Archive for October, 2015

SATURDAY SIX: Six MORE Reasons We Love Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights 25

by on October 31, 2015

This week is a very special one as we have a second SATURDAY SIX taking a look at the Six MORE Reasons We Love Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights 25. That’s right, six MORE because we already give six of our favorite reasons why this year’s HHN is one of the best ever. But there was just so much more we wanted to talk about, and what better day to do it than Halloween itself?! So sit back, eat some of the good candy you bought for trick or treat but is really for you, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

# 6 – HHN Bear

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HHN Bear in Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters & Mayhem. (photo courtesy of the Universal Orlando Resort)

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When Goldilocks slept in @HHNBear’s bed, she was mauled.

Every year a surprise hit comes out of HHN. Last year at HHN 24 it was Puppet Dyin’ (you had to be there). This year, the SILVER ANNIVERSARY of HHN no less (when Jack is back, there’s an incredible new stage show, and four houses that could be considered the best house in any given HHN), the viral sensation turned out to be HHN Bear. A scareactor located in Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters & Mayhem, HHN Bear was an immediate hit and took on a life of its own, including a Twitter account (@HHNBear) that has been favorited and retweeted by a Who’s Who of the HHN Community (not to mention some famous wrestlers such as Stardust and Scotty 2 Hotty.)

Jack Presents: 25 Years of Monsters & Mayhem is basically a “greatest hits” of awesome haunted houses Universal has made over the years. HHN Bear can be seen in the room recreating a scene from Scary Tales (HHN 18) and is a terrifying take on the Goldilocks children’s story. While guests are distracted by one bear on the floor going to town on a poor victim, out comes HHN Bear for the big fright. A classic misdirection that works to great effect, but one thing that has taken on a life of its own is guests in the know chanting “Bear! Bear! Bear!” when HHN Bear attacks. This chant has, on occasion, started an impromptu HHN Bear dance.

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HHN Bear’s partner in crime. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

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SATURDAY SIX: Six MORE Extreme Eats at Walt Disney World

by on October 31, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six MORE Extreme Eats at Walt Disney World. For some people, the thing they like most about their theme park vacations is the great attractions like Haunted Mansion. Others love the world class shows like Festival of the Lion King. Here at the SATURDAY SIX we say Nay Nay, because what we love are the EXTRME EATS. Candy apples the size of a newborn’s head? An ice cream sundae using, among other things, 8 scoops of ice cream and a whole can of whipped cream? A cupcake topped with peanut butter icing, candied bacon, and chocolate drizzle? YES PLEASE, we’ll take one of each. In fact, make that two. Today we are back for more of the most outrageous, the most insane, and definitely the most Extreme Eats on Disney property. So sit back, have a bottle of Pepto-Bismol handy, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

# 6 – Pop-Tart Sandwich (Pop Century Resort)

No, you are not seeing things. What you are looking at actually exists. Over at the Everything Pop food court at Disney’s Pop Century Resort is what was once thought of as an urban legend. The Pop-Tart Breakfast Sandwich features egg, bacon, and cheese on a strawberry Pop-Tart. The egg is more of a hockey puck in (possibly) edible form. The cheese and bacon melt together in a scene straight out of the classic horror film The Fly. We’d like to tell you how this tastes, but we did not dare eat it as the Pop-Tart sandwich probably should be thrown directly into the fiery pits of Mordor.

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The Pop-Tart Sandwich at Disney’s Pop Century Resort.

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NSFW.

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Crowd Calendar Updates Are On The Way

by on October 30, 2015

Just a quick note to let users of the Touringplans.com Crowd Calendars know that updates are currently in the works. We expect to publish updates to the calendars in the coming few days.

The updates will include adjustments based on wait times we have seen at the parks this fall and throughout 2015. Len Testa has recently blogged about the research behind the changes. You can see those articles here:

What’s Up With Wait Times at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?

What’s Up With Wait Times at Epcot?

 

In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of October 30, 2015

by on October 30, 2015

ICYMIBoo! To you and you and you! Happy Halloween! Good! Now you have that song stuck in your head too. It’s been stuck in mine for at least a month.

I hope you have a great Halloween and stay safe out there tomorrow evening.

