Archive for May, 2017

TouringPlansTV: 10K Giveaway!

by on May 23, 2017

We’ve reached 10,000 subscribers on our YouTube page!

To celebrate this milestone, we’re giving away FIVE TouringPlans.com subscriptions.

Watch the video below to see how YOU can enter, and thank you so much for supporting us!

Have suggestions for future videos? Let me know in the comments!

Springs Street Eats Food Truck Rally at Disney Springs This June

by on May 22, 2017

Disney Springs Food Trucks

©Rikki Niblett

Looking for a unique weekend at Disney Springs? On June 2 and June 3, Guests will be able to take part in the Springs Street Eats Food Truck Rally!

During the event, Guests will be able to sample delights from eight different food trucks, both in the form of Disney food trucks, as well as some Central Florida favorites. Here is a list of the different trucks you’ll be able to find:

  • Fantasy Fare: Fan favorites from around Disney theme parks from around the globe, including the famous hand-dipped corn dog
  • World Showcase of Flavors: Sandwiches inspired by cuisine found at the Epcot Food and Wine Festival Marketplaces
  • Philly’s Best Cheesesteaks – Plain and simple. The best cheesesteak sandwiches
  • 900 Degreez Pizza – Pizza cooked in 90 seconds courtesy of an imported Italian wood-fired oven? Ok!
  • Magic 4 UR Palate – Dishes that are appealing to the eye as they are to the stomach
  • The London Fish and Chippy – Beer battered haddock and chips, as well as other fresh fried seafood flavors.
  • Caketeer – Gourmet cupcakes and custom cake products
  • Tikiz Shaved Ice – Ice Cream, as well as Hawaiian Shaved Ice where Guests can dispense their own custom shaved ice syrup creations.

 

There will also be live entertainment to enjoy too!

The event will take place on the West Side of Disney Springs, outside of Cirque du Soleil from 4:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. on Friday, June 2 and from 12:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 3.

 

SATURDAY SIX: 6 Attractions We Miss At Universal Studios Florida

by on May 20, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Attractions We Miss at Universal Studios Florida!  We are about to enter the part of the theme park calendar when both Universal and Disney like to unveil new attractions and experiences for the busy summer crowds. However, in most cases, whenever we get something new it means we also have to say goodbye to something it replaced. For example, for guests to be able to enjoy the Valley of Mo’ara in Pandora: The World of Avatar, Disney removed Camp Minnie Mickey. Universal Studios Florida has gone through more turnover than most theme parks. In fact, of the park’s opening day attraction lineup, only E.T. Adventure and the Horror Make-Up Show remain. Today we’re going to take a look at some of our favorite USF attractions that have been replaced over the years, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Kongfrontation

Amazingly enough, despited be based around one of the worst filmed versions of King Kong in history (the 1976 remake) Kongfrontation remains an attraction that many Universal fans wish was still in the park. Even though it was replaced by the incredibly popular Revenge of the Mummy indoor coaster, the nostalgia for Kongfrontation is strong. The attraction had many signature moments, including interactions with various super-sized Kong audio-animatronics, and a very memorable end-of-ride photo opportunity where guests could be photographed in Kong’s hand. The Universal mantra of “Ride the Movies”  was exactly what Kongfrontation was all about. It may have been a bad movie, but you were in it and the experience was awesome. There are still references to Kong in Revenge of the Mummy, and Universal finally brought the great ape back into the parks with Skull Island: Reign of Kong, but man we still miss Kongfrontation.

Kongfrontation. (photo credit Universal Orlando Resort)

Kongfrontation. (photo credit Universal Orlando Resort)

Kongfrontation. (photo credit Universal Orlando Resort)

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Additional Attractions Open During Extra Evening Extra Magic Hours at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

by on May 19, 2017

Disney's Animal Kingdom

©Rikki Niblett

A while back, the news came out that from May 27 through July 4, Disney’s Animal Kingdom would be open for extra Evening Extra Magic Hours. Resort Guests would have the exclusive opportunity to be in the park from 11:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. to enjoy the beauty and splendor that is Pandora – The World of Avatar at night.  Well, due to the expected heavy crowds, Disney has announced that a few more attractions will be open, in addition to the attractions found in Pandora.

