Recent News

New Bus Service Available From Theme Parks to Disney Springs

by on August 25, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

Can I say thank goodness?!

Beginning on August 28, Guests will be able to take a bus from any of the four Walt Disney World theme parks directly to Disney Springs. Bus service will be available to the shopping and dining complex from 4:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. (or two hours after park close, whichever comes first.)

Keep in mind that this is a one-way only service that goes from the theme parks to Disney Springs; you cannot take a bus directly to one of the four parks. For those needing to go to one of the parks from Disney Springs, the current process will continue where Guests will need to take a bus to a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel first.

This is a huge change that will make it much easier for you to get to Disney Springs and enjoy the new great offerings, as well as some of your favorites from the past.

 

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Change in Wheelchair Rentals Now Offered at Disney’s Water Parks

by on August 23, 2016

Water Parks - Typhoon Lagoon

©Disney

It appears that Disney is making a change to their wheelchair rentals that are available at their water parks. These rentals, which are available at Singapore Sal’s at Typhoon Lagoon and at the Beach Haus at Blizzard Beach, will now cost $12 a day. It is also required that Guests leave a $100 refundable deposit which will be returned upon the return of the rental. This wheelchair rental is able to be transferable across the parks, with a receipt, as long as they are available.

This change is being done in an effort to align with the options available at Guest Services found at Disney’s theme parks, at Disney Springs, and at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

In addition to wheelchairs, a limited number of ECV rentals will continue to be available for $50 with a $100 refundable deposit.

Make sure to keep this change in mind should you need to rent a wheelchair at one of Disney’s water parks going forward.

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Celebrity Chef Guy Fieri Working on Menu for Planet Hollywood Observatory

by on August 19, 2016

planet-hollywood-disney-orlando-jpg

©Disney

We’re starting to get some information about the updates planned for Planet Hollywood Observatory at Disney Springs. The restaurant, which was supposed to open this summer has now been pushed back to a Fall reopening and today, they announced that celebrity chef Guy Fieri is developing some of the menu items. This mostly includes several flavorful burgers and sandwiches.

Sandwiches will include the Prime Time American Kobe-Inspired Burger, Turkey Pic-a-nic Sandwich, and a lobster roll. The menu will also feature some of Planet Hollywood’s classic favorites such as the return of a few favorites including Chicken Crunch. (Which are chicken fingers with a Cap’n Crunch cereal coating.) The rest of the menu will range from from salads to steaks and ribs.

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Disney is Celebrating Disney PhotoPass Day on August 19

by on August 17, 2016

©Disney

©Disney

If you’ll be in Walt Disney World this Friday, August 19, you’ll be able to take part in an event promoting Disney PhotoPass. Disney PhotoPass Day will promote making memories. (Making memories. Taking pictures is making memories.)

Both Walt Disney World and Disneyland will be taking part in this event which will feature exciting offerings and experiences for Guests to enjoy.

At both the Magic Kingdom and Epcot, you’ll be able to take part in special character meet and greet experiences. Meet Pinocchio, Gideon, and Foulfellow in Storybook Circus in New Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. At Epcot, you’ll find the Queen of Hearts who will join Alice in the United Kingdom Pavilion, Dopey will join Snow White in the Germany Pavilion, and Mushu will meet with Mulan at the China Pavilion.

In addition, at one select location throughout each of the four theme parks and at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World and at both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure at Disneyland Resort, Guests will be able to receive a complimentary photo that will be available to download at no charge as part of the #DisneyPhotoPassDay celebration. Guests will find these photos in their My Disney Experience app at the Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland app at the Disneyland Resort. Participating locations include:

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What you need to know about security procedures at Orlando’s theme parks

by on August 17, 2016

Orlando’s theme parks have enjoyed a decades long reputation for providing a clean and safe environment for all guests. Over the years the theme parks’ security procedures have evolved, adding layers and new processes. In the past few months we’ve seen a significant change to all the major theme parks’ procedures. In hopes of helping you prepare for your visit, I’ve laid out some of the security measures you can expect to encounter.

Keep in mind, there are multiple layers of security at all the parks. There are efforts that go unseen and procedures we don’t know about. Additionally, out of respect for the theme parks, their staff members, and their security, I won’t go beyond what is already shared with the public and easily seen when visiting the parks.

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Walt Disney World – Four Main Theme Parks

The Most Magical Place on Earth can’t hold such a title without having some solid security procedures in place. At the beginning of the year it was standard that all of Orlando’s theme parks conduct a bag check on any guest who had any bag of any kind, including strollers. Then a few months ago all three of Orlando’s major theme park destinations installed metal detectors at the security checkpoint. The rollout process and ramp up period varied for each destination.

Walt Disney World has proceeded with using their metal detectors for random checks. Although every single guest will go through a more-thorough-than-ever bag screening process, not every guest is asked to go through a metal detector. After the bag screening guests are selected at random to go through the detectors.

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The metal detectors are off to the side and are manned by a group of Security Cast Members. I have been selected multiple times. Each time the Cast Members have been very courteous and it has only added a minute or two to my ability to get to the park entrance. You may also notice law enforcement personnel at a few posts throughout the front entrance area, as well.

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Disney’s official park rules can be found here. Some of the highlights include statements that all persons, bags, parcels, and clothing are subject to screening, as well as stating that they reserve the right to not allow any item they deem inappropriate into the premises.

Guest that do not have bags have a separate area they can go through to bypass the bag screening area, but they are still subject to random metal detector screenings.

