Trip Planning

Attractions to Ride During Magic Kingdom Fireworks

by on September 27, 2016

Disney World’s Wishes Nighttime Spectacular at Magic Kingdom is a show that I can watch over and over again. I’ve had a perfect view at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. just behind the Hub. I’ve had great views from other various spots along Main Street, U.S.A. and from the upper balcony of the Walt Disney Railroad Main Street U.S.A. Station. I’ve watched it from Fantasyland near Prince Charming Regal Carrousel and at assorted spots on the path leading to Beast’s Castle with the fireworks exploding in all directions.

I’ve watched the fireworks bursting above me near Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid and have seen them from the Tomorrowland bridge. I’ve also watched from parts of the park that afford only glimpses of the action but where the fireworks still give me that feeling of magic.

© Sarah Graffam

Wishes near Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid

 

To be sure, there are many spots with a view of Wishes in Magic Kingdom. But there is another memorable way to watch the show from inside the park that doesn’t involve finding one great spot. Rather, how about experiencing Wishes from a different perspective by riding an attraction with a view.

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Updated: What to Expect from 2016 Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland

by on September 26, 2016

DSC07067Mickey’s Halloween Party is a special extra-ticket event held select nights at at Disneyland during the Halloween season. The party includes a special fireworks show featuring a fly-by of Zero (instead of Tinker Bell), an exclusive Halloween parade with an appearance by a horseback riding headless horseman,  trick-or-treating, and more. In this post we’ll talk about what to expect from 2016 Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland.

Mickey’s Halloween Party takes place in Disneyland on select nights in the fall, typically running from late-September until Halloween. In 2016, the party dates are September 23, 26, 28, 30, October 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 24, 26, 29 and 31.

Tickets for Mickey’s Halloween Party are now on sale.

What time is the Party?

Officially the Party runs from 6 pm on some nights and 7 pm on others. The party runs until 11 pm or 12 am, depending on the night. Guests with valid Halloween party tickets may enter the park up to three hours prior to the event’s start time.

Will I need a special ticket to get into the Party?

Yes. Admission requires buying a separate ticket just for this event. It’s not included in any regular theme park tickets or annual passports.

How much do the Party tickets cost?

There’s a range of pricing, including discounts for buying in advance. The official Disney website lists the following prices:

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Walt Disney World October 2016 Preview

by on September 26, 2016

Welcome to TouringPlans’ Walt Disney World October 2016 preview – fall is here and we’ve been celebrating Halloween for the last month. Who’s with us and ready for October?

Average Weather for Walt Disney World in October

 

October weather for Orlando - High 85, Low 68, 75% Humidity, 9 days with rain

October Weather for Orlando

 

 

 

 

Things finally start to cool off in October. The heat is more bearable and we’re reaching the end of hurricane season. NOAA’s National Hurricane Center is an excellent resource for forecasts that may affect your October trip.

Evening temperatures drop below 70 this month, so pack layers if you have any day into night plans.

Zika Concerns

Zika, the mosquito-born virus, remains a concern for residents and visitors to South Florida (we realize Walt Disney World is not in South Florida). While Dade County has said aerial spraying has been very effective in killing affected mosquitos and larvae in the neighborhoods Zika was first found in, Walt Disney World is still providing mosquito repellent in its hotel rooms and at park entrances for guests. It also filled in the standing water at the long-shuttered River Country in Fort Wilderness. The CDC is your best source for news about Zika.

 

Upcoming Live Chats for October

Every Thursday Brian hosts a Live Facebook Q&A, usually at noon or 1pm Eastern. Check Facebook each week for the exact time.

Times for all live chats are posted in advance on our Facebook page and on Twitter.

 

Walt Disney World October 2016 Park Crowds

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Booking and Flying Southwest Airlines

by on September 20, 2016

Anytime I discuss travel that involves flying, I love to mention Southwest Airlines as an option. They’re sometimes easy to forget since their prices typically don’t appear on search engines like Kayak or Google Flights (both are great tools for comparing flight prices by the way!). But as one of the largest airlines flying in and out of Orlando International Airport, Southwest Airlines is an excellent option when planning a Walt Disney World vacation. Because their offering is so different from many of the other major airlines (low fares, no bag fees, and no assigned seats), I thought we’d take some time to talk about what it’s like to book and fly Southwest Airlines. If you’re lucky, I may even add some tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way, so let’s get started!

