Walt Disney World (FL)

Disney’s Water Parks Testing Virtual Lines

by on March 29, 2017

Water Parks

©Disney

Universal Orlando Resort is going to be doing it with Volcano Bay, so it was only a matter of time before Disney tried their hand at virtual lines. The Walt Disney World water parks, both Disney’s Blizzard Beach and Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon are currently testing a virtual line queuing system until April 7.

Guests who visit the water parks will be able to reserve a place in line for specific attractions and will not have to physically wait in said line. Instead, they can go ahead and do something else. When their time to ride the attraction is ready, they will then be able to do so with a minimal wait.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Guests are given a printed card with a rubber band, making the whole thing wearable. Guests are given a 15 minute time window with which to return to ride the attraction.

This test is currently taking place at Blizzard Beach on Summit Plummet, Slush Gusher, and Downhill Double Dipper and at the all-new Miss Adventure Falls attraction at Typhoon Lagoon.

This current test is not connected to FastPass+, therefore, you cannot book reserved times ahead of your vacation via the My Disney Experience app.

 

 

 

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Ask It: Favorite Nighttime Show at WDW

by on March 29, 2017

 

As I’m writing this up, I can hear the sounds of the fireworks from Wishes from outside my home office. Without looking up, I can tell from the sounds of the shells what “scene” is going on for the show. It will certainly be an adjustment when the new “Happily Ever After” nighttime spectacular debuts later this spring. It seems that everyone has a favorite nighttime show at Walt Disney World — so here’s this week’s question:

What is your favorite current nighttime show at Walt Disney World

  • Wishes (46%, 358 Votes)
  • Illuminations (30%, 230 Votes)
  • Fantasmic (21%, 163 Votes)
  • Rivers of Light (3%, 23 Votes)

Total Voters: 774

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Voting is open now here and on Twitter, and feel free to comment about why you made your choice. We’ll see you next week to crown yet another winner in the saga of Ask It!

Dining Showdown: The Best Pizza At Disney World

by on March 28, 2017

Best Pizza at Disney

It’s always controversial ranking restaurants at Walt Disney World – everyone has their tried and true favorites, after all. Sometimes, though, it’s the only way to figure out where best to spend your precious vacation time and money. Luckily for me, I got to do all the hard work for you, and have definitively (for now, in my opinion) figured out where to find the best pizza in Walt Disney World. I ranked the pizza at ten of the most well-known “pizza” places on property (both quick service and table service) based on flavor, crust, toppings, size – all the basics you’d look for in your favorite pie! Let’s take a look and see how your favorites fared…

Best Pizza at Disney World

The Rankings

Trattoria al Forno's margherita pizza

“Pizza” at Trattoria al Forno

10. Trattoria al Forno (Disney’s BoardWalk; table service; $17-19)

I had never tried Trattoria’s pizza before a recent visit, but after that meal, it’s safe to say I can never afford to again. At 6-7 inches in size, the fresh-fired pizzas are tiny, essentially individual sizes, but that’s not the real issue. I can handle small pizza, especially if I have some great appetizers beforehand to complete the meal, but each pizza came with barely a handful of toppings on it, and a plain cheese pizza was $17 (the specialty mushroom was $19)! If you like overpriced, plain pizza dough, Trattoria’s your best bet  – seriously, the only flavor we got was from dipping it into the house olive oil that came with our bread service. Otherwise, avoid this abysmal attempt at upscale pizza.

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Attraction Overview: Great Movie Ride + Video

by on March 28, 2017

Photo - Angela DahlgrenGood morning!

Start your day off with a cup of coffee (or two) and my latest Attraction Overview.

I now present…The Great Movie Ride!

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Walt Disney World Discount Released Today

by on March 27, 2017

Save on your next Disney vacation

Just the details – book or rebook now as availability is limited.

Up to 25% off rooms. Available for room-only and packages.

Travel: May 28 to August 31, 2017.

Book: March 27 to July 14, 2017.

Some dates will be blocked. No Grand Villas, Bungalows at the Polynesian, campsites, or Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation. Highest discounts at select Deluxe and DVC properties. Other resorts will be lower.

Contact Disney or your travel agent to book or rebook. Availability is limited.

Thanks for Small World Vacations, Storybook Destinations, and Stephanie Hudson at MEI who all let us know!

 

The SATURDAY SIX Looks at the (possible) future of Walt Disney World

by on March 25, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the (possible) future of Walt Disney World!  As part of an annual tradition, TouringPlans’ own Len Testa teamed up with industry icon Jim Hill to record an episode of the Disney Dish podcast discussing the future of Walt Disney World (there is also a Disneyland edition available via Bandcamp.) The two theme park titans discussed many rumored additions and changes to the resort, as well as giving reasons why they may – and may not – actually come to fruition. Today we’re going to take a look at some of the more important items, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Is Cinderella’s Royal Table a “canary in the coal mine?”

