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Universal Orlando Resort Preview — Week of September 16

by on September 14, 2017
Filed under: Universal Orlando Resort, Weekly Preview

The Universal Orlando Preview is brought to you by Storybook DestinationsStorybook Destinations specializes in Disney and Universal travel, is consistently highly rated by our readers, and is owned by our own blogger extraordinaire, Tammy Whiting. Storybook also offers free subscriptions to TouringPlans to clients with qualified bookings.

Welcome back! I’d like to take a second to say that I hope all that were directly affected by Hurricane Irma are safe. If your trip was interrupted or rescheduled due to the storm, or you are just needing an escape, let’s see how you can unwind at Universal Orlando this week!

Weekly Crowd Level

Please note these are the projected crowd levels at the time of publication. Due to many guests needing to change vacation plans at the last minute due to Irma, crowd levels may fluctuate. Detailed crowd level information can be found here.

Weekly Weather Report

Mid-week is looking good!! Check out the latest weather forecast here.

Read the rest of this entry »

Disney After Hours Event Returning to the Magic Kingdom

by on September 14, 2017
Filed under: Magic Kingdom, Recent News 5 Comments

Disney After Hours

Disney After Hours Event Guide ©Laurel Stewart

Last year, Disney introduced a special ticketed event at the Magic Kingdom called Disney After Hours. The event, overall didn’t have a large number of Guests attend, however for those who did experience Disney After Hours, they said that it was one of the best experiences they’d had. So, Disney has decided to bring it back once again.

During Disney After Hours, Guests are able to enjoy quicker access to select rides and character greeting locations. The event enables Guests to maximize their time in the park with quicker access to over 25 attractions and character greetings. In addition, Ice cream novelties, popcorn, and bottled beverages are available free of charge. For those who would like to enjoy other options, Guests can also purchase select menu items at Main Street Bakery and at other select locations throughout the park.

Disney After Hours will take place once the park closes on select nights in January, February and March. Event Guests may enter the park as early as 7:00 p.m. and will then be able to remain in the park for three hours past the scheduled closing time for the event.

Dates and times for Disney After Hours for 2018 are: Read the rest of this entry »

What to Expect from 2017 Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland

by on September 14, 2017
Filed under: Disneyland (CA), Halloween 2 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 2017 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 2017, the party dates are September 20, 22, 25, 27, 29 and October 3, 6, 10, 13, 17, 20, 24, 27, and 31.

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

What time is the Party?

Officially the Party starts at 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 Disneyland (OR Disney California Adventure, which is a new perk for 2017) 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 »

Walt Disney World Preview — Week of September 16

by on September 14, 2017
Filed under: Walt Disney World (FL), Weekly Preview

Special Events

  • Epcot is kicking off Hispanic Heritage Month with Fiestas Patrias. On September 16th from 11:00am – 5:00pm, head to the Mexico Pavilion for a scavenger hunt celebrating Mexican culture!
  • Through September 30th, Florida residents will be offered a FREE appetizer AND valet parking with each adult dinner entrée. This is featured at the following restaurants:
    • Jiko
    • Flying Fish
    • Citricos
    • Artist Point
  • Are you a Tables in Wonderland member? Through September 30th, you can receive a 30% discount at the following restaurants:
    • Note: Discount is only available before 6:30pm or after 8:30pm

Read the rest of this entry »

Sneak Preview of Pixar’s “Coco” Coming to Disney Parks

by on September 13, 2017
Filed under: Disney California Adventure, Hollywood Studios, Recent News 3 Comments


Are you anxious for the upcoming Pixar film Coco? Well, soon, you’ll be able to catch a sneak preview of the movie at both Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort.

Starting at Walt Disney World, the preview will be taking place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios inside the theater in the new Walt Disney Presents. (Formerly One Man’s Dream.) In addition to the special sneak peek, Guests will also be able to view character sculptures and artwork from the production that will be on display.

Moving over to the Disneyland Resort, Guests at Disney California Adventure will get to see this advance look at scenes from Coco in 3D with special in-theater effects at the Sunset Showcase Theater in Hollywood Land. In addition, Guests should also make sure to check out the Plaza de la Familia, an all-new festivity at Paradise Gardens that celebrates the film too which takes place from September 15 – November 2.

These special sneak previews are set to begin November 3. Coco hits theaters on November 22.

