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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! January 2016 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on January 31, 2016

MMM positiveWelcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. The new year has started off exactly where the old one left us: with Walt Disney World closing attractions. It has been a pretty cool month though, including a cool Star Wars runDisney race out in California (and Star Wars fans owe it to themselves to watch a great parody of Undercover Boss featuring Kylo Ren). Erin Foster took us inside Vanellope’s on the Disney Dream, and for those who don’t know, this is a complete Wreck-It-Ralph themed sweet shop (pinch us, we’re dreaming). And Guy Selga introduced us to Four Glorious New Ways to Kill Time at Disneyland, including the am I dreaming this, or is this real Jungle Cruise Skipper School. 2016 is shaping up to be an incredible year.

Now while all of you were off taking your kids to see Donald Trump, Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo and I were hard at work to bring you the quality Outlet coverage you expect deserve!

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you).

The first item this month made my heart grow three sizes (after double checking, that enlargement of the heart was actually due to eating the Pop-Tart Sandwich at Pop Century). Behold the Luigi’s Flying Tires hat! Anyone who has visited the Disney Dump has seen the remnants of this attraction, which opened with the debut of Cars Land in the summer of 2012 and was already closed by the ending of February 2015. Believe it or not, despite only being open for only 976 days, Luigi’s doesn’t even rank in the Top Five of Short Lived Disney Attractions. Originally $24.95, this baby could be sitting on your head for just $6.99. VIVA LA DISNEY OUTLETS!

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After seeing this, I know how Indiana Jones felt seeing the Fertility Idol.  (photo by Julia Mascardo)

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Tsum Tsums returned this month! However it was mostly the ones we have seen in the past (including all seven of the dwarfs), but one that was new was this crying duck. I had literally no idea who this was, but found out it was the Ugly Duckling from a quick scene in Lilo & Stitch. That’s what we call a deep dive, and I love it. I actually dropped Loot Crate this month and started up the Disney Tsum Tsum Monthly Subscription Program, so starting in February I too will annoy you with unboxing videos (although my last one didn’t go so well).

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Ugly Duckling Tsum.

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Ugly Duckling sequence from Lilo & Stitch.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! December 2015 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on December 31, 2015

MMM positiveWelcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. In fact, with this edition of MMM Your Humble Author is completing the greatest month in the history of theme park blogging. In December we had the 25 Drinks of Christmas countdown (featuring the Nautilus at Grog Grotto, Deathly Hallows at WWOHP, Candy Apple Cotton-Tini at T-Rex Cafe and more), SATURDAY SIXES on the best souvenir cups at WDW along with Indiana Jones references in Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, our annual IN MEMORIAM – Six Things We Lost From the Theme Park World, and the inaugural 12 Days of a Theme Park Christmas. Of course readers of this fine column will enjoy Six Gifts Santa Can Bring BACK to the North Pole (AKA The Best of the Disney Outlet Stores 2015)

Now while all of you were out buying the wrong gift for your loved ones, Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo and I were hard at work to bring you the Outlet coverage you expect deserve!

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you)

We are going to start off this month’s report with a story so uplifting that, if it was made into a movie, it could only star Kirk Cameron. When the Disney Outlet Store off of International Drive was shut down in June for a “refurbishment,” we were told it would be closed for three months and reopen in September. Well, September came and went and it still wasn’t open. October came and went and it still wasn’t open. November came and went and it still wasn’t open

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I made many trips past this closed Outlet Store during the Summer and Fall, not unlike Ralphie Parker hoping to find his Little Orphan Annie Decoder Ring in the mail.

A funny thing happened in early December. I had bought tickets to go to a private event in Diagon Alley at the Universal Orlando Resort, which is close to the International Drive Outlets. I walked by the Disney Outlet, and found it still closed, but this time there was a sign on the door…

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Wait, is that a sign on the door?!

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The Ganachery Now Open at Disney Springs

by on December 15, 2015

We know you probably already read this on the Disney Parks Blog, but the Ganachery is open for business now. This retail shop in Disney Springs sells hand-made chocolates in an exquisitely themed storefront in The Landing area of Disney Springs.

