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Now Snowing Nightly Archives

November 28, 2015

Celebration's 'Now Snowing' begins tonight with tree lighting and other holiday activities

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The town of Celebration kicks off its annual Now Snowing seasonal event tonight with a tree lighting ceremony that begins at 5 p.m. Santa Claus is expected to arrive during the festivities, which last until 9 p.m.

Celebration is just outside the gates of Walt Disney World and hosts Now Snowing - a flurry of soap bubbles and other holiday activities -- through New Year's Eve, and it's open to the public at no charge. My husband and I have been taking our children to Now Snowing since they were little enough to be awed by the “snow,” and it’s always a fun evening.

Celebration Town Center is quite festive with the "snowfall," Christmas decorations, live music on Saturdays, ice skating, horse-drawn carriages, simulated train rides, visits with Santa Claus and restaurants to fit a range of budgets and tastes.

Our family outing usually consists of eating dinner and then enjoying the entertainment. There are some wonderful places to dine, such as Cuban treasure the Columbia Restaurant, but for an inexpensive family meal, we like the Market Street Cafe. Through the years, we have learned that planning to have an early dinner helps avoid a long wait for a table (and also makes street parking, which is free, easier) on weekend nights during Now Snowing. The later it gets, the more crowded the streets become and the harder it is to find a close parking spot.

After dinner, we check out the snow and the live music. This year’s schedule:

** Dec. 5: “A Celebration of Voices” showcasing young talent from across the United States

** Dec. 12: “A Countdown to Christmas” featuring recording artists Lucy Iris and Noah Schnacky

** Dec. 19: Radio Disney Holiday with national performing artists

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Snow falls daily at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m. on Market Street. There's no need to queue up to experience the snow - just step into the street, which is blocked off from traffic.

Other holiday activities include:

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** Ice Skating. The ice skating rink really is a hard plastic surface that kids use skates to glide on. The Endless Ice offers them the traditional winter experience without as many painful spills. This rink even encourages beginning skaters to use supports (that look a lot like walkers) while they learn. Skating, which includes skate rental, is $10 per 30 minutes and it's open from 4 to 10 p.m. daily.

** Horse and carriage rides are $45 for up to four passengers and $10 for each additional person. Group wagon rides are $5 per person. Plus, Holiday Home Tours can be booked by calling 321-624-6380. They are 30-40 minutes long and cost $25 per person.

** Santa Claus greets families each night from 6 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 24. (He starts 30 minutes earlier on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.) There is no charge for the visit, and photo packages start at $24.99. Pets are welcome on Wednesdays.

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** When my son and daughter were younger, they couldn't wait to ride the Holiday Train on a short trip through town. It's $5 per person. Tickets can be purchased for $4 before 4 p.m. at Confetti, Market Street Gallery or Sanrio Surprises.



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December 6, 2014

Now Snowing Nightly in Celebration gives visitors a taste of winter near Walt Disney World

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For years, one of my family's favorite holiday traditions is a visit to see "snow" just outside the gates of Walt Disney World. The town of Celebration hosts "Now Snowing Nightly" - a flurry of soap bubbles -- from Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve, and it's open to the public at no charge.

The shopping district is quite festive with the "snowfall," Christmas decorations, live music on Saturdays, ice skating, horse-drawn carriages, simulated train rides, visits with Santa Claus and restaurants to fit a range of budgets and tastes.

Sound tempting? Here are some tips that I have put together after years of fun visits to this event:

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** Snow falls daily at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m. on Market Street. There's no need to queue up to experience the snow - just step into the street, which is blocked off from traffic.

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** Crowds are heavier later in the night and on weekends. You could have guessed that, though, right? This won't affect your ability to experience the snow, but it makes finding street parking and a table at some restaurants more difficult. Some take reservations, so be sure to check if you would like to dine at places such as Cuban treasure Columbia Restaurant. Our family is fond of the Market Street Café -- a diner that's perfect for an inexpensive, yet satisfying, family meal.

