Holidays

Visiting Universal Orlando during the busiest weeks of the year

by on December 20, 2016

There’s no place like home for the holidays, but it’s difficult to beat Orlando during this festive time of the year. Perhaps you’ve decided to visit Orlando during the final two weeks of the year. Being in the theme parks at Christmas time is magical, but takes some planning.  You’ll need to be prepared. In this post I’ll share some planning tips for visiting Universal Orlando during these last two weeks of the year, which are some of the busiest days in Orlando’s theme parks.

The Basics

With all the hustle and bustle of the holidays it is easy to forget the basics of theme park survival. So here’s a little refresher.

  • Dress comfortably, especially with regard to your footwear
  • Plan for changes in the weather, this means pack a mix of both warm and cold weather clothing, because here in Florida we experience both warm and cold weather in Winter, often from one day to the next
  • Stay hydrated with water (as opposed to soda, adult beverages, etc)
  • Use sunscreen, after all we are actually closer to the sun during Winter
  • Take breaks and rest throughout the day

The great news is Universal Orlando’s longest operating hours of the year are taking place right now through New Year’s Eve.

Coming up with a plan

Plans are what we’re all about here at Touring Plans, and this time of the year is one of the most important to have a good solid plan. The most effective way to do so is creating a custom touring plan through our site. All you have to do when creating your customized Touring Plan is to select which parks you’re visiting, your arrival time to the park, and plug in the rides and shows you want to make sure you experience. Then the service will calculate the best touring plan including exactly which order to visit the attractions and when in order to maximize your time (and sanity). This plan is based on a huge collection of data that will ensure you spend the least amount of time as possible in the standby wait lines.

Creating a custom Touring Plan on TouringPlans.com

If you’d prefer to create a plan yourself, make sure you’ve really determined what rides and shows you absolutely must do. Without the advantage of the Touring Plans data you’ll need to review the park maps and strategize your plan based on the location of the attractions you want to experience. You may want to also consider visiting some of the lesser known attractions at Universal, which typically will have somewhat reasonable wait times on busy days.

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Gifts for a Theme Park Vacationer

by on December 19, 2016

Christmas Minnie Ears

If you’re searching for a last-minute holiday gift or a little something special to add to your own holiday wish list, TouringPlans is here to help! I compiled a list of what I think are some of the best gifts for those planning to visit the parks soon. And while holidays present the perfect gifting opportunity, most of these will work year-round for other celebrations like birthdays or anniversaries too.

Accessories for a Minion fan

Wearable Gifts – For a truly impressive gift, put your knowledge of their favorite character, attraction, or movie to good use. From custom t-shirts and mouse ears to lanyards and pins, there is an endless supply of fun things they can wear to the parks. Even better, there is an endless supply of online or local stores that sell these too, so finding something perfect while staying on budget shouldn’t be too hard.

Disney themed day-bags

Gear – There are certain items that almost every theme park vacationer likes to pack: poncho, day bag for the park, refillable water bottle, portable phone charger, hand sanitizer, and so on. Other items, like a toiletries bag, suitcase, or travel friendly snacks, are great ideas for travelers in general. Depending on the budget, you could pick just one item or put them together into a gift basket that will please any theme park vacationer.

Photo Package – Both Disney and Universal offer photo packages to capture those special vacation memories. Plenty of vacationers on tight budgets question whether the package is worth it, but receiving it as a gift can alleviate those worries. The price is discounted when purchased in advance, and they receive photo memories to cherish for years to come. It’s a definite win-win.

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Walt Disney World December 2016 Preview

by on November 30, 2016

Walt Disney World December 2016

Walt Disney World December 2016

Welcome to TouringPlans’ Walt Disney World December 2016 preview – we hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Who’s with us and ready for December? The holidays, which started as soon as the Halloween decorations came down are in full swing. We’ve got food booths at Epcot, Christmas parties, and TENTS.

Ready for more? Read on.

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Daisy’s Best Week Ever November 24, 2016: So Much To Be Thankful For!

by on November 24, 2016

Hello Friends! First, let me start by wishing the very happiest Thanksgiving to those that celebrate. Personally, I’ll be enjoying more than my fair share of turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie today! Due to the crowds I’ll be steering clear of the parks this holiday weekend. But that didn’t stop me from getting some amazing shots to share with you over the last few weeks. For starters, check out this glorious sunset at Epcot!

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Please click below to read more. This week we’ve got holiday decorations, Dr. Strange, PizzeRizzo, and more!

