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Lessons from My 1st runDisney Event

by on March 30, 2015 6 Comments

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runDisney Expo

Your runDisney Experience begins at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, where you’ll find everything you need to prepare at Expo!

Committing to run your first big race is a bit overwhelming, particularly when it’s a runDisney event. There are a lot of things you don’t know as a novice, things that a more experienced runner might not even think about. If you’re thinking about registering for a runDisney event – particularly a future Princess Half Marathon – here are some things I learned from my first Glass Slipper Challenge.

Find Your Perfect Fit

While runDisney offers a lot of special opportunities, not every event is right for you. It’s not always easy to find extensive information, and even consulting other runners may not give you a clear picture of what to expect.

Running challenges – like the Glass Slipper Challenge – look like great fun when you’re signing up months in advance, but don’t forget that you’ll actually have to RUN those races eventually, and running for consecutive days can take a big toll on your body. You still want to enjoy your race AND your vacation, so be confident, but also realistic before you decide to be Dopey. There’s always next year!
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Easter Egg Excitement Enters Epcot

by on March 30, 2015

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Easter has sprung all around the Walt Disney World resort. From the magnificent Easter egg displays at the Grand Floridian to Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny meeting their friends over at the Magic Kingdom, spring is in the air. Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 8.11.12 PM

One special event is the Disney Egg-stravaganza 2015, a Disney Easter egg hunt, held at Epcot from March 27, 2015 through April 5, 2015.

For a $4.95 fee (with no discounts available), guests can purchase a packet containing a map and themed egg-shaped stickers. Then the fun really begins. Every country in World Showcase (plus the Outpost) has a large Disney character egg hidden somewhere in the pavilion. As you find each egg, place the sticker with the correct character on the spot on the map for that location. Once you have found all twelve hidden eggs, return to the Port of Entry and show your completed map for a special reward. The map and the reward are yours to keep as a souvenir.
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The Three Broomsticks: The Best Quick-Service Restaurant at Universal Orlando

by on March 30, 2015 1 Comment

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On the one hand, it’s extraordinarily easy to pick The Three Broomsticks as the best quick-service restaurant at all of Universal Orlando Resort – it’s one of the best-themed experiences to be had in the entire industry, generally, let alone a culinary one, specifically. (Of course, the accomplishment is only abetted by Harry Potter’s whimsical mythology and engrossing details, which already does much to transform eating into a magical experience [no pun intended].)

The Three Broomsticks facade

Image © Dan Hatfield

On the other hand, however, it’s a rather controversial choice. First, there’s the little matter of Three Broomsticks’s competition at the resort, which is considerable; everything from the quick-service Fast Food Boulevard to CityWalk’s ever-expanding options to, of course, that other Potter establishment, The Leaky Cauldron, offer compelling reasons – especially of the gastronomical kind – to stay away from the first Wizarding World’s dive.

There’s also the little matter of the restaurant’s menu not being the most expansive, and that the quality of its food, while still substantial, isn’t of the same level as, say, Mythos, Islands of Adventure’s flagship eatery just down the path a ways (though the latter is a full-service stop, which might be comparing apples to oranges).

It’s actually a testament to The Three Broomsticks’s wonderfully addictive atmosphere that the restaurant more than manages to make up for its shortcomings, and that the overall experience truly is greater than the sum of its individual parts.

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Camping 101: Fort Wilderness RV rentals

by on March 29, 2015 6 Comments

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Author’s note:  This is Part One of a Series on the ins and outs Disney’s Fort Wilderness.  Part One focuses on Fort Wilderness RV rentals.  Part Two will focus on how to get groceries and supplies to the RV when you will be flying into Orlando, and Part Three will explain transportation within the vast campgrounds.

Some of the best vacation memories I have from my childhood involve some element of nature and camping. Whether it was a weekend at a family member’s cabin in the woods or staying with my grandparents in an RV at the lake, I cherish each memory. Into adulthood I have wanted to experience the closeness of nature again. I’ve fantasized about cashing it all in, buying an RV, and traveling the country, working odd jobs (or blogging more steadily) as I go. Nothing but me, my husband, the fur kids, and nature in my day. Sounds peaceful, but delusional, I know.

Instead of camping, most of my adult vacations have been spent in Disney World. These vacation memories are just as cherished as those nature themed ones of my youth. I have often thought that combining the two would make for one amazing trip, but quickly dismissed the thought because we do live out of state and don’t own that coveted RV yet.

Courtesy John Scanlan

Courtesy John Scanlan

Yes, we could stay at one of the Cabins at Fort Wilderness, but the thought of shlepping all the camping essentials in my luggage, just doesn’t appeal to me. I would rather just show up, clothes and toiletries in tow, and plop myself into the experience.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Things We STILL Can’t Believe Actually Happened at Walt Disney World

by on March 28, 2015 16 Comments

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This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Things We STILL Can’t Believe Actually Happened at Walt Disney World. Late last year we did an article on Six Things We’ll Never Forget Disney’s 2014 (No Matter How Hard We Try) but as crazy as things can be in the theme park world that we love today, things were even more unbelievable in the past. Ace Ventura at Disney-MGM? A Power Rangers meet-and-greet? Goosebumps Live?! Even with photographic evidence it’s hard to believe some of this stuff actually happened, but today we’re gong to look at the six most incredible moments, starting with…

# 6 – Teenage Mutant Turtles at Disney-MGM

The turtles are popular now, but in the late ’80s and early ’90s they were a phenomenon. Cartoons, video games, movies, comic books, breakfast cereal, traveling stage shows, and enough merchandise that would make even Anna and Elsa jealous. Starting in 1990, TMNT performed a stage show in New York area of Disney-MGM, followed by a meet-and-greet. TMNT left Disney in ’96, but the Turtles have proven the test of time, connecting with each new generation of kids. While both Disney and Universal could score a coup by having the turtles in their parks, right now they can be seen at the Nickelodeon Hotel in Orlando

TMNT_DHS_Poprewind

The heroes in a half shell with April O’Neil in the Streets of America. (photo by PopRewind)

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D-Tech Me Experience Returns With Two New Figures for Star Wars Weekends

by on March 27, 2015

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One of the more popular activities for Disney’s Hollywood StudiosStar Wars Weekends is returning this year–the D-Tech Me experience. This unique opportunity allows guests to have their face cast on a mold of a Star Wars figurine.

