Walt Disney World (FL)

SATURDAY SIX – The 6 Highest-Rated Shows and Spectaculars at Walt Disney World

by on August 12, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at The Six Highest-Rated Shows and Spectaculars at Walt Disney World! You may remember last week on the SATURDAY SIX where we took a look at the six highest-rated rides at WDW, as voted on by you. This week Len Testa, the grand poobah of TouringPlans, has sent down the  thousands-and-thousands of survey results for the highest-rated shows and spectaculars. We’re looking at pretty much anything that isn’t a ride outside of meet and greets. Next week we will finish with our look at the surveys by glancing at the lowest-rated attractions, but today we’re going to take a look at the shows which always bring a smile to our face, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth

Epcot’s IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth can be a controversial subject within the Disney fan community. Here at the SATURDAY SIX we’ve had articles touting it as a one-of-a-kind experience that we’ll probably never see the likes of again, but have also made the case that the long running show could possibly use a little freshening up. One thing I personally love about IllumiNations, especially compared to just about everything else that made the list, is the fact that you don’t have to camp out an hour or more to get a good viewing location. There are so many places around World Showcase to get a good spot that lets you take everything in, including several places where you can enjoy a meal during the show. In an age of Disney where we are getting IPs shoved down our throats, it is refreshing to take in a show that isn’t trying to sell you a “brand” and is just there to deliver a powerful story (what that story exactly is, I can’t tell you, but it is powerful, or at least loud.) During the 4th of July week and around Christmas time, IllumiNations goes up another notch and becomes one of the most amazing fireworks displays you’ll see anywhere.

Overall Score: 4.4/5

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth seen exploding behind Spaceship Earth. (photo by Brian Carey)

IllumiNations as seen from the Japan Pavilion. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. (photo by Hunter Underwood)

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Walt Disney World Preview – Week of August 12

by on August 10, 2017

This week brings attraction closures, Mission: Space opening, and dinner discounts galore. Keep reading below to find out more! (That rhyme was accidental, but I’m still proud of myself. It’s the little things.) 

Special Events

  • What a time to be a Floridian! Now until September 30th, Florida residents will be offered a FREE appetizer AND valet parking with each adult dinner entrée. This is featured at the following restaurants:
    • Jiko
    • Flying Fish
    • Citricos
    • Artist Point
  • La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil is offering discounted tickets for performances Tuesday through Saturday nights. Book now through December 16, 2017 to save!
  • Are you a Tables in Wonderland member? Now through September 30th, you can receive a 30% discount at the following restaurants:
    • Note: Discount is only available before 6:30pm or after 8:30pm

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Walt Disney World Offering Dining Discounts at Many Restaurants

by on August 8, 2017

Walt Disney World

Olivia Cafe’s Scallops ©Rikki Niblett

Disney really wants you to eat at its Walt Disney World resort hotel restaurants. How do I know? Well, lately they’ve been offering a lot of special discounts and offers geared to entice Guests to many dining establishments.

The most recent of which is for Florida residents. To encourage Guests to dine at a few select signature restaurants, Jiko, Citricos, and Artist Point, Disney will be offering Florida residents a complimentary appetizer with each adult entree that’s purchased. This offer is only valid during dinner. In addition, Guests who are Florida residents who dine at these three restaurants will receive free valet parking. This limited time offer is only available through September 30.

That’s not the only recent discount though that the Walt Disney World Resort is offering. For those who missed it, some of the most popular table-service restaurants at select Walt Disney World Resort hotels have added an extra discount for both Disney Vacation Club Members, as well as Annual Passholders.  Guests will be able to receive a 30% discount only during dinner and only before 6:30 p.m. or after 8:30 p.m. There is also a similar 30% discount available for Tables in Wonderland members. The restaurants offering these discounts include:

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Disney PhotoPass Day Coming to Walt Disney World

by on August 8, 2017

Disney PhotoPass Day

©Disney

Do you love Disney PhotoPass Service? You know, the ability to preserve your family’s vacation memories courtesy of photographers that can be found throughout the parks and other areas.

With Disney PhotoPass, Disney will take your pictures with everyone in the family, that you can then view online or via the My Disney Experience app. You can even choose to purchase Memory Maker which allows you to download and share your vacation memories.

Ok…so now you’re up to speed on what Disney PhotoPass is, but to celebrate the service, Walt Disney World will be holding a special Disney PhotoPass Day  on August 19 where they will be offering unique experiences that are only available on that day.

Here are the special offerings that will be available for Disney PhotoPass Day: 

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Walt Disney World Honeymoon Must Do’s

by on August 8, 2017

Are you planning a Walt Disney World honeymoon? If so, you’re probably in for a very different experience than other Disney vacations. Sure, you still want to stick to the usual planning advice like using FastPass+, making dining reservations, and following a good touring plan to minimize waits. But there are also some other considerations for special vacations like a honeymoon. With that in mind, here’s my list of must-do’s for your Disney-moon.

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How to Pick the Best Park for Each Day of Your Walt Disney World Trip

by on August 7, 2017

Families often ask us to help pick the best park to visit for each day of their Walt Disney World vacation. In fact, it’s one of the reasons why we created our Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar.