This week a lot of Universal news came out, with a new attraction starring Jimmy Fallon, a look at Skull Island, plus there may be a new Tower of Terror movie, a full update of the cast of Zootopia and more!

In Case You Missed It – Disney and Universal Orlando News and Rumors

 

Do these first permits indicated the scope of the upcoming Star Wars and Toy Story Lands for Disney’s Hollywood Studios?

One of the original Voices of Liberty members is retiring. Debbie Johnson has been with the popular group since Epcot’s opening. Her final performance is Saturday.

Hocus Pocus really is a cult classic and it’s been over 20 years since the film was released. Take a look at where some of the cast is now and yes…Bette Midler does say that the cast would be game for a sequel. That sounds A-OK by me!

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What’s Up with Wait Times at Epcot?

by on October 30, 2015

Minor update on 11/4: An Epcot CM has offered wait time data for a couple of attractions we didn’t have. See [2].

This is the second of four blog posts about wait times at Walt Disney World. We covered Disney’s Hollywood Studios yesterday, and there’s a lot of background material that I won’t copy into today’s post.

Epcot’s average posted wait time seems to be up from around 23.2 minutes in 2014, to 25.0 minutes in 2015 – an increase of just under 8%. We think this is due to 3 things:

  1. The closure of Maelstrom at Norway
  2. Better handling of FastPass+ return lines in the park
  3. Growth in attendance

Maelstrom’s Closure

We think that the people who used to get in line at Maelstrom now get in line at other Epcot attractions. By itself, Maelstrom’s closure explains 60% of Epcot’s slightly longer lines.

Here’s the average wait and number of people in line at these Epcot attraction still open in 2015:

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On average, there are around 567 more people in line at Epcot between 10 AM and 5 PM in 2015 – an increase of 9.8%.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! October 2015 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on October 30, 2015

MMM positiveWelcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. Let’s face it, October is hands down the greatest month in the theme park calendar. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is our favorite Hard Ticket event at WDW, with the new Hocus Pocus Spelltacular show as a fantastic addition. Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights is having perhaps its strongest year ever during its silver anniversary. Food & Wine continues its popular fall run. But maybe the reason October was the greatest month ever this year was the simple fact that Duffy the Disney Bear was removed from Epcot (just kidding, it’s because of the new Force Awakens trailer.)

Don’t worry, while all of you were having the time of your lives enjoying the parks during this wonderful month, Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo and I threw caution to the wind to bring you the Outlet coverage you deserve!

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 one of our all-time favorite finds at the Outlet, this Little Orange Bird ceramic figure. I first saw this a while back at Centerpiece in Disney Spring’s Marketplace Co-op and was happy to see it here. Originally $21.95, reduced to $6.99, you better believe I bought one of these.

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Little Orange Bird.

Another thing I enjoyed seeing at Centerpiece were these Jungle Cruise Elephant figurines. Didn’t like them enough to pick them up, but if one was painted gray I think I may have gotten that one.

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Jungle Cruise Elephant figurine.

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Club Villain To Take Place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on October 29, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Beginning January 16 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be an all new dancing and dining event called Club Villain, which will celebrate all things Disney villain. The event, hosted by Dr. Facilier, the baddie from The Princess and the Frog, is slated to take place in the brand new Sunset Showcase which is found at the end of Sunset Boulevard between Rock n’ Roller Coaster and The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror.

The event will feature a delightful menu inspired after The Princess and The Frog‘s New Orleans location. Dishes will include beef striploin rubbed with herbes de Provence, Voodoo sticky “pig wings” with citrus gremolata and spicy shrimp sautéed with Andouille sausage, tomato, okra and onions over creamy polenta. There will also be great specialty cocktails available. Keep in mind that seating for this event will be banquet style, so you may be seated with other guests, depending on your party’s size.

The event will also feature stage-show numbers, a club DJ and up-close encounters with some of your favorite villain diva, including Maleficent, Queen of Hearts, Evil Queen, and Cruella De Vil.

Tickets will cost $99 per person, tax and gratuity included. Reservations are recommended and can be made up to 90 days in advance, by calling (407) 939-3463. Do keep in mind that separate admission to Disney’s Hollywood Studios is required, and is not included in the price of this package.