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TouringPlansTV: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2016 + Video

by on November 22, 2016

© Disney

Ho-ho-hope you’re having a great day!

You may be thinking, “What’s with the holiday pun? It’s not even December yet!”

You see, I’m already in the Christmas spirit as I’ve just been to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party at Walt Disney World!

Allow me to share my tips and tricks below!

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A Frozen Holiday Wish – Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2016 + Video

by on November 15, 2016

Photo - Matt Stroshane

Photo – Matt Stroshane

For today’s TouringPlansTV, I’m bringing you with me to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party!

Watch Elsa freeze Cinderella Castle in A Frozen Holiday Wish.

Enjoy!

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Minnie’s Holiday Dine Has Returned to Hollywood & Vine

by on November 8, 2016

Hollywood & Vine

©Rikki Niblett

The holiday season is here at Walt Disney World and that means it’s time once again for Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine. Guests are invited to join Minnie Mouse and her friends for a dinner celebration at this Disney’s Hollywood Studios table service restaurant. Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy and Goofy will all be there dressed in their holiday attire.

The restaurant is decked out in holiday-themed décor, there will be American-style cuisine available, and music and activities that your family is going to love.

The cost for the meal is $46.99 for adults ages 10 and up and $27.99 for children ages 3 to 9 (plus tax and gratuity). Advanced reservations are highly recommended for Minnie’s Holiday Dine and they can be made by calling 407-WDW-DINE.

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Holiday Characters at Walt Disney World

by on November 8, 2016

The holidays are a great time to see characters in fun holiday outfits at Walt Disney World, as well as see some special characters that only show up for the holidays. Some characters are only at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, while others you can find in the parks throughout the day. Let’s take a look at who you’ll find at this most magical time of the year. Most characters are out from November 11 to the first week of January, unless noted.

Minnie and Daisy at Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party

Minnie and Daisy at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

First, let’s look at the characters you’ll find this year at the party. Since this is a hard ticket event, there is an extra cost, but you’ll find characters here that you won’t find anywhere else at Walt Disney World.

Characters that you can normally find at the park, such as Mickey, Minnie, Daisy, Donald, Goofy, and the Winnie the Pooh gang, are dressed up in cute Christmas costumes. Then there are the characters that you can only meet at the party, such as the seven dwarfs together, Jack Skellington as Sandy Claws, Captain Jack Sparrow, and, new this year, Nick & Judy from Zootopia. Princess Elena meets at the party, and the princes meet with their princesses, too. You can also see characters that are hard to find together in one meet, such as all the Pooh characters or Mary Poppins with Bert.

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Holiday Events Begin at the Magic Kingdom

by on November 2, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

Wasn’t it just Halloween and now BAM! it’s Christmas. It is the most glorious time of the year at the Magic Kingdom and the park is getting ready to celebrate with you!

First, it’s time to get your Jingle on – that is the Jingle Cruise. This holiday overlay of the Jungle Cruise in Adventureland sees the Skippers who are homesick during the holiday season, so they decided to create their own festive fun with homemade decorations, gifts, and more. The boat dock area has been decorated and the boats have been renamed with fun holiday themes. In addition, many of the show scenes have been decorated too, like the gorilla camp, the temple, and even Ginger and Smiley. The jokes take on a fun holiday spin too, with holiday-inspired laughs. The Jingle Cruise overlay will last through the holiday season.

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Decorating Your Resort Room

by on November 2, 2016

Lights, window clings, and paper mickey decorations for Halloween

Lights, window clings, and paper mickey decorations for Halloween

Whether you’re planning a vacation to celebrate a holiday, birthday, anniversary, first trip, or some other special occasion, sometimes it is fun to prepare a little extra magic. There are plenty of ways to add that extra touch, but one of my own favorites is decorating the resort room. Coming back from the parks at night to a room decked out in lights and other little embellishments is such a wonderful feeling. Decorations can help you find your room at night and really make you feel at home.

Before we get to the good stuff, let’s set some ground rules. First and foremost, safety is the number one priority at any resort. Don’t do anything that puts you or anyone else at risk. And speaking of other people, be mindful of those around you. While that motion activated ghost yelling “Boo!” might be funny the first time or two, your neighbors probably won’t be feeling too neighborly after they hear it for the thirtieth time. Stay away from anything permanent or that leaves damage, and please don’t leave a big mess and expect housekeeping to deal with it. Follow the rules of the resort you’re visiting as well. For example, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge has strict rules about hanging things outside your room since animal safety is a priority.

Alright, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about some decoration ideas.

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