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What I Wish I Knew Before My Visit to California Adventure

by on August 27, 2015 8 Comments

Carthay Circle Restaurant

Carthay Circle Restaurant

I recently went to the Disneyland Resort for the very first time. As a frequent visitor to Walt Disney World since childhood, I was beyond excited to experience a Disney Park as a first time guest, particularly Disney’s California Adventure as it is a totally unique park and would be a great sampling of the Golden State for this California Newbie! But even before I even passed through the turnstiles, I did my homework on Disney’s California Adventure so that I could avoid some of the rookie mistakes and maximize my time in the park. Even so, there were definitely some things that I either didn’t expect or wish I would’ve known to help my day run more smoothly. So glean from my first hand experience fellow Disneyland Resort Rookies and discover what I wish I knew before my visit to California Adventure.

Have a Wardrobe Strategy for Grizzly River Run – If you’re looking to experience Grizzly River Run, the park’s incredible raft ride at Grizzly Peak, I would strongly suggest wearing clothes that dry quickly or picking up a poncho at Rushin’ River Outfitters. There are lockers available for free near the huge bear statue, but only if you pick up your stuff within 2 hours.

Disney’s California Adventure Park Could Be a One Day Park – Some may disagree with me on this, but hear me out! While I loved my day at Disney’s California Adventure, and can’t wait to go back, I felt like I was able to accomplish the best of the park in a single day with proper planning while I needed two days at the Disneyland Park. For example, during my visit in July and with the help of FASTPASSES, I was able to ride almost all of the park’s most popular attractions, do a little shopping and dining, and squeezed in a showing of World of Color in one day. If you only have a short time to check out the Disneyland Resort, I would suggest setting aside two for the Disneyland Park and one for California Adventure.

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever August 27, 2015: Sunday Stroll at Port Orleans

by on August 27, 2015 4 Comments

Best Week Ever Port Orleans

Join the Best Week Ever parade and stroll through WDW’s Port Orleans resort (photos by Seth Kubersky).

Hold on to your beads, Best Week Ever readers, because we’re heading to the Big Easy! Long before the Art of Animation resort brought California Adventure’s Cars Land to Orlando in motel form, Walt Disney World’s Port Orleans hotels have stood as the East Coast analogue to Disneyland’s New Orleans Square, minus the animatronic pirates and ghosts.

 

It had been so long since I’d stayed at Port Orleans, that the last time I visited the section now known as Riverside was still named Dixie Landings. The resort has had quite a colorful history, including being partially shuttered for a time during the post-9/11 recession; check out this page at PortOrleans.org for a bit of background.

 

Since Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside are our top picks among moderate resorts at Walt Disney World, I figured I was way past due for a return visit to WDW’s NOLA. And what better time to let the good times roll than bright and early on a Sunday morning?

 

Ok, 9 a.m. isn’t exactly “bright and early” for many people, but as a congenital night owl it’s the best I could do.

 

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FastPass+ Reservations Available for Eat To The Beat Concerts

by on August 26, 2015 3 Comments

©Disney

©Disney

One of the popular aspects of the Epcot Food & Wine Festival is the Eat to the Beat Concert Series. These concerts take place in the America Gardens Theatre at the America Adventure Pavilion nightly during the festival and feature beloved artists such as Boyz II Men, Sugar Ray, Air Supply, Wilson Phillips, and more.

Well, for the first time ever, if there is an artist that you absolutely cannot miss, you potentially won’t have to. You see, now you can make FastPass+ reservations to ensure they will definitely see their favorites. Read the rest of this entry »

Force Friday Merchandise Event to Take Place on September 4

by on August 26, 2015 7 Comments

Copyright Disney

©Disney

Do you feel that? It must be the Force awakening.

With the upcoming latest Star Wars release coming out in December, there is, of course, going to be a large merchandise push. So for those who must have the newest or any collectible merchandise, you’ll want to take part in the Force Friday Merchandise Event. This ticketed event will take place on both coasts at Disneyland at the World of Disney Store and at Walt Disney World at Once Upon a Toy on September 4, at 12:01 a.m.

Tickets to this special event will cost $50 per person and will include the opportunity to be the first to buy new Star Wars, as well as new Star Wars: The Force Awakens themed merchandise including Disney theme park exclusives and licensed products. Guests of the event will also receive an amenity gift.

For those who wish to attend the event, they should visit www.DisneyParksMerchandise.com.

Disney Introduces New Walt Disney World Tech Fun

by on August 26, 2015 8 Comments

The past couple of weeks, Disney has rolled out with some very interesting tech opportunities that you may want to take advantage of either in the parks, or even at home, but more on that in a second.

IMG_9656

The first update is that the Walt Disney World Resort finally has a Twitter account that is similar to the current @DisneylandToday Twitter account for Disneyland Resort. The new Twitter account will be known as @WDWToday. (Hmmmm…why does that sound familiar? By the way, no relation to a certain beloved podcast.) This official account will offers Guests suggestions, tips, and answers to their questions during their visit to the Walt Disney World Resort.