For a long time Cinderella’s Royal Table (CRT) in the Magic Kingdom was the hardest dining reservation to get in all of Walt Disney World. Guests would need to wake up at the crack of dawn 180 days out from their vacation to call and attempt to get a coveted ADR. In the last couple years, Be Our Guest Restaurant has become the hardest ticket to get in town, but CRT has been a close second. However, Cast Members have reported that usual high demand ADRs for CRT breakfast and dinner have been available…and no one knows why. This could be computer glitch, but it could also be a sign of a very soft summer for Disney. In theory, if CRT was a proverbial “canary in the coal mine,” Disney would be well served to put on a full court press of advertising to get people to the resort this Summer and Fall. Getting near unprecedented coverage on ABC show’s Nightline,  The View, and The Chew would probably be a step in the right direction.

As a little princess looks out into Fantasyland, Cinderella’s Royal Table has that “million dollar view.”

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Pandora – The World of Avatar to Offer Nightly Extra Magic Hours (Plus FastPass+ News!)

by on March 23, 2017

Pandora - The World of Avatar

©Disney

Well, there’s one more reason to stay at an on-site Walt Disney World hotel this summer. You see, for a limited time, only May 27 through July 4, Guests who are staying staying at one of the Walt Disney World hotels can explore Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom beyond regular Park hours, courtesy of nightly Extra Magic Hours.

These Evening Extra Magic Hours will certainly be right for the night owls, as they will take place from 11:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. Only Pandora – The World of Avatar will be open;  no other attractions in the park will be open to Guests. Do keep in mind that in order to visit during these extra hours, valid theme park admission and a Resort ID will be required. During this extra time in the park, Resort Guests will be able to experience both the Na’vi River Journey and Avatar Flight of Passage attractions.

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Dani’s Best Week Ever March 23, 2017: Disney’s Hollywood Studios (again!) and Disney Springs

by on March 23, 2017

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind, and there are no signs of slowing down. I am very fortunate to have the ability to visit Orlando’s theme parks at least once during most weekends, even with a hectic schedule. This past weekend brought new adventures in a part of Florida I hardly ever venture to.

It also brought commitments, including my commitment to spend time in the theme parks. The conundrum: which park to visit. The further conundrum: visit the parks I want to visit just for fun, or head to where needed research could be completed. The latter won out and we ventured to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. And just to add to the craziness of an already jam packed weekend we decided to throw in an trip to Disney Springs too! Won’t you join the madness?

 

Spring Break has arrived

The thing about Spring Break is, it’s not just a week anymore. It is spread out over a couple weeks before the Easter holidays. It has certainly arrived and Orlando is showing all the signs. Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and all of Orlando’s theme parks are showing elevated wait times, and definitely matching up to what is indicated in the Touring Plans Crowd Calendars.

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Pandora – Everything You Need To Know

by on March 21, 2017

Pandora – Everything You Need To Know

Disney’s collaboration with James Cameron, Pandora – World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom park is the biggest expansion we’ve seen at Walt Disney World since New Fantasyland at Magic Kingdom. It was first announced in 2011 (yeah, it blew our minds that it’s been nearly 6 years too).

Want more Pandora, and then some? Listen to The Disney Dish Podcast with Jim Hill, produced by TouringPlans. Find episode 123 on iTunes or on all fine podcast apps.

We also recommend this video from Brian McNichols on Pandora touring strategies. It was made before we knew details about how FastPass+ will work with the new attractions, but the advice is still sound.

Check out our Pandora page for the latest news on Animal Kingdom’s newest land and attractions.

When will Pandora open?

The official opening date is May 27, 2017. However, media is invited on the 22nd, and the land should be in soft open. When an attraction is in soft open, it’s accessible to guests, but can be closed at any time for testing. This lets Disney work out the kinks of something new before its grand opening. Disney Vacation Club owners, Annual Passholders, and Cast Members can expect their own previews of Pandora, possible as early as the last week of April. We will post more information to the blog when we hear it.

What attractions does Pandora have?

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Captain’s Grille Coasts By With Fine Fare

by on March 20, 2017

Captain's Grille Review

Note: from mid-May 2017 to fall 2017, Captain’s Grille will be going through a refurbishment. During that time, it will relocate to Ariel’s at Disney’s Beach Club. The breakfast buffet will not be available during that time, though there will still be an a la carte option in the morning.

Some of the most popular restaurants for Walt Disney World resort guests lie just around the corner in their own resorts, providing a close option for a meal any time of day before or after a long day of park-hopping. Captain’s Grille at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort fits this bill – set just off the main lobby, it’s open for Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner, ready to serve any visitor with a wide variety of menu options. I dropped in for dinner recently to check out whether this restaurant is worth a stop during your next trip.

First Impressions

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