Your subscriptions support new blog articles and research. Please consider



StormStruck and Sum of All Thrills Leaving Innoventions

by on August 15, 2016 18 Comments



Big changes have been happening at Epcot’s Innoventions lately with many attractions closing. Now, two more attractions are closing in Innoventions East – The Sum of All Thrills and StormStruck. The two attractions will be closed as of September 14 due to their sponsorship agreements ending.

The Sum of All Thrills which was sponsored by Raytheon was a simulator that allowed guests to utilize math skills to create a thrill ride. Guests would then be able to put their creation to the test courtesy of a Kuka arm.

Storm Struck, which was presented by FLASH, educates Guests on how to prevent storm damage around the home.

With these two closures, this means that the only attraction remaining open in Innoventions East will be the relatively new Colortopia by Glidden, which opened in November of last year.

Disney has said that plans for Innoventions are going to be shared at a later date.


TSA Pre✓® – The FastPass+ for Airport Security

by on August 15, 2016 19 Comments


(Image copyright Transportation Security Administration)

You are all excited about your trip to a Disney Resort, but you have one last hurdle in your way – getting there. For many of us this means flying, and the only thing worse than being crammed into a plane filled with overexcited, hyperactive children and stressed-out parents is standing in a seemingly endless airport security line with those same people. However, there is a way to avoid these lines – TSA Pre✓®.

OK, so what is TSA Pre®?

This is a program set up by the Transportation Security Administration to do advance background checks on passengers to make the security checks go faster. Once you have your TSA Pre✓® approval, you get to go through a faster security line (in June 2016, 95% of members waited 5 minutes or less), and you don’t have to remove your shoes, laptops, 3-1-1 liquids, belts and light jackets. TSA Pre✓® is available at over 180 airports for passengers of 16 airlines, so you can use it pretty much anywhere you are flying.  Read the rest of this entry »

SATURDAY SIX: 6 Times THE SIMPSONS Totally Nailed Being A Theme Park Fan

by on August 13, 2016 9 Comments

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at 6 Times THE SIMPSONS Totally Nailed Being A Theme Park Fan. We here at SATURDAY SIX HQ have never hid the fact of how much we love The Simpsons television show. Despite it being a cartoon, for us it is right up there with the all-time great comedies including Seinfeld, Parks and Rec, and Cheers. When Universal Studios Florida expanded the area surrounding The Simpsons Ride into a small version of Springfield, it was a dream come true. As a fan of The Simpsons dating back to when they were just short skits on The Tracey Ullman Show, seeing Duff Beer brought to life was just as a magical moment for me as it is for Potterheads walking into Diagon Alley and getting a Butterbeer.


The Simpsons

One of the reasons The Simpsons actually being represented at the Universal Orlando Resort is so great is because the show has spent the better part of 25 years making fun of theme parks! Other shows have gone to theme parks and made some jokes (such as Boy Meets World, Family Matters, and – of course – Full House), but for the most part those shows were just promotional vehicles for Disney. The Simpsons didn’t hold back. Their jokes had some real truths to them, truths that readers of this blog would understand. Today we are going to look back at the history of The Simpsons and theme parks, and at some of our favorite moments over the years. Many of these scenes can actually be seen in the queue for The Simpsons Ride along with exclusive new scenes made just for Universal. So sit back, put on a pair of beer googles, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

# 6 – “Bart’s New Friend” (Season 26, Episode 11)

We’ll start off with an episode written by Judd Apatow, a man who knows a thing or two about comedy, with a resume that includes Freaks and Geeks, Knocked Up, and The 40 Year Old Virgin. The episode centers around Homer Simpson being hypnotized into thinking he is a 10 year child. Bart Simpson then begins to take advantage of the situation, using Homer as a way to thwart bullies at school and be the “brother” he never had. Before Homer can be de-hypnotized, Bart takes him to Itchy & Scratchy Land and we get to see them ride Soarin’ Over Springfield. This was a five star parody of one of Disney’s most popular rides.


Soarin’ Over Springfield.


Just like the real version, in Soarin’ Over Springfield you get to see guests’ legs dangling in front of you. Note the reference to Mystery Science Theater 3000.


With a swelling score, Soarin’ Over Springfield flies by all the major landmarks in town, including the long running tire fire.


