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The View From Every Disney Hotel Room: Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs and Art of Animation

by on November 10, 2013

At the beginning of October we launched Hotel Room Views, showing the view you’ll get at every Disney World hotel room. (Read the original blog post here.)

Over the past week we’ve added Disney’s Caribbean Beach, Coronado Springs, and Art of Animation resorts.

Coronado was a challenge because of the suites in the Casitas buildings.  In some of the Casitas buildings, room numbers aren’t consistent from floor to floor, nor are the floors’ room layouts consistent. It took a while to get the maps correct across all the buildings.

For a quick start at these resorts, click on any map, then any building, then any room to see the view from that specific room. You can navigate up, down, left and right one room from there.

If you’re looking for specific room types such as those with king beds, water views, use the filter options to the left of the map.

Here’s the roll-out schedule for the remaining resorts – we’re about 10 days behind because of the last-minute room issues – hoping to catch up by the end of the month:

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TouringPlans Site Maintenance Thursday 12 AM-6 AM

by on November 6, 2013

We’re doing maintenance on the site very early on the morning of Thursday, November 7, from 12 midnight to 6 AM Eastern Standard Time. The maintenance starts an hour after Disneyland closes, so this shouldn’t affect anyone in the parks.

Touring plan optimizations won’t be available during this time. The rest of the site may have slower response times, too.

We’ll post an update once the maintenance is done.

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Morning Menace: Halloween Horror Nights 23 Unmasking the Horror Review (La Llorona, The Walking Dead, and The Cabin in the Woods)

by on October 25, 2013

As a big fan of Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights event, I knew after going in 2012 that I wanted to take a lights on tour of the houses as part of the Unmasking the Horror VIP tours. This year Universal broke up their tours into two sessions. The Morning Menace tour started at 10:30AM while the Afternoon Abominations tour started at 2:00PM. Each tour cost $59.99 per person-per tour, or $99.99 if you did both tours. Myself, Brandon Glover from the Universal NOW! podcast, and friend of the show Zeus Navarro signed up for both sessions.

To start the day we were directed to check in “promptly” at 10:00AM at the VIP check in lobby located next to the guest services windows at the front of Universal Studios Florida (USF). We were checking out the Royal Pacific Resort that morning and ended up running a little late, arriving at about 10:20. There was an interesting directory outside the main door with some great tributes to the history of Universal including Lew Wasserman (who has a statue in the New York section of the park and was a key figure in getting USF built) and “Leonidas Chaney,” who we know better as Lon Chaney and one of the most iconic horror movie actors of all time.

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Sign outside VIP check in at Universal Studios Florida

(Remember you can click on any picture to see the full size version of it.)

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The Unofficial Guide is Hiring – Web Designer/Developer Job Available

by on October 24, 2013

For questions about this job opening, please email Travis Bryant, Director of Digital Products at Keen Communications.

Keen Communications, publisher of the Unofficial Guides, is hiring a full-time Web Designer/Developer. Details below. They’ve got offices in Birmingham and Cincinnati, and they’re open to telecommuting.  Details below.

JOB DESCRIPTION

We are searching for an outstanding web designer/developer to be responsible for creating innovative, reusable web­-based tools and sites for our book publishing company. The web designer/developer will work closely with our Digital Products Team and Project Managers. The web designer/developer will regularly be called on to develop specific web solutions and make recommendations on the use of mobile technologies. Programming, graphic design and database administration are all elements of this position.

This position involves leading custom web development efforts throughout the entire project lifecycle.  The web designer/developer will build custom web sites based on their own design input, content requirements, site layout/user interfaces, database design/programming, and PHP development.

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Re-Creating New Orleans at Disneyland

by on October 22, 2013

UGDisneylandHistory

The Disneyland Story

From the publisher of The Unofficial Guide books comes The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney’s Dream by Sam Gennawey, the story of how Walt Disney’s greatest creation was conceived, nurtured, and how it grew into a source of joy and inspiration for generations of visitors. Here is a brief excerpt:

“Disneyland has always had a big river and a Mississippi stern-wheeler,” Walt said. “It seemed appropriate to create a new attraction at the bend of the river. And so, New Orleans Square came into being—a New Orleans of a century ago when she was the ‘Gay Paree’ of the American frontier.” New Orleans Square opened along the banks of the Rivers of America on July 24, 1966, at a cost of $15 million. It was the first new land since the park opened and the first time that the Imagineers were challenged with creating an environment that was a representation of a specific place at a specific time: romantic, pre-Civil War New Orleans in 1850, when it was the most cosmopolitan and diverse city in America.

