Walt Disney World (FL)

Walt Disney World August 2016 Preview

by on July 27, 2016

Welcome to TouringPlans’ preview for Walt Disney World for August 2016 – everything you need to know if you’re traveling to the Happiest Place on Earth next month. Who’s ready for August?

Average Weather for Walt Disney World in August

 

Hi 92, Low 76, 78% Humidity, 16 days with rain

August Weather for Orlando

 

 

 

 

 

August in Orlando is nearly identical to July’s with the added bonus of entering the peak (August, September, October) of hurricane season. Florida has not been impacted too strongly by weather in the last few years, but sources say 2016 may be more active than recently. NOAA’s National Hurricane Center is an excellent resource for forecasts that may affect your August trip.

Plan to visit the parks early in the morning or late in the day to avoid the heat as much as you can and spend your afternoons napping or at the pool. Summer’s extended hours mean there is plenty park time available after dark, so take advantage of it, especially if you’re eligible for Extra Magic Hours.

 

Upcoming Live Chats for August

Want to chat live about your trip? Join us on Facebook throughout the month as our experts take your questions in a fun and lively discussion.

We are working on a more regular chat schedule, but we should have a good one to start the month. Our own Brian McNichols will be visiting Disneyland and our West Coast regular Guy Selga. Brian will be there from August 7-10 and he and Guy are planning a dual live chat right from the resort. Make sure you watch Facebook and Twitter for the exact date and time.

Brian will also be doing a wrap-up chat about his trip to Disneyland and any and all news from the Orlando parks on Wednesday, August 17 at 1:00pm U.S. Eastern time. He’ll give you a chance to get your early questions in a few days before the chat.

Times for all live chats are posted in advance on our Facebook page and on Twitter.

 

Walt Disney World Park Crowds for August

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TouringPlansTV: Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts + Video

by on July 26, 2016

  • yacht clubWe’re back for a whole new episode of TouringPlansTV!

Make your way to Walt Disney World…I’ll meet you there to talk about Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts!

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AbracadaBar Now Open at Disney’s BoardWalk

by on July 25, 2016

This weekend, the AbracadaBar opened at Disney’s BoardWalk. The cocktail lounge is located next to the soon-to-be-opening Flying Fish (opening in August) and the Italian restaurant Trattoria al Forno.

AbracadaBar Exterior

 

The lounge itself is not very large, and is available on a first-come, first-serve basis. There is room for Guests to be seated at either couches or tables, whichever they choose.

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Disney World Crowd Calendar Report – July 17 to 23, 2016

by on July 25, 2016

Disney World Crowd Calendar Report

How Crowded Was Disney World Last Week?

Crowds at Walt Disney World held steady last week with levels hitting the mark most days. Weekend crowds ended up a little lower than expected thanks mostly to Epcot, Disney Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom. Magic Kingdom continues to be the busiest park this summer.

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

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We LOVE the Magic Kingdom

by on July 23, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Reasons We LOVE the Magic Kingdom. As you know, this July we’re celebrating Walt Disney World here on the SATURDAY SIX. At the beginning of the month we began our journey at Animal Kingdom, which now takes on new life at night. We then made our way over to Hollywood Studios, a park currently going through some growing pains but still has some of the best experiences in all of WDW. Last week? The one and only EPCOT, a theme park like no other across the globe. Today we are going to finish up by heading into the park which was the centerpiece of Walt Disney’s “Florida Project,” the Magic Kingdom.

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The partners statue at the Magic Kingdom. (photo by Brandon Glover)

There are not enough superlatives for Disneyland out in California, but with Florida came the “blessing of size” which allowed Walt (and the Disney company) to fix problems they would never be able to in Anaheim. For example, driving to Disneyland is much like driving to the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida, in that you can see the park from the road. With the Magic Kingdom, Disney created a theme park where the very entrance to the park is an experience, slowly revealing itself to guests in a truly magical way. Opening in 1971, the Magic Kingdom quickly became the most popular theme park in the world, and retains that title to this very day. What makes it so great? Well, today we’re gonna look at six of our favorite things inside this truly special park. So, sit back, relax in one of the rocking chairs on Tom Sawyer Island, and let’s start our countdown with…

# 6 – Festival of Fantasy

Even with heated competition from Universal and many other parks from around the world, there are still areas which Disney parks are completely untouchable. One of those areas is parades, and one of the best parades at any Disney park is the Magic Kingdom’s Festival of FantasyWith elaborate floats, stunning costumes, an original score, and filled with many of our favorite Disney characters, this is a parade worth waiting for. The backstory of the parade is that each of the units were built by the citizens of Fantasyland. It’s fascinating just looking at all the details on each float and how they seem to be designed from an era long ago. The music has that true Disney Difference, with Brave and Maleficent sections being standouts, and the amount of characters involved in the parade is staggering.  From Anna and Elsa to Mickey and Minnie and almost everyone in-between, Festival of Fantasy has something for everyone.

