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Ask It: Best Extra Magic Hour

by on November 15, 2017
Filed under: Just For Fun 8 Comments

At Walt Disney World, Extra Magic Hours are those perks for  guests staying at a Disney hotel that give you extra time in a select theme park on a select day. Typically, Extra Magic Hours means that with a simple scan of your MagicBand to confirm you are staying at a Disney hotel, you can get into the Morning Extra Magic Hour park one hour early, or you have the ability to stay at the Evening Extra Magic Hour park up to two hours after the official park closing. By taking advantage of Extra Magic Hours, you can have much lower wait times for many popular attractions. But which of the Extra Magic Hours do you prefer? This week’s question is:

Which Walt Disney World Extra Magic Hours do you prefer to take advantage of?

  • Morning EMH (55%, 320 Votes)
  • Evening EMH (45%, 257 Votes)

Total Voters: 577

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The poll is live here and on Twitter, and we’ll have your results next week. In the meantime, let us know your Extra Magic Hour successes (or failures) in the comments.

Ask It Results: Best Holiday Park Decorations

by on November 15, 2017
Filed under: Holidays, Just For Fun

Around the house here in Gold’n’Oak it’s beginning to look a lot like pre-Christmas. The bins of Halloween décor have been packed away, and the bins of Christmas décor are staged in different places in the house for easy deployment after Thanksgiving day. At Disney parks, it is incredible how the logistics teams come together to flip a virtual switch to change from Halloween to Christmas seemingly overnight. Because the two décor sets happen so close, it is easy to make comparisons between the two. So last week we asked you:

Which holiday season gets the best decorations at a Disney theme park?

Here’s your results.

Halloween (204 votes, 17%)

 

Read the rest of this entry »

2017 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Video Tour

by on November 15, 2017
Filed under: Christmas, Special events, Video, Walt Disney World (FL) 2 Comments

Hello and Happy Holidays!

Maybe it feels a little bit early to be celebrating, but not at Disney World where Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party began last Friday. I was there and had a great time despite the sold out crowds, but rather than write my normal hundreds of words about it, I spoke at a camera for several hours on end! Luckily I managed to edit it down to just under 17 minutes where you get to see bits of every show, the parade, the fireworks, and lots of random things throughout the night. Enjoy, and maybe check out the rest of our YouTube page when you’re done.

Thanks for watching.

Reservations Now Open for Ale & Compass Restaurant at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

by on November 14, 2017
Filed under: Recent News, Walt Disney World (FL) 3 Comments

Ale & Compass

©Disney

Back in the summer, I let you all know that Captain’s Grille would be becoming a new restaurant called Ale & Compass. The restaurant will be officially opening on November 26 and reservations can now be booked!

Ale & Compass will offer breakfast, lunch, and dinner choices and will continue to be a table service dining location. Ale & Compass will feature a decor that is inspired by a lighthouse and the main focal point will be an on-stage hearth oven. The menu itself is inspired by all the great restaurants found in the New England area.

Breakfast will include dishes like a Breakfast “Pie” with Sunny–side Egg, House-made Bacon, Ham, Provolone, and Arugula; Grilled Oat Cakes with Apples, Dried Fruit, and Maple Syrup; Salted Caramel-Apple French Toast; and Blueberry-Bacon Pancakes.

For lunch, options include various Hearth Oven Pies; Maine Lobster Roll; House-made Bacon and Vermont Cheddar Burger; and for vegans, a Protein Bowl made with Vegan Italian Sausage, Quinoa, Sweet Potatoes, and Broccoli Rabe with Roasted Cherry Tomato Sauce.

For dinner, choices are a Coastal Clambake with a Half Maine Lobster, Clams, Corn, and Potatoes; Fried Chicken and Waffles; Smoked Barbecue Pork Chop; and Four-Cheese Ravioli.

In addition, the Ale & Compass Lounge has been expanded and beautifully re-imagined and will also be open to guests beginning November 26. The lounge will offer a variety of original and classic cocktails, as well as an extensive lists of New England and local beers and wines. The lounge menu offers lighter bites such as Caramelized Leek and Chorizo White Clam Hearth “Pie,” Oven Roasted Oysters, and Parker House Rolls with spreads of Bacon Jam, Pub Cheese, and Smoked Trout.

