Tokyo Disneyland has always been a bit of a mythological and mysterious place to me. In the late 80s and early 90s (before I had the internet in my home) I would always see glimpses of it in the old Disney News Magazines. The pictures I saw of the park made it look similar, but different enough that it always held my curiosity. Tokyo Disneyland continued to stay on my mind in 2001 when Tokyo DisneyÂ Resort’s second gate opened, DisneySea. Every picture I’ve seen of DisneySea make the park look absolutely spectacular. Anyway, backÂ to the Tokyo resort being mysterious to me. I think one of the most daunting tasks most people have when they think about visiting Tokyo Disneyland is that they don’t even know where to start with their planning. I know I was the same way. Hopefully this and future blog posts I write on this subject will help you plan a trip to Japan. That’s my goal.
I’m a native to Los Angeles California and have been visiting the original Disneyland since 1986. This will not only be my first time visiting Tokyo Disneyland, but also my first time traveling out of the country. My wife will be making the trip with me and because it also her first time in Japan we will take advantage of doing some non-Disney sightseeing in Tokyo and Osaka. Read the rest of this entry »
Ever find yourself wanting to visit Disneyland but have nobody to go with? Itâ€™s nothing to be afraid of! Some of the best trips Iâ€™ve ever had visiting Disney Parks have been by myself. I used to be an Annual Passholder for Disneyland Resort Paris and would make a stop in the parks whenever I was travelling from anywhere in mainland Europe back to London, where I was living at the time. (I had to pass through Paris by train anyway, so I figured, why not tack on a half day in the parks?) I also visit Walt Disney World solo on occasion to participate in Run Disney events. (If youâ€™re thinking of visiting WDW alone, check out these great tips from fellow blogger Claire.)
Now that I am a Southern California resident, I frequently visit the Disneyland Resort, but because Iâ€™m new to the area and donâ€™t know too many people, I donâ€™t always have someone to go with. (Especially since Iâ€™m sure that Iâ€™m interested in going much more frequently than any of the new friends I am making, if they even have an Annual Pass. Iâ€™m not a â€śfew times a yearâ€ť guest, to say the least.)
Touring the parks solo offers many advantages: You can can go at your own pace; you arenâ€™t forced to doing anything you dislike; you can make new friends, etc. If you decide to visit the Disneyland Resort by yourself, here are a few helpful tips. Read the rest of this entry »
The Walt Disney World Resort is 47 square miles, which isÂ about the same size of San Francisco. A resort this size is pretty certain to have whatever you might be looking for. For those as addicted to caffeine as I am, my first question in the morning is, “Where’s the coffee?” With this mind, here is myÂ quick and dirty “top ten” guide onÂ where to find coffee at Disney World. Now, this list isn’t all-inclusive, and it isn’t even ranked (who can really say one Starbucks is better than another), but I will give you a list of ten options for you to keep in mind when you’re on your “Where’s Waldo?” search for a tasty cup of Joe.
Starbucks at the West Side of Downtown Disney is easy to spot, next to the Characters in Flight attraction
Starbucks – West Side Downtown Disney: Nestled next to the Characters in Flight balloon launch in Downtown Disney’s West Side, this coffee mecca is pretty easy to find.Â And the curse/blessing of any chain restaurant is that you know exactly what you’re getting when you order your favorite beverage here. StarbucksÂ regulars can even use theirÂ StarbucksÂ gift cardsÂ here. What makes this location unique from any other location is the impeccable coffee theming. True to Disney form,Â you are immersed in coffee culture, so takeÂ some time to peruse the walls and learn a bit about this addictive little bean we all love so much. Once you’ve grabbed your beverage, snag a window seat toÂ watch shoppers stroll along or the Characters in Flight balloon lift-off. Or sip while you doodle on the interactive screen. Read the rest of this entry »
Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here atÂ Walt Disney World! This week we’ll be visiting the Magic Kingdom to check out progress on all the renovations there then heading over to Downtown Disney to see what’s new. We’ve got a lot to cover so let’s get started with a sunny Saturday morning at Cinderella’s Castle. It looks like it isn’t that crowded from the photo but when I arrived at the gates at 8:45am they’d already started letting people in the park. I knew there was no way I’d get toÂ Seven Dwarfs Mine TrainÂ without a long wait so I took my time wanderingÂ into the park.Â
It’s been a while since we’ve been shopping so I stopped into the Emporium. This early in the morning you can see how empty it is in there. You can also hear a bird that flew into the shop and was hanging out!
