Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you).
First up is an item I have wanted for a long time and almost cried seeing it at the Outlets. A Polynesian Luau Bowl! Originally marked $49.95, this was reduced to $24.99.
I think by now most people know how much I love the Marketplace Co-op at Downtown Disney and a big reason for that is the many Adventureland/Polynesian inspired pieces they have. I’ve also seen these Luau bowls at the actual Poly whenever I go to ‘Ohana, and behind glass cases at the Art of Disney store. This bowl is something I’ve always wanted but never thought I would actually own.
This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the Six Best Attractions at Walt Disney World. Hot off the heels of our All Star Panel getting together and voting for the Six Best Attractions at the Universal Orlando Resort, it was only natural to take a look across the street and get to the bottom, once and for all, of what the six best attractions at Walt Disney World were. But this is The World after all. The Vacation Kingdom. The most popular theme park resort on Earth. So naturally we had to go big. We contacted 25 experts for Universal? Well we’re getting 50 for Disney! And after negotiations that took so long that Disney could have taken down two Sorcerer’s Hats in the same time, we finally heard back from some of the most well known names in the Disney Universe. An all star, blue ribbon panel made up of members from some of the best Disney podcasts (Disney Hipsters, WDW Today, Radio Harambe, and the Mighty Men of Mouse), the most amazing Disney photographers (including Tom Bricker, Morgan Crutchfield, Brandon Glover, and Dirk Wallen), the greatest Disney bloggers/authors (Epcot Explorer, Sam Gennaway, FoxxFur, and Jim Hill), the nicest Disney fans we know (Scarlett Litton, Daisy Lauren, and Drunk At Disney), the meanest Disney fans we know (Tom Corless and Josh Humphrey), legitimate members of the Theme Park Media Elite (Orlando Sentinel’s Dewayne Bevil, Attraction Magazine‘s Banks Lee and Matt Roseboom), and the only guy in the entire world who admits to liking Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Matt Hochberg).
SATURDAY SIX staff tabulating votes.
But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Maureen Deal of Autism at the Parks? Here. Gary Bruckner, creator of the Frost Bitten Rum Cider at the Dolphin’s Todd English bluezoo? Here. Fan Favorite Disney Twitter accounts? How about Mearn, Mark Diba, and Adam Roth. Not to mention both Jenn and Tim Tracker! They’re ALL HERE, and many more.
The Criteria: Each of the 50 experts voted on what they consider to be the six best attractions at the Walt Disney World Resort. These attractions could be any ride, show, nighttime spectacular, or parade currently in Walt Disney World (including the water parks.) Anything that was holiday exclusive – such as the Boo to You! parade, Happy HalloWishes, or the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights – were not eligible. Each attraction listed would be awarded ONE point, except for the attraction that the voter ranked in his #1 spot – that received TWO points. The votes were then sent to a top secret location in Florida and counted no less than 22 times. (We’ve had some problems in the past. We can’t apologize enough, Mr. Gore.) The results are in, and we now proudly present….
The DEFINITIVE GUIDE to the SIX BEST ATTRACTIONS at Walt Disney World.
# 6 – Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (12 points)
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. (photo by Tom Bricker)
Laurel Stewart (TouringPlans Disney Cruise Queen) – Opening Date – 1980: Big Thunder has it all – story, visual puns, theming, great effects… a bluegrass soundtrack. It’s not as great a coaster from a technical standpoint as Expedition Everest (Yeti aside, which it turns out, was a mechanical overreach on Disney’s part) or Rock ‘n’ Roller coaster. And it’s not a thrill ride by any means – there are more intense coasters all over Orlando. But this one is Disney at its best. It anchors Frontierland in a way that I don’t think Disney has come close to in years with the exception of Everest in Animal Kingdom’s Asia, which I think is its successor (and my would-have-been number one pick except that the ride is way too short). Because it opened in 1980, I never had to worry about the height requirement and was able to ride it from the start. Which I did, because I LOVE ROLLER COASTERS. On the other hand, my younger brother may have been tricked onto it when I told him it was “just a train ride, like the one at Main Street.” Suffice it to say, I have plenty of nostalgia for Big Thunder and love it just as much today as 35 years ago. And if you don’t take my word for it, take it from the French. Big Thunder Mountain is by far the most popular attraction at Disneyland Paris. And the French are never wrong. Just ask Jerry Lewis.
