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Disney World Crowd Calendar Report – February 8 to 14, 2015

by on February 17, 2015

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Crowds at Walt Disney World started off much lower than our crowd calendar predicted in the first part of the week but then we quickly saw an increase in-line with the predicted arrival of guests for Presidents Day weekend. The peak in attendance on Friday and Saturday is not due to a surge of guests arriving to celebrate Valentines Day but rather due to the combination of Presidents Day and Mardi Gras occurring the following week.

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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A Tour of Re-Imagined Disney Magic Cruise Ship

by on February 16, 2015 5 Comments

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It’s the ship that started it all. The majestic mother of the Disney Cruise Line fleet, the Disney Magic is Disney’s first ship and now she sparkles with renewed pixie dust. While Disney Cruise Line has been expanded to offer two new, larger ships there is still something so marvelous about Disney’s very first ship, especially after an extensive makeover. After many journeys aboard this beauty, I’d like to take you on a tour from stern to bow, of the beautiful Disney Magic and point out the many magical enhancements she recently received.

DSC00621

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Menu Monday: Best Counter Service Restaurant at Hollywood Studios

by on February 16, 2015 8 Comments

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We continue this journey to find the best counter service restaurants in Hollywood Studios.  Hollywood Studios has to be one of the hardest counter service options to track because the menus and prices tend to change for each season. Add in the continuing construction, and things are bound to change. Before your next trip to the Studios, be sure to check out the latest menus for options and prices either at the Touring Plans menu page, or at the official Walt Disney World menu page. With that said, most of the menu staples will stay consistent. If a counter service location offers burgers and sandwiches, you can expect for it to be consistent, but you may find an updated price or a new “gourmet” option available. If you missed previous entries, be sure to read all about the best counter service options in Magic Kingdom, as well as in Animal Kingdom. To refresh your memory, here is the grading scale I’ve used to determining how each counter service location has earned it’s ranking:

  • Value (portion/cost ratio) = 10 points
  • Flavor = 10 points
  • Originality = 5 points
  • Atmosphere = 5 points
  • Grand total = 30 possible points

Sunset Boulevard Restaurant Row

Catalina Eddie's, Rosie's All-American Café, and Fairfaxe Fare are all located on Sunset Boulevard near Tower of Terror.

Catalina Eddie’s, Rosie’s All-American Café, and Fairfaxe Fare are all located on Sunset Boulevard near Tower of Terror.

It may seem like cheating, but due to the proximity of all of these options in the same area. They can easily be viewed as one dining location with multiple options, similar to the concept of the food court at your local mall. Catalina Eddie’s, Fairfax Fare, and Rosie’s All-American Café are all situated at the end of Sunset Boulevard, near the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Because of this prime real estate by two of the park’s powerhouse rides, and the fact that the three restaurants share the same seating area, this place gets packed quickly. It’s often a spot for families to gather and wait while a portion of their party experiences one ride or the other (or both). Because of this, finding an open table is tricky, and it gets busy early in the day and stays that way. The best plan of attack is to find a table before ordering food, then go in shifts to the location that appeals to your taste buds while another holds the table while you order. Never leave a child alone, but if you’re traveling with a several adults or teenagers, this is the best strategy.

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Disneyland Crowd Calendar Report – February 8 to 14, 2015

by on February 16, 2015

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As you can see from our chart of “What We Predicted” versus “What We Saw” although we only matched on one day, our Disneyland Crowd Calendar did a great job predicting the change in crowds from day to day last week. Weekends continue to be much more crowded than weekdays although Mondays and Fridays seem to be a mix of weekend-type crowds and weekday-type crowds.

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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Menu Monday: Cowfish at Universal CityWalk Orlando Review

by on February 16, 2015 4 Comments

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Cowfish Logo

Cowfish Logo

 

Disclosure: Please note that while we were not compensated for our meal, we were seated at Cowfish by management after my husband spoke to someone at corporate office.

Despite the fact that we’ve been driving down the road to party it up at Universal Studios Orlando for nearly eight years now, it’s hard to pry my husband and me away from our beloved outdoor bars and into restaurants. Hey, we like to people-watch… how else would I be able to snobbishly judge passersby on the nerd culture displayed on their clothing? So we were a little disappointed to hear that one of CityWalk’s newest establishments, the sushi-burger fusion place Cowfish, had nixed its outdoor bar food service literally the day before we arrived. Typically, that’s how you get lazy, food-obsessed locals to swear vengeance on your establishment… hey, my name isn’t Inigo Montoya, I take my vendettas where I can. Cowfish’s menu had come so highly recommended, however, and from so many different people, that we had to give it a try. Turns out, it’s a good thing we did, since Cowfish is really, really worth the trip. Enough that we went twice just to tell you about different things! Read the rest of this entry »

A Tale of Two Runners and runDisney

by on February 15, 2015 5 Comments

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To the shock and utter amazement of those that know me well (and even myself), I am contemplating signing up for a runDisney event in 2016. I have scoured every inch of the runDisney website and read many other people’s blogs about their experiences. However, I had concerns about what hotel was the right one to stay at for these events, so I asked two previous runDisney racers: Dave Russ, a casual runner who mainly does 5ks to support local causes, and Jordan Viebranz, a more seasoned runner who loves sharing his experiences and motivating others to participate.

rundisney_logo

What runDisney event(s) have you participated in?

