Most Walt Disney World® Resort fans are well aware of the suite located in Cinderella Castle that is used by very few. It is used by celebrities, by Make A Wish recipients and sometimes a night in the suite is even given away as a prize. Many also know about the “Kiss Goodnight” where you can actually hear Roy Disney. If you stay around the castle long enough around park closing time, you might hear a message which features audio from Roy’s dedication speech set to the lights going off around the castle. There are a few lesser known secrets about the castle that many may not know and here are just a few.

♦ There are three (3) elevators in the castle. One elevator goes up to Cinderella’s Royal Table restaurant to accommodate guests in wheelchairs; another is used to move food from kitchen to kitchen; and, the third is used by cast and crew to reach the underground Utilidoors, as well as those who are lucky enough to stay in that special suite.

♦ Each holiday season brings beautiful light displays that make Cinderella Castle look like Elsa’s from Frozen. The castle is covered with over 200,000 LED lights that are so efficient they only use about the same amount of energy as a clothes dryer.

Cinderella Castle Secrets

♦ Take a really good look at the clock on the front of the castle! It has “IIII” instead of “IV.” This wasn’t a mistake. The Imagineers were trying to be true to the times. The “IV” roman numeral wasn’t used until after the Colonial Period, and since Cinderella Castle is based on a time centuries before that, they couldn’t use a “IV.”

Cinderella Castle Secrets

♦ Who remembers the Imagineers turning the castle into a giant birthday cake for the Magic Kingdom’s 25th birthday? It took 400 gallons of pink paint to cover the castle. Included were 26 candles ranging from 20 to 40 feet in height. Also included were massive gumdrops, lifesavers, lollipops, and other goodies. The castle stayed like this for 15 months starting in 1996.

♦ A room directly beneath the castle controls almost everything in the park! What controls the animatronics at The Hall of Presidents? Or the light shows at night? Or the stage curtains at Country Bear Jamboree? A small room underneath the castle does. The system is both brilliant and complicated, as it controls hundreds of Animatronic characters throughout the park all at the same time.

♦ Why is the castle only 189 feet tall? At the time of construction, Florida required every building above 200 feet tall to have a red blinking light atop it for the safety of passing airplanes. There’s no way a red blinking light would look good on top of a medieval castle, so the Imagineers made it shorter and used “forced perspective” to make it appear taller.

♦ Sadly, after the events of September 11, the park wanted to make changes to ensure guest safety. On that day the parks were evacuated because it was a potential target for attacks due to large crowds. Now the entire park is a no-fly zone for added protection. Cinderella Castle, a landmark, is largely the reason why the government worked with Disney to make this law.

♦ Almost daily during the summer it storms for a good thirty minutes and with summer storms comes lightning. Because of this there are many carefully placed lightning rods throughout the park to ensure guest’s safety. The biggest one at the Magic Kingdom is Cinderella Castle! The Epcot ball is also a lightning rod, and the Sorcerer’s hat that used to be part of Hollywood Studios was one as well.

Cinderella Castle has 27 beautiful towers, however original designs included two other towers. The two additional towers would not have been visible from any direction, so Imagineers decided to cut them from the final plans for construction. However, each tower is numbered 1 through 29 but towers 13 and 17 are missing!

♦ The moat surrounding the castle contains 3.37 million gallons of water. That’s enough to fill more than five Olympic Swimming Pools.

♦ The castle’s design was inspired by 10 other castles throughout multiple countries including Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany, Fontainebleau, Versailles and the châteaux of Chenonceau, Pierrefonds, Chambord and Chaumont.

♦ Hidden inside one of the flags on top of one of the top towers is a transmitter that coordinates the parades and parade routes.

♦ Despite it’s size and incredible detail, Disney’s team managed to erect the castle within 18 months.

Cinderella Castle Secrets

♦ Designed by Imagineer Dorothea Redmond, the five-pane mural set inside Cinderella Castle contains over 300,000 pieces of Italian glass in EACH pane.

So there you have – some lesser known Cinderella Castle secrets! Do you know any secrets about the castle you would like to share?

Don’t forget about these previously shared secrets:

Some Really Cool and Interesting Secrets About Epcot

Shhhh! It’s a Secret! Secrets of WDW’s Magic Kingdom

Secrets of Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Secrets of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park

10 Secrets of Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay

Inexpensive Treasures ~ One-Of-A-Kind Beads from African Outpost in Epcot

Beads African Outpost Epcot

I make sure to get something new on each trip! Sustainable and stylish with each bead hand rolled from recycled Disney maps and other Disney paper products. The kiosk is colorful and the price can’t be beat! Prices range from $7 to $20 depending on the item you purchase.

Each bead is made by hand in Africa by artisans which makes each bead unique. The best part of it all ~ 100% of the proceeds from the sale of all of this jewelry go back to the men and women who create them. 

Beads African Outpost EpcotOutdated Disney paper items are sent to Uganda, through cooperation with the non-profit organization Bead For Life. There, villagers literally hand-roll the recycled paper into lovely, waterproof beads that are then made into jewelry, and sent back to Disney to be sold.

Beads African Outpost Epcot

Even the bag your purchase comes in is made from recycled Disney paper.

Beads African Outpost Epcot

They’re beautiful. They’re affordable. Your purchase spreads the Disney magic by helping others to create a better life for themselves and their families.  And….you’ll have a piece of the Disney parks with you wherever you go!

Giveaway ~ Dead Men Tell No Tales ~ Giveaway ~#PiratesLife #TheHoppingBloggers

I love pirates! You love pirates! We all love pirates! Because we all love pirates I’ve joined forces with other bloggers to celebrate the opening of the newest installment on May 26 with a giveaway! Prize value is close to $200! Watch the latest trailer to get yourself in the mood and get those entries in! The giveaway begins today and ends on June 2. Good Luck!!

Dead Men Tell No Tales Giveaway

Pirates of the Caribbean is one of Disney’s most popular series of films. Originally based off the popular ride at the Disney parks, they quickly became a hit. Dead Men Tell No Tales, the fifth film in the series, will be hitting theaters everywhere soon, and to celebrate The Hopping Bloggers have put together an awesome prize pack for one lucky reader! This package is worth nearly $200 and includes:

Thrust into an all-new adventure, a down-on-his-luck Capt. Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) feels the winds of ill-fortune blowing even more strongly when deadly ghost sailors led by his old nemesis, the evil Capt. Salazar (Javier Bardem), escape from the Devil’s Triangle. Jack’s only hope of survival lies in seeking out the legendary Trident of Poseidon, but to find it, he must forge an uneasy alliance with a brilliant and beautiful astronomer and a headstrong young man in the British navy.

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES opens in theaters everywhere May 26th!

Connect with Pirates of the Caribbean

Official Site | Facebook | Twitter | #PiratesLife

Enter to win this Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Prize Pack using the form below. GOOD LUCK!

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Disclaimer: An Open Suitcase is not responsible for shipment of prizes. Prizes will be shipped directly from The Hopping Bloggers.