Archive for February, 2013

Epcot Segway Tours Cancelled

by on February 15, 2013

This past August, Disney announced a new, changed Segway Tour for Epcot called the Keep Moving Forward: See the World, Share the Dream Segway Tour. It now appears that all Segway Tours out of Epcot have been cancelled. Reports say that Disney is contacting guests who have already scheduled their tours for cancellation. No reason has been given for the cancellation of the tour, and we do not know if this is a temporary change or a permanent one.

As of right now, for those who would still like to take a trip on a Segway, Disney is still offering tours over at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. This tour is called the Wilderness Back Trail Adventure and allows guests to ride the X2, an all terrain Segway vehicle, in a tour that lasts about two hours, making stops along the way that include Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, the Tri-Circle-D Ranch, and Bay Lake.

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10 Ways to Celebrate at Disneyland

by on February 15, 2013

One question I get asked a lot is – “What’s a good way to celebrate a special occasion at Disney?” In my opinion, there aren’t many better PLACES to celebrate a special occasion, so there have to be some good WAYS to celebrate there, right? Well there are! And here are 10 of them.

1. Birthday or Celebration Button – My first way to celebrate is absolutely free! Do I get bonus points for that? I cannot stress enough how important it is to get a button for your celebration. There are birthday buttons, anniversary buttons, just married buttons, family reunion buttons, even first visit buttons! If any of these apply to your reason for being at Disneyland – get one. You’ll be amazed at how much attention one little button can bring. Cast members and guests alike will wish you happy birthday when they see the button. Occasionally, you’ll even have a cast member go out of their way to bring some extra magic to your trip when they see these buttons. So unless the thought of being spoken (maybe sang?) to freaks you out, get a button.

2. My Disneyland Birthday PartyDisneyland has a party with characters just for birthday celebrations every day at the Plaza Inn! For $16.99 each guest will receive party hats, a souvenir cup, a mini birthday cake to decorate and icing and cake toppings to eat or decorate with. Mickey and Minnie themselves even pop in to join the celebration! The party lasts about an hour and reservations are recommended.

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Limited Time Magic For Disneyland – Voices of Liberty: Presidential Celebration

by on February 15, 2013

For the next installment of Limited Time Magic at Disneyland, guests will be able to enjoy musical performances from the Voices of Liberty honoring President’s Day at the Main Street Opera House. These special performances will take place on February 18 and 19, as well as February 22 – 24.

The group will bring its amazing harmonies to Disneyland, as well as recite memorable quotes from some of the greatest American Presidents.

For more information, please pick up a Times Guide.

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Limited Time Magic for Walt Disney World – President’s Day: A Weeklong Celebration

by on February 15, 2013

This week’s Limited Time Magic event has been announced, and it is a celebration of our nation’s Presidents.

The Voices of Liberty will be performing in the American Gardens Theatre at Epcot from February 18 – 24.  The group will bring its amazing harmonies to the American Adventure Pavilion’s stage, as well as recite memorable quotes from our great Presidents of the United States of America.

Check the times guide for exact performance times during the week.

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Disney Fine Art Portrait Sessions

by on February 13, 2013

As most of us do in this digital age, I have many photographs of my family. These were mostly taken by me, my friends, or the occasional PhotoPass photographer. They’re all fine, good even, but they’re not knock-your-socks-off fabulous. For many years I had wanted something more substantial, and more fabulous: my own dedicated photo shoot with a professional photographer (something I hadn’t had since my wedding 20 years ago). Unfortunately the rest of the family thought my idea was silly and shot me down every time I raised the issue. “That sounds boring.” “We have enough pictures, why do we need more?”

But when my oldest daughter started to look at colleges (sniff), I could tell that the zeitgeist was changing. So this year I asked for only one thing for Christmas, everyone’s willing participation in a professional photo shoot. They readily acquiesced.

My daughters in their formal attire.

Several of my friends on the Walt Disney Parks Moms Panel have had positive experiences with the Disney Event Photography Group. And after seeing some of their portraits, I was hooked.

The Event Photography group, also known as Disney Fine Art Photography & Video, offers two standard levels of portraiture: a “mini” session and an “enhanced” session. Before I get into the difference, you should know that either of these products are available to anyone. The portrait sessions are primarily done for families, but they can work with individuals (a teen’s senior portrait, for example) on up to medium sized groups (a sorority sister reunion for 25 people, for example).

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Universal Food Finds: The Dagwood at Blondie’s

by on February 12, 2013

In the many years I’ve been visiting the Universal Orlando Resort, I’ve had friends who have tried to convince me to try certain “favorite food spots” that haven’t necessarily fit my tastes. I’m admittedly a creature of habit when it comes to Universal (Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Margaritaville, Mythos, and Three Broomsticks populate my list of standard go-tos), but I do venture to try new options every once in a while.

My most recent visit to Islands of Adventure gave me the opportunity to branch out and try one of those specific items that many I know have raved about in the past. Found at Blondie’s in Toon Lagoon is the Dagwood sandwich (see menu), based on the sandwich of the same name from the classic Blondie comic strip.

    

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Oídos al Mundo – Magic Kingdom

by on February 12, 2013

Audífonos "Ears to the World"

Unas de las herramientas que Walt Disney World le ofrece a sus visitantes de habla hispana es el Ears to the World: un traductor que le permite disfrutar de ciertas atracciones en cada parque traduciendo éstas al español. Este servicio es gratuito pero requiere un depósito de $25 por cada uno para rentarlo y luego se le devuelve cuando regresa el traductor a Guest Relations. El traductor solo funciona en un parque, es decir, si va a Magic Kingdom en la mañana y renta el traductor y luego quiere ir a Epcot tiene que regresarlo a Guest Relations en Magic Kingdom y alquilar otro en Epcot.

