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24-Hour Summer Kick-Off Celebrations Wait Times

by on April 21, 2015

TouringPlans logoDisney will be doing their 24-hour summer kickoff for the third year at both Disneyland and Walt Disney World. As in the past, this year’s summer kickoff events starts at 6 AM on the Friday before Memorial Day. Disney did their first 24-hour event “One More Disney Day” on February 29, 2012. Disneyland Resort’s event “Diamond Celebration 24-Hour Kickoff” will be the opening night for the three new nighttime spectaculars: “Paint the Night” Parade, “Disneyland Forever” Fireworks, and “World of Color – Celebrate! The Wonderful World of Walt Disney.” Expect large crowds at both Disneyland parks with guests wanting to be the first to see the nighttime spectaculars. The best viewing spots will be taken very early as guests will camp out for hours before the shows. Our attraction wait times do not totally capture the crowds of people in the park. Walt Disney World’s event will be “24-hour Summer Kickoff” and will celebrate the start of the “Coolest Summer Ever.” There are no details on what will make this the “coolest summer ever,” or what will make this year’s event any different than last year’s.  “Frozen Summer Fun” does not start until June 7, at Disney Hollywood’s Studio and is a copy of last years activities.

For this blog post we are look back at wait times for 2013 and 2014. We can assume that 2015 attraction wait times will be similar. The tables show the average posted wait times in two hour increments, and the charts shows the detail data and the 2015 predicted wait time through the 24-hours. During the 24-hour events some attractions will be closed for maintenance and safety checks.

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Best Throwback Ever: April 9, 2015

by on April 9, 2015

Original Flavor Unofficial Guide

Original Flavor Unofficial Guide

Daisy Lauren is enjoying a well-deserved vacation this week. So we’re firing up the Way Back Machine and going to 1985.

From the very first edition of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, we bring you:

Live Entertainment in EPCOT Center

Live entertainment in EPCOT Center is somewhat more diversified, as might be expected, than that of the Magic Kingdom. World Showcase provides almost unlimited potential for representative entertainment from the respective nations, and Future World allows for a new wave of creativity in live entertainment offerings.

Some information concerning the live entertainment on the day of your visit can be obtained from the information desk in the Earth Station lobby. Our experience, however, indicates that the Earth Station lobby attendants are not usually too well informed. Another source of information is the WorldKey Information Service. WorldKey usually has the answers, but it is not as direct as quizzing an attendant. EPCOT Center, like the Magic Kingdom, is very lax and inconsistent about having any sort of printed handout available concerning the day’s performances.

Listed below are some of the performers and performances you are likely to encounter. In addition, fireworks over the World Showcase Lagoon and a daily parade are being planned.

Future World Brass A roving brass band that marches and plays according to a more or less extemporaneous schedule near Spaceship Earth and at other Future World locations.
Robot Characters Costumed characters who lurk in the CommuniCore area of Future World, playing with children and posing for pictures.
American Gardens Stage The site of EPCOT Center’s premier live performances is near The American Adventure, facing World Showcase Lagoon, in a large amphitheater. Top talent imported from all over the world play the American Gardens Stage on a limited engagement basis. many shows highlight the music, dance, and costume of the performers’ home country.
LaserPhonic Fantasy An after dark show, consisting of music, fireworks, erupting fountains, special lighting, and laser technology performed on the World Showcase Lagoon when the park is open late.
Around World Showcase A variety of unscheduled, impromptu performances take place in and around the various pavilions of World Showcase. You may encounter a strolling mariachi group in Mexico, street actors in Italy, a fife and drum corps or a singing group (The Voices of Liberty) at The American Adventure, traditional songs and dances in Japan, comical street musicians (the Pearly Kings and Queens) and a bagpipe band in England, white-faced mimes in France, and a versatile musical group, the Maple Leaf Brass, in Canada.
Dinner Shows The restaurants in World Showcase as well as the Odyssey Restaurant, serve up healthy portions of live entertainment to accompany the victuals. Examples of restaurant floorshow fare include folk dancers and a baskapele band in Germany, singing waiters in Italy, and electronic music at the Odyssey. Restaurant shows are performed at both lunch and dinner seatings. Reservations are required except at the Odyssey.

