Walt Disney World (FL)

New Costume Guidelines for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

by on August 31, 2016

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

©Rikki Niblett

Wow! It’s already here! Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party kicks off on Friday event. It is a fun hard-ticketed event at the Magic Kingdom that invites Guests of all ages to experience the fun of Halloween with the fantastic Mickey’s Boo-To-You Parade (my favorite), an impressive fireworks spectacular in Hallowishes (also my favorite), trick or treating, dance parties, the Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular stage show, and more. Of course, one of the most fun aspects of the party is the fact that you can dress up in costume.

A while back, Disney had claimed that Guests would not be able to dress up any longer for the parties, but that appears to have been rolled back, as Disney has now released there new costume guidelines that Guests will need to adhere to. Here are the guidelines that you now need to keep in mind:

 

General

  • Disney reserves the right to deny admission to or remove any person wearing attire that is considered inappropriate or attire that could detract from the experience of other Guests.
  • All Guests may dress as their favorite character, but may not pose for pictures or sign autographs for other Guests.
  • Costumes must be family-friendly and may not be obstructive, offensive, objectionable or violent.
  • Costumes may not contain any weapons that resemble or could easily be mistaken for an actual weapon.
  • Costumes may not contain sharp objects, pointed objects or materials that may accidentally strike another Guest.

 

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! August 2016 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on August 31, 2016

MMM positiveWelcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando.

The Disney Outlets: the true final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Testa, beginning year four of our five-year mission: to explore strange old stores, to seek out weird merchandise and ugly vinylmation, to boldly buy what no MagicBand has bought before.

We actually have a big surprise this month at the end of this fine blog, but we do have to start off with a little theme park news. Universal soft opened an E-Ticket restaurant – the Toothsome Chocolate Emporium & Savory Feast Kitchen (imagine a T-Rex Cafe for adults except the food is actually good) – and was promptly sued by someone claiming the restaurant was their idea. Some are claiming this is the most frivolous lawsuit against Universal since 2013, when the landmark case of Burgan vs. Comcast unjustly ruled that just because I said, “they should build more Harry Potter” after visiting Hogsmeade Village, I wasn’t responsible for the creation of Diagon Alley. I blame my lawyer.

Now while all of you were tweeting your thoughts on Disney changing the “obscene hand gesture” in Rock n Roller Coaster (warning, NSFW!) Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo and I were hard at work to bring you the quality Outlet coverage you expect deserve!

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you.)

Prices were SLASHED this month on Tsum Tsums, marking them down to an unheard of $0.99. This of course brought out the merch jerks in droves, filling up their baskets with Tsums to flip.

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The infamous Mother Gothel Tsum Tsum (I think.)

I honestly thought we had seen every single piece of merchandise made for the Disneyland 60th Anniversary and yet more and more just keep coming to Outlets. Here is a Dapper Mickey photo clip Frame. Originally $14.95, now $7.99.

AUG_d60phoot_1495_799

Thank you Disneyland annual passholders, for not buying a single piece of merchandise and making me go through it all. Yes, I’m looking in your direction Tom Bricker, Guy Selga, and Matt Gottula.

Disneyland 60th iPhone 6 case on left. Originally $39.95, now $14.99. On the right is a Minnie Mouse one where the character is stuck on the case. Has a lot of thickness. Originally $39.95, now just $7.99.

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iPhone cases.

Some houses have “fine china” but we theme park fans know what our favorite dinnerware is. The smaller Disneyland 60th plate was originally $17.95, now $7.99. The larger one was originally $21.95, now $9.99.

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If author extraordinaire Seth Kubersky ever gets married, I volunteer for the Ashkenazi tradition to break these plates (and as many more as they’ll let me.)

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Personalizing Your MagicBands

by on August 31, 2016

When MagicBands first rolled out across Walt Disney World, design and accessorizing options were limited. Bored with the sparse selection, some guests (okay, I’m guilty) started to customize their MagicBands to feature their favorite Disney icons. As long as nothing interfered with the Mickey head, everything from painting, temporary tattooing, and fabric covering was fair game to personalize a MagicBand. Not one to miss an opportunity like this, Disney took note and started selling additional design options. Little by little, new designs began to appear. Now, there are tons of different ways to personalize your MagicBands, whether you purchase something special or do it yourself.

Standard MagicBands free to on-site guests

Standard MagicBands free to on-site guests

Standard MagicBands ($0 for on-site guests or $12.99 to purchase)

Available for free to Walt Disney World Resort Annual Passholders or guests staying on-site at Walt Disney World, these original MagicBands are just one solid color. Options include red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, and gray. Choosing the solid color is the only customization here, unless you count the fact that guests receiving these for free can have a name printed on the underside of the MagicBand. For guests purchasing these, they are now available on DisneyStore.com, the Shop Disney Parks app, or at many gift shops at Walt Disney World.

