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The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame to be Removed

by on October 20, 2016 2 Comments

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

Another attraction is closing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame is being removed.

While many didn’t know that the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame even existed, it was something unique to come across and browse through as you walked near the Hyperion Theater. The plaza area features rows of bronze sculpted heads of famous actors, television personalities, and more. Personalities featured in the exhibit included Oprah Winfrey, Betty White, Bob Newhart, Lucille Ball, Andy Griffith, and of course, Walt Disney. Most of the time, people just stopped here to take photos with their favorite celebrities.

The Orlando Sentinel shares that the busts will be returned to the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

This section of the park will soon feature a food and beverage marketplace, which should be available for Guests to enjoy by Thanksgiving.

10 Steps to Conserve Wi-Fi Onboard Your Disney Cruise

by on October 20, 2016 14 Comments

I don’t want to brag, buuuut – on the last three cruises I’ve been on, I’ve actually gotten off the cruise and still had free data left. Lots of free data! And I’ve sent pictures and emails! How crazy is that? So it’s possible I’ve cracked the code on keeping usage down. I don’t want to get my hopes up, but it’s possible. So let me share what I’ve learned and what is working for me. Some of these steps may not be necessary, but better safe than sorry, right? Wi-Fi onboard is expensive, people. You start with 50 megabytes free (150 megabytes in concierge), then the price goes up fast. 100 MB is $19, 300 MB is $39, and 1000 MB is $89. We want those megabytes to stretch as far as they can! My disclaimer is that I am an iPhone user. So some of my directions are iPhone specific. The broad principles should still apply though!

img_02401. Use Airplane Mode – Once you leave Port Canaveral, you will definitely want to be in airplane mode. Not being in airplane mode means you are risking using unwanted cell service—like Cellular at Sea. If you have an international plan and want to turn off airplane mode in ports, then go for it. But while you are at sea, I highly recommend airplane mode to avoid any unwanted charges. Once in airplane mode, you can still turn on Wi-Fi and use the Disney Cruise Line app and data as desired.

2. Get Disney’s Helpful Internet Sheet – Sometime during the first afternoon, stop by the internet help desk and pick up their sheet describing how to minimize data usage. They have a sheet for iPhones, Galaxy, Droid, etc. There may not be anyone at the desk the first day, but that’s okay. There’s usually a brochure holder on the desk full of them. Look towards the back of the pile if you don’t see them. Follow the steps. Some are listed below.

3. Turn off Location Services – Location services are a data sucker! Turn that baby off! No one needs to find you while you’re sailing! Not apps, not friends that are stalking your phone, no one! Turn it off. On iPhones, you turn it off in “Settings” and then “Privacy”. Read the rest of this entry »

Julia’s Best Week Ever, October 20, 2016: Even the Worst is the Best!

by on October 20, 2016 15 Comments

Which came first, the chicken or the egg? Or in this case, which blogger came up with the idea of trying to find really bad ideas at Disney, Derek and his Value Resorts Bar Crawl or the concept for this week’s Best Week Ever? The world may never know. (That is, if the world is lucky, we’ll never know.) Somewhere along weekly discussions with my family and flipping through the 2017 edition of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, I discovered what I assumed was a glaring error. The Mad Tea Party, one of my favorite rides of all time, is one of the lowest-rated attractions in the Magic Kingdom. In between Kermit-like arm flailing as I tried to explain to my husband just how much of an injustice this is, the idea came up: Could a day doing the worst that Walt Disney World has to offer still be not only good, but the Best Week Ever? Challenge accepted.

Looking at the rankings for attractions, we knew we could get our fill with a day split between Magic Kingdom and Epcot. After parking our car at Epcot, we hopped on the monorail and made our way towards the Transportation and Ticket Center and then on to Magic Kingdom.


On the way over, I booked FastPass+ times for the attractions we planned to hit. The benefit of going for “the worst” means that it’s pretty easy to get FastPass+ times. It was still fairly early as we took our walk down Main Street USA, but the blue skies and pops of fall color easily brings a smile to your face. Read the rest of this entry »

TouringPlansTV: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort – Part One + Video

by on October 19, 2016 8 Comments

Animal Kingdom Lodge LobbyToday’s episode of TouringPlansTV features Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge Resort! This is located in the Animal Kingdom park area of Walt Disney World.