This event is only offered on select evenings and as of right now, it’s slated to take place on most Saturdays, January 16 through March 26.

What’s Up with Wait Times at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?

by on October 29, 2015

Wait times at Walt Disney World have been significantly higher than we expected over the last few months — 20% higher, year over year, in 2015. Since our crowd calendar is based on wait times, we needed to determine the causes. And we will have updated crowd calendars within a few days.

Today we’ll look at why we think wait times are higher at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I’ll cover each WDW park in a separate blog post starting tomorrow.

We think higher wait times at Disney’s Hollywood Studios are almost entirely due to these 3 things:

  • Closed attractions
  • Mechanical problems at Tower of Terror
  • Better handling of FastPass+ return lines in the park

We explain each of these in detail below. We also looked at whether Disney has changed the number of FastPasses available, ride capacity, the ratio of FastPass guests to standby guests, or whether guests are using FastPass+ significantly more now. We don’t see any clear evidence of those happening; that’s also explained below. (There’s also increased attendance at the other parks, which we’ll talk about when we cover them.)

Background

Our analysis needs a little bit of math, but it’s all pretty simple.

Take a ride like the Tomorrowland Transit Authority. Its track holds 32 ride vehicles. Each vehicle holds 10 people. One complete trip around the track takes about 10 minutes, so each ride vehicle goes around the track 6 times per hour.

The number of people that the TTA can serve in an hour is 1,920:

32 ride vehicles x 10 people per vehicle x 6 times per hour = 1,920

If the wait at the TTA is 10 minutes, that means there are 320 people ahead of you in line [1]:

10 minutes of wait / 60 minutes in an hour * 1,920 people per hour = 320 people

You can use the same calculation at rides with FastPass+, like Toy Story Midway Mania. TSMM has an hourly capacity of around 900 people. If the posted wait is 50 minutes, the number of people who get to ride before you is:

50 minutes of wait / 60 minutes in an hour * 900 people per hour = 750 people

Most of those 750 people will come from the FastPass+ line – in fact, around 80% of the people who ride before you will come from the FastPass+ line. We’ll use that information a bit later. For now, the thing to know is how to figure out the number of people ahead of you, using the standby wait and the hourly capacity at each ride.

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Explore the Japan Pavilion’s Newest Exhibit – Kawaii: Japan’s Cute Culture

by on October 29, 2015

In the Bijutsu-kan Gallery at the Japan Pavilion at Epcot is a brand new gallery exhibit called Kawaii: Japan’s Cute Culture. The new exhibit explores how all things cute have become a way of life with the Japanese culture through use of artifacts and art.

Throughout the room, you’ll see how kawaii culture has become a fundamental part of Japanese life at home, at work, and at play. Kawaii is rooted in Japan’s Shinto past, and is a means of self-expression.

Cute really is everywhere in Japan and that is what this exhibit attempts to showcase. I was able to make a stop at the Japan Pavilion to take a peek at what the showcase has to offer and wanted to share it with you all.

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Seth & Daisy’s Best Week Ever October 29, 2015: Disneyland!

by on October 29, 2015

1Hello, my darlings! It’s me, Daisy! Oh my goodness, I’ve missed you. Of course, I’ve been loving Seth’s posts so much that I almost feel guilty stepping back in this week. But I went to Disneyland for Halloween, how could I not share that with all of you?

I hope you’ll forgive me for just breezing in for the week. Seth will be back with his excellent posts next week. I’m hoping that my schedule will open up a little this fall and I’ll be able to write some daily park visit posts like I used to in the days before BWE. Would anyone like to see that? Let me know in the comments below! Plus don’t forget that you can follow me over on the Touring Plans Instagram account. I have so much fun interacting with you guys over there. We just hit 5,000 followers so come join the party! Now, let’s get going with the good stuff!

I know this isn’t the traditional view of the castle. I took so many photos, but this one where I “snuck up on it” was my favorite. The first day of our trip was unseasonably hot, but after that the weather mellowed out to a brisk perfection. The upside of the warmer temperatures were these crisp, blue skies. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten such pretty photos of Sleeping Beauty’s castle.

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There’s so much more fun to be had! Please click the link below to read more.

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