There’s nothing like your first look at your first Disney cruise ship! (Photos by Seth Kubersky)
As part of the fantastic TouringPlans #Everywhere project, I recently had the amazing opportunity to experience my very first Disney Cruise Line vacation aboard the Disney Magic, on an unusual 7-day itinerary out of Puerto Rico. While I’ve previously stayed on-site in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, and traveled with some of Disney’s competitors in the cruising and all-inclusive resort industries, this was my initial experience as a guest of DCL. Overall, I have to say that I went in with sky-high expectations, almost all of which I can happily report were met or exceeded. But that’s not to say there weren’t a few surprises along the way. Here are a handful of Disney Magic observations and advice from this first-time (but hopefully not last-time) DCL cruiser that may may your vigin voyage a little smoother.
Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios to check out the new location for Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and take a look at how Christmas is coming along. Then we’re heading over for a quick visit to the Magic Kingdom and ending at Epcot forFood & Wine Festivalupdates. We also might run into a lumberjack or two! So let’s get started!
I’ll admit that when I saw the Studio Backlot Tour was closing and a Frozen gift shop was moving into this area, I had my doubts. But I’ll eat crow because it looks great! It’s obvious a lot of planning went into this move and I can only hope this much effort goes into the other changes coming to the studios. Want to check it out? Click to read more! Read the rest of this entry »
I was in Tokyo Disneyland last week as part of TouringPlans Everywhere and got a chance to see the new nighttime spectacular that premiered earlier this year. The show is called Once Upon a Time and uses the same projection technology seen in Celebrate the Magic at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World and Disney Dreams in Disneyland Paris. Once Upon a Time is presented on to Cinderella Castle and features Mrs. Potts and Chip as they take the audience through various classic Disney animated films like Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, through newer films like Tangled and Frozen. Laser, fire and pyrotechnics also appear along with the projections on the castle. Personally I enjoyed the show quite a bit and thought each sequence was beautifully done. The show clocks in at almost 20 minutes long, so with Once Upon a Time, Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade AND fireworks the nighttime entertainment lineup at Tokyo Disneyland is sizable and impressive. But enough of what I think, take a look at our video of a full performance of the show:
As part of the recent TouringPlans Everywhere promotion, I was lucky enough to set sail on my first ever Disney Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder. As a whole, I was blown away by the experience, but one thing that stood out to me was how much fantastic merchandise was available onboard the ship. Last year I sailed on a Royal Caribbean cruise, and despite an incredible sailing, found absolutely nothing in their gift store worth buying. Recently, I have been making my way around various Disney resorts and finding there is very little unique merchandise within the gift shops. Whether at a value resort like Pop Century, a moderate such as Port Orleans – French Quarter, or even a deluxe like The Contemporary, it didn’t matter, everything was pretty much the exact same. This was not my experience on the Disney Cruise Line, and I’m glad to report that the ships have some of the best merchandise I have seen in any Disney store, ever. Below is a look at some of the fantastic merchandise you can only buy on a Disney Cruise.
Remember that clicking on any picture will bring it up in full size.
There are some obvious concerns that tend to come to the forefront of park touring with anyone with limited mobility, or anyone who fatigues easily (basically, everyone who’s not a marathon-runner). Standing in long lines, walking miles and miles each day, heat and humidity, are all things to keep in mind when you start planning your park days. Navigating the parks with a senior makes having a good Touring Plan that much more important. You can select preferences in your Touring Plan to minimize walking, minimize waiting in line, or a compromise between the two. The best thing about having a Touring Plan is being able to see more and do more while saving time and energy. Read the rest of this entry »
Welcome back to Disney Parks Potential, where I take a look at some of Disney’s more underrepresented franchises and characters while coming up with interesting ways to integrate them into Walt Disney World or Disneyland. If you missed the first entry, which covered The Incredibles, you can check that out here. Today I’ll be taking a look at an all-time Disney animated classic, The Jungle Book.
When you hear that Jungle Book has no attraction presence at Disney World, you probably think, “Wait, that can’t be right.” I mean, with a park entirely dedicated to animals, it’s hard to believe that Disney doesn’t have at least one attraction based on The Jungle Book. That wasn’t always the case, however. When Animal Kingdom first opened, there was a show called Journey into the Jungle Book but it only lasted a year before being replaced by Tarzan Rocks! in the theater which now currently houses Finding Nemo – The Musical. Besides that short lived show, there haven’t been any further attractions based on The Jungle Book. Read the rest of this entry »
We recently brought you photo guides to the ride and attraction seating situation at the Magic Kingdom, Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Completing the series is our guide to the attraction seating at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.
