Walt Disney World (FL)

MyMagic+ and Last-Minute Trips: Planned Spontaneity Advanced Course

by on July 24, 2015

Spaceship Earth MyMagic+

Sometimes you just need a last-minute trip to Disney World.

If you caught my previous article on planned spontaneity and MyMagic+, there is one flaw you might have noticed – it requires that you know far in advance that you are taking a trip to Walt Disney World. So the question is, “How do you plan for spontaneity when you decide to take a trip in the next 30 days?”

Before I launch into my method for planned spontaneity for last-minute trips, I first want to make one tiny thing clear: you don’t have to plan for spontaneity to be spontaneous on a trip to Disney World. (Don’t be alarmed, you read that right.) If you want to go sans FastPass+ and wing it with restaurants, you will still be able to have an awesome time. I prefer to use MyMagic+ to its fullest, and for me that means planning in such a way that I can go off-book about 50% of the time and have a plan the other 50%.  If you’re a planner like I am, then this should be right up your alley.

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Epcot AtMousePhere: The Music of Future World West

by on July 23, 2015

Copyright 2010 Claire NatWe’re taking things in a different direction in this edition of AtMousePhere. Epcot can be divided all sorts of ways: one way is to divide it into Future World and World Showcase, or you could divide each single pavilion into its own specific section.

For our purpose here, I am going to take a few pavilions at a time and highlight the atmospheric music inside and outside the pavilion. This article is going to focus on the music of Future World West, which includes The Seas with Nemo and Friends, The Land, and Imagination!

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever July 23, 2014: An Evening with Jodi Benson

by on July 23, 2015

Jodi benson best week ever

Spend an evening with Jodi The Little Mermaid Benson in the best Best Week Ever ever! (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

The hyperbolic title of this column is intended to be tongue in cheek, but every so often I truly do experience something that qualifies for the Best Week Ever superlative. Last Sunday night certainly qualifies, since — thanks to a contest conducted by Shelly Valladolid via her Fabulous Disney Babe column on MiceChat.com — I had the once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet a real-life Disney heroine. Part of Your World: An Evening with Jodi Benson at the Bohemian Hotel in Celebration, afforded 60 guests an intimate audience with Jodi Benson, original voice of Disney’s The Little Mermaid, over an excellent three-course meal, as she told stories, answered questions, posed for photos, and (best of all) performed a mini-concert of songs by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken.

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More Details about the 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival

by on July 22, 2015

The Hawai'i kiosk at Epcot Food and Wine Festival.

©Disney

Are you ready for fall? Well, if you are, details are abounding now about this year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival! If this is your favorite time of year to visit the parks, like it is mine, you count down the days until you can start making your plans! (I’m drinking pumpkin spice tea to get me in the mood as we speak!)

Well, now, we are only just a little over two months away from opening date, which starts on September 25 and will last a total of 53 days through November 16. What makes this year even more special is it is the 20th anniversary of the event! We’ve already heard some initial details, but we now know things like Marketplace Kiosk menus, special event details, and more.

What’s New?

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GLIDDEN’S Colortopia Coming to Epcot’s Innoventions

by on July 21, 2015

©GLIDDEN

©GLIDDEN

Have you been curious about what’s been going on with Epcot’s Innoventions lately? Well, wonder no more! The paint brand, Glidden has been collaborating with Walt Disney Imagineering to create a brand new interactive exhibit called Colortopia.

Guests of all ages who experience the Colortopia exhibit will encounter unique and surprising hands-on activities. In addition, park visitors will be able to extend the Colortopia exhibit experience with a mobile app and website which are set to to launch later this year.

“Pairing the magic of the park experience with the magical role color plays in our lives is an exciting opportunity for the Glidden brand,” said Mark Lancia, Senior Brand Manager at Glidden. “We’re excited to share the Colortopia experience with the park’s visitors from around the world.”

There is no official opening date for this new experience, but it is expected to open sometime later this fall.

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Disney World Crowd Calendar Report – July 12 to 18, 2015

by on July 21, 2015

The Disney World Crowd Calendar did a great job last week. Among the 28 predictions for seven days worth of crowd levels at four parks, only four predictions missed by more than one index level. For each miss, crowds were lower than expected, a good sign for guests to Disney World this July.

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

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Fall Room-Only Disney Discounts Released Today

by on July 20, 2015

New Disney Dollars Series

Save some of these this fall with new discounts. ©Disney

Thanks for Sue Pisaturo at Small World Vacations for the heads up on new Disney discounts.

This offer is called “Fall Room Savings” on the Disney web site.

Booking window – July 20 to September 18, 2015.

For travel – October 4 – November 24, and November 28 to December.

