Walt Disney World (FL)

Go West, Magic Kingdom FastPass+ User

by on April 7, 2015

I’m working on an update to the Magic Kingdom chapter of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. A lot of it is fact-checking, which, in a book like the Guide, is a pretty big task. But it’s also a chance to find new ways to explain how the park is changing.

We do a section in the chapter that describes how FastPass+ affects traffic in the park. I adapted the latest standby wait data from our statisticians, to a map of the park. Here’s the result:

MK FastpassTraffic

Green attractions are those where standby waits are lower with FastPass+; orange attractions are those with higher average standby waits. So what FastPass+ is doing is moving people from Tomorrowland and Fantasyland, to Adventureland and Liberty Square, maybe with a quick stop along the way.

If this was a map of migration patterns in the United States, we’d say people were leaving Newark and Philadelphia for Phoenix, Palm Springs, and Denver, by way of Louisville.

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Disney World Crowd Calendar Report – March 29 to April 4, 2015

by on April 7, 2015

The Crowd Calendar predicted that last week’s crowds would be at the top end of our scale for the first half of the week then taper off towards the end of the week –  and it was right. Our predictions hit the mark within one index point every day last week. Remarkably, it also correctly predicted that crowds during the week would be larger than crowds on the weekend.

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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The Least Crowded Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party of 2015

by on April 6, 2015

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween PartyWelcome back to what has become a yearly tradition: predicting the least crowded Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween party. We have done the same for each of the past two years, and we’ve been pretty successful if we do say so ourselves. We’ll look back at last year’s recommendations in a bit and give you the full 2015 list, but first make sure you check out our dedicated page for a complete list of dates as well as a thorough description of what the Halloween party is.

In short, if you’re looking for the best 2015 Halloween Party to attend, we recommend Tuesday, September 15, 2015. Each of the past two years we recommended the equivalent party, Tuesday, September 17, 2013 and Tuesday, September 16, 2014. In 2013 it turned out to be the party with the lowest wait times by our calculation, while last year’s came in fourth. The reason we still recommend that date despite it’s lack of a top finish last year is simple: 4 of the top 5 from 2014 were all parties earlier in September…parties which are not offered this year.

In 2014, the first Halloween party was on Labor Day, which was September 1. Previously, Disney had scheduled the first party for the Tuesday following Labor Day, and they’ve reverted to that schedule for this year. The reason the first Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party is not until September 15 is because Labor Day is not until September 7th. To make up for only two weeks of September parties, Disney has decided to load October up, with 18 parties in 31 days.

If you’re not going to be around for the first party of the year, Tuesday, September 15, go as early as you can. Over the past few years we’ve noticed an increasing trend where the parties get busier the closer the calender ticks towards Halloween. That sounds logical, but it hasn’t always been the case. A trend that has remained in tact is the difference in day of the week, with Tuesday evening parties being the least busy. So go early in September and/or go on a Tuesday.

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Camping 101: A Fort Wilderness camper’s gotta eat!

by on April 5, 2015

Part Two of a series. Be sure to catch Part One, RV rentals, in order to get the skinny on renting an RV for your stay at Fort Wilderness, and the soon to post Part Three which focuses on transportation methods within the campgrounds.

So, you’ve chosen an RV rental company, made all your arrangements and are just counting down the days. Anything else you need to keep in mind? Food of course. If you plan on utilizing the full potential of the RV and cooking meals or just having beverages in the fridge, you will need groceries.

©istockphoto.com

©istockphoto.com

While Moore’s will stock the camper with groceries based on your grocery list for a small fee, you will need to find some way of getting your supplies to your camper if not booking through them.

  1. Carry on / checked luggage

If you like to be in control and possession of your groceries at all times, this may be an option for you. Depending on the length of your stay and the amount of cooking you intend on doing at the RV, you may be able to pack a few essentials in a carry on and call it a day. However, if you are thinking of a more authentic camping experience, you may consider an extra checked suitcase. Of course, this will only work for non-perishables such as boxed and canned goods, such as a bag of marshmallows, boxes of cereal, or small cans of coffee. Gallons of milk, packages of hot dogs, and other items that need to be kept cold will be better purchased once in Orlando. And, airline luggage fees would need to be considered. As an example, if you fly Southwest you are charged nothing for up to two carry ons and two checked bags. The third checked bag, however, will cost $75. The benefit, however, is there is a pretty good chance your groceries will arrive with the rest of your luggage.