Guests will now also be able to experience the following attractions during these extra late night hours:

Expedition Everest: Legend of the Forbidden Mountain
Primeval Whirl
TriceraTop Spin
Fossil Fun Games
Tree of Life awakenings
Rivers of Light
Discovery Island Carnivale

 

In addition, select Food and Beverage locations and Merchandise options will be available, as well.

Looks like it will be a good time to visit the park if you are staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel and plan on visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom!

Unique Way to Contribute to the Disney Conservation Fund

by on May 19, 2017

©Disney

With the opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar rapidly approaching, Disney has announced a creative way for Guests to help contribute to the Disney Conservation Fund, which supports conservation efforts here on Earth.

With the new mobile adventure called Connect to Protect, when Guests enter the land, by utilizing the My Disney Experience app, Guests are invited to participate in conservation missions to help protect the habits of at-risk animals. During the missions, you will be able to interact with a digital scientist all while exploring the land. Guests will instant message with one of the moon’s ecological specialists, Fitsimti “Fits” Buckley. Fits will share information about conservation along the way that applies to both Earth and Pandora.

Once Guests complete at least one mission, they will be able to unlock a $10 contribution from Disney Parks. If you just discuss conservation, you’ll be able to contribute $5 through the Disney Conservation Fund. Guests will have the option to choose where their money gets donated. They can choose from one of 10 threatened animal categories – butterflies, apes, coral reefs, cranes, elephants, monkeys, rhinos, rays and sharks, sea turtles, or tigers.

Pretty cool way to help raise funds for endangered animals, right? I know I’m going to make sure to complete a mission when I’m visiting Pandora on opening day!

 

In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of May 19, 2017

by on May 19, 2017

In Case You Missed ItThis week, I am riding the Disney and Universal hype train? Why? Because this time next week, I will be soaking in all the fun at both Volcano Bay and Pandora – The World of Avatar! I don’t think my excitement can get any greater.

But, that’s next weekend and we still have this weekend, which is thankfully upon us! So, this week, learn more about Volcano Bay, see what’s the most important thing for Pandora, and more.

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

 

This week, the Wall Street Journal ran a very intriguing article about the future of the Walt Disney Company and Mr. Iger’s successor or lack there of.  What are your thoughts?

Are “pirates” holding Pirates of the Caribbean ransom?  Hackers may have their hands on the film and are threatening to release it, according to rumors

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Julia’s Best Week Ever, May 18, 2017: A Mother of a Weekend

by on May 18, 2017

You know that whole “need a vacation to recover from a vacation”? I think I’m there after this week. It isn’t often that a new section of a theme park opens, so we decided to make the most of it. As locals, we don’t spend as many DVC points, so when we heard that there was a DVC preview in Pandora for Mother’s Day weekend, we booked a room at the Beach Club and signed up. (And consider this the spoiler alert–there will be some mild spoiler pictures later on in the article.) Our time slot was for 9 AM on Saturday morning, so in theory we needed to get an early night’s sleep. But Friday night was also the first night of Happily Ever After. My husband and I had seen some of it when it was in testing at 1 AM, but our daughter slept through it. We let her stay up to watch, and she had fun making “water effects” for it in the pool.

Thankfully, even with all that excitement, she was able to get some sleep. The next morning we got up and arrived at Animal Kingdom around 8:30. We walked over to the Annual Passholder line and there was a crowd just hanging out. The Cast Member there asked if we were Passholders, and we said yes. She asked if we were staying on property, and we said yes, but were a little confused how she knew. She scanned our Magic Bands and it occurred to us–everyone else was standing around because they couldn’t go in yet. It was a morning Extra Magic Hour for resort guests. Yay! In we went. Getting in early meant we could say hi to the animals on our way to Pandora. Specifically, an anteater came to say good morning. He certainly looks like he would belong on Pandora, doesn’t he?

