Welcome to DisneyBizJournal.com - News, Analysis and Reviews of the Disney Entertainment Business!

Brought to fans, investors, entrepreneurs, executives, teachers, professors, and students by columnist, economist, novelist, reviewer, podcaster, business reporter and speaker Ray Keating

Thursday, September 19, 2019

FREE TRADE ROCKS! Explains What Everyone Should Know about International Trade

Ray Keating Explores How Free Trade Benefits People Throughout the Nation, Around the World and Across Income Levels 

Long Island, NY –While free trade has come under attack, Ray Keating lays out in clear, simple fashion the benefits of free trade and the ills of protectionism in FREE TRADE ROCKS! 10 POINTS ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW.




Tapping into his experiences as an economist, policy analyst, newspaper and online columnist, entrepreneur, and college professor, who taught MBA courses on international business and entrepreneurship, Keating explores and explains in straightforward fashion 10 key points or areas that everyone - from entrepreneurs and executives to students and employees to politicians and taxpayers - needs to understand about how trade works and how free trade generates benefits for people across towns, the nation and international borders.

The 10 points or areas covered in FREE TRADE ROCKS! are...

Point 1: Do People "Get It" on Free Trade?

Point 2: Economics 101 on Trade

Point 3: Debunking Trade Myths

Point 4: Trade and the U.S. Economy

Point 5: Trading Partners

Point 6: Trade and Small Business

Point 7: Ills of Protectionism

Point 8: Brief History of Free Trade Deals

Point 9: The Morality of Free Trade

Point 10: The Future of Trade

Keating makes clear that nations don't trade. Instead, businesses and individuals trade, and free trade is simply about expanding the freedom to trade by reducing or eliminating governmental costs and restrictions.

Regarding FREE TRADE ROCKS!, Dan Mitchell, Chairman of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, declares, “A common-sense explanation of why politicians and bureaucrats shouldn't throw sand in the gears of global trade.”

And Self-Publishing Review gives FREE TRADE ROCKS! four stars, and says: “International trade policy has come to the forefront of global politics, making FREE TRADE ROCKS! 10 POINTS ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW by Ray Keating a timely and fascinating read for a suddenly curious demographic. Keating manages to bring this seemingly dull subject to accessible life with real-world examples often torn straight from recent headlines, along with a comprehensive and (mostly) impartial view on the topic. As the exclamatory title suggests, Keating is a fan of free trade, but his deep expertise spanning a wide range of subjects and career paths makes this book an engaging, informative, and essential read for those who want to weigh in on this hot-button issue."

Also, George Leef, the Director of Research at the James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, observes, “Ever since Donald Trump started talking about foreign trade, I have thought that what the country needs is a clear, easily understood book that explains why the government should not mess with free trade. Lo and behold, Ray Keating has written exactly that book. FREE TRADE ROCKS!clears away the myths and misconceptions that trade interventionists count on.”

Beyond a general readership interested in our economy, FREE TRADE ROCKS! is ideal for the classroom, boardroom and workplace.

Paperbacks and Kindle edition available at Amazon.com.

Review copies, and author interviews and appearances are available upon request. 

Contact: Ray Keating
Phone: 631-909-1122
Twitter: @FreeEnterprise7
FreeEnterpriseEconomics.com
RayKeatingOnline.com

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Smile, Or Not … Automated Cameras Find New Location at Disney Worl

by Beth Keating
Commentary
DisneyBizJournal.com
September 15, 2019

My family members are collectors of “stuff.” They will bring home a treasure trove of Funko Pops and assorted ride attraction tee shirts. There was also the anxiety-inducing “How are we going to get a lightsaber home on the plane” debate.  Me?  I don’t collect stuff.  I collect PhotoPass pictures and Magic Shots. They are my souvenirs, and I will hunt down elusive Magic Shots with dogged determination, much to my son’s irritation. 