Open Edition MagicBands (start at $22.99)

Guests visiting Walt Disney World can purchase these via DisneyStore.com, the Shop Disney Parks app, or upon arrival in many of the resort and theme park gift shops. These MagicBands feature various Disney characters or icons from the parks. However, the color and design combinations are not customizable. For example, if you want Rapunzel from Tangled on your MagicBand, it only comes in purple. There is no option to print a name on the underside of these MagicBands either.

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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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Morimoto Asia Omakase: Fine Dining At Its Best

by on August 29, 2016

The menu for my meal, signed by Chef Morimoto.A few weeks ago, Morimoto Asia hosted their first omakase dinner led by Iron Chef Morimoto himself, and I was lucky enough to attend! An omakase meal is pretty simple – the chef makes all of the decisions for you, setting the menu as they desire (though sometimes customization is an option). California Grill offers an omakase dining option at their sushi bar, and it’s widely considered one of the best dining splurges at Walt Disney World. This particular opportunity, though, seemed even more special than that, as Chef Morimoto would be working alongside his team at Morimoto Asia – a rare chance to see one of the masters in action. I was excited for this meal, especially given the excellent meals I’d had here before (and Len’s great review of most of the menu).

Before The Meal

I arrived not knowing exactly what to expect, other than that every bit of chopstick and sushi etiquette I’d ever learned would be put to the test. The dinner was offered to only 12 diners, and we were seated in waves to make it easier on the chefs to time the meal. I was in the first wave of four to arrive, and we were immediately seated at the beautiful sushi bar on the upper level of the restaurant. Chef Morimoto and Morimoto Asia’s executive chef, Yuhi Fujinaga, were already engaged in a precise dance of preparation for our first few courses, working alongside four other chefs, ensuring every dice was to their exact specifications. After a few minutes of watching them all, I knew I was in for a special evening.

Every diner received a Chef Morimoto-signed menu for the evening listing all of the nine (!!!) courses to come as we sat down to the sushi bar, where we were also told that we could opt to include alcohol pairings with each course. Obviously, I had to take one for the team (in the name of research, of course!), and give the pairings a shot. Below, I’ll outline each course as presented and the pairings that came with them, with a few thoughts on each. As always, take a closer look of each dish with just a click on any photo.

The Main Event

 

First Course: Oyster Two Ways – caviar, foie gras

Paired with Jean Charles ‘JCB no21’ Cremant de Bourgogne, Burgundy, France

Oysters two waysThis starter was the perfect exercise in how hot & cold temperatures can work together to create a cohesive dish. One oyster was served cold topped with caviar, and the second, topped with freshly seared foie gras swimming in an umami-rich teriyaki sauce. My first bite, of the cold oyster, was as briny and of-the-sea as you’d expect, and refreshing to wake up the palate. The decadent foie gras was slightly sweet in my follow-up bite of the second oyster, helping soothe a bit of the first’s saltiness. The bubbly JCB Cremant, shown above with the menu, really offset both oysters perfectly with a bit of acidity.

 Second Course: Tartare Two Ways – toro, A-5 wagyu

Paired with Cerulli Spinozzi ‘Cortalto’ Pecorino, Abruzzo, Italy

Tartare two waysSimilar to the first dish, this second course played on the duo theme with a tuna tartare served in a dashi soy sauce alongside A-5 (the highest quality available) wagyu beef tartare. Chef Morimoto hand-chopped the beef in front of us, before mixing it with a bit of spicy aioli, and served the rich beef topped with slightly sweet julienned jicama. The dry and acidic Cortalto wine cut through the richness in both sides of the dish, though I probably could’ve had an entire glass of the dashi soy instead of wine for this course and been happy.

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New Bus Service Available From Theme Parks to Disney Springs

by on August 25, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

Can I say thank goodness?!

Beginning on August 28, Guests will be able to take a bus from any of the four Walt Disney World theme parks directly to Disney Springs. Bus service will be available to the shopping and dining complex from 4:00 p.m. until 11:00 p.m. (or two hours after park close, whichever comes first.)

Keep in mind that this is a one-way only service that goes from the theme parks to Disney Springs; you cannot take a bus directly to one of the four parks. For those needing to go to one of the parks from Disney Springs, the current process will continue where Guests will need to take a bus to a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel first.

This is a huge change that will make it much easier for you to get to Disney Springs and enjoy the new great offerings, as well as some of your favorites from the past.

 

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Change in Wheelchair Rentals Now Offered at Disney’s Water Parks

by on August 23, 2016

Water Parks - Typhoon Lagoon

©Disney

It appears that Disney is making a change to their wheelchair rentals that are available at their water parks. These rentals, which are available at Singapore Sal’s at Typhoon Lagoon and at the Beach Haus at Blizzard Beach, will now cost $12 a day. It is also required that Guests leave a $100 refundable deposit which will be returned upon the return of the rental. This wheelchair rental is able to be transferable across the parks, with a receipt, as long as they are available.