It was about quarter of nine, but they let us walk right in. We got a FastPass return slip for Flight of Passage and admired the landscape as we walked over to the Na’vi River Journey.

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Ask It: Are Preferred Rooms Worth It?

by on May 17, 2017

Is a preferred room at Disney World worth the cost

There’s no question that staying on property at Walt Disney World is an added luxury to your vacation. But even with the extra cost of staying at a Walt Disney World resort hotel, there are options for “preferred rooms” and room upgrades. These rooms may have a more desirable location (near bus transportation, near the pool, near the food court/lobby), better views (of ponds/lakes, pools, or animals on the savannah), special theming (Pirate or “Royal” rooms) or ground floor locations.  Of course, there’s an added cost for anything above a “standard” room. So this week’s question is:

What features are worth paying extra for a preferred room at Walt Disney World?

  • Location (49%, 427 Votes)
  • Never Worth It (21%, 185 Votes)
  • View (20%, 172 Votes)
  • Special Features (9%, 79 Votes)

Total Voters: 863

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Voting is open here and on Twitter and we’ll have your results next week. Feel free to share your reasons for your choice in the comments.

 

Ask It Results: Land and Sea or Sea and Land

by on May 17, 2017

There’s the old saying about a vacation that sometimes you need a vacation from your vacation. When you do a Walt Disney World vacation in conjunction with a Disney Cruise Line cruise, you truly do get that vacation to recover from your vacation. But what’s the best order to do them in? Last week we asked you:

When doing a Disney Cruise/Walt Disney World combination vacation, do you prefer to do Land then Sea or Sea then Land?

The results are in, and there was a very clear favorite.

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Satu’li Canteen And Mobile Ordering Rejuvenate Quick Service Disney Dining

by on May 17, 2017

Pandora - The World of AvatarRecently, I was lucky enough to attend an Annual Passholder Preview for Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and of course, as your resident dining reviewer, my first priority was trying out all the new food options available at the land’s quick service restaurant, Satu’li Canteen. I was also excited to try out the new mobile ordering option from the My Disney Experience app, currently exclusively used at Satu’li Canteen. I’ll run through the process of how to use mobile ordering (it’s super easy!), and give a few first impressions of the food I sampled in this Satu’li Canteen review.

Mobile Ordering Basics

First things first, you have to have the My Disney Experience app installed on your mobile device, and for optimal use, you’ve got to have location services and notifications enabled for app use. Currently, mobile ordering does not support the use of the Disney Dining Plan for payment, either – only credit cards, so keep in mind if you want to make use of your plan credits, you’ll need to order at the counter as you would normally at a quick service location. Also keep in mind, mobile ordering is only available for guests taking part in a preview of Pandora at this time, as the land is not yet open to everyone (May 27th is almost here, though!)

Mobile ordering is a pretty straightforward process (if you’ve ever used UberEats, you’ll be an expert already) – essentially, you order your food on the app, then once you arrive at the restaurant, you click “I’m here!”, at which point they’ll make your order. They’ll notify you once it’s ready, and since you’ve already paid through the app, you simple pick up your food and you’re on your way. Think of mobile ordering as a FastPass+ to skip the sometimes-lengthy ordering lines at every quick service restaurant.

The app will remind you what menu you’re ordering from (breakfast vs lunch/dinner), and will tell you the cut-off time for picking up your mobile order from Satu’li Canteen. At the top of several pages in the process, I saw a warning saying I had to pick up my order before 8:00 PM (when the restaurant closes). Basically, once a meal period starts for that day, you can order anytime between opening and close, and just show up when you’re ready. Simple, right? Very… I was really impressed that I didn’t have to pick a time to return, but I’d also warn to keep in mind that the food isn’t made until you arrive (more on that shortly), so if you pick a busy time of day to return, you’ll still wait a little for your food.

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