Walt Disney World (FL)

Changes Coming to “Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It” Street Party at the Magic Kingdom

by on August 21, 2014

MPL707746

©Disney

It appears that the rumors I’d been hearing were indeed true! The “Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It” Street Party, which takes place multiple times a day at the Magic Kingdom, will be getting a makeover.

The first change comes in the way of a new name; the street party will now be known as the “Move It, Shake It, Dance and Play It” Street Party. This new version will also feature some different characters, including Mickey, Minnie, Donald, and Goofy, as well as characters like Stitch and Phineas and Ferb. The street party will continue to feature stilt walkers, as well as dancers to keep the energy pumping.

The cavalcade will still make its way down Main Street, U.S.A., where it will end in the Central Plaza. Here’s where things really heat up and the dance party begins. The updated fun will feature a medley of remixed party song; however, a new twist will be that guests decide the final song to be played for the “Play It” portion by voting for one of three current hits.

The new version will debut sometime this fall.

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Five Simple Ways to Save over $500 on Your Next Disney World Vacation

by on August 21, 2014

Save Money On A Disney World Vacation

Follow these simple tips to save some of these!

There are several ways to save money on a Disney World vacation. The most obvious are getting a great deal on your airfare, traveling during the off season, choosing to stay at a less expensive hotel, using the Disney Ticket Calculator to purchase your admissions and eating at economical restaurants. But what do you do if you’ve done all of this and you still need to cut your budget? Well, I’ve got you covered, my friends! Here are five simple and painless ways to save over $500 on your next Disney World vacation.

Before We Begin

For each of these five tips, let’s assume we are a family of four traveling to Disney World for a one week (seven night, six day) vacation. Our sample family includes Mr. Smith, Mrs. Smith, little Susie (age 6) and little Tommy (age 3). We’ll first do the math for full price at Disney World and then compare it to the math with our tip in place. Prepare to be amazed!

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: August 21, 2014

by on August 21, 2014

1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re stopping by Disney’s Hollywood Studios to say goodbye to The American Idol Experience and The American Film Institute Showcase. Next, we’ll stop in to see how things are going with the Polynesian Resort refurbishment, and then we’ll wrap up this week at the Magic Kingdom. Let’s get started by taking a look at American Idol. While I’m not surprised that this show is going the way of the dodo, I’m sad to see people lose their jobs. Hopefully there are better plans to utilize this space for all the talented actors who worked here. In the short term it seems pretty obvious that with the Frozen Sing-A-Long suddenly offering FastPass+ on September 2 that the show will be moving into this space. Does anyone want to see video of American Idol before it closes on August 30? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll be sure to include it next week.

Already closed as of August 17 is The American Film Institute Showcase. I stopped in this weekend to get a final look and video walk-through for you, but first, the gift shop:

Click to read more and more see video of the Showcase.

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Exploring Walt Disney World with a Narrative Clip Camera

by on August 21, 2014

During a recent round of retail therapy (don’t judge), I bought myself a new tech toy: the Narrative Clip camera. (Currently about $230 on Amazon, but if you were in bargain hunter mode you could probably find it for a bit less elsewhere.)

narrativeclip

As you can see, the Narrative Clip is a very tiny, passive camera that you clip (thus the name) onto your person, or anywhere else you like. The camera is roughly the size, shape, and weight of a Triscuit cracker. The camera has no buttons, dials, or controls of any sort, just a lens, the clip, and a little port on the bottom with which to connect a USB charge/download cable.

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Walt Disney World’s Festival of the Masters Canceled for 2014

by on August 20, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

The Festival of the Masters, a popular fine-arts festival that features creative works of art from award-winning artists, has been canceled for 2014l. This festival, which typically takes place yearly at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney, will not occur due to the massive amount of construction taking place in the shopping and dining district. According to Disney, much of the area that traditionally houses the Festival of the Masters is unavailable due to this expansion work. (And if you’ve been to Downtown Disney recently, you’ll quickly understand.)

This would have been the 39th annual Festival, which is known for showcasing artisans who are skilled in things like jewelry, painting, sculpting, chalk, glass work, photography, and much more. The Festival also often featured family-friendly events, craft activities, live music, specialty food dishes, and more. The Festival seemed to be growing larger and larger each year, and I was curious to see what this year’s event would offer.

