Walt Disney World (FL)

SATURDAY SIX: Six Of Our Emotions Coming Out Of the D23 Expo

by on August 22, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six of Our Emotions Coming Out Of the D23 Expo. Last week we gave our D23 Expo Preview and can proudly announce that we were the only blog on the entire planet to call Disney involving Stan Lee in their Parks and Resorts presentation. While some would call us The Nostradamus of Theme Parks, we’d like to remind you that we are just your humble servants striving to provide the best possible article in the history of mankind. 

With that out of the way, what a D23 Expo it was! Hopefully you caught some of the excellent   D23 coverage by TouringPlan’s own Guy Selga (who has lovingly been referred to as a poor man’s Tom Bricker, or a rich man’s Tim Grassey). There were so many things to come out of of the Expo, but we’re going to take a page from this summer’s blockbuster hit Tomorrowland Inside Out and express our emotions via the very characters in the film! So sit back, relax, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

# 6 – JOY: Star Wars Land is finally announced!

Our long national nightmare is over. STAR WARS LAND IS COMING! From the day Star Tours opened in the 1980s we’ve all wanted more Star Wars in the theme parks and now we’re actually getting it. The man in charge, WDI’s Scott Trowbridge, is also the very same man behind one of the all time greatest rides in theme park history, Universal’s Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. While details were scarce, what we do know is a jaw dropper. The land will be spread out over 14 acres, have an attraction that sees guests piloting the Millennium Falcon, and cast members will stay completely in character, similar to the witches and wizards inside Diagon Alley.

STARWARSLAND_Joy

Do you believe in miracles?! (photo by Andrew Marchese)

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Disney With Small Children: Lessons Learned

by on August 21, 2015

Mickey BarAs a parent, taking your kids to Walt Disney World or Disneyland is a rite of passage of sorts. Whether you are a Disney parks veteran looking forward to taking your first family trip or a first timer deciding it’s time to visit Disney, there is no joy like getting the opportunity to experience “Disney magic” through the eyes of a small child. Even if you feel like you’ve got this whole parenting thing wired, though, a trip to Walt Disney World presents a unique set of challenges that are often overlooked by parents engrossed in their halcyon childhood memories and idyllic expectations of these trips. Being aware of these potential pitfalls will help you get ahead of them and prevent them from disrupting your vacation!

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever August 20, 2015: Magic Kingdom Farewell

by on August 21, 2015

In only two weeks, I’ll be boarding a plane to Amsterdam and leaving Orlando behind for a month-long European vacation — hopefully not the Chevy Chase kind. While across the pond, I’ll be exploring (and sharing with you, WiFi willing) some of the continent’s best theme parks, including Disneyland Paris. But my impending bon voyage means that my latest Best Week Ever visit to Walt Disney World will likely be my Magic Kingdom farewell until some time in October.

[Note: I realize that to people who don’t live in the Orlando area and only visit WDW every few years, the above sounds a bit ridiculous. But such is the life of a theme park writer, so try to suspend disbelief for the sake of this column.]

With that in mind, I documented this final summer stroll around Florida’s favorite theme park, in which I pulled off the amazing anti-achievement of only experiencing one single attraction during my entire afternoon. What ride or show did I pick for my final taste of the Magic Kingdom before departing the country? Read on and find out!

Let’s begin our Magic Kingdom journey the same way every guest’s visit starts: with a walk through the tunnel under the Main Street Train Station

 

And the dramatic reveal of Town Square:

 

It appears I’ve arrived just in time for the 3 o’clock parade! I wonder what time it is?…

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Easy DisneyBounding for Families

by on August 20, 2015

If you’ve ever visited a Disney park, it is likely that you have seen people dressed in clothing (not costumes) that is evocative of a specific Disney character. This is called DisneyBounding. DisneyBounding can be extremely fun, whether you take pleasure in planning intricate outfits or whether you like to do something on the more conservative side, like wearing a character t-shirt. I always enjoy seeing DisneyBounding, particularly when it is done by a group or a family. When everyone gets into the spirit, it just takes it to the next level!

Easy DisneyBounding for Families

While I applaud the families that can go all-out and DisneyBound with every single detail represented perfectly, the reality is that different levels of interest and ease will impact a group’s DisneyBounding efforts. For example, while your daughter might be thrilled to walk around in a dress that screams Ariel, and you are happy to join in the fun in an Ursula-themed outfit, and your husband gets in on the fun with some King Triton-esque apparel, maybe your son isn’t so keen on representing Prince Eric. By the time all is said and done, all you can get him to do is carry around a toy sword (because seriously, who wouldn’t want to carry around a toy sword?!). While there is nothing wrong with a partially DisneyBounding family, you were hoping for something a little more engaging for everyone. My solution for this – keep it simple.

I’m going to share some easy DisneyBounding ideas that can be accomplished with t-shirts or tops that focus in particular on groups and pairs. I’ve participated in a lot of this type of DisneyBounding, and the reactions from guests and cast members are always fantastic! The upside to this approach is that even the most conservative in your group can usually be persuaded to wear a t-shirt (bribing the over-21’s in the crowd with adult beverages is also quite effective).

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Additional Details About the Royal Sommerhaus in the Norway Pavilion

by on August 19, 2015

A few months back, details were released about what Guests will be able to expect with the upcoming Frozen Ever After attraction, but only a cursory mention was made about the Frozen meet and greet opportunity, called Royal Sommerhaus.