Burning tire smell blown into the faces of guests, just as the scent of oranges was sprayed in the original Soarin’ and fresh cut flowers in the new Soarin’ Around the World.

Read the rest of this entry »

In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of August 12, 2016

by on August 12, 2016 1 Comment

ICYMIDo you have Olympic fever? It’s been running rampant this past week, of course. I’ve enjoyed following along with all the events. What about you?

Are you planning on seeing Pete’s Dragon this weekend? How are you hoping it compares to the original?

Let’s get to the fun for the week, shall we? We have Disney’s earnings report for the quarter, a look at more houses you can expect to experience during Halloween Horror Nights, and more!

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


Like most other media conglomerates, Disney is fighting the eminent threat that cable cord-cutting poses. Here’s the latest way they are attempting to fight the cause.

If you’ve visited Walt Disney World or Universal Orlando this summer, we’ve been realizing it has seemed a bit quiet in Orlando this year. According to Disney’s earning report for this quarter, the feeling is indeed true, as theme park attendance declined. Read the rest of this entry »

The Jungle Book: Alive With Magic to End at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

by on August 12, 2016 15 Comments



It is time to say goodbye to The Jungle Book: Alive with Magic nighttime show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The show will end its limited engagement on September 5.

With this change, I am happy to report that the other nighttime festivities, such as the Kilimanjaro Safaris at night, Harambe Wildlife Parti, Discovery Island Carnivale, and the Tree of Life Awakening will continue to take place each night in the fall. Disney’s Animal Kingdom hours will continue to fluctuate during the fall season.

One would expect that with the ending of this show, Disney will be able to continually tweak and test Rivers of Light to prepare it for its eventual debut. More information on Rivers of Light is expected to come soon.


10 Things to Do After You Book Your Disney Cruise

by on August 12, 2016 4 Comments

So you’ve booked your Disney cruise!  Woohoo!  After the high of booking starts to wear off and before the low of the credit card bill arrival, what’s next?  Well here are ten things!

Day 1 0241. Find Your Documentation – Do not wait until the last minute to find your passport or birth certificates. Don’t do it. Now is the time to go locate whatever you need to travel.  Now, when you still have time to get new copies of the one you were so sure you had is missing or expired.  Lay eyes on it.  Check the expiration date.  Don’t assume and get into a bind when it’s time to sail!

2. Join Your Cruise Group – If you are on Facebook, I highly recommend finding the cruise group for your cruise and joining. Search Facebook for your ship name and cruise date and you’ll usually find it. These groups are full of great information. Many groups set up meets onboard, private mixology and tasting groups, fish extender exchanges and more. Many years ago, we were able to tour the Walt Disney Suite on the Disney Magic when a member of our group invited everyone for a tour. Sometimes you’ll find a family who wants to book a cabana but doesn’t want to pay full price for it and you can share one for the day! You’ll also often find people joining together for private tours and renting cars together. Even if you’re not into socializing with people you met on the internet (valid), there is still a lot of good information shared. Recommendations for port adventures, updates on what’s booked before your booking window opens, dining rotations, and more! Join! What have you got to lose? Read the rest of this entry »

Disney Offers Annual Passholders Discounted Park Hopper Tickets

by on August 11, 2016 5 Comments

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

In an unexpected move, Disney is offering Walt Disney World Annual Passholders a fantastic deal on 1-Day Park Hopper Tickets for their friends and family.

Annual Passholders can purchase 1-Day Park Hopper tickets for $79 each for up to 6 Guests. The tickets give guests access to all four Walt Disney World parks, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Epcot for one day.

Do keep in mind that the Annual Passholder must be present and have a valid pass when purchasing the tickets. These friends and family tickets may only be purchased at Walt Disney World theme park ticket windows, and they must be used on the day of purchase.

These discounted tickets are only available until September 30.

For more information, visit the Walt Disney World Annual Passholder website.




Main Street Electrical Parade to End Its Run at Walt Disney World

by on August 11, 2016 8 Comments

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

Walt Disney World will officially say goodbye to the long-standing nighttime parade, the Main Street Electrical Parade. It will end its historic run at the Magic Kingdom on October 9 and then will make its way over to Disneyland Resort for a limited time encore run.

