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Julia’s Best Week Ever, January 12, 2017: Best (Week) Plans?

by on January 12, 2017 5 Comments

Happy New Year, wonderful readers of the Best Week Ever. This week, I was going to gush all glorious about Walt Disney World’s Marathon Weekend, and specifically the Saturday events of the half marathon and kids’ races.

Nothing like being out at dinner on Friday night and seeing this message come across Twitter.

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New Star Wars: Galactic Nights Special Event at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on January 11, 2017 9 Comments

Star Wars: Galactic Nights

©Disney

If you are a Star Wars fan, the ultimate event will be taking place this April at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Star Wars: Galactic Nights will occur on April 14 and invites Guests to celebrate the beloved Star Wars franchise. Star Wars: Galactic Nights Guests will be invited to dress as their favorite character while attending this family-friendly event, as well as experience fun and exclusive Star Wars activities and events.

Rebel Base

Guests will start at the Rebel Base, found at the center of the par, which will serve as the event hub. There will be multiple shows, events, and dance parties. Here, Guests will experience stunning, interactive projection featuring iconic Star Wars scenery.  Guests will also be able to experience “The Star Wars Show” on Location, where you’ll be able to join the hosts of the popular starwars.com show while they film their weekly program. You will also be able to experience Celebrate the Saga where you’ll have the opportunity to take off on an interactive journey that chronologically celebrates the milestones of Star Wars. Read the rest of this entry »

Walt Disney World Planning: Order of Operations

by on January 11, 2017 15 Comments

Walt Disney World Trip Planning

I’ve been helping my middle school-age son with his math homework lately. And one of the things that has been a bit of a challenge is something called “order of operations.” Basically, when you have a complex, multi-step problem, you have to do your calculations in order. Take care of what’s inside of any parentheses first, then calculate any exponents. Next, do your multiplication and division calculations. Finish with any remaining addition and subtraction.

Well, the same principle applies to planning a Walt Disney World vacation, which is its own complex, multi-step problem. So consider this a step-by-step road map that will keep you on course and allow you to reach the correct solution: a successful Disney vacation. If you’re new to planning, I highly recommend using the services of a travel agent that specializes in Disney destinations. They can help guide you and answer any questions you might have along the way.

Parentheses (first things first)

Let’s assume you’ve already decided on a Walt Disney World vacation. Consider this step the parentheses of our equation: the one part you simplify and solve before anything else. The first crucial decisions in your planning are when and where you’re going to stay. Read the rest of this entry »

9 Things You Must Do at Disneyland When You Only Have 1 Day

by on January 10, 2017 13 Comments

There are over 50 rides, shows, parades, and other attractions in Disneyland. But there’s also a lot to do outside of the park in the rest of Southern California. We often hear from readers that only have one day to spend inside Disneyland, and they ask what they must see during their single day in the park. That’s not enough time to do everything, but in this post I’ll show you the 9 things you must do at Disneyland when you only have 1 day. Before you start planning your day at Disneyland, you should use our Disneyland crowd calendar to decide which day of your trip will have the lowest crowds. Then use one of our pre-made touring plans, or our personalized touring plan software, which is basically a cheat sheet on how to beat the crowds in the park and wait less in line.

  1. Ride Indiana Jones Adventure

A must ride and one of Disney’s crown jewels. After walking through the elaborately decorated queue you load on to a troop-transport that takes you on a frantic ride through a cursed temple. Along the way you’ll encounter snakes, spiders, lava, rats, darts, a finally a giant rolling boulder.

Our book, The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland says it best:

The Indiana Jones ride is a Disney masterpiece—nonstop action from beginning to end with brilliant visual effects. Elaborate even by Disney standards, the attraction provides a level of detail and variety of action that make use of the entire Imagineering arsenal of high-tech gimmickry.

Indiana Jones Adventure is a very popular attraction. See it as early in the day as possible. Fastpasses will run out in the early afternoon on busy days. Read the rest of this entry »

Disney World Experiences Kids Today Will Never Understand

by on January 9, 2017 36 Comments

The Walt Disney World Resort is celebrating its 45th anniversary; and while a number of attractions and experiences from the resort’s early days are still be enjoyed all these years later, the resort has been no stranger to change. When I think back on my childhood visits to Walt Disney World, a few things come to mind that kids today will never experience… or even believe! Like what? Well, let’s take a look at just a few Disney World Experiences Kids Today Will Never Understand, shall we?