I also encountered a few of my favorite things on Main Street….
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, at least I hopeÂ Kylene Hamulak thinks so! I loved her throw back Thursday article so much I decided to share one of my own. This time visiting Disneyland’s Club 33 before the much debated renovation. I thought now was a great time to preserve the information in case the club emerges nothing like it was in the past. Now, I must apologize for the photo quality. Back in 2011 I hadn’t picked up photography as a hobby just yet. That plusÂ my hands trembling with excitement led to some pretty sad results! Â If you want to see (always) amazing photos, check out this old post by THE Tom Bricker.
I’ll never forget how nervous I was that day! I couldn’t think about anything else and I made my hubby push the button to check us in. When they first opened the door and we stepped inside,Â I immediately snapped a photo of the inside of that door! I’d been waiting so long to see it! It was surprisingly… red. Actually the entire entry was a bright red color with a lovely staircase directly in front of us and the French lift on the right. Maybe I remember that color so well because all my photos are just a smeared mess of that red! We asked to take the French Lift up to our table and it’s really as tiny as people say.
Below is my first photo of the day that turned out. Once we sat down I took a deep breath andÂ photographed everything on the table. Our server tried to unfold my napkin to place it on my lap and was a little confused when I stopped her. I was worried she’d think we were “that” kind of table but it ended up that she was really lovely and appreciated how much we treasured being there.
After taking a few minutes to appreciate the dining room we thought we should grab something to eat. When we wereÂ at Club 33 you not only got to order from a gourmet menu, there was also a buffet to start your meal. The options were immense with cheeses, seafood, meats, salad, fruit, soups, and more. I wonder if this tradition will continue with the new club? It was an amazing way to start off your meal! Read the rest of this entry »
Today, we’re following up with the first installment of our most frequently requested touring plan: one-day/two-park plans covering both sides of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. These new plans cover both Universal Studios FloridaÂ and Islands of Adventure. They feature all Harry Potter attractions (including rides on the Hogwarts Express in both directions) in a single day, and assume you have a Park-To-Park (Universal lingo for “parkhopper”) ticket.
[Note: If you caught the early edition of this post, you may notice that the touring plans have changed slightly. Using the latest data crunched overnight, we've tweaked the morning attraction order to squeeze in one extra attraction! Similar upgrades have already been made to the premium one day USF/Diagon Alley plans we've previously published. You're welcome!]
. Read the rest of this entry »
Ahoy mateys! I’m back from my first trip to Alaska via Disney Cruise Line. In upcoming posts, new Touring Plans blogger Kristi Fredericks and I will be back with tips on activities, excursions, and pre/post cruise hotel options. But in the meantime, I thought I’d share a few quick tips to whet your whistle, pique your interest, and otherwise get you ready for the frozen fun ahead.
The Disney Wonder port terminal is directly adjacent to Canada Place, a large convention center. Several of the Canada Place coffee shops and snack bars offer free WiFi to their customers. If you’re in need of a last minute Internet fix, grab a cup of coffee with a view of the ship before heading into the terminal where online access can be spotty.