TouringPlan Chat moderator extraordinaire, Susan Weaver, sent these photos to get you excited:

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever December 3, 2015: Black Friday at Universal Orlando

by on December 3, 2015

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The day after Thanksgiving has become one of America’s most important secular holidays, as young and old celebrate capitalism by camping out for dirt-cheap televisions. I was also out there shopping on the big day, but in true Best Week Ever fashion I spent my Black Friday at Universal Orlando among the vacationing throngs.

I started my Black Friday shopping with a major purchase by renewing my Universal Orlando annual pass. After disconts, my Premier pass costs just under $1 per day. That’s a lot more than it was when I first became a passholder 15 years ago, but still a great value considering how quickly the parks has been adding new attractions.

 

Once inside Islands of Adventure, I was greeted by the still-jarring sight of the Incredible Hulk Coaster…or rather the lack thereof.

 

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! November 2015 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on November 30, 2015

MMM positiveWelcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. November means we say goodbye to EPCOT’s Food & Wine – and surprisingly the “Burgy” Award winning Canadian Lumberjacks – but hello to the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights and Mickey’s Very Mery Christmas Party. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, and while you were digesting all that turkey (or Tofurky) did you happen to notice there was a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX looking at what we theme park fans should give thanks for? Even better, this past weekend was also time for the Second Annual Theme Park Turkeys of the Year. Did your favorite make the list? 

Fear not, while you were out on Black Friday ripping items out of the hands of kids , Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo and I were hard at work to bring you the Outlet coverage you expect deserve!

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you).

First up is a Goofy’s Candy Company Gumball Machine. Who doesn’t like a gumball machine? It’s unAmerican not to!

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Gumball.

For the first time EVER, Disney Infinity items were reduced for clearance at the Outlet. There had occasionally been a Disney Infinity figure here or there for sale, but always at full price. This month had a slew of  figures marked down, including everyone’s favorite Frozen sisters reduced to $14.99.

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Disney Infinity.

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SATURDAY SIX: Second Annual Theme Park Turkeys of the Year

by on November 28, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX is one of our favorites as we present the Second Annual “Turkeys” of the Year. For Thanksgiving this week we took a look back at things both Disney and Universal fans should be thankful for, but today we are going to go the other way. Gather round as we continue the tradition of awarding six Theme Park “Turkeys” to the craziest, most outrageous, or just downright weird stories of the year, concluding with the coveted Golden Turkey award. Let’s kick off the ceremony with a Disney snack no one saw coming….

# 6 – Animal Kingdom Poop Snacks

This June at Zuri’s Sweet Shop in Disney’s Animal Kingdom four new snacks debuted that were made to resemble animal droppings. That’s right, poop. The Match The Species snacks featured food designed to look like Elephant, Hippo, Giraffe, and Cotton Top Tamarin poop. You have to give credit where credit is due, that’s a unique presentation.

The snacks became an instant sensation on Disney social media, and quickly made the rounds to mainstream media. The poop snacks were pulled from the shelves in less than two weeks. Disney officially said that they were just a test and were not coming back, but several sources claim that the reason they disappeared so fast was because of the numerous complaints by guests who didn’t find the snacks amusing.

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The Match The Species poop snacks at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. (photo by Brian Carey)

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For a limited time, you too could eat simulated Giraffe poop. (photo by Brian Carey)

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Universal Orlando Garage Sale Ends Saturday

by on November 20, 2015

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It’s a bargain hunter’s parade through Saturday at the Universal Orlando Garage Sale. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

If you are in Orlando and have a theme park fan on your holiday shopping list, you’ll want to swing by the Universal Orlando garage sale before it ends on Saturday, and stock up on dirt-cheap stocking stuffers. Once every year or so, Universal unloads unsold merchandise to its employees, annual passholders, and the generous public at a ginormous discount, and 2015’s garage sale has arrived just in time for some pre-Thanksgiving bargain hunting.

