by Len Testa
on April 25, 2013
The funny thing about this episode is that we didn’t plan it. I’d called Jim to record the Tokyo Disneyland show and we were just catching up on what we saw in WDW on our latest trips. Luckily, I possess a Nixonian habit of recording everything Jim and I discuss. You know, for posterity (read: “Grand Jury indictment.” As David Lee Roth once said, “You know you’ve made it when you can spell ‘subpoena’ without a dictionary.” ).
We ended up talking for almost an hour about Limited Time Magic and Disney’s Next Gen project. Hope you enjoy the show.
Here’s the link to listen in iTunes. Here’s the direct MP3 file.
Please rate us on iTunes and let us know what you’d like to hear next.
by Tammy Whiting
on April 19, 2013
You’re going to Disneyland!! And unlike the latest Super Bowl MVP, you probably have more than one evening to plan. So what should you do to get ready? Disneyland isn’t really a show-up-with-no-plan kind of a place. You certainly can do that, and I know people who have, but trust me, it’s better to have some idea of what you’re getting into. Let’s adopt the Boy Scout motto! Be prepared! Prepared is good!
1. Get Your Unofficial Guide – The absolute first thing you need to do is to get a copy of the Unofficial Guide! There’s a reason the series has sold millions of books. It is the perfect planning guide for Disneyland. It’s not a sugar coated view of Disney. It will help you appreciate the highs, and avoid the lows. Do you want to know which rides are going to scare the pants off your kids? The Unofficial Guide will tell you. Do you want to know the best restaurants? The best hotels? Or, more importantly maybe, the worst hotels? Again – the Unofficial Guide. And get it quick! Have you seen them recently? They’re behemoths! Not a quick read! A great read, maybe even an essential one for planning, but not a quick one.
2. Exercise – My husband may or may not have just busted his gut laughing when he saw that I was recommending exercise, but it’s (sadly) true. The amount of walking you do at a Disney park is not for the faint of heart. You can easily walk more than 10 miles in one day. Yep. 10 miles. If exercise is a dirty word to you, that number may scare you a little. It does me! But it doesn’t have to. We’re not talking about running a half marathon here. We’re talking about walking. Walking a lot! But walking. You don’t have to go into serious training. A few weeks of some evening walks with the family will help immensely! Oh yeah, and wear comfortable, worn-in shoes! There’s nothing worse at Disney than realizing your shoes are burning blisters into your feet.
3. Order the Vacation Planning DVD – This one is mostly for fun if you’re a frequent visitor, but if you’re a newbie, the DVD can give you a good overview of Disneyland and what it has to offer. Your kids will probably love it by the way!
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by Sarah Kelleth
on April 5, 2013
Good news! We’ll be changing our architecture late on April 12 to greatly increase current speeds and future scalability. We expect to be able to provide faster load times all around as a result of this massive change.
To do this, the website, blog, and Lines mobile app will be offline from 11:00 PM Eastern on Friday, April 12, to 6:00 AM Eastern on Saturday, April 13.
Thanks everyone for your understanding as we continue to improve TouringPlans!
by Rikki Niblett
on April 3, 2013
Are you at Walt Disney World during this busy Spring Break week?
From now until April 6, guests over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be able to enjoy the Spring Break in the City Dance Party on the Streets of America. Here guests will have the opportunity to get down with a DJ playing great music and activities for the whole family.
The “Party” starts at 12:30 pm each afternoon and lasts through the evening.
by Guest Author
on March 15, 2013
This post was written by Joe Bouchard, a long time Disney fan who has visited Walt Disney World over 30 times. He and his wife (also a Disney lover) do a weekly YouTube show called See Ya Reel Soon.
One of the largest expenses when it comes to planning our Walt Disney World vacations has always been food. The cost for a family to eat at The World for a week can easily reach into the thousands of dollars. The sticker shock at each meal can even be an unpleasant experience to many guests. Balancing the cost with the enjoyment that dining out while on vacation can bring is often a challenge.
In 2005 Walt Disney World introduced its Dining Plan, an option that allowed guests to prepay a set amount in exchange for “credits” to be used at dining establishments throughout Walt Disney World property. The Disney Dining Plans have undergone many changes throughout the years and as the costs continue to rise many people, myself included, have started to question if it is the best option for them.
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by Len Testa
on February 17, 2013
Unofficial Guide readers will recall the review of Snow White’s Scary Adventures, where we mentioned Ben, an autistic boy whose love of the attraction led him to ride thousands of times. Equally amazing were Ben’s parents, who not only had unlimited patience and love for Ben, but unlimited tolerance for Snow White. Ben’s dad, Ron Miles, said that they coped by re-imagining Disney’s rides with different effects. Their idea for a Stitch-based Tiki room is still the best I’ve heard for that attraction.
