Halloween

The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! January 2016 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on January 31, 2016

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. The new year has started off exactly where the old one left us: with Walt Disney World closing attractions. It has been a pretty cool month though, including a cool Star Wars runDisney race out in California (and Star Wars fans owe it to themselves to watch a great parody of Undercover Boss featuring Kylo Ren). Erin Foster took us inside Vanellope’s on the Disney Dream, and for those who don’t know, this is a complete Wreck-It-Ralph themed sweet shop (pinch us, we’re dreaming). And Guy Selga introduced us to Four Glorious New Ways to Kill Time at Disneyland, including the am I dreaming this, or is this real Jungle Cruise Skipper School. 2016 is shaping up to be an incredible year.

Now while all of you were off taking your kids to see Donald Trump, Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo and I were hard at work to bring you the quality Outlet coverage you expect 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).

The first item this month made my heart grow three sizes (after double checking, that enlargement of the heart was actually due to eating the Pop-Tart Sandwich at Pop Century). Behold the Luigi’s Flying Tires hat! Anyone who has visited the Disney Dump has seen the remnants of this attraction, which opened with the debut of Cars Land in the summer of 2012 and was already closed by the ending of February 2015. Believe it or not, despite only being open for only 976 days, Luigi’s doesn’t even rank in the Top Five of Short Lived Disney Attractions. Originally $24.95, this baby could be sitting on your head for just $6.99. VIVA LA DISNEY OUTLETS!

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After seeing this, I know how Indiana Jones felt seeing the Fertility Idol.  (photo by Julia Mascardo)

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Tsum Tsums returned this month! However it was mostly the ones we have seen in the past (including all seven of the dwarfs), but one that was new was this crying duck. I had literally no idea who this was, but found out it was the Ugly Duckling from a quick scene in Lilo & Stitch. That’s what we call a deep dive, and I love it. I actually dropped Loot Crate this month and started up the Disney Tsum Tsum Monthly Subscription Program, so starting in February I too will annoy you with unboxing videos (although my last one didn’t go so well).

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Ugly Duckling Tsum.

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Ugly Duckling sequence from Lilo & Stitch.

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

by on December 31, 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. In fact, with this edition of MMM Your Humble Author is completing the greatest month in the history of theme park blogging. In December we had the 25 Drinks of Christmas countdown (featuring the Nautilus at Grog Grotto, Deathly Hallows at WWOHP, Candy Apple Cotton-Tini at T-Rex Cafe and more), SATURDAY SIXES on the best souvenir cups at WDW along with Indiana Jones references in Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, our annual IN MEMORIAM – Six Things We Lost From the Theme Park World, and the inaugural 12 Days of a Theme Park Christmas. Of course readers of this fine column will enjoy Six Gifts Santa Can Bring BACK to the North Pole (AKA The Best of the Disney Outlet Stores 2015)

Now while all of you were out buying the wrong gift for your loved ones, Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo and I were hard at work to bring you the Outlet coverage you expect 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)

We are going to start off this month’s report with a story so uplifting that, if it was made into a movie, it could only star Kirk Cameron. When the Disney Outlet Store off of International Drive was shut down in June for a “refurbishment,” we were told it would be closed for three months and reopen in September. Well, September came and went and it still wasn’t open. October came and went and it still wasn’t open. November came and went and it still wasn’t open

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I made many trips past this closed Outlet Store during the Summer and Fall, not unlike Ralphie Parker hoping to find his Little Orphan Annie Decoder Ring in the mail.

A funny thing happened in early December. I had bought tickets to go to a private event in Diagon Alley at the Universal Orlando Resort, which is close to the International Drive Outlets. I walked by the Disney Outlet, and found it still closed, but this time there was a sign on the door…

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Wait, is that a sign on the door?!

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever December 31, 2015: Surviving Magic Kingdom Holiday Week Crowds

by on December 31, 2015

Do you love ginormous crowds of people, endless seas of strollers, and triple-digit wait times? If so, you’ve picked the Best Week Ever to visit Walt Disney World. But even if you are allergic to all of the above, it is actually possible survive the madness of Magic Kingdom holiday week crowds, and even enjoy a visit to America’s most popular theme park during the busiest week of the year, with the proper preparation.

