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Observations from Magic Kingdom: Be Our Guest Lunch Changes and New Tomorrowland Colors

by on October 29, 2014 34 Comments

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WDW’s Magic Kingdom gets ready for another Halloween party as I make observations from the park’s eastern attractions (photos by Seth Kubersky).

After a week of sailing on the Disney Magic, it was a little surreal to step back into the Magic Kingdom again for my first post-Disney Cruise visit to Walt Disney World. Even at Orlando’s oldest theme park, things are always on the move, as I discovered in my mid-morning trip around the park’s eastern half. Here are some fresh observations from Magic Kingdom on 10/23/2014, including policy updates at Be Our Guest lunch, a bold new Tomorrowland color scheme, and the finale of Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It.

Be Our Guest Lunch

Fantasyland‘s popular Be Our Guest restaurant has bedeviled guests in recent months with its evolving lunch policies, which have shifted from favoring walk-up counter service toward FastPass+ reservations.

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Disney World Itinerary : Making Epcot a 2-day park

by on October 29, 2014 9 Comments

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Epcot.

Epcot.

I recently posted a guide for planning which parks to visit on your 4-1/2 day Disney World vacation, providing a “one-size-fits-most” itinerary for each age group. Epcot doesn’t make it in the preschool itinerary and is only a half day on the school age children itinerary, but it finally gets a full day on both the tween and teen itineraries (two days of Epcot are included on the adult itinerary). My family (with tweens) would tweek the tween itinerary a bit and plan two days at Epcot, because we feel like we’ve barely scratched the surface in a one day visit.

With the two distinct areas of Future World and World Showcase, Epcot is certainly large enough to warrant a two day visit. If you are a family who enjoys a more education focused theme park, two days at Epcot may be a winner. Here are ten benefits to spending two days at Epcot instead of one. Read the rest of this entry »

Disney Cruise Line Updates Onboard Rebooking Terms

by on October 28, 2014

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©Disney

©Disney

One of the best ways to get a discount on a Disney Cruise is to book your next one while you’re already on a Disney Cruise. If you book during your cruise with at the Future Cruises desk, you’ll receive a 10% discount off the published fare, a reduced deposit for 7-night or longer cruises, and a $100 to $200 onboard credit depending on the length of your cruise. Guests who name a travel agent to “own” the reservation at the time of rebooking are also eligible for any onboard credits the agency may offer.

Today Disney updated the terms for rebooking offers. It’s a fairly well known tactic for guests who know they’ll be cruising again, but aren’t sure exactly when, to book a cruise while onboard and rebook it at the date they know they can cruise later to keep the booking incentives. At one time, there was no limit on how many times and how far out you could rebook, which lead some guests to “walk” their reservations as far out as five years from the date originally booked. Read the rest of this entry »

On-Ride Disney PhotoPass Photos Automatically Linked to Your My Disney Experience Account

by on October 28, 2014 12 Comments

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©Disney

©Disney

One of the things that I’ve been looking forward to since the introduction of MyMagic+ and MagicBands was the ability to see your on-ride photos (and now videos) automatically added to your My Disney Experience online account for you to be able to view at home. Today, that option officially became a reality. Now guests who are wearing a MagicBand will have their on-ride photos automatically linked to your account and you don’t have to do a thing!

For those who don’t have a MagicBand, that’s ok; you can still have the option to add the photos to your account. Simply stop at the on-ride photo display at the end of the attraction and find your photo. From there, you’ll need to have your RFID ticket scanned at a touch point and the photos will be added to your account.

Guests will be able to see on-ride photos (and videos) added to their My Disney Experience account from the following attractions: Read the rest of this entry »

Disney Cruise Line Announces Early 2016 Itineraries

by on October 28, 2014 5 Comments

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Disney Magic in port at San Juan. Photo - Seth Kubersky

Disney Magic in port at San Juan. Photo – Seth Kubersky

Beginning January 2016, Disney Cruise Line will add Tortola, B.V.I., and Martinique to its Eastern and Southern Caribbean itineraries respectively. The Southern Caribbean cruises were new this year – you can read more from Seth Kubersky on his cruise from San Juan on the Magic this month.

Eastern Caribbean routes are nothing new to Disney with the Fantasy cruising it every other week for seven-night trips nearly year around, but the new itinerary will replace St. Martin or San Juan with Tortola in the British Virgin Islands. Ports for this cruise are Tortola, St. Thomas in the U.S.V.I., and Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay in the Bahamas. With three days at sea, the seven night Eastern Caribbean on the Fantasy is a favorite itinerary here at TouringPlans.

Sailing dates on the Fantasy for this cruise in 2016 are: Read the rest of this entry »

Kongstruction: Project 340 Vertical Construction at IoA

by on October 28, 2014

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Kongstruction Project 340 vertical construction

Kongstruction gets serious as Project 340 vertical construction begins at IoA (photos by Seth Kubersky).

