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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons To Go On a Disney Cruise

by on October 25, 2014 1 Comment

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This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons To Go On a Disney Cruise. Earlier this month I was fortunate to be able to take my first ever Disney Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder as part of TouringPlans #Everywhere promotion. The experience was pretty amazing overall, and while before the trip I had a hard time understanding why people would pay so much for a Disney Cruise when there are some great alternatives (such as Royal Caribbean) for a fraction of the price, I now see exactly what draws people back again and again to DCL. In fact, I think for many Disney fans a sailing on the DCL is a Must Do as it provides an overall immersion in the Disney Brand that even many on-site WDW vacations can’t compete with. Today we are going to look at six of the reasons you should consider popping a Dramamine and sailing the high seas with Mickey and the gang. Remember that clicking on any picture will bring it up in full size, so grab that life jacket and let’s start counting down…

# 6 – The Characters

DCL_Character_Donald

Donald Duck on the DCL Wonder.

 

We knew that there was going to be characters on board the Disney ships that you could meet, but we were not prepared for how many. There were the Fab 5 of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto. The ubiquitous Chip and Dale. Daisy Duck. Frozen‘s Anna and Elsa. Disney Jr. characters such as Sofia the First and Jake. Disney princesses including Ariel, Tiana, Rapunzel, Snow White, Aurora, Belle, and Cinderella. Lastly, there were miscellaneous characters such as Peter Pan, Capt. Hook, and Stitch. These were just the ones that I personally saw throughout the cruise, as we never looked to see where the characters would be, or at what time, which leads me to believe that there are even more that I didn’t see.

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The Sorcerer’s Hat at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to be Removed

by on October 24, 2014 9 Comments

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Sorcerer's Hat at Disney's Hollywood Studios

©Disney

All day, I’ve been seeing the rumors, but it now appears to be official! The iconic Sorcerer’s Hat at the end of Hollywood Boulevard in front of the Chinese Theatre at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is being removed.

The Sorcerer’s Hat was introduced into the park in 2001 as a part of the “100 Years of Magic” celebration, which honored Walt Disney’s 100th birthday and was initially supposed to be temporary. According to Disney, the hat was built as a representation of the magic of show business and the entertainment wizardry of Disney that is captured throughout shows and attractions at the park.

Not a lot of news has been released about the removal, but it certainly appears that big changes are on tap for Disney’s Hollywood Studios, with multiple attractions closing over the past few months. Just today, it was announced that The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow is also closing.

Disney has not announced a date for the removal of the Sorcerer’s Hat; however, rumors are indicating that work will begin sometime in early 2015 (likely January).

“The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios to Close

by on October 24, 2014 5 Comments

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©Disney

©Disney

The lackluster attraction “The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is slated to close for good; its last day of operation is November 6.

The interactive attraction takes guests through different pirate adventures in a room designed like a pirate’s cave lair. The attraction was pretty poorly presented and included sections where guests were supposed to chant and stomp their feet, which seemed to be geared more towards very young children. The show also featured somewhat scary confrontations with skeletons, singing mermaids, and a Kraken, all utilizing state of the art technology.

Over the past year the attraction also featured an unusual queuing process where guests would obtain a paper ticket with a specific show time printed on it. Guests would then return about 10 minutes prior to the show time.

The walk-through show opened in December 2012, replacing the “Journey into Narnia: Prince Caspian” attraction. Currently there has been no announcement of what may be taking the place of “The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow” attraction.

In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of October 24, 2014

by on October 24, 2014

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In Case You Missed It!

We are one week from Halloween! I’ve already bought my candy (um…I may need to buy more; I can’t say there’s much left). I have also got the pumpkin all ready to carve. There are so many options, but I think I want to try to one of these choices. (I really love the Tower of Terror one!)

Today, I bring you a ton of articles about upcoming movies, including ones about Big Hero 6 and the upcoming  2016 film Moana, plus more!

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

 

Disney is a finalist for the “Innovation By Design” award for MyMagic+ from Fast Company. Congrats for the nomination!

For the upcoming Big Hero 6, Disney created a fantastic new rendering system, called Hyperion, which helped to create some of the fantastic lighting effects utilized in the movie. Read more about how this system came to fruition. Read the rest of this entry »

Disneyland Resort Crowd Report – October 12 to 18, 2014

by on October 24, 2014

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Columbus Day Crowds led the way at Disneyland Resort last week, then crowds settled for the second half. We continue to see crowds focused on weekends and adjacent days while mid-week crowds remain around average levels, sometimes lower at Disney California Adventure.