This is the quintessential Disney nighttime parade with a storied past. It began at Disneyland park in 1972 and has been going back and forth between different Disney Parks throughout the years. In 2010, the parade begin its most recent run at the Magic Kingdom.

So, Disneyland fans, what will this mean for Paint the Night? Well, it had already been announced that Paint the Night would be ending its run soon.  The parade will continue nightly performances, just prior to the Disneyland Forever fireworks, through September 5 as part of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration. However, it isn’t going away completely at that point. The parade will be returning on select nights during the holiday season this year. There is currently no word yet on what exact dates Guests can expect to see Paint the Night throughout the rest of the year at Disneyland. Read the rest of this entry »

Dani’s Best Week Ever August 11, 2016: Creating Your Own Epcot Food and Wine Festival Experience

by on August 11, 2016 5 Comments

The Epcot International Food and Wine Festival kicks off in just about a month, September 14, 2016. But you don’t have to wait until it’s festival time to taste your way around the world. Personally, I feel it is a better experience and a better value to make your own food and wine festival type experience at Epcot. That’s exactly what I did on my recent visit, and it turned out to be one of the best visits ever!


Though there was rain in the forecast, blue skies provided a lovely backdrop to the iconic view of Spaceship Earth as I arrived. I made a bee line through Future World; my stomach growled and would wait no more. World Showcase holds so many culinary treasures, even when it is not Food and Wine Festival time. Beverages and snacks at Epcot are very easy to come by. Practically every pavilion has at least one full service restaurant, one counter service restaurant, and at least one cart or stand along the promenade offering snacks or drinks, or both.


When it comes to exploring World Showcase from a culinary perspective, there is some debate as to which direction to start, either Mexico or Canada. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. On this visit I headed toward the Canada pavilion because I had a 2:00 PM FastPass+ selected for Frozen Ever After and planned to my Epcot trip there.


United Kingdom and Canada Pavilions

Starting off with the Canada Pavilion is a bit rough if you arrive before 12:00 noon. The outside snack and beverage cart does not open until about 12:00 noon and the relatively new Trading Post Refreshments is currently unavailable – slated to reopen by the end of August. So really, there aren’t any snacks or beverages to enjoy here until later in the day.


Read the rest of this entry »

Washington, DC: International Spy Museum

by on August 10, 2016 7 Comments

IMG_0523 (2)A favorite with adults and children alike, the International Spy Museum is as advertised—a museum dedicated to the art, history, and glamour of spying. My family and I visited the Spy Museum on a recent trip to DC and, although Len did a great review in the Unofficial Guide to Washington, D.C., I decided to tell you all about it and what it was like for us.

The International Spy Museum is located at 800 F St NW, right near the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Verizon Center, and many other hot tourist spots. It is easily accessible by public transportation, only a block away from the Gallery Place Metro Station (Red, Green, Yellow lines).

Getting In

I feel the need to begin at the entrance process, which I guess is beginning at the beginning. When you walk by you may notice a long line on the sidewalk and an even longer, switchbacking line inside. As intimidating as that is, it’s probably not as bad as it looks. The outside line is to buy tickets, which moves pretty quickly. (You can also buy tickets online in advance if you want, and skip this line.)

Unfortunately this is not free like many D.C. museums; the cost is $21.95 for anyone 12 and up, $14.95 for children age 7-11, and $15.95 for 65+, military, law enforcement, and fire department employees. Ages 6 and under are free, which is nice because around 7 is when they really start to “get” what the Spy Museum is about.

The larger line inside is how they space out visitors to the museum. The actual Spy Museum starts on the top floor and the only way up is via elevator. While the larger line is a pain, it moves regularly and it is worth it when you walk into the highly interactive first section with only 50 people instead of 500.

Covers and Legends

Speaking of interactive elements, the far-and-away best part about the Spy Museum is its interactivity, which begins once you exit the entry elevator into Covers and Legends. This room is full of alternate identities and guests are instructed to select one and memorize all the details associated with their new cover.

Your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to take on the identity of a 13-year-old Mexican girl, a 37-year-old Chinese businessman, or any of the multitude of characters listed along the walls. You better remember your cover, there is a quiz! Read the rest of this entry »