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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.


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 »

Disney With Small Children: Lessons Learned

by on August 21, 2015 20 Comments

Mickey BarAs a parent, taking your kids to Walt Disney World or Disneyland is a rite of passage of sorts. Whether you are a Disney parks veteran looking forward to taking your first family trip or a first timer deciding it’s time to visit Disney, there is no joy like getting the opportunity to experience “Disney magic” through the eyes of a small child. Even if you feel like you’ve got this whole parenting thing wired, though, a trip to Walt Disney World presents a unique set of challenges that are often overlooked by parents engrossed in their halcyon childhood memories and idyllic expectations of these trips. Being aware of these potential pitfalls will help you get ahead of them and prevent them from disrupting your vacation! Read the rest of this entry »

2015 Night of Joy Performance Schedule Announced

by on August 21, 2015

Night of Joy


Night of Joy is a hard-ticketed event that takes place in the Fall where contemporary Christian artists visit and perform at the Magic Kingdom. This year’s event is scheduled to take place on Friday, September 11, and Saturday, September 12. Night of Joy events take place from 7:30 p.m. until 1:00 a.m.

Well for those attending the event, we now have an official schedule of events for the evening. Performers play for about 40-50 minutes per set.

Friday, September 11th


  • 7:40 p.m. – Jeremy Camp
  • 9:45 p.m. – MercyMe
  • 11:55 p.m. – TobyMac

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever August 20, 2015: Magic Kingdom Farewell

by on August 21, 2015 32 Comments

In only two weeks, I’ll be boarding a plane to Amsterdam and leaving Orlando behind for a month-long European vacation — hopefully not the Chevy Chase kind. While across the pond, I’ll be exploring (and sharing with you, WiFi willing) some of the continent’s best theme parks, including Disneyland Paris. But my impending bon voyage means that my latest Best Week Ever visit to Walt Disney World will likely be my Magic Kingdom farewell until some time in October.

[Note: I realize that to people who don’t live in the Orlando area and only visit WDW every few years, the above sounds a bit ridiculous. But such is the life of a theme park writer, so try to suspend disbelief for the sake of this column.]

With that in mind, I documented this final summer stroll around Florida’s favorite theme park, in which I pulled off the amazing anti-achievement of only experiencing one single attraction during my entire afternoon. What ride or show did I pick for my final taste of the Magic Kingdom before departing the country? Read on and find out!

Let’s begin our Magic Kingdom journey the same way every guest’s visit starts: with a walk through the tunnel under the Main Street Train Station


And the dramatic reveal of Town Square:


It appears I’ve arrived just in time for the 3 o’clock parade! I wonder what time it is?…

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Universal Orlando Resort Photo Update August 18, 2015

by on August 20, 2015 1 Comment

Welcome to my first ever Universal Orlando Photo Update here on TouringPlans!  This week we’ll start things off in CityWalk with a look at the under construction NBC Sports Grille Brew.  Then we’ll move into Universal Studios for a look at the new NBC Media Center, a new themed beverage, and a quick peek at Halloween Horror Nights.  Over at Islands of Adventure, we’ve got an extended look at the next attraction at the resort, Skull Island: Reign of Kong as well as some updates to the Jurassic Park “Island” (what Universal calls the themed lands at Islands of Adventure).  We’ll close this week’s update out with a look at the under construction Sapphire Falls Resort and Volcano Bay Water Theme Park.  Let’s get going!



Between The Cowfish restaurant and Rising Star Karaoke Bar, the two staircases have recently been re-tiled.

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Easy DisneyBounding for Families

by on August 20, 2015 10 Comments

If you’ve ever visited a Disney park, it is likely that you have seen people dressed in clothing (not costumes) that is evocative of a specific Disney character. This is called DisneyBounding. DisneyBounding can be extremely fun, whether you take pleasure in planning intricate outfits or whether you like to do something on the more conservative side, like wearing a character t-shirt. I always enjoy seeing DisneyBounding, particularly when it is done by a group or a family. When everyone gets into the spirit, it just takes it to the next level!

Easy DisneyBounding for Families

While I applaud the families that can go all-out and DisneyBound with every single detail represented perfectly, the reality is that different levels of interest and ease will impact a group’s DisneyBounding efforts. For example, while your daughter might be thrilled to walk around in a dress that screams Ariel, and you are happy to join in the fun in an Ursula-themed outfit, and your husband gets in on the fun with some King Triton-esque apparel, maybe your son isn’t so keen on representing Prince Eric. By the time all is said and done, all you can get him to do is carry around a toy sword (because seriously, who wouldn’t want to carry around a toy sword?!). While there is nothing wrong with a partially DisneyBounding family, you were hoping for something a little more engaging for everyone. My solution for this – keep it simple.

I’m going to share some easy DisneyBounding ideas that can be accomplished with t-shirts or tops that focus in particular on groups and pairs. I’ve participated in a lot of this type of DisneyBounding, and the reactions from guests and cast members are always fantastic! The upside to this approach is that even the most conservative in your group can usually be persuaded to wear a t-shirt (bribing the over-21’s in the crowd with adult beverages is also quite effective). Read the rest of this entry »

The 10 Steps of Online Check-In for Your Disney Cruise

by on August 19, 2015

You’re going on a Disney Cruise!  Woohoo!  I am often asked what you need to do to get ready for your cruise.  Well one of the big things is your online check-in!  Checking in online is important for a few reasons.  It will save you time at the port once you arrive, it gives you a chance to make sure all of your information is in the system correctly so there won’t be any problems when you arrive, it’s a chance to address any special needs you may have, and you’ll get to pick an arrival time at the port!

Online check-in opens on different dates depending on your Castaway Club level and the category you are sailing in.  If you are a Platinum level Castaway Club member, meaning you have sailed more than 10 times, or if you are sailing concierge, you can check-in online at midnight, 120 days before you sail.  If you are a Gold level Castaway Club member, meaning you have sailed more than 5 times, you can check-in online 105 days before you sail.  If you’ve sailed at least once you are a Silver level Castaway Club member and can check in online 90 days before sailing.  Everyone else can check in 75 days before you sail.  It will be available online until 4 days before you sail.

Pro-tip – You do NOT have to be paid in full to check in online.  In order to book excursions, adult restaurants, etc. when your booking window opens, you must be paid in full.  That is not the case for checking-in online.  You can do that at midnight when your booking window opens, regardless of whether you are paid in full.

Here is a step by step description of online check-in, so you will know exactly what to expect!

1. Retrieve Reservation – Your very first step will be going to and retrieving your reservation. At the top of the screen on the far right, you will see a tab called Planning Center. Hover over it with your mouse and you will see My Reservations.  Click on it.  You can click on the Online Check-In as well to login and retrieve your reservation, but if you click on My Reservations you can do it all on the same screen.








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Additional Details About the Royal Sommerhaus in the Norway Pavilion

by on August 19, 2015 4 Comments

A few months back, details were released about what Guests will be able to expect with the upcoming Frozen Ever After attraction, but only a cursory mention was made about the Frozen meet and greet opportunity, called Royal Sommerhaus.

Well, during The D23 Expo, Disney Imagineer Kathy Mangum spoke about the upcoming Frozen attraction, as well as gave a few more details about the Royal Sommerhaus, plus we received a look at the concept art.



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