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Walt Disney World Preview — Week of November 11

by on November 9, 2017
Filed under: Walt Disney World (FL), Weekly Preview

A new holiday projection show at Disney’s Hollywood Studios?! What else is new at Walt Disney World this week?

Special Events

  • Sunset Seasons Greetings is now at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! This show uses projections on billboards and the Hollywood Tower Hotel to share special holiday stories. This nighttime experience will take place now through December 31st.
  • Special discount for all of you Canadians! Receive 20% off park tickets purchased between November 1, 2017 and February 10, 2018. This applies to ticket packages of 4 days or longer.
  • Beginning November 10th, Disney Springs will look more like the North Pole than a shopping district. View 25 stunning holiday trees on the Christmas Tree Trail, bring your Christmas list (and check it twice!) to Santa’s Chalet, and take a picture with the Coca-Cola Polar Bear.

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Ask It: Best Holiday Park Decorations

by on November 8, 2017
Filed under: Christmas, Halloween, Just For Fun 1 Comment

It is an amazing feat of logistics to watch the Disney parks seemingly overnight go from full-on This is Halloween to a Winter Wonderland. Each has its own charm and brings delight to everyone. Castles covered in icicles, or Cars Land filled with Halloween spirit. Scarecrows in Town Square or the giant Christmas trees all around. Can you pick a favorite between the two? That brings us to this week’s Ask It:

Which holiday season gets the best decorations at a Disney theme park?

  • Christmas (84%, 366 Votes)
  • Halloween (16%, 72 Votes)

Total Voters: 438

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The question is live here and on Twitter, and we’ll have your answers next week. In the meantime, feel free to share your views in the comments.

Ask It Results: Best Fantasyland Spinning Ride

by on November 8, 2017
Filed under: Just For Fun

Happy Wednesday! It seems like just a week since we were here last, doesn’t it? (I guess that’s what happens with weekly articles….) This time of year can make you feel like you’re on an ever-spinning ride. With Halloween over, Thanksgiving on the way, and the holiday season trying to muscle its way into the forefront, life is moving at a dizzying speed. Day to day life in our household can be like a ride on the Mad Tea Party, and yet it is a lot of fun!

With that in mind, last week we asked you:

Which Fantasyland spinning ride do you think is the best?

Here’s your answers, with 1,443 votes cast.

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DVC Monthly Preview — November 2017

by on November 7, 2017
Filed under: DVC 5 Comments

Welcome to another new feature here on the TouringPlans blog: the DVC Monthly Preview. Each month, we’ll provide you with a quick recap of DVC news and other information about Disney’s best kept secret.

Booking Windows

This month, here are some booking window dates to keep in mind. For your home resort (11-month booking window), this month you will be able to book for dates in October 2018. Keep this in mind when scheduling trips to take advantage of Halloween, Food and Wine, and Columbus Day holiday weekend. For all other DVC resorts (7-month booking window), this month you will be able to book for dates in June 2018, so if you are making your summer plans, you might want to start looking at availability.

For last-minute trips, there is very little availability listed at DVC’s last-minute resort availability page (unless you’re thinking about a trip to Aulani), however you sometimes can get lucky logging in and searching for resort availability as people have last-minute cancellations.

Aulani Menehune Bridge cabana view (photo by Sarah Graffam)

DVC News

This month, DVC is offering a holiday beverage tasting seminar at Bay Lake Tower on Tuesdays from 4:30-5:30 PM. The cost is $40 per person (tax and gratuity not included) and reservations are required. You can see the list of seminars and find registration information here.

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10 Ways Disney Cruise Line Can Confuse You

by on November 7, 2017
Filed under: Disney Cruise Line 4 Comments

Disney Cruise Line has confusing vocabulary at times!  For example, they have some terms that sound similar to one another, but they actually mean very different things.  They also have some terms that don’t quite mean what you probably think they do.  And finally, there are other terms that just don’t make much sense at all to a first timer.  So, here are 10 of those confusing DCL terms – with explanations!

