Walt Disney World (FL)

A Magic Kingdom Scavenger Hunt

by on January 18, 2015

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Cinderella Castle

One of the most magical things about Disney World is that there is something to see everywhere you look! But just how much do you actually stop and look? If you’re up for a challenge, I have one for you. Whether you consider yourself a Magic Kingdom Master, or you would just like something extra fun to do at the park, I invite you to try this Magic Kingdom Scavenger Hunt!

I have photos of 15 things that you may or may not have noticed at the Magic Kingdom park and it’s up to you to find them. Don’t worry if you get stuck, there is a hint for each one. Also, to make things a little more interesting, especially if you’re the competitive type, finding each item is worth a certain number of points. The higher the points, the harder it may be to locate. For those of you aiming high, a perfect score is exactly 30 points.

So there are two ways you can use this Magic Kingdom Scavenger Hunt. First of all, you take this scavenger hunt to the Magic Kingdom yourself and see how many of the following you can find. It’s an interesting way to pass the time when you’re waiting in line or when the park is crowded, and is sure to make you appreciate the little Disney touches. It’s also a fun activity for the kids. Another way to use this scavenger hunt is to take a guess from home on where to find the following and see how many points you can win! If you get stumped, there is an answer key at the end of the post, so don’t scroll too far if you want to avoid spoilers.

Are you ready? Let’s start!

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Cinderella Sneak Peek Taking Place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on January 17, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Are you looking forward to the upcoming live-action version of Cinderella? Well guests at Disney’s Hollywood Studios will soon get two chances to participate in unique experiences that relate back to the film.

The first starts today. At the ABC Sound Studio (the former location of Sounds Dangerous, for those of you who remember that attraction), guests will be able to catch a special preview of the film. The experience will take place every 30 minutes, beginning at 10:00 a.m. and it will contain several clips from the movie, plus more. Overall, the preview will last approximately 10 minutes.

Clearly the ABC Sound Studio has become upcoming Disney movie sneak peek central, because previously the location has recently shown previews of The Lone Ranger, Maleficent, and Guardians of the Galaxy.

The Cinderella sneak peek will be presented until March 21.

I did mention that there will be one additional Cinderella experience that guests will be able to take part in. For that, Guests will be able to head to the Streets of America and will be able to take photos with Cinderella’s gorgeous golden coach, which is featured in the movie. The coach will be available for guests to see from February 1 until April 11.

Cinderella hits theaters on March 13.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter

by on January 17, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter. Regular readers of the Saturday Six know how much we enjoy staying onsite at the Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World, and while Disney is challenged to compete with some the amenities that Universal can offer its guests, where it does shine is the overall amount and unique hotels on property. Universal has a total of four onsite hotels (soon to be five with the opening of Sapphire Falls in 2016) while Disney has five value resorts alone, not to mention all the moderate, deluxe, and DVC resorts on property. Today we are going to look at our absolute favorite moderate: Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter.

POFQ_logo

Port Orleans French Quarter.

 

Disney’s Port Orleans is broken up into two sections: French Quarter, and Riverside, the latter of which is the much larger of the two resorts. While Riverside certainly has its fans (in fact we’d probably consider it our extremely close second favorite moderate,) we prefer Port Orleans (POFQ) and here are six reason why, starting with…

# 6 - Sassagoula Float Works and Food Factory

French Quarter doesn’t have a table service restaurant (although Riverside’s Boatwright’s Dining Hall is a short walk away,) but it does have a fantastic counter service with the Sassagoula Float Works. Set up like a mall food court, there are several different stations offering Louisiana-inspired dishes such as Po’Boys, Jambalaya, Gumbo, and Beignets. For lunch you can not go wrong with one of the various Po’Boys (our favorites were the pork and beef versions) along with a side of bean salad or house-made chips. As we wrote about in our review of the Fantasy Fare food truck, Disney makes surprisingly good chips. For dinner you gotta go with the Jambalaya or Pot Roast, and any time of the day is good for an order of beignets. Made fresh-to-order and covered in powdered sugar, these beignets are one of the best treats at WDW.

POFQ_BBQpoboy

Pork Po’Boy with bean salad from Sassagoula Float Works and Food Factory.

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Artists Announced for the Garden Rocks Concert Series for the 2015 Flower and Garden Festival

by on January 16, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Today is full of details about the Epcot special events. First, the dates were released for the 2015 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and now we have the line-up of artists who will be performing during the Garden Rocks Concert Series for the 2015 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. (For those keeping score, the Garden Rocks Concert Series was previously called the Flower Power Concert Series. Since all the artists who are performing nowadays weren’t necessarily around during the 50s, 60s, and 70s, I guess Disney felt the “Flower Power” name didn’t really fit any more.)

