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Costuming Your Princess or Pirate Without Raiding the Treasury

by on September 19, 2017

Kids are only young once, and every parent wants to have amazing memories (assisted by plenty of photographs) of those precious childhood years. It seems that you can’t poke around the internet without seeing videos of parents doing transforming princess dresses or multiple costume changes over the course of the day. For most parents, those kind of photo shoot forays don’t couple with limited packing space or a limited budget. And although you can get the royal treatment from Disney itself through the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique and Pirate’s League, the full experience including costumes, makeup, and hair styling can add up quickly, especially if you have multiple kids in that age range.

There are other options if you want to have your child experience the fun of dress up for a day in the park, however. Here’s some options for your Pirate or Princess that won’t have you emptying the royal treasury.

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Groceries at Disney World – Delivery Services Part Two

by on August 15, 2017

A couple of weeks ago, we compared two of the most popular grocery delivery services at Walt Disney World, Garden Grocer and Amazon Prime Now. For a refresher, you can see it here. We appreciate the positive responses, and many of you mentioned other services that you wanted to see included in the comparison. Not wanting to deny our dear readers of their Disney fix, we’re back with a part two, where we’ve added two of the most requested services, instacart and Shipt, to the picture.

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Where to Find Disney Dooney and Bourke Bags

by on July 3, 2017

DVC 25th Anniversary Disney Dooney and Bourke

I’m always looking for ways to incorporate the Disney magic in my everyday life, and what better way than through my personal style? Disney Dooney and Bourke bags have been incredibly popular since their parks debut years ago and have maintained popularity due to their vast variety of collections, designs, and sizes. However, Disney Dooney and Bourke bags can’t be found at every shop or kiosk. This is why, my fellow shoppers, I’m revealing where to find Disney Dooney and Bourke bags.

The Basics

Dooney and Bourke at Disney ranges from wallets and wristlets to large duffles. As its popularity has increased, Disney has been releasing patterns for all kinds of events, like RunDisney races, DVC, and Flower and Garden. Prices range from $100 for smaller items up to $400 for the largest pieces. If you have a Disney Visa or certain Annual Passes, you may qualify for a merchandise discount if you’re buying in Walt Disney World, so be sure to ask!

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Duffy the Disney Bear + Video

by on June 27, 2017

photo - Angela DahlgrenLet’s see…we’ve got Winnie the Pooh, Lotso from Toy Story 3 and even Merida’s mom from Brave, but Duffy the Bear?

…I’m drawing a blank…

I had to do a little research to find out who Duffy is and why he’s such a big deal at the Disney parks…especially Tokyo Disney Resort!

Watch below to find out more!

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Ask It: How Much Do You Spend on Souvenirs?

by on May 24, 2017

How much do you spend on souvenirs at Walt Disney World?

When planning a budget for a Disney vacation, it is fairly easy to get a good ballpark estimate for hotel costs, transportation, meals, and tickets. But when it comes to souvenirs, it can be tricky to know exactly how much to budget. Some people stick to a firm idea of how much they plan to spend, and others are a bit more fast and loose with the purse-strings, depending on what they see that they like. So this week, we’re curious about your spending habits when it comes to the souvenirs that we love to fill our suitcases with.

How much per person, per week do you spend on souvenirs for a Disney vacation?

  • $51-$100 (33%, 276 Votes)
  • $0-$50 (31%, 262 Votes)
  • $101-$200 (19%, 161 Votes)
  • More than $201 (17%, 146 Votes)

Total Voters: 845

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Voting is open here and on Twitter, and we’ll have the results next week. Feel free to share your souvenir budgeting tips in the comments. Have you ever bought something that you regretted later on? Ever skipped buying a souvenir and wishing you could go back in time to get it? Let us know!

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

by on December 31, 2016

Welcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando.

Can you believe 2016 is already over? Think about where we were a year ago at this time. There was no such thing as tiered ticket pricing, there were no cabanas in the Magic Kingdom, Tom Staggs was still with Disney, and we were all waiting for Rivers of Light to debut in Animal Kingdom. Well, at least some things never change.