 

The Universal Orlando Garage Sale takes place daily through Saturday, November 21, from 1 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily. The event is literally a garage sale, taking place inside the first floor of the employee parking garage at the corner Turkey Lake Road and Vineland Road. The first hours of the sale on Tuesday were reserved for Annual Passholders, but now the event is open to all; I was not asked to show ID to either enter the garage or make purchases. Enter the employee parking garage from Vineland Road via Production Plaza (just past The Bell at Universal Apartments) and park on the surface lot outside the garage, then follow the signs inside.

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever November 12, 2015: Disney Springs Twenty Eight & Main

by on November 12, 2015

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Take a Best Week Ever walk around Disney Springs to the new Twenty Eight & Main shop. (Photos/video by Seth Kubersky)

Black Friday is fast approaching, so for this installment of Best Week Ever I took another trip to Disney Springs in order to check out Twenty Eight & Main, the newest spot inside the Marketplace Co-Op to spend a mortgage payment. Come along as see what you’re going to go broke on during your next Walt Disney World visit!

 

As I reported in October, the new I-4 exit ramp to Disney Springs makes entering the Orange parking garage pure bliss. If you are used to spending an hour sitting at stoplights and circling surface lots each time you tried to park at the old Downtown Disney, the new traffic flow into the renamed complex is going to seem like nirvana. I parked on the garage roof for easy access to the exit ramp, and also to snap some panoramic pictures of continuing construction on Town Center:

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A Visit to Magic Kingdom’s MagicBands on Demand Retail Location

by on November 4, 2015

On a recent visit to Magic Kingdom, I was thrilled to customize my own MagicBand at the new MagicBands on Demand retail location inside of Tomorrowland Light & Power Co., near the exit to Space Mountain. Not only was I able to get a purple MagicBand (a color hotly anticipated by Disney fans ever since MagicBands debuted) but I was able to complement it with my own choice of graphics. Rikki Niblett wrote about this new location where guests can create MagicBands on Demand when it opened in late October; in addition to MagicBands, it offers customized cell phone cases. Here are the details on my experience creating a MagicBand.

The storefront’s clock-and-gear-shaped Mickey and “Generating a Bright New Tomorrow” sign got me right in the mood to experience some technology.

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Guests are greeted by several banks of touchscreens used to customize MagicBands and phone cases.

© Sarah Graffam

© Sarah Graffam

A sign displays pricing for MagicBands on Demand with or without adding a name as well as for D-Tech on Demand options for customized phone cases with or without a name.

To start designing my MagicBand, I chose to work at one of the touchscreens at the front of the store. I arrived at the store around 9:30 AM, and there were plenty of open touchscreen stations. If all the stations at the front are in use, there are several more touchscreens located in the back of the store near the center where guests’ MagicBands and cases are printed.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! October 2015 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on October 30, 2015

MMM positiveWelcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. Let’s face it, October is hands down the greatest month in the theme park calendar. Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party is our favorite Hard Ticket event at WDW, with the new Hocus Pocus Spelltacular show as a fantastic addition. Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights is having perhaps its strongest year ever during its silver anniversary. Food & Wine continues its popular fall run. But maybe the reason October was the greatest month ever this year was the simple fact that Duffy the Disney Bear was removed from Epcot (just kidding, it’s because of the new Force Awakens trailer.)

Don’t worry, while all of you were having the time of your lives enjoying the parks during this wonderful month, Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo and I threw caution to the wind to bring you the Outlet coverage you deserve!

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you).

First up is one of our all-time favorite finds at the Outlet, this Little Orange Bird ceramic figure. I first saw this a while back at Centerpiece in Disney Spring’s Marketplace Co-op and was happy to see it here. Originally $21.95, reduced to $6.99, you better believe I bought one of these.

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Little Orange Bird.

Another thing I enjoyed seeing at Centerpiece were these Jungle Cruise Elephant figurines. Didn’t like them enough to pick them up, but if one was painted gray I think I may have gotten that one.

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Jungle Cruise Elephant figurine.

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