Some of the artists performing at this year’s Garden Rocks Concert Series have previously played during the Eat to the Beat Concert Series during the Food & Wine Festival, including Taylor Dane and Starship, and some have been performing at the Flower Power Concert Series for years, such as Peter Noone and The Village People. This year’s list of artists is really an eclectic mix. 

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Dates Announced for the 2015 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

by on January 16, 2015

Disney

Disney

It’s the tastiest time of the year…the dates for the 2015 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival have been announced. The fantastic fall event will take place for a grand total of 53 days from September 25 through November 16.

The Epcot Food & Wine Festival features such highlights as nearly 30 Marketplace Booths (featuring lots of yummy sweet and savory tapas-sized food and beverages options), the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, celebrity chef demonstrations, beverage seminars, signature dining experiences, and much, much more!

More details for the event will be released later this year, so I’ll be sure to let you know the info when they do! I cannot wait to once again enjoy the deliciousness that is this great annual event.

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How to Experience an Empty Magic Kingdom

by on January 16, 2015

What do you think of when you think of Disney World? Castles? Princesses? Pirates? I sure do! But just like everyone else, I can also think of less magical things such as crowds, long lines, and wait times. Fortunately, Touring Plans can help cut down those long lines and wait times; but one thing that can’t be done is to remove the throngs of people entirely. That is, until now. Yes, in this post, I will explain how to experience an empty Magic Kingdom before the park opens up to the droves of guests. Read on!

I had the castle to myself!

I had the castle to myself!

The Secret

The Magic Kingdom opens most mornings at 9:00 AM, but the secret is that two park restaurants open even earlier, such as The Crystal Palace and Cinderella’s Royal Table. (Note: Cinderella’s Royal Table is currently closed for refurbishment but is expected to reopen in spring of 2015.) If you are able to book an advance dining reservation before park opening, you will be able to walk through the empty park in order to check-in for your breakfast!

Now, before you get too excited, let me clarify a few things. For one, the shows and attractions at the Magic Kingdom do not open for anyone until the park opens, and many of the surrounding lands are roped off to guests who do have early morning reservations. Still, getting in early was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had at Disney World.

Getting In

When I first heard about this Disney World secret, I immediately booked an advance dining reservation at The Crystal Palace for my upcoming vacation dates. It took some checking and re-checking for several days, but I finally was able to grab a reservation at 8:20 AM on a day when the park opened at 9:00 AM. Score!

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Relocating to Florida: Part Two – New Surroundings, Schools and The Disney Distance

by on January 16, 2015

Photo - Michael DahlgrenWelcome to Part Two of my relocation series! If you missed the beginning of this series where I interview fellow TouringPlans bloggers, Julia Mascardo and Natalie Reinert about weather and finances, read Part One to hear more about relocating to Florida.

Today, we’re going to discuss housing and living within close proximity to Walt Disney World. Let’s begin!

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Disney World Planning Challenges: First-Time Touring at Crowd Level 10

by on January 15, 2015

Fantasyland - December 30, 2014, 11:09 AM (Photo by Sarah Graffam)

Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland – December 30, 2014, 11:09 AM (Photo by Sarah Graffam)

We finally took the plunge this year. After multiple trips to Walt Disney World in assorted months, my family decided to take a trip during the absolute busiest time at the World, between Christmas and the first few days of January. As first-time Christmas time visitors at Disney World, we had certain expectations about how it would be to tour with the masses of people visiting during the holidays. This article tells how these expectations matched up with reality as well as how well our planning and previous trips prepared us for the trip. But first, here is some background on how we got to the point of braving Christmas time crowds at Disney World.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: January 15, 2015

by on January 15, 2015

1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’ll be visiting the Disney Marathon at Epcot, stopping by Disney’s Hollywood Studios to check on the hat, and finishing up at Magic Kingdom. Ready for some fun? Let’s go! :)

So why would I include a photo of the Walt Disney World maingate entrance? You might recall that last week I recommended getting to the parks extra early this weekend because of the Disney Marathon. I’ve always enjoyed getting in extra early and getting ahead of the crowds during race weekends, but it had been years since I showed up at 11am. Well, showing up that late meant that traffic stopped right where I took this photo! I decided to tough it out this year so I could share what it looks like with you guys. Click to read more if you’d like to see why you should get there early! 

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New Details About Frozen Addition for Epcot’s Norway Pavilion

by on January 14, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

Good news, Frozen fans! Reports say that documents have been filed with the South Florida Water Management District and the Reedy Creek Improvement District that share some new details about what we can expect with the updated Norway Pavilion at Epcot.

The paperwork indicates that a brand new 13,000 square foot building will be added in what is currently a backstage area that is situated between the Mexico Pavilion and the Norway Pavilion. This new section will house the previously announced Frozen meet and greet, women’s restrooms, and more.

For a map overlay of how the project may fit in Epcot, check out Theme Park Insider.

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