Walt Disney World (FL)

The BOATHOUSE Now Open at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney

by on April 13, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

The BOATHOUSE is the newest restaurant open in Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World. The upscale waterfront dining establishment that specializes in serving steaks, chops, seafood, a raw bar, and more, opened today in what will become The Landing section of Disney Springs. The restaurant will also feature unique nautical offerings, such as a fleet of Aphicars (yep, these cars can go in the water), water taxis, rare dream boats, and more.

As far as the menu is concerned, it is very upscale, however there are a few not so ritzy items offered, as well. Menu offerings are:

Raw Bar

Oysters on the Half Shell – $3.50

Yellowfin Tuna Poke – $16.00

Florida Stone Crab Claws - (Market Price)

Wild Caught Baja Cocktail Shrimp – $4.00

Laughing Bird Shrimp Ceviche – $16.00

Crab & Avocado – $15.00

Anastasia Gold Caviar – $100.00

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Camping 101: Getting around Fort Wilderness

by on April 12, 2015

The third installment in an ongoing series about the ins and outs of camping at Disney’s Fort Wilderness, this entry will focus on the different methods of getting around the campground which can be overwhelming due to its size. Please be sure to catch up with Part 1 about RV rentals and Part 2 which was about getting groceries to your campsite.

Now that you have the basics of food and shelter planned out, how about a convenience factor such as how you will get around the campgrounds. Of course you can always opt to just schlep it on foot, but this may be an unwise move. The trading posts, restaurants, and recreational activities are spread throughout the complex. And, although it is camping, hiking everywhere you need to go may just not be feasible.

The most important thing you must know about transportation at Fort Wilderness is that the is no car parking except at your own campsite or cabin, at the front of the resort (the Outpost) for check-in and day guests, and 15 minute parking at the Meadows Trading Post for picking up supplies from the retail outlet there. There is no parking at the Settlement (where you find Hoop Dee Doo and Trail’s End) except for bikes and golf carts.

Options

1) Disney Transportation

Disney's map of Fort Wilderness including bus routes.

Disney’s map of Fort Wilderness including bus routes.

Disney busing is a wonderful amenity to all of the Disney resorts, and the Fort Wilderness campgrounds is no exception. Not only do they have busing that takes you to the parks and Downtown Disney, but they also have internal loops that will take you to the different areas of the campground. Lines are labeled as Orange, Yellow, or Purple. All three begin and end at the Settlement Depot and the Outpost Depot, but take different paths through the campground. It is always best to check the color coded map in the bus depot to see which bus line you need, as things do change, but I will give you a brief primer. Click the map to the right to view full size.

The purple line runs through the 2000-2800 campsite areas and passes a those sites’ sports areas with volleyball, basketball, and quiet pools. The orange line runs through the 600-700 and the 1000-1300 campsite areas. The yellow line runs through the 100-500 and 1400-1900 campsite areas. Both the orange and yellow lines will take you to the Meadows which includes: Chip and Dale’s Campfire Sing A Long, the Bike Barn where you can rent golf carts, bikes, canoes and kayaks, the Meadow recreation area which contains the Meadow swimming pool, snack bar, Daniel Boone’s Wilderness arcade, shuffleboards, and horseshoes,  and the Meadow Trading Post.

There is also bus transportation to the Wilderness Lodge at the Settlement, and boat transportation to Wilderness Lodge, the Contemporary, and Magic Kingdom from the Settlement dock.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Events That Will NOT Be On Any Theme Park Calendar

by on April 11, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Events That Will NOT Be On Any Theme Park Calendar. We here at the Saturday Six offices are huge fans of the special events that take place in Orlando. Whether it’s admiring the topiaries at Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival, screaming during Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights, or enjoying Santa and the rest of the Christmas parade during Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, there seems to be something to enjoy every part of the year. But today we’re going to go in the other direction. We’re going to take a look at six events which we won’t be seeing anytime soon, starting with…

# 6 – Night of Juggalo at the Magic Kingdom

Each year Disney holds its Christian music celebration, Night of Joy, in the Magic Kingdom, but what about other types of music? What about the Insane Clown Posse? The Night of Juggalo event would be a weekend celebration that would totally change up the Magic Kingdom. During the party, the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique would offer tattoos and piercings with their offerings. Instead of LeFou’s Brew, Gaston’s Tavern would serve Faygo from its taps. And the Dapper Dans would use their four part harmony to sing tunes from the songbook of Psychopathic Records. It’s an event that no party goer will ever forget, no matter how many counselling sessions they go to.