It’s back again! Guests will once again be able to participate in a special Easter egg hunt which has guests searching a Disney theme park, trying to find eggs that are designed to look like Disney characters. This year, the fun hunt will be returning to Walt Disney World’s Epcot and Disneyland Resort’s Disney California Adventure and Disneyland from March 27 through April 5!
Here’s how it will work: Guests will be able to purchase a map for $4.95, plus tax. With each map will be stickers provided that correspond to the actual eggs that can be found in each of the the parks. Guests are instructed go search the park with map in hand and put the character egg sticker on the map where the actual character egg was found! Once all the eggs have been located, guests must return their map to the redemption station for a fun prize!
Here’s a glimpse of what the maps will look like and where eggs will be located:
Congrats to Big Hero 6 and Feast for their big Oscar wins! Super exciting for Walt Disney Animation!
This week, we’ll take a look at the recently announced Chairman of Parks and Resorts, how Disneyland fans reacted to a ticket price increase in 1996, and the trailer for Frozen Fever, plus more!
In Case You Missed It – Disney and Universal Orlando News and Rumors
Congrats to Disney Cruise Line! They won multiple awards from Cruise Critic’s Cruiser’s Choice Awards for 2015, including the big one…Best Overall…an award they’ve won for 3 years in a row! Check out all the honors they received.
Disney has filled the role left vacant by Tom Staggs move to Chief Operating Officer. This week, Disney announced their new pick for Chairman of Parks and Resorts, Bob Chapek. It will certainly be interesting to see what this means for the parks…one thing I noticed off the bat is that he’s awful light on parks experience. What do you think about this move?
With the announcement of Downtown Disney’s conversion to Disney Springs, many were hopeful and excited about the changes to the shopping and dining district. One place that I think most people thought would be on the chopping block was Planet Hollywood. The restaurant has consistently poor reviews and well, let’s face it, Planet Hollywood’s are a thing of the 90s. However, with the announcement of Disney Springs also came the news that Planet Hollywood was staying. Granted not in the same form; it was to be converted into what will eventually be called the Planet Hollywood Observatory.
The details were released that the restaurant will see a complete redesign on the outside, with a gorgeous new brick exterior, a new water tower (built from the neon sign that is currently present), and an expanded outdoor terrace and bar. The look is much less gaudy than what is currently there.
Bok Tower Gardens is a sanctuary of peace and quiet – the perfect addition to any Disney vacation (especially during high season).
Looking for a unique half-day destination near Disney World, LEGOLAND, and the other central Florida theme parks? Head south on Highway 27 for Lake Wales. This historic community, located in the rolling hills (yes, central Florida has rolling hills!) of the Lake Wales Ridge, is home to two attractions you won’t find anywhere else: Bok Tower Gardens and Spook Hill. They’re just a few miles apart, making this an easy two-part visit, less than an hour from Walt Disney World.
Bok Tower Gardens might not sound like a family destination at first. The serene gardens, designed by Frederick Law Olmstead, Jr. (the son of famed Central Park architect Frederick Law Olmstead), surround a neo-Gothic tower on a hilltop, known as the Singing Tower for its carillon of sixty brass bells. Anyone would be excused for thinking that this sounds more like an outing with the grandparents than a fun day out with kids, especially kids freshly hyped-up from a Disney vacation.
But this National Historic Landmark is worth a second look. The secluded winding pathways and broad grassy lawns? Great for kids who want to run and burn off some unregulated steam. The massive growths of tropical foliage and rare flowers? They make for a really convincing backdrop to your own personal dinosaur movie. (Note to self: bring plastic dinosaurs for a photoshoot next time). The park benches placed to give you the best views of citrus groves and rolling hills from the one of the highest points in peninsular Florida? An awesome place to relax and take in the scenery while the kids do their running-around thing on the grassy slope.