Memory Maker is typically my first purchase after booking a trip.  PhotoPass photographers are among my favorite people at Disney, and they have creatively cataloged some of the most significant moments of my life, including honeymoons, anniversaries, graduations, and baby’s first visits.

I just heard a rumor that the dreaded automated cameras have been expanded to the Mickey and Minnie Meet and Greet at Town Square Theatre. (If you are unfamiliar with the automated cameras, they are set on timers and are cued to take a half dozen or so shots of the guests while the character attendant points you in the right direction.)  

Tinkerbell allegedly already had a “Photobox” at her Town Square location, but since I didn’t take a picture with Tinkerbell, I can neither confirm nor deny.  When last we were at Disney, there was still a lovely PhotoPass photographer in Mickey’s dressing room, and she caught fun candids of Mickey asking me about my Not So Scary Halloween Party shirt, as well as the standard pose-and-smile-for-the-camera shot.  The results were wonderful, and I will happily add the snaps of Mickey and Minnie in their birthday celebration outfits to my album.  (It was a priority picture for me on this trip.)

Not so with my pictures of Chewbacca and Darth Vader at Star Wars Launch Bay, where automated cameras were already in use. The shots of Chewie never showed up in my PhotoPass account (Yes, we did remember to scan our Magic Band on the way out!)  and the pictures in Darth Vader’s Meet and Greet have a charming picture of… my left shoulder.  As an added bonus, when we tapped our Magic Band at the exit kiosk, we received some fabulous photos … of someone else’s family.  They were great shots, by the way, of the couple looking appropriately contrite as Vader lectured them on their loyalties.  I’m sure they would have enjoyed those pictures. I’ll probably steal that pose idea for my next trip.

Disney is known for its wonderful Cast interactions and their customer service. We hadn’t even gotten home yet when the first of several surveys about our Disney World experience arrived in my email. Cast Members are encouraged to sprinkle Pixie Dust along their way each day – and we saw numerous instances of Cast Members interacting cheerfully with families throughout the parks during our recent stay.  It was especially evident as they tried their best to accommodate all of us whose vacation plans were impacted by Hurricane Dorian. I know Cast Members were working odd shifts and scrambling to keep up with changing weather conditions, but you’d never know it by their usual sunny demeanor and enthusiasm. 

Why, then, would Disney eliminate PhotoPass photographers at such iconic locations as their Mickey Meet and Greet?  Those pics are destined to hang over the fireplaces of families across the United States.  Why mess with such a visible (and positive public relations inducing) family tradition?  Here’s hoping that these “Photoboxes” are just a test run, and Disney will see the error of this decision and quickly reverse course.

Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.


A message from Ray Keating, editor and publisher of DisneyBizJournal.com...

If you enjoyed this article, and since I am the author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories, and other books, can I ask you to take at least one (preferably more) of the following steps?

1) The new Pastor Stephen Grant novel – DEEP ROUGH – has arrived! You can order the Kindle edition, the paperback, or the signed book.

2) Please join the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories email list, and get the upcoming short story, THE TRAITOR, for free! Sign up here.

3) Buy one of the other Pastor Stephen Grant novels or short stories at Amazon.comor signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com

4) Become a member of the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship, and get all kinds of FREE stuff, including each new book in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. Check out the levels and benefits here.

5) Pre-order my next book – FREE TRADE ROCKS! 10 POINTS ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW – at Amazon.com for the Kindle, or signed books at https://raykeatingonline.com/products/freetrade.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Dear Bob: Disney Needs to Step It Up on Indiana Jones

by Ray Keating
Analysis/Commentary
DisneyBizJournal.com
September 12, 2019

Dear Bob,

I just returned from a trip to Walt Disney World, and I’m left wondering, once again, what the heck Disney is doing with Indiana Jones? Please allow me to address some glaring issues.


