Archive for January, 2009

Sounds Dangerous rehab; seasonal operation rumor

by on January 29, 2009

Disney’s Hollywood Studios’ Sounds Dangerous will be closed for refurbishment from December 9-13. We also hear that Sounds Dangerous will move to “seasonal” operation, meaning it’ll be closed on all but the busiest days, sometime in early 2009.

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January 28 dining changes: Port Orleans Riverside’s Boatwright’s to stop serving breakfast; Akershus to add another breakfast service

by on January 28, 2009

We hear that Boatwright’s at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort will stop serving breakfast on Februray 21, 2009. We also hear that Epcot’s Akershus Royal Banquet Hall, located in World Showcase’s Norway pavilion, will add an 8 am seating to its existing breakfast schedule.

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Studios and Magic Kingdom touring plan updates coming soon

by on January 28, 2009

We’ll be updating the Studios touring plans over the next week to include the new American Idol Experience attraction. Our in-park testing indicates Idol will fit in best sometime in the late afternoon or evening, which will minimize backtracking. It also gives you a good chance at seeing the day’s final show, which includes winners from performances earlier in the day.

We’ve also been testing Magic Kingdom touring plans without Space Mountain, in preparation for that attraction’s April refurbishment. Two options we’ve been focusing on: (1) Simply skipping Space Mountain and continuing with the rest of the plan; (2) Re-arranging the plan to visit Tomorrowland later in the day, to get a jump start on the rest of the park.

Our early test results for those options shows that skipping Space Mountain in the existing plans results in lower overall waits throughout the day, especially when crowds are high. Those are preliminary results, and we’ll continue testing throughout the spring.

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Celebrate a Dream Come True parade begins at Magic Kingdom

by on January 25, 2009

The newly rethought parade has now opened at the Magic Kingdom. The parade uses the same floats as previous daytime parades but features new music, new dancers, and enw choreography.

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Wonder no more..

by on January 25, 2009

A final death knell for the Wonders of Life pavilion at Epcot has sounded. Permits have been filed to demolish the interior structures of the dome and to remove power supplies to the various displays. The building is being rechristened, formally, as the Special Event Pavilion.

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Using The Calendar To Plan For Summer 2009

by on January 24, 2009

One of the main reasons that readers use our crowd calendar is to plan in advance for dining reservations. To do this, many rely on our recommended park(s) column from the calendar. The parks that we recommended for a given day are determined by a complicated algorithm that takes into account all sorts of data factors. One of the most important factors is the park hours and extra magic hours schedule that Disney publishes on their website. Usually, Disney’s website publishes their park hours 7 months in advance, giving us lots of time to calculate our best park recommendations and giving our readers lots of time to plan. Since we are still waiting for Disney to publish their hours for May there is a significant chance that our calendar will change when they finally do.

If you are using the calendar to plan for your trip beginning in May 2009 or later be aware that our best park recommendations may change when Disney posts their park hours and extra magic hours schedule.

Our predictions for Disney’s future schedule are usually pretty good but Disney’s recent delay in posting May hours combined with the lagging economy add a certain level of uncertainly that we all should be aware of when making our plans.

In our humble opinion however, the value of getting the dining reservations you want is much greater than the value of choosing the correct park to visit on a given day. In other words, if it were us, we’d plan in advance and get the dining reservation we want and take our chances with the park schedule. A good touring plan will work wonders no matter what day you choose to visit a park.

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New Disney.com

by on January 24, 2009

One of our challenges is that Disney always finds a reason to change things; we think purely to keep us on our toes. They recently launched a new-look website which has a completely different method for posting park hours and schedules. Since we use their site to get a lot of our park schedule data it means that we have to redesign how we go about getting it too. Right now their site has a few kinks that need to be worked out but we expect that soon, it will be ready to go and we’ll be able to keep our crowd model up-to-date with the latest park information. Incidentally, Disney is still way behind on their calendar. No park hours have been officially announced for May which is only 3 and a half months away.

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Crowd Calendar Updates

by on January 24, 2009

Our recent update to the Crowd Calendar has seen some changes to predictions for Presidents Day week and for some dates in March. This is a reaction to information that indicates crowds are going to be closer to normal that we had previously thought, despite the lagging attendance numbers in January. We still predict that crowds will be below normal for the first half of 2009. Remember that the value of a good touring plan far outweighs the value of picking the rights days to visit the parks. Using a good touring plan will make any crowd manageable.

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WDW Today Episode 517 – Helping a family of 5 plan a WDW trip for $2,500

by on January 24, 2009

Episode 517 of the WDWToday podcast is available. In this episode the WDWToday team responds to a lister’s request to help a Pennsylvania family of five plan a trip to Walt Disney World, with four full days in the parks, for less than $2,500. Len points out that Disney admission is almost 40% of that cost (around $1,063) and finds that UndercoverTourist.com is the least expensive wholesaler for those tickets. Matt, Mike, Mike and Len also discuss transportation, lodging and dining alternatives, in case you’re looking for ways to save on your next trip.Click here to download the episode.

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Rumor: Buy-4-Get-7 offer extended through March 2009

by on January 22, 2009

Nothing official yet from Disney, but we hear that the current “Buy-4-Get7″ offer, which was set to expire on January 24, will be extended through March 2009. No word on whether travel dates will also be extended. As soon as we can get our spies out of their hiding spots in the Disney washrooms, we’ll post more details.

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