#AskIt – So How ‘Bout Those Hurricanes?

by on September 13, 2017
Filed under: Weather 15 Comments

It’s Wednesday again, and time for another Ask It. There’s been one thing on our minds for the last week. Hurricanes. For the last two years, Disney has closed the parks and cancelled cruises due to hurricanes (Irma this year, Matthew last year).

So we’re asking you:

Are you rethinking your plans to schedule your vacation during hurricane season?

View Results

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The poll is live here and on Twitter. We’ll have your results next week.

Ask It Results: If You Could Visit an International Park

by on September 13, 2017
Filed under: Just For Fun 5 Comments

Greetings, AskIt readers! If you’re reading this it means one of two things–either my house made it safe and sound through Hurricane Irma, and I have electricity to continue with life as usual or I’m writing this before the storm hits and having Laurel add the numbers for the final results. Either way, there was no chance that I’d miss sharing these results with you–especially because as the storm rolled in, a visit to any of these parks sounded like a much better option than where I was at!

But enough chit chat about the weather. Last week we asked you:

If you could visit one international Disney theme park location, which would you choose?

And while the obvious answer is Gotta See ’em All, there were some clear preferences.

Read the rest of this entry »

Expected Impact Of Irma On Crowds At Walt Disney World

by on September 12, 2017
Filed under: Crowd Blog, Recent News 17 Comments

The Disney World Crowd Calendar will be updated Tuesday evening to reflect the expected impact of Hurricane Irma. In early October 2016, Disney World Parks closed as Hurricane Mathew passed over Florida, and we saw a bump in crowd levels for about two weeks after the parks reopened. We expect a similar impact this year as guests return to Disney World after Hurricane Irma.

Early September is the least busy time of the year at Disney World, so even if every guest decided to delay their trip by a week, the impact would not be as significant as a storm that occurred in mid-October. However, Irma had a widespread and sweeping effect on Florida and surrounding states on a scale not seen before.

In addition, we are hearing that Disney Parks and Resorts will announce another round of layoffs sometime before Disney’s fiscal new year turns over on October 1. In 2015 and 2016 these layoffs had a surprisingly direct effect on wait times: they went up by 10 to 15%. We don’t know much about this round of layoffs or whether they will have a similar impact on operations at the attractions.

Bottom Line: Irma and layoffs mean that the Disney World Crowd Calendar index may see a one or two point jump on many days between now and mid-October.




Update: The Crowd Calendar has now been updated (September 13).

Why Disney’s Hollywood Studios May Be Worth a Visit

by on September 12, 2017
Filed under: Hollywood Studios 16 Comments

With the closure of the Great Movie Ride, I’ve heard many comments about Disney’s Hollywood Studios such as “See you in 2019”, or “I can’t believe Disney is keeping this place open”, or “You’d never want to waste a day of park admission to visit”. Surprisingly enough, there may be reasons why the Studios may be the best park for one day of your visit.

Is There Anything Left There?

First, let’s look at the makeup of the Studios as it is today. In terms of attractions, the Studios has:

  • Three thrill rides (Tower of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, Star Tours)
  • Seven shows (Beauty and the Beast, Disney Junior Live on Stage, Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Muppetvision 3D, Frozen Sing-Along, Jedi Training Academy: Trials of the Temple)
  • One family-friendly ride (Toy Story Midway Mania)
  • Two (and a half) nighttime shows (Fantasmic, Star Wars fireworks, Disney Movie Magic)
  • An assortment of miscellany (Launch Bay, Star Wars Galaxy show, March of the First Order, meet and greets, Star Wars clip show movie)

Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster may not be the best attraction for Grandma.


Shows, which are the bulk of the attractions at the Studios, eat up more time in a day than rides in a park. In terms of *just* rides and shows, here’s how the parks stack up against each other based on what’s open today.

  • Animal Kingdom: 162 minutes
  • Hollywood Studios: 195 minutes
  • Epcot: 219 minutes
  • Magic Kingdom: 226 minutes


Read the rest of this entry »

Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter: Part 1 + Video

by on September 12, 2017
Filed under: Resorts, Video, Walt Disney World (FL) 2 Comments

Today, I’m talking about my favorite moderate resort hotel on Walt Disney World property: Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter.

Click on the video below to learn all about this resorts’ theme, rooms and room views.


Have any video ideas for me? Let me know in the comments!