Walt Disney World (FL)

Tips for the Solo Traveler in Disney World

by on July 18, 2014

Magic Kindgom

Seriously – why wait? This Kingdom is just begging to be explored!

Sometimes, a trip must be made.

Whether it’s the perfect time of year, the premier of a new attraction, or simply the impatience, a person just needs to go to Walt Disney World. I am planning a trip in October, and even though the timing/cost does not work out for my friends and family, it works out for me. So I am going by myself.

It’s not uncommon to see solo travelers in Walt Disney World – I have already done one solo trip back in 2012. There are blogs covering the topic at AllEars.net and even an entire website called Solo Disney Traveler. If you have an inkling to get down to Walt Disney World soon, and find it difficult to arrange dates with your family and friends, don’t be afraid to try out a solo trip!

Here are some of my suggestions when booking and taking a Walt Disney World solo trip:

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Gadgets and Gear to Grab for Disney World

by on July 18, 2014

When my wife and I visit the parks, we go loaded for bear. Laden as we are with our bags and gear and gadgets we are often mistaken for Sherpas, which explains why folks are constantly asking us to lead them to Expedition Everest. We of course try to explain that we’re not really Sherpas, but they just respond that it’s all right, it’s not really Mount Everest. Touché.

Fortune, as they say, favors the prepared, and although I’m not sure who “they” are, they nevertheless make a good point. Whether or not you choose to gear up for a day at the parks, however, is strictly personal. Of course, you could always make some other member of your party the pack mule, in which case, it’s nothing personal. Or that’s what you should tell them.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: July 17, 2014

by on July 17, 2014

Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! I have tons of Frozen fun to share, but to start let’s pop over to Epcot. While the weather has been incredibly hot, the skies have been beautiful! Check out those blue skies and fluffy white clouds! 

1

I wasn’t just there to admire the skies, though. I’d heard online that personalized bottles of Coke were available for free. It wasn’t something I was excited about but I wanted to check it out for you guys. I got there about 15 minutes before the posted start time thinking I’d beat the rush. As you can see from the photo below, I could not have been more wrong! There must have been 100 people in line! I quickly decided that Coke bottles were not newsworthy and moved on. ;)

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Chill While Others Thrill: Skipping Disney World Thrill Rides, Part I

by on July 16, 2014

Walt Disney World’s more thrilling attractions may not be part of your plans for multiple reasons. Maybe you simply don’t enjoy abrupt dips and drops, are prone to motion sickness, have a bad back, have a child who doesn’t meet height requirements, or are visiting Walt Disney World while pregnant. Whatever your reason for preferring more relaxing attractions and experiences, you can have as much fun taking a chill as the more adventurous people in your party do seeking a thrill.

Part I of this article looks at some Magic Kingdom attractions where either all or some of your companions may break away for some thrills. While they have their fun, you may be surprised by the number of ways a non-thrill rider can see a whole other side of Magic Kingdom. Part II will focus on Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Mountains of Walt Disney World

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Favorite Parks Series: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

by on July 16, 2014

We’re at the half way point in our Favorite Parks journey! (Read about Disney’s Hollywood Studios here.) Before doing research for this article, I’ll admit that Disney’s Animal Kingdom was my least favorite park. However, the more I delved into the MAGIC* behind the park, the more I realized how spectacular and incredibly unique Animal Kingdom is.

Memorable Moments

Since Animal Kingdom is known for its hot environment, Kali River Rapids is just the attraction to cool you off. As the unpredictable rapids decide which way the raft spins, no one is safe from the surprising splashes and torrents. Once you’ve become thoroughly soaked, dry yourself off by enjoying two delightful shows; Finding Nemo – The Musical and the Festival of the Lion King. Adrenaline junkies will love running into the Yeti on Expedition Everest, while those looking for further adventure can experience DINOSAUR. An underrated attraction at Animal Kingdom worth attending is Flights of Wonder, an educational and entertaining exotic bird show. You’ll be ‘squawking’ about it for days!

How many animals can you spot?

How many animals can you spot?

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Walt Disney World To Hold ESPN Fantasy Football Convention

by on July 15, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

Are you ready for some football? It seems so weird to ask in JULY, but football season is just around the corner, and this year Walt Disney World is getting in on the fantasy football fun.

Over at ESPN Wide World of Sports, from August 22-23, Disney will be holding the inaugural ESPN Fantasy Football Convention. (For those who follow along with my In Case You Missed It posts, you may have seen me mention the event was taking place about a month ago.)

The convention sounds like a dream for those who love their fantasy football. The festivities will include events such as the exclusive ESPN Tailgate Party, where guests can mix and mingle with ESPN talent, like Matthew Berry, Adam Schefter, Chris Mortensen, Tim Hasselbeck, Stephania Bell, Trey Wingo, Robert Flores and Sara Walsh. The Tailgate Party will also feature the first ever ESPN Chili Bowl. (Yum!) Here chili will be prepared by world class chefs from around the world, and guests can judge which is the best of the best. (I’m ready to vote now…my spoon is currently in hand.)

The next morning, things will kick off with a breakfast that features characters dressed ready to catch the pigskin. Guests can also witness a live broadcast of Fantasy Football Now, which will be aired on ESPN2, plus they can take part in a post-broadcast Q&A session. The evening will end with an opportunity to participate in a live fantasy football draft, where this season’s winner will receive a customized trophy!

The event costs $349.00 per person to participate, and registration is now open at the ESPN Wide World of Sports page.

Who do you want on your fantasy team?

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Trattoria al Forno Restaurant To Open at Disney’s BoardWalk

by on July 15, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

While it’s well known that Kouzzina by Cat Cora is slated to close this fall (its last day of operation is September 30), what we didn’t know and have all been waiting to hear is what new restaurant was going to take its place.

Well, wait no more! Disney has officially announced that a brand new Italian restaurant, called Trattoria al Forno will be opening sometime this December at Disney’s BoardWalk Inn.

This brand new restaurant will serve up delectable, Old World-inspired dishes, showcasing dishes from the different regions of the country. Menu items will include Neopolitan-style pizzas, Bolognese with house-made cavatelli;  whole roasted fish with roasted vegetables; semolina tagliatelli carbonara; grilled steak; a seasonal risotto; pork chop alla Milanese; chicken breast alla Parmagiana with tagliatelle pasta; shrimp with garlic, capers and anchovy butter with polenta;  baked lasagna; slow-cooked lamb shank with polenta; ruffled campanelle pasta with green beans, roasted potatoes and Genovese pesto; and eggplant rollatini.  

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New Behind the Scenes Tour of Cirque du Soleil’s “La Nouba”

by on July 15, 2014

Cirque du Soleil La Nouba at Downtown DisneyIf you are a huge fan of the Cirque du Soleil show, “La Nouba”, then you will enjoy Disney’s latest backstage tour! Called L’Experience, guests who book this tour will not only receive a ticket for the show, but they will also get an unprecedented, unique look at some of the backstage happenings of the popular, long-running show.

This brand new tour experience gives fans of the show the opportunity to take an inside peek at the whimsical costuming, to get a unique look at the backstage area, and to meet a performer from the show. Tour participants also receive popcorn and soft drinks and a gift bag filled with Cirque du Soleil merchandise, plus, they get a 10% discount coupon for The Cirque Boutique shop. Finally, Front and Center category tickets for the 6:00 p.m. show are included.

This package is available for performances on Fridays and Saturdays and costs $250 (plus tax) for adults (ages 10+) and $215 (plus tax) for children (ages 9 and under).

For more information or to purchase tickets, call (407) W-DISNEY or the Cirque du Soleil box office at (407) 939-7600.

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Best Evening Extra Magic Hours Attractions at Disney World

by on July 15, 2014

The Kiss Goodnight is a light show projected on the castle when the park closes.

Staying on property during your next Walt Disney World vacation? Then you should absolutely be taking advantage of Disney’s Extra Magic Hours, which offer resort guests the opportunity to get to a park early or stay late. Simply show that you’re staying in a Walt Disney World resort and you can have fun in the parks beyond the normal operating hours. And if you’re using our Personalized Touring Plans, you can also extend your plan hours for both morning and evening Extra Magic Hours. As stated, Extra Magic Hours are offered both in the morning and the evening but for now we’re going to concentrate on some of my favorite Evening Extra Magic Hours attractions. While not every attraction is operating for Extra Magic Hours, some of the best and most popular attractions across Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios are open to resort guests. Unfortunately, as of this writing, Disney’s Animal Kingdom does not offer evening extra magic hours. Perhaps that could change with the eventual opening of the park’s new Avatar Land but for now, park guests will have to get their Extra Magic Hours fill at the first three Walt Disney World theme parks. So without further ado, here are my top Evening Extra Magic Hours attractions for each park.

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Disney World Crowd Report – July 6 to 12, 2014

by on July 14, 2014

Last week we updated our Crowd Calendar and our predictions bounced back nicely. We saw most park levels within expected ranges of our predictions. Crowds were still skewing lower than normal but not significantly so as was the case the past several weeks.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week:

Walt Disney World Resort Crowd Levels – Daily Breakdown

Sunday, July 6, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
6
4

An average day across the resort which is fairly unusual for mid-July. Magic Kingdom and Epcot were the better choices Sunday even though Magic Kingdom opened until 2:00 am with Extra Magic Hour evening. Wait times were slightly higher at the other two parks but still quite manageable.

Epcot
5
3
Hollywood Studios
7
6
Animal Kingdom
8
6

Monday, July 7, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
7
7

All of Monday’s predictions fell within acceptable limits including a correct prediction of ’7′ at Magic Kingdom. Spaceship Earth was the resort’s biggest surprise with a 25-minute average posted wait (a ’10′ on our scale).

Epcot
4
5
Hollywood Studios
6
7
Animal Kingdom
5
6

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
7
8

Lower than expected wait times at Epcot, Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom pushed the resort wide level two points lower than predicted. Magic Kingdom went the other way thanks to a 67-minute average wait at Space Mountain.

Epcot
7
6
Hollywood Studios
6
5
Animal Kingdom
8
6

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
8
7

Higher crowds than the previous three days rolled in on Wednesday. Animal Kingdom was especially crowded including a 64-minute average wait at Kali River Rapids.

Epcot
5
5
Hollywood Studios
6
7
Animal Kingdom
9
9

Thursday, July 10, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
8
7

By comparison, Kali River Rapids dipped to a 45-minute average on Thursday, pushing the crowd level three points lower than predicted and three points lower than the day before. Soarin’s waits were low as well, only a 58-minute average on Thursday.

Epcot
7
5
Hollywood Studios
6
6
Animal Kingdom
9
6

Friday, July 11, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
6
6

Solid predictions resort-wide on Friday, with the noted exception of Spaceship Earth at 22-minutes. Even Living with the Land at 7 minutes was higher than normal. Otherwise, our predictions hit the mark.

Epcot
5
7
Hollywood Studios
6
6
Animal Kingdom
6
5

Saturday, July 12, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
4
4

We didn’t believe our predictions for low crowds on Saturday but they ended up accurate. In fact, Animal Kingdom was less crowded than expected. Anyone in that park experienced the rare crowd level ’2′ in summer.

Epcot
3
3
Hollywood Studios
6
6
Animal Kingdom
5
2
What to Expect This Week
July 13 to 19, 2014
How Crowded is Disney World?

How Crowded is Disney World?

Crowd levels are expected to be higher this week than they were last week. The ’4′s and ’5′s will be replaced with ’7′s and ’8′s.

To see Walt Disney World Crowd predictions for the days of your vacation, check the Crowd Calendar.

To get details about our predictions of future crowds or details about crowds in the past check out the Crowd Calendar and select “Jump to Date” on the left margin.

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