The first is Indy merchandise. I always stop at the Indiana Jones Adventure Outpost – while also taking in the Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular – when at Hollywood Studios. And quite simply, the Indy merchandise currently available is underwhelming, compared to what was once offered long ago, and what could be offered, especially when considering what’s presented throughout the Disney parks for other iconic films and characters. And quite frankly, there aren’t too many movie characters more iconic than Indiana Jones.


Yes, I picked up a very nice satchel, as well as a new pin. I have the Indy shirt and a hat – and even an action figure. But the point is, where’s the rest? Where are the assorted mugs, additional shirts, towels, blankets, glasses, posters, and so on. The first three Indiana Jones movies truly rank as classics (with the fourth being okay), beloved by people of all ages. It’s pretty clear that an opportunity is being missed here, which is odd for you and Disney.




My hope is that when the Stunt Spectacular gets a much-needed upgrade for the summer of 2021 – coinciding with Disney World’s 50thanniversary and the scheduled release of the fifth Indiana Jones movie – the merchandise will be expanded as well.


Secondly, I have written in the past wondering why Disney seems to be lagging on the Indiana Jones front – see What’s Up with Script Delays and Indiana Jones? (July 23, 2018) and What the Heck is Disney Doing with Indiana Jones? (October 25, 2018). I’ve noted:

When Disney purchased Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4 billion, the House of Mouse not only acquired Star Wars but also the ownership rights to Indiana Jones. So, what the heck has Disney done since with everyone’s favorite archeologist? Oddly, the answer is: Absolutely nothing.

Bob, Disney really needs to step it up on Indiana Jones. There’s the merchandise issue, but let’s expand things in terms of the parks – there’s been talk of an Indiana Jones land – and looking beyond Indiana Jones 5 in terms of additional films (who will be the next Indy?) and Disney+ opportunities. The key, of course, is high quality storytelling and related materials. But quality should not mean a lack of supply. 

By the way, if you need a Kevin Feige-type to helm the Indiana Jones franchise, I’m available.

Thanks for the consideration, and have a magical day!

Sincerely,
Ray Keating
DisneyBizJournal.com

Check out Ray Keating’s previous “Dear Bob” letters...





Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.

If you enjoyed this article, and since I am the author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories, and other books, can I ask you to take at least one (preferably more) of the following steps?

1) The new Pastor Stephen Grant novel – DEEP ROUGH – has arrived! You can order the Kindle edition, the paperback, or the signed book.

2) Please join the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories email list, and get the upcoming short story, THE TRAITOR, for free! Sign up here.

3) Buy one of the other Pastor Stephen Grant novels or short stories at Amazon.comor signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com

4) Become a member of the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship, and get all kinds of FREE stuff, including each new book in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. Check out the levels and benefits here.

5) Pre-order my next book – FREE TRADE ROCKS! 10 POINTS ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW – at Amazon.com for the Kindle, or signed books at https://raykeatingonline.com/products/freetrade.
  

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


Goodbye, Club Cool!

by Beth Keating
News/Analysis
DisneyBizJournal.com
September 11, 2019

It’s a sad day in Bay Lake.  Club Cool, the Coca-Cola pitstop at Innoventions at Disney World, has closed its doors in preparation for the upcoming Future World transformation at Epcot. 


Walt Disney once said, “We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”  And while those “new things” have often been thrilling, it doesn’t mean that we don’t mourn the things we’ve lost along the way (Oh, those Figaro fries!). 

In our family, we will most definitely be pining for the days of Club Cool.  While there hasn’t been confirmation as to where/when Club Cool will find a new location after the dust settles and the construction walls are cleared away, the current version of Club Cool will no longer exist.  The younger members of our family don’t remember the first Club Cool we visited, which was actually called Ice Station Cool and included a polar themed tunnel that you walked through into an ice coated room where you could sample flavors from around the world.  The melting ice, however, created a slippery mess, and the newer 2005 version of Club Cool lacked the frozen entry way.  

