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Disney California Adventure Videos: Mariachi Divas and World of Color

by on April 20, 2014

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Disney California Adventure videos Mariachi Divas World of Color

Watch these videos and see World of Color in a whole new way. (images by Seth Kubersky)

Just as Walt famously said that the Disney empire “all started with a mouse,” the magic of Touring Plans all started with a book — namely, the Unofficial Guide. As co-author (with Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa) of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland, I’m proud to announce that preliminary work is complete on the 2015 edition of our Anaheim guidebook, which will make its way to store shelves in plenty of time for the resort’s upcoming 60th anniversary. Naturally, we’ll continue to refine the text right up until the time it is sent to the printers later this year, and we’ll be bringing you details on the changes made to the tome as its publication approaches in the fall. But for now, I wanted to share a tiny taste of a couple of the changes coming to the Unofficial Guide, via a few fun Disney California Adventure videos — featuring the Mariachi Divas and World of Color — that I recorded during my most recent visit to the Happiest Place on Earth.

Mariachi Divas

The Mariachi Divas are one of my favorite under-the-radar entertainment diversions found at Disney California Adventure, but until now they’ve be unjustly under-represented in the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland. We’ve rectified that with an an expanded entry on this fabulously festive singing group.

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Disney Money Saving Tips from Liners

by on April 19, 2014 7 Comments

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TouringPlans logoAs we write our updates for the 2015 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, I find myself reaching out to Liners for their best quotes and tips.  First, you many ask yourself, “what’s a Liner?” Well, you know Lines? The highest rated Disney free or paid app on iTunes or Google Play? The one that comes with your TouringPlans subscription? In it is a feature called Chat. Subscribers can even access it on their desktop computers by going to http://m.touringplans.com and logging in. It’s a lively unstructured discussion of all things Disney, and there are some pretty knowledgeable users online who can answer all kinds of questions in 255 characters or less. This week I asked, “What are your Disney money saving tips?

 

Chat

A preview of the conversations you’re missing

 

Disney Money Saving Tips from Liners

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Outrageous Food Items at Walt Disney World

by on April 19, 2014

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This week’s SATURDAY SIX covers Top Six Outrageous Food Items at Walt Disney World. Regular readers of this column know that we like our theme park food, and the more outrageous it is, the better. While Disney has its fair share of fine dining (Victoria & Albert’s, California Grill, and Jiko among others), it also has many food items that would make your cholesterol and blood sugar rise just by looking at them. Today we are going to look at six of our favorites…

# 6 – The Doh-Bar (Cookes of Dublin)

Downtown Disney is our first stop, and while Raglan Road is the critics’ darling, Cookes of Dublin next door has one of our favorite snacks on property, the ‘Doh bar.’ Picture this: a Snickers bar is dipped into donut batter, deep fried, and then sprinkled with powdered sugar. Basically, a work of art that ranks somewhere in between Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa and Michaelangelo’s David.

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The ‘Doh bar” – Donut Battered Snickers

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In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of April 18, 2014

by on April 18, 2014

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In Case You Missed It!

Have you been busy dying eggs and eating the ears off chocolate bunnies? Here’s what you missed this week!

In Case You Missed It – Disney News and Rumors

Easter is this weekend and one of my favorite things that Walt Disney World used to do was televise their Easter Day Parade? There was nothing like waking up with Joan London and Alan Thicke as they shared commentary about all the Easter happenings. Today, I have for you the 1990 parade. Unfortunately there are a few pieces missing, but it’s still fun to watch! (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5 Part 6, Part 7, Part 8) It’s also a nice reminder of when these parades weren’t super over produced and we actually got to watch the parade! If anyone else has any of these old parades, you should totally post them on YouTube. I’m always looking for these videos around Easter. I miss this parade so much!

Parents Magazine had a great article about the “Top 5 Things To Do With Preschoolers at Walt Disney World.” There were some great suggestions for parents to consider.

Have you ever noticed that a lot of things related to Disney revolve around birds? There are birds everywhere in many of Disney’s films and in the theme parks. Find out more. (My favorite birds…the seagulls from Finding Nemo. Mine!) Read the rest of this entry »

2014 Grand Floridian Easter Eggs

by on April 18, 2014 2 Comments

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One of the things I love most about writing for Touring Plans is that it encourages me to go out and see things I would have skipped in the past. If you can believe it this is the third annual Easter Egg display at the Grand Floridian, but the first year I’ve stopped by for a visit. I have each and every one of you to thank, because the display is incredible! I couldn’t think of a better way to wish everyone a happy Easter and to share some photos! First the lovely Briar Rose:

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And on the reverse side of the princess is her Prince Phillip. Can you believe each of these eggs is between 16 – 20 inches tall and weighs over 9 pounds even though they are hollow? Also, in frame you can see a non-Disney themed egg. There are eighteen eggs on display this year so I couldn’t feature all of them. Though I focused on the Disney eggs there are others that are more traditional or themed after famous works of art. They are all exquisite! Read the rest of this entry »

Even More TouringPlans Content in 2014

by on April 18, 2014 18 Comments

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Original Flavor Unofficial Guide

Original Flavor Unofficial Guide

It started with a book. The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. Then TouringPlans.com came online in 2001 covering Walt Disney World and, later, Disneyland. Last year, TouringPlans launched Universal Orlando and Disney Cruise Line.

