Thanks to the folks at the WDW Today podcast, I was able to put together a timeline of things that my parents and I will have to do to prepare for our Walt Disney World trip. I put it together in August and sent it to my father…and then completely forgot about it.
Suddenly a couple of weeks ago, I realized that some of those things on the timeline were quickly approaching. I called up my dad and we discussed a few things concerning our lodging. With his input, I know that we made some good choices.
As I mentioned recently, for Star Wars fans, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is going to be the place to be coming up this winter at Walt Disney World. The fun will be staggered, but begins soon – December 1. Actually, some of the fun has already started, as the new scene and other fun surprises have already been added to Star Tours: The Adventures Continue.
As a reminder, here is what Guests can expect to see beginning December 1 in the park, transporting them to a galaxy far, far away:
Star Wars Launch Bay
Located in Animation Courtyard, the Star Wars Launch Bay will be a primary location within the park for fans to celebrate all things Star Wars. Guests will be able to see special concept artwork, interact with beloved Star Wars characters, tour galleries featuring treasured memorabilia and replicas of large-scale Star Wars artifacts, including ones from Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and play the latest Star Wars interactive video games, plus you’ll of course, have access to special Star Wars merchandise.
In our second segment of music from Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we go to the section of the park that revolves around Africa. This area includes a village called Harambe and the attractions Kilimanjaro Safaris and Festival of the Lion King.
Harambe Village (and its market) has a nice variety of music in its area. It doesn’t stick to the norm, but mixes styles that make you feel like you’re in a real African village.
The village was created as a good connection to the savannah that you see in Kilimanjaro Safaris. The idea was that people who lived in the village would be in charge of the savannah and the safari rides. There’s a lot of history shown through the weathered buildings, fort, and canons. But the area music brings out the modern style.
Crowds across Walt Disney World Resort were slightly lower than expected overall in the early part of last week and higher than expected in the latter half of the week. Again last week we saw record breaking wait times for this time of year. On Monday for example, At Magic Kingdom we saw a crowd level ‘9’. The same day last year was a crowd level ‘1’. Animal Kingdom saw some wild swings in wait times day-to-day although four of the seven days the Disney World Crowd Calendar was within one of what we observed at that park.
We recently added a collection of videos to our YouTube channel that show samples of walkthroughs at the Magic Kingdom during various crowd level days. Take a look and let us know what you think.
Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the Disney World Crowd Calendar Report:
New Force Awakens footage is featured in Star Tours at Disney’s Hollywood Studios
Star Wars Episode VII doesn’t open until next month, but the Force is already awake inside the Star Tours ride at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Unlike Disneyland, Walt Disney World won’t debut the Seasons of the Force special event (which replaces the long-running Star Wars Weekends) until January 5 (Launch Bay with displays and character greetings opens December 1), but one element of the event is already having its “soft opening” at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. As of November 16, new Force Awakens footage has been added to DHS’s Star Tours attraction, and we were there on the first day to experience the changes.
I caught up with the quartet, who posted on Twitter that they are returning to Scotland to record an album, after a recent afternoon performance. They said that they have no plans to return to Walt Disney World after next week, so if you are a Paul McKenna Band fan you only have a few days left to see them without having to fly across the pond.
It’s fair to say that, although McKenna and company are talented performers who authentically represent their musical tradition, they never enjoyed the kind of cult-like popularity garnered by Off Kilter, the Canadian rock band that was controversially canceled prior to McKenna’s debut.
In case you never had a chance to experience the Paul McKenna Band in person, I’ve immortalized one of their sets on YouTube for posterity:
Disney World has truly spectacular offerings during the holiday season.
It’s no secret that I dress for success when I plan my outfit choices in Walt Disney World – no detail is left out. While this usually refers to some light DisneyBounding, it means something a little different in December, when a cute dress and Mickey ears isn’t enough to get you through the cold evenings in the parks. Thanks to the fantastic holiday offerings, December is one of the most exciting times to visit Disney World. You’ve got Magic Kingdom’s Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP), Epcot’s Candlelight Processional, and Hollywood Studios’ Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights. On top of that, the resorts and parks are decked out in their holiday finest, so even if you don’t want to spring for the extra cost of a party ticket to MVMCP, you can still enjoy the ambiance during the day. Just make sure, as you’re planning for your holiday trip, to give serious consideration to the weather. As unlikely as it sounds, Florida gets COLD at night in December!
I know what you might be thinking, “I’m from [insert cold state here — mine is Michigan]; Florida doesn’t even know what cold is! I walk eight miles uphill both ways through six feet of snow just to get to the Disney Store!” Okay, that might not be exactly what you thought, but it is pretty close to my viewpoint on the subject before my first December trip. Luckily, I followed the advice of others and (even though I scoffed) I packed for the cold weather. And thank goodness I did! Based on that experience, I’m going to give you a breakdown of my 5 must-pack items for cold weather, some tips specific to nighttime holiday entertainment options, and a few final pieces of advice so you can dress for success on your holiday adventures in Disney World!
This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Hidden Mickeys at the Universal Orlando Resort. Most of us who have traveled to “The World” have become well versed in the concept of Hidden Mickeys: three circles placed together to resemble the iconic silhouette of Mickey Mouse. Walt Disney Imagineers have placed them all across the WDW parks and resorts (including some of our favorites at Art of Animation). The term itself has expanded to include hidden references beyond the classic Mickey head, such as the Nautilus from the old 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction hidden in the rock work of Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid, the ride which replaced it. Believe it or not, there are references to Disney all over the Universal Orlando Resort as well. Today we are going to look at six of our favorite “Hidden Mickeys” at Universal, starting off with…
# 6 – The Simpsons Ride Pre-Show
Like the TV show it is based on, The Simpsons Ride pulls no punches in mocking the world of theme parks throughout the attraction. Disney, Universal and SeaWorld take a lot of playful jabs from the attraction’s queue all the way to the gift shop. Some of our favorites are seen during the the first pre-show, in which guests watch a video that sets up the storyline of the ride. In between the video, fake ads for attractions at Krustyland (itself a parody of Disneyland) air including ones making fun of The Haunted Mansion, Hall of Presidents, Pirates of the Caribbean, and even Epcot’s defunct Kitchen Kaberet.
Reference to The Haunted Mansion. (photo by Amusement Buzz)
Reference to The Hall of Presidents. (photo by @AmusementBuzz)
Spotted hyenas are beginning to be able to be seen on Kilimanjaro Safaris.
On November 19, at Disney’s Hollywood Studios Guests will have the chance to vote on five to six videos for America’s Funniest Home Videos inside of Premiere Theater at 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Guests participating will need to be at least 9 years of age or older to vote, and all Guests who vote will receive a free AFV t-shirt.