Archive for February, 2013

First Look At New Walt Disney World Park Maps Debuting March 3

by on February 28, 2013

We got a look at the new style of maps coming next week to Walt Disney World.  Below are the insides and outsides of the maps for Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney Water Parks, Downtown Disney, and ESPN Wide World of Sports. Click on the image to view a larger version.

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The Land of Oz Pop Up Playground at Epcot

by on February 27, 2013

In case you’ve been living under a rock (yellow brick?) and hadn’t heard, the major Disney film release this spring is Oz: The Great and Powerful, which explores the classic Oz story from the point of view of the wizard.

As part of the promotion/celebration of this film, a temporary “pop up” playground has been installed at Epcot, themed to the land of Oz. The playground is located on the Imagination Walkway path, in the Future World section of the park.

Much like the pop up Brave interactive experience last year, the Oz land features visual elements related to the film, themed games of chance, and photo spots, plus there’s a rockin’ awesome playground where kids can burn off some steam.

Official dates for the playground installation have not been announced, but it’s expected that this will remain in place throughout the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival, which ends May 19, 2013.

Below is a photo tour of what you can expect to find at the Oz Playground.

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Refurbished Rooms At Disney’s Contemporary Resort

by on February 27, 2013

One floor at a time the rooms at Disney’s Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World are getting a makeover. They are leaving the reds and yellows color scheme behind and adopting one with more greens and grays. Last week we got a peek at the new rooms and we have side-by-side comparison photos to show the changes. The pictures on the left are the old style rooms and the right ones are the refurbished rooms. What do you think of the new style?

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New UG Podcast with Jim Hill: The Hall of Presidents

by on February 27, 2013

Episode 36 of the Unofficial Guide’s Disney Dish podcast is out. Recorded last week at the Magic Kingdom, Jim Hill and I cover the history of Disney’s Hall of Presidents. From early demos using the head of Confucius, to then state-of-the-art animatronics for Abe Lincoln, Jim tells the story of how Walt got the idea for a patriotic show, then iterated through its design to its current form.

Links: iTunesRSS / Direct MP3 download

 

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Dining Review: La Hacienda de San Angel

by on February 26, 2013

Before I even get started on this review, there is something you should know about me. I am having a not-so-secret love affair with Mexican food. I own up to it 100% and, no, I will not stop. I love Mexican food so much that someone can just say the word “salsa,” and I begin salivating. Luckily, my love of Disney and Mexican food and drink meet when I get to Epcot. Epcot is blessed with a pretty decent Mexican quick-service restaurant, two unique table-service restaurants, and an out of this world tequila bar. Most of us have at least one Mexican restaurant relatively close to our homes, and most of the time the menu is fairly Americanized. With Disney’s restaurant, La Hacienda de San Angel, I believe they are trying to bring something different to the plate (hardy-har-har) than what most of us are used to.

I experienced La Hacienda back when it first opened in 2010. My experience the first time was a little bit rough. The food quality was not really the problem. I had issues with the amount of food we got for such a high dollar amount. On top of that, I also felt that the service was really poor. I figured that since it has been a few years since it opened, I would give it another shot. This time I took a different approach. My husband and I decided to only order off the vegetarian menu to keep the cost down. That way, if we were disappointed with the meal, we would not be out a lot of money.

After a very exhausting and stressful travel day (we had a McAllister moment running in the airport), my husband and I were sure glad to be in Disney World. Upon arriving to Epcot around 6:00 pm that evening, we high-tailed it to La Hacienda to see if we could get a walk-up reservation. Turns out, they were so slow that night that they told us to just come back whenever we want to eat, and they would get us right in. It totally worked, and this time I decided not to request a specific location of the restaurant because last time when I requested “by a window” they insisted that all of the tables were by a window, only to shove us in a corner with an 8×10 viewing portal that was a good eight feet away from our table.

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Oídos al Mundo-Epcot

by on February 26, 2013

Epcot (antes llamado EPCOT Center) abrió al público en 1982 enfocándose en tecnología , innovación y educación. El parque ha cambiado a través de los años pero todavía tiene el mismo propósito. Epcot está dividido en dos partes; Future World (Mundo del Futuro) y World Showcase (pabellones de 11 países que muestran su cultura, música, y comida).

Los Oídos al Mundo se pueden rentar en Guest Relations ubicado cerca de la entrada principal a mano izquierda. El costo para rentar cada aparato es de $25 que se les devuelve cuando usted entrega los audífonos al final de su día.

Las atracciones que incluyen el servicio de traductor en Epcot son: Ellen’s Energy Adventure, Living with the Land, The American Adventure, The Circle of Life, O Canada!, Journey into Imagination, presentación preliminar de Mission: SPACE, y Reflections of China. Aquí está el link para información sobre estas atracciones: http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/es-us/parks/epcot/attractions.