Nary a visit to Epcot passed without a stop at Club Cool. (We made sure to drop in three times this past week before the closing day. It’s important to stay hydrated in the Florida heat, right?)  Those gulp sized samples were certainly tastier than Florida water. 


Over the years, the available flavors have changed as Coca-Cola products shifted in popularity, but ever present was the much-maligned Beverly, an Italian offering which caused both laughter from those in the know and grimaces from the unsuspecting.  Greece, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Peru, Israel and Japan have been among the countries featured over the years. Lemon and watermelon varieties have been popular with our clan, with a current much-to-be missed favorite being Fanta Melon Frosty from Thailand.  (Thanks to a suggestion from our waitress, Kim, we can still get it at Skipper Canteen in Magic Kingdom, even if we haven’t been able to locate it on Amazon. Much appreciated, Kim!)  

Disney Springs is home to the Coca-Cola Store Rooftop Beverage Bar, so you can sample a wide range of Coca-Cola products there (although without the “free” price tag), with the added benefit of the availability of adult beverages and rooftop views of the Springs.  You can even mix your own flavors, or get your picture taken with the Coca-Cola Polar Bear. All manner of Coca-Cola products are available for purchase as well.

Still, we will miss our sample sessions at Club Cool. Hopefully the future of Epcot will bring us a version that is even more exciting!  So long, Club Cool.

Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.


A message from Ray Keating, editor and publisher of DisneyBizJournal.com...

If you enjoyed this article, and since I am the author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories, and other books, can I ask you to take at least one (preferably more) of the following steps?

1) The new Pastor Stephen Grant novel – DEEP ROUGH – has arrived! You can order the Kindle edition, the paperback, or the signed book.

2) Please join the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories email list, and get the upcoming short story, THE TRAITOR, for free! Sign up here.

3) Buy one of the other Pastor Stephen Grant novels or short stories at Amazon.comor signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com

4) Become a member of the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship, and get all kinds of FREE stuff, including each new book in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. Check out the levels and benefits here.

5) Pre-order my next book – FREE TRADE ROCKS! 10 POINTS ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW – at Amazon.com for the Kindle, or signed books at https://raykeatingonline.com/products/freetrade.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

9 Reasons to Love Galaxy’s Edge at Walt Disney World

by Ray Keating
Review
DisneyBizJournal.com
September 10, 2019

Was the reported $1 billion Disney spent on Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in Walt Disney World worth it? Well, for this columnist, economist and fan, the answer is: Darn right! 


As for the economics, MyNews13.com recently noted, “Galaxy's Edge, highly-anticipated 14-acre land, was more than three years in the making, costing $1 billion. It created 1,700 new permanent jobs, plus 5,500 trade, artisan and construction jobs, according to Disney.”

Accounts on the early crowds have varied widely. On its August 29th Opening Day, Galaxy’s Edge hit capacity at 7:00 AM, and was closed accordingly. Subsequent days’ traffic were lighter than many had expected, but it’s hard to disentangle such assessments from the threat of Hurricane Dorian, the normal post-Labor Day attendance slowdown, and some major heat days – not to mention media and online spin vs. company and customer preferences.

To be honest, attendance from the first week-plus does not provide much information of value in terms of assessing Disney’s investment in Galaxy’s Edge. We need a larger sample size.

And as reported by CNBC, Disney offered a different take on the idea that success is measured by people suffering on long lines. With the eight to 10-hour waits at the opening of NBCUniversal’s Hagrid’s Magical Creatures Motorbike coaster at Islands of Adventure clearly in mind, Bob Chapek, chairman of parks, experiences and products, was quoted:

“One of the wins that we had with the opening of the original Galaxy’s Edge is that we didn’t have the waits. The deep secret is that we don’t intend to have lines ... If you build in enough capacity, the rides don’t go down and it operates at 99% efficiency, you shouldn’t have 10-hour lines. So, 10-hour lines are not a sign of success. It should be seen as a sign of, frankly, failure.”

