Archive for February, 2017

Washington DC – The Wildly Popular Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors

by on February 28, 2017

One of the additional displays with a long line in the background

In case you missed the announcement, TouringPlans.com now covers Washington, D.C. as a destination. The city’s various attractions and touring style really lends itself to proper planning and that was no more evident than on my visit this past weekend to the Hirshhorn Museum to see the new exhibit Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors.

Yayoi Kusama is an 87 year old Japanese artist who has been displaying her work in the United States (and globally) for 60 years. She tends to like polka dots and soft sculptures in her sometimes eccentric art, but Infinity Mirrors is an exhibit that even the artistically-challenged (which I sometimes can be) can love.

Let’s ask some important questions:

So What Is It?

Okay, here we go.

The basic premise of the exhibit is simple: There are 5 small rooms within the gallery that are completely lined with mirrors. Within the room are various objects that help give you the impression that you are in a vast landscape–what that landscape’s effect is varies with the room.

In addition to the rooms themselves, there were side displays, smaller infinity boxes, and room-filling atmospheric installations. It’s easier to show than to tell:

Infinity Room #1 — Phalli’s Field

This room contained thousands of the phallic soft sculptures that Kusama loves to use. It is probably the least photogenic, but one of my favorites to stand in. The effect of the sea of soft sculptures was actually very pleasant and I’m not going to go into a psychological examination about standing in a phallus field.

Infinity Room #2 — The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away

My favorite concept, although I didn’t love the execution as much. The hanging lights were a beautiful effect (although I did hit my face off of them more than once), but they flashed an pulsed almost continuously. I would have preferred a more gradual change than a strobe effect, but I am also not exactly artistic so what do I know?

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Water Recreation at Walt Disney World + Video

by on February 28, 2017

This week’s video will make quite a SPLASH!

Too cheesy? Probably…

Anyway, I’m here to talk about water recreation at Walt Disney World.

Everything I mention can be done without EVER setting foot inside a park. Grab your swimsuit and let’s jump right in!

Water Recreation Video

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! February 2017 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on February 28, 2017

Welcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando.

It’s the last day of February and – DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES?! – the long delayed Rivers of Light finally made its debut in the Animal Kingdom. Reaction to the show has been favorable, except for the fascinating demographic known as theme park bloggers. Bloggers – who have now seen the show more than anyone – started off saying the show wasn’t that impressive at all. After two or three shows, they started remarking how good the soundtrack is and that the show is growing on them. By the end of the week, many had completely flip flopped and said Rivers of Light was a very good show. Now, this could be a case of Stockholm Syndrome, but most likely it is because Rivers of Light completely eschews what we have become used to in theme park shows and goes back to an original concept like the crowd pleasing IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. No intellectual properties, and a show that rewards multiple viewings. There’s reason to believe Rivers of Light will get additions in the coming months to improve that show even more, and that’s a win-win for all of us.

Now, what did Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo, secret shopper Showcase Of Wishes and I find when we stepped into Mordor the Disney Outlet Stores? Let’s check it out!

A while back Disney came out with a unbelievable amount of huge luggage tags. They were very colorful and several of the designs were actually really neat and well themed to “air travel.” Several of the luggage tags made it to the Outlet this month including ones for Dumbo (the flying elephant), Pixar’s Up, and Buzz Lightyear. Originally $12.95 each, these were reduced to $4.99.

How great is the Up one?!

Here is another luggage tag featuring the Genie from Aladdin. Originally $8.95, now $2.99.

So how long before they announce the live action remake of Aladdin? Over/Under is 7 days if Beauty and the Beast opens to over $100M.

Loved this one. It was a small notebook that reminded me of the Disney Little Golden Books. Originally $6.95, now $3.99.

Bambi notebook.

First page of the notebook is gorgeous.

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Do It Yourself: Disney Shirts

by on February 27, 2017

You reserved your resort accommodations, made your advanced dining reservations, and selected your FastPass+ preferences. Now comes the hard part – waiting! Rather than trudge through what will probably feel like some of the slowest days of your life, why not keep that anticipation rolling with some DIY Disney projects? One of my own favorite projects before a Disney vacation is Disney themed t-shirts, so I’ve compiled a list of some of the best ways you can customize your own vacation shirts. It’s time to pop in a Disney DVD and start crafting!

Iron or Sew-On Items

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SATURDAY SIX – 6 Reasons We Love Disney’s RIVERS OF LIGHT

by on February 25, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love Disney’s RIVERS OF LIGHT! On March 2nd, 2016 Disney whetted all of our appetites when it announced on the Parks Blog that Rivers of Light – the first ever nighttime spectacular at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, would debut on Earth Day (April 22nd). April came and went with no show, but we were told we would get an update “in May.” May came and went with no show and no update. It wasn’t until late November when – seemingly out of nowhere – there were cast member previews for Rivers of Light. While no official announcement was made, that’s a pretty good sign that the show would be opening soon for the general public.

Turns out that was also wishful thinking, as both December and January passed with no word on when we would finally see this highly anticipated show. Then in early February – again, almost out of nowhere – Disney announced that the debut performance for the public would take place on February 17th.