 

Bring back memories? Have any photos of the Future World Robots? Share them in the comments below.

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Forget the Park Hopper: Reasons Why One Park is All You Need for the Day

by on April 8, 2015

Park Hopper Magic Kingdom

Ed. – Today is “Both Sides of the Pressed Penny Day!” The topic is To Park Hop or Not to Park Hop. Claire looks at compelling reasons for both in two articles that run concurrently today. For the other side of the coin, read “Why You Should Park Hop.”

One of the decisions a Walt Disney World visitor needs to make before arrival is whether or not to add a Park Hopper to their Magic Your Way tickets. There are times when adding a Park Hopper is a great idea…but there are other times when visiting one park each day is all that’s necessary!

The Price

Sometimes a Walt Disney World trip is planned on a budget, and cuts need to be made in certain places. On a short vacation (1 to 3 days) a Park Hopper, per person, ranges from a $53.25 to a $68.16 add-on to a multi-day ticket, according to TouringPlans.com’s Ticket Calculator. The more days you stay, the lower the cost.

Park Hopper Epcot

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Easter Egg Excitement Enters Epcot

by on March 30, 2015

Easter has sprung all around the Walt Disney World resort. From the magnificent Easter egg displays at the Grand Floridian to Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny meeting their friends over at the Magic Kingdom, spring is in the air. Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 8.11.12 PM

One special event is the Disney Egg-stravaganza 2015, a Disney Easter egg hunt, held at Epcot from March 27, 2015 through April 5, 2015.

For a $4.95 fee (with no discounts available), guests can purchase a packet containing a map and themed egg-shaped stickers. Then the fun really begins. Every country in World Showcase (plus the Outpost) has a large Disney character egg hidden somewhere in the pavilion. As you find each egg, place the sticker with the correct character on the spot on the map for that location. Once you have found all twelve hidden eggs, return to the Port of Entry and show your completed map for a special reward. The map and the reward are yours to keep as a souvenir.

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Packing Tips for a Day at Walt Disney World + Video

by on March 26, 2015

Photo - Angela DahlgrenAfter a long day of travel to Walt Disney World, you check into your hotel completely exhausted. All you want to do is plop down on the bed and catch some zzzz’s.

Just as you’re about to close your eyes, you remember – You haven’t packed your backpack for the parks tomorrow!

Not to worry! I’ve provided a list of park essentials to make packing efficient and easy.

Not in a reading mood? Check out my video at the bottom of this post!

The Bare Necessities

Photo - Angela Dahlgren

Top 3: Wallet, Ticket, Phone

  • Park Ticket: Don’t forget that golden ticket at the hotel! Yes, you can use your MagicBand to get into the parks, but it’s nice to have a hard copy if you run into issues at the turnstile.
  • Wallet: License, cash, cards, insurance info, etc.
  • MagicBand: Linking your My Disney Experience account to your MagicBand will give you quick access to your park ticket, room key, FastPass+ and dining reservations as its conveniently located around your wrist. You can even pay with your MagicBand! Since your MB is your room key, there is no back-up key (unless you ask for one at check-in), so make sure it’s with you before you leave!
  • Phone: If you have a smart phone, there are two apps I recommend checking out. The TouringPlans Disney World Lines App helps you plan out your day at the parks with crowd calendars, wait times and customized Touring Plans. The second app is My Disney Experience which, if you have an account, holds all of your reservations, tickets and itineraries.
  • Camera: Disney World is full of endless photo opportunities. Don’t be without a camera!

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Disney World Planning Challenges: Managing Your Disney Evening

by on March 24, 2015

So you’ve had a great day at Disney World! What should you do next? Follow up that great day with a fantastic evening, of course.TouringPlans logo

Whether you have a full-fledged touring plan in mind or decide to focus on more subdued activities during your evening, Disney World offers plenty of choices. This article highlights specific tips and looks at TouringPlans.com tools and information that can help make your evening a success.

An Evening in the Parks

Making a smooth transition from a day to an evening in Disney World will keep your vacation fun on track. Maybe you are just starting your vacation and planning some park time on the night of your arrival day. Or you have taken a resort break and plan to return to the parks later. Maybe you have taken the day off from the theme parks with plans to go into a park at night. Or you are extending a day already in the parks into the evening.

