Archive for April, 2013

Official Dates and Prices for 2013 Fall/Winter Hard Ticket Events at Magic Kingdom

by on April 30, 2013

Halloween ProjectionWe now have the official dates and prices for Night of Joy, Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party in 2013. Tickets for all three events go on sale tomorrow, May 1, 2013.

Night of Joy

Described by Disney as a “contemporary Christian music festival,” Night of Joy will be held on September 6 and 7 from 7:30 pm to 1:00 am. Prices are $55.00 for one night in advance, $65.00 if bought the day of the event, and $99.00 for both nights if bought in advance. Tickets can be purchased via Disney’s website or by calling 407-939-7211.

Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

In 2013 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party takes place from 7:00 pm to midnight on the following dates:

  • September 10, 13, 17, 20, 24, 27, and 29
  • October 3, 4, 6, 10, 11, 14, 17, 18, 20, 22, 24, 25, 27, 29, and 31
  • November 1

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Celebrating Animal Kingdom’s 15th Anniversary

by on April 30, 2013

055I love Animal Kingdom. I really do. I know, I know…lots of people think it isn’t up to Disney’s usual standards or that it is a half-day park, but I disagree. Animal Kingdom is a wonderful park. It’s beautiful, well-themed, provides great views of amazing animals, has fun attractions, and features the best shows Disney has to offer. This love of Animal Kingdom led me to be super excited to celebrate the park’s 15th anniversary on April 22, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Unfortunately, Disney doesn’t always do very much for these events. Disney announced that there would be special merchandise and a ceremony, but not too much else. Luckily, during Epcot’s 30th I became aware of an unofficial group called WDWCelebrations that has been commemorating Disney park anniversaries since 2007. I knew if I combined the official Disney offerings, the unofficial WDWCelebrations events, and included a few things I wanted to do to enjoy the park on its birthday, I would have a very full and celebratory day.

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A First-Timer’s Guide to Planning a Disney World Trip – Part One

by on April 30, 2013

Over the past few years writing for the TouringPlans blog, I have been honored to get to help so many people from all walks of life plan Disney World trips for their families. In helping folks, one thing that I notice time and time again is how overwhelming planning a trip to one of the world’s most popular travel destination can be, especially for someone preparing for their first visit. Many people do not know where to start with planning. Some prospective visitors end up either giving up or making rookie mistakes which they pay for later on.

IMG_0732Many of our posts here at TouringPlans aim at Disney World guests who are already seasoned veterans. I imagine that for a first timer, the nitty-gritty details seem unimportant when you are trying to just figure out how the heck to get to Disney World. The next two posts of mine are for those of you that still need those trip planning training wheels. Get out a pen and piece of paper and let me walk you through the basics. 

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Special Coronation to Introduce Princess Merida

by on April 29, 2013

 © Disney

© Disney

Merida, from Brave, will officially become Disney’s 11th Princess in a royal coronation that is scheduled to take place on Saturday, May 11, at 9:30 am at Cinderella Castle in the Magic Kingdom.

She will join her fellow princesses, Snow White, Aurora, Cinderella, Ariel, Belle, Jasmine, Mulan, Pocahontas, Tiana, and Rapunzel, all of whom will likely join her on stage. She will be the first Pixar Princess ever. This special event is a part of the Limited Time Magic Festivities for the week.

These special coronation ceremonies started in 2010 when Tiana was first established as a princess. Rapunzel soon followed in 2011.

All Magic Kingdom guests are invited to witness this special event.

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Universal Studios Hollywood Evolution Plan Approved: Curious George Out, Harry Potter In

by on April 29, 2013

Earlier this week, the final puzzle piece in Universal Studios Hollywood’s ambitious “Evolution Plan” clicked into place, as the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors gave final approval to the expansion of the famous movie studio and theme park.

Over the next few years, the Evolution Plan calls for radical changes at Universal Studios Hollywood, including the addition of parking garages, new CityWalk dining and retail venues, and two on-site hotels. Inside the theme park, the Special Effects Stage, WaterWorld stunt show, and Gibson Amphitheater will all be shuttered in the coming months for new attractions, and three additional points of interest will eventually be added along the Studio Tram Tour.

The most visible element of the expansion will be the addition of a west coast version of Orlando’s über-popular Wizarding World of Harry Potter. While details on what portions of the Islands of Adventure area will migrate to California are unknown, a copy of Hogwarts Castle complete with the Forbidden Journey dark ride is expected, along with shopping and eating opportunities.

