Walt Disney World (FL)

Walt Disney World Ticket Price Increase Breakdown

by on February 21, 2015

MYW_Ticket_LogoBeginning tomorrow (Sunday, February 22, 2015), if you’ll be traveling to Walt Disney World, entering a theme park is going to be more expensive.

For the first time ever, Disney has increased the price of a Magic Kingdom single day park ticket past the $100 mark: a one-day ticket to just the Magic Kingdom will now cost $105 for those ages 10 and up, an increase of $6. Ticket prices also increased for Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, with a one-day ticket costing $97 for those ages 10 and up, a $3 increase.

Other Magic Your Way base tickets have jumped about $11 per ticket (with a few exceptions).

It’s not just Magic Your Way base tickets that have increased in price. All options have increased, with minor increases to Park Hoppers, as well as the Water Park Fun & More options – both of which increased about $4. (Again, there are a few exceptions.) Also, the Park Hopper plus Water Park Fun & More combined ticket option increased by $4.

I do have some bad news for those of you who like to purchase the No Expiration option. Disney will no longer offer the No Expiration option, and now all tickets will expire 14 days after first use.

This is how the new pricing is structured:

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SATURDAY SIX SPECIAL EDITION: Inaugural 2015 Theme Park Awards (AKA “The Burgys”)

by on February 21, 2015

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The most coveted theme park award of all… The Golden Burgy.

This week’s SATURDAY SIX presents the Inaugural 2015 Theme Park Awards. This weekend, while the rest of the world is preparing for The Oscars and spending hours watching awards given to films they haven’t even heard of, let alone watched (not to mention the outright Best Picture snubs of Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: Winter Soldier), readers of this column will be able to see their favorite theme park attractions get the attention they deserve. The Golden Burgy, theme park media’s highest award, is being handed out to the rides, shows, restaurants, and experiences that truly stood out over the past year.

Just as the Academy Awards hand out their lesser prizes before the main show, we’d like to present two of our minor awards before we get to the big ones. First, a Golden Burgy goes to the Holy Land Experience in the category of Best Theme Park Food Pun for their Garden of Eaten Chicken Salad Sandwich. Interestingly enough, Holy Land had all the nominees in this category including JerusaLamb, Land of Milk (no honey,and My Cup Overflows Souvenir Refillable Cup. The category of Biggest Theme Park Free Fall experience was the tightest race of all the nominees. Falcon’s Fury at Busch Gardens was the favorite to win, but the coveted Golden Burgy instead went to SeaWorld’s stock price. Now that’s a drop.

With those out of the way, allow us to present to you the Inaugural SATURDAY SIX Theme Park Awards, starting with…

# 6 – Best New Ride Experience – Diagon Alley’s Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts 

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The rotunda inside Gringotts bank includes an incredible view. And this is just the queue! (photo by Tom Bricker)

What else needs to be said about Universal’s newest E-Ticket attraction? The queue for Escape From Gringotts is one of the best in theme park history, loaded with magical details from the Harry Potter films. There are incredible goblin animatronics and million dollar chandeliers hanging above that make the Gringotts Bank lobby almost an attraction by itself.

Unlike IOA’s Forbidden Journey’s “best of” trip through the first four Potter films, Escape From Gringotts places guests directly into events from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II. Ingeniously showing a movie scene from another perspective, Escape From Gringotts takes Universal’s motto of Ride The Movies to the next level.

Worst New Ride Experience – Being attacked by bees on Rip Ride Rocket 

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“Oh the humanity!” Swarms of bees attack riders on Universal Studios Florida’s Rip Ride Rockit. (photo by Mike Sperduto and Matt Cleary.)

While just a minor blip on the radar in 2014, the story of Rip Ride Rockit having a minor problem with bees was enough for us to envision the plot of a new horror film.

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Walt Disney World Ticket Prices Expected to Increase This Weekend

by on February 20, 2015

MYW_Ticket_LogoThis is your official warning! It’s apparently time for that annual event –  the Walt Disney World ticket price increase. According to the Orlando Sentinel, the Magic Kingdom will see a price increase that will raise the cost of a one day ticket to $105, plus tax, for adults (ages 10 and up.) This will finally take the Walt Disney World Resort over the $100 mark, making it the first theme park to do so.

In addition, it would seem that tickets for Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will also be increasing; guests can expect to pay $99 for an adult one day ticket (ages 10 and up.).

Of course, with the one day ticket price increases, it is also extremely likely that all other Magic Your Way ticket prices will also increase. These change are expected to occur over the weekend. (Prices will very likely increase for Sunday morning.)

The most recent price increase occurred one year ago, last February.

Rumors indicate that Disneyland may also see price increases, and of course, if Walt Disney World does increase their prices this weekend, then it will be highly likely that other Orlando theme parks (like Universal Orlando Resort) will also see increases.

I’ll make sure to have the full pricing details for you as soon as they are released.

If you’ll be traveling to Walt Disney World this year, consider purchasing your tickets now and remember that our Price Comparison Tool can help you find the least expensive tickets for your needs.

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Alternative Walt Disney World Photo Locations

by on February 20, 2015

It’s February. Over the past couple of weeks Disney Parks have been putting up construction walls all over the place, including around some of its most popular icons. The Hub in Magic Kingdom park is getting a complete overhaul, and the Partners Statue is in a box. Sleeping Beauty castle in Disneyland is boarded up for its diamond treatment. The Sorcerer’s Hat in Disney’s Hollywood Studios is almost gone!

So what happens when you visit at a low-crowd, high-refurbishment time of year and all your classic picture spots have fake curtains, walls or cranes? Find new photo spots! Even if the picture you post on Facebook doesn’t have Cinderella Castle behind you, most people will recognize where you are. Here are some great spots where you can get a fabulous Walt Disney World family picture:

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Disneyland or Disney World – What’s the Difference? Part 2

by on February 19, 2015

Disneyland or Disney WorldDisneyland or Disney World? Welcome back to our four part series, where we will continue to debate this very question. In case you missed it, in part one we took a look at some of the key differences between Disneyland and Disney World in the areas of size and scope, atmosphere, and weather. In part two, let’s continue our side-by-side comparison of Disneyland and Disney World by discussing the topics of crowds, pricing, and accommodations.

Crowds

The Disneyland Resort crowds are greatly affected by the number of local tourists that visit the Parks every day of the year. Disneyland Resort offers a variety of annual pass options that many local residents choose to purchase. Weekends and nice weather days will always see a jump in attendance throughout the year as annual pass holders take advantage how easy it is to just drop by the resort. Fridays and Mondays are also more crowded than the rest of the weekdays as locals extend their weekends. Another factor that impacts the Disneyland Resort crowds is the number of people visiting the area for conventions. The Anaheim Convention Center is the largest facility on the west coast and hosts thousands of visitors each year. Although the attendees are usually occupied for several hours a day with business, these travelers often take this opportunity to bring their families with them to enjoy the Disneyland Resort while they work. Not to mention, the crowds are also greater when the Disneyland Resort is offering one of their special events such as Halloween Time or Happy Lunar New Year.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: February 19, 2015

by on February 19, 2015

201Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’re enjoying meals not just at Kona Cafe, but also Finnegan’s Bar & Grill over at Universal. Of course, we’re also visiting the Universal Orlando Parks, Downtown Disney, and stopping by the Magic Kingdom too. I don’t know how I’m going to fit it all into just one blog! Let’s figure it out together. :)

For Valentine’s Day lunch we couldn’t think of a better place than Kona Cafe. The food is wonderful and the setting is comfy and casual. Traffic was worse than we’d anticipated so we made it to the podium exactly on time for our 12:30pm reservation. Of course, that meant we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table. They seemed quite short staffed with several empty tables despite gobs of people waiting outside. It was nice to have the tables next to us open, though. Our appetizer of potstickers ($8.49) were super yummy and came out so quickly they beat our drinks!

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Want to see what we ordered? Be sure to click to read more!

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First Details of Star Wars Weekends 2015

by on February 18, 2015

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©Disney

Star Wars Weekends are rapidly approaching; we are only 3 months away from Weekend I! This year the event takes place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios on weekends (Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays) from May 15 through June 14.

Star Wars Weekends dates for 2015 are:

  • Weekend I: May 15-17
  • Weekend II: May 22-24
  • Weekend III: May 29-31
  • Weekend IV: June 5-7
  • Weekend V: June 12-14

The excitement is ramping up as new details are starting to trickle out about this year’s events, like that fact that once again performing hosting duties each weekend will be character actor, James Arnold Taylor, who voiced Obi-Wan Kenobi in “Star Wars: Clone Wars.”

In addition to his general hosting duties, he will also be hosting the “Stars of the Saga” talk show, where he will interview some of the many celebrities that appear during Star Wars Weekends. The “Stars of the Saga” show will be taking place in an all new venue this year, the Theater of the Stars, allowing for more Guests than ever to experience the show. (The Theater of the Stars is where Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage is held, however don’t despair Beauty and the Beast fans! The show will still also be performed in the Theater of the Stars during Star Wars Weekends.)

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Take Part in the “My First Oscar Moment” Experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on February 17, 2015

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©Disney

Many people dream of walking the red carpet, hearing people shouting at them “Who are you wearing?” and seeing that beautiful golden statue in front of their eyes. Well, while I can’t guarantee you’ll ever get to experience taking part in the Oscars, I can guarantee you’ll get to experience a really neat and unique opportunity. You see, for a limited time, until February 22, Guests who visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios will have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see and take a photo with a gorgeous Oscar statuette.

The opportunity is being billed as the “My First Oscar Moment” and will be taking place during park hours inside The Magic of Disney Animation building. To find the photo opportunity, guests need to head to the location where Minnie Mouse meets (the section marked “Drawing Room”). The room has been taken over temporarily by the “My First Oscar Moment” experience, so Guests will be able to find Minnie in the hub area.

During the opportunity, Guests will get to walk the red carpet and pose with the Oscar statue, against a signature backdrop similar to one you’ll see the actual Oscar winners pose against, just moments after they win the golden statue. Guests are encouraged to post their unique photos to social media using the hashtag, #Oscars.

The 87th Oscars are airing this Sunday, February 22, on ABC at 7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT and will feature host Neil Patrick Harris.

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Disney World Crowd Calendar Report – February 8 to 14, 2015

by on February 17, 2015

Crowds at Walt Disney World started off much lower than our crowd calendar predicted in the first part of the week but then we quickly saw an increase in-line with the predicted arrival of guests for Presidents Day weekend. The peak in attendance on Friday and Saturday is not due to a surge of guests arriving to celebrate Valentines Day but rather due to the combination of Presidents Day and Mardi Gras occurring the following week.

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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Menu Monday: Best Counter Service Restaurant at Hollywood Studios

by on February 16, 2015

We continue this journey to find the best counter service restaurants in Hollywood Studios.  Hollywood Studios has to be one of the hardest counter service options to track because the menus and prices tend to change for each season. Add in the continuing construction, and things are bound to change. Before your next trip to the Studios, be sure to check out the latest menus for options and prices either at the Touring Plans menu page, or at the official Walt Disney World menu page. With that said, most of the menu staples will stay consistent. If a counter service location offers burgers and sandwiches, you can expect for it to be consistent, but you may find an updated price or a new “gourmet” option available. If you missed previous entries, be sure to read all about the best counter service options in Magic Kingdom, as well as in Animal Kingdom. To refresh your memory, here is the grading scale I’ve used to determining how each counter service location has earned it’s ranking:

  • Value (portion/cost ratio) = 10 points
  • Flavor = 10 points
  • Originality = 5 points
  • Atmosphere = 5 points
  • Grand total = 30 possible points

Sunset Boulevard Restaurant Row

Catalina Eddie's, Rosie's All-American Café, and Fairfaxe Fare are all located on Sunset Boulevard near Tower of Terror.

Catalina Eddie’s, Rosie’s All-American Café, and Fairfaxe Fare are all located on Sunset Boulevard near Tower of Terror.

It may seem like cheating, but due to the proximity of all of these options in the same area. They can easily be viewed as one dining location with multiple options, similar to the concept of the food court at your local mall. Catalina Eddie’s, Fairfax Fare, and Rosie’s All-American Café are all situated at the end of Sunset Boulevard, near the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Because of this prime real estate by two of the park’s powerhouse rides, and the fact that the three restaurants share the same seating area, this place gets packed quickly. It’s often a spot for families to gather and wait while a portion of their party experiences one ride or the other (or both). Because of this, finding an open table is tricky, and it gets busy early in the day and stays that way. The best plan of attack is to find a table before ordering food, then go in shifts to the location that appeals to your taste buds while another holds the table while you order. Never leave a child alone, but if you’re traveling with a several adults or teenagers, this is the best strategy.

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