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Washington DC: How to Attend the Presidential Inauguration

by on September 28, 2016 2 Comments

Rope drop Inaugural-Style

Rope drop Inaugural-Style

This post was written by Phil Cronin, who worked on both of President Bill Clinton’s inaugurations. Enjoy!

“Marvin, what do we do now?”-Robert Redford as Senator-Elect Bill McKay in The Candidate. The answer is, Constitutionally, you take the oath of office and socially, you have a celebration. Or an Inauguration.

Constitutionally, the new president takes the oath of office at Noon on January 20th. That part is organized by Congress. Socially, there will be, if history is a guide, a parade, Inaugural Balls, concerts, a day of service, and other events organized by the Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) established by the winning candidate. And you’re invited. Sort of.

Congress has a website for Inaugural information. There is not much information about the 2017 Inaugural, but it will give you a sense of what happens that day.

Map of 2013 Inauguration

Map of 2013 Inauguration

The Swearing-In

To attend the swearing-in, you get tickets from your Member of Congress. Each office receives a limited number of tickets they are free to distribute as they see fit. Most will hold a random drawing. Many states coordinate the drawing across their entire Congressional Delegation to ensure they maximize the number of people who can attend.

These tickets are for standing. There are seats, but they are reserved for guests of the First Family, Electoral College Electors, Dignitaries, and other VIPs. Pictured is a map from the 2013 Inaugural (which has been the same for the last few Inaugurals) showing the ticketed areas.

To put things in perspective, in 2013, approximately 1 million attended the second Obama/Biden Inaugural (1.8 million attended the first Obama/Biden Inaugural in 2009). And Congress had 240,000 tickets to distribute. If you are lucky enough to get a ticket, your vantage point may be less than ideal. Pictured is the view my family had in 2013 with South Standing Area tickets, and arriving at the Capitol at about 7:30 AM, a full 4 hours before the ceremony began. Read the rest of this entry »

TouringPlansTV: Kilimanjaro Safaris Ride-Through at Disney’s Animal Kingdom + Video

by on September 27, 2016 1 Comment

AK - Kilimanjaro Safari (13)Today is Double Video Day!

Not only will I be giving you deets on Kilimanjaro Safaris (found at Disney’s Animal Kingdom), but I will be providing you with both a short and long video featuring the attraction.

This is where we need your help: Which version do you like better? Shorter glimpses of the attraction or longer ride-throughs? Does Angela blab too much? Let me know!

We at strive to provide viewers with the information and footage YOU want to see. Let us know your thoughts in the comments, or “like” your favorite video on our YouTube page.


Read the rest of this entry »

Attractions to Ride During Magic Kingdom Fireworks

by on September 27, 2016 6 Comments

Disney World’s Wishes Nighttime Spectacular at Magic Kingdom is a show that I can watch over and over again. I’ve had a perfect view at the end of Main Street, U.S.A. just behind the Hub. I’ve had great views from other various spots along Main Street, U.S.A. and from the upper balcony of the Walt Disney Railroad Main Street U.S.A. Station. I’ve watched it from Fantasyland near Prince Charming Regal Carrousel and at assorted spots on the path leading to Beast’s Castle with the fireworks exploding in all directions.

I’ve watched the fireworks bursting above me near Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid and have seen them from the Tomorrowland bridge. I’ve also watched from parts of the park that afford only glimpses of the action but where the fireworks still give me that feeling of magic.

© Sarah Graffam

Wishes near Under the Sea – Journey of the Little Mermaid


To be sure, there are many spots with a view of Wishes in Magic Kingdom. But there is another memorable way to watch the show from inside the park that doesn’t involve finding one great spot. Rather, how about experiencing Wishes from a different perspective by riding an attraction with a view.

Read the rest of this entry »

Updated: What to Expect from 2016 Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland

by on September 26, 2016 20 Comments

DSC07067Mickey’s Halloween Party is a special extra-ticket event held select nights at at Disneyland during the Halloween season. The party includes a special fireworks show featuring a fly-by of Zero (instead of Tinker Bell), an exclusive Halloween parade with an appearance by a horseback riding headless horseman,  trick-or-treating, and more. In this post we’ll talk about what to expect from 2016 Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland.

Mickey’s Halloween Party takes place in Disneyland on select nights in the fall, typically running from late-September until Halloween. In 2016, the party dates are September 23, 26, 28, 30, October 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 14, 17, 19, 21, 24, 26, 29 and 31.

Tickets for Mickey’s Halloween Party are now on sale.

What time is the Party?

Officially the Party runs from 6 pm on some nights and 7 pm on others. The party runs until 11 pm or 12 am, depending on the night. Guests with valid Halloween party tickets may enter the park up to three hours prior to the event’s start time.