And away we go …
Seating capacity per row: NA
Seating capacity per vehicle: NA. Playground experience. More than 100 guests permitted entrance simultaneously.
Seating surface: There is very little seating here. There are few picnic tables where adults may sit, but these do not have sightlines on the entire play area.
Safety restraints: None
Boarding procedure: Walk into playground
Height requirement: None
Note: 1: Wheelchair and ECV users may ride into the attraction. Much of the attraction is inaccessible to guests with mobility issues. The attraction includes stairs, slides, and rope climbing activities.
Note 2: It is extremely easy to temporarily lose sight of your child here. There are cavelike areas and child-size tunnels. However, there is only one exit to the attraction. If you have an elementary age child, you may feel comfortable “guarding” the exit and letting him roam. Parents of preschoolers will likely want to closely supervise their kids to avoid minor injury or separation anxiety.
Note 3: The dig area is separate from, and typically calmer than, the slide area. If you need some unstructured chill time, head to the dig site.
Note 4: During warm weather, a water feature will be activated. Children may get wet.
“Which are the best parks to visit?” is the most common question I am asked by Disney World newbies. The short answer is, “it depends!” The appeal of the parks varies quite a bit by age and subject matter interest. But have no fear, newbies, help is here! I have compiled a “one-size-fits-most” 4-1/2 day Disney World itinerary for a variety of demographics. These plans assume there will be four full days and the remainder of one travel day for the Disney World vacation, and only one theme park will be visited in a day (no Park Hopper passes).
Magic Kingdom is full of wonder, it’s no mystery why preschoolers love it so much.
Families with Preschool Children (up to age 4) – 4 Day Park Ticket
½ day at hotel or Downtown Disney (future Disney Springs)
Magic Kingdom is a big hit among the preschool set, and offers the most attractions of any of the parks. Magic Kingdom also few height restrictions, so only four attractions require riders to be 40″ or taller (Space Mountain, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain and Stitch’s Great Escape!). Since this demographic enjoys characters, Magic Kingdom gives a lot of bang for your buck where that is concerned.
Animal Kingdom is well-liked by preschoolers for its theme.
Hollywood Studios has several attractions specifically geared to preschool children (including a character meal featuring Disney Junior characters at Hollywood & Vine).
The extra half day is unnecessary for most preschoolers, so save the money and just buy a 4-day ticket. Downtown Disney is a great place to visit on that half day, to shop and eat.
Strategies: Preschoolers are generally early risers, so take advantage of rope drop at each park to experience some attractions before the crowds arrive. Take a 3 to 4 hour mid-day break to re-energize with a nap or a swim (except for the day you tour Animal Kingdom, which closes earlier than the other parks). Four park days in a row will be a lot for many preschoolers, so plan the less intensely-scheduled days for the end of the trip. Plan to be flexible with preschool children and take breaks as necessary, Disney World can be a very stimulating place. Read the rest of this entry »
Recently Disney rolled out “Glow With The Show” ears; they appeared at Walt Disney World last year and were introduced at Disneyland a year prior. Well, it seems that the concept is being re-branded, and it will now be known as “Made With Magic.”
In addition to being re-branded, new merchandise items have been created for guests to purchase and enjoy. These items include a Sorcerer Mickey wand (which will offer an additional function of changing the light patterns of other “Made with Magic” products), a Mickey Mouse glove, and a Minnie Mouse headband. The previously offered “Glow With The Show” ear hats will still be available, as well.
The first item to arrive will be the Minnie Mouse headband, which will be available in late October/early November. The Mickey Mouse glove and Sorcerer Mickey wand can be purchased beginning in late November/early December. The ear hats are available now. Each item will cost $25 and be available at select locations throughout Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
With the new products being offered, are you more likely to purchase a “Made with Magic” interactive item?
In all the busy preparations for my Walt Disney World trip and the realities of daily life, I missed this little gem on TouringPlans.com that stated that Chase – a sponsor of Epcot’s Food & Wine Festival – would have a lounge for Chase cardholders in The American Adventure pavilion. Imagine my surprise when one of the cast members giving me my sweet pepper hash at the Farm Fresh booth mentioned that I could go to a lounge because of my credit card!
If you look at The American Adventure pavilion, to the right of the main entrance is a side door that leads into a stairwell. Some lovely cast members stand there, and you show them your Chase card. (On the main banner it states that the lounge is for Chase debit and credit cardholders, including Disney Visa members.) Then you follow the signs up to the third floor (there’s also an elevator) and a most wonderful sight beckons.