For reservations, call 407 WDW-DINE

Celebrate New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World with Even More Options

by on November 14, 2017
Filed under: Recent News, Walt Disney World (FL)

New Year's Eve

©Disney

If you’re looking to bring in 2018 in style, celebrating New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World is a great way to do it. In addition to previously mentioned parties at both Disney’s Contemporary Resort and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, there are two other options to choose from that were just announced.

First, Guests can spend the evening at the Atlantic Dance Hall at Disney’s BoardWalk with a New Year’s Eve Bash. Here’s you’ll experience rockin’ music and tasty treats. Guest will be able to enjoy things like soft pretzels, churros, and other sweet and salty snacks. In addition, you can celebrate the new year with complimentary party hats and horns, a view of Epcot’s fantastic New Year’s Eve fireworks, as well as a champagne toast at midnight. The party begins at 9:00 p.m. and guests must be 21 years or older.

Or, say you’re looking for something a little more posh. Consider the Flying Fish at Disney’s BoardWalk for Dinner and Dancing Under the Sea. Guests can enjoy a cocktail hour beginning at 7:00 p.m. with hor d’Oeurves and a gorgeous seafood display. Then you’ll be seated for a family-style dinner spread with sustainable seafood offerings and accompaniments. There will also be a complimentary character artist drawing throughout the night and you’ll have the opportunity to dance all night long to the tunes of a live 3-piece jazz band. At midnight, you’ll get to toast with champagne. Guests of this event will also have the opportunity to hop on over to the Atlantic Dance Hall to enjoy the Epcot fireworks and additional midnight festivities. Guests who attend this event must be 21 years or older.

For reservations, for either of these events, call (407) WDW-DINE.

 

 

The SpectacuLAB at Epcot is Now Open

by on November 14, 2017
Filed under: Epcot, Recent News 2 Comments

The SpectacuLAB

©Disney

Recently, I told you all about a new exhibit for Epcot’s Innoventions called The SpectacuLAB. This new exhibit, which is presented by Murata is officially now open!

The SpectacuLAB will have set showtimes and the show will take place daily at 10:30 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:15 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. Guests visiting The SpectacuLAB will be invited to join a group of scientists, along with their eager tech-savvy intern, as they showcase a series of engaging experiments that all are geared to demonstrate basic principles of science. Through the course of the show, Guests will have the opportunity to take an active part in the demonstrations and discover how basic scientific principles actually form the foundation of some of the technologies we enjoy today.

Throughout the exhibit, Guests will be able to participate in demonstrations including:

  • Guests playing ultrasonic sensor drums, simply with the wave of their hand
  • Changing the colors of barometric pressure cubes by only raising or lowering the cube
  • Accelerometer sensors measuring the guest’s force when using a hammer
  • Observing a scientist explain the principle of force by comfortably resting on a bed of nails

Currently the other exhibits open in Innoventions are the Colortopia and Take a Nanooze Break.

Monthly Merchandise Spotlight, November 2017

by on November 14, 2017
Filed under: Merchandise 2 Comments

Greetings everyone!

I hope that everyone is getting ready for a wonderful time with friends and family. Because I’m getting to see family over the Thanksgiving holiday but not over the December holidays, I actually finished all my holiday shopping before Halloween–but that gives me lots of time to go window shopping over the next two months with no pressure. As requested, this month I headed over to Animal Kingdom for a look at some of the merchandise you can find there. Some items are found in the Shop Parks app, so if you’re not down here, you can still buy some of these special items for friends and family (or as a treat for yourself.

First, although these designs are not unique to Animal Kingdom, I’m really loving these shirts. I generally don’t buy Disney t-shirts anymore because they tend to feel too snug for my own comfort no matter what size I get. These look like they’d be comfortable and the design is retro without feeling dated. Then again, with a $60 price tag (yes, you read that right), it’s still a pass for me.