Hmmm. There certainly is a point there, but we’re left to disentangle spin and reality. From the perspective of best serving customers, who can seriously argue that 10 hour waits are a plus?

As for my review of Galaxy’s Edge...

Based on arriving at Black Spire Outpost on the planet of Batuu during the opening weekend at Hollywood Studios, and coming back a few more times in subsequent days, here are 9 reasons to love Galaxy’s Edge.

1) Immersion. Upon entering the land, the experience becomes nearly completely immersive. I cannot think of anything in the realm of entertainment that comes close to matching this, especially on such a scale. The vistas, the buildings, décor, and the cast members meld together into a fantastic adventure for visitors.


2) Millennium Falcon. At the center point of this immersion sits the Millennium Falcon. That’s right, the fastest hunk of chunk in the galaxy that made the Kessel run in less than 12 parsecs. Visitors get close-up views, from nearly all angles – from sides, below and above – of one of the most famous space vessels in movie history. And close inspection reveals wondrous levels of detail and artistry.


3) Smugglers Run. The fun with the Millennium Falcon doesn’t stop with taking in the outside of the ship. Rather, on the Smugglers Run ride, you’re inside this iconic ship as part of a smuggling mission. Playing the role as a pilot, gunner or engineer on the bridge of the Millennium Falcon is another unique experience. My son called the ride the most expensive video game ever made. True. But it’s much more than that, of course, given that you’re inside the game, if you will. And feeling like your sitting where Han Solo, Chewie, Princess Leia, Rey, and Luke Skywalker sat is a Star Wars fan’s dream come true.


Yes, that's me in the Millennium Falcon!

4) More Ships! A truly immersive Star Wars experience must include other ships. And several are positioned throughout Galaxy’s Edge – an A-wing fighter, an X-wing fighter, a TIE Echelon, and a transport ship resting above Hangar Bay 7. Each, again, makes the trip to Batuu more enjoyable – especially the transport ship sitting high above the hangar area and the Falcon.


5) Oga’s Cantina. Stepping inside Oga’s Cantina takes the guest still deeper into the engagement with Black Spire Outpost. It’s a lively bar with décor and atmosphere that feels like it came right out of one of the Star Wars movies. And the drinks – with and without alcohol – are tasty and a heck of a lot of fun. I enjoyed Jabba Juice (Simply Orange with pineapple, kiwi, cantaloupe, and blueberry popping pearls), a Black Spire Brew (Cold Brew Joffrey’s Coffee, honey, falernum, passion fruit, and citrus), a Hyperdrive (Powerade Mountain Berry Blast, white cranberry juice, black cherry purée, and Sprite), and the bubbling, smoking Carbon Freeze (Powerade Lemon Lime, wild strawberry, blueberry, and green apple popping pears).


6) Blue Milk. So, you have a choice at the Black Spire Outpost between Blue Milk and Green Milk. No doubt, the debate will rage on between these Star Wars beverages. I’m in the Blue Milk camp – but I’ll take either on a hot day as both are slushy-type beverages. 


7) Dok-Ondar's Den of Antiquities. Here’s a fun stop where the shop itself is just as interesting as the merchandise being sold. The collection of light sabers is impressive ... and on the pricey side.


8) Interactions. Galaxy’s Edge does offer opportunities for unique interactions with cast members who portray an assortment of people on Batuu, including Storm Troopers, members of the Resistance, those with the First Order, and so on. There also are very specific characters circulating, such as Kylo Ren and Vi Moradi, a Resistance spy. I happened to have an interaction with Moradi just before Galaxy’s Edge closed one night, and I had to assure her that I was with the freedom fighters.


9) Anticipation. As enjoyable as Galaxy’s Edge is now, there’s also the anticipation for what’s to come. We know that the Rise of the Resistance ride is coming to Galaxy’s Edge on December 5, serving up, as Disney puts it, “a massive, multi-platform, new attraction that is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced at Walt Disney World Resort… or anywhere else in the galaxy!” And sometime after that, the Star Wars hotel – a Galactic Starcruiser named Halcyon – will be arriving to take guests on a two-night, three-day immersive space cruise, including a visit to the Black Spire Outpost.