Of all the theme parks, you will most likely find that Walt Disney World’s screen process takes the least amount of time. Still if you arrive to the parks right around their opening time, be prepared for an extensive line at the checkpoints. It’s one of the reasons that we recommend arriving 30-60 minutes before any park’s opening time.

Disney Water Parks and Disney Springs

Currently, there are no metal detectors at Disney’s two water parks nor Disney Springs. At the water parks there is a bag screening, though not very extensive. There is no screening at Disney Springs, though there is a strong security and law enforcement presence.

Universal Orlando

Here you will find the most extensive screening process–and perhaps the most talked about process. Every guest will go through metal detector and all bags go through an x-ray machine. When you first approach the security checkpoint it really does resemble being at the airport. This security checkpoint is for all guests regardless of if you are visiting the theme parks or just CityWalk.

I have a slight concern with the location of this checkpoint, though it is difficult to think of an alternative location. During peak time, especially first thing in the morning, this domed area is extremely crowded. It can sometimes be an uncomfortable experience and when that feels like a bad bottle neck situation.

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Universal Team Members who park in the main parking structure must also go through the same screening area, though they have a dedicated separate lane. A few friends of mine that go through this process on a daily basis have expressed concerns with some of the interactions they’ve encountered with Security personnel, as well as encounters they’ve observed with guests.  I have had mostly good experiences, though there have been some rare occasion to the contrary.

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StormStruck and Sum of All Thrills Leaving Innoventions

by on August 15, 2016

©Disney

©Disney

Big changes have been happening at Epcot’s Innoventions lately with many attractions closing. Now, two more attractions are closing in Innoventions East – The Sum of All Thrills and StormStruck. The two attractions will be closed as of September 14 due to their sponsorship agreements ending.

The Sum of All Thrills which was sponsored by Raytheon was a simulator that allowed guests to utilize math skills to create a thrill ride. Guests would then be able to put their creation to the test courtesy of a Kuka arm.

Storm Struck, which was presented by FLASH, educates Guests on how to prevent storm damage around the home.

With these two closures, this means that the only attraction remaining open in Innoventions East will be the relatively new Colortopia by Glidden, which opened in November of last year.

Disney has said that plans for Innoventions are going to be shared at a later date.

 

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The Jungle Book: Alive With Magic to End at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

by on August 12, 2016

©Disney

©Disney

It is time to say goodbye to The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic nighttime show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The show will end its limited engagement on September 5.

With this change, I am happy to report that the other nighttime festivities, such as the Kilimanjaro Safaris at night, Harambe Wildlife Parti, Discovery Island Carnivale, and the Tree of Life Awakening will continue to take place each night in the fall. Disney’s Animal Kingdom hours will continue to fluctuate during the fall season.

One would expect that with the ending of this show, Disney will be able to continually tweak and test Rivers of Light to prepare it for its eventual debut. More information on Rivers of Light is expected to come soon.

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Disney Offers Annual Passholders Discounted Park Hopper Tickets

by on August 11, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

In an unexpected move, Disney is offering Walt Disney World Annual Passholders a fantastic deal on 1-Day Park Hopper Tickets for their friends and family.

Annual Passholders can purchase 1-Day Park Hopper tickets for $79 each for up to 6 Guests. The tickets give guests access to all four Walt Disney World parks, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Epcot for one day.

Do keep in mind that the Annual Passholder must be present and have a valid pass when purchasing the tickets. These friends and family tickets may only be purchased at Walt Disney World theme park ticket windows, and they must be used on the day of purchase.

These discounted tickets are only available until September 30.

For more information, visit the Walt Disney World Annual Passholder website.

 

 

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Main Street Electrical Parade to End Its Run at Walt Disney World

by on August 11, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

Walt Disney World will officially say goodbye to the long-standing nighttime parade, the Main Street Electrical Parade. It will end its historic run at the Magic Kingdom on October 9 and then will make its way over to Disneyland Resort for a limited time encore run.

This is the quintessential Disney nighttime parade with a storied past. It began at Disneyland park in 1972 and has been going back and forth between different Disney Parks throughout the years. In 2010, the parade begin its most recent run at the Magic Kingdom.

So, Disneyland fans, what will this mean for Paint the Night? Well, it had already been announced that Paint the Night would be ending its run soon.  The parade will continue nightly performances, just prior to the Disneyland Forever fireworks, through September 5 as part of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. However, it isn’t going away completely at that point. The parade will be returning on select nights during the holiday season this year. There is currently no word yet on what exact dates Guests can expect to see Paint the Night throughout the rest of the year at Disneyland.

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New Restaurants Added to Tables in Wonderland Program

by on August 8, 2016

©Disney

©Disney

Do you have a Tables in Wonderland card? Then I bring good news! Four new dining establishments have been added to the special dining program. Those restaurants are:

  • Jungle Cruise Skipper Canteen at Magic Kingdom
  • Tiffins and the Nomad Lounge at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
  • Jock Lindsay’s Hangar Bar at Disney Springs

So, what is the Tables in Wonderland program?  It is an exclusive for Disney Vacation Members, Florida Residents and Annual Passholders. Membership in Tables in Wonderland includes a 20 percent discount on all food and beverage at participating Walt Disney World table-service restaurants and lounges. Guests also receive complimentary valet parking for dining purposes.

Tables in Wonderland does come at an extra cost. It costs $175 for Florida Residents and $150 for Walt Disney World Annual Passholders and Disney Vacation Club Members. To purchase a membership, you should visit any Guest Relations kiosk located one of the four Theme Parks or at Disney Springs.

For more information about Tables in Wonderland, make sure to check out their website.

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