Magic Kingdom

Limited Time Character Experience with Memory Maker

by on August 5, 2016

Belle - Memory Maker

©Disney

If you have Memory Maker for your Walt Disney World vacation this month, you’ll be able to soon take part in a limited time character meet and greet experience test.

From August 7-31, Guests who visit the Magic Kingdom who have purchased Memory Maker, Memory Maker One Day, or have an Annual Pass with complimentary Disney PhotoPass available, will be able to take advantage of a special character experience with Belle in her formal gown. This meet and greet experience will occur at the Heritage House in Liberty Square from 11:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

Only one person in your party needs to have purchased Memory Maker in order for your entire group to take part in this opportunity.

This seems like a great way to meet one of your favorite Disney Princesses with minimal wait!

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The Muppets Are Coming to the Magic Kingdom

by on July 28, 2016

The Muppets Present… Great Moments in American History

©Disney

Are you a fan of The Muppets? Then you will want to make sure to visit the Magic Kingdom this fall when a brand new live show will debut. This show, called The Muppets Present…Great Moments in American History will feature your favorites, including Kermit the Frog, Miss Piggie, Fozzie, and Gonzo. Oh yes, and it wouldn’t be a patriotic show without Sam Eagle. This new show will take place in Liberty Square outside The Hall of Presidents.

The Muppets Present…Great Moments in American History  will see the characters presenting historical tales such as the midnight ride of Paul Revere and the signing of the Declaration of Independence, presented in the fun and irreverent way that only the Muppets know how to do best. The characters will pop up throughout the day to share their own spin on how the founding fathers and the birth of our nation occurred. This show will also feature a song created especially for it.

Honestly, I have no idea what to expect from this new show. It is the Muppets after all, so anything will be possible with their zany humor. I guess I’ll just have to wait until it debuts in October to really find out what kind of high jinks the characters will get into! One thing is for sure, I’m positive it will be a salute to mostly America.

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Julia’s Best Week Ever, July 28, 2016: Summer is too Short!

by on July 28, 2016

Like most parents, I had all sorts of plans for my daughter over summer break. There would be play dates, arts and crafts, vacations, local field trips, and so much more. There would be time to read books and learn as much as possible. We’d go surfing tidal waves, creating nanobots, or looking for Frankestein’s brain. Finding a dodo bird, painting a continent, or driving each other insane. (Thanks for setting such high expectations, Phineas and Ferb. We almost nailed that last one, though.)

Locally, school starts on August 15, and needless to say, many of the plans for greatness never happened. And with the start of school looming ever closer, I decided it was time to play hooky from work and spend a mommy and me morning at the Magic Kingdom.

We got up at the crack of dawn to try and make it to the 8 AM rope drop. With the monorails not running, we boarded a ferry boat right at the stroke of 8—not bad at all, all things considered. It was a beautiful summer day, with blue skies and not a cloud on the horizon.

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I try not to take pictures of other people when I’m in the parks, but I had to snap this one on the way over. Seeing this young girl, not much older than my daughter, seeing the castle for the first time and being so amazingly excited as it got closer and closer—that’s what this whole experience is about.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We LOVE the Magic Kingdom

by on July 23, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Reasons We LOVE the Magic Kingdom. As you know, this July we’re celebrating Walt Disney World here on the SATURDAY SIX. At the beginning of the month we began our journey at Animal Kingdom, which now takes on new life at night. We then made our way over to Hollywood Studios, a park currently going through some growing pains but still has some of the best experiences in all of WDW. Last week? The one and only EPCOT, a theme park like no other across the globe. Today we are going to finish up by heading into the park which was the centerpiece of Walt Disney’s “Florida Project,” the Magic Kingdom.

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The partners statue at the Magic Kingdom. (photo by Brandon Glover)

There are not enough superlatives for Disneyland out in California, but with Florida came the “blessing of size” which allowed Walt (and the Disney company) to fix problems they would never be able to in Anaheim. For example, driving to Disneyland is much like driving to the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, in that you can see the park from the road. With the Magic Kingdom, Disney created a theme park where the very entrance to the park is an experience, slowly revealing itself to guests in a truly magical way. Opening in 1971, the Magic Kingdom quickly became the most popular theme park in the world, and retains that title to this very day. What makes it so great? Well, today we’re gonna look at six of our favorite things inside this truly special park. So, sit back, relax in one of the rocking chairs on Tom Sawyer Island, and let’s start our countdown with…

# 6 – Festival of Fantasy

Even with heated competition from Universal and many other parks from around the world, there are still areas which Disney parks are completely untouchable. One of those areas is parades, and one of the best parades at any Disney park is the Magic Kingdom’s Festival of FantasyWith elaborate floats, stunning costumes, an original score, and filled with many of our favorite Disney characters, this is a parade worth waiting for. The backstory of the parade is that each of the units were built by the citizens of Fantasyland. It’s fascinating just looking at all the details on each float and how they seem to be designed from an era long ago. The music has that true Disney Difference, with Brave and Maleficent sections being standouts, and the amount of characters involved in the parade is staggering.  From Anna and Elsa to Mickey and Minnie and almost everyone in-between, Festival of Fantasy has something for everyone.