This change is being done in an effort to align with the options available at Guest Services found at Disney’s theme parks, at Disney Springs, and at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

In addition to wheelchairs, a limited number of ECV rentals will continue to be available for $50 with a $100 refundable deposit.

Make sure to keep this change in mind should you need to rent a wheelchair at one of Disney’s water parks going forward.

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TouringPlansTV: Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

by on August 23, 2016

photo - Touringplans.comWelcome back to TouringPlansTV!

If you’re a fan of both Disney and the outdoors, I have just the place for you…

Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort!

Located at Walt Disney World, you’ll find both cabins and campsites to best fit your needs.

Enjoy!

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Disneyland vs. Disney World: The Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park Part II

by on August 22, 2016

castlesAs I’ve said before in this Disneyland vs. Disney World series, Disney never does the same thing twice! It’s a common misconception that Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and the Disneyland Park are basically the same experience but on different coasts. That is absolutely not true! Even though Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom was inspired after the original Disneyland Park, it was never intended to be a carbon copy. Both parks offer their own exclusive attractions, restaurants, character interactions, style, and overall experience. Of course, that gives rise to the question of which park is truly the best? That’s the question I intend to answer in perhaps the most ambitious installment of Disneyland vs. Disney World: The Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park Part II.

Due to the scope of this topic, this article has been split into two parts. Disneyland vs. Disney World: The Magic Kingdom and Disneyland Park Part I compared the two parks on categories such as characters, attractions, and dining. This second installment will compare the different themed lands represented at both parks and determine which one is best!

disneylandfiredept

Walt’s Lantern Above the Disneyland Fire Department

Main Street, U.S.A. :

Everyone loves their Main Street, U.S.A. I know it’s the land I miss most when I’m not at the parks. The problem with comparing the two is that they are each unique and my favorite tends to depend on my mood. Seriously, my pick could be different by tomorrow! Anyway, let’s begin with the first thing guests seen when approaching either park, the train stations.

Mayor Weaver of Main Street, U.S.A.

Mayor Weaver of Main Street, U.S.A. will be happy to give you a handshake and a business card

The Magic Kingdom’s Train Station is two stories high, spacious, and also symmetrical in comparison to Disneyland’s. It hosts the morning Welcome Show and offers fantastic seating for the parades and fireworks. Disneyland’s Train Station is more quaint and resembles a station that would have existed for an actual small town. It also serves as a stage for entertainment too.

Once guests enter the park, they find themselves at Town Square. Disneyland’s doesn’t seem as big as the Magic Kingdom’s, but it offers a park-like atmosphere with more trees and benches and its Main Street Vehicles operate into the afternoon while the Magic Kingdom’s only run a few hours in the morning. Disneyland’s Town Square is also rich with history due to The Disneyland Story presenting Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln at the Opera House and the lamp burning in the window of Walt’s private apartment at the fire house. But I can’t fail to mention that Magic Kingdom’s Harmony Barber Shop, where guests can actually get haircuts with a touch of pixie dust!

USA_MainStreetUsa_Sperduto

Magic Kingdom’s Main Street, U.S.A.

Now the Magic Kingdom offers the best view down Main Street, U.S.A. due to the size of Cinderella Castle, and the whole street has a slightly grander and more ornate look than Disneyland’s. Although, I think Disneyland’s storefronts boast a bit more personality, inside and out, and I appreciate their few unique, specialized shops. I also believe that Disneyland’s Main Street dining options are a little better too. I love the Market House Starbucks, the menu at Carnation Café, and everything at the Jolly Holiday Bakery Café. But I do prefer the setting and character experience at the Magic Kingdom’s Crystal Palace, as well as Casey’s Corner menu and theme, compared to Disneyland’s The Plaza Inn and Refreshment Corner respectively. Lastly, I think the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street, U.S.A. does just a little better when it comes to entertainment due to the charming Main Street Trolley Show and Main Street, U.S.A. Actors.

Overall, I’m giving this category to Disneyland, but just barely! Disneyland’s dining, Town Square, and history just put it over the top, even though it’s difficult to beat that postcard view down the Magic Kingdom’s Main Street, U.S.A.

Winner: Disneyland Park

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Disney World Crowd Calendar Report – July 31 to Aug 6, 2016

by on August 22, 2016

Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar Report

How Crowded Was Disney World Last Week?

This year, crowds at Walt Disney World for the first week of August lagged behind historical averages mostly due to inclement weather. Sunday through Tuesday saw crowds a couple points lower than expected while Wednesday through Sunday saw some of the shortest lines we have seen in 2016. Crowds last year varied between a level ‘7’ and ‘9’ and the Disney World Crowd Calendar predicted slightly higher crowd levels this year.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the Touringplans.com Disney World Crowd Calendar Report:

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