In the Parks

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.


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An Animal Kingdom Convert: Winning a Skeptical Spouse Over to the DAK Side

by on November 9, 2016

I have got to admit that Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the park we typically skip on our trips to Disney World. It’s a bit hard to pinpoint exactly why this happens. Maybe because our plan quickly fills in with at least two days or partial days at Magic Kingdom and Epcot, our must-do parks. Maybe because we also like to spend a day at one of the water parks and time visiting the deluxe resorts. Maybe because we love the thrill rides at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and have been enjoying the increasing number of Star Wars related offerings. Maybe because on the days we have visited Animal Kingdom, it has felt like one giant sauna by mid-morning.

© Sarah Graffam

Expedition Everest at dusk

In early 2016, however, there were hints that something was starting to happen at Animal Kingdom. There was talk of an incredible projection show coming to the Tree of Life, nighttime hours to experience Kilimanjaro Safaris plus Expedition Everest and Kali River Rapids, a new lounge and signature level restaurant, new dancers and musicians, and a brand new nighttime water show with amazing effects.

© Sarah Graffam

Tree of Life Awakenings

In late spring 2016, many of these new experiences became available. Okay, so there were some overall delays, and the much-hyped Rivers of Light show was replaced with a decidedly less impressive show during the spring and summer. (Rivers of Light has yet to come on line, though there are some indications—and lots of hope on the part of park visitors—that it could do so soon.) Even so, I was certain that the new experiences that had already come to the park were worth giving Animal Kingdom another shot.

My husband, though—not so much. So, on our most recent trip, I was determined to get him over to Animal Kingdom. If you also have a reluctant tourist on your hands when it comes to Animal Kingdom (or are even one yourself), read on to see how one convert was convinced.

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Daisy’s Best Week Ever November 3, 2016: Everything But Animal Kingdom!

by on November 3, 2016

Hello, Lovebugs! You know when I say everything, I mean EVERYHING! To start this week we even drove out to Port Canaveral to watch the cruise ships sail away. Of course, I mean one cruise ship in particular! The Disney Fantasy looked amazing and I loved hearing the horn even if I wasn’t sailing. This front row spot was in Jetty Park. To visit is a $15 fee, but very worth it to watch the ships sail away. I’d do this again in a heartbeat! Of course, I’m hoping to actually sail sooner rather than later. More on that in a future post! 😉 (I wouldn’t go without sharing with you!)


All right, getting back to beautiful Orlando I tried a “new to me” restaurant that I wanted to tell you about. If you can believe it, I’d never been to The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort before! After trying it I’m kicking myself for waiting so long! I booked a very early reservation as an excuse to get to the Magic Kingdom. As you can see from the photo below, it wasn’t a very popular idea. We had the place to ourselves and the service was impeccable.


The buffet at The Wave was massive! I couldn’t justify the $24 price tag, but if you’re on the dining plan this would be an excellent value for you. They had a huge spread of hot and cold items. After my breakfast came to the table I wished I had just gone for the buffet instead.


So here’s my plate. I ordered the Florida Rock Shrimp Omelet for $15. It wasn’t something I would order again, but maybe I’m just saying that because I had buffet envy! The potatoes were very good and the biscuit came with three different butter options. Overall, it was a pricey breakfast but that is to be expected at Disney. I’d hit the buffet or plan to skip this one.

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Disney PhotoPass at runDisney races

by on October 4, 2016

As a runDisney addict, I love getting as many pictures as I can during the races. Starting with the Star Wars Dark Side race weekend at Walt Disney World, Disney PhotoPass became the official photo provider for runDisney, instead of MarathonFoto. I have now participated in two runDisney race weekends since the change, one at Walt Disney World and one at Disneyland. Here’s a rundown on how Disney PhotoPass works with the races.

runDisney Disneyland Half Marathon

In the official race guide and on the back of your bib is a code for each race, where you add your bib number to the end. Then, you enter this into the My Disney Experience App, the Disneyland app, or The code is usually the year, race weekend abbreviation, race distance, and your bib number. For example, the code for the Star Wars Dark Side Half was 2016-DARK-HLFx-xxxx, where the x is your bib number. You have a separate code for each race, even if you are doing a challenge during the weekend.

The best part of this change is that if you have an Annual Pass that includes Disney PhotoPass pictures, or have purchased Memory Maker at Walt Disney World or Disney PhotoPass at Disneyland, then your runDisney pictures are included as well! With MarathonFoto, you had to pay separately for each race (with a small discount if you were doing a multiple race challenge), as well as for each person. So if you ran with family or friends, and weren’t always together during the race, you had to pay separately each time if you wanted all those pictures. Now, you can enter everyone’s code under one account. This is a huge cost savings.

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TouringPlansTV: Kilimanjaro Safaris Ride-Through at Disney’s Animal Kingdom + Video

by on September 27, 2016

AK - Kilimanjaro Safari (13)Today is Double Video Day!

Not only will I be giving you deets on Kilimanjaro Safaris (found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom), but I will be providing you with both a short and long video featuring the attraction.

This is where we need your help: Which version do you like better? Shorter glimpses of the attraction or longer ride-throughs? Does Angela blab too much? Let me know!

We at strive to provide viewers with the information and footage YOU want to see. Let us know your thoughts in the comments, or “like” your favorite video on our YouTube page.


