Halloween

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

by on May 31, 2015

MMM positiveMay has come to a close and the start of the Theme Park Summer (AKA Some Attractions Are Worth Melting For) is upon us. In case you weren’t paying attention, May just happened to be one of the biggest of the year. Star Wars Weekends started, and I even wrote a handy dandy guide on how you can survive it in Six Simple Steps. Universal had a busy month, officially announcing the new King Kong attraction, a partnership with Nintendo that will bring new attractions to the Florida parks, and a brand new ultra-themed water park in Volcano Bay that looks to compete with Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. Meanwhile out in California Disneyland delivered the goods in a major way with their new Paint the Night electrical parade, debuting 60 new pressed pennies, added a new World of Color show, and even a new nighttime fireworks spectacular! Walt Disney World fans weren’t left out in the cold either, as the Lunching Pad at the Magic Kingdom has a brand new crisped rice treat that looks like a flip flop. Everyone came up a winner this month!

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).

Our first step is checking out the new Tsum Tsums that have arrived, which naturally have become the newest thing I’m addicted to. Here are two of our favorite pals from Toy Story, Woody and Buzz Lightyear.

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Toy Story Tsum Tsums.

There were also several puppies from 101 Dalmations along with Cruella Deville.

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How many of the 101 Dalmations have official names and are identifiable by fans? Do people have their favorites like the Seven Dwarfs?

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons You Need to Check Out Busch Gardens Tampa

by on May 2, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons You Need to Check Out Busch Gardens Tampa. While we are generally focused on Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort, we often need to take a quick break and remind everyone that there are a lot of other incredible things to do while in Orlando on your family vacation. They say a rising tide raises all boats, and with both WDW and Universal doing record business Orlando is booming with companies trying to get a slice of the tourist pie. Stalwart parks such as Gatorland and SeaWorld are staples of Central Florida, and you’ve probably seen publicity for some of the new kids on the block including the Orlando Eye and SEA LIFE aquarium. There’s also attractions not far away from O-Town that are well worth your time and money including Legoland in Winter Haven and the Kennedy Space Center near Port Canaveral. 

Today we are going to take a drive on I-4 West over to Tampa and check out possibly the most underrated attraction in all of Florida, Busch Gardens, and give you six reasons you need to check it out on your next vacation, starting with… 

# 6 – The Animals

There is a reason Disney built Animal Kingdom, and it was because it wanted to keep people on WDW property instead of driving to Busch Gardens. For both parks, being able to see and interact with exotic animals is a big selling point. While Animal Kingdom has upwards of 2,000 animals, Busch Gardens Tampa has over 12,000. Elephants, cheetahs, gorillas, rhinos, and giraffes are the headliners but there are hundreds of species throughout the park. Not only are there much more animals, in general you are also going to be closer to them than at Animal Kingdom, getting a more intimate experience.

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Feeding the animals at Busch Gardens Tampa. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

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Cheetah. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

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

by on April 30, 2015

MMM positiveThe end of April is upon us, and thus comes the second – yes, second – Outlet Report of the month. That’s right, on April 1st, when you were wondering whether or not the Motorola selfie stick was real or if Olaf was truly replacing Stitch’s Greatest Escape, we gassed up the Merch Mobile and headed down State Road 535 to cover a non-Disney owned Outlet Store (don’t worry, we grabbed an extra bottle of Xanax for the road rage.)

Since that day a lot has happened. The BOATHOUSE opened at Downtown Disney, offering a S’mores Baked Alaska that is surely going to be near the top of our next article spotlighting outrageous eats at Walt Disney World. TouringPlans’s own Daisy Lauren did her must-read Best Week Ever from Tokyo Disneyland Resort (you’ve got to see the picture of the Chandu Tail from Tokyo Disney Sea.) And one crazy person even wrote about all the special events that WON’T be coming to Orlando anytime soon (although who wouldn’t want to go to A Celebration of Twister?!)

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).

