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SATURDAY SIX – The 6 Highest-Rated Shows and Spectaculars at Walt Disney World

by on August 12, 2017
Filed under: Saturday Six, Walt Disney World (FL) 11 Comments

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at The Six Highest-Rated Shows and Spectaculars at Walt Disney World! You may remember last week on the SATURDAY SIX where we took a look at the six highest-rated rides at WDW, as voted on by you. This week Len Testa, the grand poobah of TouringPlans, has sent down the  thousands-and-thousands of survey results for the highest-rated shows and spectaculars. We’re looking at pretty much anything that isn’t a ride outside of meet and greets. Next week we will finish with our look at the surveys by glancing at the lowest-rated attractions, but today we’re going to take a look at the shows which always bring a smile to our face, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth

Epcot’s IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth can be a controversial subject within the Disney fan community. Here at the SATURDAY SIX we’ve had articles touting it as a one-of-a-kind experience that we’ll probably never see the likes of again, but have also made the case that the long running show could possibly use a little freshening up. One thing I personally love about IllumiNations, especially compared to just about everything else that made the list, is the fact that you don’t have to camp out an hour or more to get a good viewing location. There are so many places around World Showcase to get a good spot that lets you take everything in, including several places where you can enjoy a meal during the show. In an age of Disney where we are getting IPs shoved down our throats, it is refreshing to take in a show that isn’t trying to sell you a “brand” and is just there to deliver a powerful story (what that story exactly is, I can’t tell you, but it is powerful, or at least loud.) During the 4th of July week and around Christmas time, IllumiNations goes up another notch and becomes one of the most amazing fireworks displays you’ll see anywhere.

Overall Score: 4.4/5

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth seen exploding behind Spaceship Earth. (photo by Brian Carey)

IllumiNations as seen from the Japan Pavilion. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth. (photo by Hunter Underwood)

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Disney Cruise Line Preview – Week of August 12

by on August 11, 2017
Filed under: Disney Cruise Line, Weekly Preview

Welcome aboard for this week’s Disney Cruise Line Preview for the week of August 12th! I’m Brand Glover and I’ll be giving you everything you need to know before cruising with Disney Cruise Line this week. As always, let’s take a look at the weather and see who is going to need a parka this week.


Ports of Call (High/Low Temperature, Chance of Rain)

Photo: Julia Mascardo

Disney Magic

  • 12 August -Barcelona (78/66, 20%)
  • 13 August -Day at Sea
  • 14 August -Naples (90/70, 0%)
  • 15 August -Civitavecchia (87/70, 0%)
  • 16 August -Livorno (85/67, 0%)
  • 17 August -Villefranche (83/72, 70%)
  • 18 August -Day at Sea

Disney Wonder

  • 12 August -Ketchikan (56/51, 100%)
  • 13 August -Day at Sea
  • 14 August -Vancouver (69/56, 20%)
  • 15 August -Day at Sea
  • 16 August -Tracy Arm Fjord (61/50, 70%)
  • 17 August -Skagway (59/51, 70%)
  • 18 August -Juneau (62/49, 60%)

Disney Dream

  • 12 August -Nassau (91/81, 80%)
  • 13 August -Castaway Cay (89/81, 20%)
  • 14 August -Port Canaveral (90/77, 20%)
  • 15 August -Nassau (91/83, 20%)
  • 16 August -Castaway Cay (90/82, 20%)
  • 17 August -Day at Sea
  • 18 August -Port Canaveral (89/77, 50%)

Disney Fantasy

  • 12 August -Port Canaveral (89/77, 40%)
  • 13 August -Day at Sea
  • 14 August -Day at Sea
  • 15 August -Tortola (82/72, 20%)
  • 16 August -St. Thomas (86/79, 40%)
  • 17 August -Day at Sea
  • 18 August -Castaway Cay (91/82, 10%)

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One Man’s Dream to be Renamed & Add Preview Center

by on August 11, 2017
Filed under: Hollywood Studios, Recent News 1 Comment

It looks like Derek Burgan was right. The “Everything Must Go” sale appears to be on at Disney’s Hollywood Studios as that park continually grapples with what its identity is going to be going forward into the future.


Today, Disney announced that One Man’s Dream will be seeing a bit of an update….but the update mostly comes in a name change. The walk through attraction will soon be renamed as Walt Disney Presents.

The overall exhibit itself won’t change much. You’ll still be able to see those significant items from Walt Disney’s history, such as sketches, photos, storyboards, and more. Guests will also be able to still catch previews for upcoming Disney films. (Or if there’s no preview at the time, you’ll be able to catch the wonderful film about Walt Disney.) And yes, you’ll still be able to take part in meet and greet opportunities, like the current one where you can meet Star-Lord and Baby Groot!  Read the rest of this entry »

Disneyland Preview – Week of August 12

by on August 11, 2017
Filed under: Disney California Adventure, Disneyland (CA), Disneyland Park, Trip Planning, Weather 1 Comment

Hey everyone, and welcome to Friday! Yet another good-looking summer week at Disneyland is upon us. Read on for more details in this week’s Disneyland preview.