In an early press release, the Imagineers proclaimed that  Disneyland’s New Orleans was “a city of contrasts. Magnificently gowned ladies, genteel and gracious, strolled past benign Indian squaws selling sassafras root. Iron-lace balconies seemed even more delicate when compared with stretches of ashed walls. Intimate courtyards were lazy counterpoints to crowded markets.” This new section of the park would “be as exciting as a pirate treasure hunt, as colorful as a Mardi Gras ball, as memorable as a visit to the French Quarter.”

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Park Recommendations Affected By Crowd Calendar 4 Conversion

by on October 18, 2013

Our team is working hard to resolve issues that arose during conversion to Crowd Calendar 4. One of the results is that during this transition, the Park Recommendations listed on the calendar may not be consistent with the park crowd levels. Jennifer, a subscriber from Rockford, MI noticed the issue during the dates of her April trip.

Hello,

I’m confused on your crowd tracker for April 2014. I’ve been using as it my guide for planning and making dining reservations for spring break.  Something seems amiss to me!  Crowd numbers have changed and recommendations seem ‘off’.  For example, Saturday, April 5 suddenly has three parks at crowd level 5 and Epcot crowd level 8. Your recommended park that day is Epcot!?!  Is this correct, or are you experiencing a glitch in your system?

Thanks in advance for your help!

Yes, it is a glitch. We suggested Jennifer avoid Epcot and choose one of the other parks listed at ’5′. While we work through the conversion to Crowd Calendar 4, you may notice these types of discrepancies. Our suggestion is to focus on the park levels and ignore the park recommendations, for now. Once we solve the issues we will completely convert to the new calendar.

For further information on how to use the park levels to choose which park to visit, check out our Park Recommendations page.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. As always, contact us here for questions about the crowd calendar and park recommendations.

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Site Maintenance Related to Crowd Calendar 4

by on October 17, 2013

We’re un-doing today’s release of Crowd Calendar 4 to fix some issues with page loading speed and touring plan optimizations. The rollback should be done by noon Eastern.

I apologize for the impact this release has had, especially to families in the parks over the last two days. We’ll work to improve this experience. If you’re in the parks and there’s anything we can help with, please contact us.

We’ll have a new release schedule for Crowd Calendar 4 within the next few days.

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Dos And Don’ts At A runDisney Expo

by on October 15, 2013

You’ve registered on time, trained for months, and the moment is finally here: your runDisney race weekend! Whether you’re running in a 5K, 10K, 10 mile, or half or full marathon event, it’s a big accomplishment to have made it this far, and you’re ready to run…but before you can line up in your corral, there’s one stop left to make the magic real: a visit to the Expo!

Although each race weekend’s size dictates its corresponding Expo’s size, it’s always a hurricane of activity that can be overwhelming to anyone attending one for the first time, especially with wide-eyed kids (or spouses) in tow. Fortunately, I’ve uncovered a few tips and tricks to getting in and out in one piece – so whether it’s your first or fiftieth expo – these pointers should be helpful.

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Chef Remy to Leave Les Chefs de France

by on October 11, 2013

©Disney

©Disney

Little Chef, otherwise known as Chef Remy from the movie Ratatouille, is leaving Les Chefs de France in Epcot. The tiny audio-animatronic who stands 6 inches tall and performs on a cheese tray will entertain his last diners on Thursday, October 24, 2013.

Guests love this little guy, who comes out and visits with them at their tables. The character, which is a part of Disney’s living character initiative, can squeak, dance, sneeze, and pose for photos (alongside a maître d’ friend, who joins in on the fun).

Chef Remy continues his restaurant appearances Monday through Saturday his last day. His showtimes are at 12:30 p.m., 1:40 p.m., 2:50 p.m., and 5:20 p.m. Reservations are recommended if you want to dine at Chefs de France to see Remy.

If you can, make sure to stop by and give Remy a little goodbye love.

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Video Tour of Loews Portofino Bay Hotel at Universal Orlando Resort

by on October 6, 2013

A stay in one of Walt Disney World’s hotels can transport you to a Polynesian isle, the Big Easy, or even a “cutting edge” cinderblock circa 1970. But if you want to be whisked off to the Italian seaside without leaving Central Florida, you’ll have to head up I-4 to the Mouse’s major competitor.

Today we’re kicking off an ongoing series of Universal Orlando video tours with a look at the resort’s flagship hotel. The Portofino Bay Hotel is a AAA 4 Diamond-awarded luxury property managed by Loews Hotels that is a picture-perfect replica of the famed European original, down to the painted-on “trompe l’oeil” architectural details.

Enjoy this exploration of the Portofino Bay, and come back for more Universal Orlando video features in the future.

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