I want to say up from that this month’s edition of the Outlet Report is a slightly shortened, and the reason for that is during December the Disney Outlet Stores become busier than the Magic Kingdom on a phased closure day. It’s just not fun. Both of us managed a trip in, but ran out screaming in short order. Now, I was going to make Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo go back on Christmas Eve in order to get a first hand report of the carnage, but Head Honcho Len Testa told me that would break several treaties in the Geneva Convention. First they take away water boarding and now this… maybe this generation has gone soft after all.

However, there is no rest for the wicked, and since December is my favorite month of all, I personally had a lot of fun outside of the Outlets. Myself and TouringPlans TV’s own Brian McNichols put out a new episode of the critically acclaimed Pardon the Pixie Dust podcast. While over on Twitter I did a 25 day unveiling of the Theme Park Blogger Advent Calendar as well as drawing many Derek Doodles for a good cause.

Now, what did Julia and I find when we did briefly step into Mordor the Disney Outlet Stores? Let’s check it out!

First up was a good one. You’ll remember last month I pulled my hair out seeing a May the 4th Be With You R2 droid at the Outlets that I had picked up earlier in the year at full price in Disney Springs. Well, this month brought the special Halloween figure, R2-BOO, which I did not buy at the stores. Jackpot! Originally $12.99, reduced to $4.99.

R2-BOO. (photo by Julia Mascardo)

In 2015 Disney went all in on hand sanitzers, creating a whole bunch of them. Each one holds 1 0z of hand sanitizer, which is just about the amount you will need if your kid wipes his hand on that “honey wall” in the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh queue. This year brought even more designs. The bottles originally were $8.85 each, but these were reduced to just 99cents. Picked one up at that price. For $9 I’ll take my chances with the germs.

Mickey Hand Sanitizer

More Disney Infinity stuff hit the Outlets. Disney stopping the entire system cold earlier this year was a shocker, and even made the special SATURDAY SIX: IN MEMORIAM article for this year. Here is Mulan, and even more unbelievably, the character “Time” from the Alice Through the Looking Glass movie. Maybe this line needed to be put out of its misery after all. Originally $13.99, reduced to $6.99.

Disney Infinity.

Also appearing were Disney Infinity Power Discs that were originally $9.99, now $4.99. Now I have picked up some of the Disney Infinity figures, even though I have never played the game, because I absolutely adore that cartoonish art style throughout the line. It’s like an awesome shared Universe line-up that has everything from The Incredibles to Pirates of the Caribbean to iconic Disney parks characters. Basically it’s like if Marvel Studios worked with Warner Bros to make an Avengers/Justice League film. Anyway, I was going to take a jab  at why anyone would buy these power discs, but they seem to be almost the exact same shape and size of the ridiculous “pogs” I grew up with and bought way too many of.

Disney Infinity Power Discs (photo by Julia Mascardo)

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Gifts for a Theme Park Vacationer

by on December 19, 2016

Christmas Minnie Ears

If you’re searching for a last-minute holiday gift or a little something special to add to your own holiday wish list, TouringPlans is here to help! I compiled a list of what I think are some of the best gifts for those planning to visit the parks soon. And while holidays present the perfect gifting opportunity, most of these will work year-round for other celebrations like birthdays or anniversaries too.

Accessories for a Minion fan

Wearable Gifts – For a truly impressive gift, put your knowledge of their favorite character, attraction, or movie to good use. From custom t-shirts and mouse ears to lanyards and pins, there is an endless supply of fun things they can wear to the parks. Even better, there is an endless supply of online or local stores that sell these too, so finding something perfect while staying on budget shouldn’t be too hard.

Disney themed day-bags

Gear – There are certain items that almost every theme park vacationer likes to pack: poncho, day bag for the park, refillable water bottle, portable phone charger, hand sanitizer, and so on. Other items, like a toiletries bag, suitcase, or travel friendly snacks, are great ideas for travelers in general. Depending on the budget, you could pick just one item or put them together into a gift basket that will please any theme park vacationer.