Cinderella Castle Was Once a Cake

Walt Disney World rarely gives their icons makeovers nowadays. For this year’s 45th Anniversary, a banner appeared on Cinderella Castle for like five minutes and then vanished. Disney even forgoes the popular holiday layovers that some Disneyland Park attractions are given each year.

This is why Cinderella Castle’s sugary pink makeover for the resort’s 25th Anniversary is a little hard to swallow in retrospect.

Yes, on October 1, 1996, Cinderella Castle was transformed into a pink and white cake decked with an assortment of candies! My seven year self loved it, but let’s just say others did not…

Regal Cinderella Castle remained a cake for 15 months, and that is just one of the Disney World experiences kids today will never understand or experience!

PUSH

PUSH in Tomorrowland (photo credit Scott Sanders – Disney Cruise Line Blog)

The Best Character Meet was PUSH the Talking Trash Can

For many years, the Magic Kingdom’s Tomorrowland was home to a mobile, interactive trash can appropriately called PUSH. Now I know what you’re thinking, kids. But trust me, PUSH was a rock star. PUSH would talk and tease guests and treat any trash you disposed in him as a tasty snack.

Sadly, PUSH can no longer be found at Walt Disney World these days, but he is one Disney World experience I hope may return one day.

Mulan Was Drawn at a Disney Park

Disney’s Hollywood Studios, originally known as Disney-MGM Studios, was intended to be a theme park and a functioning production studio.

The studio element of the park eventually disappeared; but back in the day, live action and animation both took place at the park. In fact, park guests were once able to watch Disney animators working on films like Mulan, Lilo and Stitch, and Brother Bear at the Magic of Disney Animation pavilion.

FASTPASSES

Ahhhh, the good old days!

Days at the Parks With No FASTPASS or FastPass+

One of the Disney World experiences kids today will never understand is the struggle of a Disney World Vacation before FASTPASS. Not until 1999 was the original FASTPASS paper ticket system introduced to Walt Disney World, offering relief from lengthy wait times and non-interactive queues in the pre-smartphone years.

Today, Walt Disney World guests enjoy FastPass+ where guests can book their FastPass+ reservation online or through the MyDisneyExperience app. This second generation system guarantees a short wait for a favorite headlining attraction, even before a guest arrives on property. It’s a luxury my childhood self never could have imagined!

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SATURDAY SIX: The Best Resort Specific Merchandise at Walt Disney World

by on January 7, 2017 4 Comments

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at The Best Resort Specific Merchandise at WDW! Longtime readers of this fine blog series will remember that we have looked at the Best Souvenirs at Disney, the Best at Universal, and even the Best Pieces of Disney Merchandise That Don’t Exist. Heck, we even risk our lives and sanity each and every month to deliver you the fabled Disney Outlet Store Photo Report. So it is safe to say, we like merch. Now, one of our favorite types of theme park resort merchandise is the stuff you can get at the onsite hotels. When looking at them back at home, they instantly remind us of the great times we had on vacation and the places we have stayed at. Disney has always been the industry leader at incredible resort specific merchandise, but several years ago the company switched to a more homogeneous look for much of its hotel merchandise. With a very similar style of logo for various resorts all on the same type of items (t-shirts, coffee cups, keychains, etc), it was like Disney was running a Zazzle account writ large. Thankfully, more original merchandise has started to make its way back to the resorts, along with some old favorites. Today we’re going to look at our favorite resort specific merchandise, starting with…

# 6 – Camper Keychain at Fort Wilderness

Believe it or not, Disney’s Fort Wilderness campgound has one of the highest amounts of great resort specific merchandise on property. From great looking pins and shirts to amazing prints, Fort Wilderness offers an array of unique items that most other WDW hotels can’t compete with. There’s even a Fort Wilderness air freshener! Our absolute favorite piece of merch is the Camper Keychain ($9.99). Not only is this an incredibly creative keychain compared to what you’ll find at other resorts, the headlight of the camper is a working flashlight! Talk about the Disney Difference, and be prepared to talk about your Disney vacation when your friends and family back home see your cute keychain.