This year, we want to bring even more trip planning content to you. We are sending researchers out to Disney destinations over the globe, and we’ll need your help deciding the best content to cover. Over the next few months, we’ll be introducing our team, some of whom you already know from the blog, some who prefer to spend time behind the scenes. They will tell you about where we’re sending them, a little bit about their travel parties, and ask what you want to know about planning your own trips there. Nearly everyone (sorry, Morgan!) is going somewhere he or she has never been before. We’ve got whole families, couples, and friends traveling together.

You can even share the experience with us. Read the rest of this entry »

Magic Kingdom FastPass+ Parade and Fireworks Viewing Tips and Observations

by on April 17, 2014 25 Comments

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FastPass+ parade and fireworks viewing tips

Get a VIP view with FastPass+ parade and fireworks viewing areas at the Magic Kingdom (photos by Seth Kubersky)

Welcome to the future of fireworks and parades at Walt Disney World! In recent weeks, as the final rollout of FastPass+ has concluded in the Disney World parks, I’ve been sharing my experiences using the system as an Annual Passholder at Epcot, as well as at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Since my last post, FastPass+ has been fully implemented for all Disney World guests, including day-guests not staying on Disney property, and I’ve finally had the opportunity to experience one of the most controversial aspects of the new system. Without further ado, here are my FastPass+ parade and fireworks viewing tips, based on my personal observations at the Magic Kingdom.

 

Festival of Fantasy FastPass+ Parade Viewing

When the features of FastPass+ were first announced, the private reserved viewing areas for parades and other spectaculars were the aspect I was most skeptical (even cynical) about. Personally, such performances are usually very low on my priority list during a park visit for several reasons. Most of the parades had grown quite stale to me from years of over-exposure, I have an aversion to spending valuable touring time staking out a spot of asphalt just to get a good view, and I can’t abide being crammed like sardines in the crowd that accompanies the procession. So I would normally use that time to take advantage of marginally shorter queues at my favorite attractions. If I did want to see a parade, I’d typically walk up a minute or so before it started, and make do with a partial view blocked by the sea of shoulder-sitting small-fries in front of me. With a limit (soon to be lifted) of only 3 FastPass+ reservations per day, I couldn’t see myself “wasting” one on something like a parade when Space and Splash are beckoning.

This is currently the closest you can get to Anna and Elsa from Frozen without a mult-hour wait for their meet & greet.

 

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Obervations: Epcot April 10, 2014

by on April 17, 2014 6 Comments

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Date: April 10, 2014
Crowd Level: 3
Weather: 77°F at 5 p.m. with no rain

It’s time for a walk around Epcot during the middle of what is Spring Break season down here. I actually started out in Future World this time around, which is kind of rare for me as I like to come in the back gate at the International Gateway. I took some shots of the entrance topiary, but instead of focusing on the characters I wanted to catch the riot of wildflowers around them. To my surprise, there are glass flowers intermingled with real flowers, and they’re fantastic! Here are a few shots.

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Tours of Epcot: Behind The Seeds

by on April 16, 2014 26 Comments

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Do you love Living With The Land at Epcot? I don’t know what it is about this quiet, little boat ride that holds my attention. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s one of the few attractions that still feels like the Epcot from my childhood. The Behind The Seeds Tour at Epcot offers guests the chance to walk through the greenhouses seen on the boat ride and take a closer look. While just taking a stroll through this location is worth the price of admission, the tour offers some great “edutainment” about the future of gardening. 

To sign up you simply need to purchase tickets at the desk in the Soarin’ boarding area. We’ve done the first tour of the day in the past for fear they would sell out. However, this time we showed up just 30 minutes before the last tour of the day and were able to join with no issue. Then we just had to meet back by the desk five minutes before our tour time. The below information contains lots of spoilers about the tour. If you’d like to be surprised, you might want to scroll down to the bottom past the numbered sections.

The tour begins when your guide whisks you to a backstage location to explain the tour rules. First, guests are encouraged to ask as many questions as they can. Your tour guide is normally an intern here on the college program with a shocking amount of botany knowledge. I was very impressed with our guide and the frequent questions she was able to answer! Rule number two is that photography is not only allowed, it’s encouraged! I was excited about that one because I often get lectures on tours because they see my big camera coming. It was nice to be welcomed despite the fact that we were in backstage areas. The final rule is the most important: do not touch any plants. This one seemed obvious to me, but what I hadn’t thought of the reason they make this request. In the greenhouse they have exotic plants from all over the world that many people have never been exposed to, and likely will never be exposed to again. The Behind The Seeds Tour at Epcot is not a great time to find out you’re wildly allergic to some rare plant! So that no touching request is just as much to protect you as it is the plants.

IMG_1904

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Disney is Looking For a Million Dollar Arm

by on April 16, 2014

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©Disney

©Disney

Do you have a Million Dollar Arm? That’s what Disney is looking for in this new contest. If you can throw a 100-mph fastball, you could potentially win $1 million.

How? Well, to promote Disney’s upcoming movie, Million Dollar Arm, on April 25-26 Walt Disney Studios is holding a competition where contestants will have three chances to throw the fastest strike they can.

Participants can attempt the feat at one of three locations. Guests can test their arms at Downtown Disney at Disneyland (California) and at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World (Florida) from 7:00 a.m-6:00 p.m. local time. In New York, the competition will take place at the Tribeca Family Festival on April 26, from 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. All who participate in the contest get complimentary tickets for themselves and a guest to attend an advance screening of Million Dollar Arm at a nearby AMC Theatre.

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