In contrast to my relatively calm Christmas Day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, my December 29 visit to the Magic Kingdom came smack in the center of 2015’s winter peak season psychosis. I braved the Magic Kingdom holiday week crowds in order to share with you a first-person perspective on navigating Disney when attendance is at its most extreme.

Without that professional motivation, I’d normally avoid Walt Disney World on days when our Crowd Calendar hits 10 out of 10, but many visitors don’t have another option due to work and school schedules. If the busy holiday week is the only time your family can visit WDW, I hope my experiences will help educate you about the perks and pitfalls of a peak season vacation.

 

Magic Kingdom Holiday Week Parking

As any Magic Kingdom veteran knows, simply arriving at the park is an adventure in itself; that’s doubly true during peak holiday weeks. My day of queuing began around 9 a.m., many yards before the Magic Kingdom parking toll booths.

Magic kingdom holiday week crowds parking

 

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The 12 Days of a Theme Park Christmas

by on December 24, 2015

Everyone has their favorite Christmas traditions. For some it’s a dramatic reading of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas, while for others it is the 24 hour marathon of A Christmas Story. Many of us enjoy reading the famous poem 12 Days of Christmas, even going so far as to figuring out how much all those items would cost (imagine if they were bought at a theme park!) This year we are starting a new tradition on the blog with a look at the 12 Days of a Theme Park Christmas. Get close to your loved ones, slip on an ugly sweater, drink a big sip of egg nog, and let’s begin with…

TWELVE CLOSED ATTRACTIONS

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This is a busy time for the Disney Dump as many attractions have been added to the pile. A great time to invest in construction walls though!

ELEVEN BANISHED BUBBLE GUNS

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Guns have been completely banned from Walt Disney World, even the bubble guns.

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Baymax Hat Tutorial and Giveaway

by on December 10, 2015

Baymax Hat Tutorial

Nothing like Baymax hanging out on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority Peoplemover.

Have you ever considered what it might be like walking around a Disney theme park looking like a personal healthcare companion who sometimes moonlights as a superhero? No? Well maybe you should!

Today I’m bringing you a Baymax Hat Tutorial for your very own Big Hero 6 Baymax armor hat. If you caught my tutorial on custom Mickey ears then you know I’m a sucker for wearable Disney crafts. However, this Baymax hat tutorial can be just a smidge more appealing than undertaking the full custom Mickey ears. First, this tutorial is a snap. There is no sewing involved – just a little bit of cutting and hot gluing and you’ll be in business. Second, the great thing about this hat is that it is 100% unisex. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for guys wearing Mickey ear headbands, but some guys might not want to go that route. This gives them an opportunity to participate in some light DisneyBounding while also keeping the sun off their faces.

Do you feel like maybe your crafting skills aren’t up to snuff to make your own Baymax hat? No problem! Read through to the end of the post for how you can enter to win the exact Baymax hat I constructed for this tutorial!

Baymax Hat Tutorial

That’s right, we decided to be Baymaxes.

Let me start out by giving you a little background on this particular hat. My husband and I visited Disney World over the 2015 Memorial Day weekend, which provided us with an opportunity to participate in the 24-hour party at Magic Kingdom. (And this party encouraged costumes. Enough said.) Anyway, Anthony decided he wanted to go as armored Baymax. He had it all figured out, but he needed just one teeny, tiny thing from me. He needed a hat. He knew what he wanted it to look like, but to his dismay no one else had thought of the need for this piece of head-wear, and it didn’t exist on Amazon or Etsy. A little bit of brainstorming and the end result was the fantastic Baymax hat you see here! (Yes, I also decided to attend the party as Baymax. Healthcare Baymax. Because I thought it was adorable. Is any other reason needed?)