Well, during The D23 Expo, Disney Imagineer Kathy Mangum spoke about the upcoming Frozen attraction, as well as gave a few more details about the Royal Sommerhaus, plus we received a look at the concept art.

©Disney

©Disney

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Disney World Crowd Calendar Report – August 9 to 15, 2015

by on August 18, 2015

How Did the Disney World Crowd Calendar Do Last Week?

How Did the Disney World Crowd Calendar Do Last Week?

It is the middle of August and summer is still in full swing although Disney World crowds are dipping below levels expected by the Disney World Crowd Calendar (except at Magic Kingdom). The extreme rainstorms washing out central Florida may be factor or it may be a simple dip in the natural flow of attendance to the parks. Either way, last week’s Disney World Crowds were surprisingly low.

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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Disney Hotel Amenities: The Good, The Bad, and The Unnecessary

by on August 18, 2015

I think everyone can agree that when they stay in a hotel they’re expecting to find, at a minimum, a clean, safe, place to sleep. After that, almost everything else is an amenity: something to induce comfort or convenience rather than an absolute necessity.

Coffee maker at Port Orleans Riverside

Coffee maker at Port Orleans Riverside

Of course most hotels do provide at least a little something beyond fresh sheets and a lock on the door. With extras, they distinguish themselves from competitors, define their brand, and build loyalty. However, the perceived utility and value of specific amenities varies widely. For example, about a year ago a friend of mine stayed at the Grand Floridian at Walt Disney World. She posted a Facebook rant about her anger and disappointment when she didn’t receive turndown service at the hotel. She had paid a premium to stay at the most luxe accommodations on property. She had been looking forward to turndown and was upset when this amenity did not materialize.

My first reaction to her post was that if I didn’t receive turndown, I would be slightly relieved.

I happen to think turndown is silly. I’m perfectly capable of fluffing my own pillows. And when they leave me that little chocolate, I inevitably eat it, which is something I’ve been trying to avoid lately. My friend’s amenity is my annoyance, so much so that I was intrigued when I read about a German hotel with a “reverse housekeeping policy” where they’ll only make up your room if you specifically ask them to. If I’m traveling with my kids, I’m all for full housekeeping service, but when I’m on my own at a hotel, I’d usually prefer to be left alone.

Bath supplies at the Beach Club villas

Bath supplies at the Beach Club villas

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Happy HalloWishes Dessert Premium Package Introduced for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

by on August 17, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

If you’re going to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom this year, then you’ll have the opportunity to participate in a brand new dessert party called the Happy HalloWishes Dessert Premium Package.

This special opportunity will offer guests a premium viewing location at the flag pole in Town Square on Main Street U.S.A. for Mickey’s Boo To You Parade. After the parade, guests will then make their way over to the Tomorrowland Terrace where they will be able to experience a special dessert party. From here, you’ll be able to catch the Happy HalloWishes fireworks show.

The dessert party will feature lots of great Halloween-themed treats chocolate-dipped strawberries, adorable ghost meringues, candy corn panna cotta, peanut butter-chocolate pretzel “witch fingers,” spiced pumpkin cheesecake brownies, peanut butter “spider” whoopie pies, seasonal fruits and cheeses, and yes, seasonal cupcakes. Beverages will include sparkling cider, lemonade, hot chocolate, coffee or tea. Guests will also receive a skull mug filled with candy as a trick-or-treat takeaway. 

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Get “hooked” on Columbia Harbour House

by on August 17, 2015

MK Columbian Harbour House - AmyFarkasNestled on the edge of Liberty Square, across from Haunted Mansion and Memento Mori, you will find Columbia Harbour House — one of the original restaurants of the Magic Kingdom. This Quick Service restaurant opened in 1971 and is themed like a Revolutionary Era tavern or inn. When viewed from outside in Liberty Square, Columbia Harbour House looks as if it came straight out of a New England town. When viewed from Fantasyland the restaurant has a vintage German village feel to it. The inside however, definitely fits in with the Colonial American feel of Liberty Square. It reminds me of an old coastal town in Connecticut that my family visited one year on vacation: full of ship wheels, boat models, pewter-ware, and wood paneling.

For years our trips to the Magic Kingdom included a mere walk by of the bell ringing cast member in front of Columbia Harbour House. The thought of eating greasy battered fish like found at fast food restaurants in our home town just didn’t appeal to us and we wondered why people always seemed to be going in. Boy were we ever disillusioned. One try of the Columbia Harbour House and we were “hooked”. Now it is a must do for every trip.

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Disney Hacks #1: Tips and Tricks for your Walt Disney World Vacation

by on August 16, 2015

Hey everyone! This will be the first in what I expect to be a series of articles providing little tips and tricks to make your Disney trips go more smoothly — a random smattering of bits of advice that might not individually warrant their own articles that I call “Disney hacks.” So, without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Stroller Tip #25: Making Your Stroller Visible

Best of luck locating your stroller!

For many Walt Disney World Visitors, strollers are a necessary part of a trip, and a necessary part of having a stroller is leaving it somewhere once you get to where you’re going. Unfortunately, even if you know exactly where it is, finding your stroller afterwards can be challenging, especially at night. You’ve got to pick it out of a sea of very similar-looking strollers, a problem that is compounded if you rented it from Disney or one of the more popular vendors. Moreover, Cast Members routinely rearrange and shuffle strollers to tidy them up over time, so even if you think you know where it is, there’s a decent chance it has been moved. The solution is to make your stroller stand out so you can look for something unique that happens to be attached to your stroller rather than looking for the stroller itself.  

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