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The impressive fire breathing Maleficent. Sorry Gringotts, but this dragon also moves. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Tinker Bell doing her best impersonation of a theme park blogger receiving constructive criticism. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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In Festival of Fantasy, Merida gets her chance to shine! (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Disneyland vs. Disney World: The Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park Part I

by on July 18, 2016

castles

As I’ve said before in this Disneyland vs. Disney World series, Disney never does the same thing twice! It’s a common misconception that Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and the Disneyland Park are basically the same experience but on different coasts. That is absolutely not true! Even though Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom was inspired after the original Disneyland Park, it was never intended to be a carbon copy. Both parks offer their own exclusive attractions, restaurants, character interactions, style, and overall experience. Of course, that gives rise to the question of which park is truly the best? That’s the question I intend to answer in perhaps the most ambitious installment of Disneyland vs. Disney World: The Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park Part I.

Due to the scope of this topic, the first part of this article will compare the two parks on categories such as characters, attractions, and dining. The second installment will compare the different themed lands represented at both parks and determine which one is the best!

castle

Sleeping Beauty Castle

Castles:

So you know I have to talk about the castles. As we all have our loyalties, comparing the two is always controversial. Still, the castles are not just the parks’ icons, but also their centerpieces, and each offers something unique to park guests. Disneyland’s Sleeping Beauty Castle has the distinction of being Disney’s original castle standing at 77 feet tall. It features the charming Sleeping Beauty Castle Walkthrough, a personal favorite of mine, with scenes and effects that tell the Sleeping Beauty story.

castle

Cinderella Castle

The design of the Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle is very different than Disneyland’s and is a whopping 189 feet tall! While it doesn’t offer an attraction, Cinderella Castle does house Cinderella’s Royal Table and the exclusive Cinderella Castle Suite. Now I love Sleeping Beauty Castle for its history, its intimacy, and sense of accessibility. However, the grandeur of Cinderella Castle, the ability to dine with princesses inside its halls overlooking Fantasyland, and that view down Main Street, U.S.A. makes it the winner of this category.

Winner: Magic Kingdom

Amenities:

Let’s start with WiFi, shall we? The Magic Kingdom offers free WiFi. In fact, there’s free WiFi throughout most of the Walt Disney World Parks. But at Disneyland… Yeah. No such luck. Walt Disney World also offers MagicBands. It’s a soft plastic band that contains a guest’s ticket, credit card, dining reservations, PhotoPass info, and their FastPass+ reservations which can be made in advance online or on the MyDisneyExperience App. This new amenity was met with criticism at the start, but I love the luxury of having all I need on my wrist and getting into the park is so much faster!

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MagicBands

The Magic Kingdom offers three free modes of transportation in the form of bus, monorail, and boat. But then again, this is necessary as the park sits on the Seven Seas Lagoon and can’t be reached by personal car. Now the Disneyland Park does not sit on the shore of a lake but across a spacious esplanade from Disney California Adventure, which is so convenient for Annual Passholders and those with Park Hoppers. Still, Disneyland guests have to park at a parking garage and either walk or take a tram to reach the esplanade.

Finally, both parks offer early entry into the parks. Disneyland offers Magic Mornings on select days for Disneyland Resort Guests with a valid 3+ day ticket while Walt Disney World offers Extra Magic Hours on certain days which could be early entry or extended nighttime park hours. Another difference is Extra Magic Hours are only for guests staying at Disney World Resorts. Tip: Magic Kingdom usually offers Extra Magic Hours Wednesdays and Fridays.

Winner: Magic Kingdom

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Festival of Fantasy Parade

Parades:

Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom offers two main parades each day. The three o’clock afternoon parade, Festival of Fantasy, debuted in 2014 with fantastically detailed floats celebrating characters represented in Fantasyland. The star of the parade is a steampunk Maleficent dragon that actually breathes fire!

The Main Street Electrical Parade is the Magic Kingdom’s nighttime parade and is a classic in that it originally debuted at Disneyland in 1972! The Magic Kingdom obtained its own version in 1977, which ran off and on in the park through the years. But in 2010, it was reintroduced again and has been offered ever since. Disneyland’s current nighttime parade, Paint the Night, debuted only last year for Disneyland’s 60th Anniversary to rave reviews and offers incredible new lighting effects! It also pays tribute to the Main Street Electrical Parade through its soundtrack, which includes the classic parade’s famous theme song, “Baroque Hoedown.”

