Recent News

Frozen Attraction Announced For Epcot and More Frozen Fun!

by on September 12, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

Well, we all knew it was just a matter of time before it would be officially announced, and today on the Disney Parks Blog Tom Staggs confirmed the rumor we’d been hearing for almost a year: Frozen is taking over Maelstrom in the Norway Pavilion at Epcot. A brand new Frozen-themed attraction will take guests to Arendelle, where they will be included in their favorite scenes from the movie. Of course, the music from the film will also play a large role in the attraction. Maelstrom’s last day of operation should be Sunday, October 5, 2014, and the new attraction is expected to be complete by early 2016.

In addition, a meet and greet opportunity will be added back to the Norway Pavilion, so – unless things change at Princess Fairytale Hall at Magic Kingdom – guests will have an additional location to meet both Anna and Elsa.

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Universal Orlando Sapphire Falls Resort Opening in 2016

by on September 10, 2014

Only a few months after opening the Cabana Bay Beach Resort, Universal Orlando has announced that its fifth on-site hotel will be called the Sapphire Falls Resort and will open in summer 2016.

Universal’s latest Loews-branded hotel will sport a Caribbean theme and contain 1000 rooms, 77 of which will be suites. Landscaping will feature a tropical lagoon and large waterfall. The new resort is located between the Royal Pacific Resort and Cabana Bay Beach Resort, on the south side of Hollywood Way just east of Adventure Way.

Sapphire Falls concept are wide shot

Concept art of Loews Sapphire Falls Resort at Universal Orlando. Cabana Bay Beach Resort can be seen at the top center, with IoA’s Ripsaw Falls ride at the top right. (Images courtesy Universal Orlando/Loews)

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Apple Pay to be Utilized at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

by on September 9, 2014

Did you happen to catch Apple’s announcements today? Whether you caught them live or relived the event through social media like I did, it seems like Apple is introducing a great line of new products. Now I know you’re asking….Rikki…what does this have to do with Disney? Well, I’m getting there.

You see, today Apple released information about a brand new payment system called “Apple Pay.” Apple Pay will allow people to use their phones to pay for things; payments take place with just a single touch, with no need to open an app. You’ll simply swipe your phone (which of course, has been linked with a credit card) and place your finger on the Touch ID sensor. Once you hear the beep, you’re good!

Again…where am I going with this?

Well, Apple let us know that Disney will be one of the companies that will accept this new form of payment. The system will begin its roll out in October, and guests who own an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus will be able to utilize this new technology at Walt Disney World, as well as at Disney Stores. This new app will be useful when paying for food and merchandise and should be fully available by Christmas.

For those who missed the announcement made this afternoon, you can find out more about Apple Pay and see what the excitement is all about.

 

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Walt Disney World Noteworthy News – 9/3/14

by on September 3, 2014

I’m back again with quite a few great little tidbits that you may want to keep in mind for your next Walt Disney World vacation.

  • The Harmony Barbershop, located on Main Street, U.S.A., will be closed for almost two months this winter. The popular stop for guests to get their little one’s first haircut (and my hubby likes getting his cut here, too) will be closed from February 5 through March 30, reopening for guests on March 31.
  • The “Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It” Street Party at the Magic Kingdom will have an amended schedule for September 10, 11, 15, and 17. The parade will only perform at 5:40 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
  • We all know that Epcot will be getting new acts over the next few months in World Showcase. Well, now I’m here to share a few small details about the acts. Sbandieratori Flags is the flag choreography act in Italy; the Canadian Lumberjack Show, which is considered a thrill show, will take place in Canada; B’net Houariyat is a musical/dance act for Morocco; and Scottish Musical Trio will perform Celtic music in the United Kingdom Pavilion.

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Mayhem at the Mansion App Game To Debut at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

by on September 3, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

Edit 9/10/14:  Well, it’s the day after this was supposed to have launched and nary a peep from Disney. In fact, the special website that I was previously able to access that included a video of how the game worked has been re-linked to the Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party page. Not sure what caused Disney to pull this game, but it doesn’t look like it’s going to be a part of this year’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween parties now.

Edit 9/3/14 4:30 p.m.: Odd…while I have the game app from the Apple Store, which I downloaded onto my iPad a few days ago, I cannot find it anymore in the Apple App Store. Also, more curious is that it seems that the Disney Parks Blog post about this is missing now too. Not sure if a re-launch is going to take place on September 9, the first party the app was slated to be active or if it has been pulled all-together. The experience was noted on the map for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

Disney has recently been getting in on the augmented reality fun. Lately, it has popped up during both Star Wars Weekends and during the Frozen Summer Fun event. For the Halloween season, Disney has created a free app for use during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party.

The app is called Mayhem at the Mansion. The story behind the app is that The Haunted Mansion’s Hitchhiking Ghosts have escaped and are causing mayhem at the Magic Kingdom during the party.  Your goal is to use the “Specter Collector,” found inside the app, to take photos of the ghosts, and return them to The Haunted Mansion. Guests can find the location of the ghosts by aiming the “Specter Collector” at a park map.

Once all three ghosts have been collected and returned, you will be able to unlock exclusive Mayhem rewards.

I recently downloaded it and started playing with it. The app is very simple.  There is an introduction video, an link to purchase Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party via Disney’s website, a video explaining how the process of collecting works, and the “Specter Collector” camera. I am not sure if more will be updated once the app officially is unveiled for park use on September 9, but the basics are already there.