Dave: I did the Tower of Terror 10 miler in 2014.

Jordan: I participated in the Goofy Challenge this year. Last year (2014) I participated in the 10k and the full marathon.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

by on February 14, 2015 18 Comments

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This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Each of Walt Disney World’s onsite hotels have their own unique feel, and that rings true from the value end (such as Art of Animation) through the moderates (including Port Orleans French Quarter) and all the way up to the deluxe resorts like The Contemporary. That said, no hotel in Orlando stands more by itself as a one-of-a-kind original experience than Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

AKL_logo

Animal Kingdom Lodge.

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Located directly next to Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park (and absolutely nothing else,) many guests consider Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL) too far out of the way to consider staying at. While the wait for the Disney buses may be a little bit longer than other resorts on property, today’s edition of the SATURDAY SIX is going to count down six reasons we feel everyone should consider staying at AKL as part of their next vacation, starting with…

# 6 – Indian-style Bread Service at Sanaa

AKL_sanaa_breadservice1_glover

Sanaa bread service. A first ballot hall of famer for Disney food. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Animal Kingdom Lodge is broken up into two parts, the main hotel (Jambo House) and the Disney Vacation Club wing (Kidani Village.) In these two areas there are three of Disney’s best restaurants including Boma and Jiko at Jambo House, and Sanaa at Kidani Village. Unlike many restaurants at WDW that have dumbed themselves down in order to maximize profits as part of Disney’s Dining Plan, AKL’s restaurants deliver an experience that is true destination dining. The standout of these three venues is Sanaa’s bread service. With five different types of Naan bread available and up to nine different accompaniments to go with it, this is a bread service like no other.

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Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes – 2/13/15

by on February 13, 2015 4 Comments

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It’s been a while since I’ve been here with Newsworthy Notes! Glad to see you again for another update of minor, yet important Disney news! Things have been piling up on my desk, so it’s time to share with you all once again.

  • Starting at Downtown Disney, many of the newly announced shops have opened to the public. Guests can now browse through Chapel Hats, APEX by Sunglass Hut, The Art of Shaving, and Sanuk. Erin McKenna’s Bakery’s signage is up and one would expect it to open officially within the next week or so. Also expected to open next week on Monday is Havaianas.
  • Let’s head into the parks, shall we? In the Magic Kingdom, the Tomorrowland Arcade, located at the exit of Space Mountain, has closed abruptly. Many think it’s in relation to the recent (and supposedly vaguely written) law that bans internet cafes. (This law could have the opportunity to potentially be applied to video game arcades that dispense prizes or provide winning tickets, which many of Disney’s arcades in both the parks and resorts did.)

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In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of February 13, 2015

by on February 13, 2015

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In Case You Missed It!

In Case You Missed It!

Happy Friday the 13th!  While I can avoid walking under ladders and breaking mirrors, I cannot stay away from black cats, given that I own one. Oh well. Guess that means bad luck for me. (He’s worth it. He’s such a sweetie.)

Also, here is your reminder that tomorrow is the day. If you haven’t bought something for your sweetheart yet, better do it now. And for those who are not relationshipped up…never fear! To quote one of my favorite TV shows, Parks and Recreation, “Treat Yo Self!” (And also make sure you tell a friend or a family member how much you love them. I made sure to send my parents and brother Valentine’s Day cards just to tell them how much they mean to me.)

Today, journey with me as we take a selfie, feel our Spidey sense flare up as there are changes afoot, and win a Grammy. (Ok…I didn’t win a Grammy…where’s Kanye championing my cause?)  Anyway…let’s get to it!

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

 

Walt Disney World…wait…first…let me take a selfie. Ok…so, back to what I was discussing…Walt Disney World was named as the second most popular place to take a selfie. I’m gonna be honest…I do it all the time. So, I’d say the findings are correct.

This family is traveling, by foot, to Disneyland to Walt Disney World to honor their daughter who passed. I wish them the best of luck in their mission. Read the rest of this entry »

Direct-to-Room Check-In Option Coming to Walt Disney World

by on February 13, 2015 21 Comments

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All-Star Movies Check-in

Soon Guests won’t need to check-in before heading to their rooms.

A brand new perk is currently rolling out for Walt Disney World Guests to participate in–eligible Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel will have the option to go directly to their hotel room, bypassing the hotel’s front desk.

In order to take advantage of this new perk, once a Guest has customized, ordered, and had their MagicBands shipped to their home, they will receive an email, letting them know that Direct-to-Room Check-In is available to them.  Keep in mind that the MagicBands must be in the Guest’s possession at the time of arrival at the hotel. (If you’ll remember, MagicBands are used as room keys now. If you don’t have your MagicBand on you, you won’t be able to enter your room.)

In addition, in order to be eligible, Guests must have also paid their reservation in full. Finally, in order to participate, Guests must have completed the Online Check-In process, which includes providing a credit card and PIN number, which allows Guests to easily use their MagicBand for charging privileges once they arrive, as well as providing at least one method of communications, either phone number or email. If a Guest has completed all eligibility steps, they will receive a message via email and/or text prior to their arrival notifying them of their room number and that they have the option of going directly to their room.
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