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Music Made More Popular by Disney Parks

by on January 25, 2015 12 Comments

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icon5Much of the wonderful music that we hear at Walt Disney World and Disneyland are music taken from Disney television or movies. If you’ve followed the AtMousePhere blog posts, we’ve taken a look at how some Disney songs fit perfectly into an area, and other songs are rearranged.

In other areas of the Parks, however, Disney Imagineers incorporated music from outside the Disney universe. Especially in an area like Epcot, using pieces of music from that country or land makes that area in the Park more “authentic.”

Ever since I took an interest in Disney Parks music back in 2009, I did a lot of research to find songs that I heard on MouseWorld Radio and in YouTube videos of the Parks. I learned the names and artists, found out how I could purchase the song, and then did so. Sometimes I found the song on iTunes, sometimes on Amazon, and other times I actually had to order a CD because it wasn’t available in mp3.

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SATURDAY SIX: The Six Best Attractions at the Universal Orlando Resort According to Our All-Star Panel

by on January 24, 2015 3 Comments

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This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the Six Best Attractions at the Universal Orlando Resort. We invited distinguished theme park experts from all over the world to come together and decide – once and for all – what the six best attractions are at the Universal Orlando Resort. Unfortunately, they were all busy. So instead we would like to introduce to you an all star, blue ribbon panel, made up of Universal experts. These include members of some of the greatest Universal websites (including Orlando United and Orlando Informer), the best Universal podcasts (including Parkscope and the Unofficial Universal Orlando Podcast), the most amazing Uni photogs (including Mike Sperduto and Brandon Glover), high ranking officials of the Theme Park Illuminati (such as Len Testa and Jim Hill), fan favorite park icons (including Scarlett Litton and Mark Diba), and the man who literally wrote the book on Universal, Seth Kubersky. We used a total of 25 individuals, in honor of Universal’s upcoming 25th Anniversary.

SaturdaySix_Computer

SATURDAY SIX staff crunching numbers.

The Criteria: Each of the 25 experts voted on what they consider to be the six best attractions at the Universal Orlando Resort. These attractions could be any ride or show currently in Islands of Adventure or Universal Studios Florida. Special event shows – such as Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure or the Blues Brothers Christmas Show – were not eligible. Each attraction listed would be awarded ONE point, except for the attraction that the voter ranked in his #1 spot – that received TWO points. The votes were then sent to a top secret location in Florida and counted no less than 22 times (we’ve had some problems in the past. Sorry, Mr. Gore). The results are in, and we now proudly present….

The DEFINITIVE GUIDE to the SIX BEST ATTRACTIONS at the UNIVERSAL ORLANDO RESORT.

# 6 – MEN IN BLACK: Alien Attack (14 Points)

BEST_MIB_Sperduto

MEN IN BLACK: Alien Attack. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Jim Hill, JimHillMedia.com – Steven Spielberg was supposedly the guy who came up with Universal Studios Florida’s original catch phrase (“Ride the Movies”). But MEN IN BLACK: Alien Attack was the first theme park attraction that really did allow guests to ride a movie. To immerse theme park visitors in this hyper-detailed environment that then tried to replicate the specific look & feel of a particular motion picture. So much of what Universal Creative has since been celebrated for when it comes to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, it first did with the April 2000 opening of this 70,000 square foot attraction. From the exterior to this enormous show building (which replicates the observation towers of the New York State Pavilion that played such an important part in the finale of the original Men in Black movie) to the insane level of detail found in this attraction’s queue (e.g., being able to listen in on the “worm guys” as they take their coffee break) to how interactive the actual “Alien Attack” ride is all by itself… The sheer ambition of MIB:AA is still kind of mind-blowing. And then when you factor in that upwards of 2200 Guests are able to experience this USF attraction every hour … Well, is it any wonder that the Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) decided to give Universal Creative an Outstanding Achievement award in 2001 for all the great work that it did on this interactive, genuinely immersive attraction?

