Shopping

Universal Merchandise: The Film Vault in Universal Studios Florida (Kong, Ghostbusters, BTTF)

by on August 31, 2014

Earlier this month Universal Studios Florida opened a new store called The Film Vault which offers products featuring a wide assortment of fan favorite Universal properties including Ghostbusters, King Kong, The Godfather, Back to the Future and more. The store is located across from Transformers: The Ride 3-D and replaces the Delancey Street Preview Center, where guests were used as test audiences for upcoming television shows. The preview center has been moved closer to the front of the park near Schwab’s Pharmacy.

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The Film Vault (photo by Seth Kubersky)

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! August 2014 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on August 31, 2014

MMM positiveHave we reached the end of August already?!  What a month. We saw a new hard ticket event - Villains Unleashed - have its first ever party (and possibly last ever considering all the refunds that were given out to unhappy guests). Speaking of hard ticket events, Disney announced the first ever hard ticket event during a hard ticket event with the Sinister Soiree experience during Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. We said goodbye to the American Idol Experience and hello to Falcon’s Fury at Busch Gardens Tampa, which finally allowed human beings on months later than expected. The “busy” season is finally over, and with kids back in school, we Florida residents can finally enjoy the slow days at the park where Anna & Elsa only have only a two hour wait!

With that out of the way, who is ready to hit the Outlets?!

Our first find is FRONTIERLAND PLUTO. I bought one of these as I enjoyed the elaborate theming. From the ‘coon skin hat, the various supplies being carried on his back and sides, and the moccasins on the paws, this is one plush that stands out from the rest. I’m also a sucker for the big tongue sticking out in in pure puppy happiness.

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Wearable Character Autograph Project: Sign My Shoes

by on August 20, 2014

For years, I’ve been telling guests that the Disney Parks characters will sign almost anything G-rated. An item doesn’t have to be an autograph book, or even paper to be signature worthy. I’ve seen other guests sign fun objects before but, shhhh don’t tell, I had never actually done this myself.

During a recent home closet purge, I ran across a pair of unworn white canvas Tom’s brand shoes that had been purchased for a Halloween costume that never happened. With a trip days just a few days away, it occurred to me to bring the shoes with me to Walt Disney World and see if the characters would sign them.

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I wasn’t in the mood to head out to a craft store to look for fabric-specific markers, so I decided to wing it with some regular Sharpies that I happened to have in the house.

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Observations from Downtown Disney Part 2 (Disney Springs, World of Disney, T-REX)

by on August 12, 2014

In part one of this photo tour of Downtown Disney we covered the West Side and all the walls surrounding Pleasure Island. We start off part two with one of the only references to Disney Springs that you will see in the entire Downtown Disney area. Even the concept art doesn’t have “Disney Springs” on it. Several lampposts outside of Fulton’s Crab House were emblazoned with the Disney Springs logo earlier this spring.

 

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SATURDAY SIX: Top Six Reasons to Visit Downtown Disney In Its Current State

by on August 9, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the Top Six Reasons to Visit Downtown Disney in its Current State. There is a lot of construction going on right now at Downtown Disney as the area is being converted over to Disney Springs. “A lot” may actually be an understatement, as there is work being done in every single area of Downtown Disney: the parking lots, West Side, Pleasure Island, and the Marketplace. Parking can be – at best – inconvenient and – at worst – something that can trigger even the most peaceful person to go “Michael Douglas in Falling Down.” Construction walls are everywhere. However, there are still some very good reasons to overcome these obstacles and spend a day or evening there, and today we are going to count down the top six.

# 6 – Raglan Road

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Raglan Road (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Kids’ International Gateway: Saving Money

by on July 30, 2014

Hi! My name is Alex, and I am 12 years young.

Me and Mickey

I was less than a year old so I do not remember this at all.

Since the age of zero I have been travelling to Orlando and its surrounding areas like Clermont and Kissimmee from 4,377 miles away in Kent in the United Kingdom, which is about 20 miles south east of London. This summer will be my 38th trip, so obviously I have developed a keen interest in Disney, Universal, and all of Florida. As most 12-year-old girls do, I definitely enjoy shopping, so I’ve conveniently put together a series of tips for young shoppers on how to control how much you are spending and how to avoid being in debt with your parents whilst Disney tries to milk every last penny, cent or Euro you have earned, begged, borrowed or stolen for your trip.

I have personally experienced the hunger resulting from not knowing this first tip.

The price you see is not the price you pay.

 There was a hot dog stand in the petrol station (gas station) outside Publix, an American supermarket like Waitrose in England (and by supermarket I mean grocery store; yes, I’m bilingual!).

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Incorporating Disney into Everyday Life

by on July 19, 2014

t_logo_fbRecently, fellow blogger, Daisy Lauren, posted tips to beating your post-Disney blues. Inspired by her article, I have compiled a list of ways to keep the Disney magic flowing once you return home. Keep track of how many you’ve done and put your total in the comments!

Here we gooooooo….. (Peter Pan reference anyone? Yes? No? Okay, let’s move on.)

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Disney World Situational Celebration Guide

by on July 14, 2014

Many guests plan Disney World trips, either in whole or in part, to celebrate an event. This phenomenon is such a truism that Disney even planned their 2009/2010 marketing campaign around the theme “What Will You Celebrate?”