Disney’s Rivers of Light. (photo by Brandon Glover)

When February 17th arrived, anticipation was at an all time high. Standby guests were lined up all the way back to Flame Tree Barbecue, and even those with FP+ were getting into the theater over an hour early to secure a seat. The question on everyone’s mind was simply: was Rivers of Light worth the wait? SPOILER ALERT: Yes. Even better, just as the Main Street Electrical Parade’s return to Disneyland brought along a lot of other cool stuff for guests to enjoy, Animal Kingdom has gone all out for Rivers of Light as well. Today we’re going to look at the actual show along with awesome food and merchandise that supports it. Let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Lotus Flower Popcorn Bucket

Walt Disney World has stepped up its popcorn bucket game in a major way in the past few years. We’ve seen neat buckets themed to the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Cinderella’s carriage, and even Han Solo frozen in carbonite. But a true E-Ticket popcorn bucket arrived for Rivers of Light. Based on the show’s iconic lotus flower, the popcorn bucket not only looks visually stunning, but it also lights up. A game changer in the world of popcorn buckets and we love it.

Lotus Flower Popcorn Bucket. (photo by Brandon Glover)

The Rivers of Light lotus flowers. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Popcorn, a top six theme park snack if there ever was one.

# 5 – Lotus Flower Drink Topper

We’re not the biggest fans of glow cubes in drinks, but themed glow cubes? Now you’re talking. While Disneyland has the cute turtle drink topper, over in Walt Disney World we have an awesome glowing lotus flower. Once the sun goes down, this little flower looks wonderful in any drink, and even makes a beer look better! These toppers are available at Thirsty River Bar and Snacks, directly across from the Rivers of Light theater.

Lotus Topper on (photo by Brandon Glover)

Lotus Flower glow cube. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Review of Beauty and the Beast-themed Red Rose Taverne Restaurant at Disneyland

by on February 24, 2017

This is a review of Red Rose Taverne, a new restaurant at Disneyland which opened to promote the 2017 film, Beauty and the Beast. It temporarily replaces the Pinocchio-themed Village Haus Restaurant. Red Rose Taverne brings some new decor, and thankfully a much improved menu. First, lets take a look at the menu:

Red Rose Taverne Menu

When I saw this menu it struck me at how packed with unique items it is. A Cauli-Flower sandwich? Poutine pizza? I never expected to see items like this at a quick service theme park restaurant. In the last couple of years Disneyland’s menus have become a bit bland and uninteresting, but Red Rose Taverne seems to have a perfect balance for those looking for items like basic hamburgers, and others looking for something slightly more adventurous.

Watch our video review on the Red Rose Taverne menu.

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In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of February 24, 2017

by on February 24, 2017

Are you ready for the Oscars this weekend? Disney has the ability to win pretty darn big! Which movie do you think will win Best Animated Film?

This week, we have a lot of great movie news, a look at Pandora and how it fits with Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and more.

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

 

Curious how Pandora fits in with the theme behind Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Imagineer Joe Rhode shares the thought process behind just why it does. What do you think about all this now after seeing this video?

For the second year in a row, Disney has been ranked number one within the entertainment industry on Fortune’s list of “World’s Most Admired Companies” for 2017. 

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Disney’s Animal Kingdom to Introduce Caring for Giants Tour

by on February 24, 2017

Caring for Giants

(C)Disney

If you love getting to learn more about the animals that are found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, then you will want to make sure to sign up for this brand new tour. Caring for Giants is a brand-new unique, family-friendly backstage viewing experience featuring the park’s African elephants.

The tour has Guests meeting with Disney’s Animal Kingdom animal care specialists who help provided for the wellness of the park’s elephant herd. In addition, Guests will be able to hear stories of Disney’s conservation efforts that have been made toward perserving wild populations. The tour will bring Guests up close to the action…well, as close as you’ll want to comfortably be, anyway – approximately 80-100 feet.

The Caring for Giants tour will last 60 minutes beginning March 12. Tours will occur daily between 10:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Guests must be at least 4 years or older to particpate in the tour. Guests will need to check in 15 minutes prior to start of experience at the Animal Experiences booth, located across from the Kilimanjaro Safaris entrance. The cost is $30 per person (tax included) and park admission is required, but not included.

To book this tour, call (407) WDW-PLAY.

Trattoria al Forno Character Meal to Debut in April

by on February 24, 2017

Trattoria al Forno

©Rikki Niblett

Are you excited about the upcoming all new character meal that’s slated to debut at Trattoria al Forno at Disney’s BoardWalk on April 2? The new breakfast option called Bon Voyage Breakfast, will feature some of your favorite Disney couples – Rapuzel and Flynn Rider from Tangled and Ariel and Prince Eric from The Little Mermaid.

The breakfast menu will include items with an Italian inspiration with names that are fitting of the characters who are hosting the meal.

Breakfast will begin with your choice of either a mixed berry parfait or fresh fruit salad and a frying pan of pastries featuring braided breakfast bread and clam shell pastries.

Main dishes will include:

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Disney Dining Plan Rates Increase for 2017

by on February 23, 2017

©Disney

If you’re a fan of the Disney Dining Plan, you’re going to be paying just a little more going forward, as new rates have been released for Walt Disney World. Increases this year were relatively small. Here’s a breakdown of the changes (prices include tax):

Note: Disney doesn’t actually announce pricing. These costs were figured using a booking at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and a calculator. Please note that there may be a slight difference when booking your vacation package. (The difference typically tends to be within a few cents.)

Plan Inclusions (per night) Previous Price
(per night)
NEW Price
(per night)
Quick Service Dining Plan 2 Quick Service Meals
2 Snack
1 Refillable Mug
Adult $46.34
Child $20.18
Adult $48.19
Child $21.00
Regular Dining Plan 1 Table Service Meal
1 Quick Service Meal
2 Snacks
1 Refillable Mug
Adult $67.33
Child $24.22
Adult $69.35
Child $24.95
Deluxe Dining Plan 3 Table (or Quick) Service Meals
2 Snacks
1 Refillable Mug
Adult $103.57
Child $37.62
Adult $106.68
Child $38.75

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