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Attractions to Ride During Magic Kingdom Fireworks

by on September 27, 2016

Disney World’s Wishes Nighttime Spectacular at Magic Kingdom is a show that I can watch over and over again. I’ve had a perfect view at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. just behind the Hub. I’ve had great views from other various spots along Main Street, U.S.A. and from the upper balcony of the Walt Disney Railroad Main Street U.S.A. Station. I’ve watched it from Fantasyland near Prince Charming Regal Carrousel and at assorted spots on the path leading to Beast’s Castle with the fireworks exploding in all directions.

I’ve watched the fireworks bursting above me near Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid and have seen them from the Tomorrowland bridge. I’ve also watched from parts of the park that afford only glimpses of the action but where the fireworks still give me that feeling of magic.

© Sarah Graffam

Wishes near Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid


To be sure, there are many spots with a view of Wishes in Magic Kingdom. But there is another memorable way to watch the show from inside the park that doesn’t involve finding one great spot. Rather, how about experiencing Wishes from a different perspective by riding an attraction with a view.

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Walt Disney World Safety Tips for Parents

by on September 14, 2016

© Sarah GraffamDisney World is a place to get caught up in the magic, and this magic creates a sense of comfort and safety. It’s reasonable to enjoy this carefree feeling to a certain degree. But keeping in mind some safety tips as well as doing some safety planning ahead of time is well worth the effort—because things don’t always go as planned.

The primary focus of this article is child safety tips for parents of younger children, but many of these apply to all “kids” both young and old.

Safety planning should start well before your trip to Disney World because once you enter the park, the attention of parents and kids alike will almost certainly be divided.

So let’s look at some tips to plan ahead for safety.

Strike a Pose

If your family is anything like mine, you’ll take lots of family photos during your Disney vacation. Whether you take your own pictures, take advantage of the many PhotoPass photographers in the parks, or both, these pictures are one of the best ways to make family memories.

In addition to those memory-making photos, there is another photo you should take every day that has a more practical purpose. Use your smart phone to take a picture of the kids each morning (or each change of clothes if you break in the afternoon) where you can clearly see their faces and full attire. If your child should get separated from you, this photo can easily be shown or emailed to those helping to search.

Bonus: After our trip, these photos taken in our resort room, at the bus stop, or in line at rope drop have often been added to our official photo album. Without the usual “say cheese” for these photos, we have some adorable pictures of our kids waking up to another exciting day at Disney World.

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TouringPlansTV: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party + Video

by on September 2, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

Welcome back to TouringPlansTV!

Halloween is my favorite time of year, so I’m extra excited to share today’s video with you all. It’s just in time too, since today–September 2–is the first 2016 Halloween party at the Magic Kingdom!

Check out below to learn all about Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, found at Walt Disney World.

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July 4th Characters at Walt Disney World

by on July 22, 2016

Meeting Chip and Dale at Epcot on July 4th

Meeting Chip and Dale at Epcot on July 4th

Welcome to my first post for TouringPlans!

My name is Heather, and even though I live in New Jersey, I’m lucky to visit Walt Disney World often enough that some of my friends think I live in Florida. I’m a runDisney addict, and I especially love meeting characters at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. So of course my first post is character related.

Each July 4th at Walt Disney World, you can meet characters in special outfits that are only available on this holiday. Characters meet in special patriotic outfits at Epcot, and you may also see characters at different Walt Disney World resorts. Even though it won’t help you right now, it’s never too early to plan your character strategy for the future. Here’s a look at who I met this year on July 4th.

At Epcot, you can meet Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Chip, and Dale. Chip & Dale meet together throughout the day on the right side of the American Pavilion, near the restrooms. Chip & Dale are very interactive, so their line usually moves slowly. However, even when their set is over, the next set is only 5-10 minutes later, so you won’t have to wait too long for Chip & Dale to have their acorn break. The line is also partly in the shade, which always helps.

Patriotic Mickey, Donald, and Goofy’s set is different than Chip & Dale’s. The three characters appear at the end of the Voices of Liberty show at the American Gardens Theater. After the show, they walk over to the left side of the American Pavilion to meet guests. The line works like at the Epcot Character Spot. They do not meet together, but you stand in one line and meet each of them in a row.

Mickey, Donald, and Goofy only have 3 sets, since there are only 3 Voices of Liberty shows in the American Gardens Theater, and they are very popular, so make sure you get there early. Their sets start about 15 minutes after the Voices of Liberty show, so I would get in line shortly before the show begins. The line is unfortunately mostly in the sun. It was so hot this year that Cast Members passed out free water to those of us in line for the first set. However, you can hear the Voices of Liberty from the line, which is a nice perk.

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What makes Universal Hollywood’s The Walking Dead Attraction More Than A Maze

by on July 15, 2016

The Walking Dead Attraction concept art at Unviersal Studios Hollywood

Image © Universal

On July 4, Universal Studios Hollywood opened its new, year-round Walking Dead Attraction (because nothing screams patriotism like a horde of zombies, yes?). The experience is, on one hand, a fairly standard walk-through attraction–which isn’t surprising, given the fact that it replaces the House of Horrors (a maze starring Universal’s classic monsters instead of walkers) and the presence of The Walking Dead at the past four Halloween Horror Nights events on both the West and East Coasts.

On the other hand, however, this new attraction has garnered much more money, time, and resources from Universal Creative than either of its predecessors, befitting its mammoth stature in the pop-cultural consciousness and its nature as a permanent, around-the-clock fixture in the park. The sheer amount of detail poured into every nook and cranny of every scene is one of The Walking Dead’s biggest selling points; it has been routinely reported in the themed press that, despite its horror veneer, guests will want to linger in every room to try and soak up every last hidden detail and Easter egg to the television series it’s based on.

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