Archive for December, 2013

A Trip Around The World: Germany

by on December 27, 2013

Today we’re taking a look at Germany on our next stop around the World Showcase. If you’re just joining us, you might want to visit Mexico, Norway, and China first. I’m sure a few people will catch that I omitted the Adventure Outpost area in between China and Germany. I really don’t understand what it is other than some drums and an ice cream stand. I don’t think it’s a great tribute to any land – so I left it out! Once you’re past this confused little area you’ll start heading into what looks like a storybook, starting with Snow White’s Wishing Well.

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Quick-Service Universal Dining Plan Price Increase

by on December 26, 2013

Universal Dining Plan price increase

New Universal Dining Plan Quick Service pricing as of yesterday (photos by Seth Kubersky)

Universal Orlando quietly delivered a lump of coal to guests this holiday week with a stealthy Universal Dining Plan price increase affecting their new Quick Service prepaid food program. The Universal Dining Plan — Quick Service program, which replaced the former all-you-can-eat Meal Deal earlier this year, formerly provided adults with one quick-service entree, two beverages, and two snacks for $18.99.

Yesterday, I noticed that all of the parks’ signage advertising the Universal Dining Plan — Quick Service, the price has increased by $1 to $19.99, and the snack allotment has been reduced from two to one. The children’s plan for those age 3-9 is unchanged.

Universal’s web site about the dining plan was temporarily disabled yesterday, but now it is back online with a new PDF detailing the table service version of the plan; we’ll keep an eye out for updated fine-print on the quick service plan, and share it with you when available.

Universal Dining Plan handbill from early December with old pricing.

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Run The World: Disney Cruise Line Edition!

by on December 26, 2013

Castaway Cay 5K Finisher

Castaway Cay 5K finisher!

Whether you’re running a runDisney event, or simply logging miles on Disney World property, every mile really is magic at Disney! Recently, I had the opportunity to take my Disney running to the next level when I traveled aboard the Disney Magic. I learned that it’s not only possible to keep your training up while cruising, but it can be a lot more fun than you might think!

In this post, I will share three run categories: Indoor Training, Outdoor Training, and even a runDisney “Race,” so lace up your running shoes…and let’s go!

Indoor Training

Treadmill

Treadmill over the water!

Sure, I know what you’re saying: it’s a treadmill. But really, if you’re on a cruise and looking to run several miles on your training plan, it is an option that you should consider while aboard. Several treadmills line the front window of the Fitness Center and are generally available throughout standard operating hours. I visited at 8 AM on our “At Sea” day and had no problem securing a treadmill located in the center of the room.

The current machines are “Life Fitness” models and have many technological touches to keep your workout as enjoyable as possible – you can hook your headphones right into the machine and watch TV, listen to your iPod, or select options on the touch screen to visualize trail runs, track workouts, and more…though honestly, I could not take my eyes off the gorgeous blue water outside! It was a really neat feeling to feel like you’re flying above the waves!

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Universal Merchandise Review – The Grinch Christmas Village

by on December 25, 2013

Welcome to a special Christmas Day edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! For this installment we’re going to take a look at the Grinch Christmas village items available at Islands of Adventure. These items are available at the Port of Entry Christmas Shoppe and Seuss Landing’s Gertrude McFuzz Fine Feathered Finery.

The Grinch Christmas village uses the original Dr. Seuss version of The Grinch. The houses and accessory figures have been faithfully recreated from the 1966 animated version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Chuck Jones.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! December 2013 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on December 25, 2013

MMM positiveIt’s CHRISTMAS! Santa has arrived and delivered presents to all the good little boys and girls, so this is a great day to lather ourselves up in pixie dust, strap on our Gaston’s Tavern Barrel Hat, and put on our Mickey Mouse “Swaggy” shirt as we head out for our monthly photo report of the Disney Outlet Store and see the type of gifts for which “coal” is a better option.

Faithful readers of the MMM have seen a slow trickle of 2013 branded merchandise appear at the outlets over the past few months, and now the flood gates have officially been opened.

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2013 Disney Merchandise. Going once, going twice….

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Observations from the Universal Orlando Resort for December 22, 2013 (Antojitos, Blues Brothers Christmas, NBA City)

by on December 24, 2013

ANTOJITOS

Antojitos concept art

This week Universal NOW‘s Brandon Glover and I went to the Universal Orlando Resort to experience Grinchmas and see the latest construction work at CityWalk and Universal Studios Florida. We also wanted to see the Blues Brothers Holiday Show. We had heard a lot of great things about this show and wanted to see if it lived up to the hype. Spoiler Alert: it does, but more on that later. Lastly, we were determined to finally go into NBA City and check out the legendary Towering Cheesecake dessert.