EVENTS_NightOfJuggalos_Castle

The Insane Clown Posse playing in front of Cinderella Castle. WHOOP WHOOP! (And seriously, how DO magnets work?!)

EVENTS_NightOfJuggalo_ad_clean

With Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J in charge, rules will be a bit more “relaxed” during party nights. We all miss Flash Mountain, right?

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Least Crowded Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2015 Dates

by on April 10, 2015

Last year I wrote about what we expected to be the least crowded Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. It proved to be a very popular topic, so here I am once again to review the information from last year and give you an even better projection for 2015. Make sure you check out our dedicated page for a complete list of dates as well as a thorough description of what the Christmas party is.

christmas mk lightsIn short, if you’re looking for the best Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2015, we recommend Tuesday, November 10, 2015. Last year we recommended the exact same date; Monday, November 10, 2014, and it honestly didn’t turn out great, being only the 11th least busy party by our calculation. However, we think that was an aberration, since over the past 3 years combined, that date still ranks number 2 overall. Being that the November 10th party this year is on a Tuesday, the least busy day historically, we are comfortable recommending it.

Since I’m sure you’re wondering how we did with our recommendations last year, the answer is…not too bad. There were several predictions that we nailed, but we had a few that were a little off that we have fixed for this year’s recommendations. Here are the top 5 from last year’s recommendations:

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10 Places to Stay the Night before Your Disney Cruise out of Port Canaveral

by on April 10, 2015

So where should you stay the night before your Disney cruise out of Port Canaveral?  My number one answer is – not in your own bed!  Well, unless your bed is within a few hours driving distance of the port that is.  In Port Canaveral, everyone must be onboard the ship by 4 pm, so while for many people there is certainly time to travel in on the day of the cruise, recognize that you are taking a risk!  That ship is sailing with or without you, so any travel delays won’t just make you late for your vacation, they could make you miss your vacation!  On an Alaskan cruise, a one hour flight delay due to wind was enough to make us miss our connection and we couldn’t make it into Vancouver until the next day.  But thankfully the ship wasn’t leaving until the next day!  So we made it.  Another hundred dollars or so for a hotel room within driving distance of the pier is the best insurance you can buy in my opinion.  So here are a few options for you!

Walt Disney World

1. Walt Disney World Resort – The most obviously fun place to stay would be any resort at Walt Disney World! Walt Disney World is a little over an hour away from Port Canaveral and has a lot of options and price points. Who wouldn’t want to visit Disney World for a night (or six) before you sail away? If you would like to take Disney transfers to the port, they cost $70 per person roundtrip and will pick you up from any Disney resort. Be aware, if you are in a hurry to get to the port for the earliest possible boarding, transfers from Disney World won’t usually get you there until noon at the earliest. Your hotel will give you a pick up time the night before. If you are desperate to be there earlier and want to stick with Disney transfers, you can also take Disney Magical Express back to the airport and catch a transfer from there. It’s a little more time consuming, of course, but you could be on one of the earliest transfers if that’s your goal! The transfers from the airport usually start leaving a little after nine and those first busses are the first people in the terminal.

2. Shades of Green – If you are eligible, Shades of Green is a great place to stay on property. Located within walking distance of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Shades of Green is owned and operated by the U.S. Armed Forces. It’s open to all active duty U.S. military personnel, including members of the National Guard and Reserves, retired military, employees of the U.S. Public Health Service and the Department of Defense, foreign military personnel attached to U.S. units, and some civilian contractors. The rooms are some of the largest on property, and rates are determined by rank. Disney Cruise Line transfers will not pick up at Shades of Green, but if you wish to take Disney transfers, you can walk over to the Polynesian and catch them there. Shades is a beautiful, peaceful resort and I’d recommend it to anyone eligible to stay there.

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Tickets Now On Sale for Walt Disney World 2015 Special Hard Ticket Events

by on April 8, 2015

MNSSHP and MVMCPBack in February, Disney released the dates for the 2015 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties and the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties. In addition, we’ve received some preliminary information about Night of Joy. Well, I have good news! Tickets are now on sale for all three events!

First, let’s take a look at Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. (If you haven’t already done so, check out our recent Least Crowded Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Parties blog post.) This year’s parties will take place on select nights from September 15 through November 1. Parties will run from 7:00 p.m. until midnight. Pricing for the party nights varies depending on the evening, and there are discounts for select nights. Typically there is an advance purchase discount, minus a few exceptions.