Thanks to the TouringPlans #Everywhere project, I recently spent nearly two weeks away from Universal Orlando, which is an eternity given the rapid pace of construction at the resort. Most notably, the mysterious construction zone behind Islands of Adventure‘s Jurassic Park was (when I left) just a formless plot of earth, but now holds the foundation for a enormous future edifice. Attention Kongstruction watchers: Project 340 vertical construction has started in big way, as structural steel for a massive new show building has been erected for a yet-unconfirmed Skull Island attraction.

Here is a gallery of photos depicting recent progress on the upcoming ride, which is rumored to combine indoor/outdoor dark ride elements with 3-D screens to ressurect King Kong, Universal Studio Florida’s original icon. Leaks suggest this building may become the massive facade of an ancient jungle temple.

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20 Things To Do When Your Hotel Room Isn’t Ready

by on October 28, 2014 7 Comments

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Photo - Angela Dahlgren

A few more hours my beloved Boardwalk…a few more hours.

We were up at 4:30 a.m. for an early flight to Orlando. Taking no pride in my appearance, I hardly minded when my daughter spilled pureed peas all over my shirt during the flight. After all, I would have time to shower, change and decompress once we entered our hotel room right?

Wrong.

When we approached the front desk, we were informed the room wasn’t ready due to our extra early arrival. This wasn’t in the Touring Plan! We were now left with several unscheduled hours of time. What now?

While time did pass quickly and we managed to stay busy, it got me thinking. What else could we do should this happen again? Here are some ideas! Read the rest of this entry »

Observations From My First Trip To Tokyo Disneyland

by on October 28, 2014 12 Comments

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Tokyo DisneySea is the most beautiful Disney theme park on the planet.

It’s hard not to be hyperbolic when talking about Tokyo DisneySea. It’s amazing, incredible, and jaw dropping, any superlative you can think of applies to DisneySea. There are hundreds of details to discover in every bit of the park, and what’s most impressive is how it all is brilliantly blended together. Whether you’re wandering around the streets of an early 20th century recreation of New York in American Waterfront, exploring a dense jungle in Lost River Delta, or venturing deep in to a smoldering volcano in Mysterious Island, everything flows together perfectly.

DSC02920

Tokyo DisneySea’s Mount Prometheus

A key factor to any Disney theme park is the entrance experience, and DisneySea has one of the best. You start off by walking through a breezeway that goes through the beautiful Hotel MiraCosta. This is where you will catch your first glimpse of Mount Prometheus, the centerpiece of the park. Basically it’s the park’s castle. Mount Prometheus can be seen from almost anywhere in the park, and even though you’re seeing the same mountain, it will look different depending on what land you’re in. So if you’re in Mediterranean Harbor it will look like a towering ominous volcano, but if you’re in the Cape Cod section of American Waterfront it will look like a peaceful mountainside. It’s a very impressive effect.

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Two Restaurants Announced for Disney Springs

by on October 27, 2014 6 Comments

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Two brand new restaurants have officially been announced for the Disney Springs revitalization of Downtown Disney.

The first restaurant, which will be brought to life from Japanese master chef Masaharu Morimoto and the Patina Restaurant Group, will be known as Morimoto Asia. The pan-Asian restaurant will include a two-story layout with a fabulous glass entrance, open terraces, a grand hall, private rooms, a long bar, a cocktail lounge, waterside seating, exhibition kitchens, and more. Menu items will include traditional Asian dishes such as Peking duck and dim sum.

New Morimoto Asia Restaurant to Open in Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort

According to Walt Disney World Resort President George Kalogridis, “We’re thrilled to bring Chef Morimoto’s renowned culinary style to Disney Springs as we expand the range of dining experiences for our resort guests as well as local Florida residents.”

Morimoto Asia is expected to open in The Landing (formerly Pleasure Island) in the Summer of 2015. Read the rest of this entry »

Details on the Updated Cinderella Castle Lighting Show – “A Frozen Holiday Wish”

by on October 27, 2014 8 Comments

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FCS796642The Holiday Season begins in a little over a week and a half at Walt Disney World! (Wait…what?!) One of the most incredible aspects of Disney’s holiday festivities is the Cinderella Castle holiday lighting show at the Magic Kingdom, which this year will see a change.

For the festive season, Cinderella Castle lights up each evening with more than 200,000 white shimmering lights, causing the castle to appear as though it has been frosted over. The effect is simply stunning, and photos do not do it justice. Prior to this year, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother performed the magic to make the castle shimmer.

However, in 2014 a brand new version of the show features a Frozen twist: “A Frozen Holiday Wish” will debut on November 5. The new show will feature Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and even Olaf; it will end with the traditional castle lighting ceremony, this time with Elsa turning the palace into an icy wonderland. Read the rest of this entry »