Our first item is one I had speculated we could be seeing after the Mickey Mouse kitchen clock magnet made its way to the Outlet last month. This Stand-By Entrance timer magnet was marked down to $3.99. I’m pretty shocked to see this already because I don’t think it came out that long ago and it is a very clever idea. I guess people just want to use the FP+ of the kitchen (AKA the microwave.)

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The timer can only hold times up to 99 minutes and 59 seconds, so it is definitely not the Anna and Elsa Timer Magnet which goes up to six hours.

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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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SATURDAY CLASSIX: Six Disney Obsessions We Just Don’t Understand

by on April 4, 2015

[EDITOR’S NOTE – In case you missed it, there was a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX this past Wednesday featuring The Six Worst Attractions at Walt Disney World According to Our All-Star Panel. Please check it out as it features the results of voting from 40 Walt Disney World experts including Len Testa, Jim Hill, and Tom Bricker. So today we are going to go back in the Wayback Machine with Mr. Peabody and Sherman to fix earlier editions of the SATURDAY SIX that were written before your humble author could grasp the complexities of WordPress. Welcome to the first edition of SATURDAY CLASSIX…]

This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Six Disney Obsession We Just Don’t Understand. As resident theme park fans, we here at the Saturday Six understand obsessions. We collect park maps. We save our old hotel room keys. We get a new Disney ornament for our Christmas tree every single year. However, there are some Disney obsessions we don’t quite understand fully, and today we’re going to look at six of them. (PLEASE NOTE:  these views have been determined after an exhaustive study by the Saturday Six staff and do not necessarily reflect the view points of TouringPlans as a whole or any other individual, especially Len Testa who thinks we are nuts with # 3…)

# 6 – The Turkey Leg Phenomenon

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Turkey Leg Sweatshirt

Now, the Turkey Leg made our list of the Top Six Most Iconic Snacks at the Magic Kingdom, but what we don’t understand is all the ancillary products that have also come out for the turkey leg, including wallets, hats, t-shirts, pins, sweatshirts, and air fresheners…yes, AIR FRESHENERS.

Who is buying this stuff? Who outside of Oscar Meyer himself wants his car to smell like a turkey leg? Even the legendary Dole Whip doesn’t seem to have a fraction of the merchandise that the turkey leg does. May we suggest an immediate stoppage of any future turkey leg products and instead look at other food items on Disney property, including the cronut, the macaroons in the France pavillion, zebra domes at the Animal Kingdom Lodge or school bread in Norway?

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

by on February 28, 2015

MMM positiveIs February already over?! What a month. We got the inevitable yearly ticket price hikes, got the first details on both Star Wars Weekends and the holiday hard ticket parties, saw Big Hero 6 shock the world and take home the Oscar for Best Animated Film, found out Spider-Man would be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe (YES! YES! YES!) and – most importantly – found out Duck Tales will be returning to TV! It’s a good thing this month is only 28 days because we don’t think we could handle any more (especially since we wasted an entire day on Llamas on the loose and that ridiculous white/gold blue/black dress meme.) We know a lot of you have had a rough month in the area of weather, and we can certainly sympathize. In fact it almost got down to 50 degrees one night this month and we had to pull a blanket out of the closet to stay warm.

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).

First up is an item I have wanted for a long time and almost cried seeing it at the Outlets. A Polynesian Luau Bowl! Originally marked $49.95, this was reduced to $24.99.

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I think by now most people know how much I love the Marketplace Co-op at Downtown Disney and a big reason for that is the many Adventureland/Polynesian inspired pieces they have. I’ve also seen these Luau bowls at the actual Poly whenever I go to ‘Ohana, and behind glass cases at the Art of Disney store. This bowl is something I’ve always wanted but never thought I would actually own.

