Exploring Magic Kingdom’s resorts as a “day guest” is a great way to experience the Disney magic outside the parks. This article wraps up a tour of Magic Kingdom resorts for day guests, whether you’re staying off-property or at another Disney World resort. Part 1 focused on touring the Polynesian and Grand Floridian and offered some general day guest tips and strategies. In Part 2, let’s take a look at touring the Contemporary, Wilderness Lodge, and Fort Wilderness Resort, including their overall ambience, dining options that make them worth a day trip, and other fun things to do on a visit to these resorts.
Atmosphere. Monorail transportation is a fun and convenient feature of all three of Disney’s monorail resorts (the Grand Floridian, Polynesian, and Contemporary). But the Contemporary is where the monorail is an integral part of the resort’s ambience by passing directly through its atrium. Although the monorail and multi-floor lobby make the Contemporary seem more like a center of activity than a place to relax, its wide open spaces keep foot traffic well dispersed and provide a visual break from crowds in Magic Kingdom. Take your time browsing in the several shops or find a good vantage point for watching the next-arriving monorail.
Tip: The Contemporary is a 10-minute walk from Magic Kingdom; it and the adjacent Disney Vacation Club resort Bay Lake Tower are the only resorts within walking distance to the park.
There is a significant uptick in zombies every October at Walt Disney World.
We at Touring Plans like October as one of the best times to visit Walt Disney World. It tends to have some of the lowest crowds of the year, the weather is slightly more tolerable than the surface-of-the-sun heat you can experience in the summer months, and there are unique events like Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival that can really enhance your experience. With that said, October can also be challenging, in that the potential for a zombie apocalypse increases dramatically during this time of year, as the chart to the right shows.
There are a couple of reasons for the spike in zombies in October. First of all, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party takes place at the Magic Kingdom most nights during this time frame, which is one of the few times a year that all guests are invited to dress up in the parks. Zombie outbreaks happen when zombies are allowed to infect others and grow the size of their army of walking dead at a rate faster than they can be addressed. On regular park days, Disney security are able to easily spot zombies and deal with them before they can infect others; during the parties, however, zombies will blend in with the masses and infect others before anything can be done, and that’s when problems have arisen. Additionally, many guest visit Universal Studios on their Disney trips, and this provides a prime opportunity for cross-pollination from the zombie regulars at Halloween Horror Nights.
With the foregoing in mind, I wanted to provide some of my favorite tips and park locations to put yourself in the best position to deal with hordes of the undead slowly shuffling through the parks. Join me after the jump!
If you are a fan of Pecos Bill’s you will notice a change on your next visit. Beginning September 28 and lasting through September 30, Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Cafe will be closed for refurbishment, however, the refurbishment work isn’t going to be changing the restaurant’s decor. Instead, when the Frontierland quick service restaurant reopens on October 1, it will feature a brand new menu; no more burgers!
The new menu that will soon be featured at the popular dining establishment will include delicious dishes like fajitas, burritos, and rice bowls. (Hmmmm….sound like the Magic Kingdom’s version of Chipotle? Also, could they maybe bring back the taco salad? That would be my wish anyway.)
No word on what will happen with the toppings bar with the refurb, though with the ingredients available currently, one would suspect that the toppings bar will remain with delicious offerings to use on your burrito or fajita.
Tortuga Tavern, which can be found next door, used to offer similar Mexican-inspired dishes, however, the restaurant is listed as seasonal, and is infrequently open.
Pecos Bill’s new menu sounds like a nice new addition to the Magic Kingdom’s quick service dining offerings.
Checking out Disney World’s Magic Kingdom resorts has long been a popular activity for Disney World visitors eager to soak in more of the Disney magic, and an increasing number of people are realizing that these highly themed resorts are attractions unto themselves. These “day guests”—including both those staying off property and those staying at other Disney World resorts—have discovered that touring the Magic Kingdom resorts is an excellent way to enhance a Disney World trip.
Making Time for Resort Touring
A day (or evening) trip to a Disney World resort can be a great way to stay inside the Disney “bubble” while taking a break from park touring. But when should you fit a resort visit into your vacation? I recommend visiting the Magic Kingdom resorts on a day when you’re already going to Magic Kingdom. That way, you will spend the minimum amount of time traveling from the resort to Magic Kingdom and vice versa. In fact, a relaxing monorail or boat ride will only enhance a leisurely pace.
I love Halloween (really, I put my decorations up September 1st), but I can’t justify buying a brand new costume every year.
Therefore, I feel it’s my duty to provide wearable costume alternatives that are not only comfortable, but are characters people can easily identify.
So today, I give you the emotions from the Disney Pixar film, Inside Out.
In my opinion, this costume is all about the make up. You can get away with a chartruese-colored top (I found mine at Savers), the eye look, and a yellow ball to serve as a core memory. Don’t forget a contagious smile and you’ve got yourself a completed costume.
I’ve provided a video make up tutorial below but if you don’t have the time, here’s the look.
This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the Six Best Theme Park Related Comic Books. To steal a phrase from Forrest Gump, comic books and theme parks go together like peas and carrots, especially Disney. In fact, the Disney characters that we love to meet in the parks so much starred in their own comics going back all the way to 1940. Despite switching publishers several times over the years, Disney comics continue to be produced today, most recently by Marvel and IDW Publishing. To celebrate the launch of their new line of Disney books, IDW has been releasing variant covers on all their Disney titles focusing on the theme parks.
