Walt Disney World (FL)

Disney Hacks #1: Tips and Tricks for your Walt Disney World Vacation

by on August 16, 2015

Hey everyone! This will be the first in what I expect to be a series of articles providing little tips and tricks to make your Disney trips go more smoothly — a random smattering of bits of advice that might not individually warrant their own articles that I call “Disney hacks.” So, without further ado, let’s jump right in!

Stroller Tip #25: Making Your Stroller Visible

Best of luck locating your stroller!

For many Walt Disney World Visitors, strollers are a necessary part of a trip, and a necessary part of having a stroller is leaving it somewhere once you get to where you’re going. Unfortunately, even if you know exactly where it is, finding your stroller afterwards can be challenging, especially at night. You’ve got to pick it out of a sea of very similar-looking strollers, a problem that is compounded if you rented it from Disney or one of the more popular vendors. Moreover, Cast Members routinely rearrange and shuffle strollers to tidy them up over time, so even if you think you know where it is, there’s a decent chance it has been moved. The solution is to make your stroller stand out so you can look for something unique that happens to be attached to your stroller rather than looking for the stroller itself.  

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Soarin’ Around The World Headed to Epcot and Disney California Adventure

by on August 15, 2015

Current version of Soarin' ©Disney

Current version of Soarin’ ©Disney

It looks like the rumors were indeed true! It was announced at the D23 Expo today that Soarin’ Around the World will be headed to not only Epcot, but also to Disney California Adventure.

The attraction will take guests on a journey to far-flung lands and fly above some of the world’s most unique natural landscapes and man-made wonders. Some of the destinations will include the Great Wall of China and Monument Valley.

Disney California Adventure’s Soarin’, which debuted when the park opened in 2001, just saw an upgrade to digital projectors during the transformation of its land from Condor Flats to Grizzly Peak Airfield. In addition, over at Epcot, a third theater is currently being constructed, augmenting the two that have been there since the attraction opened in May 2005. Both upgrades are being done to prepare for the new film.

Soarin’ Around the World is expected to debut in 2016 in both parks.

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Details on Pandora-The World of Avatar and Other Disney’s Animal Kingdom Enhancements

by on August 15, 2015

Avatarland has been under construction for some time at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, but today at the D23 Expo, we got a few more details about what we can expect with this new land.

First of all, I guess we’ll need to stop calling it Avatarland. Its official name will be Pandora-The World of Avatar. According to Imagineer Joe Rhode, when visiting Pandora, you are not visiting moments from the film, the adventure is one that is yours. The goal is to create a place that you believe to be real.

This will be apparent when you ride the banshee attraction, which will be called The Flight of Passage. Guests will ride on the backs of the banshees giving guests a birds-eye view of the beauty and grandeur of the world of Pandora on an aerial rite of passage.

©Disney

©Disney

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Additional Star Wars Experiences Headed to Disneyland and Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on August 15, 2015

While Disney announced today that Star Wars Land will be coming to both Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland, because these lands are ambitious and will take some time to create, they also released some additional events that will occur to add #hype. These things will take place in the interim so guests can experience more of the Force.

First, for those of you who love Star Tours: The Adventures Continue, you will need to head over to the parks by the end of this year to experience a new adventure. You see, Star Tours will be updated to include a chance to experience a new world and new characters that will be prominently featured in Star Wars VII. Keep in mind, the attraction will still offer random ride sequences, so you won’t be able to predict when you’ll see the new scenes. Guess that just means you’ll have to keep riding!

In addition, the Jedi Training Academy will see some extra additions on both coasts, including new story lines and characters. (Including a new villain to battle from the popular Disney XD series “Star Wars Rebels.”)

©Disney

©Disney

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Toy Story Land Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on August 15, 2015

With the recent announcement of Star Wars Land coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios today, you didn’t think that would be the only thing announced for the park, right? Of course it wouldn’t be! Toy Story Land has officially been confirmed for the park.