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In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of August 11, 2017

by on August 11, 2017
Filed under: In Case You Missed It 3 Comments

Disney has been keeping me busy this week! There’s been a lot of fun tidbits related to the company that were in the news this week.

This week, catch up on the info that came out from Disney’s recent earning’s call, get hyped for Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and more.

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


Big news came out of this quarter’s company earnings for the third fiscal quarter. Including the news that The Walt Disney Company plans to to acquire majority ownership of BAMTech. Also, apparently Disney will be pulling its content out of Nextflix and into its own streaming service. What do you think about all the news that came out during the quarterly earnings conference call?

A lighthouse sculpture was recently unveiled to honor the memory of Lane Graves who was attacked by an alligator at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort.  Read the rest of this entry »

Universal Orlando Resort Preview – Week of August 12

by on August 10, 2017
Filed under: Trip Planning, Uncategorized, Universal Orlando Resort, Weather

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.

It’s the middle of August, which means summer is slowly starting to wind down! If you are planning one last hurrah in the Universal Orlando parks, here’s what to expect.

Weekly Crowd Level

Oh so slowly, the kids are going back to school and summer is fading, as will the crowds by the end of the week.

Weekly Weather Report

Summer weather still changes rapidly and often, so check out the latest forecast here before your visit.

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Julia’s Best Week Ever, August 10, 2017: Port Orleans Staycation

by on August 10, 2017
Filed under: Best Week Ever, Magic Kingdom, Pandora, Resorts 2 Comments

School. Starts. Monday. No matter how many times I look at the calendar, I still can’t believe it. This summer has flown by. With family visits and our ah-maze-ing cruise, it seems like we just got started on summer and it is already gone. We were able to find a reasonable rate at Port Orleans French Quarter, and since we haven’t stayed there in 10 years (yipes!), it sounded like a perfect choice for an end-of-summer staycation.

Port Orleans French Quarter has been a sentimental favorite for us–it’s where we stayed on our honeymoon. Although it is a moderate resort, I actually prefer it to some deluxe resorts. The fact it is so small also means that there’s not really a bad building to stay in, because everything is convenient. We arrived early in the morning to check in because we wanted to take the bus from the resort to Magic Kingdom. Because we weren’t planning to sleep there–just pay for the room as a place to change and hang out and watch Mickey cartoons if it rained–we took the option to skip Mousekeeping service for our stay and snagged a $15 gift card for the two nights. Time for breakfast!

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Walt Disney World Preview – Week of August 12

by on August 10, 2017
Filed under: Trip Planning, Walt Disney World (FL) 6 Comments

This week brings attraction closures, Mission: Space opening, and dinner discounts galore. Keep reading below to find out more! (That rhyme was accidental, but I’m still proud of myself. It’s the little things.) 

Special Events

  • What a time to be a Floridian! Now until 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
  • La Nouba by Cirque du Soleil is offering discounted tickets for performances Tuesday through Saturday nights. Book now through December 16, 2017 to save!
  • Are you a Tables in Wonderland member? Now 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

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Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! to Return to Disney’s Hollywood Studios this Holiday Season

by on August 9, 2017
Filed under: Hollywood Studios, Recent News 4 Comments


Jingle Bell….Jingle BAM! I just love shouting that.

That’s right – the nighttime spectacular during the holiday season at Disney’s Hollywood Studios called Jingle Bell, Jingle BAM! will be returning once again. The dazzling special effects and fireworks extravaganza will be back beginning November 9 through December 30.

During the show, the façade of the Chinese Theater serves as the main backdrop for this show, which is an immersive experience, that is paired with great musical score including holiday classics with a twist.

The show includes scenes from the ABC special Prep & LandingBeauty and the BeastBambiThe Nightmare Before Christmas, and two of my favorite Disney Christmas stories, Pluto’s Christmas Tree and Mickey’s Christmas Carol. The show will build to a very festive finale and a special message from Santa Claus. Read the rest of this entry »

Ask It: Should Disney Post Calorie Counts?

by on August 9, 2017
Filed under: Dining, Just For Fun 18 Comments

I’ve been told many, many times that Disney food is calorie free and/or calories don’t count when you’re on vacation. No matter how often I repeat that mantra, when I get home, the scale doesn’t seem to agree. Many people believe that posting calorie counts can help diners make better choices, or at the very least more informed choices. But do you really want to know just how many hours on the treadmill you’ll have to spend for every Disney meal?

This week’s question is:

Should Disney post calorie counts on their menus?

  • Yes (64%, 502 Votes)
  • No (36%, 286 Votes)

Total Voters: 788

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Voting is live here and on Twitter, and we’ll have your results next week. Feel free to let us know what you think in the comments as well.