Theme Park Bits: Carthay Circle Menu Unveiled, Holiday Plans At The Parks, And More

In this edition of Theme Park Bits:

  • See how the Carthay Circle Restaurant menu will be different when it reopens.
  • Learn about Universal Orlando's 2020 holiday plans.
  • And more!
  • November 19 is going to be something of a banner day for the Disneyland Resort. That's when parts – only parts, though – of Disney California Adventure will be reopened to the general public. As you're no doubt aware, the rides and shows won't be open, but some of the dining and shopping spots in Buena Vista Street will be ready for business. That includes the centerpiece dining establishment in the park, the Carthay Circle Restaurant, and its menu is getting a bit of a facelift for the reopening. The new menu, which divides options into "Acts" and other theatrical-themed names, isn't quite the same as the old one, with the beloved firecracker duck wings nowhere to be found. (But again, seeing as the pandemic is burning brighter than ever, be glad the restaurant's even open!) It's worth checking out, though, in case you're planning on some Alfresco dining.

    Artist concept of gateway at Walt Disney World Resort

    The holidays are going to be much closer to normal – well, somewhat – over in Orlando. During a recent earnings call, Disney revealed that (as of that call) the Walt Disney World Resort was 77% booked for the Thanksgiving weekend. Before that number throws you off your keel, keep in mind that the resort continues to operate well under its normal capacity, so it's 77% of a much smaller number than normal. It could be argued that this Thanksgiving is maybe the worst time to try out some travel, but it's also true that – for now, at least – there haven't been any serious super-spreader events connected to the Happiest Place on Earth. And hey, if you do travel to the parks this holiday, you may get a glimpse of what the entry arches are going to start looking like soon. The rendering above is enough of a clue to the bright and colorful new signage.

    It's not just Disney getting in on the holiday fun, of course. Universal Orlando has revealed some of its holiday plans for this year, and even with the pandemic, there will be some creative ways to celebrate. For example, there's going to be a Holiday Experience featuring Macy's Balloons, but instead of the parade moving towards (and past) you while you sit or stand, you'll be walking through the floats and balloons. Plus, there's an encounter with Santa...from a safe distance, of course. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter will have some musical performances plus holiday items on the menu, and there's going to be other character encounters that allow you to see your favorites...again, from a safe distance. It's..gonna be a weird holiday season.

    Over at Disney Springs, they're getting a new tenant and it's sure to get your taste buds excited. Everglazed Donuts & Cold Brew will be offering a new twist on two of the most reliable items to make any breakfast stand out when it opens at Disney Springs' West Side. Everglazed is going to offer donuts that are more than just a standard glazed or chocolate donut – from the looks of it on the Disney Parks Blog, Everglazed is going to have the kind of donut that's as good for your tummy as it is for your Instagram feed. (I presume as much – I don't have an Instagram feed, because while I am a millennial, I am also an Old.) Either way, Everglazed looks like it'll be a lot of fun when it's open.

    Let's wrap up this Theme Park Bits with the opportunity for you to do a good deed. At this time of year, plenty of people are in need, and it's even more important this year for us to give back when we can. For the world of Disney, there are sadly plenty of furloughed or laid-off Cast Members who are struggling to make ends meet this holiday season. If you've got the money to give, I strongly encourage you to give what you can to Cast Member Pantry, which is organizing in both Orlando and Anaheim to ensure that they can give back to Cast Members in need. There's no better, more important time to help out your fellow man and woman than right now.