In order to begin construction on Hollywood’s Harry Potter land, Universal has announced that its Adventures of Curious George playground will close at the end of the summer season. A similar kids attraction at Universal Studios Florida continues to operate. So if your kids love getting sprayed with reclaimed water and wading through plastic balls, get out to USH before September to bid farewell to Curious George.

Here is the complete official press release direct from Universal:

UNIVERSAL CITY, California, April 23, 2013 – NBCUniversal announced today plans to begin construction of the first projects of its 25-year Evolution Plan. The Evolution Plan represents a $1.6 billion investment in tourism and production. This long-term investment in two industries that are vital to Los Angeles will create more than 30,000 jobs and generate $2 billion of economic activity during operations for the region.

“After nearly a decade of work on the Evolution Plan, today’s vote sets the stage for our next 100 years in Los Angeles,” said Ron Meyer, president and COO of Universal Studios. “We are thankful for the support and leadership we have received from both the County and City of Los Angeles and are ready to get started investing in these important tourism and production projects in the next few months.”

Starting in late summer, NBCUniversal will begin construction of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter themed land at Universal Studios Hollywood theme park, as well as new and upgraded television production facilities, office space and infrastructure on the Universal Studios lot. These projects represent a nearly $500 million investment in the Los Angeles economy and the creation of more than 2,000 construction jobs alone.

“We thank Los Angeles County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, the entire Board of Supervisors, and County staff for providing us the path to bring much needed jobs and investment to Los Angeles,” said Corinne Verdery, Chief Real Estate Development and Planning Officer, NBCUniversal. “The working relationship we have built with the community was invaluable in developing our future plan and we are grateful to our nearly 7,500 supporters and union partners who have been with us every step of the way. We look forward to bringing The Wizarding World of Harry Potter to Hollywood, forever changing the face of tourism in Los Angeles.”

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Studios Hollywood will be a fully immersive experience for the entire family designed to bring the Harry Potter fiction and films to life with impeccable detail and authenticity. Similar to the dynamic Universal Orlando Resort themed land that opened in 2010, the Hollywood experience will be faithful to the visual landscape of the fiction and films, including Hogwarts castle that will serve as the centerpiece of the impressively themed environment. The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is a collaboration between Warner Bros. Entertainment and Universal Parks and Resorts.

On the Universal Studios lot, NBCUniversal will upgrade existing production facilities and add new capabilities to better respond to the needs of television production. In addition, NBCUniversal is looking to create modern offices that will house everything from post-production services to traditional office space.

 

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Observations From Magic Kingdom: April 25, 2013

by on April 26, 2013

013Today was a beautiful, sunny, 70 degree day in Central Florida…too pretty a day to not be at Magic Kingdom.

I started my trip as I always do, walking through the Emporium to see if there was any new merchandise. Much to my surprise, an entire wall of Monsters University merchandise had just arrived. From what I have seen so far, it’s all really cute and well done. Based on how many guests I saw grabbing items today, you may want to pick up whatever you want next time you’re in the park. I especially like the blue Monsters University adult shirt and the iPhone cases (available for iPhone 4/4S and iPhone 5). They also have plush and other toys featuring characters from the movie, hats, children’s shirts, and monster light-up headbands.

After leaving the store I headed to Adventureland to see if the new Pirate’s Adventure: Treasure of the Seven Seas game was play testing like it had earlier in the week. Unfortunately it was closed for the day, so I instead headed to Splash Mountain. Splash Mountain reopened just over a month ago from a much-needed refurbishment and I wanted to see how it was holding up.

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Limited Time Magic For Disneyland Resort – May The Fourth Be With You

by on April 26, 2013

Disney

Disney

May The Fourth Be With You…Star Wars…Disneyland Resort…

The west coast resort will also be taking part in the awesome Star Wars fun.

On Saturday, May 4, Disneyland Resort will offer special edition Star Wars themed pins and t-shirts. These merchandise pieces will be emblazoned with two different logos: “May the Fourth Be with You” and “Revenge of the Fifth.”

Guests who want to get their hands on this merchandise will have two different locations to do so: Disney Pin Traders in Downtown Disney or Little Green Men Store Command in Tomorrowland at Disneyland. Keep in mind, supplies are limited.