Welcome back to this brand new edition of Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes! (Crowd cheers…ok…maybe not…but a girl can dream.) This week has been very fruitful with little tidbits to share with you all; I’ve got lots of refurbishment news, details on Be Our Guest Restaurant, new information on Avatarland, and more!
Wow! There are a lot of refurbishments that have been scheduled for Walt Disney World. Let’s start at the Magic Kingdom. First, for those traveling in the summer, you will unfortunately not get to experience Pirates of the Caribbean. The attraction, which has been riddled with problems lately, will be seeing a 4+ month refurbishment, from May 11 through September 25, reopening September 26. No word on what the refurbishment will entail, but it is certainly necessary. There will also be a two day refurbishment of Stitch’s Great Escape in early March, March 1 and 2. The attraction will reopen on March 3. For those visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom for barbeque, you’ll have to wait a little longer, because Flame Tree Barbeque’s refurbishment has been pushed back to last until April 22, reopening April 23. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it would appear that Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show will be closed for a refurbishment from April 20-24, reopening on April 25. Also, Voyage of the Little Mermaid will be closed September 7-10, reopening on September 11. You can always keep up with the latest refurbishments on our refurb page.
So I don’t usually share the videos that Disney posts, but I will if I find them particularly newsworthy…like today, where they posted one hyping up Avatar for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It’s nice to finally see some more information about the project. The new concept art shown in the video is quite gorgeous, but what really impressed me was when they finally showed some of the bioluminescent aspects. It almost reminds me of being under the sea, seeing a unique type of illuminated coral. These additions will certainly make Animal Kingdom a destination once the sun sets. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out the video:
First, check out this view from the entrance of the Disney’s Hollywood Studios! You can almost see what this will look like once the hat is completely removed. While it was sad to watch it come apart, in the end I’m glad it’s gone. I can’t wait to see the last pieces removed and this view restored. What do you think now that it’s coming together? Do you still miss the hat?
Want to see more fun from all around Disney World this week? Click to read more.
Disney World is my favorite place on earth and I love to visit as much as I can. There’s plenty to do with four theme parks, two water parks, a shopping district, and a number of incredibly themed resorts; but this Disney World Regular has her eye set on another Disney Park for her next trip. Where? The Disneyland Resort! But why? After all, the Disneyland Resort is much smaller, as is its castle, and many of the rides found at Disney World are also at both Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure. There’s also no water parks or as nearly many resorts. But wait! I have some good reasons, many of which Disneyland fans are sure to back me up on. In fact, many of my fellow Disney fans argue that the Disneyland Resort is better than Disney World on a number of points. So keep reading to find out why this Disney World Regular wants to visit Disneyland.
To Be A Park Newbie: My first trip to Disney World took place when I was nine months old. You see, both of my parents were Disney fanatics and couldn’t wait to introduce me to the Disney magic. Throughout my childhood, we took as many trips as we could. In fact, one of my earliest childhood memories is lying on my bed and studying the Disney World park maps from our most recent trip. I know that I was incredibly fortunate to have visited Disney World throughout my childhood, a tradition I’ve continued to this day; but I must admit that just once, I would like to see my favorite place on earth with new eyes, like a first-time guest who has no idea what’s around the next corner. But seeing how I can’t do that, I can go to the Disneyland Resort! I’ve always wanted to go. It’s Walt’s original vision and is the reason why there’s a Disney World in the first place. Not only would a visit be fulfilling as a Disney Fan, but I would love the chance to be a park newbie, to actually need those free parks at the entrance, and to sport one of those first-time visit buttons!
For Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, the event will be held on select nights from September until November; the first party starts later than it did last year; the kick-off date is September 15 and parties will take place up until November 1. Overall, there will be 25 parties total to celebrate the spooky season. Dates for the 2015 season are: