Events

Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever July 23, 2014: An Evening with Jodi Benson

by on July 23, 2015

Jodi benson best week ever

Spend an evening with Jodi The Little Mermaid Benson in the best Best Week Ever ever! (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

The hyperbolic title of this column is intended to be tongue in cheek, but every so often I truly do experience something that qualifies for the Best Week Ever superlative. Last Sunday night certainly qualifies, since — thanks to a contest conducted by Shelly Valladolid via her Fabulous Disney Babe column on MiceChat.com — I had the once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet a real-life Disney heroine. Part of Your World: An Evening with Jodi Benson at the Bohemian Hotel in Celebration, afforded 60 guests an intimate audience with Jodi Benson, original voice of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, over an excellent three-course meal, as she told stories, answered questions, posed for photos, and (best of all) performed a mini-concert of songs by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken.

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More Details about the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

by on July 22, 2015

The Hawai'i kiosk at Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

©Disney

Are you ready for fall? Well, if you are, details are abounding now about this year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival! If this is your favorite time of year to visit the parks, like it is mine, you count down the days until you can start making your plans! (I’m drinking pumpkin spice tea to get me in the mood as we speak!)

Well, now, we are only just a little over two months away from opening date, which starts on September 25 and will last a total of 53 days through November 16. What makes this year even more special is it is the 20th anniversary of the event! We’ve already heard some initial details, but we now know things like Marketplace Kiosk menus, special event details, and more.

What’s New?

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2015 Frozen Summer Fun Starts at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on June 19, 2015

2015 Frozen Summer Fun

Chill out with Olaf and friends during the 2015 Frozen Summer Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (photos and video by Seth Kubersky)

Frozen first hit movie theaters in the fall of 2013, but legions of fans (and Disney’s entertainment department) don’t seem ready to “Let It Go” anytime soon, as we enter a second annual season of Frozen Summer Fun at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. We were on hand for the the first day of festivities, which will celebrate the CGI snow princess and pals every day through September 7.

Frozen Royal Welcome Parade

The first Frozen Summer Fun attraction I attended was the new Frozen Royal Welcome, which runs twice a day (currently 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.). It isn’t quite a full fledged parade on the scale of Paint the Night, but boasts far better production values than the typical Hollywood Studios motorcade we’re used to seeing at special events.

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever: 24-Hour Day at Magic Kingdom

by on May 28, 2015

Seth Kubersky's Best Week Ever Magic Kingdom 24 Hour Day

For his first Best Week Ever, Seth explores 24 Hour Day at WDW’s Magic Kingdom (photos by Seth Kubersky)

Welcome to the inaugural edition of Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever! Last week, we bid a fond farewell to Daisy Lauren, who filed her final Best Week Ever column before leaving the series in my semi-capable hands. Daisy leaves some pretty big shoes to fill, but I’ll do my best to continue in her style of upbeat observations from around Walt Disney World, Universal Orlando, and other area attractions.

What better way to kick off my first Best Week Ever than with Walt Disney World’s biggest event of year? Of course, I’m talking about the 24 Hour Day party at the Magic Kingdom, which served as the kickoff for Disney’s “Coolest Summer Ever” campaign. I’ve been attending WDW’s 24-hour parties ever since the very first one on Leap Day 2012, and they are always an amazing (if exhausting) experience.

This year, I was tied up for most of May with the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival (a must-see extravaganza for anyone interested in the arts), so 24-Hour Day marked my first opportunity to visit the Magic Kingdom in many weeks. After several years’ experience, I’ve learned that the most interesting part of the all-nighter is after midnight, which is precisely when I pulled into the TTC parking lot.

Luckily, a powerful rainstorm had pushed through the resort less than an hour before my arrival, resulting in an exodus of soggy guests. That allowed me to snag a parking spot practically underneath the monorail track, within an easy walk of the monorail station.

As I approached the TTC, I noticed a substantial queue of people waiting to purchase tickets. Pro tip: you always want to buy your park admission before arriving, especially during a special event when every minute counts!

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Universal Orlando Tests Mardi Gras Guide App

by on April 19, 2015

Universal Orlando test of a Mardi Gras Guide app could hint at the future of theme park events, for good or ill… (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

Easter has been over two weeks, but Universal Orlando‘s annual Mardi Gras celebration only came to an end on Saturday night. Universal Studios Florida’s final parade and concert played on April 18th to a packed park under overcast skies, unlike the previous week’s rain-soaked washout. But in addition to flying beads and Trey Songz’s bass beats, Universal tossed out another surprise to its fans, testing a new Mardi Gras Guide app for smartphones on the party’s last night.

I began by downloading The Official Universal Orlando Mardi Gras Guide App to my iPhone 6 Plus. The app became available on April 15, and can still be downloaded for free (though it doesn’t do much now that the event has ended).

When the iOS Mard Gras Guide app opens for the first time, you’ll be asked to approve access to various services. Interestingly, there is no request to access the camera, which will become an issue later…

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Least Crowded Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2015 Dates

by on April 10, 2015

Last year I wrote about what we expected to be the least crowded Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. It proved to be a very popular topic, so here I am once again to review the information from last year and give you an even better projection for 2015. Make sure you check out our dedicated page for a complete list of dates as well as a thorough description of what the Christmas party is.

christmas mk lightsIn short, if you’re looking for the best Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2015, we recommend Tuesday, November 10, 2015. Last year we recommended the exact same date; Monday, November 10, 2014, and it honestly didn’t turn out great, being only the 11th least busy party by our calculation. However, we think that was an aberration, since over the past 3 years combined, that date still ranks number 2 overall. Being that the November 10th party this year is on a Tuesday, the least busy day historically, we are comfortable recommending it.

Since I’m sure you’re wondering how we did with our recommendations last year, the answer is…not too bad. There were several predictions that we nailed, but we had a few that were a little off that we have fixed for this year’s recommendations. Here are the top 5 from last year’s recommendations:

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The Least Crowded Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party of 2015

by on April 6, 2015

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween PartyWelcome back to what has become a yearly tradition: predicting the least crowded Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party. We have done the same for each of the past two years, and we’ve been pretty successful if we do say so ourselves. We’ll look back at last year’s recommendations in a bit and give you the full 2015 list, but first make sure you check out our dedicated page for a complete list of dates as well as a thorough description of what the Halloween party is.

In short, if you’re looking for the best 2015 Halloween Party to attend, we recommend Tuesday, September 15, 2015. Each of the past two years we recommended the equivalent party, Tuesday, September 17, 2013 and Tuesday, September 16, 2014. In 2013 it turned out to be the party with the lowest wait times by our calculation, while last year’s came in fourth. The reason we still recommend that date despite it’s lack of a top finish last year is simple: 4 of the top 5 from 2014 were all parties earlier in September…parties which are not offered this year.

In 2014, the first Halloween party was on Labor Day, which was September 1. Previously, Disney had scheduled the first party for the Tuesday following Labor Day, and they’ve reverted to that schedule for this year. The reason the first Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is not until September 15 is because Labor Day is not until September 7th. To make up for only two weeks of September parties, Disney has decided to load October up, with 18 parties in 31 days.

If you’re not going to be around for the first party of the year, Tuesday, September 15, go as early as you can. Over the past few years we’ve noticed an increasing trend where the parties get busier the closer the calender ticks towards Halloween. That sounds logical, but it hasn’t always been the case. A trend that has remained in tact is the difference in day of the week, with Tuesday evening parties being the least busy. So go early in September and/or go on a Tuesday.

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Easter Egg Excitement Enters Epcot

by on March 30, 2015

Easter has sprung all around the Walt Disney World resort. From the magnificent Easter egg displays at the Grand Floridian to Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny meeting their friends over at the Magic Kingdom, spring is in the air. Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 8.11.12 PM

One special event is the Disney Egg-stravaganza 2015, a Disney Easter egg hunt, held at Epcot from March 27, 2015 through April 5, 2015.

For a $4.95 fee (with no discounts available), guests can purchase a packet containing a map and themed egg-shaped stickers. Then the fun really begins. Every country in World Showcase (plus the Outpost) has a large Disney character egg hidden somewhere in the pavilion. As you find each egg, place the sticker with the correct character on the spot on the map for that location. Once you have found all twelve hidden eggs, return to the Port of Entry and show your completed map for a special reward. The map and the reward are yours to keep as a souvenir.

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More 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Food Finds

by on March 21, 2015

While Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival hasn’t yet caught up with the International Food and Wine fest in edible options, there are still more items to sample than any human stomach should attempt in a single day (trust us, we’ve tried). Therefore, I recently followed up my first visit to 2015 Flower and Garden Festival with another lap around World Showcase, this time in the opposite direction. The following photos show of some of my favorite Flower and Garden food finds from the western “hemisphere” of Epcot’s promenade, along with a closer look at a few of the floral arrangements we overlooked the first time around.

2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Food Finds

Let’s start with Urban Farm Eats, home to two of my favorite dishes at this year’s festival.

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Universal Studios Florida Photo Update: Mardi Gras, Furious 7, and Garden of Allah

by on March 19, 2015

Spring break is shifting into high gear at all theme parks right now, and Universal Orlando is no exception. If you don’t feel like struggling through the crowds, come take a virtual tour with me in today’s Universal Studios Florida photo update, featuring a look at construction on Garden of Allah Villas, the new Furious 7 car display, and last weekend’s Mardi Gras concert.

Garden of Allah Villas Construction

The Garden of Allah Villas complex between Hollywood and KidZone is still behind construction walls, behind which is what permit filings describe as a “NBCUniversal Media Lab.” Leave your thoughts in the comments as to what exactly that means.

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