This year’s open-air festival was originally supposed to take place November 7-9. Disney has already removed the Festival of the Masters page from its website.

I guess we’ll have to see if the event will return for 2015 or if Downtown Disney/Disney Springs construction will make it prohibitive for the festival to run next year, too. The first section of Disney Springs is expected to debut in Spring 2015, with the opening of The Landing. Disney Springs won’t fully be finished until sometime in 2016.

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Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes – 8/20/14

by on August 20, 2014

I’ve got some interesting news notes for today, including new animals at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, MagicBand info, and Downtown Disney news. Let’s dive right in to the fun.

  • For those who will be attending the Frozen Summer Fun Live event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, beginning September 2 guests have the option to choose the “For The First Time In Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration” as a tier 2 FastPass+ option. I have no clue if this means that the paper tickets that were being handed out will still be issued; however, I would guess not with the addition of guests being able to make FastPass+ reservations ahead of time.
  • One of the things I’ve heard people mention is how they would like to buy additional MagicBands, especially as gifts for family and friends, but were unable to. Well, that has now changed; MagicBands can now be purchased without being linked with tickets at the time of the sale. Guests can purchase the solid color MagicBands at the four theme parks, Downtown Disney, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Pop Century Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort, and Port Orleans Resorts without linking tickets to the bands. Guests will be limited to only purchasing 5 MagicBands at a time. More purchase locations may potentially be added in the future. The only caveat is that guests cannot purchase the specialty bands; those must still be linked with tickets at the time of purchase. (For example, guests must link the special Frozen MagicBands with park tickets at time of purchase.)

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After the Touring Plan

by on August 19, 2014

2015UGAs many TouringPlans.com subscribers do, we buy the most recent Unofficial Guide, download the Lines app, read the blog posts, plan our days in Walt Disney World, and have our trip in order well before we depart our homes. This advanced planning helps us make the most out of our vacations in the Happiest Place on Earth.

However, there are times on our trip where our advanced planning works too well. For example: you have decided to spend the morning in Magic Kingdom park, utilizing the morning Extra Magic Hours that are in place. When you show up, you are some of the first people at the tunnel, and you go on to conquer your entire morning Touring Plan…in two hours.

I’m being a bit unrealistic in my example, but there can be points in your trip where things work out so well that you are blessed with that glorious object we Disney fans all crave: extra time. 

So what is there to do if this happens? Plenty, my friend. Plenty.

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Reviewing Hollywood Studios One-Day Late Arrival Touring Plan for Adults

by on August 19, 2014

Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Angela Dahlgren, photographer.

I had an extra day off at the end of my summer vacation, so my sister-in-law and I hopped over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to test out  the “One-Day Late Arrival Touring Plan for Adults.”

The plan is designed to start at 11:00 AM but we were through the turnstiles and had the plan pulled up on the phone by 10:00 AM. The extra hour probably helped in the long run since the new Frozen Summer Fun – Live bumped up the crowd level to a solid 9.  It looked like it was already a 7 when we arrived.

Looking at the list, I forgot to send it though the optimizer, but the first step was to ride Toy Story Midway Mania!, which would probably have been the suggestion anyway.  We headed straight to Pixar Place and into the standby queue. The posted wait time was 75 minutes, but we made it through in 45. When the line splits before the stairs at the end of the main queue room, the Cast Member directed us through the FastPass+ lane, likely accounting for the saved 10-15 minutes.*

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Disney World Crowd Report – August 10 to 16, 2014

by on August 18, 2014

Predictions did remarkably well at Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom last week with all days hitting the mark or missing by only one index level (except for Monday at Animal Kingdom where we missed by two). Predictions were solid most days for The Studios and Epcot as well although crowds did skew higher at those parks. Frozen themed activities may be impacting the crowds at those two parks. Wait times at Spaceship Earth were up all week which pushed Epcot’s crowds higher than expected a few days last week.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on this week’s Disney World Crowd Report:

Walt Disney World Resort Crowd Levels – Daily Breakdown

Sunday, August 10, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
6
6

Sixes across the resort except for Epcot (4). No attraction at Magic Kingdom hit an average wait time higher than 54 minutes (Splash Mountain) and all of our predictions were within one index level.