Here’s what you can expect to pay (prices do not include tax): 

Dates: September 15, 18, 20, 22, 25, 27; October 1

  Adult (Ages 10+) Child (Ages 3-9)
Advance Purchase Discount $68 $63
Day of Event $74 $69

 

Dates: October 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, and November 1

  Adult (Ages 10+) Child (Ages 3-9)
Advance Purchase Discount $74 $69
Day of Event $79 $74

Date: October 31

  Adult (Ages 10+) Child (Ages 3-9)
Cost $87 $82

 

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Feel the Force Premium Packages Return for Star Wars Weekends

by on April 8, 2015

Star-Wars-Weekends-2005-Logo49848807

©Disney

Are you looking to take in the ultimate Star Wars Weekends day at Disney’s Hollywood Studios? Then you should certainly consider purchasing one of two Star Wars Weekends Premium Packages.

The first is known as the Feel the Force Premium Package. Here guests will get reserved viewing for the Legends of the Force Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade, complete with soft drinks, water, and snacks. Guests also get to take part in ONE of the Celebrity Talk Shows in Theater of the Stars. Your show time will be selected at check-in. Finally, to end the evening, guests get to experience the “Symphony in the Stars” Fireworks Dessert Party, where guests will enjoy Star Wars-themed desserts (like the delicious Darth Vader cupcake), as well as a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and a great view of the evening’s fireworks. The cost of the Feel the Force Premium Package is $69 per adult (ages 10 and up) and $39 per child (ages 3-9). Tax and gratuity are included.

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Forget the Park Hopper: Reasons Why One Park is All You Need for the Day

by on April 8, 2015

Park Hopper Magic Kingdom

Ed. – Today is “Both Sides of the Pressed Penny Day!” The topic is To Park Hop or Not to Park Hop. Claire looks at compelling reasons for both in two articles that run concurrently today. For the other side of the coin, read “Why You Should Park Hop.”

One of the decisions a Walt Disney World visitor needs to make before arrival is whether or not to add a Park Hopper to their Magic Your Way tickets. There are times when adding a Park Hopper is a great idea…but there are other times when visiting one park each day is all that’s necessary!

The Price

Sometimes a Walt Disney World trip is planned on a budget, and cuts need to be made in certain places. On a short vacation (1 to 3 days) a Park Hopper, per person, ranges from a $53.25 to a $68.16 add-on to a multi-day ticket, according to TouringPlans.com’s Ticket Calculator. The more days you stay, the lower the cost.

Park Hopper Epcot

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Remember the Park Hopper: Reasons to do Multiple Parks in One Day

by on April 8, 2015

magickingdom2Ed. – Today is “Both Sides of the Pressed Penny Day!” The topic is To Park Hop or Not to Park Hop. Claire looks at compelling reasons for both in two articles that run concurrently today. For the other side of the coin, read “Why One Park is All You Need.”

The Options

If you go to the parks with a big family, giving the children freedom to choose can be one small step to a happy family vacation. If your child says, “Let’s do Small World!” and you have to tell them, “But we’re in the Studios right now,” you might have just set off a powder keg.

Options are also incredibly helpful when you are nearing the end of your vacation and your children still have a few go-to attractions to check off on their lists in several different parks. Park Hopping will be very helpful to make sure all the bases are covered.

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Selfie Sticks Not Allowed on Disney Attractions

by on April 7, 2015

You’ve seen them everywhere…the prolific elongated rod where people attach a camera or a phone to a clamp to help them take a selfie. Ah…the good old selfie stick. Many have strong opinions either loving them or hating them. So,  while the rule has always been in place that all personal items need to be stored prior to riding an attraction, it would seem, that with the number of these sticks you now see in the parks, that guests would need a reminder.

As the announcements go when boarding attractions, guests are to keep their hands, arms, feet, and legs inside the attraction vehicles at all time; this includes selfie sticks. (Or really anything that would stick up out of the moving attraction vehicle.)  All guests’ personal belongings are to be properly stored when onboard an attraction, tram, or other moving vehicle. If a Cast Member sees a selfie stick while boarding an attraction, the guest will be asked to put it away.

On another note, if you are in a congested area, you should also consider refraining from utilizing your selfie stick.

Keep in mind, this is not a full on ban of selfie sticks at Walt Disney World or Disneyland; the best tip is to just be mindful of the guests around you.

While I am clearly going to be opening a can of worms asking this question: what are your thoughts on selfie sticks?

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