** Tonight's live performance, called A Celebration of Voices, features local elementary school choirs and the Stand Up Tour of young artists, including IM5 and Hollywood Ending. On Dec. 13, Radio Disney hosts its annual holiday concert featuring After Romeo and Taylor Buono. On Dec. 20, Jason Castro performs at A Countdown to Christmas. We have attended the Radio Disney concert several times and definitely noticed that those nights are popular with crowds, especially tweens and teens.

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** The ice skating rink really is a hard plastic surface that kids use skates to glide on. The Endless Ice offers them the traditional winter experience without as many painful spills. This rink even encourages beginning skaters to use supports (that look a lot like walkers) while they learn. Skating, which includes skate rental, is $10 per 30 minutes and it's open from 4 to 10 p.m. daily.

** Horse and carriage rides are $25 for the first two passengers and $10 for each additional person. Group wagon rides are $5 per person. Plus, Holiday Home Tours can be booked by calling 321-624-6380. They are 30-40 minutes long and cost $25 per person.

** Santa Claus greets families each night from 6 to 9 p.m. through Dec. 24. (He starts 30 minutes earlier on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.) There is no charge for the visit, and photo packages start at $24.99. Pets are welcome on Wednesdays.

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** When my son and daughter were younger, they couldn't wait to ride the Holiday Train on a short trip through town. It's $5 per person. Tickets can be purchased for $4 before 4 p.m. at Confetti, Market Street Gallery or Sanrio Surprises.

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** Speaking of Sanrio Surprises " This little store sells everything you can imagine related to Hello Kitty and even hosts birthday parties. On most nights of "Now Snowing Nightly," Sanrio Surprises hosts story time with Hello Kitty, and then guests have the opportunity to take their photos with her. The free 10-minute activity is at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. and is limited by space, so be sure to line up a few minutes early.

If you're looking for a fun holiday getaway not far from Orlando or the gates of Walt Disney World, you'll find that the town of Celebration certainly lives up to its name during the holidays. And if you're a native Floridian, you'll appreciate a chance to have a white Christmas after all. Good luck building that bubbly Olaf snowman, though.



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December 30, 2013

Celebrate New Year's Eve 2013 with your family and Disney outside its parks

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Does the idea of celebrating New Year's Eve with your family at Walt Disney World fill you with excitement? Or is your joy coupled with a bit of trepidation because this is one of the most crowded weeks of the year at the resort? If you'd rather not face that many revelers in one place, there are other options for celebrating Disney-style in Florida.

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DisneyQuest at Downtown Disney

DisneyQuest at Downtown Disney is once again hosting a family-friendly New Year's Eve party from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Admission includes unlimited use of the games on all five floors, two DJ dance parties, a New Year's Eve countdown and confetti drop at midnight. Plus, Chip 'n Dale, Buzz Lightyear and Wreck-It Ralph will be on hand for meet-and-greets.

In addition, tickets to the party include a dinner of grilled chicken sandwich, grilled veggie wrap sandwich, cheesesteak sandwich or barbecue pork sandwich; chips or a side salad; fruit cup or a cupcake; and a soda or bottled water.

Tickets can be purchased in advance for $55 (including tax) online or by calling 407-934-7639. Space permitting, tickets also will be sold at DisneyQuest the day of the event for $65.

The rest of Downtown Disney will be celebrating year's end, as well. Individual restaurants are hosting their own bashes, and there will be live entertainment and DJ dance parties in the common areas of the West Side, Pleasure Island and Marketplace. The new Disney food trucks will be out, and "adult beverages" can be purchased as usual. West Side and Pleasure Island will be open until 2 a.m., while the Marketplace closes at 1 a.m.

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Radio Disney's Noon Year's Eve

As in years past, Radio Disney hosts Noon Year's Eve celebrations in several U.S. cities for kids who might not stay up past their bedtimes to ring in the new year.

