How Did the Disney World Crowd Calendar Do Last Week?
Crowds at Walt Disney World looked busier than expected on Sunday and Monday last week but otherwise within a reasonable range of what the Calendar predicted. Magic Kingdom and Epcot had the biggest surprises of the week. Epcot in particular showed some wait times much higher than we have seen recently, partly due to some mechanical issues at Test Track and Soarin’. Again last week we saw some wild swings in wait times depending on the day at Animal Kingdom. That park saw crowd levels of ‘1’, ‘3’, ‘4’, ‘6’ and ‘7’.
Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week:
Last week, Disneyland crowds dipped well below the levels predicted by the Disneyland Crowd Calendar, mostly due to low wait times at Disneyland Park. Only Sunday saw wait times that matched what the Calendar expected. Guests who went to the parks on Thursday experienced some of the least crowded parks we’ve seen since early September.
Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Disneyland Resort Crowd Report:
Last week, no park reached wait times higher than a level ‘5’ on our scale and most days stayed between ‘1’ and ‘3’. That means posted wait times averaged 10 to 30 minutes at most attractions. Universal Parks continue to be the least crowded parks in Orlando this fall. Compared to the crowd level ‘8’s and ‘9’s we have seen at Magic Kingdom, Universal crowds have been much more desirable for those of us who prefer low wait times.
Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Universal Orlando Resort Crowd Report:
Disney Springs keeps changing and adding new things to help round out the refurbishment of the shopping and dining district.
The first big change is that the expansion of World of Disney is now complete. This 6,000 foot expansion’s goal is to help to make things more convenient for Guests to shop. The expansion includes wider aisles, a centralized check-out location, a new information center, a new shop entrance, three additional rooms for Guests to shop in, updated displays, and great new ceiling murals featuring Disney and Pixar characters.
Ring in the holidays with this video of the 2015 Osborne Family Spectacle lighting ceremony. (Photos/video by Seth Kubersky)
Walt Disney World‘s holiday season celebrations are in full swing, and the final season of the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights is drawing huge crowds each night to the Streets of America at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Recently, I brought you video of the Spectacle, featuring three full performances from the Dancing Lights. After that posting, some readers wondered whether the small ceremony that kicks off each evening’s illumination is still occurring. Well, wonder no more, because I’ve brought you this complete video of the 2015 Osborne Family Spectacle lighting ceremony:
Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, the long-running nighttime spectacular at Epcot, is beloved by many. But is it really that good? Let’s break it down.
Backstory: The first incarnation of an Epcot nighttime show premiered in the fall of 1982 and was called Carnival de Lumiere (no relation to the candelabra from the not yet conceived Beauty and the Beast film.) This small scale fountain show was replaced a year later by A New World Fantasy and that show was replaced yet another year later by Laserphonic Fantasy. Both of these shows used fireworks, lasers, lights, and projection screens on barges all set to classical music. The first version of the show actually titled IllumiNations began in 1988 and continued with some variations until 1999 when it was replaced by the current show Reflections of Earth. This version of the show was originally conceived as a signature attraction of the Walt Disney World Millennium Celebration but has been showed continuously ever since with the only variation being a special ending for the Christmas holiday season.
Touring Strategy: The show takes place at the center of World Showcase lagoon so it can be seen in full from anywhere around the lagoon, with the fireworks visible from many parts of Future World as well. The really good spots for IllumiNations do go early, however, especially in busier times of year. Without a reservation at a restaurant on the lagoon, your best walk-up locations to see IllumiNations are the raised area in front of the Italy pavilion and the area in front of the Yorkshire County Fish Shop in the United Kingdom pavilion. If these areas are being used for special events, consider the bridge between France and the United Kingdom and the area between Mexico and Norway. Just keep in mind that these locations can fill up by 45-minutes before showtime. If you don’t mind being partially blocked by a tree, a fence, or a guy taking selfies in front of you, then you can grab a location at pretty much any point before the show begins. (FastPass+ is not recommended but if you choose to use it, you will be positioned between the gift shops at the front of World Showcase and should arrive at least 20 minutes before showtime.) Read the rest of this entry »
This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Even MORE Extreme Eats at the Universal Orlando Resort. We’re fast approaching Thanksgiving, the official holiday of glorious overeating. As most of you know by now, we here at the SATURDAY SIX headquarters are big fans of Extreme Eats at the theme parks. Long ago we passed the line of adventurous foodies and into the realm of gluttony for the sake of gluttony. And guess what? We’re heading back for more! So sit back, be careful as this article is the literary equivalent of a case of 5 Hour Energy (unfortunately just all of the side effects and none of the benefits), and let’s begin our countdown starting with…
# 6 – Big Pink Donut (Springfield, USA)
Our first stop has to be in Universal’s Springfield USA, home of the Krusty Burger, the Clogger, and Lard Lad Donuts. The giant Lard Lad figure and his gigantic donut (a fun reference to the Big Boy restaurant mascot) stand out even in a land of outrageousness. But what stands out even more is the Lard Lad Big Pink Donut. The size of a human head, the Big Pink Donut is incredible to see in person, and even better to eat!
As Homer Simpon once said, “Donuts. Is there anything they can’t do?”
Now THAT’S a donut!
Encased in glass, like all fine works of art. (photo by @AmusementBuzz)
Disney has been changing up their FastPass+ options lately. Earlier this week, Brian shared that Epcot would be seeing some major changes what with Soarin’s upcoming refurbishment, as well as with the closure of Captain EO.
Now, Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be seeing a FastPass+ change as well with the addition of Flights of Wonder into the mix. Beginning on November 25, Guests will have the opportunity to choose the exotic bird show as one of their three experiences. This educational show combines live animals, a conservation message, and humor.
FastPass+ Attractions at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (as of November 25)
Festival of the Lion King
Finding Nemo – The Musical
Flights of Wonder
It’s Tough to Be a Bug!
Kali River Rapids
Meet Favorite Disney Pals at Adventurers Outpost
As a reminder, Guests who visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom have the option to choose from any of the FastPass+ attractions available to make up their first three FastPass+ selections. For more information about using FastPass+ at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, make sure to check out our tips page.
This week is Mickey Mouse’s Birthday! Happy birthday to the big cheese!
We have lots of great stories this week including celebrations of Fantasia, as well as the announcement of Walt Disney World 50 years ago, a look at who Harry and Betty are (who? you’ll find out), and more!
In Case You Missed It – Disney and Universal Orlando News and Rumors
50 years ago a momentous thing happened. Walt Disney World (or should I say The Florida Project) was announced to the press by Walt Disney.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom‘s expansion is rolling on and today Disney announced a brand new signature table service restaurant called Tiffins will be opening its doors on Discovery Island, next door to Pizzafari.
Tiffins, which is an Indian English word that means a midday meal or a type of container used to carry food while traveling, will celebrate the diverse art of traveling. (The artwork looks fabulous, by the way!)
The table service restaurant, which will be open for both lunch and dinner will feature a diverse menu that draws from places that inspired the creation of the park. Tiffins will also include waterfront views from both indoor and outdoor seating areas.
The restaurant will be opening in the spring of 2016 around the same time as the debut of Rivers of Light, as well as the nighttime version of Kilimanjaro Safaris.