Archive for April, 2017

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

by on April 30, 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. Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo and I came across a lot of neat things this month including Bambi merchandise, a whole bunch of Tsum Tsums, and several Star Wars pieces that are next level bananas.

Ready to see what we found? Let’s go!

Disney puts out a ton of themed salt and pepper shakers for a niche community I would love to watch a documentary on, but some of the shaker sets are actually pretty neat.  Over the past few years, while at the resorts and Disney Springs, I have seen a neat Skyway set, another featuring Mickey and Minnie in a car, and this one which spotlights the Mad Tea Party ride. Not sure of the original price of these (I believe they were $19.95) but they have been reduced to $9.99. Had to pick up one of these.

Mad Tea Party salt and pepper set. (photo by Julia Mascardo)

This set featuring an old timey artwork of Disneyland’s castle and a Tomorrowland rocket. The backs of each were blank. This set was reduced to only $5.99, but I passed on this. One thing that was interesting was at the bottom of the package it says “Not microwave or dishwasher safe.” WHO PUTS THEIR SALT AND PEPPER SHAKERS IN THE MICROWAVE?!!

Is warm salt a thing?!

Lots of Tsum Tsums this month including this awesome Haunted Mansion set. It features the Hitchhiking Ghosts, Madame Leota, the Bride, and the Viking Opera Singer (how’s that for a deep dive.) Tsums are still 99 cents at the Outlet.

Photo taken at the luxurious SATURDAY SIX headquarters. A stone’s throw away (according to the restraining order) from Mar-A-Lago.

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SATURDAY SIX: Wizarding World Merchandise Straight Out of the Harry Potter Movies

by on April 29, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Wizarding World Merchandise Straight Out of the Harry Potter Movies! We all have our favorite parts of Universal’s Wizarding World. Some love the world class attractions like Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey. Others love the incredible shows like Celestina Warbeck and the Banshees. Of course, pretty much everyone loves BUTTERBEER. However, one aspect of the Wizarding World’s immersive theming isn’t discussed as much as everything else, but it is just as important to the overall experience. Merchandise. Now, that may sound crazy at first. In fact, it’s something that both Spaceballs and The Simpsons have made fun of, but in the case of the Wizarding World it’s something real. Muggles walking out of Diagon Alley are loaded down with bags because Universal has delivered on items straight out of the films. Today we’re going to take a look at some of our favorite pieces of merchandise and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Ron and Harry Sweaters (Madame Malkin’s)

Our first piece of merchandise comes from, appropriately enough, the first Harry Potter film. In Sorcerer’s Stone, Mrs. Weasley sends sweaters to Ron and Harry for Christmas. It is a nice moment in the movie because Harry has unbridled glee just when he discovers he is actually getting presents. In Diagon Alley, you can get your own Ron or Harry sweater at Madame Malkin’s Robes for all Occasions.

Ron and Harry sweaters. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Ron wears his sweater from mum in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

Harry is only seen wearing his sweater in this deleted scene from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.

While in Madame Malkin’s, another piece of clothing to add to your wardrobe is the sweater Neville Longbottom wears in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II. This is the same sweater Neville wore while giving his heartfelt speech before drawing the Sword of Gryffindor on Lord Voldemort.

Wearing this Neville Longbottom sweater and you too may feel like you can “spit fire.” (photo by Brandon Glover)

Neville Longbottom in one of the most courageous moments of the entire series in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II.

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Entertainment Changes in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom

by on April 28, 2017

Tomorrowland entertainment

©Rikki Niblett

For those who are fans of the #INCREDIBLESSuperDanceParty, I have sad news. The intergalactic dance party which takes place on the Rockettower Plaza Stage in Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom and featuring characters from the hit Pixar film, The Incredibles will be ending. The dance party occurs on select evenings and transforms as Mr. Spin puts together the beats for those looking to rock out.

The last day to dance the night away with Mr. Incredible, Mrs. Incredible, and Frozone will be April 30.

It does appear that Mr. Incredible will still be meeting with Guests for a limited time. He will be found in a temporary location from May 1 through May 18.

A new dance party is slated to take its place called the Cosmic Dance Party. No word on which characters will be appearing or an official start date. (Though one would expect it would be May 19, but that’s just a guess on my part.)

In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of April 28, 2017

by on April 28, 2017

It’s been another pretty busy week at the In Case You Missed It office! There’s been a lot of great small tidbits and many things, I bet you missed!

What did you maybe miss? Oh how about the new dessert menu offerings on the Disney Dream. Or maybe you missed who is rumored to be cast as Timon and Pumbaa. Or just maybe you missed a new character for Tomorrowland at the Magic Kingdom. Whatever you missed, we’ve got you covered!

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

 

I think….I think that Johnny Depp made an appearance at Disneyland as Captain Jack Sparrow on Pirates of the Caribbean. I say that because my collective Twitter timeline lost it for about it for a good two days.

If you are in Disneyland and you visit Starbucks, you can try the Pink Pegasus. If you are in Walt Disney World and visit Starbucks, you can try the Pink Flamingo!

When you ride Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission BREAKOUT! at DCA, you’ll get to enjoy some great music. Find out which tracks are going to be included in the attraction. Which do you want to hear most?

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The Music of Pixar Live! Dining Packages Now Available

by on April 27, 2017

The Music of Pixar Live

©Disney

Did you miss the announcement that this summer there will be a fantastic new nightly event called Music of Pixar Live! at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Beginning May 26, in the Theater of the Stars, which is where Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage is held, Guests will be able to enjoy a live orchestra performing scores of your favorite Pixar stories, from Toy Story, all the way to Cars 3, as well as appearances by beloved Pixar characters. The show will also include movie montages, outtakes and interview clips from the people behind the music!