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The impressive fire breathing Maleficent. Sorry Gringotts, but this dragon also moves. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Tinker Bell doing her best impersonation of a theme park blogger receiving constructive criticism. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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In Festival of Fantasy, Merida gets her chance to shine! (photo by Brandon Glover)

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July 4th Characters at Walt Disney World

by on July 22, 2016

Meeting Chip and Dale at Epcot on July 4th

Meeting Chip and Dale at Epcot on July 4th

Welcome to my first post for TouringPlans!

My name is Heather, and even though I live in New Jersey, I’m lucky to visit Walt Disney World often enough that some of my friends think I live in Florida. I’m a runDisney addict, and I especially love meeting characters at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. So of course my first post is character related.

Each July 4th at Walt Disney World, you can meet characters in special outfits that are only available on this holiday. Characters meet in special patriotic outfits at Epcot, and you may also see characters at different Walt Disney World resorts. Even though it won’t help you right now, it’s never too early to plan your character strategy for the future. Here’s a look at who I met this year on July 4th.

At Epcot, you can meet Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Chip, and Dale. Chip & Dale meet together throughout the day on the right side of the American Pavilion, near the restrooms. Chip & Dale are very interactive, so their line usually moves slowly. However, even when their set is over, the next set is only 5-10 minutes later, so you won’t have to wait too long for Chip & Dale to have their acorn break. The line is also partly in the shade, which always helps.

Patriotic Mickey, Donald, and Goofy’s set is different than Chip & Dale’s. The three characters appear at the end of the Voices of Liberty show at the American Gardens Theater. After the show, they walk over to the left side of the American Pavilion to meet guests. The line works like at the Epcot Character Spot. They do not meet together, but you stand in one line and meet each of them in a row.

Mickey, Donald, and Goofy only have 3 sets, since there are only 3 Voices of Liberty shows in the American Gardens Theater, and they are very popular, so make sure you get there early. Their sets start about 15 minutes after the Voices of Liberty show, so I would get in line shortly before the show begins. The line is unfortunately mostly in the sun. It was so hot this year that Cast Members passed out free water to those of us in line for the first set. However, you can hear the Voices of Liberty from the line, which is a nice perk.

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Wilderness Lodge Review and Construction Update

by on July 20, 2016

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Wilderness Lodge is one of my favorite resorts in all of Walt Disney World. As a deluxe resort, though, I admittedly don’t get the chance to stay there as often as I’d like because of the prices. Luckily, with a lower than normal nightly rate due to the ongoing extensive resort renovations coupled with an annual pass discount, the decision to pull the trigger on a four night stay was that much easier.

If you have an upcoming trip to Wilderness Lodge planned or are considering making a reservation before renovations are complete, you’re probably wondering if the construction will negatively impact your trip. I’m happy to report that construction was never a detriment to our trip and I’d happily stay there again in the resort’s current state. With that in mind, think of this article as a a resort review combined with a construction update.

Wilderness Lodge Lobby

Upon arriving at the Wilderness Lodge late at night after heading directly to Hollywood Studios from the airport, I took a few minutes to enjoy the ambiance of the resort’s lobby, which is one of my favorites in all of Disney behind Contemporary and Animal Kingdom Lodge. Unbeknownst to me, the lobby was also in the midst of construction, which I wouldn’t have noticed if my fiancee, Sarah, didn’t point it out to me. Despite one entire side of the Wilderness Lodge lobby being boarded up on the upper levels, I clearly didn’t think it was that noticeable. See the picture above for yourself.

For those of you that were “lucky” enough to see the Polynesian during its extensive transformation into the Polynesian Village Resort, you may remember that the entire middle portion of the lobby was boarded up on the upper level, which created an almost claustrophobic effect for anyone present. Thankfully, this is nowhere near as bad. While I wouldn’t have recommended guests stay at Polynesian during the aforementioned renovations, I’m happy to say that the lobby at Wilderness Lodge doesn’t suffer from the same effect. Other than the boarded upper levels, the more significant victim of construction is that the main elevators in the lobby are down. While there are still elevators operating down the hallway past Roaring Forks, I can see how this could be an inconvenience to guests.

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Walt Disney World Resort Television

by on July 19, 2016

POR FQ TV ConsoleThere is so much information that you can take in and memorize before embarking on a Walt Disney World vacation…park hours and show times, what the restaurants are and what is on their menu, what is the music playing around the resort and where can you find it for your iPhone, so on and so forth.