When we answer those questions, the first thing we try to figure out is what “best” means for this family, on this trip. To do that, we ask questions about when the family is going, how long they’re staying, how many times they want to visit each park, and so on.  Once we know that, we can narrow down the list of choices and start talking about the pros and cons of each possibility.

Below is the process we use to pick the best theme park to visit on any day of a trip to Walt Disney World. It’s easy to extend this process to include days off, visits to water parks, or other theme parks. Let us know in the comments below if your family considers other things when visiting a park, or if you’d like to see another example with water parks and more.

When Are You Going?

The first step is to look at the Crowd Calendar for the entirety of your trip. For an example, let’s assume I have an upcoming trip for October 1-7, 2017.

October 1-7, 2017, Crowd Calendar

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SATURDAY SIX – The 6 Highest-Rated Rides at Walt Disney World

by on August 5, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at The Six Highest-Rated Rides at Walt Disney World! A couple years ago the SATURDAY SIX commissioned a special blue-ribbon panel featuring some of the biggest names in the online Disney community to rank the best attractions at WDW. This year, we’re looking towards YOU, Dear Reader, to see what you think are the best. Len Testa himself sent the results of this year’s TouringPlans surveys – via an armored car – for us to evaluate. This week we are going to countdown the top six rides, next week the top six shows and non-rides, and after that the lowest-rated attractions (we’re looking in your direction Stitch’s Great Escape….) Enough with the pleasantries, today we’ll look at what WDW rides you like the most, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Splash Mountain

With the upcoming closures of The Great Movie Ride and Universe of Energy, we’re losing two of the longer rides at Disney World. There’s something to be said about intense 3 1/2 minute experiences, but we also like the laid back 10-20 minute epic adventures. Splash Mountain is long, and a lot of it is really peaceful (along with a couple great “fake outs.”) There are a ton of animatronics in the ride, including the show stopping Showboat scene at the end. The big drop gives you an incredible view of the park, and makes for a truly magical moment if you begin your descent while fireworks are going off in front of you. A wonderful family ride, Splash Mountain can also be a way to introduce younger riders to the type of sensations they will have on roller coasters. They may be hesitant to try rides like Big Thunder when seeing the trains speed by, but one ride on Splash Mountain will more than likely get them in the mood to experience even more.

Overall Score: 4.5/5

Splash Mountain. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

The calm stretches of Splash Mountain are my personal favorite. (photo by Brian Carey)

Get ready for the big drop at Splash Mountain! (photo by Brian Carey)

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Walt Disney World Preview – Week of August 5

by on August 3, 2017

What’s going on this week at Walt Disney World? Keep reading to find out!

Special Events

  • La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil is offering discounted tickets for performances Tuesday through Saturday nights. Book now through December 16, 2017 to save!
  • Are you a Tables in Wonderland member? Now through September 30th, you can receive a 30% discount at the following restaurants:
  • Note: Discount is only available before 6:30pm or after 8:30pm.

For other Walt Disney World Newsworthy notes, check out Rikki’s article here.

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Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes – 8/1/17

by on August 1, 2017

Walt Disney World

©Rikki Niblett

Wow! It’s been a while since I’ve done the Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes, but this week, as always when you get a Newsworthy Notes update, I have a few things that have landed on my desk that are important to know, but they are pretty small things. They may impact your vacations though, which is why I want to make sure to share them with you! So, here we go:

  • The quick service location found at Yak & Yeti Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom known as Local Foods Café is now offering breakfast in addition to lunch and dinner. The new menu items include a variety of meat and egg sandwiches, a breakfast burrito, and breakfast tacos. Breakfast will be served daily from 9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
  • The fun interactive game, A Pirate’s Adventure ~ Treasures of the Seven Seas  found in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom has had a time change. It will now be available for Guests to enjoy from 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. daily.
  • This one makes me excited. The extremely popular store, The Dress Shop is back at Cherry Tree Lane in the Marketplace Co-Op at Disney Springs. For those who don’t know, The Dress Shop draws inspiration from classic Disney characters and theme park attractions in their clothing designs, including Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, “it’s a small world,” Minnie Mouse, Snow White, and the Orange Bird.
  • United World Soccer found in the West Side of Disney Springs has been rebranded as Pelé Soccer. This soccer retail location offers jerseys from clubs and countries around the world, footwear, and accessories.

That’s it for this edition of Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes! Any thoughts?

Minnie Van Ridesharing Service Now Available at Walt Disney World

by on August 1, 2017

Minnie Van

©Disney

One of the things that was announced at the D23 Expo is already in use at Walt Disney World! The Minnie Van ridesharing service has officially rolled out!

Wait…what is the Minnie Van Service anyway?  It is a brand new transportation option that will provide Guests with transportation throughout the Walt Disney World Resort, giving them a seamless way to get from point to point. The idea behind it is similar to common ridesharing apps, Uber and Lyft. Speaking of Lyft, it appears as though Disney has officially partnered with the company. Guests will be able to arrange their own private Disney vehicle right from the Lyft app on their smartphone.

The name, Minnie Van Service, comes from the theme of the vehicles (otherwise known as Chevy Traverses), that are patterned after the one-and-only Minnie Mouse.

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