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Julia’s Best Week Ever, September 21, 2017: A Week for the Birds

by on September 21, 2017
Filed under: Animal Kingdom, Best Week Ever

Talking with my family on the phone this week, they asked how things were going in the wake of Hurricane Irma. My comment was “Things are business as usual, but not yet back to normal.” We were lucky in that we had very minimal damage (a couple torn screens and a leaning sapling tree), only lost power for 17 hours, and largely went on about our life as usual. Of course my daughter had more than a week with no school, and getting restocked with supplies after the power came back on was challenging, but by and large we did A-OK. We also learned that three people and two cats can rest comfortably in our walk-in closet, which didn’t feel that much smaller than our first DCL stateroom when we traveled with a toddler and seriously overpacked. 😉

To give you an idea of some of the ways that things aren’t yet back to normal in this area, aside from many people (including hard-working Cast Members) who still don’t have electricity more than a week after the storm rolled through, some supplies are still hard to find. This is from late last week–finding a gallon of milk meant calling to a half dozen stores to track one down.

Along the back side of Walt Disney World property, behind the Magic Kingdom, there’s a huge parking lot for Cast Members. The road that runs alongside the parking area still has significant standing water for about 1/8 mile–these are from one week after Irma (and yes, the water is deep enough on the edges to splash it over the hood of a car).

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Walt Disney World Preview — Week of September 23

by on September 21, 2017
Filed under: Walt Disney World (FL), Weekly Preview

Special Events

  • Those hoping to eat breakfast at Satu’li Canteen will now only be able to do so during peak times. Lunch will now start at 10:00am.
  • Star Wars: Galactic Nights is returning to Disney’s Hollywood Studios! This after-hours event begins December 16th and includes Star Wars entertainment, character meet and greets, exclusive merchandise, and more. This event sold out quickly last Spring, so book ASAP.
  • Through September 30th, Florida residents will be offered a FREE appetizer AND valet parking with each adult dinner entrée. This is featured at the following restaurants:
    • Jiko
    • Flying Fish
    • Citricos
    • Artist Point
  • Are you a Tables in Wonderland member? Through September 30th, you can receive a 30% discount at the following restaurants:
    • Note: Discount is only available before 6:30pm or after 8:30pm

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Updated: What to Expect from 2017 Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland

by on September 21, 2017
Filed under: Disneyland (CA), Halloween 2 Comments

DSC07067Mickey’s Halloween Party is a special extra-ticket event held select nights at at Disneyland during the Halloween season. The party includes a special fireworks show featuring a fly-by of Zero (instead of Tinker Bell), an exclusive Halloween parade with an appearance by a horseback-riding headless horseman,  trick-or-treating, and more. In this post we’ll talk about what to expect from 2017 Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland.

Mickey’s Halloween Party takes place in Disneyland on select nights in the fall, typically running from late September until Halloween. In 2017, the party dates are September 20, 22, 25, 27, 29 and October 3, 6, 10, 13, 17, 20, 24, 27, and 31.

Tickets for Mickey’s Halloween Party are now on sale.

What time is the Party?

Officially the Party starts at 6 pm on some nights and 7 pm on others. The party runs until 11 pm or 12 am, depending on the night. Guests with valid Halloween party tickets may enter Disneyland (OR Disney California Adventure, which is a new perk for 2017) up to three hours prior to the event’s start time.

Will I need a special ticket to get into the Party?

Yes. Admission requires buying a separate ticket just for this event. It’s not included in any regular theme park tickets or annual passports.

How much do the Party tickets cost?

There’s a range of pricing, including discounts for buying in advance. The official Disney website lists the following prices: Read the rest of this entry »

Universal Orlando Resort Preview — Week of September 23

by on September 21, 2017
Filed under: Universal Orlando Resort, Weekly Preview

The Universal Orlando Preview is brought to you by Storybook Destinations. Storybook Destinations specializes in Disney and Universal travel, is consistently highly rated by our readers, and is owned by our own blogger extraordinaire, Tammy Whiting. Storybook also offers free subscriptions to TouringPlans to clients with qualified bookings.

Tomorrow is the first official day of fall. Even though the temperatures have yet to drop in Central Florida, the crowd levels have certainly dropped at Universal! It’s a great week to visit, so let’s see what’s in store.