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

by on January 31, 2015

MMM positiveIt’s January and that means we are in a whole new year. It’s going to be hard to top 2014. We had Disney Imagineers with 9 foot shovels in Animal Kingdom.  We had a commercial with featured both the Seven Dwarfs and rap music (which, by the way, wasn’t even the weirdest commercial Disney did last year). It was a year we discovered that the Pop Century Resort offered a sandwich that used Pop Tarts as the bread.  It was a year that we lost Push the talking trashcan, the Giggle Gang, and Camp Minnie Mickey, but gained a whole lot of Anna and Elsa. What will 2015 bring? Well, looks like just more Anna and Elsa, but here’s hoping for another 12 months of unforgettable moments, magical memories, and merchandise people don’t want to buy, speaking of which….

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).

Now, some readers of this column may remember last month that I vowed to “hang it up” if Disney released a Steamboat Duffy Bear. Well, Disney called my bluff.

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“Your move Derek.” – Disney Consumer Products Division

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: January 1, 2015

by on January 1, 2015

1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to a whole new year of the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! Or maybe it isn’t fair to just say Walt Disney World, since I received passes to Universal Orlando Resort this Christmas! 😀 This week I’m excited to share my first trip there in ages, show off the new Polynesian Resort lobby, stop by Disney’s Hollywood Studios to check out the Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special, and lastly pop in Epcot for some last minute holiday fun. So what are you waiting for? Let’s get going!

I’ve mentioned before that I love Universal, but some of the rides are too intense for me. (Maybe that’s why Cat In The Hat was my first stop!) When picking an admission ticket we normally end up choosing Disney just because there’s more we can do together. However, when passes are a gift there is no decision to be made, and I was just dying to see Diagon Alley! Click “read more” below for more on my first visit!

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SATURDAY SIX Special Edition: A First Timer’s Guide to Surviving Halloween Horror Nights

by on November 1, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX is a special one as we present: A First Timer’s Guide to Surviving Halloween Horror Nights. Today is the last day of Halloween Horror Nights, the Universal Orlando Resort’s signature event, and one of the absolute best reasons to plan a vacation to Orlando this time of year. 2015’s HHN looks to be even better as it will be the 25th anniversary, and we already know that HHN icon Jack Schimdt will be returning. While many guests are used to the offerings of Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, there are more than a few who are skittish about putting their foot into HHN to test the water. So I reached out to Joseph Matt of Parkscope.net, as he recently returned from his first ever HHN, and he is here to share six tips he learned from the experience. Take it away Joe….

A First Timer’s Guide to Surviving Halloween Horror Nights

[Horror] shows us that the control we believe we have is purely illusory, and that every moment we teeter on chaos and oblivion.” -Clive Barker

Halloween Horror Nights is intimidating. For my first year to HHN I was a little nervous, and it didn’t help that several Orlando blogs, Orlando United, and my friends had hyped up the event to a point where #OperationScareJoe became a ‘thing.’ However, my anxieties and worries were largely unfounded. I had a blast, and cannot wait to go back for more HHN. As this year’s event closes this weekend, I will cover my top tips to surviving the event next year.

1.) Pick Several Nights and Split Them With a Day in the Parks

Eight houses, four scare zones, several open attractions, and two shows. Easy as pie, right? Wrong. During my trip The Walking Dead never dipped below 90 minutes and John Carpenter’s Halloween hovered at 60 minutes. How does one beat this? Pick multiple nights to attend and split that with a day visit to the parks.

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Halloween Horror Nights at Universal. (photo by Hate to Fly)

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Wearable Halloween Costumes + MNSSHP Experience

by on October 17, 2014

Photo - Keith Dahlgren

It’s raining, it’s pouring….

With Halloween creeping closer and closer, it’s finally time to start getting those costumes ready. Today, I’ll be sharing my experience attending Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, as well as what costumes we wore. Now, let’s grab our candy buckets and be on our way!

We attended Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party on September 19, so we were ahead of the game when it came to costume planning. Our family is pretty low maintenance when it comes to Halloween costumes, and as we’d be running about all night, we dressed for comfort. We decided on a group costume, so off to Neverland we went. First up was our little pixie, Tinker Bell.

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