Moving on to the My Disney Experience app, a new upgrade has made where Guests will be able to take advantage of aspects of Disney PhotoPass including:

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Head to head: Night of Joy vs. Rock the Universe

by on August 26, 2015 7 Comments

The weekend of September 11 and 12 is one of the holiest in Orlando, and it has nothing to do with a religious holiday. That’s when, for the past 17 years, both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resorts conduct their dueling Christian music festivals, gathering some of the biggest names in the genre and having all sorts of youths flocking to their parks after hours in even bigger numbers than normal.

Night of Joy 2015

Image © Disney

Disney started its Night of Joy event in 1983, while Universal jumped on the bandwagon with its Rock the Universe much later, in 1998. Despite that discrepancy in age, the two actually share a lot in common, and more than the identical dates: both festivals are hard-ticketed events (meaning you’ll need to purchase separate admission in order to get in) and typically feature musical acts that hop back and forth between the two.

That can make choosing one over the other something of a headscratcher, but don’t fret – that’s why we’re here to help. Below, find a complete comparison between the two on every important indicator, helping you to decide which will be more amenable to your family and your tastes (and, of course, your wallet).

Then, once you’ve made up your mind, be sure to let us know which way you’re going in the comments below.

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Making Memorable Character Interactions

by on August 26, 2015 10 Comments

Interacting with all of the great Disney characters is one of the most memorable experiences guests can have at a Disney park. On all of the planning DVDs, TV specials, and commercials, kids joyously run into the open arms of Mickey and adults engaged in light-hearted sword-play with pirates. But the reality is often children cowering behind their parents and adults awkwardly posing next characters, treating them more as props or marginally liked relatives, rather than the wickedly cool physical personification of the great icons that they are. So, how do you overcome character fear and lackluster photos? Let’s explore some ways to break the ice.

Spice up your character interactions and get great photos!

Spice up your character interactions and get great photos!

First, there are two types of characters in the Disney parks, face characters and fur characters. Face characters are characters where you can see their face and they speak with you. Most princess (Aurora, Snow White, Cinderella, etc) fall into this category. Fur characters are characters that cannot speak with guests, Chip and Dale, Goofy, and Mr. Incredible are “fur” characters. But don’t be fooled, just because they don’t talk, doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to say!

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May The Course Be With You! Disney Unveils New Star Wars Half Marathon Event for Walt Disney World

by on August 25, 2015 2 Comments

©Disney

©Disney

Do you feel that? The force appears to have awakened at Walt Disney World and fans of both runDisney and Star Wars have something to cheer (or is it chEAR) about.

Disney announced today that a brand new Star Wars Half Marathon Event will be introduced in 2016 to the official runDisney lineup. Unlike the Star Wars half that takes place in Disneyland and focuses on the light, the Walt Disney World version will channel the Dark Side of the Force.

The event weekend will take place April 14-17, 2016 and will include a 5k, 10k, and half marathon. It will also include a special challenge race for those who complete both the 10k and the half called the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge. Little ones will also be able to compete in their very own kids races too!

Among the half’s many features will be a unique 13.1-mile course that takes runners through Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and finishes at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Read the rest of this entry »

Disney World Preparation for the Disneyland Veteran

by on August 25, 2015 3 Comments

If you’re a native of the west coast, you may think you know what to expect from a visit to Walt Disney World, based on the many weekends and afternoons you’ve spent at Disneyland. However, even if you are an old hand at Disneyland, you’ll probably find Walt Disney World overwhelming.

WDW Entry Gates

Even the signage when you enter is bigger!

At over 27,000 acres, Walt Disney World is over 170 times as large as Disneyland. Disneyland consists of two theme parks, a shopping district, and three hotels. Walt Disney World consists of four theme parks, two water parks, two mini golf courses, four full golf courses, 27 lodging options, a shopping district, and its own vast transportation network. In Disneyland, park-hopping consists of walking the short span of the Esplanade between gates. In Walt Disney World, park-hopping requires at least one form of transportation, and a minimum of 20-30 minutes of time. In short, Walt Disney World is just an order of magnitude larger, and more complicated, than Disneyland.

Here’s what you need to know to survive the Big One – big theme park, that is.

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Universal Crowd Calendar Report – August 16 to 22, 2015

by on August 25, 2015

How Did The Universal Crowd Calendar Do?

How Did The Universal Crowd Calendar Do?

Last week, wait times were up at Universal Orlando. We saw crowds exceed historical averages every day except Thursday. Last week was the final week for many students to grab one more ride at Rip Ride Rockit and The Incredible Hulk Coaster before heading back to school so it is likely that crowd levels may settle down this week.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Universal Orlando Resort Crowd Report:

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