In the Parks

Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando

by on February 2, 2016

Yes, Disney has Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, while Universal boasts Halloween Horror Nights and Grinchmas Who-liday Spectacular – but one of the best and most fun annual events to be found at either of the theme park resorts is actually a little something called Mardi Gras, which, until recently, it seems, was a little-known secret to Florida locals and annual passholders. And, best of all, it’s absolutely free – no need for pesky separate tickets or dessert party add-ons.

Mardi Gras at Universal Orlando

Image © Universal

Plan on checking out the family-friendly version of New Orleans’s most wonderful time of the year? We’ll tell you everything there is to know.

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Best Worst Attraction: Terminator 2 3D

by on January 20, 2016

Maybe you’re looking to take a foot off the (extremely) well-beaten path to get away from the crowds. Maybe you have an appreciation for the under-valued (or a defiantly contrarian attitude, generally). Or maybe it isn’t your first rodeo, and you and your family need an injection of something different and fresh at the parks.

Regardless of the reason, it’s time for you to enjoy the smaller, more neglected, and – let’s be honest here – less-polished offerings that Disney, Universal, and SeaWorld have to offer. It’s time to experience the Best Worst Attractions.

Terminator 2 3D: Battle across Time

Park: Universal Studios Florida
Location: Hollywood
Opening date: May 6, 1996

Terminator 2 3D promotional art

Image © Universal

Until just recently, Universal Orlando Resort was quite obviously playing in the minor leagues: smaller crowds, smaller budgets, smaller attractions. All of that changed, of course, with the twin developments of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter and new corporate parent Comcast, who has only been too happy to invest literally hundreds of millions of dollars a year into the resort. The result has been some of the best experiences – and some of the best theming – to be had the entire world over.

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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

disney1

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…

Disney2

Wait, is that a sign on the door?!

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Underrated Attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park + Video

by on December 29, 2015

Photo - TouringPlansFor this week’s Trivia Tuesday, I’m going to discuss some underrated attractions found in Animal Kingdom park at Walt Disney World.

Enjoy these posts? Check us out on Facebook and YouTube for more!

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Trivia Tuesday: Epcot Attractions + Video

by on December 22, 2015

Photo - TouringPlansIt’s my favorite day of the week, so let’s gear up for another Trivia Tuesday!

Today, it’s all about Epcot!

I would love to hear any ideas you have for future Trivia Tuesdays. Let me know in the comments what suggestions you have!

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Trivia Tuesday: Animal Kingdom Attractions + Video

by on December 15, 2015

Photo - Katie McNair

Welcome back to Trivia Tuesday! Today, I’m going to give you the 411 on Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World.

For more videos and posts, check us out on Facebook and YouTube.

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Become a Citizen of Walt Disney World!

by on December 14, 2015

Sometimes the smaller experiences at Disney World are the most meaningful. A perfect example is the opportunity to become an Honorary Citizen of the World. It was only after multiple trips to the parks that my family even knew that we could become citizens of Disney World, and then it took a few more trips before we actually got around to taking action.

If you too would like to become a Disney World Honorary Citizen, now is the time! Citizenship happens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which is the most unpredictable Disney World park right now in terms of what experiences will survive from one day to the next. So if you would like a chance to call yourself a citizen of Walt Disney World, I advise venturing over to the Studios’ Walt Disney: One Man’s Dream at your earliest opportunity because you never know how long it will last. Read on for all the details.

OMD_Walt Mickey

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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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Trivia Tuesday: Walt Disney World Fireworks Shows

by on December 8, 2015

Photo - Tom BrickerToday’s Trivia Tuesday is all about the Fireworks Shows at Walt Disney World.

This video includes touring tips as well, so click below to find out more!

What Trivia Tuesday videos would you like to see next? Let me know in the comments!

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10 Ways To Have Free Family Fun At Disney World

by on December 7, 2015

Disney Phineas and Ferb: Agent P's World Showcase Adventure

Enjoying a little free family fun!

Walt Disney World can be expensive. You know that, I know that. But what if I were to tell you that there are lots of ways to add some magic to your Disney World vacation for absolutely free? That’s right folks, I’m going to share with you 10 of my favorite ways to have family fun around the resort without spending an extra penny.

So without further ado, let’s enjoy some free family fun and save some money!

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Location: Magic Kingdom

The Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is an enchanting interactive game where you use spell cards at magic portals to defeat Disney villains. Kids and gamers alike love this experience, especially because they can collect and keep the spell cards.

A Pirate’s Adventure ~ Treasures of the Seven Seas

Location: Magic Kingdom

During A Pirate’s Adventure join Captain Jack Sparrow on an interactive adventure raiding hidden treasures throughout Adventureland. There are five different missions, each taking about 20 minutes to complete. There is no time limit on the missions, so they can be started and stopped at your leisure. This is a lot of fun for the whole family and each adventure sets off some exciting special effects scattered throughout Adventureland; especially great at night.

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