Fort Wilderness Camper Keychain.

The camper’s headlight is an actual working flashlight!

Plastic Mason Jar Travel Mug.

Fort Wilderness Air Freshener with “Wild Woods Scent.” To be fair, while we say it is unique that Fort Wilderness has its own air freshener, we will stipulate to the fact that no one would want an All Star Music air freshener anyway. We do wonder what the scent of “Pop Century” would be though….

The SATURDAY SIX mobile sits outside Coronado Springs with the inside smelling like Fort Wilderness.

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In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of January 6, 2017

by on January 6, 2017

Welcome to 2017! I hope so far your year is off to a rousing success! As for me, I’m down in Orlando cheering for those running this weekend in the Walt Disney World marathon. If you see me, make sure to say hi!

This week, another company has aligned with the Disney company, Disney raked in the money domestically at the box office, and more.

In Case You Missed It – Disney and Universal Orlando News and Rumors

 

Oh my gosh! I’m gonna need to make sure to ride Kilimanjaro Safaris this weekend. There was a baby elephant born recently and it’s simply adorable!

Head’s up! If you bought this infant hoodie sweatshirt, it is being recalled due to buttons that could pop off. Read the rest of this entry »

New MagicBands Shipping to Walt Disney World Resort Guests

by on January 5, 2017 28 Comments

I have some exciting news to share today! The new MagicBands are shipping to Guests! How do I know? Well, today, in my mailbox, I received two brand new MagicBand 2 bands.

©Rikki Niblett

 

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Back to the Basics Series: FastPass+ at Walt Disney World – Video

by on January 5, 2017 2 Comments

New year, new series!

In Back to the Basics, I cover topics for the Disney beginner.

Don’t know how to buy tickets? Confused by abbreviations such as FP+ and ADR? I’ll discuss it all in this series!

Today’s episode features FastPass+ (also known as FP+).

Enjoy!

Helpful Links:

Making FastPass+ Reservations

Magic Kingdom FP+ Tips

Epcot FP+ Tips

Hollywood Studios FP+ Tips

Animal Kingdom FP+ Tips

Enjoy these videos? Subscribe to our YouTube page for more!

Best Week Ever 2017: Our 2017 Theme Park Resolutions

by on January 5, 2017 4 Comments

2017 Theme park resolutions

It’s that time of year again! My Best Week Ever sisters and I are kicking off a hopeful new year by making promises for what we’re going to do with it. Of course, since you’ve come here for some Orlando based fun we’re going to be covering our New Year’s Theme Park Resolutions. Even better, you’ll be able to follow along with Best Week Ever during 2017 and see if we keep our resolutions this year. Keep us honest, folks! 😀 But don’t let the fun end with us. Let us know what your New Year’s Resolutions are in the comments below.

Dani’s Plan for 2017

  • Dani's theme park resolution is to be more social

    2017: Less solo time in the parks, more togetherness

    Many people know that 2016 marked a year of dipping my toe in the treacherous waters of thrill rides. Well, what I define to be thrill rides are probably considered mild by most. Universal Orlando has been the site of most of my thrill seeking, but this year it’s Disney’s turn. I will conquer Magic Kingdom’s mountain range, though with one modification. There is absolutely no way I am going on Space Mountain (do not try to convince). I will replace Space Mountain with Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, which I’ve never been on. And I haven’t ridden Splash Mountain and Big Thunder Mountain since my long ago preteen years.

  • Being a Florida Native, I love the water, be it a pool, the ocean, refreshing spring water, or a water ride. I want to spend more time flipping my fins, after all it’s better down where it’s wetter. I resolve to spend more time in all kinds of water including going to the beach more, going to Florida state parks and springs more, but also in the world of theme parks I will go on more water rides and will plan one or two weekend getaways at area hotels which will include some pool time of course. Oh! And I want to rent a pontoon boat on Bay Lake and maybe a Sea Racer too!
  • Finally, I want to be more social. Because my time in the theme parks often involves researching a specific topic and sharing my adventures in the parks live on social media channels I often visit the parks solo. I do value my alone time, but I want more time in the parks with family and friends. Visiting the theme parks solo is fun and it does gives me a different perspective, but so does spending time with friends, family, and making new friends.

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