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Universal Orlando Early Park Admission Now at Islands of Adventure Only

by on January 23, 2015 9 Comments

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Universal Orlando Early Park Admission IOA

Universal Orlando Early Park Admission policies have changed once again. (photo by Seth Kubersky)

Welcome back to the never-ending saga of Universal Orlando Early Park Admission procedures. As of January 20, 2015, Universal has yet again adjusted the popular perk offered to their on-site hotel guests. Early Park Admission to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, which allows eligible guests into the resort’s most popular area one hour before the general public, is now restricted to only Hogsmeade at Islands of Adventure.

A quick recap: IOA offered early entry hours from the time the first Harry Potter land opened in 2010 until last year. Once Diagon Alley opened last summer, both parks opened for early park admission until the summer season ended, at which point only Universal Studios Florida was opened. This made sense, as most guests are primarily interested in the new Diagon Alley, and early park admission was the best time by far to experience Escape from Gringotts without a lengthy wait.

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In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of January 23, 2015

by on January 23, 2015 2 Comments

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In Case You Missed It!

In Case You Missed It!

I promise that this week’s “In Case You Missed It” has not be deflated in any way, shape, or form; it is perfectly intact. No DeflateGate here!

This week’s article features a plethora of fun including a cool relic from 1955 Tomorrowland, an article about what could be behind Frozen’s popularity, and more!

 

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

 

Congrats to the all new Four Seasons resort! It was named as one of AAA’s Five Diamond Award recipients, making it the only Five Diamond resort in Orlando.

Reports were released of the injuries associated with rides at the major theme parks in Orlando; here are this quarter’s results.

Oh my god, I’m in love! Have you seen the new Starbucks/Disney mugs? I’m not one who usually has to collect coffee mugs, despite my massive love for coffee, but these I think are gonna be must-haves. (I’m also gonna need that plastic tumbler too.) Read the rest of this entry »

Historic Cocoa Village: Unique Shopping and Dining near Port Canaveral

by on January 23, 2015

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Here at TouringPlans, we always recommend that cruisers arrive a day early for their Disney Cruise if possible. Things can happen, and the ship will leave without you if you’re running late. So what do you do for entertainment in the 24 hours before you leave? Sure, you could spend a day at Walt Disney World or even stay there and take a Disney transfer to Port Canaveral, but that’s a lot of money in park admission, plus the additional cost of the bus ride ($70 round trip, per person). Or you could stay closer to the port and explore the area.

Just a short drive from Port Canaveral, a historic downtown district offers riverfront views, eclectic dining, unique and local shopping, and an atmosphere that promises fun for all ages. It’s called Historic Cocoa Village, and it’s the perfect addition to your Cocoa Beach or Port Canaveral stay.

Cocoa Riverfront Park - Natalie Reinert

Riverfront Park, just east of Cocoa Village, offers a boardwalk along the Indian River.

Stretching over a handful of city blocks alongside the Indian River and State Route 520 (King Street), Cocoa Village is a thriving example of downtown revitalization, with a distinctively Floridian feel. Umbrella trees shade cafes tucked away in quiet courtyards, palm trees line the streets, and shops dedicated to flip flops and resort-wear stand alongside restaurants featuring house-made ice cream and Southern cooking.

On the eastern side, a playground shaded by live oaks gives way to an outdoor amphitheater and a boardwalk stretching along the Indian River, offering panoramic views of the boat-dotted river and the faraway shoreline of Merritt Island. Read the rest of this entry »

Relocating to Florida: Part Three: The Florida Difference and Disney as a local

by on January 23, 2015 4 Comments

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TouringPlans logoWe’ve made it to the final installment in my relocation series! Below are links to Part One and Part Two.

Part One: Weather and Finances

Part Two: New Surroundings and the Disney Distance

We’re back with fellow Touringplans bloggers Julia Mascardo and Natalie Reinert as we discuss the Florida difference and traveling to Walt Disney World as a local.

How often did you think you’d be visiting the parks?

Julia: I thought that we’d probably be at the parks once or twice a week.

Natalie: As long as we are living nearby, we’ll be at the parks a few times a week.

How often do you actually visit the parks?