In Part One, I’ll be discussing the resort’s theme, rooms, room views and transportation. Read the rest of this entry »

Worst Theme Park Idea Ever: Disney Value Resorts BAR CRAWL

by on October 19, 2016 22 Comments

We here at TouringPlans strive to constantly give our readers everything you need to know in order to save time and money on your Disney vacation. This past week alone, the Grand Poohbah of TouringPlans, Len Testa, had a fascinating look at The Best Walt Disney World Ticket and Hotel Prices, Liz Mangen explored the oft overlooked Walt Disney: Marceline to Magic Kingdom tour, and Daisy Lauren had an incredible look at the Disneyland’s in California and Tokyo. Not to be outdone, the think tank over at the SATURDAY SIX headquarters have decided to finally take on the conundrum that faces all vacation planners: how exactly does one achieve the very best Disney vacation?  Now, many inside-the-box thinkers go with the obvious answer, “Do The Things That Are Great.” Ride the best attractions, see the best shows, and eat at the most unique dining experiences. But to that we say Nay, Nay. Instead we are going to reverse engineer the problem by looking at all the truly awful ideas and explain to you Dear Reader, why you should not do them.

That, in a nutshell, is the raison d’être behind the Worst Theme Park Idea Ever series. Read the rest of this entry »

Meet Santa at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on October 18, 2016 2 Comments

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

It was announced last week that Disney’s Hollywood Studios would introduce a brand new fireworks spectacular to celebrate the holiday season called Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM!, but also new this year is the news that Guests will be able to visit the one and only Santa Claus too!

Reminiscent of the old days when Santa would visit department stores, Guests will be able to stop by the Once Upon a Time shop found on Sunset Boulevard and share their wish lists with the big man himself! Santa will be available for Guests to meet from November 14 through December 24.

As you know though, on the eve of December 24, Santa has to deliver presents to all the good little girls and boys, and he will then return to the North Pole. This means that beginning December 25 through December 31, Guests will have the opportunity to meet Santa Goofy in this location instead!

During the holiday season, Disney’s Hollywood Studios takes the “Tinsel Town” moniker to a whole new level, with great tinsel holiday displays, colorful garlands, sparkling lights, and a giant Christmas tree outside the main entrance.

Guests Can Now Meet the Coca-Cola Bear in Disney Springs

by on October 18, 2016

Coca-Cola Bear

©Disney / Coca-Cola

When the Coca-Cola Store was initially introduced, it was announced that there would be a meet and greet opportunity with the Coca-Cola Bear. Now Guests have the ability to feel the chill of the arctic and meet the iconic polar bear. He can be found on the second floor of the new store.

The Coca-Cola Store is a unique location in the Town Center section of Disney Springs. Here Guests can browse a wide assortment of Coca-Cola branded merchandise, including a line of sustainable fashion apparel and other handmade items crafted from recycled materials showcase. Guests can also visit the rooftop beverage bar, which has an incredible view of Disney Springs. Here they can enjoy flavors from around the world, as well as frozen beverages and a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine.

The meet and greet experience is available for Guests from 10:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. daily.

Disney Maladies (and How To Treat Them)

by on October 18, 2016 20 Comments

TouringPlans logoWalt Disney World has a deserved reputation as one of the most fun places you can visit, but what is lesser known is the litany of ailments such a trip can cause. Did you know, for example, that more children come down with a case of Gigantusmusophobia at Walt Disney World than any other location? Disney maladies are an under-recognized threat to your vacation experience.  

You need not, however, waste your entire vacation in the infirmary. Read on to learn how to quickly identify and treat common Disney ailments!  

Overplanning Paralysis


This level of detail might be overkill...

This level of detail might be overkill…

I often tell people that there are few places on planet Earth that reward a little bit of advance planning like Walt Disney World. It can, however, most definitely be overdone. What’s worse, you can find yourself so wracked with indecision that you can’t do anything and you’ve sucked all of the fun out of the trip before it’s even begun.

The prescription for this ailment, simply stated, is to relax. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: the overwhelming majority of people that go to Walt Disney World do so with little or no planning and they still have a great time, so the fact that you’re aware of the benefit of planning ahead puts you in a better position that all of those people. Embrace this truism now: there is no single planning decision that you make that will make having fun impossible, nor can a single decision guarantee you The Best Trip Ever. Armed with that knowledge, there is no need to needlessly fret over whether you’ve reserved the right restaurant for lunch, or whether you’ve picked the right attraction for your FastPass+ reservations. You’ve probably done just fine.   Read the rest of this entry »

The Best Disney World Ticket and Hotel Prices – and the Stories Behind Them

by on October 17, 2016 91 Comments

beach-old-13This past July I paid $253 per night – with tax – for a standard room at Disney’s Polynesian Resort. That’s more than 50% less than the $533 rack rate Disney was asking for similar rooms. It was less than Disney was charging for the same room in 2001 – 15 years ago.  And I didn’t have to listen to a timeshare presentation or be a close, personal friend of Disney CEO Bob Iger to do it.  All I had to do was believe what I read on the internet.