The Force is strong with this one.

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Limited Time Magic For Walt Disney World – May The Fourth Be With You

by on April 26, 2013

MayTheFourthBeWithYouLTM

Disney

Disney and its guests will celebrate a very special day in the Star Wars Universe…May 4, which is also known as May the Fourth Be With You Day!

This week’s Limited Time Magic will take place just that one day only at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and will be a completely separate event from Star Wars Weekends.

Activities on Saturday, May 4, will include a special Jedi Training Academy. For this day, and this day only, adults will get to do what they have always wanted to: join their children on stage, appearing alongside them as they train and complete the final showdown with the Empire. Do keep in mind that this will be on a first come basis and that children who can participate must be ages 4 – 12. The sign-up area is typically around Echo Lake outside ABC Sound Studio (former home to Sounds Dangerous) or the theater for Indiana Jones Epic Stunt SpectacularBlogger’s Note: This will go quickly. This will be the first time ever that adults can participate, and I know many who have wanted to for years. If you want to participate in this event, do not pass go, do not collect $200. Head straight to the sign up area for the day and do so. Again…I cannot stress this enough…I suspect this event will fill up very, very quickly.

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Big Changes On Board For the Disney Magic

by on April 26, 2013

The Disney Magic, Disney’s first cruise ship, is going to see a little pixie dust with the re-imagining of quite a few areas, along with quite a few new exciting additions.

Disney

Disney

Atrium Lobby

The first thing guests will notice is a change in the atrium lobby. It will be redesigned to elegant art deco with elements of the sea. It will feature a new coral, blue, and aquamarine carpet with seashell inspiration. The chandelier will be inspired by the rays of the sun and the glisten of the surface of the ocean. A grand piano, beautiful furnishings and giant portholes will finish the look.

Kids Areas

Another area where changes will be afoot are the kids ares, the Oceaneer Club, which is open to 3 – 12 year olds. For the first time ever, Marvel will make its presence known in Marvel’s Avenger Academy. Here young crime fighters will be transported to a high tech command post used for special missions and operations training.

Disney

Disney

In addition, guests will find another new area, the Mickey Mouse Club, where kids will be able to create crafts and play games on mouse ear shaped tables. It will also feature an activity with magnetic, spinning gears called Goofy Gears. (Gawsh!)

In the Oceaneer Lab, a brand new pirate themed area will encourage kids to create, play, and explore.

For the littlest ones, geared for ages three months to 3 years old, the Small World Nursery, which is inspired by the attraction and will be filled with whimsy and discovery perfect for that age group.

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10 Ways to Countdown the Days until Your Next Disneyland Vacation

by on April 26, 2013

So you’ve planned a trip to Disneyland! What’s the hardest thing now? The waiting of course. Haven’t you heard the song? Well, trust me it is. So I thought it would be fun to share some ways to pass the time. Some fun ways for your kids to visualize how long they have to wait, some fun ways for adults to rub it in their friends noses I mean celebrate how quick it’s coming!

Heather’s Countdown Chain

1. Chains – No, not the metal kind. I’m talking about the kind your children made in elementary school with construction paper. Yes, construction paper probably clued you in that this one is for kids. I’ve seen some really cute ones with a Disney theme. The idea is pretty simple. Take a bunch of paper strips (red, black and yellow?) and staple the first one into a circle. Then staple the next one into a circle that interlocks with the first one. Do this until you’ve arrived at your desired countdown number. Every day, take one off! Your kids will know, the shorter that chain gets, the closer they are to the Happiest Place on Earth!

2. Advent Calendar – This is my favorite way to countdown! Do your kids get these at Christmas? The kind where every day they open a little window and get something like a piece of chocolate. Or, if you’re a really cool parent, a little Lego Star Wars Figure! Well, these work for Disney too! I wouldn’t necessarily save one from Christmas though. That chocolate may be a little scary in September. I’d recommend finding an empty Advent calendar and filling it with fun Disney type things. I saw quite a few this year at Christmas, so grab one during an after-Christmas sale and have fun filling it! Or buy a shadow box! Or, if you’re a scrapbooker, you’ve probably found something similar to this set of drawers or this one. It’s great to decorate (or leave plain) and fill. If you’re pin traders, my suggestion is to fill those calendars or drawers with pins! Buy an inexpensive lot of them on eBay and plus up your collection for trading before you go.

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