Even though I designed and created this hat, I have to admit that I have just a little bit of bitterness towards this dashing head-wear. Why? Well every time Anthony wears it at Disney World he gets a ridiculous amount of awesome comments on it. High fives, thumbs up; one person even asked him if she could have it. (Straight out asked for it – weird, right?) You might be asking yourselves why on earth positive feedback on something I designed is cause for jealousy. Well, the truth of it is that no matter how much time I put into making amazing custom Mickey ears, I never get the accolades he gets for a hat that took less than an hour to throw together. Let’s give the man some credit though – his immediate response is always, “She made it!” as he points frantically at me.

Okay, okay; I’ll stop rambling and get on with the show.

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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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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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Trivia Tuesday: Haunted Mansion + Video

by on October 20, 2015

Haunted Mansion in Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom

Haunted Mansion in Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom

Welcome to a spooky edition of Trivia Tuesday!

Click on the video below to hear some ghoooooostly details about the Haunted Mansion attraction.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and YouTube for more informational posts and videos on your Disney vacation-planning needs.

Happy Halloween!

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The SATURDAY SIX News Desk: Bait You Can Click On

by on October 17, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX is a very special one as we dust off the blue blazer and step behind the SATURDAY SIX News Desk. What a week. If you’re like us you’ve been too busy watching the return of The Walking Dead on AMC, the Cubs and Mets winning their playoff series, and Donald Trump being Donald Trump. However we’ve been informed that a whole lot of stuff happened in the theme park world in the past week. So we took a page out of our old college playbook and pulled an all-nighter, cramming as much information as we could into our brains so that we could report back to you, Dear Reader, with all the relevant facts (and before we forget it all tomorrow). So sit back, feel confident you’re getting updated by someone who is kind of a big deal in the Eastern seaboard theme park blogging circles, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

# 6 – Mulch, Sweat, and Shears Plays Its Last Show at DHS.

Heaven needed a cover band.

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“So it goes.” – Kurt Vonnegut (photo by Matt Cleary)

This week, popular* live musicians Mulch, Sweat and Shears played their final show ever at DHS. Mulch joins Sounds Dangerous, the American Idol Experience, the Legend of Jack Sparrow, the Studio Backlot Tour, and the Magic of Disney Animation as attractions permanently removed from the park. This came just days after the popular** Duffy the Disney Bear meet and greet had its last day in Epcot. Toy Story Land and Star Wars Land can’t get here soon enough to stop the blood letting in DHS (and if I were Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular or One Man’s Dream I would lease, not buy). As for Duffy, maybe he can take Journey Into Imagination with Figment along with him in his journeys.

*At least in the Len Testa household

**At least in Japan

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Creating a Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party Touring Plan: Planning and Party Tips

by on October 14, 2015

TouringPlans logoThis is the first year my family is going to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, and once we get to the party, we want to focus on fun rather than figuring out how to navigate the party activities. The party offers a ton of stuff to do, which is a great thing but also means we need a plan to maximize our party time.

Here at TouringPlans.com, we offer three Premium Touring Plans specifically for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Party. A summary of these plans by TouringPlans’ Brian McNichols plus links to each of them can be found here. Using any of these plans will save you time and allow you to hit the highlights of the party. In addition, all of them are customizable, allowing you to add rides, meals, and other activities to suit your personal priorities. I went a step further and used the Personalized Touring Plan tool, which allowed me to build my family’s own Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Party Touring Plan from scratch.

In the rest of this article, I’ll run through the steps I took to create my family’s Personalized Touring Plan and then show the resulting plan. Also included are tips on specific party activities that helped me create our plan. In the course of planning, I learned several other excellent party tips and strategies that didn’t play so much into my planning. These are listed at the end of the article to help our readers planning for the party.

Step 1

My first step in party planning was to make a list of things to do at the party based on TouringPlans.com’s Premium Touring Plans as well as combing through discussion boards, various other articles and websites, the Disney World website, and of course TouringPlans.com’s excellent information on the party. (Links to specific party activities throughout this article will send you to more details on TouringPlans.com.)

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