 

Came across this kids’ shirt while I was looking around. Do kids think this is trendy or does it come across as funny as a dad joke? At $20, it’s better than the shirts above price-wise, but I’m not sold on it. What do you think?

So if the kids don’t think it’s all that, maybe the adults will, which is why they also have coffee mugs with the same patterns? Or do kids really drink a lot of coffee in the mornings? The coffee mugs will set you back $14.

Read the rest of this entry »

Café Orleans – A Disneyland Dining Review

by on November 14, 2017
Filed under: Dining, Disneyland (CA), Disneyland Park, In the Parks 3 Comments

Cafe Orleans Graphic

During my recent trip to Disneyland, I thought I would check out some restaurants that I’ve never tried before. One such place was Café Orleans, located in New Orleans Square in Disneyland Park. I, like so many other Disneyland visitors, have always opted to dine at Blue Bayou. Often touted as the best restaurant in Disneyland, how could I possibly go anywhere else? But on this vacation, I decided to expand my horizons and try something different, but similar to my old favorite.

Read the rest of this entry »

Back to the Basics: MagicBands + Video

by on November 14, 2017
Filed under: Video, Walt Disney World (FL) 4 Comments

It’s been a while since I’ve filmed a Back to the Basics episode, so here’s a new one!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with MagicBands and how they work, I hope this video gives you a proper overview.

…and if it doesn’t, than I’ll either have to step up my game or rethink my career choice. The pressure is on Angela. Don’t screw this up!

Enjoy!

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November Crowds Are Larger Than Usual in 2017, At Disney World And Universal Orlando

by on November 13, 2017
Filed under: Crowd Blog, Walt Disney World (FL) 4 Comments

Crowds at Orlando Theme Parks are larger than normal so far in November. The TouringPlans.com Crowd Calendars for Universal Orlando Resort and Walt Disney World are reporting crowd levels one to two points higher than we usually see this time of year. We have some theories as to why we are seeing the increase.

  1. Times are good. The economy is churning along and gas prices are stable. When the economy is stable, travel tends to increase.
  2. Hurricane Irma re-bookings. Guests that had to cancel because of the hurricane re-booked for early November, a time when crowds are usually low and free dining was still available.
  3. November Popularity. As more and more guests travel to Orlando each year the number of available dates with low crowds has dwindled. So, moderately crowded weeks become busy ones.

Because the higher crowd levels are occurring at both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando we don’t think the influx has anything to do with park operations like what we saw at Disney World in Fall 2016 and Fall 2015. We don’t see any indication from the school schedule data to suggest that is the answer either. So, one of the three theories is likely the culprit – or more likely, a combination of the three. But first, let’s take a look at how crowded it has been.

Crowds have been higher than expected recently at Orlando Theme Parks

We know that part of the increase in wait times this year at Walt Disney World is due to the impact of new attractions like Pandora and to the closure of other attractions at Disney Hollywood Studios. But the magnitude of the increase that we have seen in early November (and also early October) is significant. Wait times are 10 to 15 minutes higher than what we would normally expect for this time of year. Each index level on the Crowd Calendar represents roughly 10 minutes of average wait so the one and two point underestimates we have seen lately coordinate with the wait times we see in the chart.

The forecasts that we create for wait times take into account much more than just the historical averages. We use a 30-day trend that helps adjust the predictions in the direction of the most recent information. Also, our models account for the Pandora affect and the reduced capacity caused by closed attractions. But even with these adjustments, wait times are higher than expected.

If the driving factor turns out to be the Hurricane re-bookings then it is likely the impact will be short-lived. If it is the other two then the affect may last longer. The good news is that the impact on a personalized touring plan is nearly negligible. By arriving early and completing the busiest attractions in the morning, the total amount of time spent in line is unchanged from previous years if you follow a touring plan.

We currently have no plan to update the Crowd Calendar predictions. We prefer to see how the next few weeks play out. But as always, we continue to track wait times on a daily basis and will inform you when an update is in order. If you arrive in park and see longer lines than predicted, make sure to re-optimize your plans, that will ensure your plan is adjusted for the most recent information.