This year, Disney is adding two new options into the mix; they are a Jedi Knight and a TIE-Fighter Pilot.

D-Tech Me

©Disney

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Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto to Officially Open in April

by on March 27, 2015 2 Comments

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IMG_1478.JPG

©Disney

Are you excited about Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort? If you’ve been like me and counting down the days until it opens, I have some news for you that I think you are going to like! Your wait is soon coming to an end!

Trader Sam’s will officially open in late April. (There is no official opening date because Disney is apparently waiting on a shipment of tiki glasses.) However, for those of you visiting in the next month, you could still be able to get in on a sneak preview. You see, beginning tomorrow, March 28, Trader Sam’s will be in soft opening mode.

Do keep in mind that the lounge is actually very intimate with only 50 indoor seats and seating for only 82 on the outdoor patio.  With that knowledge, I cannot stress enough that if you decide to try to experience the bar during this time period that you will need to pack your patience and be prepared to wait for a while before being able to enter. (Who am I kidding…even after it officially opens, the bar will likely have long waits for a while.  This place is going to be PACKED!)  Read the rest of this entry »

In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of March 27, 2015

by on March 27, 2015 2 Comments

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In Case You Missed It!

In Case You Missed It!

Whoo hoo! Friday is here! Let me tell you…it couldn’t get here soon enough!

Are you ready to dive into “In Case You Missed It” with me? I’ve got lots of fun…like details about the upcoming Pixar short, Lava, a fantastic look at the Walt Disney Pictures logos through the years, and much more! Make sure to let me know your favorite article in the comments. (Or just comment on anything…I like hearing all of your thoughts too!)

In Case You Missed It – Disney and Universal Orlando News and Rumors

 

I’m sure by now, you’ve seen the latest rumors…that Disney will be likely opening a Jungle Cruise-themed restaurant in the location of the former Adventureland Veranda and Tinker Bell’s Magical Nook. What are your thoughts on this development? As for me, I’m super stoked, but then again, my brother was a Jungle Cruise skipper at one time. I really hope this one comes to fruition and gets announced officially soon.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Lodge have received the Association of Zoos and Aquariums accreditation yet again. Congratulations to the park and resort because that is a big honor. Read the rest of this entry »

Change to Disney Cruise Line Onboard Booking Benefit

by on March 27, 2015 1 Comment

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©Disney

©Disney

Have you ever wanted to take advantage of Disney Cruise Line’s onboard cruise booking benefit (reduced deposit required, 10% off your fare, an onboard credit from DCL, the joy of knowing your next cruise is already lined up), but didn’t quite know which cruise you wanted to take?

The previous solution to this problem was a work-around – guests would book a specific cruise and then change the dates as they figured out what actual cruise worked best for them. Now, Disney Cruise Line is allowing guests to put down a deposit to simply hold the benefit without tying up inventory that won’t be used.

In Disney’s words:

Effective immediately, Guests sailing with Disney Cruise Line can take advantage of the onboard offer without selecting an actual sailing date.

This new placeholder process allows your Clients to book the onboard offer without booking a reservation for a specific sail date. The confirmation will include a confirmation number, but will not display details such as ship name, sail date or category. Once your Client decides on an actual sail date, you can reference the confirmation number when you call back to modify the booking.

Please note while this is a new process for confirming placeholder date reservations, there are no other changes to the current onboard offer policies, including the number of bookings allowed or the need to complete travel within 24 months from the date the reservation is booked.

The deposit is $200 per stateroom (thanks to Tammy Whiting with Storybook Destinations for the intel on the deposit!).

Tomorrowland Preview Coming to Disney Parks

by on March 26, 2015 6 Comments

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©Disney

©Disney

Are you excited about the upcoming film, Tomorrowland? (How can you not be?! It looks fantastic.) Well, if you are anxious about the movie, which stars George Clooney, then you’ll need to make sure to catch the official sneak preview taking place at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.

For those visiting Walt Disney World, you’ll need to head to Epcot and the Imagination Pavilion. I’m sorry to report that at least temporarily, fans of Captain EO, Hooter, Odie, Idie, and Fuzzball will not get to see the rag-tag band attempt to deliver a gift to The Supreme Leader. The preview for Tomorrowland will be taking place in the Imagination Theater, and will include in-theater effects. (Captain EO will see its last day of operation on April 9.)

Over on the west coast, at Disneyland, guests can go to Tomorrowland (good place for a preview about a movie named Tomorrowland) where they can catch the sneak peek replete with in-theater effects in the Tomorrowland Theater. In addition, in the Starcade, there will also be an exhibit available for guests to enjoy production art and props used in the movie.

The official sneak preview will begin in mid-April (no official date has been announced) and the preview will last approximately 15-20 minutes. Tomorrowland heads to theaters on May 22.