Walt Disney World (FL)

Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes – 1/19/15

by on January 19, 2015

Happy Monday! I’m back again with a few little news notes that may be helpful for your next trip to Walt Disney World. These fun little nuggets include new fun for Peter Pan’s Flight, where you can find Flame Tree Barbecue’s treats during its refurbishment, and more! So, here we go!

  • For those of you who are fans of Flame Tree Barbecue at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you may be worried about where you can get the delightful treats that you know and love while the restaurant is closed for a refurbishment that’s scheduled to last until sometime in April. (During the refurb work, they are working on the current seating areas.) Today, I come bearing the answers of where those yummy bites can be found. Guests looking for the half chicken, the half slab of ribs, or the combo of ribs and chicken should head to the Gardens Kiosk or the Beastly Kiosk. For those searching for the turkey leg, you’ll need to visit Trilo-bites, and for the pork sandwich, stop at a cart found in near Trilo-bites. All of these locations are near Flame Tree Barbecue.
  • Moving over to the Magic Kingdom, a brand new interactive queue has been introduced for Peter Pan’s Flight. The new queue takes guests into the Darling household, and new interactive elements include Tinker Bell flying around and interacting with Wendy, John, and Michael’s toys, guests’ own shadows coming alive on the wall in the children’s nursery, and a sprinkle of pixie dust before heading off into Never Land. The queue’s new effects are currently in testing and should be fully rolled out within the next week, or so.

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Custom MagicBand Covers – A Primer

by on January 19, 2015

I knew that custom MagicBands were going to be a ‘thing’ about two minutes after asking for one in purple and learning they don’t come in that color. Y’all are a creative bunch, of course, and sites like Pinterest are full of Magic Band bedazzling, from sparkles and nail polish to fabric and plastic jewels.

But honestly, my DIY skills are limited. I’d probably end up with a glittered house cat and smeared nail polish on the kitchen table. Fortunately, a couple of companies have started making custom vinyl stickers to decorate your MagicBand, for around $5 to $8 each. And for the last couple of months, I’ve been testing them to see how they hold up under heavy use. It turns out they’re great. Read on for more.

MagicYourBand.comMagicYourBand.com Magic Bands

Tracy and Matt Davis came up with the idea for custom MagicBand stickers when their daughter asked for a purple MagicBand and was told they didn’t exist. (Note to Disney: might want to look into this ‘purple’ thing.) And apparently they jumped in to the idea with both feet, purchasing a $50,000 custom vinyl printer in late 2014 to launch their business. Today they produce designs ranging from Halloween and Christmas holidays, birthdays and celebrations, to the flags of different countries.

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Menu Monday: A Tribute to the Dole Whip

by on January 19, 2015

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My Dole Whip Float

It’s fresh and creamy, it’s cold and sweet, it’s literally paradise in a cup. It’s a Dole Whip! If you haven’t heard, this treat is as popular as some characters and attractions at Disney World and has the long lines to prove it. For those of you who haven’t sampled this famous Disney treat; and for those of you, like myself, who are craving one right now, check out this Tribute to the Dole Whip!

So what is a Dole Whip? A Dole Whip is pineapple-flavored soft-serve and the perfect blend of sweet and tang; but I must warn you, it’s addictive! In fact, during one of my trips to the Magic Kingdom last year, I waited in a thirty minute line for a Dole Whip and even got a sunburn in the process. But hey, I have no regrets. It was totally worth it!

Unlike other popular sweet treats at Disney World, like Mickey Premium Bars or cupcakes, Dole Whips can’t be found just everywhere. For many years, Captain Cook’s at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Aloha Isle in Adventureland at the Magic Kingdom were the only locations where this snack was offered.

Fortunately, it seems that Disney has taken pity on us Dole Whip-crazed guests, and I’m glad to report that there are now more places than ever to enjoy a Dole Whip while at the Walt Disney World Resort. Let’s take a look at a few of the old, as well as the new, shall we?

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A Magic Kingdom Scavenger Hunt

by on January 18, 2015

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Cinderella Castle

One of the most magical things about Disney World is that there is something to see everywhere you look! But just how much do you actually stop and look? If you’re up for a challenge, I have one for you. Whether you consider yourself a Magic Kingdom Master, or you would just like something extra fun to do at the park, I invite you to try this Magic Kingdom Scavenger Hunt!

I have photos of 15 things that you may or may not have noticed at the Magic Kingdom park and it’s up to you to find them. Don’t worry if you get stuck, there is a hint for each one. Also, to make things a little more interesting, especially if you’re the competitive type, finding each item is worth a certain number of points. The higher the points, the harder it may be to locate. For those of you aiming high, a perfect score is exactly 30 points.

So there are two ways you can use this Magic Kingdom Scavenger Hunt. First of all, you take this scavenger hunt to the Magic Kingdom yourself and see how many of the following you can find. It’s an interesting way to pass the time when you’re waiting in line or when the park is crowded, and is sure to make you appreciate the little Disney touches. It’s also a fun activity for the kids. Another way to use this scavenger hunt is to take a guess from home on where to find the following and see how many points you can win! If you get stumped, there is an answer key at the end of the post, so don’t scroll too far if you want to avoid spoilers.

Are you ready? Let’s start!

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Cinderella Sneak Peek Taking Place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on January 17, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Are you looking forward to the upcoming live-action version of Cinderella? Well guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will soon get two chances to participate in unique experiences that relate back to the film.

The first starts today. At the ABC Sound Studio (the former location of Sounds Dangerous, for those of you who remember that attraction), guests will be able to catch a special preview of the film. The experience will take place every 30 minutes, beginning at 10:00 a.m. and it will contain several clips from the movie, plus more. Overall, the preview will last approximately 10 minutes.