The closest location to Orlando will be at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo (1101 West Sligh Avenue, Tampa, FL 33604) from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Families can participates in games, arts and crafts, live entertainment, educational displays, and hear the year's top songs from the Radio Disney 1380 Road Crew. Before noon, participants will be given noisemakers, New Year's hats and juice to toast the Noon Year.

This 2013 Radio Disney celebration is included with regular zoo admission, which is $24.95 for adults, $22.95 for seniors, and $19.95 for ages 3 to 11. Ages 2 and younger are free. Call 813-935-8552.

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Celebration Town Center

The last "snowfalls" of the season in the town of Celebration, in Disney World's back yard, happen on New Year's Eve. Show flies at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m., and guests can enjoy the flurries for free. Our family looks forward to our annual tradition of dinner and then experiencing Now Snowing Nightly. There are many fabulous restaurants to choose from in Celebration.

Some holiday activities there also still will be available, such as ice skating on an outdoor rink from 4 to 10 p.m. Prices are $10 for 30 minutes, which includes skate rental. Equipment is available to help those who are less than steady on the ice. Horse and carriage rides take guests throughout the town. Wagon rides are $5 per person and carriage rides are $25 for the first two passengers and $10 for each additional guest.

Tuning in to Times Square

Of course, there's always the tradition of watching "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve with Ryan Seacrest 2014" on Disney-owned ABC. This year's broadcast from Times Square in New York features performers Pitbull, Miley Cyrus, Ariana Grande, Jennifer Hudson, Billy Joel, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Robin Thicke, The Fray and more.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!



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December 28, 2012

Where to celebrate New Year's Eve with Disney and your kids

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There are plenty of options for kids to ring in 2013 with Disney this year. If your family is visiting Walt Disney World, each of the four theme parks has special events planned for New Year's Eve. (More details on AllEars.Net.) But if you'd like to celebrate outside the parks -- which presumably would be less crowded and less expensive -- with your favorite Disney characters and personalities, here are some possibilities.

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DisneyQuest at Walt Disney World

DisneyQuest, which houses five floors of video and virtual games at Downtown Disney, is again hosting a family friendly event on Dec. 31. In addition to unlimited use of the the games, there will be two DJ dance parties, meet-and-greets with Disney characters, and a New Year's Eve countdown and confetti drop at midnight.

Tickets, which include a meal and beverage, can be purchased in advance for $50 online or by calling 407-934-7639. Space permitting, tickets also will be sold at DisneyQuest the day of the event for $60.

Although I have not been to the end-of-the-year celebration, my family has had annual passes to DisneyQuest, so I can tell you how much fun it is for elementary-school-age children. In addition to the arcade-style video games, there are many games that accommodate four players, including air hockey and Pac-Man. Plus, there are opportunities to create music and art.

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Radio Disney's Noon Year's Eve

In 20 cities in the United States, including two in Florida, Radio Disney hosts Noon Year's Eve celebrations for kids who might not stay up past their bedtimes to ring in the new year.

The closest location to Orlando will be at Tampa's Lowry Park Zoo (1101 West Sligh Avenue, Tampa, FL 33604) from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Monday. The Noon Year's Eve event is free and features the best songs of the year from Radio Disney's "Top 50 of 2012," interactive entertainment hosted by the Radio Disney 1380 Road Crew, a special countdown and a juice toast.

In Miami, the Radio Disney AM 990 Road Crew joins the New Year's Eve celebration at Bayfront Park (301 N Biscayne Boulevard Miami, FL 33132) from 6 p.m. to midnight. This is also a free party in South Florida with dancing, fireworks over Biscayne Bay and the countdown of "La Gran Naranja" (The Big Orange).

Participants at Noon Year's Eve events in Philadelphia, Boston, Phoenix and Miami can enter "The Chevrolet presents: Family Ride of a Lifetime Sweepstakes." Prizes include one 2013 Chevrolet Traverse, a trip for six to Walt Disney World, and a signed Justin Bieber guitar and concert tickets.