Toy Story Land will be an 11 acre, immersive land that will shrink you down to the size of a toy where you’ll make your way into Andy’s backyard play land. He’s set up block, toys, game board pieces, pretty much anything that would help to create the perfect setting for this land. This new land will include two additional attractions to the park.

©Disney

©Disney

 

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Star Wars Land Coming to Both Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disneyland

by on August 15, 2015

Are you ready to head to a galaxy far, far away? Then this is the news you were looking for.

Bob Iger announced during the Live Action Walt Disney Studios Panel at the D23 Expo that Star Wars-themed lands are coming to not only Disneyland, but also Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Star Wars-Themed Lands Coming to Disney Parks Ð Walt Disney Company Chairman and CEO Bob Iger announced at D23 EXPO 2015 that Star Wars-themed lands will be coming to Disneyland park in Anaheim, Calif., and DisneyÕs Hollywood Studios in Orlando, Fla., creating DisneyÕs largest single-themed land expansions ever at 14-acres each, transporting guests to a never-before-seen planet, a remote trading port and one of the last stops before wild space where Star Wars characters and their stories come to life.  These authentic lands will have two signature attractions, including the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, on a customized secret mission, and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle. (Disney Parks)

©Disney

 

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Worst Case Scenarios That Could Come Out of the D23 Expo

by on August 15, 2015

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Worst Case Scenarios That Could Come Out of the D23 Expo. Coming along once every two years, the D23 Expo is not just a Disney Convention, it is THE Disney Convention. In fact the D23 Expo is such a big deal that Hollywood powerhouse Marvel Studios is holding their annual presentation at the Expo instead of last month’s gigantic San Diego Comic Con. Already big news is coming out of the Expo at the Anaheim Convention Center, including the public display of the incredible scale model of Pandora, giving us a glimpse of what will soon be coming to Animal Kingdom. Movie posters for The Incredibles 2 and Cars 3 made their debut along with the first ever footage shown for Captain America: Civil War. But what theme park fans are interested in is the presentation taking place on Saturday featuring the Parks and Resorts division. It is here where we will find out what is coming to the Disney parks across the world. 

Rumors have been flying for months leading up to the Expo of what will be talked about at the Parks and Resorts presentation, and more importantly, what won’t be talked about. Theme park fans in Florida have watched as Disney’s Hollywood Studios has been slowly shutting itself down, which is surely leading to an announcement for what’s coming, right? Frozen Ever After will be the first new attraction in Epcot’s World Showcase in over two decades, we’ll surely get information on that, right? Everyone is hoping for the best, but to borrow a phrase from our dearly departed friend “Rowdy” Roddy Piper: we’re here to chew bubblegum and pop pixie dust…and we’re all outta bubblegum. We here at the SATURDAY SIX are taking our rose colored glasses off and thinking aloud “what’s the worst that could happen?” So sit back, relax, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

# 6 – Frozen Being Expanded in Epcot’s World Showcase

Last year Disney weathered the storm during the #SaveMaelstrom movement. In 2016  Epcot will debut the new Frozen Ever After attraction along with one of the most detailed meet and greets in the company’s history, and imagine the ground that covers. So if Frozen and the fictional country of Arendelle were shoehorned into Norway, why not just keep going? The Mexico Pavilion is right next door, so instead of a ride featuring characters from a Disney animated movie that no one under the age of 50 has even heard about let alone seen, how about we focus on the star of one of the biggest Hollywood blockbusters of all time, the lovable snowman OLAF!

GranFiestaOlaf

The newest Tier 1 FP+ selection in Epcot! (photo by Matt Cleary)

But that’s not all! It’s widely known that – at best – The Morocco Pavilion’s Spice Road Table has underperformed since its debut, even after a radical change to its menu. So let’s give it a quick Frozen makeover: a Queen Elsa inspired name along with a menu featuring a mix of “Arendelle” food items from the Electric Umbrella and the BoardWalk Pizza Window, and Bibbidy Bobbidy Boo! The new Ice Road Table has a longer line than the Candlelight Processional.