So far, Disney is doing Galaxy’s Edge right, and everything points to the experience for guests getting even better. That will turn out to be good news for Disney shareholders. And watch out if Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – directed by J.J. Abrams and being released in December of this year – turns out to be a winner, thereby reigniting passion among assorted Star Warsfans who were disenchanted (and justifiably so) with Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Ray Keating is the editor, publisher and economist for DisneyBizJournal.com, and author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels. He can be contacted at  raykeating@keatingreports.com.


If you enjoyed this article, and since I am the author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories, and other books, can I ask you to take at least one (preferably more) of the following steps?

1) The new Pastor Stephen Grant novel – DEEP ROUGH – has arrived! You can order the Kindle edition, the paperback, or the signed book.

2) Please join the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories email list, and get the upcoming short story, THE TRAITOR, for free! Sign up here.

3) Buy one of the other Pastor Stephen Grant novels or short stories at Amazon.comor signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com

4) Become a member of the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship, and get all kinds of FREE stuff, including each new book in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. Check out the levels and benefits here.

5) Pre-order my next book – FREE TRADE ROCKS! 10 POINTS ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW – at Amazon.com for the Kindle, or signed books at https://raykeatingonline.com/products/freetrade.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Review: Gran Destino Tower and the Toledo Restaurant at Coronado Springs

by Beth Keating
Review
DisneyBizJournal.com
September 9, 2019

I must admit to feeling somewhat possessive about Coronado Springs as I watched various Disney Vloggers covering the Gran Destino Tower opening at Coronado in July.  Coronado Springs has typically been our home resort on many recent trips, and we’ve watched with anticipation as construction progressed not only on the tower itself, but on the mid-lake Three Bridges Bar and Grill.  I was a tad jealous when I watched the first guests unwinding in the open air ambiance of Three Bridges after a long day park hopping. 


When we booked Coronado the first time, it was because we were unable to get reservations at the first three resorts we tried for (it was a busy time of year at Disney!), and I was undeniably disappointed going into the trip.  A Disney Cast Member on the reservations line had encouraged us to try Coronado, but Coronado’s reputation for being a “convention hotel” had me skeptical about what the experience would be like.  I loved all the “Mickey details” in the other resorts we’d previously stayed at, and was afraid those touches would be missing at Coronado.  As it turns out, the quieter pace, the soft Spanish guitar music in the background, and the overall relaxed tone suited us, and we returned to Coronado several more times.  Last year’s newly renovated rooms were comfortable and nicely decorated, and our end-of-summer trip was uninterrupted despite the looming cranes and numerous construction fences.

So, it was with some trepidation that we awaited the completion of the new tower after having seen the “work in progress.”  We were certainly looking forward to the installation of the bridges over Lago Dorado… having stayed at the Ranchos in previous visits. A quicker way to the main building was indeed welcome.  But those huge construction panels that were glaringly obvious during last summer’s visit had us worried that the new tower was going to be a giant eyesore on what was otherwise a very bucolic landscape at Coronado. The behemoth of a tower seemed massive against its surroundings.  And truth be told, our summer photos of last year’s construction evolution were ... ugly.

Holding our breath, we waited to see what the grand opening offered. When you set your eyes on the building in person, Gran Destino is visually stunning.  The videos from our favorite vloggers simply didn’t do justice to the beauty of the place.  The approach to the resort was impressive (no more ugly construction panels!), and the two-story resort lobby was magnificent. The colors are rich and vibrant, often jewel-like in tone when set against some of the more earthy tones of the walls and floors with their various metallic lighting and accent pieces.  Hidden amongst the architecture are subtle nods to the Salvatore Dali/Walt Disney collaborative film “Destino,” for which the tower is named.  A wall of photos pays tribute to the unexpected friendship between the two creators. 