There is also a ubiquitous part of your Walt Disney World Resort hotel room that you could potentially familiarize yourself with in advance–and perhaps you should because I’m talking about something you quite possibly have on for every waking moment spent in your room: the television. Walt Disney World resorts, like many hotels, do not simply follow an Orlando area cable or satellite provider. The channel lineup available in the resorts is decidedly Disney and much more varied than what you might find at a typical roadside hotel around the country.

The first few channels, and the ones that many Disney guests watch every day, are the ones programmed by Disney specifically for the resorts. Foremost is the Walt Disney World Resort “Must Do’s” with Stacey, a spunky 13-year-old inside a 23-year-old’s body who rides the newest and most popular rides while spouting the occasional touring tip and trivia fact. Just by the fact that you have pointed your web browser at this site, you are likely already more informed than any actual information you will glean from Stacey. Nevertheless, this channel is considered a Disney World tradition by many longtime guests and “watching the park tour channel over and over again” is something many people always remember after their trip. (If you haven’t visited Walt Disney World in many years, this took over the channel that formerly had the “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah Tip for Today.” And yes, the jingle is now stuck in my head too.) There are also channels displaying park hours and special events while others show round-the-clock infomercials for Disney Springs and the Disney Vacation Club.

Next up are the Orlando affiliates of the major television networks followed by the channels in the Disney cable portfolio, including every ESPN known to mankind. The ESPN networks are followed by other sports networks (some that I don’t even get on my cable package at home!) Notably missing however, are the Fox Sports networks: FS1 and FS2. Make note of this if you are hoping to catch post season baseball, college football, MLB Saturday broadcasts, or UFC, among others. For a more complete rundown of where to catch major sporting events on property, check out this article that I wrote last year.

The next few channels are other Walt Disney World resort exclusives, including one exclusively showing Disney cartoons including bedtime stories for young children in the early evening. (Note that I spoke to someone in guest services at Port Orleans French Quarter while researching this article and she stated that the bedtime stories also appear on the Disney Channel, channel 13.) More special resort channels show up near the end of the lineup including one on Adventures by Disney and another on safety around the resort (which probably should be emphasized a bit more in light of recent events.)

Everything else is typical American cable staples including  The Weather Channel, CNN, TBS, Food Network, History Channel, Lifetime, so on and so forth.

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Epcot Food and Wine Festival Premium Events On Sale July 21

by on July 18, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

For those of you who enjoy participating in the great Premium Events that the Epcot Food and Wine Festival offers, you’ll be able to make your reservations beginning on July 21. Even better news is that for those of you who are Chase Visa cardholders, Annual Passholders, and Disney Vacation Club members, you’ll be able to book as early as July 19! (Though keep in mind that availability will be limited during the early booking window.)

Here are just some of the premium events that you will be able book beginning this week for this year’s Epcot Food and Wine Festival:

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love EPCOT!

by on July 16, 2016

This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Reasons We Love EPCOT. This July we’re celebrating Walt Disney World here on the SATURDAY SIX. We started at Animal Kingdomand then made our way to Hollywood Studios, but this week we are going to look at a theme park that is unlike any other in America: Epcot.

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EPCOT, the only Walt Disney World park in which the monorail goes into the actual park. (photo by Brian Carey)

Comprised of two distinct sections (Future World and World Showcase,) it’s impossible to compare EPCOT to any other theme park you’ve been to. The term “edutainment” is often used to describe the park because it generally eschewed the traditional model of quick and whimsical children’s rides, and instead focused on long and elaborate dark rides that refused to shoehorn in Disney characters (RIP Horizons.) EPCOT’s mascot Figment became an immediate hit, and certainly remains the most popular character ever designed for a theme park. We’ve seen many changes to EPCOT over the years, but it remains a wonderfully unique park. Yes, we miss Kitchen Kaberet, World of Motion, and the original Journey into Imagination as much as anyone, but there are still plenty of things to love about EPCOT’s current state. What’s our favorite?  Well, sit back, snack on some school bread, and let’s start our countdown with…

# 6 – Frozen Ever After

In 2014 we shed our tears with the rest of the #SaveMaelstrom movement, but an amazing thing happened when Walt Disney Imagineering converted the old Norway boat ride into an attraction based around the hit movie Frozen: they hit a monstrous home run. Given the constraints WDI had to work with including – for Disney – a rapid turnaround, Frozen Ever After is a dark ride so good that it would fit in perfectly with the legendary Fantasyland attractions at the Magic Kingdom. The animatronics are amazing (Olaf steals the show), guests get to see all their favorite Frozen characters and hear almost the entire film’s soundtrack, including the contractually obligated “Let It Go.”

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Elsa, Anna, and Olaf in Frozen Ever After. (photo by Brian Carey)

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Sven after getting a triple dog dare. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Queen Elsa. (photo by Brian Carey)

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