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Ask It: Best Special Event at Epcot

by on February 22, 2017 2 Comments

Best Special Event at Epcot

Last week, we presented this #AskIt —

My favorite special event at Epcot is…

Without a doubt, people are passionate about special events at Epcot. For many, it was difficult to choose just one. For others, there was one that drew large amounts of vitriol. With more than 800 votes in, here’s the results (in order from least to greatest).

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Geyser Point Impresses On Opening Day

by on February 22, 2017 1 Comment

Geyser Point overlooks Bay Lake at Disney's Wilderness Lodge.With so many changes in the works for Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and Boulder Ridge Villas, it was inevitable we’d see a new dining hotspot for the resort’s guests. The latest addition to the resort’s great slate of restaurants, Geyser Point Bar & Grill, recently opened while construction crews add finishing touches to the new lakeside villas and pool area. Functioning as a hybrid quick service location and outdoor bar for the neighboring quiet pool, Geyser Point is currently the main quick serve dining location for the resort while Trout Pass Pool Bar and Roaring Fork undergo refurbishment.

I dropped in for lunch on opening day to get a look at the new menus and location, and at first glance, Geyser Point really wowed me. The location is spectacular – set right on the edge of Bay Lake (adjacent to Trout Pass and the geyser walkway), the covered (with an actual roof!) cushy seating area surrounds a central bar, with a quick service window and accompanying drink refill station on one exterior edge. The open-air seating area features built-in fans and heaters, useful for both of Florida’s seasons (the two-week winter and then summer), as well as pull-down shade screens on all sides that will protect guests from inclement weather.

With architecture matching the main lodge, Geyser Point blends in to the resort seamlessly.This place is pretty versatile – you can order quick food to-go, or stay a while and have your food delivered to you in the seating area (on real plates with real silverware – a true luxury at Walt Disney World quick service locations). If bar/lounge food is more your speed, you can take a seat and one of the roaming cocktail servers will come to take your order from the separate bar menu. Once you’re done with your meal (either quick food or bar menu food), Cast Members will come clear your table for you.

Quick service food options are pretty traditional fare – sandwiches and salads, but the menu emphasizes seafood options (crab cakes and grilled salmon) uncommon at many other resort quick service locations. Even the burger comes with a slightly-elevated option – you can grab the standard beef burger common around Walt Disney World, but you can also opt for a bison burger. The menu is definitely a little more adventurous than the resort’s other quick service location, Roaring Fork (which serves solid, simple sandwiches, flatbreads, and salads). Read the rest of this entry »

2017 Tokyo Disneyland Trip Planning Guide

by on February 22, 2017 12 Comments

Tokyo Disneyland Trip Planning

You want to go on another Disney vacation, but where do you go? You’ve been to Walt Disney World and Disneyland more times than you can count. Next you think “Maybe a Disney Cruise?” Not happening, your brother-in-law wants you to wait until little Sally (your niece’s second cousin, twice removed) graduates from sixth grade so you can all go as a family. Then it comes to you, Tokyo Disneyland. You remember your curiosity being piqued from seeing pictures of DisneySea online. “Doesn’t that place have a volcano?” Hell yes it has a volcano, and I’m here to tell you that it’s awesome. You’ve found your next Disney destination, and hopefully with this 2017 Tokyo Disneyland trip planning guide I will help you plan it.

Note: This is an updated version of the TDR trip planning guide I posted last year.

Step 1: When to visit Tokyo Disney Resort

Tokyo Disney Resort, or TDR, is always going to have huge crowds and high wait times, especially on the weekends. I’ve spent thousands of hours in the American Disney parks but have never seen anything like the crowds during a weekend in Tokyo Disneyland. With that being said there are a few times out of the year where crowds are smaller than they usually are, but this luxury may come at the cost of poor weather or multiple attraction closures due to refurbishments.

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California Grill Introduces Celebration at the Top Event

by on February 21, 2017 3 Comments

Celebration at the Top - Disney's California Grill

©Rikki Niblett

Are you looking for an intimate, semi-private special experience at the California Grill at Disney’s Contemporary Resort? Beginning February 26, Guests will be able to take part in the new Celebration at the Top – Savor, Sip, and Sparkle event which celebrates both fine food and fireworks.

During this event, which takes place on Sunday evenings, Guests will be able to savor small plates and enjoy fine libations that take their inspirations from the California Grill’s menu. Guests will be able to enjoy culinary offerings including canapés, sushi and other small plates. Beverages will include a complimentary bar offering California wines, beers, and cordials. Guests can relax and dine in the private Sonoma Room and Napa Room for one hour prior to the nightly Magic Kingdom fireworks extravaganza.