Great Movie Ride night by Sarah Graffam

The Great Movie Ride glows at night

In all of these cases, when planning for some park time at night, it’s important to consider factors such as what time to depart for the parks, how to get to there, whether to plan activities in advance, and—finally—when you may want to plan on heading back to your hotel. A bit of strategic planning can help you get to the fun as soon as possible.

Getting Off to a Good Start. One of the best ways to avoid feeling rushed when starting off your evening is to avoid the temptation to plan for only the most optimistic conditions in terms of timing. Instead, if it’s your arrival day, be sure to build in some extra time for getting to the World from the airport and checking into your hotel. My family generally expects to get from the airport to a park in 2.5 to 3 hours when stopping at our resort first.

If you have already started your vacation, be sure to leave time for the kids to have a last minute snack or take a final dip in the pool during an afternoon break.

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Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes – 2/13/15

by on February 13, 2015

It’s been a while since I’ve been here with Newsworthy Notes! Glad to see you again for another update of minor, yet important Disney news! Things have been piling up on my desk, so it’s time to share with you all once again.

  • Starting at Downtown Disney, many of the newly announced shops have opened to the public. Guests can now browse through Chapel Hats, APEX by Sunglass Hut, The Art of Shaving, and Sanuk. Erin McKenna’s Bakery’s signage is up and one would expect it to open officially within the next week or so. Also expected to open next week on Monday is Havaianas.
  • Let’s head into the parks, shall we? In the Magic Kingdom, the Tomorrowland Arcade, located at the exit of Space Mountain, has closed abruptly. Many think it’s in relation to the recent (and supposedly vaguely written) law that bans internet cafes. (This law could have the opportunity to potentially be applied to video game arcades that dispense prizes or provide winning tickets, which many of Disney’s arcades in both the parks and resorts did.)

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Healthy Habits at Walt Disney World

by on February 4, 2015

Photo Credit - Savannah Sanders

Hollywood Studios Walking Path

Getting and staying healthy is a popular resolution this time of year. But what can be a struggle at home may seem nearly impossible or just not at all fun when you’re on the road.

Healthy habits at Walt Disney World?! That’s crazy talk.

When I go on vacations, I love to indulge myself. It’s all part of the experience! However, on my last trip, I tried to make an honest effort to keep up the healthy lifestyle I strive to live at home.

I spoke with a primary care physician at the Mayo Clinic, who gave me an insight into the do’s and don’ts for maintaining personal health and wellness. Here were his recommendations:

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What to Do With a Toddler at Epcot

by on January 28, 2015

Epcot is an amazing place to spend a day, full of attractions to experience and facts to learn. From the thrills of Test Track to the beautiful and inspiring panoramic film detailing the rich landscapes of France, there’s truly no shortage of things to see and do. However, most of the attractions are definitely aimed at the older park guest, without the variety of family-friendly experiences that you would find in Magic Kingdom. While Disney has the Kidcot coloring stations in the World Showcase, there’s not a whole lot that people think toddlers will enjoy, so many people give it a pass while their kids are young. But this may not be the best move since you might be giving up visiting your favorite park, and there are options that should delight even the youngest of kids. So what can you do if you have a toddler and want to experience Epcot anyway?

toddler at epcot enjoying epcot's club cool drink offerings

His favorite park is Epcot! (But he does miss Dumbo)

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Relocating to Florida: Part Three: The Florida Difference and Disney as a local

by on January 23, 2015

TouringPlans logoWe’ve made it to the final installment in my relocation series! Below are links to Part One and Part Two.

Part One: Weather and Finances

Part Two: New Surroundings and the Disney Distance

We’re back with fellow Touringplans bloggers Julia Mascardo and Natalie Reinert as we discuss the Florida difference and traveling to Walt Disney World as a local.

How often did you think you’d be visiting the parks?

Julia: I thought that we’d probably be at the parks once or twice a week.

Natalie: As long as we are living nearby, we’ll be at the parks a few times a week.

How often do you actually visit the parks?

Julia: Like we thought, once or twice is what we do in a typical week. We often do end up at a resort once a week as well, just to grab breakfast or dinner.

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