IceRoadTable

From taking walk ups to needing ADRs 180+10 in advance, just like that. (photo by Matt Cleary)

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Jungle Skipper Canteen Restaurant Headed to Magic Kingdom

by on August 14, 2015

Copyright Disney

Copyright Disney

The first Walt Disney World D23 Expo announcement has been made. The Jungle Skipper Canteen is headed to the Magic Kingdom!

While full details are scarce still, the restaurant will be located in Adventureland, in the former location of the Adventureland Veranda.

Guests who wish to dine at this establishment will get to enjoy “World Famous Jungle Cuisine”for both lunch and dinner served by Jungle Cruise skippers in one of the many themed rooms, including a crew mess hall or a once hidden, secret meeting room of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. Menu items will be inspired by flavors of Africa, Asia, and South America.

Guests have been seeing this area under construction for months, so it’s nice to get official confirmation that the rumors of a Jungle Cruise-themed restaurant is indeed coming to the park.

It won’t be long until this restaurant officially opens–it is expected to be open by the end of 2015. Stay tuned and I will release more information about this exciting, and what should be extremely popular restaurant as I learn it.

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Disneyland vs. Disney World Attractions: Pirates of the Caribbean

by on August 14, 2015

Pirates3

Disneyland’s Pirates of the Caribbean

Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort share a number of the same attractions, such as Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, “it’s a small world,” and many others. But if you think that these attractions are the same on both coasts, you would be mistaken. One of the many things I love about Disney is that they never do the same thing twice; and while the attractions that can be found on both coasts may share the same names and themes, they do have differences too. Hey, who doesn’t like variety, right? But you have to wonder, which resort has the best version of a popular attraction? Which Disney Park has the bragging rights? Well, that’s what I’m going to find out beginning with one of the most popular attractions ever in Disneyland vs. Disney World Attractions: Pirates of the Caribbean!

What is Pirates of the Caribbean?

Pirates of the Caribbean is one of Disney’s most brilliant attractions of all time! It even inspired the popular Pirates of the Caribbean film franchise starring Johnny Depp. The attraction is a boat ride which takes guests back in time to the days where pirates looted and pillaged the Caribbean through incredibly detailed scenes, audio-animatronic pirates, and a terrific balance of both humor and danger. Pirates of the Caribbean’s signature song, “Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate’s Life For Me” by “X” Atencio and George Bruns is also just as famous as the attraction itself and has had adults and children humming along for decades.

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Your FastPass+ Priorities for the Magic Kingdom

by on August 13, 2015

I recently updated the FastPass+ recommendations for each of our 50 Magic Kingdom Touring Plans, using our latest computer models to save you the most time in line. The biggest change is that Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is recommended more frequently, because FastPass+ reservations are more readily available now than when the ride first opened.

As before, each of the touring plans suggests the FastPass+ recommendations you should make in advance of your visit, like this:

Suggested start times for FastPass+ reservations:
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train = 9 AM
Peter Pan’s Flight = 10 AM
Enchanted Tales with Belle = 11 AM

I also added new recommendations for day-of FastPass+ reservations you can get at the Magic Kingdom’s in-park kiosks, after you’ve used your original set. These are based on our statistician Steve Bloom’s excellent analysis of when day-of FastPasses run out for each attraction. Here’s what the new recommendations look like:

You should be able to get day-of FastPass+ reservations starting around lunchtime. Here’s what we suggest:

Buzz Lightyear = 3:30 PM
Pirates of the Caribbean = 7 PM

When I updated the plans, I kept count of many times each attraction was identified as needing FastPass+. If you’re building your own touring plan, or you prefer an unstructured tour, this list shows the hot spots in the Magic Kingdom:

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