Archive for October, 2012

What to Expect from 2012′s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

by on October 31, 2012

Ho, ho, ho! Tis the season for parties at Walt Disney World. Here’s your guide to making the most of your 2012 experience at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

First the basics: Where and when is Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party.

The party (MVMCP) takes place at Disney’s Magic Kingdom theme park. During 2012, the party will be held on November 9, 12, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29, and 30, as well as December 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, and 21.

What time is the party?

Officially, MVMCP runs from 7:00 p.m. until midnight. Disney’s standard practice in recent years has been to allow guests holding Party tickets entrance into the park as early as 4:00 p.m. This is subject to change at any time.

What type of ticket do I need to get into the Party?

Admission to MVMCP requires a special party ticket. This is a “hard ticket” event, meaning that no version of the regular Magic Your Way park passes is valid for admission. You must have a MVMCP ticket to enter.

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Disney Dining Discovery: Captain’s Grille

by on October 31, 2012

On my last trip my friend and I found ourselves hungry for a real meal rather than little tastes around World Showcase during the Food & Wine Festival. We didn’t have a reservation anywhere, so what were we to do? Perhaps we could have snagged one in Epcot, but it was very busy with the festival, and we wanted a break from the crowds. We decided to try our luck at one of the Epcot area resorts instead of staying in the park and trying to figure out our best option there. We came up with a game plan: see what the wait was like at Beaches & Cream, and if that was crazy we’d head to that one restaurant at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort where no one ever goes. Well, Beaches & Cream had over an hour wait, so we headed to the Yacht Club instead. It turns out that place no one ever dines at is called the Captain’s Grille, and it just might be a great hidden gem among Disney World’s table service dining.

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“I know you guys know what you’re doing, but a 9.1 on November 14?”

by on October 31, 2012

One of our readers sent us this email recently, asking for clarification on a significant jump on the crowd calendar. November park hours were recently updated, and they included extended hours at the Magic Kingdom to accommodate Annual Passholder Previews of the New Fantasyland. Whenever special events affect the park hours it creates a bit of a conundrum for the stats guys. Extended park hours historically indicate an expectation of large crowds, but special events such as passholder previews don’t usually significantly affect wait times at the other attractions. Usually, the increased attention is localized at the attraction being previewed.

What to do, what to do…

We had a similar situation on February 29, 2012, when the Magic Kingdom stayed open 24 hours for “One More Disney Day.” A regular day in late February would historically be an average crowd, but this day was packed, especially once evening hit. Wait times at the headliners stayed in the range of 70-90 minutes all night long. We had guessed that despite the special event, wait times would be normal. We were wrong.

This time we want to be conservative. We do expect the the wait times to be reasonable at most attractions outside Fantasyland, but the appeal of the official preview may be a big enough draw to cause a significant influx of people to the Magic Kingdom. So, we chose to keep the high rating. Like during the Food & Wine Festival at Epcot or Star Wars Weekends at Hollywood Studios, the wait times at the attractions don’t always tell the whole story of crowds at a park.

Regardless, we strongly recommend using a touring plan and taking advantage of the 8:00am opening whenever possible on these days. Think of it as your crowd insurance. If our estimates were too high, you won’t need to stick to it. But if it turns out to be a zoo, you will be prepared to survive one more Disney day.

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Disney Acquires Lucasfilm

by on October 30, 2012

Today, in a surprising and landmark deal, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that the Walt Disney Company will acquire Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion. This purchase gives Disney the rights to the Star Wars canon, as well as all the operating business that are associated with the company, including Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound.

Disney has also announced that it will continue the story of Star Wars by releasing Star Wars Episode 7, with Episodes 8 and 9 to come, as well.  Episode 7 will be released in 2015. Also, more films will be created in the future, with releases taking place roughly every 2-3 years.  On the theme park front, executives mentioned that this could lead to theme park attractions, as well; however, only time will tell.  It does appear that this may be more geared towards the global parks, like Hong Kong and Shanghai, for the time being.

According to Bob Iger, “This acquisition gives Disney infinite inspiration and opportunities to continue the Star Wars Saga.”