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Celebration Town Center

As I mentioned in another post this week, the last "snowfalls" of the season in the town of Celebration, in Disney World's back yard, happen on New Year's Eve. Show flies at 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m., and in between, guests can hear DJ Tami perform. From 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Katty Shack will entertain crowds, and the new year will be celebrated with a fireworks show at midnight. This event is free and some of the paid holiday activities still will be available.

Of course, there's always the tradition of watching Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve 2013 on Disney-owned ABC. This year's broadcast from Times Square in New York features Ryan Seacrest hosting and Taylor Swift headlining the musical performances. Carly Rae Jepsen ("Call Me Maybe") and Neon Trees will perform as well.

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

December 25, 2012

It's "snowing" near Disney World in town of Celebration through Dec. 31

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It's not as unusual to see "snow" in the Sunshine State as you might think. After all, this is Orlando, home of a "sea world," a "gator land" and a "magic kingdom." And it's also a place where we Floridians like to pretend we have all the elements of a traditional white Christmas, however improbable that may sound.

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Each year, the town of Celebration, which is located in Walt Disney World's back yard, hosts "Now Snowing Nightly" from Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve. The snow -- um, soap bubbles -- falls at daily 6, 7, 8 and 9 p.m. on Market Street. We've been going to this event for years, but it was a little different this year. Despite the cold temperatures, it didn't seem as wintry because the "snow" was not allowed to accumulate on the brick street. That was disappointing because it certainly affected the make-believe wintertime look of the street.

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Still, the Celebration Town Center is festive with Christmas music playing during each snowfall, Santa waiting to greet children, and even carriages and a train standing ready to take guests for rides to see the holiday lights.

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Our family outing usually consists of eating dinner and then enjoying the entertainment. There are some wonderful places to dine, such as Cuban treasure The Columbia Restaurant, but for an inexpensive family meal, we like the Market Street Cafe. Through the years, we have learned that planning to have an early dinner helps avoid a long wait for a table (and also makes street parking, which is free, easier) on weekend nights during Now Snowing Nightly. The later it gets, the more crowded the streets become and the harder it is to find a close parking spot.

After dinner, we check out the snow and, perhaps, the live music. On several Saturdays in December, the town hosts performances, including Radio Disney's Holiday Concert, which features the winners of its annual N.B.T. (Next Big Thing) contest.

celebration-ice-skating.jpg

My children also have enjoyed the "ice skating" rink, which really is a hard plastic surface that kids use skates to glide on. The Endless Ice offers them the traditional winter experience without as many painful spills. This rink even encourages beginning skaters to use supports (that look a lot like walkers) while they learn. Skating, which includes skate rental, is $10 per 30 minutes and it's open from 4 to 10 p.m. daily.

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For the less athletic, like me, there are various ways to see the sights of Celebration. Horse and carriage rides are $25 for the first two passengers and $10 for each additional person. Group wagon rides are $5 per person. Plus, Holiday Home Tours can be booked by calling 321-624-6380.

celebration-holiday-train.jpg

When my son and daughter were younger, they couldn't wait to ride the Holiday Train on a short trip through town. It's $5 per person. Tickets can be purchased for $4 before 4 p.m. at Confetti, Market Street Gallery or Sanrio Surprises.

celebration-hello-kitty.jpg

Speaking of Sanrio Surprises " This little store sells everything you can imagine related to Hello Kitty and even hosts birthday parties. Certainly, this sweet character is enjoying renewed popular among girls, and even adults. On most nights of "Now Snowing Nightly," Sanrio Surprises hosts story time with Hello Kitty, and then guests have the opportunity to take their photos with her. The free 10-minute activity is at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. and is limited by space, so be sure to line up a few minutes early. My 8-year-old daughter was thrilled to meet the "real" Hello Kitty.

The last "snowfalls" of the season happen on New Year's Eve. In between, guests can hear DJ Tami perform. From 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., Katty Shack will entertain crowds, and the new year will be celebrated with a fireworks show at midnight.

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