While Walt Disney World is indeed a great place to celebrate, not all Disney celebrations should look the same. You’re not going to celebrate your daughter’s first birthday the same way you’re going to celebrate Grandma and Grandpa’s 50th wedding anniversary. Here’s a guide to constructing the perfect celebration for common situations.

Different situations call for different celebrations.

Different situations call for different celebrations.

1st BIRTHDAY

Who should be there?: The birthday boy/girl, mom and dad, siblings, possibly grandparents.

Where should we stay?: The monorail hotels (Contemporary, Grand Floridian, Polynesian) are great because you won’t have to fold your stroller to get to the Magic Kingdom. But if that’s not in the budget, try a family suite at Art of Animation or All-Star Music, or a cabin at Fort Wilderness because you’ll have a separate room where the baby can nap undisturbed. At the moderate level, the standard rooms at the Coronado Springs resort have a sliding wooden door between the bed area and the bath area, creating a de facto mini-room which can serve as a nap area. The value resorts, with their small square footage, may be a challenge during this trip because your Pack n’ Play will take up a substantial percentage of your living area.

Where should we eat?: Chef Mickey’s (breakfast or dinner). The boisterous atmosphere will muffle any cranky noises the birthday child might make. Since it’s a buffet, it won’t seem odd if you’re walking around a bit, also you’ll have lots of food options for fussy eaters.

What should we do?: Character photos! This is the perfect time for pictures juxtaposing little toddler next to a giant mouse. Cuuuute!

What should we buy?: Mouse ears embroidered with junior’s name (another perfect photo opportunity!).

Helpful hints: The celebrant is likely pre-verbal, so there will not be any direct memories being made for the child. Focus on making mom and dad comfortable (traveling with an infant can be exhausting) and taking lots of great photos to help convey your family’s Disney/birthday story when the little one is old enough to understand.

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Seven Disney Souvenir Buying Mistakes

by on July 8, 2014

The 1,200 Vinylmation figurines staring at me from the shelves of my home office right now will tell you that I am a veteran Disney parks shopper. I truly understand the desire to troll the theme park shops for the perfect souvenir. But as satisfying as it can be to come home with just the right thing, there are plenty of pitfalls to Disney parks shopping. Here are seven potential Disney souvenir shopping mistakes and how you can avoid them.

Some Disney take-home items can be had for free.

Some Disney take-home items can be had for free.

1. Thinking that you have to pay for souvenirs.

Believe it or not, you can score many items for free at Walt Disney World. They practically throw Mickey stickers at kids during resort check in and there’s always a reason to grab a free celebration button. You can also get free bookmarks by participating in the Enchanted Tales with Belle attraction at the Magic Kingdom, free stick puppets at the Epcot Kidcot Fun Stops, or a lei at the Polynesian resort. These free items can go a long way toward scratching that “but I MUST bring something home” itch, with no additional outlay of cash.

And don’t forget that the best Disney souvenir is usually a memory. “Remember when Cousin Billy spilled his milk on Goofy’s shoe at Chef Mickeys?” “Remember when Baby Sally hugged Cinderella for the first time?” “Remember when we finally got Grandma to go on the Teacups and she actually had a blast?” Assuming that you’ve got a digital camera or a camera-equipped phone, these memories can all be captured gratis. Disney PhotoPass photographers will even take group shots using your camera, at no charge. Isn’t a photo of Mom wearing Mickey ears a better souvenir than a snow globe?

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Entertainment to Get You Excited for Disney

by on July 1, 2014

A while back I posted a list of movies to show your kids before your Disney trip, films that would educate them about the Disney canon so that they would be familiar with park iconography. Watching princess movies is definitely going to get the kiddos psyched for your Disney vacation.

Everyone wants to get in the princess mood.

Everyone wants to get in the princess mood, even sitcom characters.

But what about you?

You know alllll about pixie dust. You’ve been there, done that with Cinderella (glass shoe, bibbidi bobbidi, yadda, yadda, yadda). You are fully familiar with dwarf nomenclature and know P. Sherman’s address by heart. So what entertainment do you, grown-up person, consume to get psyched for your Disney vacation? Here are some ideas.

All items are currently available on iTunes, among other places. So load up your phone, tablet, or classic iPod (yep, they still make those) to keep you pepped up during the plane ride to MickeyLand. Some items listed here are specific to Disney World or Disneyland but, in my opinion, any of them will pump you up no matter which coast you’re headed for.

TRAVEL PLANNING and PROPAGANDA VIDEO

Sometimes you need some information with your inspiration. These ex-TravelChannel videos, while now fairly dated, will fill you in on the highlights of a Disney parks visit.

  • Undiscovered Disney Parks. Focuses on backstage experiences and less popular attractions.
  • Disney Parks: Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Get up close and personal with youngest Disney World theme park.
  • Walt Disney World Resort: Behind the Scenes. A look at some of the WDW infrastructure.
  • Ultimate Walt Disney World. A look at the Disney World thrill rides.
  • Disneyland Resort Behind the Scenes. Go backstage in Anaheim.
  • Samantha Brown Great Weekends, Volume 1, Episode 5: Orlando. Sam shows things to do if you’ll be spending some time off Disney property.

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Also note that there dozens of other old Travel Channel and Food Network episodes which cover aspects of the wonderful world of Disney. (R.I.P. Great Hotels, Season of Disney, and a billion Food Network Challenge Disney cakes.) You can find some these on tapes or DVD, but they are not readily available for quick download.

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