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Walt Disney World Zombie Apocalypse: Tips and Tricks

by on October 2, 2015 15 Comments

There is a significant uptick in zombies every October at Walt Disney World.

There is a significant uptick in zombies every October at Walt Disney World.

We at Touring Plans like October as one of the best times to visit Walt Disney World. It tends to have some of the lowest crowds of the year, the weather is slightly more tolerable than the surface-of-the-sun heat you can experience in the summer months, and there are unique events like Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival that can really enhance your experience. With that said, October can also be challenging, in that the potential for a zombie apocalypse increases dramatically during this time of year, as the chart to the right shows.

There are a couple of reasons for the spike in zombies in October. First of all, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party takes place at the Magic Kingdom most nights during this time frame, which is one of the few times a year that all guests are invited to dress up in the parks. Zombie outbreaks happen when zombies are allowed to infect others and grow the size of their army of walking dead at a rate faster than they can be addressed. On regular park days, Disney security are able to easily spot zombies and deal with them before they can infect others; during the parties, however, zombies will blend in with the masses and infect others before anything can be done, and that’s when problems have arisen. Additionally, many guest visit Universal Studios on their Disney trips, and this provides a prime opportunity for cross-pollination from the zombie regulars at Halloween Horror Nights.

With the foregoing in mind, I wanted to provide some of my favorite tips and park locations to put yourself in the best position to deal with hordes of the undead slowly shuffling through the parks. Join me after the jump! Read the rest of this entry »

More New Foods at Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival

by on October 1, 2015 3 Comments

Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival survived its first weekend, although reports of massive crowds and long lines filled social media. If you are going to Food and Wine and can go for a lunch around the world instead of dinner and go on a weekday instead of a weekend, you’ll have a much more enjoyable experience. Following up on some new or “not seen in a few years” foods that I covered last week, here’s some more new offerings for this year.


NEW BOOTH: Sustainable Chew

Pork Spareribs with Red Wine, Fennel, and Cheesy Mascarpone Grits (GF) ($5.50)

Ricotta and Zucchini Ravioli with Rustic Tomato Sauce (V) ($4.75)

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Fresh Figs and Pistachio Brittle (GF) ($4.25)

Pork spareribs, vanilla panna cotta, and ravioli from Sustainable Chew. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

Pork spareribs, vanilla panna cotta, and ravioli from Sustainable Chew. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

I suppose it isn’t a good sign for a review when all I want to write about are the plates that the food came on. The VerTerra dinnerware is simply fantastic, however. According to VerTerra, the dinnerware is made from fallen palm leaves and water. But not only are these plates environmentally friendly, they also look wonderful and are much more sturdy than what you’d expect from a food booth.

On to the food, though. Unlike the Chew Lab, which had some unique techniques for the food, the foods here are prepared in fairly standard ways, with the emphasis on sustainable resources. I’m all for sustainability, and so I wish I could tell you that the food here was the best at the festival. Sadly, most of the food was disappointing.

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever October 1, 2015: Six Things to Do During a Transatlantic Disney Cruise

by on October 1, 2015 11 Comments

Transatlantic Disney cruise

What do you do with all those sea days once you’ve sailed past the Rock of Gibraltar on a Transatlantic Disney Cruise? You have the Best Week Ever! (photos by Seth Kubersky)

Howdy folks, I just swam in from Spain and boy, are my arms tired! <Rimshot> If you follow the Touring Plans twitter feed, you are probably fully aware of — if not fed up with — my just-completed voyage across the Atlantic Ocean on the Disney Magic. The 11-day journey was certainly a Best Week Ever and a half, but I’m certain some of you are wondering how you can spend 6 straight sea days stuck in a giant floating hotel without jumping overboard. I had some apprehension before going aboard about being away from dry land for so many days in a row, but now I’m wishing the Disney Cruise Line had cruises to nowhere out of Canaveral, because my week on the water was more wonderful than any port of call (with the possible exception of Castaway Cay), thanks to the jam-packed schedule of activities and events and events you’ll find exclusively on DCL repositioning routes and other extended oceanic cruises. So, at the risk of stealing Derek Burgan‘s gimmick, here are my top six ways to while away your sea days during a Transatlantic Disney Cruise.


6. See a Movie or Twenty

Who wants to spend an expensive cruise inside a movie theater? I do! If you love Disney, you probably love movies, and there are few movie theaters on land that can compete with the Disney Magic’s Buena Vista Theatre. Over our 11 day journey, we averaged two movies a day, many in eye-popping Dolby Digital 3-D (the same system used in Star Tours and Escape From Gringotts, and far brighter and sharper than any multiplex) including Avengers: Age of Ultron Inside Out, and Ant-Man.