Julia: Like we thought, once or twice is what we do in a typical week. We often do end up at a resort once a week as well, just to grab breakfast or dinner.
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Using an Electric Scooter (ECV) at Walt Disney World

by on January 22, 2015 36 Comments

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Renting a scooter can help your senior keep up.

Your chariot awaits!

My mom, Terri, has two autoimmune diseases: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Rhematoid Arthritis (RA). Because of this, walking for long periods of time (especially in the hot sun) causes her pain, dizziness and exhaustion. We have visited Walt Disney World many times and each time, she did her best to explore the parks on foot. However, as her diseases progressed, walking became more and more difficult for her. She tried to walk slower and take more breaks, but we could still see the pain in her eyes. My mom is a selfless and caring person, so she felt guilty. She felt she was holding us back and letting us down. She saw us changing plans to accommodate her and so she started making excuses to stay behind in the room to prevent any inconveniences.

Time for a Change

I noticed her attitude change, and explained that she was neither an inconvenience nor letting us down. I don’t see her as a woman with two diseases. I see her as my loving mother. My family and I love spending time with her and were so sad to see her missing out on the fun. I spoke with my Dad and we approached the subject of an electric scooter, or electric conveyance vehicle (ECV). At first, she declined. She was embarrassed because she thought she would be the only one using one. She thought getting around would be difficult and using Disney transportation would be a hassle.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: January 22, 2015

by on January 22, 2015 14 Comments

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IMG_2409Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’ll be visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios for all the latest updates, stopping by Downtown Disney for a little food truck action, and finishing up at Magic Kingdom. Ready for some beautiful, blue Florida skies? Let’s get moving! :)

Early Saturday morning we set out for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I knew with the holiday weekend and awesome weather that we’d be facing a crowd. You can see from the photo that it wasn’t too crowded when we arrived, but that changed fast. Speaking of fast, check out the progress removing the hat! I can’t believe how fast it’s coming down. In the bottom right hand side of the photo you can see the actual top of the hat behind the construction wall. It’s so much bigger than it looks! Want to see what other fun stuff we found this weekend? Be sure to click to read more! Read the rest of this entry »

What You Get at Disney World for $500, $1,000, $1,500, and $2,000

by on January 21, 2015 15 Comments

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Abuela Testa's gaspacho soup mix is an excellent money-saver

Abuela Testa’s gaspacho soup mix is an excellent money-saver

For the next edition of the Unofficial Guide, we interviewed dozens of families planning their first Disney trip, and Disney-specialist travel agents who talk to Orlando-bound families every day. Almost all of them said the cost of a Disney vacation was the biggest surprise, and more important to them than when to travel, where to stay, or how to beat the lines.

All money questions involve trade-offs, of course, and only you know what you’re willing to do to save a buck. For every person who thinks a $65 per day food allowance is malnourishment, there’s another who says they can feed a family of 5 on $10 and some budget gazpacho made with leftover Taco Bell sauce and hot water.

To give you a realistic idea of how much to budget, we’ve created the following set of charts showing the kind of Disney World vacation your family can get for $500, $1,000, $1,500, and $2,000. Each column represents a different family demographic, and each row represents a different budget amount. Our starting assumptions are at the bottom of the page.

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Memory Maker FAQs

by on January 21, 2015 24 Comments

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PhotoPass Memory Maker ©Disney

The Memory Maker gets you digital copies of all of your PhotoPass photos. Photo ©Disney

Disclaimer: While I am a Cast Member, the following is based on my own experience and does not necessarily reflect the policies of the Walt Disney Company.

Philosophers of the age ask: If there are no pictures, did it really happen? Photos are an integral part of preserving your Disney moments and sharing the memories with family and friends. To that end, Disney offers the Memory Maker for purchase. The Memory Maker is a way to get digital copies of all of the PhotoPass photos and videos from your Walt Disney World vacation. Like any major Disney purchase, you should look at the pros and cons before you decide to drop the cash. I recently had the opportunity to use a Memory Maker as a Guest and participated in the One-day Memory Maker pilot program as a Cast Member. Here are the questions I heard from Guests—and had myself—about the Memory Maker.

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