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Pictures: Frozen Fun (partially) Premieres at Disney California Adventure

by on December 20, 2014

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Frozen Fun has invaded Hollywood Land at Disney California Adventure.  Mad T Party and MuppetVision 3D have been retired in favor of Disney’s newest crop of characters. Frozen Fun doesn’t officially start at Disney California Adventure until Janurary 7, 2015 but some of it did open today in what Disney calls a “sneak peak.” So far only the Olaf meet and greet (but not Olaf’s Snow Fest), Anna & Elsa Royal Welcome meet and greet, and Freeze the Night! A Family Dance Party have began daily operation. On to the pictures:

DSC03278Frozen Fun banners can be seen at the front entrance of Disney California Adventure. The actual Frozen Fun area is located inside Hollywood Land.

DSC03264As you approach the Frozen Fun area you’ll notice many resused props from the recently retired Mad T Party. They pretty much just repainted them to make them look “frosty.”

Many more pictures after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »

Pictures and Video: Frozen’s Arendelle Castle added to Storybook Land at Disneyland

by on December 20, 2014

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Breaking news: Frozen is a popular movie. I know, shocking, right? Disney has added elements from the popular film to one of the most beloved attractions in Disneyland‘s history. Luckily, it turned out really nice. I know some people are suffering from a bit of Frozen overload, but Storybook Land is an all time classic, and it’s nice to see it get a little love. Arendelle did replace the windmills from the 1937 film The Old Mill, and while it is a bummer to lose them, it at least makes the ride a little bit more relevant to younger generations. That will make the ride more popular, which will then cause more people to experience this wonderful attraction.  On to the video and pictures:

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Arendelle is immediately visible after you exit Monstro at the beginning of the ride.

More pictures after the jump:

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Pictures: Olaf Meet and Greet Premieres at Disney California Adventure

by on December 20, 2014 1 Comment

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Before he was just a cartoon character, a digitally created image on the screens of our TVs, phones, and computers. Not any more! Now you can meet Olaf the snowman in the flesh, er snow, at Disney California Adventure. It’s part of the Frozen Fun promotion going on now until May. Later in January he’ll have a dedicated meet and greet spot inside Olaf’s Snow Fest, but for now he’s meeting and greeting outside under the sun. I hope he doesn’t melt! (Ahem, is this thing on?) Today I braved a brutally cold Southern California winter morning, where temperatures hovered around 60 degrees, to bring you these pictures. You’re welcome, Internet.

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There he is! As you can see, Olaf has a wide range of motions. He can hold his arms out!

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25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 20: Dragon Scale and Wizard’s Brew at the Hopping Pot

by on December 20, 2014

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The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY TWENTY: Dragon Scale and Wizard’s Brew at the Hopping Pot (Universal Studios Florida)

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Dragon Scale brew inside Universal’s Diagon Alley. (photo by Brandon Glover)

 

We’re getting closer and closer to Christmas Day, so it is no surprise that some heavy hitters of the theme park drinking world are starting to come out. As we begin our final countdown to the big day we have our very first dual nomination, Dragon Scale and Wizard’s Brew at The Hopping Pot. Just as the Hog’s Head Brew is exclusive to Hogsmeade Village, Dragon Scale and Wizard’s Brew can only be found inside Diagon Alley. Dragon Scale is a malty lager, making it a great choice in the Florida heat, whereas Wizard’s Brew is a sweet stout, with flavors of chocolate and coffee. The beer tap for Dragon Scale has a dragon draped around it, similar to the iconic one standing atop Gringotts Bank, and is one of those fantastic details that sets the Wizarding World apart from lands in any theme park.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Disney Gifts Santa Can Bring Back to the North Pole (AKA The Best of the Disney Outlet Stores in 2014)

by on December 20, 2014

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This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Disney Gifts Santa Can Bring Back to the North Pole (A/K/A The Best of the Disney Outlet Stores in 2014). Some readers of this weekly column may not know that we also have The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! where every single month we brave the insanity of the Orlando Premium Outlet parking lots to cover the two Disney outlet stores (more info on them – including addresses – at the end of the article.) While some Christmas dreams do come true, such as Ralphie Parker getting his official Red Ryder BB gun and Your Humble Author getting a Han Solo blaster back in the day, others deserve to go straight to the Island of Misfit Toys. Today we will take a look at some of those very items, starting with…

 

# 6 – Luigi’s Flying Tires: The Toy

My eyes lit up like a Christmas tree seeing this toy hit the Outlet shelves. In theory, Luigi’s Flying Tires should have been one of the coolest rides at any Disney park. It used popular characters from the Cars franchise in what amounts to a hovercraft ride mixed with bumper cars. How great is that? Turns out, not that great. For many guests, the degree of difficulty in learning how to control the tires was too much within the short ride span, and that combined with the long wait time (due to the limited capacity) resulted in some very unfavorable reviews. The one part of the attraction that did receive positive reaction – the humongous beach balls on the course which provided a striking visual and the ability to knock them into other guests – was taken away mere weeks after Luigi’s debut. It is rumored that once Flying Tires goes down for refurbishment in early 2015, it will never come back as the ride it currently is and instead will be changed into something different. But, at least we’ll have our Luigi’s Flying Tires toy to remember it by (batteries, and joy, not included.)