Photo Package – Both Disney and Universal offer photo packages to capture those special vacation memories. Plenty of vacationers on tight budgets question whether the package is worth it, but receiving it as a gift can alleviate those worries. The price is discounted when purchased in advance, and they receive photo memories to cherish for years to come. It’s a definite win-win.

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A Recap of Black Friday at Disney Springs: Boom or Bust?

by on November 28, 2016

Spoiler Alert: This is not the kind of crowds that Disney Springs merchants were hoping for.

Spoiler Alert: This is not the kind of crowds that Disney Springs merchants were hoping for.

This year, with a wide variety of new stores opening throughout Disney Springs, it wasn’t a huge surprise that Disney Springs announced that it would be getting into the holiday shopping spirit with its own Black Friday sales.

In conversations with one of the merchants, the consensus was that neither the merchants nor Disney had any idea whether or not this would be successful. And although I’m anti-crowds and an anti-“stuff” semi-minimalist, I wanted to see exactly how Black Friday at Disney Springs would compare with the stories you see on the news. Full disclaimer: I have never door-busted any stores for Black Friday in my life, but have had a few years of experience as a sales floor manager at Target way back in my youth and got to see the best and the worst of Black Friday behavior. There were a couple items that I was looking to purchase for some family members this year, and so if I could get a small discount on them, I’d be happy with that as well. Just to say we’ve had the experience, we decided to rope drop the Black Friday event at Disney Springs.

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

by on August 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 Disney Outlets: the true final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Testa, beginning year four of our five-year mission: to explore strange old stores, to seek out weird merchandise and ugly vinylmation, to boldly buy what no MagicBand has bought before.

We actually have a big surprise this month at the end of this fine blog, but we do have to start off with a little theme park news. Universal soft opened an E-Ticket restaurant – the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen (imagine a T-Rex Cafe for adults except the food is actually good) – and was promptly sued by someone claiming the restaurant was their idea. Some are claiming this is the most frivolous lawsuit against Universal since 2013, when the landmark case of Burgan vs. Comcast unjustly ruled that just because I said, “they should build more Harry Potter” after visiting Hogsmeade Village, I wasn’t responsible for the creation of Diagon Alley. I blame my lawyer.

Now while all of you were tweeting your thoughts on Disney changing the “obscene hand gesture” in Rock n Roller Coaster (warning, NSFW!) 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.)

Prices were SLASHED this month on Tsum Tsums, marking them down to an unheard of $0.99. This of course brought out the merch jerks in droves, filling up their baskets with Tsums to flip.

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The infamous Mother Gothel Tsum Tsum (I think.)

I honestly thought we had seen every single piece of merchandise made for the Disneyland 60th Anniversary and yet more and more just keep coming to Outlets. Here is a Dapper Mickey photo clip Frame. Originally $14.95, now $7.99.

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Thank you Disneyland annual passholders, for not buying a single piece of merchandise and making me go through it all. Yes, I’m looking in your direction Tom Bricker, Guy Selga, and Matt Gottula.

Disneyland 60th iPhone 6 case on left. Originally $39.95, now $14.99. On the right is a Minnie Mouse one where the character is stuck on the case. Has a lot of thickness. Originally $39.95, now just $7.99.

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iPhone cases.

Some houses have “fine china” but we theme park fans know what our favorite dinnerware is. The smaller Disneyland 60th plate was originally $17.95, now $7.99. The larger one was originally $21.95, now $9.99.

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If author extraordinaire Seth Kubersky ever gets married, I volunteer for the Ashkenazi tradition to break these plates (and as many more as they’ll let me.)

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TouringPlansTV: Quick Date Ideas at Walt Disney World + Video

by on May 31, 2016

photo - touringplans.comWelcome back to TouringPlansTV!

Walt Disney World is a wonderful vacation destination for people of all ages. There are endless possibilities when it comes to enjoying time with your family.

Now every once in a while, you and your partner may find yourselves alone for a few “kid-free” hours.

What to do with all this extra free time?

Have no fear! With the help of family and friends, I’ve provided a list of quick date ideas to help you and your significant other make the most out of your time together.

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