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Paint the Night Parade

The Disneyland Park also offers Mickey’s Soundsational Parade in the afternoon. Each float is themed after a particular musical instrument or style with the lead float featuring Mickey Mouse playing the drums. I mean, he really plays the drums. It’s fantastic! Like Festival of Fantasy, this parade also showcases some amazingly themed floats so detailed and imaginative that one viewing is never enough.

So this category was a difficult one for me. I LOVE Festival of Fantasy at the Magic Kingdom, but Mickey’s Soundsational Parade coupled with Paint the Night gives Disneyland the edge in this comparison.

Winner: Disneyland Park

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A SATURDAY SIX Salute to All Nations (But Mostly America)

by on July 4, 2016

In honor of July 4th we are presenting a special SATURDAY SIX with a Salute to All Nations (But Mostly America). July 4th weekend brings out the patriotism in all of us, and nothing is more American than our favorite theme parks. Created with the opening of Disneyland in 1955, theme parks — along with comic books and jazz music — are one of the rare forms of art that we in the USA have given to the citizens of Earth. Thankfully, they are all so good that the world forgives us for everything else we’ve given them such as Zima, reality television, and the KFC Double Down. So raise Old Glory up to full staff, put Real American on the CD player, and let’s dive into some theme park American goodness!

# 6 – Voices of Liberty (Epcot)

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The Voices of Liberty (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Located at the American Adventure pavilion in Epcot’s World Showcase, the Voices of Liberty are an 8 person a cappella group that will have your heart swelling with pride as they belt out some of the most well known songs paying tribute to our country’s rich history. The playlist includes: “America the Beautiful,” “This Land is Your Land,” “This is My Country,” “You Raise Me Up,” “The Battle Hymn of the Republic,” and “Yankee Doodle Dandy.”

# 5 – Captain America (Islands of Adventure)

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Captain America. (photo by Brandon Glover)

America’s super soldier, Captain America meets guests daily at Marvel Superhero Island. The origin of Captain America himself is tied to World War II and – in the pages of comic books – was fighting the Nazi army in Europe months before America itself officially entered the war in December of 1941. Draped in  red, white, and blue, Cap is the living embodiment of everything many of us strive to be: courageous, loyal, selfless, and unshakably honest.

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Walt Disney World Introduces New Disney PinQuest Scavenger Hunt

by on June 30, 2016

If you are a Disney pin collector, I have a great new activity for you to participate in this summer. Called Disney PinQuest, this new pin scavenger hunt will take place in the Magic Kingdom where Guests will be able to find and collect a series of limited-release pins all while searching for clues around the park.

Guests are able to use a map with a decoder to solve clues that allow them to collect and purchase a series of seven limited-released Disney Pin Trading pins from different areas around the the park. Disney PinQuest is a great way to interact with Cast Members all while collecting unique pins along the way.

Disney PinQuest

©Disney

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Diamond Horseshoe Serving Meals Into September at the Magic Kingdom

by on June 30, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

The Diamond Horseshoe at the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square will continue to offer and all-you-care-to eat table service lunch and dinner option through September 10.

The meal includes a Frontier Salad that’s topped with roasted corn, cornbread croutons, and housemade chipotle-ranch dressing. The main course includes a platter of flavorful entrees to choose from: barbecue pulled pork, sliced turkey, country smoked sausage or braised beef with all the fixins. For dessert, enjoy a campfire brownie, which is topped with a toasted marshmallow. 

Soft drinks, tea, coffee and milk are included with your meal.

The cost for this meal is $33 plus tax for adults and $19 plus tax for children ages 3-9 years.

For reservations, call 407-WDW-DINE.

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Magic Kingdom Parades At Walt Disney World + Video

by on June 28, 2016

Magic Kingdom is full of wonder, it's no mystery why preschoolers love it so much.

Welcome back to TouringPlansTV!

Today, I’m talking all about Magic Kingdom Parades at Walt Disney World.

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Celebrate the Fourth of July at Walt Disney World

by on June 24, 2016

©Disney

©Disney

It’s time to celebrate America with a bang and Disney will be doing so in red, white, and blue style! If you’re looking for fireworks spectaculars, Walt Disney World is the place to be! Here’s what you can expect to experience when saluting all nations, but mostly America.

Magic Kingdom

 

Celebrate the country’s highest office by enjoying a stop at the infamous Hall of Presidents. This inspirational Liberty Square show which includes all 43 U.S. Presidents tracing the history of the office, takes place every hour and half hour. Another must see is the Flag Retreat which takes place at 5:00 p.m. each day.

The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade will be shown twice on both July 3 and 4 – once at 12:00 p.m. and once at 3:30 p.m.

Guests will have two chances to catch the spectacular fireworks extravaganza that is “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky.” The 14 minute showcase will take place on both July 3 and 4 at 9:00 p.m.

There will also be two showings of the Main Street Electrical Parade, once at 10:15 p.m. and once at 12:15 a.m.

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