Our first stop was the upcoming Mexican restaurant Antojitos.  Earlier this month, Morgan Crutchfield was at the Universal press event that detailed the upcoming dining venues including Antojitos. Her writeup of the event details all the upcoming restaurants in the massive CityWalk renovation, including concept art for each.

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Antojitos, the former home of Latin Quarter

The above picture was taken on a Friday and the one below was taken on Sunday. Universal is using a lot of color on the outside of this restaurant. I personally don’t like it. The overuse of color is perfect in Seuss Landing, but – to me – just seems out of place in CityWalk.  I think the front of this restaurant looks gorgeous and all the wacky colors just take away from it. Maybe I’m alone on the island on that one though. I am looking forward to trying the restaurant out as I’m a huge fan of freshly made guacamole and quality Mexican food.

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Five Disneyland Holiday Favorites

by on December 24, 2013

Disneyland holiday five favorites

Photos by Seth Kubersky

It’s the most wonderful time of the year (at least according to that ubiquitous song) and there’s no holiday season quite like a Disneyland holiday. In the past, I’ve experienced Disneyland it all its seasonal splendor during Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Easter, and Fourth of July. But until last week, I’d never visited the Happiest Place On Earth during Christmas time, and as an Orlando resident I was blown away by the quantity and quality of seasonal celebrations. As we enter the final weeks of the peak holiday season, here’s my personal top five favorite aspects of Disneyland’s 2013 special offerings to distract you from the epic E-ticket queues.

Seasonal Sweets and Treats

Christmas is no time to go to Disneyland on a diet, as I discovered an insatiable need to sample the limited-time seasonal snacks offered and nearly every quick-service counter.

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Five Disney California Adventure Holiday Favorites

by on December 24, 2013

Disney California Adventure holiday favorites

Disney California Adventure is decked out for the holidays. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

It may not have the six decades of cherished Christmas traditions of its older sibling across the Disneyland Resort esplanade, but don’t dismiss the Disney California Adventure holiday celebrations. The park has made great strides since its Cars Land-fueled rebirth last summer, and this year’s enhanced seasonal offerings are no exception. Once you’ve finished checking out my five favorite Disneyland holiday additions, tackle these top picks among DCA’s Christmas presents.

Buena Vista Street Decor and Shows

As soon as you step through Disney California Adventure’s Art Deco gates into the 1920′s era Buena Vista Street, you’ll notice the seasonal spirit in the shop windows. DCA has been criticized for redecorating the original Imagineer-designed window dispays with non-period merchandise, but the retail corridor’s holiday treatments for 2013 represent a return to form.

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Early Details about 2014 Night Of Joy at Magic Kingdom

by on December 23, 2013

Night of Joy is a hard-ticketed event where contemporary Christian artists visit and perform at Magic Kingdom. The event is scheduled to take place in 2014 on Friday, September 5, and Saturday, September 6.

Today, a list of artists was released on the Disney Parks Blog that guests who attend the event can look forward to seeing. They include:

Friday, September 5

  • Hillsong United
  • Chris Tomlin
  • Matthew West
  • For King & Country
  • Mandisa
  • Building 429
  • Matt Maher
  • The Neverclaim

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios Adds a Few Dining Options This Week

by on December 23, 2013

To help alleviate dining crowds at Disney’s Hollywood Studios this week, the park is adding a few extra options for guests to choose from.

The first is the “Taste of Hollywood” To Go Meals. These are special boxed meals that include reserved seating for Fantasmic! The cost per meal is $15.99 for adults and $5.49 for kids ages 3 -9. Meals can be picked up at Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner anytime from 10:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Meal options include:

  • California and tuna sushi roll with avocado, orange and tomato salad, ginger-marinated tomatoes and cucumbers, and a spicy pecan chocolate cluster
  • Cold-cut roast beef with creamy horseradish, potato salad, grilled asparagus, and chocolate cake
  • Shrimp salad with avocado, orange and tomato salad, ginger-marinated tomatoes and cucumbers, and mandarin orange cheesecake
  • Hot fried chicken with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, sweet corn and carrots, and warm apple crisp
  • Veggie sandwich with avocado, orange and tomato salad, tabbouleh, and chocolate cake

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