Epcot
3
4
Hollywood Studios
5
6
Animal Kingdom
6
6

Monday, August 11, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
7
8

Epcot trailed the pack again on Monday with low wait times at Soarin’ (61 minutes, predicted 73) and Mission: Space Orange (19 minutes, predicted 25). We correctly predicted Buzz Lightyear at Magic Kingdom would average 48 minutes (a level ’10’ out of ’10’ for that attraction). Pirates of the Caribbean (45 minutes) and Space Mountain (73 minutes) hit a level ’10’ as well.

Epcot
6
5
Hollywood Studios
7
8
Animal Kingdom
5
7

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
7
8

Epcot hit the highest point on our scale thanks to higher than expected waits at Mission: Space Orange (55 minutes, predicted 34), Spaceship Earth (26 minutes, predicted 15) and Soarin’ (89 minutes, predicted 81). Crowds were up at The Studios as well (Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster 73 minutes, Toy Story Midway Mania 83 minutes) but within normal ranges at the two Kingdoms.

Epcot
7
10
Hollywood Studios
6
9
Animal Kingdom
6
6

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
8
7

Spaceship Earth averaged 21 minutes on Wednesday (predicted 13) which pushed crowds higher at Epcot. Our predictions for Mission: Space (24 minutes, predicted 22), Soarin’ (64 minutes, predicted 68) and Test Track (70 minutes, predicted 72) were all accurate though.

Epcot
4
7
Hollywood Studios
6
7
Animal Kingdom
7
7

Thursday, August 14, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
7
7

Crowds settled down on Thursday with all parks within one of predicted levels. Magic Kingdom hosted Extra Magic Hour morning but only Space Mountain averaged a posted wait higher than 60 minutes, at 66 (predicted 53).

Epcot
4
4
Hollywood Studios
6
7
Animal Kingdom
5
4

Friday, August 15, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
7
7

Slightly higher crowds at Epcot and The Studios again on Friday although resort wide the crowd level was a ‘7’ as predicted. The average posted time at Spaceship Earth was 24 minutes, double our prediction of 12 minutes. That is as high an average at Spaceship Earth as we have seen all summer.

Epcot
5
7
Hollywood Studios
6
8
Animal Kingdom
5
4

Saturday, August 16, 2014

  WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
6
6

Resort wide crowds were a six again on Saturday despite higher crowds again at Epcot. Spaceship Earth went two minutes higher reaching an average of 26 minutes! All other predictions on Saturday were spot on.

Epcot
4
7
Hollywood Studios
7
7
Animal Kingdom
5
5
What to Expect This Week
August 17 to 23, 2014
How Crowded is Disney World

How Crowded is Disney World?

Summer crowds will begin to fade as we enter the fall season, the lowest crowds of the year. Wait times will still be high for popular attractions this week but with a proper touring plan crowds will be manageable.

To see Walt Disney World Crowd predictions for the days of your vacation, check the Crowd Calendar.

To get details about our predictions of future crowds or details about crowds in the past check out the Crowd Calendar and select “Jump to Date” on the left margin.

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Everything You Wanted To Know About Villains Unleashed

by on August 18, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

This Saturday, August 23, is the first ever Villains Unleashed, taking place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios from 8 p.m. until 1 a.m. The event, which celebrates the love that people have for the Disney bad guys and gals, is sure to be a fun-filled evening for those who attend. There will be over 50 different characters, dance parties, fireworks, special shows, unique food and shopping, and much more!

So, let’s get into the full details about this event so that those of you who will be attending have a better idea of what to expect.

While the event begins at 8:00 p.m., guests may begin to arrive as early at 5:00 p.m. and still be allowed entry. Those already in the park may obtain party passes at either Soundstage One (where Wandering Oaken’s currently is) or at the Epic Theater.

Guests driving to the park who are attending the Villains Unleashed party will need to use the Main Entrance off World Drive to for event parking. The secondary parking entrance located on Buena Vista Drive will be closed to all incoming traffic beginning at 3:00 p.m. Standard parking fees apply.

The evening will include many activities throughout the night. They are:

  • Hades Hangout: The main villain of ceremonies will be there to get the party started and keep it rocking all night long. Hades will be joined by Meg, Pain, and Panic. The dance party will also feature house band Bernie Briquette and Brimstone, as well as DJ Igg Nite and the Underworld Dancers. (8:00 p.m. through 1:00 a.m.)

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