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Disney Cruise Line Vancouver Hotel Compare/Contrast

by on September 9, 2014 5 Comments

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t_logo_fbTouring Plans blogger Kristi Fredericks and I have been sharing some of our excursion experiences (dog sledding in Juneau, trains in Skagway) on our Disney Cruise Line voyage to Alaska this summer. Now it’s time to cover our respective pre-cruise stays in Vancouver.

Both Kristi and I chose to book our pre-cruise hotels through Disney. Kristi stayed at the Fairmont Vancouver Waterfront. By the time I booked, the Waterfront was filled, so they placed me at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport location. Here’s the scoop on what we experienced. Read the rest of this entry »

10 Reasons DINKs Would Enjoy Disney Cruise Line

by on September 9, 2014 25 Comments

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I know what some of you are thinking. “Are you sure DINKs would enjoy Disney Cruise Line?” Wait. That wasn’t it? Oh, you’re wondering what a DINK is! Well that’s easy. A Dink is a Double Income No Kids family (and let me immediately apologize if there is another, inappropriate meaning that I am too old or naïve to know). It’s obvious why the first two letters in that acronym would like a Disney cruise. They have more money! But the second two letters may throw you off a little. For many couples without kids, Disney isn’t the first cruise line they would consider (or maybe even a cruise line they would consider at all!) when planning a cruise. Well they should! Because Disney cruises are fun for everyone, even adults with no kids. My disclaimer here is as follows: yes, I know there are lots of other great cruise lines and yes, I know there are good reasons to sail on those other cruise lines. What I am trying to say here is – don’t rule Disney out just because you don’t have kids. There are reasons people love it after all.

1. Adult-Only Pools – When you picture a pool on a family cruise line, you are probably picturing a pool full of screaming, playing, splashing children. Well, you will find those on every Disney ship! The good news is you will also find a pool that is blissfully free of children – the adult only pool. There are certain times of day when it can get crowded, but it’s all adults. Many cruise lines do not have adult-only pools, but Disney recognized there would be times where the adults would want a calmer setting than swimming children afford. The Magic and Wonder have a long rectangular adult pool for swimming with wide shallow ledges on the side, perfect for lounging in water that’s only a few inches deep. There are also two hot tubs adjacent to the pool for adults to enjoy. The Dream and Fantasy have a pool divided into three circular sections. One is rimmed with seats, one is deeper water, and one is only a few inches deep for sunning. There’s a bar on one side of that last circle as well. Additionally, both ships have infinity hot tubs. The Fantasy also has Satellite Falls which is a small wading-type pool built with a waterfall feature. Trust me, even on a crowded day, they’re 1000 times more peaceful than the kid’s pool.

2. Adult-Only Café – All four ships have an adult-only café called Cove Café near the adult pools. It’s a great place to relax and order your favorite specialty coffee and baked treats. The coffee and alcohol are an additional charge, but the snacks are not! There are magazine and books to enjoy while you relax as well. It’s a great little spot! Read the rest of this entry »

What to Expect from 2014′s Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland

by on September 9, 2014 5 Comments

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DSC00864Mickey’s Halloween Party is a special extra-ticket event held select nights at at Disneyland Park in Anaheim, California, during the Halloween season. The party includes a special fireworks show featuring a fly-by of Zero (instead of Tinker Bell), a costumed character cavalcade,  trick-or-treating, dance parties, and more.

Mickey’s Halloween Party takes place in Disneyland on select nights in the fall, typically running from late-September until Halloween. In 2014, the party dates are September 26, 30, October 3, 6, 8, 10, 14,  17, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29 and 31.

 

Tickets for Mickey’s Halloween Party are now on sale.

What time is the Party?

Officially the Party runs from 6 pm on some nights and 7 pm on others. The party runs until 11 pm or 12 am, depending on the night. Guests with valid Halloween party tickets may enter the park up to three hours prior to the event’s start time. Read the rest of this entry »

Disneyland Resort Crowd Report – August 31 to September 6, 2014

by on September 9, 2014 5 Comments

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Other than Labor Day Monday when both parks hit a level ’6′ on our scale, last week was a great week for Disneyland Resort guests to experience low wait times. Disney California Adventure, in particular saw average posted times among the lowest you will see all year.

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

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Universal Orlando Resort Crowd Report – August 31 to September 6, 2014

by on September 8, 2014

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Wait times at Universal Orlando skewed lower than expected last week although not significantly so. We correctly predicted the crowd level within one index level every day with only one exception. The week after Labor Day, like at Disney World, is the single slowest week of the year at Universal Orlando. If you can handle the hot summer temperatures you will experience near empty touring conditions.

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 »

Disney Dining: Bongos Cuban Cafe at Downtown Disney

by on September 8, 2014 5 Comments

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Recently I was at Downtown Disney and had planned to go to the House of Blues to do a photo report. Unfortunately, when photographer Brandon Glover and I got to the restaurant they told us it would be a ten minute wait. This was in the middle of a weekday and the House of Blues was – at best – 30% full. There were even two parties ahead of us waiting to get a table. Acting on principal alone, the thought of waiting 10 minutes to get a table in an empty restaurant with so many other choices nearby seemed beyond ridiculous, so we left to try another venue. A couple steps down from House of Blues lies Bongos Cuban Cafe, so we decided to check it out since neither one of us had ever tried it before.

 

Bongos_outside

Bongos Cuban Cafe (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Disney World Crowd Report – August 31 to September 6, 2014

by on September 8, 2014 5 Comments

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There are two weeks a year where we can be certain about crowds at Disney World. We know December 28 through January 1 will be extremely crowded and we know that the week after Labor Day will be extremely light. Even we were surprised how low the crowds were last week. We expected that Fastpass+ would help moderate wait times across the resort but we still saw some of the lowest average wait times of the year.

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

  Read the rest of this entry »

Disneyland Resort Rolls Out Resort-wide Dining Price Increases

by on September 8, 2014 4 Comments

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t_logoLast week Disney rolled out dining price increases throughout Disneyland Resort. Most entrees were increased by 50 cents, while some items such as Plaza Inn’s Pot Roast, wen’t up by as much as $1.

Some notable price increases include:

There are dozens of other price increases so I won’t bore you by listing them all here. Our Disneyland dining menu database has been updated so be sure to check it out if you’re curious about a specific menu item going up in price.

Menu Monday: Snacks Around the World Showcase – Germany

by on September 8, 2014 4 Comments

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Spaceship Earth!

Spaceship Earth! © Disney

Welcome once again to Menu Monday, where we explore what packaged edibles Disney offers. We are traveling around the World Showcase, stopping in at each country to give an interesting and unusual (and hopefully tasty!) snack a try. We have already visited Japan, Canada, United Kingdom, and France. Today we are checking out what snacks are available in Germany. Before we get started heading around the Showcase, let’s remember the rules:

Snack Rules

  • No snacks over $10; preferably less than $5
  • As unusual as possible
  • Something I personally would eat

Let’s go find some snacks from Germany!

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Menu Monday: Downtown Disney Breakfast Options

by on September 8, 2014 2 Comments

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With all the construction going on for the future of Disney Springs, it is very tempting to stay away. Between limited parking, confusing mazes of walls everywhere, and the challenge of even finding what entrance is open to drive in, the whole experience can be a bit stressful, especially later in the afternoon and evening times. Yet, there is a wonderful reason to find your way in – and at a time when parking is easy to find and crowds are low: Breakfast!

Downtown Disney may not be the first thought for many people when they think breakfast, but there are actually more Downtown Disney breakfast options than there are in some of the theme parks. Here’s a sampling of what you can find.

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