The interplay of light is a recurring design element at Gran Destino, from the curved color-changing ceiling of Toledo restaurant, to the mirrored walls and speckled granite of the countertops of Dahlia Lounge. The blend of Spanish influence with Dali’s surrealism creates a visually intriguing backdrop to the space – everywhere you look there are interesting shapes and colors to draw you in.  


Unusual patterns abound, and provide a variety of contrasts in the space. Even the chandeliers suggest the wispiness of dandelion fluff blowing in the wind.


We booked an evening dinner reservation at a time that we hoped would allow us to see the various Epcot and Hollywood Studios fireworks visible from the 16thfloor rooftop setting of the new Toledo restaurant.  While we could see some of the fireworks from our dining table, reflections from the lights inside the restaurant didn’t quite allow us to see what we wanted to.  We stepped outside to the balcony to finish watching the shows.  (Depending on the time of year, showtimes for the various evening performances at the parks can start as early as 8:30 and last until after 10:00 pm.)  Our suggestion is to book a slightly earlier dinner reservation, allowing you to finish dinner before the fireworks start, and then grab your favorite beverage and relax on the cushioned sofas of the outdoor balcony at the adjacent Dahlia Lounge. It was a relaxing way to wrap up our day, and the outdoor seating at Dahlia Lounge was cozy, and the evening breezes at this height were a welcome relief to the heat of the Florida summer.

The fireworks view at night is spectacular. But the daytime view, which we arrived just in time to see before watching the sun setting over the House of Mouse, is just as impressive.  It was fun to see the different parks from high above, and we got a sweeping panoramic perspective of the newly opened Galaxy’s Edge, which was only in its first week of occupancy.  Picking out iconic ride landmarks from the tower balcony was a new twist on the competition to find Hidden Mickeys. 

The menu at Toledo is wide-ranging, from tapas-style smaller plates to full-sized entrees. We started our meal with the charred octopus, served with a chimichurri sauce, and a unique twist on the traditional theme park churros – these churros were twisty, soft and pillowy rather than the more typical crunchy style. 

For our entrees, we went with golden tilefish, slightly crispy on the outside but moist and flaky on the inside; some of the best scallops we’ve ever had; and a tender Manhattan filet of beef. 


Desserts also were good, but the favorite by far was the “Toledo Tapas Bar,” which our waitress explained was not only a progressive tasting of five different flavors ranging from coffee to chocolate, raspberry, lemon and cheesecake, but represented the colors of the Spanish Flag and Mickey Mouse!


So, along with the delicious meal at Toledo, I was forced to eat a helping of “I was wrong” with my meal.  The Gran Destino Tower is a lovely addition to Coronado Springs, and I’m looking forward to going back to spend a relaxing evening in front of the fire pit at Three Bridges sometime soon. Can’t wait to watch the lights sparkling on Lago Dorado at night!

Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.


A message from Ray Keating, editor and publisher of DisneyBizJournal.com...

If you enjoyed this article, and since I am the author of the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories, and other books, can I ask you to take at least one (preferably more) of the following steps?

1) The new Pastor Stephen Grant novel – DEEP ROUGH – has arrived! You can order the Kindle edition, the paperback, or the signed book.

2) Please join the Pastor Stephen Grant novels and short stories email list, and get the upcoming short story, THE TRAITOR, for free! Sign up here.

3) Buy one of the other Pastor Stephen Grant novels or short stories at Amazon.comor signed books at www.raykeatingonline.com

4) Become a member of the Pastor Stephen Grant Fellowship, and get all kinds of FREE stuff, including each new book in the Pastor Stephen Grant series. Check out the levels and benefits here.

5) Pre-order my next book – FREE TRADE ROCKS! 10 POINTS ON INTERNATIONAL TRADE EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW – at Amazon.com for the Kindle, or signed books at https://raykeatingonline.com/products/freetrade.