Weekly Crowd Level

Things are looking pretty even and easy at the parks this week. Detailed crowd level information can be found here.

Weekly Weather Report

Mid-week is looking good, but still warm. Check out the latest weather forecast here.

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Sneak Preview of Thor: Ragnarok at Disney California Adventure

by on September 20, 2017
Filed under: Disney California Adventure, Recent News

Thor: Ragnarok


If you’re a fan of Marvel films and you are looking forward to seeing Thor: Ragnarok, you should make sure to visit Disney California Adventure.

Here, Guests will be able to catch a sneak preview of the upcoming movie at the Sunset Showcase Theater in Hollywood Land.  The preview will be shown in 3D and will include with special in-theater effects. Guests will also be able to see displays of props and costumes that were used in the production of the film.

The sneak peek for Thor: Ragnarok will begin on October 6 and the film will hit theaters on November 3.

Ask It: How Long is a Good First-Time Disneyland Trip?

by on September 20, 2017
Filed under: Disneyland (CA), Just For Fun 11 Comments

It’s Wednesday again, and time for another Ask It. This week, we’re headed out west to see what you think about a Disneyland vacation. One question we see frequently is about planning for Disneyland trips–specifically knowing how much time you need. So we’re asking you:

If you are making your first trip to the Disneyland resort, how many days should you plan to visit the parks?

View Results

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The poll is live here and on Twitter. We’ll have your results next week.

Ask It Results: So How ‘Bout Those Hurricanes?

by on September 20, 2017
Filed under: Just For Fun, Weather 1 Comment

Fun fact: Yogi Berra was referring to hurricane season, not baseball season, when he quipped “It’ ain’t over till it’s over”. (You’ve now read that on the Internet, so it must be true, right?)

For many years, Florida got pretty lucky when it came to hurricane seasons, generally being missed by storms of significance, but hurricanes can and do hit the heart of the Sunshine State. Last year, Walt Disney World closed for Hurricane Matthew. This year, it was Hurricane Irma creating problems for Walt Disney World. And even though ships can move in case of storms, cruise itineraries and ports of call have been changed or cancelled for Disney Cruise Line over the years. When you spend so much time and money planning the perfect Disney vacation, on land or sea, having a hurricane roll through and create chaos for a vacation plan or extra expense when you have to change plans. It can make you wonder if it is really worth it to take the risk of scheduling a vacation to the hurricane zone during hurricane season.

Last week we asked you:

Are you rethinking your plans to schedule your vacation during hurricane season?

Here’s your results.

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Costuming Your Princess or Pirate Without Raiding the Treasury

by on September 19, 2017
Filed under: Halloween, Saving Money, Shopping 5 Comments

Kids are only young once, and every parent wants to have amazing memories (assisted by plenty of photographs) of those precious childhood years. It seems that you can’t poke around the internet without seeing videos of parents doing transforming princess dresses or multiple costume changes over the course of the day. For most parents, those kind of photo shoot forays don’t couple with limited packing space or a limited budget. And although you can get the royal treatment from Disney itself through the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and Pirate’s League, the full experience including costumes, makeup, and hair styling can add up quickly, especially if you have multiple kids in that age range.

There are other options if you want to have your child experience the fun of dress up for a day in the park, however. Here’s some options for your Pirate or Princess that won’t have you emptying the royal treasury.

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Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter: Part 2 + Video

by on September 19, 2017
Filed under: Resorts, Video, Walt Disney World (FL)

I’m back with another video dedicated to Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter. 

Today, I’m talking about the resorts’ pool, dining, transportation and recreation. Read the rest of this entry »

The Best of Walt Disney World for Teens

by on September 18, 2017
Filed under: Animal Kingdom, Attractions, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, In the Parks, Magic Kingdom, Trip Planning, Walt Disney World (FL)

The Best of WDW for Teens

Welcome back to Part 4 of my blog series – The Best of Walt Disney World! In case you missed it, over the next several weeks, I’ll be sharing with you the top picks in attractions for various groups of travelers visiting the Walt Disney World theme parks. So far we’ve discussed favorites for babies, preschoolers, and grade school kids. Next up are those thrill-seeking teens. When checking out the list, keep in mind each attraction that made the cut scored at least four stars by the teens surveyed. Come on, everybody, here we go!

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