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Video: Dapper Dans The Original Boy Band Sings Pop Hits

by on February 25, 2013

As we mentioned earlier today, the Dapper Dans in Disneyland and Magic Kingdom are singing pop hits from boy bands of the 90s.

We now have video from one of the first showings at Disneyland today.

The Dapper Dans will sing boy band songs today until March 3.

Disneyland show times:
Daily – 9:30 am, 10:30 am, 11:30 am, 12:30 pm, 1:35 pm, and 2:30 pm

Magic Kingdom show times: 
Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday – 9:00 am, 9:45 am, 11:05 am, 11:45 am, 1:00 pm, 1:50 pm, 2:35 pm, 3:35 pm
Thursday - 9:00 am, 9:45 am, 11:05 am, 11:45 am, 1:00 pm, 1:50 pm, 3:35 pm
Friday, Saturday - 9:00 am, 9:45 am, 11:05 am, 11:45 am, 1:00 pm, 1:50 pm, 2:35 pm, 3:35 pm, 4:45 pm

 

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Peter Pan Passholder Event at Disneyland this Wednesday

by on February 25, 2013

All images copyright Disney

Are you a Disneyland Resort Annual Passholder?

Do you love the Disney animated classic Peter Pan?

Would you like to spend a couple extra hours in Fantasyland this week?

If your answer to the following questions is “all of the above,” head over to Disneyland on Wednesday night (February 27, 2013) for the latest Limited Time Magic event. For one night only, Passholders can see a special screening of Peter Pan at the Main Street Opera House, in honor of the film’s recent Blu-ray release.

As an added bonus, select Fantasyland attractions will be open to participating Passholders for 2 additional hours past the park’s public 8pm closing time. Be warned, however, that my recent experience with extended Passholder hours at Disney California Adventure did not result in light crowds and short queues; in fact, it was exactly the opposite.

Film screening start at 11am on Wednesday. Passholders may register for the event in person at the Opera House beginning at 10am on the day of the event; online and advance registration is not offered. See here for details on the event direct from Disney.

 

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Be Our Guest Currently Testing FastPass+ During Lunch

by on February 25, 2013

Starting today Be Our Guest Restaurant in Magic Kingdom is testing out the FastPass+ system with invited guests. Invites are being given out to select guests in Deluxe resorts, usually as a Magical Moment or for families celebrating special occasions. Invitations will be given out for the following day (for example, we got ours on Sunday to use for Monday), and a variety of times in 15 minute increments are available.

Our invitation for today had an arrival time of between 11:00 and 11:15am. We arrived at the restaurant just a few minutes before 11, checked in, and were given a card that would be used to track our wait times at various points. It was really nice walking past the long (often 45 minutes to an hour) line of people waiting in the hot sun and being led straight into the castle. Once inside the lobby we were merged with the regular line in the Suits of Armor corridor. From that point the line and ordering process were the same as usual, except that we had to give our time card to the Cast Member who gave us our rose to order. The entire process from arrival at the restaurant to being seated at our table with drinks only took 10 minutes. That is a vast improvement over the hour long wait the standby line had!

Overall, I really like the idea of FastPass+ at counter service restaurants. This would be great for families with young kids who have a hard time standing in line or for those of us who are uber-planners and are concerned about a long lunch line throwing off our Touring Plan. If this system is implemented, I’m curious to see what happens to the standby lines at counter service locations.

What do you think? Is this a good idea? Or a logistical nightmare? Would you choose a FASTPASS for a restaurant over one for an attraction? Let us know what you think!

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Disneyland Debate: How To Enter The Resort — Hike, Bus, or Cab?

by on February 25, 2013

All photos by Seth Kubersky

Owing to its expansiveness and isolation, most visitors to Walt Disney World in Florida basically have their options for arriving at the attraction dictated by where they are sleeping: on-site guests get to use WDW’s Byzantine system of busses, boats, and monorails, while those staying off-site drive their rental cars into the theme park parking lots.

Anaheim’s Disneyland Resort, on the other hand, offers more entry options by virtue of its more accessible design. While there are advantages to staying in one of Disneyland’s three Mouse-owned hotels (early entry to DCA’s Cars Land being chief among them), many off-site properties are nearly as close (or closer) to the Happiest Place On Earth than the official accommodations.

On my recent trip to California I tested three methods for getting into the Disneyland Resort, and I hope my experience will help you in planning your next trip. So, with deepest apologies to The Muppets, let’s look at whether to “[hitch]hike, bus, or yellow cab it.”

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