Clearly the ABC Sound Studio has become upcoming Disney movie sneak peek central, because previously the location has recently shown previews of The Lone Ranger, Maleficent, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

The Cinderella sneak peek will be presented until March 21.

I did mention that there will be one additional Cinderella experience that guests will be able to take part in. For that, Guests will be able to head to the Streets of America and will be able to take photos with Cinderella’s gorgeous golden coach, which is featured in the movie. The coach will be available for guests to see from February 1 until April 11.

Cinderella hits theaters on March 13.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter

by on January 17, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter. Regular readers of the Saturday Six know how much we enjoy staying onsite at the Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World, and while Disney is challenged to compete with some the amenities that Universal can offer its guests, where it does shine is the overall amount and unique hotels on property. Universal has a total of four onsite hotels (soon to be five with the opening of Sapphire Falls in 2016) while Disney has five value resorts alone, not to mention all the moderate, deluxe, and DVC resorts on property. Today we are going to look at our absolute favorite moderate: Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter.

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Port Orleans French Quarter.

 

Disney’s Port Orleans is broken up into two sections: French Quarter, and Riverside, the latter of which is the much larger of the two resorts. While Riverside certainly has its fans (in fact we’d probably consider it our extremely close second favorite moderate,) we prefer Port Orleans (POFQ) and here are six reason why, starting with…

# 6 - Sassagoula Float Works and Food Factory

French Quarter doesn’t have a table service restaurant (although Riverside’s Boatwright’s Dining Hall is a short walk away,) but it does have a fantastic counter service with the Sassagoula Float Works. Set up like a mall food court, there are several different stations offering Louisiana-inspired dishes such as Po’Boys, Jambalaya, Gumbo, and Beignets. For lunch you can not go wrong with one of the various Po’Boys (our favorites were the pork and beef versions) along with a side of bean salad or house-made chips. As we wrote about in our review of the Fantasy Fare food truck, Disney makes surprisingly good chips. For dinner you gotta go with the Jambalaya or Pot Roast, and any time of the day is good for an order of beignets. Made fresh-to-order and covered in powdered sugar, these beignets are one of the best treats at WDW.

POFQ_BBQpoboy

Pork Po’Boy with bean salad from Sassagoula Float Works and Food Factory.

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Artists Announced for the Garden Rocks Concert Series for the 2015 Flower and Garden Festival

by on January 16, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Today is full of details about the Epcot special events. First, the dates were released for the 2015 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and now we have the line-up of artists who will be performing during the Garden Rocks Concert Series for the 2015 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. (For those keeping score, the Garden Rocks Concert Series was previously called the Flower Power Concert Series. Since all the artists who are performing nowadays weren’t necessarily around during the 50s, 60s, and 70s, I guess Disney felt the “Flower Power” name didn’t really fit any more.)

Some of the artists performing at this year’s Garden Rocks Concert Series have previously played during the Eat to the Beat Concert Series during the Food & Wine Festival, including Taylor Dane and Starship, and some have been performing at the Flower Power Concert Series for years, such as Peter Noone and The Village People. This year’s list of artists is really an eclectic mix. 

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Dates Announced for the 2015 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

by on January 16, 2015

Disney

Disney

It’s the tastiest time of the year…the dates for the 2015 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival have been announced. The fantastic fall event will take place for a grand total of 53 days from September 25 through November 16.

The Epcot Food & Wine Festival features such highlights as nearly 30 Marketplace Booths (featuring lots of yummy sweet and savory tapas-sized food and beverages options), the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, celebrity chef demonstrations, beverage seminars, signature dining experiences, and much, much more!

More details for the event will be released later this year, so I’ll be sure to let you know the info when they do! I cannot wait to once again enjoy the deliciousness that is this great annual event.

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How to Experience an Empty Magic Kingdom

by on January 16, 2015

What do you think of when you think of Disney World? Castles? Princesses? Pirates? I sure do! But just like everyone else, I can also think of less magical things such as crowds, long lines, and wait times. Fortunately, Touring Plans can help cut down those long lines and wait times; but one thing that can’t be done is to remove the throngs of people entirely. That is, until now. Yes, in this post, I will explain how to experience an empty Magic Kingdom before the park opens up to the droves of guests. Read on!

I had the castle to myself!

I had the castle to myself!

The Secret

The Magic Kingdom opens most mornings at 9:00 AM, but the secret is that two park restaurants open even earlier, such as The Crystal Palace and Cinderella’s Royal Table. (Note: Cinderella’s Royal Table is currently closed for refurbishment but is expected to reopen in spring of 2015.) If you are able to book an advance dining reservation before park opening, you will be able to walk through the empty park in order to check-in for your breakfast!

Now, before you get too excited, let me clarify a few things. For one, the shows and attractions at the Magic Kingdom do not open for anyone until the park opens, and many of the surrounding lands are roped off to guests who do have early morning reservations. Still, getting in early was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had at Disney World.

Getting In

When I first heard about this Disney World secret, I immediately booked an advance dining reservation at The Crystal Palace for my upcoming vacation dates. It took some checking and re-checking for several days, but I finally was able to grab a reservation at 8:20 AM on a day when the park opened at 9:00 AM. Score!

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Relocating to Florida: Part Two – New Surroundings, Schools and The Disney Distance

by on January 16, 2015

Photo - Michael DahlgrenWelcome to Part Two of my relocation series! If you missed the beginning of this series where I interview fellow TouringPlans bloggers, Julia Mascardo and Natalie Reinert about weather and finances, read Part One to hear more about relocating to Florida.

Today, we’re going to discuss housing and living within close proximity to Walt Disney World. Let’s begin!

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