The highlight of the cruise’s cinema schedule was the multi-day marathon of the first six Star Wars films. Though screened in release order rather than episode or Machete order, these were the most recent versions created for the Blu-Ray release projected in stunning ultra-high-definition, making it the best presentation of the classic movies I’ve seen since ’77.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! September 2015 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on September 30, 2015 19 Comments

MMM positiveWelcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. That’s right, we’re out here hitting the white hot Florida pavement to provide you, Dear Reader, with the content you demand while The Blogging Elite™ like Seth Kubersky are out traveling the world and taking pictures of places like Walt Disney Studios Paris and something called “Efteling” (sounds made up to us). I’m not saying Seth doesn’t like America as much as we do (although I’m not not saying it either) but we here at the SATURDAY SIX would rather focus on things going on in American Made theme parks such as Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights or Disneyland’s Mickey’s Halloween Party. Heck, what’s more American than an Indiana Jones themed bar in the middle of Disney Springs?! Readers of this fine blog are known to have their heart size increase 7% annually, and that can be attributed solely to patriotism (technically 20% to patriotism, the other 80% to fried foods).

Before we officially start I’d also like to introduce everyone to our latest Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo. After exhaustive research top therapists concluded that I can spend, at most, 30 minutes in the Disney Outlet Store before I lose my mind. Julia will be picking up the slack by getting extra pictures after I run away screaming. Before you congratulate her, keep in my mind our last intern – the lovely Daisy Lauren – was last seen in a Duffy gift shop in Tokyo Disney Sea. This job is not for the weak.

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you).

You may remember last month we didn’t cover any Tsum Tsums, and that’s because there weren’t any new ones. This month there was only one and I actually had absolutely no idea who it was. Found out it was Jumba Jookiba from the movie Lilo & Stitch. Of course I bought it. #TheStruggleIsReal


Stitch related Tsum Tsum, apparently.

The next item reminded me of a particularly good episode of The Office on NBC. There was one character who needed to declare bankruptcy because of how poorly he handled money. The character was shown a powerpoint presentation breaking down where he spent his money including one area marked “things no one ever ever needs.” In the world of Disney merchandise, this OLAF RAIN GAUGE falls into that category. This one of those rare items that it’s hard to believe actually even exists, but thank God they do.


Several things came to mind on how to describe this item, but none of them fit for a family audience. (photo by Disney Twitter Icon Mark Diba)

Read the rest of this entry »

10 Mistakes First-Time Disney Cruisers Make

by on September 30, 2015 10 Comments

First-time cruisers have a lot of questions!  I totally get that, because I did too.  I was a seasoned Walt Disney World and Disneyland vet, and yet cruises were so foreign to me that I spent hours researching what to expect.  Well, here’s the good news.  You can’t really do it wrong.  You’re there, you’re going to have a blast.  There may be some things you would do differently the next time though!  Here are 10 examples.

1C4A19661. Overpacking – Guilty! It’s hard not to do! But you do not need as much as you think you will. My standard tip is, lay out the clothes you think you need and take only half. The benefits here are numerous – you could save on checked baggage fees with the airlines, you have more space in your stateroom, etc. etc. There’s laundry onboard should you run short! Disney-themed clothes are always available to purchase onboard as well of course.

2. Not Buying Insurance – I’m a huge proponent of insurance for cruises. It’s not like a trip to one of the parks where you can probably move your dates, arrive late, etc. If you miss the ship, you miss your vacation. If you get sick and are denied boarding, you miss your vacation. If you need medical attention at sea or in a port and your insurance doesn’t cover you when travelling abroad (check your policy because most don’t) you can be out thousands of dollars. I can tell you story after story after story of cases where insurance saved the day. The thousands of medical bills my healthy mom incurred after developing pneumonia halfway through a Disney Mediterranean cruise. The tens of thousands of dollars of medical bills a family occurred after their child’s appendix burst abroad. A simple broken arm on an excursion becomes anything but simple in a foreign port. Just do it! It’s worth it! It’s not worth taking the risk. If you are a frequent traveler, you should look into year-round insurance. It’s very reasonable. Read the rest of this entry »

Downtown Disney is Officially Disney Springs

by on September 29, 2015 5 Comments

Disney Springs

©Rikki Niblett

Today is the day! Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World officially became Disney Springs.

