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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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Observations at the Magic Kingdom: October 1

by on October 4, 2013

As October rolls into Central Florida, the Halloween season (because after all, it is a season here) is in full swing. And while there’s never a bad time to visit the Magic Kingdom, the changes taking place lately have made it particularly exciting. I started my evening at the Polynesian to take a few pictures and get a look at the new runDisney running path markers that are now in place at the Poly, Grand Floridian, Art of Animation, and Epcot Resorts. The signs give you route maps and distances, most helpful if you’re training for, say, the Tower of Terror 10-miler?

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With construction slated to begin soon on the newly announced Disney Vacation Club villas at the Poly, I wanted to get some photos around the resort just in case there were changes to my favorite sights. Depth testing has already begun out in the lagoon and construction walls are up near the beach at Sunset Pointe.

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Observations at Hollywood Studios: September 16

by on September 18, 2013

This week’s Limited Time Magic event was a walk-through tour of a ride at Hollywood Studios with the Disney Ambassadors. Guests sent in e-mails to enter to be chosen to attend a mini-tour of a ride with the magical representatives and, being fortunate enough to have been selected, I headed to Hollywood Studios yesterday for park opening.

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Lines at park open.

We met with the Disney Ambassadors, two Cast Members who go through a rigorous application process to be selected to represent  Walt Disney World. They gave us a little bit of history on the Studios and how the park came about before we were escorted to the Tower of Terror. At that point, we were given an expert bellhop, T.J., who has been with Disney for 29 years and opened the attraction. Fun fact: he’s the only Cast Member to have opened Star Tours both times that it debuted.

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Resident Evil: Escape From Raccoon City Announced as Eighth and Final House at Universal’s HHN 23

by on August 29, 2013

HHN23_REAt Midnight last night the official Universal Halloween Horror Nights 23 Twitter account (@HorrorNightsORL) revealed that the eighth and final haunted house at this year’s event would be based around the Resident Evil video game franchise. Resident Evil: Escape From Raccoon City joins The Walking Dead, The Cabin in the Woods, Evil DeadAn American Werewolf in London, After Life: Death’s Vengeance, La Llorona, and Havoc: Derailed as the official mazes that guests will be able to walk through and get their wits scared out of them.

Resident Evil is a long running video game series that began in 1996. The Resident Evil: Escape From Raccoon City  haunted house will be based around Resident Evil 2 and 3, games which were released in 1998 and 1999. Universal Creative Director Mike Aiello has confirmed that guests will encounter classic HHN23RE game elements such as dogs, Lickers (like from the artwork on the left hand side of the article, and Nemesis (the main baddie from RE 3). Universal has also teased that one room of the maze will also give guests the experience of the video game itself being paused. Pretty meta.

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We’re Hiring! Part-time Orlando-based Researcher

by on August 22, 2013

We’re hiring a part-time Orlando researcher for 15 to 30 hours of work per week, for September through November, 2013, and possibly longer.

Job Responsibilities

  • Update our collection of theme park and resort menus.  You’ll verify each menu item at each restaurant and update our site accordingly.
  • Write one or two blog posts per week.  Some of these will be on a short deadline of 1 to 2 hours.  If not on deadline, any day of the week is fine.  Most blog posts will cover what’s going on in the parks, such as restaurant and attraction updates, as well as general crowd conditions.
  • Take photos and writing descriptions of Disney resorts, such as the pools, shops, and other public areas.
  • Create and upload short videos of rides, restaurant reviews, and hotel rooms for our YouTube channel.
  • Use our products, such as Lines’ wait times, crowd calendar, and touring plans, in the parks and provide feedback to developers.
  • Attend our weekly staff meeting call (usually 7 pm Tuesdays) and provide updates on park activities.

Preference will be given to those with writing experience.  You should be at least 18, have reliable transportation, a cell phone, a relatively recent camera (a cellphone camera may be fine), and enough time to do the work.  Familiarity with a blogging platform such as WordPress is helpful but not necessary if you’re willing to learn quickly.  You should be able to work independently with minimal supervision.

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