Then, as showtime approaches, Guests will be able to step out on the private observation deck that is reserved exclusively for Celebration at the Top Guests. Enjoy Wishes with the lights dimmed and the music pipped in.

Once the fireworks are over, Guests are invited to go back inside and enjoy petit fours, cordials, and coffee.

The cost of this event is $99 plus gratuity and tax per person. Complimentary valet parking is included with this event. Reservations can be made by calling (407) WDW-DINE.

 

#PlusMyVacation – 10 Ways to Enhance Your Disney Cruise

by on February 21, 2017 2 Comments

#PlusMyVacation - Disney Cruise Line

Welcome back to another #PlusMyVacation – where we look at ways to add a little something extra special to your travels. Today’s edition looks how to make your Disney Cruise even cruisier and extra relaxy.

A Disney cruise is an amazing experience, and you don’t need to add a thing to have an amazing time! But let’s say you wanted to! Maybe you’ve done several cruises and want to add a little extra. Maybe you want to make this a once in a lifetime kind of vacation. Or maybe you just have money to burn! And if you do, you should definitely invite some of us to go with you. Cruising with the Touring Plans bloggers? What could be more fun?

Whatever reason you may have to plus your vacation, here are 10 ways you could do it!

1. Concierge – If you are going to spend more money on your cruise, this is my number one recommendation for what to spend it on. I cannot say enough about how much I love concierge. I wrote a previous blog post that lays out the amazingness of it. If you thought you were pampered on a cruise in a regular stateroom, you may as well have been on a tugboat compared to the experience you’ll have in concierge. Disney’s concierge hosts are the best of the best. The rooms are luxurious and if you’re lucky enough to be in a suite, you won’t believe how much room you have. There are lounges on all four ships now, which I think is a huge plus. I love relaxing in the lounges. My one caution? It’s very very hard to go back from concierge. Once you’ve done it, you won’t want to ever not do it.

2. Upcharge Meals – It may seem silly to pay for food when there is sooooo much free food onboard. Trust me, these upcharge meals are worth it. Palo is Disney’s adult-only Italian restaurant onboard all four ships. It’s $30 (plus gratuity) a person for dinner or brunch which is served on sea days. $30 for an adult only meal may sell you right there! But if it doesn’t, let me assure you that it’s a delicious meal. I’d be hard pressed to tell you which is my favorite, dinner or brunch. Dinner has filet mignon and one of my top two desserts on the entire planet – the chocolate soufflé. Brunch has my favorite entrée – chicken parmesan. And sticky buns. And croissants. And flatbreads. And I could go on all day. Remy is only on the Dream and Fantasy, and is the adult only French restaurant. Remy has four different dining experiences! There’s an amazing multi course dinner which is $85. There’s also a champagne brunch, a dessert experience, and a small plate tasting. I’m a pretty picky eater, and while there are many things in Remy that aren’t in my normal wheelhouse of foods, I can tell you every meal I’ve had there was delicious. Experience is the right word for Remy. You aren’t just eating delicious food, it’s an experience. From start to finish. Try it! If you’re looking to plus your vacation even more, there are even more upcharge options like wine pairings in your upcharge restaurants. Read the rest of this entry »

Attraction Overview: Spaceship Earth – Epcot

by on February 21, 2017

Photo - Angela DahlgrenHappy Tuesday everyone!

Today’s video is an attraction overview of Spaceship Earth. This is located in Epcot’s Future World at Walt Disney World!

Spaceship Earth Overview

Enjoy!

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What You Need to Know Before You See Rivers of Light

by on February 21, 2017 6 Comments

It’s finally here. After months of delays and a long hype campaign, Rivers of Light has made its debut at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Once upon a time, having Animal Kingdom open at night, let alone its own night time show, was just a dream. The fact that it is finally a reality is enough to make me happy. Personally, I found the show to fit the spirit of Animal Kingdom very well and think it is a nice addition to this Walt Disney World theme park that always seems to be fighting an uphill battle.

 

On your next visit to Disney’s Animal Kingdom you should definitely make time to see this new night time show. Rivers of Light is worth seeing at least once, and here’s what you need to know before you go.

FastPass+ entrance – Rivers of Light

There will be lines

(regardless of if you have a FastPass+ or not)

Even if you book a FastPass+ for Rivers of Light or if you book a dining package, there will be lines to get into the ampitheater. There are two main entrances into the theater, one in Asia, near Expedition Everest, and the other in DinoLand U.S.A. The Asia entrance is FastPass+ and dining package only. The DinoLand entrance is standby, and dining package seating, though it seems to a lesser extent than the Asia side.

If you have either a FastPass+ or dining package you are guaranteed a seat up until about 5-10 minutes before show time.  The advantage of both of these options is to not have to get to the theater 45 minutes before showtime just to get a seat of any kind. Both methods save you time.