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2014 Night of Joy Performance Schedule

by on September 2, 2014

Night of Joy

©Disney

Night of Joy, a separately ticketed event that features top contemporary Christian music artists, is scheduled to take place at the Magic Kingdom this Friday and Saturday, September 5 – 6, from 7:30 p.m. – 1:00 a.m.

For those of you attending, the schedule of artists performing has been released. Performers play for about 40-50 minutes per set.  Performance times include:

Friday, September 5

Castle Forecourt Stage

  • 7:40 p.m. – Matthew West
  • 9:20 p.m. – Chris Tomlin
  • 11:30 p.m. – Hillsong United

Galaxy Stage

  • 7:30 p.m. – Building 429
  • 8:50 p.m. – Building 429
  • 10:25 p.m. – Mandisa
  • 12:10 a.m. – for KING & COUNTRY

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Universal Orlando Early Park Admission Changes Starting September 2 [UPDATED 8/30/14]

by on August 30, 2014

Early Park Admission Sign

Big changes are coming in September to Universal Orlando’s Early Park Admission perk (Photo by Seth Kubersky)

As the summer season comes to a close, we’ve gotten word of some upcoming changes to Universal Orlando Early Park Admission policies that are scheduled to go into effect early next month.

While no details have been officially announced, we’ve confirmed this information with guest service leads at both parks, and we believe the following modifications will be made to Universal Orlando’s early park admission perk (otherwise known as “early entry” or “early admission”) offered to guests at the resort’s four on-site hotels.

We will be on hand to report on the new procedures, and we will update the information on our Early Park Admission page as policy changes develop.

[Note: Universal Orlando has recently confirmed an update to the off-season early entry, see below for bolded changes]

Early Park Admission General Information

Universal Orlando offers admission to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter areas at Islands of Adventure (Hogsmeade) and/or Universal Studios Florida (Diagon Alley) one hour before regular park opening. This perk is given for free to all guests staying at a Universal Resort Hotel. Guests with certain types of “vacation packages” (most commonly sold by Universal Parks & Resorts Vacations and involving both accommodations at a Universal partner hotel and theme park admission) are also allowed in early.

The turnstiles to the park(s) participating in early entry should open approximately 90 minutes before the official opening time. Both hotel and day guests will be admitted to the park, and each eligible guest will need to show his or her own room key to pass beyond the park’s entry plaza during the early admission hour. Guests not eligible for early admission will be held in an alternative area to await the official opening time.

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Pineapple Lanai Opens at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

by on August 29, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

Do you miss getting Dole Whips at Disney’s Polynesian? Well I bring good news, as the sweet/tart pineapple treat is now back! Guests looking to purchase a Dole Whip must now head to the all new Pineapple Lanai kiosk window, which can be found near the pool area, taking up part of the space occupied by the former Wyland Gallery. This new addition is all part of the current renovation project taking place at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

The Pineapple Lanai menu features only Dole Whips:

  • Dole Whip Soft Serve: vanilla or pineapple – $3.99
  • Dole Whip Soft Serve Swirl: pineapple swirled with vanilla – $3.99
  • Pineapple Float: vanilla or pineapple soft serve in pineapple juice – $4.99

Guests can also choose to purchase these items in fun tiki-themed souvenir containers. The two Soft Serve options can be served in a Tiki Bowl for $8.79. The Pineapple Float can be served in a Tiki Sipper, which can be purchased for $9.99.

One other change: the Lanai is not a self-serve location, so for those of you who liked to see how high you could fill a cup with the treat over at Captain Cook’s, I’m sorry to say that option has gone the way of the dodo.

Who else is excited that Dole Whips are back at The Poly?

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Walt Disney World Monorail Schedule Changing September 1

by on August 29, 2014

Earlier this summer, the Walt Disney World Resort changed the monorail operating hours. Well, with Labor Day Weekend upon us and summer quickly fading away into fall at WDW, it appears that the monorail will be running different hours again. Beginning on September 1 and lasting (right now) until September 26, the Walt Disney World Resort monorail service will be seeing another set of updated hours, which are:

  • Magic Kingdom Resort Beam: 8:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m. (12:00 midnight on hard ticket event evenings)
  • Magic Kingdom Express Beam: 9:30 a.m. through 1 hour after the Magic Kingdom fireworks
  • Epcot Beam: 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.

During times when the monorail will not be running, additional watercraft and buses will be available to transport guests.

There is no word yet regarding whether after September 26 monorail hours will still be reduced or if they will return to their standard schedule. As a reminder, the Walt Disney World Resort monorails are currently undergoing an update where they are adding an automated operating system.

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Starbucks Opening at Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Early 2015

by on August 29, 2014

Starbucks Coming to Disney ParksIf you’ve been waiting for the official announcement of Starbucks coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, this is it.

A new Starbucks location is currently being built on the corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Sunset Boulevard. (It was where you previously could find the L.A. Prop Cinema Storage Shop). The new coffee house, which will be called The Trolley Car Cafe, will be themed after a classic trolley car station, which fits in perfectly with the theming of that section of Hollywood Studios.

This is the third location to be built in the Florida parks. The fourth location, which will be found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, is expected to begin construction sometime next year. The Disney’s Hollywood Studios store will be similar to the other two Starbucks locations, The Main Street Bakery in Magic Kingdom and The Fountain View at Epcot. There are two additional Starbucks locations at Downtown Disney.

This new Starbucks is expected to open in February 2015.

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