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May The Course Be With You! Disney Unveils New Star Wars Half Marathon Event for Walt Disney World

by on August 25, 2015 2 Comments

©Disney

©Disney

Do you feel that? The force appears to have awakened at Walt Disney World and fans of both runDisney and Star Wars have something to cheer (or is it chEAR) about.

Disney announced today that a brand new Star Wars Half Marathon Event will be introduced in 2016 to the official runDisney lineup. Unlike the Star Wars half that takes place in Disneyland and focuses on the light, the Walt Disney World version will channel the Dark Side of the Force.

The event weekend will take place April 14-17, 2016 and will include a 5k, 10k, and half marathon. It will also include a special challenge race for those who complete both the 10k and the half called the Star Wars Dark Side Challenge. Little ones will also be able to compete in their very own kids races too!

Among the half’s many features will be a unique 13.1-mile course that takes runners through Epcot, Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Hollywood Studios and finishes at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Read the rest of this entry »

Disney World Preparation for the Disneyland Veteran

by on August 25, 2015 3 Comments

If you’re a native of the west coast, you may think you know what to expect from a visit to Walt Disney World, based on the many weekends and afternoons you’ve spent at Disneyland. However, even if you are an old hand at Disneyland, you’ll probably find Walt Disney World overwhelming.

WDW Entry Gates

Even the signage when you enter is bigger!

At over 27,000 acres, Walt Disney World is over 170 times as large as Disneyland. Disneyland consists of two theme parks, a shopping district, and three hotels. Walt Disney World consists of four theme parks, two water parks, two mini golf courses, four full golf courses, 27 lodging options, a shopping district, and its own vast transportation network. In Disneyland, park-hopping consists of walking the short span of the Esplanade between gates. In Walt Disney World, park-hopping requires at least one form of transportation, and a minimum of 20-30 minutes of time. In short, Walt Disney World is just an order of magnitude larger, and more complicated, than Disneyland.

Here’s what you need to know to survive the Big One – big theme park, that is.

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Universal Crowd Calendar Report – August 16 to 22, 2015

by on August 25, 2015

How Did The Universal Crowd Calendar Do?

How Did The Universal Crowd Calendar Do?

Last week, wait times were up at Universal Orlando. We saw crowds exceed historical averages every day except Thursday. Last week was the final week for many students to grab one more ride at Rip Ride Rockit and The Incredible Hulk Coaster before heading back to school so it is likely that crowd levels may settle down this week.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Universal Orlando Resort Crowd Report:

Read the rest of this entry »

Disneyland Crowd Calendar Report – August 16 to 22, 2015

by on August 25, 2015 1 Comment

How Did The Disneyland Crowd Calendar Do?

How Did The Disneyland Crowd Calendar Do?

Last week, the Disneyland Crowd Calendar correctly predicted the flow of crowds from one day to the next but the levels were too low. Wait times at both Disneyland parks were higher than historical averages would suggest they should be for mid to late August.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Disneyland Crowd Calendar Report:

Read the rest of this entry »

Disney World Crowd Calendar Report – August 16 to 22, 2015

by on August 25, 2015 2 Comments

How Did The Disney World Crowd Calendar Do?

How Did The Disney World Crowd Calendar Do?

Last week was the final week of summer for many school districts in Florida and other Southeastern States and crowds at the parks were substantial as a result. We saw one ‘5’ and a couple ‘6’s but the rest of week was mainly ‘8’s and above, including several ’10’s. Epcot was the least crowded park of the week while Hollywood Studios was the most steady park, reaching crowd levels of ‘8’ or ‘9’ every day except Friday.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the Disney World Crowd Calendar Report:

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Menu Monday: Rainforest Café Showdown

by on August 24, 2015 6 Comments

Rainforest CafeMy family and I are big fans of the Rainforest Café. During our travels across the country, we always make a point to visit this restaurant every chance we get. In the last few years, we’ve dined at the Rainforest Café in Disneyland, Las Vegas, Dallas, San Antonio, Galveston, and of course, Downtown Disney (Springs) and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

What keeps us going back again and again? We are suckers for a good theme! The more immersive and detailed the environment, the more we love it. This, coincidentally, is one of the main reasons we repeatedly visit Disney World as well. There’s just nothing quite like escaping to another “world” whether it’s for just a meal or for an entire trip. During our summer vacation this year, my family and I had the opportunity to dine at both Disney World locations. Are you considering a visit to the “rainforests” of Downtown Disney and Animal Kingdom? Trying to decide which one is best for you? Then read on for the complete Rainforest Café Showdown; your adventure is about to begin!