Epcot themed covers.
These covers are absolutely amazing and done by the artists Derek Charm, Amy Mebberson, and James Silvani. We are going to spotlight these variant covers throughout the article because we love them so much, but the SATURDAY SIX itself is going to look at comic books over the years whose stories have dealt with theme parks directly. So sit back, relax, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…
# 6 – Mickey and Goofy explore the Universe of Energy (1985)
This is more than likely the one book on the list which most readers have seen because it was a giveaway at Epcot back in 1985. The comic features Mickey Mouse and Goofy exploring the Universe of Energy pavilion, better known today as Ellen’s Energy Adventure. From the attraction’s beginning up until 2004, Exxon was the sponsor and the comic is little more than propaganda for the fossil fuel industry.
The comic starts with Mickey and Goofy in the Universe of Energy pre-show and boarding the ride vehicle. These are my favorite parts of any theme park comic book. Forget the story, I just love seeing the landmarks and attractions drawn on the page. The pair even travel into the portion of the ride with dinosaurs, which made me very happy. Mickey and Goofy then spend the rest of the book talking about the history of energy consumption, how we currently get fuel, and what we can do in the future. In one great scene from the book, as Mickey describes to Goofy that gas could become expensive if we were cut off from foreign oil again, Goofy fears the day of gas sky rocketing to $1.27 a gallon. I wonder what ol’ Goof would think of $5.99 a gallon gas near the Disney Outlet Store?
Mickey Mouse references the 1973 oil crisis and the 1979 energy crisis. Hey Kids! Comics!
While some lip service is paid to finding alternate sources of energy, the book is mostly focused on highlighting the true heroes of industry: people who drill for oil. Drilling in Alaska, drilling off a ship, deep sea oil platforms, basically anything Exxon is involved in. In another wonderful scene, Mickey shows Goofy a map and explains how a pipeline leads oil from Prudhoe Bay in the northern part of Alaska down to Valdez in the southern part. Hmmmm, the Exxon Valdez…where have I heard that before? In the end, this is a comic book about learning, which – for kids – is like getting socks for Christmas.
Your challenge: pick a spot, and live there forever
Have I got a crazy proposition for you: You have been banished to spend the rest of eternity within a 100 yard radius of a single spot. On the bright side, that site is at Walt Disney World, and you get to pick the spot. What would be the best spot in each park, and the best non-park location, to select? First, the rules:
You still need to account for your basic human needs, so make sure you have access to food, potable water, and, unless you’re a complete degenerate, a restroom.
Anything that can accessed from within this radius can be experienced. Put another way, as long as the entrance to an attraction, show or restaurant is within the radius, it doesn’t matter if the entire show building or attraction fits within the space.
Anything outside of this radius is completely off-limits to you, forever. You cannot set up shop in Tommorowland but have a friend bring you a churro from Frontierland. If it’s not within your circle, you can’t have it, ever.
Other than these rules, let your imagination be your guide. Where did I choose and why? Find out after the jump!
# 6 – Carrot Cake Cookie at the Writer’s Stop (Disney’s Hollywood Studios)
We’ve heard the negatives, so let’s spend a minute and talk about what’s right with Disney’s Hollywood Studios. It has the consensus Best Overall Attraction at Walt Disney World, one of the most unique dining experiences you’ll find on property, and also has one of the most overlooked gems inside the parks with the Writer’s Stop. Almost hidden inside DHS is a quaint little coffee shop that offers you the opportunity to just unwind and sip on a coffee while reading a Disney book. While the Writer’s Stop offers a bunch of treat options, the signature Carrot Cake Cookie is why you want to go out of your way to stop by on your next vacation. The layer of cream cheese between two carrot cake cookies is going to have you make audible sounds of joy as you bite into it. Take a minute to relax, and feel free to grab one of the many Disney themed books on the shelves, or bring one of your own to enjoy (we suggest The Unofficial Guide 2016 or Sam Gennaway’s Universal vs. Disney book.)
Carrot Cake Cookie at The Writer’s Stop. (photo by Brandon Glover)
The Writer’s Stop, as of this writing one of the few things remaining at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. (photo by Brandon Glover)
This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at The Six BEST Souvenirs at Walt Disney World. Last week we took a look at some of our favorite pieces of merchandise available at the Univeral Orlando Resort and today we are going to cross the street and see what the very best souvenirs are at Walt Disney World. This is a much harder task because as we mentioned previously, Universal only ramped up their merchandise game with the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade in 2010. Disney, on the other hand, has been producing great souvenirs from Day One. In fact several items on this list are as synonymous with a Disney vacation as Cinderella castle or Mickey Mouse himself. So sit back, relax, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…
# 6 – Mickey Ears
The classic Mickey Ears are THE iconic souvenir at Walt Disney World and one whose popularity has exploded in the last decade. Besides the classic black ears, there are now Mickey Ears for almost any part of the Disney fandom: princesses, pirates, Muppets, Star Wars, World Showcase, and almost any Disney character you can imagine. Who hasn’t seen a newlywed couple at the parks wearing bride and groom Mickey Ears? Getting a pair of Mickey Ears has become part of the Disney experience itself.
You can’t help but smile wearing a pair of Mickey Ears. (photo by Stacey Lantz)
There’s a pair of Mickey Ears for everyone, no matter what they like. (photo by Brandon Glover)