If you couldn’t tell from all the construction walls, Downtown Disney has been under construction for the past few years to convert the shopping and dining district into an updated, one-of-a-kind destination.

Disney is touting Disney Springs as “The Place to Be” according to their brand new website, which is gorgeous and features detailed information about shopping, dining, and entertainment that can be experienced by Guests.

For Guests looking to keep updated via Twitter, a new account, @DisneySprings is now live, as well as a new Facebook page for Guests to follow.

Currently open at Disney Springs is The Marketplace, a family friendly section; the West Side, more of the entertainment district; and The Landing, a thriving commercial district.  When the area is fully completed, it will also feature the Town Center, which will be a mix of shopping and dining along a relaxing promenade. Read the rest of this entry »

Updated: What to Expect from 2015 Mickey’s Halloween Party at Disneyland

by on September 29, 2015 27 Comments

DSC07067Mickey’s Halloween Party is a special extra-ticket event held select nights at at Disneyland during the Halloween season. The party includes a special fireworks show featuring a fly-by of Zero (instead of Tinker Bell), an exclusive performance of Paint the Night parade,  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 2015, the party dates are September 25, 28, 30, October 2, 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, 16, 19, 22, 23, 25, 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.

Will I need a special ticket to get into the Party?

Yes. Admission requires buying a separate ticket just for this event. It’s not included in any regular theme park tickets or annual passports.

How much do the Party tickets cost?

There’s a range of pricing, including discounts for buying in advance. The official Disney website lists the following prices: Read the rest of this entry »

Disneyland vs. Disney World: The Matterhorn Bobsleds and Expedition Everest

by on September 29, 2015 15 Comments


Expedition Everest

Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort share a number of the same attractions, such as Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, “it’s a small world,” and many others. But if you think that these attractions are the same on both coasts, you would be mistaken.

One of the many things I love about Disney is that they never do the same thing twice; and while the attractions that can be found on both coasts may share the same names and themes, they do have differences too. Hey, who doesn’t like variety, right? But you have to wonder, which resort has the best version of a popular attraction? Which Disney Park has the bragging rights? Well, that’s what I’m going to find out by comparing two tall and somewhat snowy attractions in Disneyland vs. Disney World: The Matterhorn Bobsleds and Expedition Everest.

I know what you’re thinking. A Disneyland classic and an Animal Kingdom coaster. These two attractions are so different how can you compare them? But if you really think about them both, you will notice that they both share a number of similarities. But before I get ahead of myself, let me explain for those who haven’t experienced these Disney mountains before.


Disneyland’s Matterhorn

What is the Matterhorn Bobsleds?

The Matterhorn Bobsleds is a Disneyland icon. This famous mountain dominates the Disneyland skyline and houses a vintage (but totally safe!) tubular steel coaster that takes guests in and out and down the Matterhorn Mountain. This attraction is special to Disneyland as it is the only one in the world and came from the mind of Walt Disney himself. When filming Third Man on the Mountain in Europe, Walt decided he needed the famous Alpine peak in his park. It first opened to guests in 1959 and has undergone several facelifts and updates through the years.

What is Expedition Everest?

Expedition Everest is themed after the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest. On this attraction, guests embark on a expedition into the Himalayan Mountains by train, but the legendary Yeti of the mountain isn’t too happy about that. The train zips in and out of the mountain, and even goes backwards! Expedition Everest first opened in 2006 and was an addition to the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. The attraction was an immediate success and still is one of the most famous thrill rides at Walt Disney World.

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Disneyland Crowd Calendar Report – September 20 to 26, 2015

by on September 29, 2015

How did the Disneyland Crowd Calendar do last week?

How did the Disneyland Crowd Calendar do last week?

Other than Wednesday and Saturday last week the Disneyland Crowd Calendar did well. We saw crowds generally higher all week although the prediction for Thursday matched what we saw at the parks.

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

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Disney World Crowd Calendar Report – September 20 to 26, 2015

by on September 29, 2015 2 Comments

How did the Disney World Crowd Calendar do last week?

How did the Disney World Crowd Calendar do last week?

Crowds at Walt Disney World have been up for much of September but between Wednesday and Saturday of last week the Crowd Calendar predictions were within one index level every day, perhaps an indication that Disney World Crowds have returned to historical levels. On Saturday, every park crowd level was within one index level of what the calendar predicted, something we haven’t seen in the last two Disney World Crowd Calendar reports.

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

Read the rest of this entry »