This chart from Southwest.com explains the differences between fares

This chart from Southwest.com explains the differences between fares

Booking: Online booking is incredibly easy. You plug in your starting airport, your destination, date or dates (depending on whether you’re purchasing one-way or round trip), and the number of people. On the next screen, you’ll see three different prices for all the flights available for those dates: Business Select, Anytime, and Wanna Get Away.

From this page, you can also click on other dates near the dates you originally selected to check their prices as well, or you can access the Low Fare Calendar.

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Every New Dish at the 2016 Epcot Food And Wine Festival Reviewed!

by on September 16, 2016

Food and Wine 2016 EntranceThe 2016 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is finally here! I was lucky enough to spend festival kick-off day sampling every (yes, I tried them all!) new and modified dish at the festival this year, to see which dishes were must-dos or must-skips for all of you. Here you’ll find photos and my thoughts on all of these new items, organized as you travel around the world (in the same order they are listed in the festival passport). Below my reviews, you’ll see a few hot takes – I’ve ranked all of these new items based on whether I’d try them again this festival season. As always, click on any photo to see the larger version of each dish. Don’t forget, you can check out full menus and prices from every booth here to start your planning now.

The Dishes

  • Craft Beer's Piggy WingsCraft Beers: Piggy Wings – Fried Pork Wings with Korean BBQ Sauce and Sesame Seeds ($4.25)

Sticky, sweet, and sour, these are definitely good BBQ wings, but you’ll only get to taste two of them per order. Perfect with a beer (or three in a flight), these are worth the purchase if you need a snack to munch on while enjoying a little free air conditioning, but I wouldn’t make a special stop here just to try them.

  • The Chew Collective: Grilled Beef Skewer with Romaine, Apricots, and Feta Cheese ($5.00)

At the end of the day, this dish is exactly as billed: it’s a few pieces of grilled steak on a salad. The apricots and feta bring some necessary freshness and texture, but ultimately, this dish needed a sauce to make it all come together. The Chew Collective's Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mousse (L) and Grilled Beef Skewer (R)Kids who like plain steak may want to steal a bite from mom and dad on this dish.

  • The Chew Collective: Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mousse with a Caramel Drizzle ($5.00)

This dish tastes exactly like someone crushed up a package of Nutter Butters (which is definitely a good thing, to me). Rich and slightly salty from the peanut butter, the white chocolate and caramel provide a bit of offsetting sweetness. Everyone (who can eat this) will love this dessert, and though it’s a small portion for the price, it’s worth a shot.

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Walt Disney World Safety Tips for Parents

by on September 14, 2016

© Sarah GraffamDisney World is a place to get caught up in the magic, and this magic creates a sense of comfort and safety. It’s reasonable to enjoy this carefree feeling to a certain degree. But keeping in mind some safety tips as well as doing some safety planning ahead of time is well worth the effort—because things don’t always go as planned.

The primary focus of this article is child safety tips for parents of younger children, but many of these apply to all “kids” both young and old.

Safety planning should start well before your trip to Disney World because once you enter the park, the attention of parents and kids alike will almost certainly be divided.

So let’s look at some tips to plan ahead for safety.

Strike a Pose

If your family is anything like mine, you’ll take lots of family photos during your Disney vacation. Whether you take your own pictures, take advantage of the many PhotoPass photographers in the parks, or both, these pictures are one of the best ways to make family memories.

In addition to those memory-making photos, there is another photo you should take every day that has a more practical purpose. Use your smart phone to take a picture of the kids each morning (or each change of clothes if you break in the afternoon) where you can clearly see their faces and full attire. If your child should get separated from you, this photo can easily be shown or emailed to those helping to search.

Bonus: After our trip, these photos taken in our resort room, at the bus stop, or in line at rope drop have often been added to our official photo album. Without the usual “say cheese” for these photos, we have some adorable pictures of our kids waking up to another exciting day at Disney World.

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How to Get a Free Replacement 2017 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World

by on September 5, 2016

The original printing of the 2017 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World had incorrect touring plan maps in the back of the book. We recalled all of the books from bookstores and online sellers, fixed the errors, and re-printed the book.

If you pre-ordered the 2017 Unofficial Guide in any format and got a flawed edition, we’ll replace it free of charge.  Here’s the website to visit: http://theunofficialguides.com/2017-walt-disney-world-corrections/. You’ll have the choice of receiving a free corrected e-book, free print book, or free downloads of the corrected pages.