“For the past 35 years, one of my greatest pleasures has been to see Star Wars passed from one generation to the next,” said George Lucas, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Lucasfilm. “It’s now time for me to pass Star Wars on to a new generation of filmmakers. I’ve always believed that Star Wars could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime. I’m confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, Star Wars will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come. Disney’s reach and experience give Lucasfilm the opportunity to blaze new trails in film, television, interactive media, theme parks, live entertainment, and consumer products.”

This purchase will also allow Disney to have rights to the Indiana Jones franchise as well, however, the purchase of LucasFilm was based off of the Star Wars Franchise and it’s potential.

The Lucasfilm purchase follows Disney’s already successful purchases of both Pixar and Marvel in recent history.

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Resort Information: Yacht and Beach Club – Dining

by on October 30, 2012

This is a continuation of a new series taking a comprehensive look at all of the Walt Disney World Resort hotels. There will be several posts on each resort looking at pools, dining, shopping, and other amenities.

General Information

As expected from Walt Disney World deluxe resorts, the Yacht and Beach Club Resorts have numerous dining options. With several table service restaurants as well as a few places to have a quick bite and even a drink, there is plenty of choice available at these resorts.


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Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party Sold Out On Halloween

by on October 29, 2012

©Disney

It is official. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, held on select nights at the Magic Kingdom, is now officially sold out on Wednesday, October 31, Halloween night.

If you want to attend this special event in 2012, tickets are currently still available for October 30 and November 2.

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Disney Tests Next-Gen Counter Service System

by on October 29, 2012

This weekend I went to The Mara for dinner (menu) and was surprised to see a order delivery system that would replace the pagers used previously.

Before when you ordered and paid, you would get a pager that would go off to let you know your food was ready. Then you would go back up to the counter to retrieve your food.

Now, a new system is being tested. When you order your food, the Cast Member has a plastic number with a strip on it that gets scanned by a pod-like device on the counter. You receive the number, go pay, and then select a table in the dining room. Each table has an identical pod-like device where you scan your number when you sit down; a green light flashes to let you know your number has been accepted (it will beep if there is a problem, and you will have to scan the number again). Now that the system knows where you are sitting, when your food is ready a Cast Member will bring it to you, so you don’t have to get up again.

Cast Members at The Mara say they are trying out some new things in order to be more efficient. This also seems to be a precursor to the system being used for lunch at Be Our Guest Restaurant.

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Earl of Sandwich Soft Opens In Downtown Disney Anaheim

by on October 29, 2012

Earl of Sandwich in Downtown Disney Anaheim is scheduled to have its grand opening on Friday, November 2, 2012. The sandwich restaurant will also be in soft opening mode starting today through Thursday. Our dining section has been updated with the Earl of Sandwich menu. The location of the restaurant is on the far west end of Downtown Disney, between the AMC theaters and ESPN Zone.

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Last Week at Disneyland Resort (10/21/2012 – 10/27/2012)

by on October 29, 2012

All photos copyright Disney

Halloween still has a few days left before it’s officially here, but that hasn’t stopped the Disneyland Resort from starting to install Christmas decor earlier than ever. Try not to suffer too much seasonal dissonance while strolling around the resort!

Crowd Calendar

Quietest Day: Monday 10/22 was a 2 out 10 at the resort, with crowds at 1.3 out of 10 at Disneyland, and 1.2 at DCA.

Busiest Day: Saturday 10/27 was an 8 out of 10 at the resort, with a 7.6 out of 10 in Disneyland, and 4.5 at DCA.

Subscribe to the Touring Plans Disneyland Crowd Calendar for full details on predicted attendance for the next 30 days.

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Typhoon Lagoon To Have Annual Refurbishment Starting October 28

by on October 27, 2012

It’s that time of year again. Time for the Disney Water Parks to begin their annual refurbishments.

The first one to close will be Typhoon Lagoon, and it will close starting October 28, 2012. This refresh of the park will last until January 5, 2013. For those who would like to visit a water park during this time period, fear not: Blizzard Beach will be open as an alternative.

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