A primary attraction at Canada Place is “FlyOver Canada.” This is Soarin’, but with footage of Canadian points of interest rather than shots of California. It ain’t cheap (adults are $19.95, students over age 18 are $17.95, and kids are $14.95, plus tax) for a 10-ish minute ride, but the Disney geek in me felt compelled to compare/contrast the experience to that at Epcot and Disney’s California Adventure. The similarity to Soarin’ was almost shocking; the seating is the same, the lift is the same, even the pre-show safety video is similar. My husband and daughter ended up preferring Soarin’ because the music is better and they like the Smell-O-Vision orange groves in the California version, but I (please don’t take away my WDW annual pass when I say this) think I prefer the Canadian experience. The wind simulation is used to better effect in Canada, the screen is wider/taller in Canada, and most importantly, the film print is totally clean in Canada, so your immersion in the experience is not diluted by specks of dust flying over the countryside.
The Granville Island market is a must-do for any Vancouver visitor, but Disney geeks will find special pleasure in knowing that among the displays of fresh salmon, spiced nuts, and exotic fruits, you can find a vendor selling actual real live Dole Whip. Look for a vendor called The Milkman. Enjoy!
Dole Whip in Vancouver
Unlike the somewhat confusing and inefficient town to airport public transportation options in my home town of New York, the Vancouver public subway/rail system is easy to understand, clean, and efficient. If you’re not burdened by copious amounts of luggage, the easiest/fastest/cheapest way to get from the airport to the port is likely public transit. Direct point to point takes about 25 minutes and costs about $7.00, depending on the day of the week.
At the Vancouver airport, the international departures area near gates numbered in the 70s and 80s currently features several large display cases with vintage Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Pluto toys dating from the 1930s to present day – think variations on Pez and Happy Meal offerings, but hundreds of them.
The Starbucks in the Vancouver airport (and presumably elsewhere in the region) serves an uber-Canadian treat, the Maple Macchiato. It’s like a vanilla macchiato, but with an ample drizzle of maple topping made with “real Canadian Maple Syrup found from the Beauce-Appalanche region of Quebec.” Presumably this is no great shakes for you native Canadians out there, but honestly, this small detail was the thing that made this American most feel like Canada was actually another country.
The Vancouver airport will not allow you to check in on site prior to three hours before your trip. Nor, for international flights, will they allow you check in when there are fewer than 60 minutes before your flight. Timing is critical here.
Summer is here, and by now hopefully everyone has had a chance to enjoy a fireworks display. I got a chance to enjoy the fireworks in a small Colorado town on the 4th of July. My friends’ house had a great view of the town’s fireworks display from their back deck, so all we had to do was sit down and enjoy!
I did notice that something was missing. While the display was an impressive sight and had a variety of fireworks, there wasn’t really anyÂ plan to the show. One shot went up. BOOM! Another shot went up. BOOM! Oh – here’s a change of pace -Â two going off at the same time! BOOM BOOM! The only time the show really ratcheted it up was at the end, when the sky was smothered with all of the fireworks they had left.
As the sun rises over Walt Disney World, prepare yourself to beat the heat
Though itâ€™s no secret that Florida summers can be hotter than the surface of the sun, itâ€™s also one of Walt Disney Worldâ€™s busiest seasons. Thereâ€™s no way to avoid the high temperatures, but there are some things you can do to plan for hot fun in the summertime. As a follow up to TouringPlan’s previous Disney World summer tips, here are some additional ideas to keep you cool in the kingdom!
Universal Annual Passes are a great way for even infrequent guests to save money.
We have been vacationing to Florida for the past seventeen years; visiting Universal Orlando Resort on each trip. During this time, it had never occurred to me to purchase an annual pass. After all, annual passes are more for those people who live close and can visit many times in the same year, right? I couldn’t have been more wrong.
It wasn’t until recently that I discovered the potential savings of purchasing an annual pass for Universal. The annual passes can be a money saving option for people visiting as few as two days. Not only do you get unlimited day passes to the parks, but you also get free parking, discounts on food, merchandise, admission and special event tickets, and onsite hotel discounts.