Ben’s story is now out in book form. 3500: An Autistic Boy’s Ten-Year Romance with Snow White, written by Ron, tells the story of raising a child with autism, finding Walt Disney World, and the amazing Cast Members who helped make Ben’s childhood a little bit better. It’s funny. It’s emotional. It reminds you that there are patient, good people all around the world (especially The World). Mostly, it reminded me of how lucky I am as a parent. Worth the price of the book alone is the story of Ben getting to be the last person ever to ride Snow White’s Scary Adventures, before it closed for the Fantasyland expansion. Get it today.
by Tammy Whiting
on February 15, 2013
One question I get asked a lot is – “What’s a good way to celebrate a special occasion at Disney?” In my opinion, there aren’t many better PLACES to celebrate a special occasion, so there have to be some good WAYS to celebrate there, right? Well there are! And here are 10 of them.
1. Birthday or Celebration Button – My first way to celebrate is absolutely free! Do I get bonus points for that? I cannot stress enough how important it is to get a button for your celebration. There are birthday buttons, anniversary buttons, just married buttons, family reunion buttons, even first visit buttons! If any of these apply to your reason for being at Disneyland – get one. You’ll be amazed at how much attention one little button can bring. Cast members and guests alike will wish you happy birthday when they see the button. Occasionally, you’ll even have a cast member go out of their way to bring some extra magic to your trip when they see these buttons. So unless the thought of being spoken (maybe sang?) to freaks you out, get a button.
2. My Disneyland Birthday Party – Disneyland has a party with characters just for birthday celebrations every day at the Plaza Inn! For $16.99 each guest will receive party hats, a souvenir cup, a mini birthday cake to decorate and icing and cake toppings to eat or decorate with. Mickey and Minnie themselves even pop in to join the celebration! The party lasts about an hour and reservations are recommended.
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by Scarlett Litton
on February 6, 2013
The oft maligned Nescafe Coffee will soon be leaving Disney Parks. Disney has entered into a long-term agreement with Joffrey’s Coffee and Tea Co to provide the standard coffee at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Disney Vacation Club properties. In addition, Joffrey’s will develop special blends exclusive to Disney and resort hotel rooms will all have a catalog where guests can purchase Joffrey’s products to take home. These changes will be complete within the next few months.
What do you think about these changes? Excited? Will you miss the Nescafe? Let us know!
by Stacey Lantz
on January 22, 2013
This year, Disney World celebrated the 20th anniversary of the always exciting (and exhausting) Marathon Weekend. Many events were held over the course of four days that drew in people from all over the world. It was a great weekend for the motivated runners and supporters.
Back in August, I made the decision to not only attend Marathon Weekend for the first time, but actually participate in a race. For months, I had been seeing my friends train for and successfully complete races that they never thought that they would be doing. I wanted that accomplishment for myself! My husband, Matt, and I decided to train to run 3.1 miles in the Family Fun Run 5K event. We started the training with an 8 week Couch to 5K program. Never running more than a mile in my life (and never willingly), I was absolutely petrified at what I was going to be doing.
Before I knew it, my husband I arrived in Disney World just days before our big run. We chose to stay at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort, which was also a big hit with other runners. Immediately, we were surround by “real runners” which only made me feel like more of an amateur. Here I was, nervous to run 3 miles, and others were preparing themselves for a race far more challenging. What was I so afraid of?
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by Emily Woesthoff
on January 15, 2013
“This is a French restaurant.” That is what my server felt necessary to point out when I asked what the vegan options are at Monsieur Paul. A French restaurant? Really? I had no idea! The fact that it’s a) called “Monsieur Paul b) located in the France Pavillion at Epcot and c) a mere few feet away from a giant replica of La Tour Eiffel did not tip me off.
I realize that traditional French fare is not typically plant-centric. Being in a theme park and not traipsing around the 5th arrondissement, however, I figured I would be met with the typical Disney restaurant procedure: ask if anything is vegan, explain what “vegan” means, then usually talk with a chef about things that can be created, or menu items that can be modified. Instead, at Monsieur Paul, I was told that there was nothing available to meet my requests, but the server guessed they could make me a salad (a French salad, I hoped!).
Unfortunately, there was no vegan option for an appetizer, or an amuse bouche so I settled on sparkling water, until my entree arrived. The entree was good, and may deserve an extra bunch of kale on top of the rating given, but the journey to said entree was disappointing.
So, what did I eat? I was served hash brown potatoes, over grilled potatoes, over asparagus and carrots, over leeks, with a side of potato beignets. Yes, lots of potato. The presentation was pretty, and I must say the triple potato whammy was the best part. Though everything was a bit overly greasy and salty, in the end, I appreciated the effort and managed to eat every bite.
For dessert, I was served raspberry sorbet, strawberry sorbet with raspberries. This is a fairly standard vegan dessert option at just about every Walt Disney World restaurant, and is always a delightful end to any meal.
Now, I get it. I understand menus are written to please the general public, and not always with special diets in mind. I also am well aware that the vegan diet is not always the easiest to accommodate on the fly. I would have like to feel that someone was trying to give me a good dining experience, though. I’ve had good meals and bad meals while dining in Walt Disney World, but I was extra surprised at the lack of feigned effort at this restaurant. Best part of my meal? The swanky fizzy water.
Unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend this restaurant for vegans or vegetarians based upon this experience. Maybe we would have better luck in real France.