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

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How Much Do Toiletries and Sundries Cost at Disney?

by on October 24, 2014 5 Comments

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Despite copious planning with packing lists, it’s all but inevitable that mishaps will occur when traveling. Little Billy gets a fever during your trip and you neglected to bring the Children’s Tylenol. You thought you husband was packing toothpaste and he thought you were, so now you have none. You accidentally left your sunscreen at the pool yesterday and are now about to be burned to a crisp by the thousand degree sun.

IMG_7076

All of these problems are easy to solve at Walt Disney World and on Disney Cruise Line. (Disneyland’s close proximity to the external world makes access to replacement items less of an issue there.) The ship and hotel gift shops are well stocked, with most categories of personal care items represented. So while you won’t be totally left in the lurch in any of the above situations, you will likely pay a premium purchasing these personal care basics at a Disney location rather than at home. But how much of a premium will you be pay? Let’s investigate…

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Universal Orlando Resort Crowd Report – October 12 to 18, 2014

by on October 24, 2014

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Resort-wide crowds at Universal Orlando remained flat at a level ’4′ from Sunday through Thursday last week although Islands of Adventure consistently sees crowds one or two levels lower than its Universal Studios counterpart. Shortened park hours on days when Universal Studios hosts Halloween Horror Nights still seem to have little effect on average daytime waits. Crowds during the day are about the same whether a nighttime party is scheduled or not.

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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Disney World Crowd Report – October 12 to 18, 2014

by on October 24, 2014 5 Comments

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Wait times were up last week resort-wide, especially at Disney Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. Partially due to increased crowds and partially due to operational changes such as a temporary closing of Pirates of the Caribbean, the permanent closing of Backlot Tour and experiments with Fastpass Plus-only attractions. Animal Kingdom crowds came in at expected levels or lower all week so it is unlikely that attendance is up significantly.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week:

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TouringPlans #Everywhere – Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort Review

by on October 24, 2014 7 Comments

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©Disney

©Disney

I can’t believe #Everywhere has come and gone. Our last few cruisers are off their ships and everyone is back on the clock. I hope everyone enjoyed all the live tweets from Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Hong Kong, the DCL Magic, Wonder, Dream, and Fantasy, Aulani, Vero Beach, and my destination, Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) property in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

So how was it? I can’t believe I didn’t go sooner and that it took “taking one for the team” to get me to check it out. Both my travel partner, Len Testa, and I were very happily surprised at how much we loved this resort. I’ll try to break down the review into logical sections, but first the small print – for all the #Everywhere trips, TouringPlans picked up the bill for lodging, transportation, and food. We booked at rates available to the public and didn’t receive any incentives from Disney or the travel agents we booked with beyond what anyone else would get. In the case of the three DVC resorts, those were all booked using my own points as opposed to booking with cash through Disney or renting through a 3rd party.

Location

The resort feels secluded, but not so much as in this publicity shot. Photo © Disney

The resort feels secluded, but not so much as in this publicity shot. Photo © Disney

The photos on the Disney site, make Hilton Head Resort look like it’s really secluded. This is clever cropping though. The resort is at Shelter Cove Marina, which is a fairly commercial site with moorage, restaurants, retail, condos, and other resorts. Disney’s resort is on the edge of this area with the actual marina on one side and undeveloped marshland on the other. The clever thing about how the resort is situated is that once you’re actually there, you do feel like the resort is on its own island. As a coastal town, Hilton Head has mostly mild weather; you can see the forecast and weather history at Weather Underground. Read the rest of this entry »

New! FastPass+ Availability, Dashboard, Attraction Updates

by on October 24, 2014 10 Comments

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A few new updates for the site today should make it easier to plan your next Disney World trip:

  • You can see all of the FastPass+ times available for every attraction in every park, up to 30 days in advance
  • Your Trip Dashboard now includes links to the attractions available in the parks you’re visiting, and an easier-to-understand crowd rating
  • Each park’s Attractions page gets a cleaner, simpler layout, and only shows ratings for the age groups in your family

Details are below.

FastPass+ Availability

You’re now able to see all of the FastPass+ reservation times available for every attraction, every day, on a single page:

Dashboard4

 

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