Asia side of theater nearly full 30 minutes before Rivers of Light show time

 

In my opinion it was worth having the FastPass+ when I viewed Rivers of Light. It reduces the stress and worry of wondering if you’re even going to get into the theater, plus the standby line is quite long. So while FastPass+ and dining package guests are seated in the theater, hundreds of standby guests wait standing in a long, winding line.

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Celebrate the Oscars at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on February 20, 2017

Oscars

©Disney

Many people dream of walking the red carpet and holding that beautiful golden statue, thanking their friends and family. Well, since I doubt you’ll have the opportunity to do that, here’s the next best thing for those of you who are fans of The Oscars.

For a limited time, Guests who visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios’s One Man’s Dream will have the once-in-a-lifetime chance to see and take a photo with a gorgeous Oscar statuette.

During this unique experience, Guests will have the opportunity to walk the red carpet and pose with the Oscar statue, against a signature Oscar backdrop. Oh and make sure to share your experience on social media using the hashtag, #Oscars.

This wonderful opportunity will be available for Guests to take part in only until February 26.

The Oscars will air this Sunday, February 26, on ABC at 7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT and will feature host Jimmy Kimmel.

 

 

 

The SATURDAY SIX Uses Disney Villains to Explain Theme Park Blogging

by on February 18, 2017 9 Comments

This week’s SATURDAY SIX is a very special one as we use Disney Villains to Explain Theme Park Blogging! Now, many of you reading this know the online Disney blogging community is one filled with many unique and colorful characters. What kind of person would spend 10 minutes photographing a single piece of Frushi at Epcot’s Flower & Garden Festival from every possible angle? What kind of adult man has an awkward meet and greet with Elena of Avalor in order to be #First? With all the white noise, a hapless person at home trying to plan a vacation may be overwhelmed. Today, the SATURDAY SIX is here to help guide you through this wacky community – using some Disney Villains to put everything into context – and get you the info you need to achieve a great trip. Let’s kickoff the list with…

# 6 – SYNDROME – “Because when everything’s BREAKING, nothing is…”

A recent trend in all of blogging – including our precious theme park world – is websites using the term “BREAKING!” to cover pretty much anything. For those of us who like movies, the Hollywood blogs have become inundated with BREAKING! and EXCLUSIVE! headlines only to reveal the casting of a minor character, played by someone you’ve never heard of, in a movie coming out in three years. For those of us inside the theme park bubble, we get subjected to BREAKING! reports of a new cupcake being offered in the Magic Kingdom or the EXCLUSIVE! news of merchandise coming out for Flower & Garden (the best part of all the EXCLUSIVE! reports is that every single one of them is just copying the exact pictures and verbiage from the Disney Parks Blog.)

Are gondolas on their way to WDW? (art by Kinny M Brown)

Sometimes not all news needs to be BREAKING! (art by Kinny M Brown)

Some “news” probably shouldn’t be news at all…(art by Kinny M Brown)

The reason “Fake News” has run rampant is because so many websites are more interested in getting you to click on their links, rather than making sure what they are telling you is based in any sort of fact. The good news is that there are plenty of theme park news options available that avoid the sizzle when giving you the steak. Some of my favorites are TouringPlans’ own Rikki Niblett, theme park icon Jim Hill, Attractions Magazine, and the Orlando Sentinel’s Caitlin Dineen.

# 5 – GASTON – The Shameless Self Promoter

Ah, the most vain blogger of them all. This type of theme park blogger retweets themselves on Twitter, making sure to tag every single person they know in every single post. They watermark their pictures, as if there is some sort of black market offering big money for photos of theme park attractions. They even do podcasts talking endlessly about the parks because they are secretly in love with the sound of their own voice. Who are we kidding though? We love these devilishly handsome scallywags!

“You’re the most amazing thing in the entire world. No one deserves you.” (art by Kinny M Brown)

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In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of February 17, 2017

by on February 17, 2017 1 Comment

In Case You Missed ItAgain, it was a pretty newsworthy week. Ticket price increases, Mission: BREAKOUT news, and of course, tonight is the official debut of Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom! What was most intriguing to you this week?

Speaking of intriguing bits of news, I have a lot for you, like info about unique patents being filed, filming news, and more.

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

 

Have I stepped into the past this week? Is Walt Disney World going to see a new aerial tramway? What do you think of this latest rumor?

Disney has another interesting patent this week that’s been making the rounds. This patent is expected to prevent sneaky drones peering at their construction projects or movie sets.

This week, there was a fire at the Disneyland parking garage, as several cars caught fire. Luckily, no one was injured.  Read the rest of this entry »