El traductor es simplemente unos audífonos rojos con una antena que recibe la señal en español en las atracciones que ofrecen el servicio. Aunque los audífonos son grandes, son cómodos de usar y no son muy pesados. Los actores que realizan la traducción actúan el libreto, usan voces parecidas a las originales y de esta forma la atracción no pierde su calidad. Recomiendo solo usarlos en la cabeza para las atracciones que ofrecen el servicio y mientras no lo usen téngalo en su mano o en un bolso.

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What to Expect During Extra Magic Hours at Disney California Adventure

by on February 11, 2013

Extra Magic Hour at Disney California Adventure (DCA) is a relatively new perk for guests staying in Disney-owned hotels at the Disneyland Resort. Before June of 2012 it was only offered at Disneyland, but with the addition of Cars Land the newer park suddenly found itself in high demand. Recently I stayed in a night in the Grand Californian Hotel (GCH) for the first time and got a chance to experience the Extra Magic Hour with my own eyes. In this post I will share my observations with you. For reference, the day I attended had a 9:00 AM Extra Magic Hour with a 10:00 AM regular park opening, and had a crowd level of 2.3 out of 10.

Lining up:

Even though the crowd level for the day was low, the line to enter DCA for the Extra Magic Hour was large. This was not surprising considering there are almost 2500 Disney-owned hotel rooms full of people that are eligible for this perk. I used the DCA entrance inside the Grand Californian Hotel (from what I could see, the early entry lines at DCA’s main gate weren’t as long because they had 4 turnstiles with 4 lines open compared to the 4 turnstiles at the hotel with 1 line). When I got in the line to enter at 8:45 AM, it went left and stretched back to White Water Snacks and then bent around and went all the way back to Napa Rose/Storytellers Cafe. Cast members said on even moderately busy days this line is much longer, so if you want to be in the park at the start of the Extra Magic Hour, make sure to get in line earlier than I did. Cast members started letting people through the GCH bag check a half hour before the park opened and then let people in the park at 9:00 AM (which is when Extra Magic Hour started). The line moved smoothly, and I was in the park by 9:10 AM.

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Four Romantic Spots at Disneyland Resort to Spend Valentines’s Day

by on February 11, 2013

Photos by Seth Kubersky

If Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth, and February 14 is the Most Romantic Day of the Year, then Anaheim must be the best place imaginable to spend Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart — right? Well, I’m about to find out, as my wife and I are spending Valentine’s week in Anaheim.

On the plus side, weekdays in mid-February (like the 14th) are on the moderate side of our Crowd Calendar; Valentine’s Day, itself, is expected to be a 6 out of 10 at the Disneyland Resort. And from February 11 through 17, as part of the Limited Time Magic marketing campaign, Disney is rolling out some additional meet & greet opportunities and menu offerings.

Unfortunately, thanks to seasonal refurbishments many of our favorite attractions to experience together — including it’s a small world, Mad Tea Party, Big Thunder Ranch, Muppet*Vision, and Fantasmic! — will be unavailable on Valentine’s Day. Even so, there are plenty of romantic spots remaining around the Resort.

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10 Insider Tips for Your Next Trip to Disneyland

by on February 8, 2013

There are a ton of tips out there for saving time and money at Disneyland. There have been many blog posts (and books *cough* Unofficial Guide *cough*) written on effective touring of Disney parks, but that’s not what this is. These are little tips that I’ve learned along the way that have helped me and hopefully will help you! There are lots of touring tips that will work at any Disney park, but I’ll try to keep these Disneyland Resort specific. Things that you may not know about Disneyland. Things that are not overtly obvious or advertised.

1. FASTPASS Return Times are Not Enforced – When you get a FASTPASS, you are given a one hour window during which you can come back and ride. Traditionally, at Disneyland they do not enforce that return time. As long as the beginning time has passed, you can use your FASTPASS any time later that day. At Walt Disney World, with anticipation of MyMagic+ coming, they started enforcing FASTPASS return times a few months ago. At Disneyland, they have not begun enforcing them yet. Now the rumors are strong that they’re about to start enforcing the time very soon (as in February 18!), so this tip may have limited usefulness. If you’re going in the next week or two and didn’t know this, think of it as your own Limited Time Magic. Not saying this tip should be abused, but it’s very handy to know if you are racing through dinner to try to get there in the designated hour. Relax. You’ve got a few minutes. At least for another week or two.

2. Disconnected FASTPASS – Sometimes Disneyland FASTPASSes for a particular ride are disconnected. What on earth does that mean you ask? Normally, when you obtain a FASTPASS for a ride, you can’t get another FASTPASS until either your ride time window begins or 2 hours have passed, whichever comes first. When a FASTPASS machine is disconnected from the main park system, that restriction doesn’t mean anything, because no other machines recognize that you are already holding a FASTPASS. That means you can get one from another ride immediately after getting the FASTPASS from the disconnected ride. Some FASTPASSes, like World of Color, are always disconnected. Getting a FASTPASS from World of Color doesn’t affect your ability to get any other FASTPASSes. The two parks are always disconnected from each other, and you can get a FASTPASS in one park right after getting the other. There are also a few rides that are disconnected at some times, and reconnected at others. There are no guarantees, but some rides to check are Radiator Springs Racers, Autopia, Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin, and California Screamin’. You never know!

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