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SATURDAY CLASSIX: Six Disney Obsessions We Just Don’t Understand

by on April 4, 2015

[EDITOR’S NOTE – In case you missed it, there was a special edition of the SATURDAY SIX this past Wednesday featuring The Six Worst Attractions at Walt Disney World According to Our All-Star Panel. Please check it out as it features the results of voting from 40 Walt Disney World experts including Len Testa, Jim Hill, and Tom Bricker. So today we are going to go back in the Wayback Machine with Mr. Peabody and Sherman to fix earlier editions of the SATURDAY SIX that were written before your humble author could grasp the complexities of WordPress. Welcome to the first edition of SATURDAY CLASSIX…]

This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Six Disney Obsession We Just Don’t Understand. As resident theme park fans, we here at the Saturday Six understand obsessions. We collect park maps. We save our old hotel room keys. We get a new Disney ornament for our Christmas tree every single year. However, there are some Disney obsessions we don’t quite understand fully, and today we’re going to look at six of them. (PLEASE NOTE:  these views have been determined after an exhaustive study by the Saturday Six staff and do not necessarily reflect the view points of TouringPlans as a whole or any other individual, especially Len Testa who thinks we are nuts with # 3…)

# 6 – The Turkey Leg Phenomenon

Turkey Leg Sweatshirt

Turkey Leg Sweatshirt

Now, the Turkey Leg made our list of the Top Six Most Iconic Snacks at the Magic Kingdom, but what we don’t understand is all the ancillary products that have also come out for the turkey leg, including wallets, hats, t-shirts, pins, sweatshirts, and air fresheners…yes, AIR FRESHENERS.

Who is buying this stuff? Who outside of Oscar Meyer himself wants his car to smell like a turkey leg? Even the legendary Dole Whip doesn’t seem to have a fraction of the merchandise that the turkey leg does. May we suggest an immediate stoppage of any future turkey leg products and instead look at other food items on Disney property, including the cronut, the macaroons in the France pavillion, zebra domes at the Animal Kingdom Lodge or school bread in Norway?

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Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes – 4/3/15

by on April 3, 2015

It’s the weekend before Easter and one of the busiest times of the year for Walt Disney World, so you knew I would have some little things that would help to make your trip more successful, plus a few other things thrown in to share with you! Are you ready to find out the latest in Newsworthy Notes? Ok!  Let’s go!

  • A couple of special dining options are open in the Magic Kingdom during this extremely busy week.  The first is Aunt Polly’s on Tom Sawyer Island. (Wait…say what?! Aunt Polly’s is offering food again?!) Yep, the snack spot is offering both turkey sandwiches and peanut butter and jelly Uncrustables. In addition, you can pick up a few different kinds of lemonade. While it isn’t much, it is nice to see this kiosk open again.
  • Also open temporarily is The Diamond Horseshoe in Liberty Square. The restaurant is offering quick service lunch offerings. Items include Barbecued Turkey Sandwich, Hand-carved Pork Brisket Sandwich, Portobello Sandwich, Hand-carved Turkey Sandwich, and Tuna Salad with Croissant. The cost is $9.49 for each meal. Lunch is offered from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.  Dinner will be a table service meal that’s pretty much identical to what you’d get at Liberty Tree Tavern. Menu items include Roasted Turkey Breast, Carved Beef, and Sliced Pork with Mashed Potatoes, Seasonal Vegetables, Herb Bread Stuffing, and Macaroni & Cheese. Desert will include White Cake filled with Apples and Craisins Dried Cranberries, topped with Ice Cream. Dinner costs $34.07 for adults (ages 10 and up), and $17.03 (ages 3-9). Both The Diamond Horseshoe and Aunt Polly’s will be open until April 11.
  • Parking is being restricted at select resorts during the busy week. Until April 11, only guests with a dining or recreation reservation or guests staying at the resort may park at these resorts.  The resorts are:

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2015 Star Wars Weekends Celebrity Lineup Announced

by on April 3, 2015

Star-Wars-Weekends-2005-Logo49848807

©Disney

One of the things people get excited for during Star Wars Weekends, which takes place select weekends in May and June at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, is the opportunity to meet some of their favorite Star Wars celebrities. The list of stars is always eclectic and often includes celebrities who were in the first trilogy, the second trilogy, the Clone Wars, and Star Wars Rebels.

Today the full list of celebrities who are scheduled to appear at this year’s event were announced and it’s a great looking list. Personally, I am surprised that we aren’t seeing anyone yet for Star Wars VII, but I’m sure that will change next year, after the movie comes out and we have a better understanding of who the newer characters are.

This year’s list of celebrities include:

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: April 2, 2015

by on April 2, 2015

Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’re visiting Epcot to check out the Egg-Stravaganza and meeting the Easter Bunny at Magic Kingdom. This is one of the busiest weeks of the year so just wait until you see these photos! :D

Despite plans of being at the park for rope drop, I somehow managed to just get there after lunch. (oops) However, parking and getting into the park was a breeze. Sometimes the busiest times are the best to visit because Disney is prepared for the crowds. As you can see from the photo below, boy were there crowds! :) At the time this photo was taken Spaceship Earth had a 60 minute wait. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’d ever wait that long for this attraction.

701

Next we’re off for some egg hunting. Want to play along? Be sure to click to read more. You don’t want to miss the Easter Bunny, do you?

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The Magic, The Memories, and Junk! April 1st Photo Report of a Non-Disney Owned Outlet Store

by on April 1, 2015

MMM_JunkWait a minute… didn’t we just do this yesterday? No, Dear Reader, you are not having a case of Deja Vu. We are back for a brand new Outlet Report, except today we are going to travel outside of the two Orlando Premium Outlets that contain the official Disney Character Warehouse stores, and venture into one of the many Disney stores located off property. We’ve all seen them, because they are everywhere. International Drive… State Road 535… 192… if it’s a main road in the theme park corridor of Orlando, there are going to be these knock off shops. Almost all promise cheap t-shirts and Florida souvenirs, and its surprising just how much of the exact same merchandise is in many of the various stores. While I would strenuously recommend you stay away from any place offering you “free” or cheap theme park tickets, heading into these souvenir stores can be fun because you can find items you’d never see on Disney property.

We narrowed down the list of options and chose to spotlight Theme Park Outlet, mostly because we love the name. It is located in the Lake Buena Vista Factory Stores off State Road 535 (the exact location will be at the end of the article).

IMG_5722

 

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Disney Dining: FoodQuest at DisneyQuest

by on April 1, 2015

Walt Disney World is filled with unique dining experiences and everyone has their favorite. The Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater at DHS offers a completely immersive atmosphere that simulates guests sitting in cars watching a movie at a drive-in in the 1950s. The Chef’s Table at Victoria & Alberts at the Grand Floridan takes elegance to the next level. Be Our Guest Restaurant at the Magic Kingdom allows guests to step into the world of Beauty & the Beast. At Kidani Village, Sanaa is filled with elements of African culture and allows guests to look directly out into the savannah. Where else can you dine in front of 5.7 million gallon aquarium outside of Epcot’s Coral Reef?

We all have that special place. A venue that satisfies our craving for exotic food like Jiko…or where servers can have a bit of fun with guests like 50s Prime Time or Whispering Canyon… or where a couple can have an romantic evening out together like at Artist Point.

Take a moment and mentally picture YOUR favorite place to have meal at Walt Disney World.

Got it?

Now think of the exact opposite.

Welcome to FoodQuest at Downtown Disney’s DisneyQuest.

-

DisneyQuest_glover

DisneyQuest. (Photo by Brandon Glover)

 

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