Will I need a special ticket to get into the Party?

Yes. Admission requires buying a separate ticket just for this event. It’s not included in any regular theme park tickets or annual passports.

How much do the Party tickets cost?

There’s a range of pricing, including discounts for buying in advance. The official Disney website lists the following prices: Read the rest of this entry »

Visiting Disney World With Type 1 Diabetes

by on September 26, 2016 10 Comments

img_4361This post was written by Jacqueline Clark, frequent visitor to Disney Parks and a member of the Moms Panel. Enjoy!

When our 11 year old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) this past May, our world was forever changed. Type 1 isn’t the diabetes you hear about on TV. Type 1 is an auto-immune disease which requires round the clock monitoring. You can’t take a vacation from the constant managing of Type 1, but you can (and should) take your vacation to Walt Disney World!

A frequent visitor to Walt Disney World since the early 1970’s and a member of the Disney Parks Moms Panel, it has been a place of joy my entire life. Our 3 children first visited Disney World as infants and consider it their second home. So when our newly diagnosed daughter asked if we could go there after she was released from the hospital, I decided we would make it a fact finding trip. We needed to see for ourselves that Disney can continue to be our happy place with T1D.

fullsizerender-1 Walt Disney World does a fabulous job with special dietary requests. Sadly, carb counts are not provided on the menus or by the chefs. Of course, any prepackaged foods will provide the necessary carb counting. If you are not familiar with T1D, it is necessary to count the carbs in the food you eat, every time you eat. After you “do the math,” you must bolus (take insulin) for the food you are about eat. Our daughter decided she would make a Diabetic Disney Guide (pictured). Thanks to the free wifi available across Walt Disney World property, we were able to Google and estimate the carbs counts for the any of the food she ate. Want to dose for a Mickey Bar? You’ll find the carb count for that right on the package. It’s 31 carbs. What about a churro? Good ol’ Google helped us find that it has about 24g of carbs. There are many restaurant chains who provide carb counts. I am hopeful that Disney will follow suit sometime soon. Read the rest of this entry »

Walt Disney World October 2016 Preview

by on September 26, 2016 6 Comments

Welcome to TouringPlans’ Walt Disney World October 2016 preview – fall is here and we’ve been celebrating Halloween for the last month. Who’s with us and ready for October?

Average Weather for Walt Disney World in October


October weather for Orlando - High 85, Low 68, 75% Humidity, 9 days with rain

October Weather for Orlando





Things finally start to cool off in October. The heat is more bearable and we’re reaching the end of hurricane season. NOAA’s National Hurricane Center is an excellent resource for forecasts that may affect your October trip.

Evening temperatures drop below 70 this month, so pack layers if you have any day into night plans.

Zika Concerns

Zika, the mosquito-born virus, remains a concern for residents and visitors to South Florida (we realize Walt Disney World is not in South Florida). While Dade County has said aerial spraying has been very effective in killing affected mosquitos and larvae in the neighborhoods Zika was first found in, Walt Disney World is still providing mosquito repellent in its hotel rooms and at park entrances for guests. It also filled in the standing water at the long-shuttered River Country in Fort Wilderness. The CDC is your best source for news about Zika.


Upcoming Live Chats for October

Every Thursday Brian hosts a Live Facebook Q&A, usually at noon or 1pm Eastern. Check Facebook each week for the exact time.

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


Walt Disney World October 2016 Park Crowds

Read the rest of this entry »

SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We LOVE Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

by on September 24, 2016 28 Comments

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We LOVE Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort. With 26 on-site resorts at Walt Disney World, there is a wide variety of choices for families coming down. We’ve covered many here on the SATURDAY SIX including Value Resorts (Art of Animation and Pop Century), Moderates (Port Orleans French Quarter and Caribbean Beach), and Deluxe (Contemporary and Animal Kingdom Lodge). We also can’t forget the Disney Vacation Club resorts such as Old Key West. Today we are going to take a look at one of WDW’s most underrated resorts, Disney’s Coronado Springs.


Disney’s Coronado Springs, a member of the Moderate Resorts.

There are several reasons Coronado Springs doesn’t get the love and attention the other Disney resorts do. The biggest factor is that caters heavily towards the business convention crowd as opposed to primarily vacationing families. Ironically, this feature actually provides some of the biggest benefits for families, but we’ll get to that later. Because Coronado Springs is relatively off the beaten path at WDW (it sits close to Blizzard Beach, Winter Summerland mini-golf, but little else,) it’s not a place you generally run into while enjoying something else at The World. We’re here to let you know that you should go out of your way to check out Coronado Springs, and we have our six best reasons at the ready. So sit back, remember to practice your piñata swings, and let’s begin our list with…

# 6 – The Dig Site: Home of The Lost City of Cibola

For many families, including ours, a resort’s pool area plays a major factor when it comes to deciding where to stay. When thinking of Disney’s best pools, places like Yacht & Beach Club’s Stormalong Bay and Caribbean Beach’s Fuentes del Morro pool come immediately to mind. The Dig Site at Coronado Springs is right up there with the best pool areas on property as it is jam packed with great things to do for every family member, big or small.