Here’s how to tell if your edition is eligible:

  • The ISBN number of the eligible print book is 978-1-62809-052-9. (The corrected book’s ISBN is 978-1-62809-066-6.)
  • On page 825, in the Disney’s Animal Kingdom One-Day Touring Plan, the circle for Step 3 (“Na’Vi River Journey”) is near the text label “DinoLand U.S.A.”

If it’s still unclear, email the publisher and they’ll help you out.

All stores and online sellers have the new, corrected edition. (Amazon says it’s shipping September 20, but we confirmed on Friday they’ve received their stock.)

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TouringPlansTV: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party + Video

by on September 2, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

Welcome back to TouringPlansTV!

Halloween is my favorite time of year, so I’m extra excited to share today’s video with you all. It’s just in time too, since today–September 2–is the first 2016 Halloween party at the Magic Kingdom!

Check out below to learn all about Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, found at Walt Disney World.

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Walt Disney World September 2016 Preview

by on August 30, 2016

Welcome to TouringPlans’ Walt Disney World September 2016 preview – we’ve sent our kids back to school, the weather is slightly less oppressive, and we’re ready to get our Food & Wine on. Who’s with us and ready for September?

Average Weather for Walt Disney World in September

 

September weather for Orlando - High 89, Low 74, 78% Humidity, 14 days with rain

September Weather for Orlando

 

 

 

 

 

High temperatures in Orlando finally drop back into the high 80s for September, but there’s still rain and the potential for hurricanes. In fact, Hurricane Gaston (he’s especially good at precipitating) is in the Caribbean right now getting ready to send rains to the Florida coast, and Tropical Depression 9 is in the Gulf. NOAA’s National Hurricane Center is an excellent resource for forecasts that may affect your September trip.

Pack extra shoes and an umbrella in case you get caught in the rain. And if you’re flying, don’t forget weather can impact your connections. Be prepared.

 

Upcoming Live Chats for September

School is starting again and so are Brian’s weekly Facebook Live shows. Beginning September 1 and continuing every Thursday after, Brian will go through that week’s news and take your questions. What time are the chats, you ask? We are leaving that up to you, so go vote right now over on Facebook. Check our Facebook and Twitter feeds on Wednesday for the winning time.

In addition to Brian’s weekly show, Guy will also be broadcasting on Facebook Live discussing Disneyland. Dates and times to be announced soon.

Times for all live chats are posted in advance on our Facebook page and on Twitter.

 

Walt Disney World September 2016 Park Crowds

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10 Frequently Asked Questions About Travel Insurance for Your Disney Cruise

by on August 26, 2016

If only I had a dollar for every question I get about travel insurance!  Well I might just be able to pay for another cruise.  A short 3-night cruise in the off season in an inside cabin, but still.  Insurance is a mysterious creature.  Coverage is hardly ever cut and dry, and there are reasons for that.  And it’s not cheap!  Trust me, I understand it’s painful to pay for something you may or may not ever use.  In fact, you are paying for something we hope you never have to use!  I can’t tell you what to do, but maybe I can help you approach the insurance choice for your Disney cruise from a more informed place.  Here are 10 frequently asked questions!

1C4A28351. Should I Get It? – My answer here is an unequivocal yes. Yes yes yes. I’ll be honest, the odds are overwhelming that you aren’t going to need it. But, oh if you do. I’ll spare you the full retelling of the story of my healthy mother coming down with pneumonia on a Greek Isles cruise a few years ago. But, needless to say, her insurance bills were over $5,000, and they almost made her stay in a hospital in Athens which could have multiplied that bill by 10. If not more. here are so many other stories of a child’s appendix unexpectedly rupturing in Mexico (and really does it ever expectedly rupture?), a teenager breaking an arm in port, stories of people missing the ship because their flight was delayed, etc. etc. etc..

I even used my trip insurance one time to get reimbursed for having to spend the night in Seattle when weather prevented us from getting to Vancouver from Colorado for an Alaskan cruise. That was in May. No snow, no storms, just a windy day! Just remember, a cruise isn’t like a normal vacation where you can just go a day late should travel delays or weather occur. If you miss the ship, you miss your vacation! Insurance is important for so many reasons on a cruise.

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