Well, for Guests who want to make sure that they don’t miss this entertaining experience, Disney is introducing the Music of Pixar Live! Dining Package. Guests who purchase the Dining Package can enjoy one of three performances of The Music of Pixar Live! each evening, as well as a meal at either Hollywood & Vine, The Hollywood Brown Derby, or Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano.

For those who would like to catch both The Music of Pixar Live! and Fantasmic, there is a The Music of Pixar Live! and Fantasmic! Dining Package too!

Pricing for the Dining Packages are as follows:

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Julia’s Best Week Ever, April 27, 2017: Happy B-Earth Day

by on April 27, 2017

As some people know, I’m quite the introvert. So getting notice in the mail that I had been selected for jury duty was more than a little stressful. To unwind, we decided to take a trip to Animal Kingdom. Because it was Earth Day weekend, we knew the crowds would be fairly high in the day, so we opted for an evening stroll. It was just the relaxation that we all needed.

It never fails that when people arrive at Animal Kingdom, they rush through the first area you come to, the Oasis, but that is one of our favorite places to spend time. There’s a handful of exhibits with some fairly quiet and shy animals, but especially in the afternoons they come out. One who isn’t shy was this duck who was just plain sassy.

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Ask It: Best Park Icon

by on April 26, 2017

Each of the four theme parks at Walt Disney World has its own unique icon to reflect the personality of each theme park. These icons not only exist larger than life in the theme parks, but are present in Disney media and on the My Disney Experience app. In Animal Kingdom, you’ve got the Tree of Life. Magic Kingdom has Cinderella Castle. Epcot has Spaceship Earth. And no one can forget the Studios with the giant Sorcerer Mickey hat. The Earful Tower.  The Chinese theater…or the Tower of Terror (or whatever that strange shape is in My Disney Experience).*

So now we’re asking you: What is the best park icon at Walt Disney World? Voting is open now here and on Twitter, and we’ll have the results next week on AskIt.

What is the best park icon at Walt Disney World?

  • Cinderella Castle (Magic Kingdom) (57%, 574 Votes)
  • Spaceship Earth (Epcot) (30%, 299 Votes)
  • Tree of Life (Disney's Animal Kingdom) (11%, 113 Votes)
  • Tower of Terror (Disney's Hollywood Studios) (1%, 15 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,001

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*Yes, it is actually the Tower of Terror that is the official icon that Disney uses for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Members of the TouringPlans team debated whether it was actually supposed to look somewhat like the Chinese theater that is home to the Great Movie Ride or whether a “Vacancy” sign would be a better symbol at present. We’re going with Tower of Terror, but certainly we accept write-in votes!

Ask It Results: Best Current Use of Star Wars

by on April 26, 2017

The results are in! Last week we asked you:

Which is the best use of Star Wars at Walt Disney World?

With special nods to the “All of the above” (read: Star Wars mega fans) and “None of the above” (read: Not Star Wars fans), here’s how the four choices did in our weekly poll, with more than 1,400 votes cast.

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Long Term Wait Time Trends at Walt Disney World

by on April 26, 2017

Our Walt Disney World wait time analysis shows that waits are up in the last 8 to 12 months compared to what have seen historically during the same time period. Until recently, we didn’t exactly know why. Take a look at this graph – but it takes some explaining to interpret.

When you hold all factors constant, you see the true trend in Walt Disney World Wait times.

In data analysis we attempt to explain the ups and downs of a variable we are interested in by looking at all the other factors that can affect the variable. Sometimes it can be helpful to isolate one of the variables to see how it (and only it) contributes to the ups and downs. But isolating a factor is difficult because the factors all interact with each other. One can not isolate the ups and downs of wait times that are due to the day of the week without also accounting for days with bad weather, for example.

Anyway, our modelling of wait times at Disney parks allows us to do this – it is called a partial dependence plot. We plot the impact of a particular factor while controlling for all the other factors. When we do this using DATE as the isolated factor what we get is a picture of the unexplained noise in the data that relates only to the date that we collected the wait times. In other words, isolating DATE gets us a picture of the long term trend of wait times.

In normal circumstances, we would expect to see something close to a flat line. According to the graph, we see wait times going up in the last few years across all four parks but especially at Magic Kingdom. So, we asked around. Turns out that Magic Kingdom implemented a hiring freeze in September 2016. That could be an explanation for the spike that we see at the end of the Magic Kingdom trend. Less staff means lower attraction capacity and higher wait times. I wouldn’t be surprised if a similar hiring freeze took place at the other parks as well.

Remember, this is not a plot of the trend of average wait times, this is a plot of the trend of wait times when you hold all important factors constant. So, the trend we see can’t be due to new attractions, good weather, extended park hours, changes in school schedules or a strong economy. We also know that attendance is relatively flat since 2015 so it can’t be that. When we do the same analysis at Universal Orlando Resort we don’t see the same trend. So, it must be something operational at the Disney parks and understaffing seems like the most plausible explanation.

 

Note: This analysis is for information purposes only, it is not meant to be conclusive, just some observations from the data.

The Polite Pig Debuts With Satisfying Southern Barbeque

by on April 25, 2017

Polite Pig Review

The Polite Pig, a new fast-casual entry into the Disney Springs dining scene, recently opened to much fanfare, and we were there to try it out! A new concept and location from the minds behind the renowned Orlando eateries Ravenous Pig, Cask & Larder, and Swine & Sons, Polite Pig offers Southern barbeque, beer, and bourbon in a “quick service” atmosphere. Here, I’ll give you some of my first impressions from the restaurant, and a few thoughts on all of the dishes we sampled in our visit for our Polite Pig review.

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