Discount depends on travel dates:

For Oct. 4-10, Oct. 16-17, Oct. 23-31 and Nov. 8-21, 2015:

  • Save up to 10% at Select Value Resorts
  • Save up to 15% at Select Moderate Resorts
  • Save up to 20% at Select Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts

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Menu Monday: Whispering Canyon Café Breakfast Review

by on July 20, 2015

Today we are visiting one of my favorite on property breakfast experiences:  Whispering Canyon Café.  I say experience because it is so much more than just a place to eat.  Whispering Canyon is a place to laugh and have a good time.  It is a character breakfast of sorts, but not with your traditional Disney characters and at no additional cost; No Princesses, Mickey, or other Fab Five member here.  The characters I am referring to are the wonderful Cast Member waiters and waitresses.  They bring the restaurant alive, and keep our family coming back for more.

What:  Whispering Canyon Café
Where:  located directly off the lobby of the Wilderness Lodge
When:  Breakfast is served every day 7:30-11:30am
“The goings-on can get a little loud, and that’s just the way we like it.”

To play or not to play.

To play or not to play.

Our last waitress, M.T., was a real hoot.  We had a blast with her sarcastic humor.  She knew how to work her “audiences” as well.  She could read the patrons at her table perfectly and acted accordingly.  The table to our left was a family with 3 children.  She joked with the children and even put one of them “in jail”.  The large table to our right was not in the mood for fun.  They had clearly just come to eat breakfast and not partake in any of the shenanigans.  M.T. reacted accordingly and they got your normal no-fun-all-business waitress.  They were perfectly content.  We have a darker sense of humor and she seemed to tune right in to it.  We were in stiches before our order was even taken.

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Menu Monday: Boma Breakfast Review

by on July 20, 2015

Boma SignLooking for the best breakfast spot in all of Disney World? Look no further than the Boma breakfast buffet at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Nestled in a quiet spot on the first floor of Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Jambo House, you will find this hidden gem. Known for its delicious as well as adventurous dinner buffet complete with the famous Zebra Domes, many guests are unaware that a spectacular breakfast is also served here. The Boma breakfast buffet offers an amazing variety of tasty foods so even the most picky of eaters, like myself, can find plenty of things to try. Boma is my family’s favorite breakfast place in Disney World and when we visited again last month, it did not disappoint!

Thinking of checking it out for yourself on your next Disney World vacation? Read on for everything you need to know about the Boma breakfast buffet.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love Disney’s OLD KEY WEST Resort

by on July 18, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Old Key West Resort. One of Walt Disney World’s biggest strengths against all of its competitors is the wide variety of unique resorts it has on property to offer guests. We’ve covered several here on the SATURDAY SIX including Value Resorts such as Art of Animation and Pop Century, Moderate Resorts with Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside, and Deluxe Resorts including the Contemporary. While our reviews on both Animal Kingdom Lodge and BoardWalk Inn & Villas included a Disney Vacation Club component, today we are going to take a look at our first DVC exclusive resort with Old Key West.

OldKeyWest_MainSIgn

 

In fact, Old Key West was the very first Disney Vacation Club resort built at WDW. Originally named Disney’s Vacation Club Resort in 1991, it wasn’t until 1996 when the name was changed to Old Key West. With its pastel colored buildings and lush vegetation throughout, the resort definitely stands out from the other hotels on property. When Walt Disney said “Here in Florida, we have something special we never enjoyed at Disneyland…the blessing of size” he may have been foreshadowing Old Key West, as the resort itself is massive.

OKW_ConchFlats

Welcome to Conch Flats, the mythical town of Disney’s Old Key West Resort.

 

With the sprawling size comes some downsides, including many rooms being quite far away from the check-in area and several of the resort’s amenities. There is an internal bus system, and the grounds are gorgeous to walk across, but it may be a shock to guests who have not stayed at such a large resort. Thankfully the TouringPlans Hotel Room Request will help make getting a room closer to front easier, but it is still something to consider. That said, the size of Old Key West is also a positive, as it is one of the best places at WDW to spend time at outside of the parks because there is so much to do. So sit back, grab a plate of conch fritters and an ice cold margarita and let’s begin counting down our top six reasons we love OKW starting with…

# 6 – The Sandcastle Pool Area

Anyone who travels with their family on vacation knows how important pools are when it comes to selecting a resort. For our family, pools with slides now rank above any E-Ticket attraction or dining experience at WDW. Old Key West has a total of 4 pools spread out across property, but the Sandcastle Pool located by the front of the resort is where you want to be. In this area you’ll find the main pool along with its incredible 125 foot waterslide and a plethora of  nearby activities. There are several play areas for the younger set, a whirlpool spa, a sandy beach, and even a themed sauna!

OldKeyWest_pool1

The Sandcastle Pool at Disney’s Old Key West Resort.

OldKeyWest_pool2

Theming around the Sandcastle Pool.

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