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History of Walt Disney World’s Cinderella Castle

by on August 24, 2015 14 Comments

Photo - Rikki NiblettWhile washing after dinner dishes, I allow my brain time to wander.

Re-reading that first sentence, it makes me sound exactly like Cinderella. Do I have a future of being a Disney Princess after all?! Ahem, anyway….

Often, my mind will start planning future vacations. Where does it go approximately 99% of the time?

Walt Disney World.

My imagination starts at the entrance of Magic Kingdom. I hear the whistle of the steam train and the smell of popcorn. As I walk past Main Street, U.S.A. (stopping to grab Starbucks because parenting), my eyes dart straight ahead to a beautiful structure. A magnificent place I can only ever dream to live inside of: Cinderella Castle. Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t Meet Me on Main Street: Alternate Parade Viewing Spots

by on August 23, 2015 8 Comments

One of my oldest memories of Walt Disney World was being traumatized and terrified at age five by giant critters in the Main Street Electrical Parade. We were up close and they were coming right at me. I am certain my family barely escaped with our lives. While my five-year-old self might throw a hissy fit at the idea of having an up-close view of the Main Street Electrical Parade, my adult self loves the idea of getting up close for interaction with the parade and being engulfed in the magic of its lights and sounds.

This image from the second parade in Frontierland shows that you can have almost a private parade. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

This image from the second parade in Frontierland shows that you can have almost a private parade. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

And because the name is the MAIN STREET Electrical Parade, the assumption by many people is that the only or best place to watch the parade is on Main Street, or possibly at the Hub. For years, however, I’ve told anyone who would listen about the secret to watching the Main Street Electrical Parade—get off Main Street.

Unlike Celebrate the Magic, which you can only see from Main Street or the Hub area, or Wishes, which is designed with some effects being best visible from Main Street or the Hub, the Main Street Electrical Parade is the same parade on Main Street as it is in Frontierland. The same, but with a major exception—fewer people blocking your view.

Here are my main reasons (pun intended) for viewing the Main Street Electrical Parade from Frontierland.

 

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Of Our Emotions Coming Out Of the D23 Expo

by on August 22, 2015 5 Comments

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six of Our Emotions Coming Out Of the D23 Expo. Last week we gave our D23 Expo Preview and can proudly announce that we were the only blog on the entire planet to call Disney involving Stan Lee in their Parks and Resorts presentation. While some would call us The Nostradamus of Theme Parks, we’d like to remind you that we are just your humble servants striving to provide the best possible article in the history of mankind. 

With that out of the way, what a D23 Expo it was! Hopefully you caught some of the excellent   D23 coverage by TouringPlan’s own Guy Selga (who has lovingly been referred to as a poor man’s Tom Bricker, or a rich man’s Tim Grassey). There were so many things to come out of of the Expo, but we’re going to take a page from this summer’s blockbuster hit Tomorrowland Inside Out and express our emotions via the very characters in the film! So sit back, relax, and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

# 6 – JOY: Star Wars Land is finally announced!

Our long national nightmare is over. STAR WARS LAND IS COMING! From the day Star Tours opened in the 1980s we’ve all wanted more Star Wars in the theme parks and now we’re actually getting it. The man in charge, WDI’s Scott Trowbridge, is also the very same man behind one of the all time greatest rides in theme park history, Universal’s Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man. While details were scarce, what we do know is a jaw dropper. The land will be spread out over 14 acres, have an attraction that sees guests piloting the Millennium Falcon, and cast members will stay completely in character, similar to the witches and wizards inside Diagon Alley.

STARWARSLAND_Joy

Do you believe in miracles?! (photo by Andrew Marchese)

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In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of August 21, 2015

by on August 21, 2015

ICYMIWho was floored by the excitement from The D23 Expo? It looked like it was so entertaining and exciting with lots of informative panels and great sneak peeks, as per usual!

This week was hopping, thanks to D23 tidbits, where we take a look at the upcoming film slate from Disney Animation and Pixar, hear potential answers to commonly asked Star Wars land questions, and more!

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

 

Curious about how WDI creates the lands and attractions we know and love in this day and age? Fortune took a look at the technology behind the scenes.

Have questions about the new Star Wars land(s)? Slashfilm tries to answer most of them. Read the rest of this entry »