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Next year we want to see Stitch’s Great Escape: The Board Game.

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In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of December 19, 2014

by on December 19, 2014

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In Case You Missed It!

In Case You Missed It!

I’ve got the presents wrapped, the cookies are baking (mmm…my specialty….Potato Chip Cookies…yes, they are a thing…and, yes, they are delicious), and Christmas movies are playing on the TV. The Holiday season is in full swing around my house, and I’m actually ready for it.

This week’s edition shares some of the other potential tenants for Disney Springs, a found, previously lost Oswald the Lucky Rabbit short, and more!

Since this is my last edition of “In Case You Missed It” before the holiday, let me say that I wish you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Festivus, or Happy Holidays (if you prefer), and I hope that you get to spend the next week with people that you love. (Or in my case, people that I tolerate…just kidding…I love my family. ;) )

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

 

This week’s hot rumor…will Disney be updating Star Tours with new footage based off of the upcoming movie, Star Wars: The Force Awakens? It would make sense, given how easy it seems it would be to add footage to this attraction.

So while we got the announcement this week that STK Orlando was headed to Disney Springs, here is a look at some of the other potential shops that will very well make their way to the shopping and dining district. Which one excites you most? Read the rest of this entry »

25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 19: La Fin du Monde Ale in Epcot

by on December 19, 2014 1 Comment

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The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY NINETEEN: La Fin du Monde Ale at the Canada Pavilion (Epcot)

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A La Fin du Monde in front of the Hotel du Canada in Epcot. (photo by Brandon Glover

 

La Fin du Monde is a beer for people who enjoy their beer. With a 9% ABV, La Fin du Monde packs a punch, but is light enough and full of flavor so that you are not overwhelmed. It is a Belgian Trappist-style tripel beer, with aeromatic hints of apple and clove. The taste is champagne-like, with flavors of light bananas, pear, cinnamon, and orange peel. While La Fin du Monde is available at several locations on WDW property, there’s only one place for us, the outdoor beer cart at the Canada Pavilion in Epcot. Why? La Fin du Monde is the premier beer from one of Canada’s most famous craft breweries, and is hard to find out draught even outside of Walt Disney World. So what could be better than enjoying one in it’s native county?  We love to mix it up when Drinking Around The World, as there are so many unique and interesting options across World Showcase, but trust us when we say to order the La Fin du Monde over the LaBatt Blue in Canada each and every time.

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25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 18: Buffalos and Bacon at The Cowfish

by on December 18, 2014

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The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY EIGHTEEN: Buffalos and Bacon at The Cowfish (Universal CityWalk)

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Buffalos and Bacon at The Cowfish. (photo by Brandon Glover)

 

The Cowfish was the final piece of Universal CityWalk’s recent renovation, and it has immediately become the restaurant of choice for many theme park fans. The Cowfish has surprised pretty much everyone with its innovative menu, unique burgers, and their signature Burgushi concept (which includes sushi using burger components, and sandwiches using sushi components.) Come for the food, but stay for the drinks as The Cowfish offers an amazing amount of cocktails, imported beer, and spiked shakes. Our recommendation? Buffalos and Bacon.Why? Because what drink doesn’t get better with bacon? Ingredients: Buffalo Trace bourbon, cherry liqueur, angostura and orange bitters, honey, candied bacon

Read the rest of this entry »

10 Reasons a Cabana on Castaway Cay is Worth Trying to Get

by on December 18, 2014 6 Comments

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If you’ve been lucky enough to score a cabana on Castaway Cay when your Disney Cruise Line vacation stops at their little slice of paradise in the Bahamas, you can skip this blog post and go on to the next one. I’m betting you know how amazing they are and already know everything I’m about to say. If, however, you are on the fence about getting one, this post is for you!

First I’ll give you the bad news. The cabanas are expensive! $549 for 6 guests at the family beach and $399 for four guests at the adult beach, Serenity Bay. You can add 4 more guests at the family beach, or two at the adult beach. Each additional guest will cost $50. If that didn’t scare you off, here’s more bad news. They’re almost impossible to get! Concierge guests usually snatch these up before most guests ever get a shot at them. That should tell you something about how awesome they are though! They do show up for everyone else from time to time though! People cancel their cruise, change their minds on cabanas, etc. So if you want one, keep trying! And here are some reasons why you should. Read the rest of this entry »

Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: December 18, 2014

by on December 18, 2014 2 Comments

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1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re visiting the Disney’s Art of Animation Resort to check out a Cars suite. Then we’re stopping in the Magic Kingdom to see some parade taping fun, eating at Liberty Tree Tavern, and playing in the park. Lastly, we’re heading to Downtown Disney and even dropping by Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort! Phew – I’m tired already! Let’s get going! :)

I was really looking forward to checking into our Cars suite. I’d previously stayed in The Lion King section, but since I love Cars Land I thought this would be my new favorite. After a stop by the front desk to switch rooms (we’d been in The Little Mermaid section earlier in the week), we were off to the races. Or were we? You’ll have to read more to find out!  Read the rest of this entry »