In this case, I’d seen a lot of talk in our Lines Chat forum about a company called Magical Vacations Travel (MVT), whose Disney World room offers were far below the prices we were seeing everywhere else.  And that was unusual, because we have relationships with some very large travel companies, who you’d expect would be able to match any offer a smaller company could come up with. But the big travel companies weren’t matching MVT’s offers. I wanted to find out why.

I also thought it would be a good time to look at a new Disney World ticket vendor called We first noticed them in 2014, when Lines Chat folks started mentioning the fantastic deals they were getting on multi-day Disney World tickets – prices far, far below what even the biggest Disney World ticket wholesalers were offering. Disney World ticket scams are legendary, so, as with Magical Vacations Travel, I wanted to make sure Parksavers was a reputable business for the TouringPlans community.

Here’s what I found: Both Magical Vacations Travel and are legitimate businesses that sell exactly the products they advertise. But the way they can make these great offers to you – the business models behind these companies – are fascinating stories in their own rights. This is how they work. Read the rest of this entry »

SATURDAY SIX: Six Family Friendly Desserts at Walt Disney World Your Kids Won’t Forget!

by on October 15, 2016 9 Comments

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Family Friendly Desserts at Walt Disney World Your Kids Won’t Forget! Recent SATURDAY SIX articles have had us looking at some of the great drinks you can get at the WDW hotel lounges (such as the Northwest Exposure at Wilderness Lodge’s Territory Lounge or the Abita Flight at Port Orleans Riverside’s River Roost Lounge) along with some unique burger offerings on property including ESPN Club’s Old World Bavarian Burger or The Mad King at Splitsville. Today we are going to go straight to the end of the menu and look at some of the most unique, outrageous, and – at times – next level bonkers desserts on Disney property. So sit back, loosen up that belt on your pants, and let’s begin our list with…

# 6 – “DESSERT”ED ISLAND (Todd English’s bluezoo)

One of the most underrated dining experiences in all of “The World” is at Todd English’s bluezoo in the Dolphin at Walt Disney World. bluezoo is known for its world class bar that has one amazing cocktail after another (we recommend to start with the Burnt Orange or the Swedish Fish) but the restaurant’s dinner menu may be the true “best kept secret” at Disney. The Crispy Asian Pork Ribs appetizer is  somehow better than the mouth-watering ribs at Morimoto Asia. On the way to the dining room, guests will also pass by a unique circular rotisserie that makes the fish being grilled on it seem to dance on the coals. On the menu, this is presented as “this evening’s dancing fish.” So with a sense of style, originality, and wit you don’t often see in restaurants, it is no surprise that bluezoo also features a Must Try dessert.

The “Dessert”ed Island follows the grand tradition of Disney as it actually is based on story. This story features “a chocolate boat filled with vanilla ice cream sailing the Jell-O seas to explore chocolate island.” If more stories were like that I bet Millenials would read more. All of the chocolate pieces, including the ship and sails, along with the palm tree, are actually made in-house at the Swan and Dolphin. Just a spectacularly fun way to end a meal. ($9.00)


“Dessert” ed Island. (photo by Brandon Glover)


One of the “dancing” fish.

# 5 – Everything Pop Sundae (Disney’s Pop Century)

No one believes this when I tell them, but the Everything Pop food court at Disney’s Pop Century is hands-down the “restaurant” at Walt Disney World I visit the most. Why? Because it’s the one place at WDW where you can get a Sloppy Joe. We all have that favorite Disney food or snack. Some guests love their Mickey Waffles, some prefer the cheddar cheese soup at Le Cellier, and others keep coming back for the bread pudding at ‘Ohana, but for me it’s the Sloppy Joe at Everything Pop.

Many SATURDAY SIX readers know of the Everything Pop food court because of the infamous Pop-Tart Sandwich. An inaugural theme park Turkey of the Year nominee, the Pop-Tart sandwich uses Pop-Tarts as the “bread” for a sandwich that has egg in the form of a hockey puck along with cheese and bacon melded together in a twisted form straight out of John Carpenter’s The Thing. But believe it or not, the sandwich is not the only item at the Everything Pop food court which uses Pop-Tarts. The Everything Pop Sundae features six flavors of ice cream, brownies, bananas, M&Ms, gummy worms, marshmallows, rainbow jimmies, chocolate fudge, caramel sauce, whipped cream, Maraschino cherries and Pop-Tarts sticking out of the top like monoliths. You may ask yourself “why, gummy worms?” That’s a very good question. ($10.99)


Everything Pop Sundae. (photo by Brandon Glover)


Everything Pop Sundae. (photo by Brandon Glover)


Everything Pop Sundae. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Read the rest of this entry »