The headliner is The Lost City of Cibola pool. With a jaw dropping 50 foot tall pyramid and 123 foot long Jaguar waterslide, this is a main pool that has both the “wow factor” and is incredibly fun. Surrounding the main pool is the largest hot tub at WDW, an incredible children’s play area themed to Mayan ruins, the awesome Siestas pool bar, and the best themed volleyball court we’ve ever seen. Siestas has a To-Go food window that is actually open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, while the actual bar features several signature cocktails including the Coronado Crush. This is the absolute perfect pool area for those who want to take a midday break away from the parks, or just spend an “off day” totally on-site at the resort. As a bonus, because the resort is often filled with conventioneers and couples without kids, those with children have much less congestion while enjoying the amenities.


The Dig Site.


The Lost City of Cibola pool. The Jaguar Slide is on the right, while the elaborate children’s play area is on the left.


Now that’s a pool!


The #story of the waterslide is that it features a “spitting Jaguar spirit animal.”

Read the rest of this entry »

In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of September 23, 2016

by on September 23, 2016 3 Comments

ICYMII just got back from Walt Disney World so I could experience the Epcot Food and Wine Festival and I have to say that this year, it’s just as good! I loved almost all the dishes I sampled and didn’t think that most lines were awful. (Though I was strategic and ate at most of the booths in the afternoon, vs in the evening when most crowd around World Showcase.) If you are going to the Festival this year, let me know what you can’t wait to try or what you think is totally delicious! I am going back for the last weekend and am wanting to try a few more great dishes.

This week, we watched as DCA removed the Tower of Terror sign, saw Angela Lansbury make hearts swell, and more. Come along and read the fun!

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


Is Disney considering making further changes to its Annual Pass program? It seems as though they may be and why it seems like an odd choice.

In another odd choice…The Tower of Terror in Disney California Adventure had its signage removed. Granted the attraction doesn’t go down for refurbishment until January for its change over to Guardians of the Galaxy, but it was decided that now was the time to strip it of its sign. Read the rest of this entry »

The Muppets Present…Great Moments in American History Will Open in October

by on September 23, 2016 5 Comments



The Muppets are coming! The Muppets are coming!

Are you ready for stories retelling famous historical moments courtesy of The Muppets? (I mean how could you not be ready?) Beginning October 2 at the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square, Guests will be able to catch some of your favorite characters, such as Kermit, Miss Piggy, Fozzie, and Gonzo, and yes Sam Eagle in “The Muppets Present…Great Moments in American History.”

The eccentric new show that was announced back in July will be hosted by James “J.J” Jefferson who is the Liberty Square town crier, as well as the patriotic, Sam Eagle. Throughout the day, J.J. and the Muppets will share their own unique spin on the founding fathers. They will recount the tale of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the midnight ride of Paul Revere, and more. There will be a unique song and one thing is for sure–this show will include plenty of humor.

“The Muppets Present…Great Moments in American History” will take place several times a day outside the Hall of Presidents.


Magic Kingdom to Celebrate 45 Anniversary

by on September 23, 2016 3 Comments

©Rikki Niblett

Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Magic Kingdom  ©Rikki Niblett

October 1 is an important day in Disney history. It is the anniversary of the Magic Kingdom’s opening day,and this year, the park is celebrating 45 years of delivering magic to Guests. To celebrate, Disney will be featuring a few special offerings honoring the momentous day.

First, a special presentation will occur on the Cinderella Castle Forecourt Stage at 9:30 a.m. The day will also include musical performances, appearances by Disney characters, and guest speakers.

Guests will also be able to pick up a limited release “I Was There” trading pin or t-shirt at the Emporium on Main Street USA. Also, Disney is releasing additional 45th anniversary commemorative products to celebrate the occasion.

Of course, it isn’t an anniversary at Walt Disney World without themed treats. (One would expect a special cupcake!) You can pick up these treats at both the Main Street Bakery and Gaston’s Tavern.

I’ve been at the Magic Kingdom on several of these anniversaries and they are a fun day. The Magic Kingdom’s atmosphere is incredibly fun and I like to spend the day visiting opening day attractions to celebrate. If you are able to visit this year for the celebration, I hope you have a great time too.