1. GTY vs IGT, OGT, VGT – These abbreviations are probably the most misused terms DCL has ever created. They sound alike and are so often confused that I previously dedicated an entire blog post to explaining them! I won’t go into that long of an explanation here, so let’s get down to brass tacks.  These terms are NOT the same thing.  When booking a cruise, if a particular category is almost full, you cannot pick a stateroom number.  You can book a GTY room in that category, however, and it means you are guaranteed a room in that category or higher (GTY is kinda a shortened version of “guarantee”—maybe?  right?).  There are no discounts involved and all normal change and cancellation rules apply.  Disney is just reserving the right to choose your room for you.  Something TOTALLY different are IGT, OGT, and VGT rates.  When a cruise is getting close to sailing and is not as full as Disney would like it to be, they release these discounted, non-changeable, non-refundable rates.  If you book an IGT rate (IGT is kinda a shortened version of “inside guarantee”), you are guaranteed an Inside room or higher; an OGT (“oceanview guarantee”) means Oceanview room or higher; and VGT (“verandah guarantee”) means a Verandah room or higher.  See?  Totally different. Read the rest of this entry »

Overview: Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party 2017 + Video

by on November 7, 2017
Filed under: Christmas, Video, Walt Disney World (FL) 2 Comments

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party begins THIS THURSDAY!

I’m celebrating with a video dedicated to this special hard-ticket event.

Enjoy! Read the rest of this entry »

Uva Bar – A Disneyland Dining Review

by on November 6, 2017
Filed under: Dining, Disneyland (CA), Downtown Disney, Drinking

Uva Bar Review

Uva Bar, located in the heart of the Downtown Disney District, is one of Disneyland’s many hidden gems and a perfect place to hit when you’re looking for a quick bite to eat. A few weeks ago I headed out for a last-minute weekend getaway to the Disneyland Resort and was looking for an exciting late-night spot to check out on my first evening in LA. After taking the car service from the airport to my friendly Disneyland Good Neighbor hotel, I quickly dropped my bag in my room before enjoying the short walk to the Downtown Disney District in search of a tasty dinner.

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If You Had One Extra Hour…

by on November 6, 2017
Filed under: Just For Fun 4 Comments

It’s that time of year again when we all cheer for getting that extra hour returned to us for Daylight Saving Time. (Am I wrong or do I think we should get that hour back plus interest?) Because that hour sneaks in during the middle of the night, I know that I don’t make the most of it. And with a young child and four-footed furry family, the idea of an extra hour of sleep really doesn’t happen either. But I wondered, if you had an extra hour that you could tack into a vacation day at Disney, how would you spend it? Would you do more of what you usually do? Would you do something that you just never seem to have time for? I put the question to the TouringPlans folks, and here’s some of the responses:

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SATURDAY SIX: 6 Examples of the “Disney Difference”

by on November 4, 2017
Filed under: Uncategorized 15 Comments

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at 6 examples of the “Disney Difference!” We all have our reasons for why we love theme parks. Many like the thrilling rides, others enjoy the fact they can share experiences with several generations of their family, while some – like us at the SATURDAY SIX headquarters – love that desserts at the resort seem to be getting bigger and bigger with the ultimate goal of sending us straight into a diabetic coma. Of all the theme parks, the one which guests connect to the most is Walt Disney World. There are many reasons for that, and today we are going to look at some examples of the “Disney Difference.” These are things that Disney does that put them in a league of their own. While WDW is at a huge advantage over others due to it’s “blessing of size,” they also show they can be heads and tails above anyone in areas that all Florida parks have in common. Let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Parking

While we’ve all had our moments of frustration driving to the Disney parks, it’s only when you go to places outside of The World when you realize what a fine tuned machine Disney has on property. Even with an amount of guests that can sometimes border on obscene, parking at the Disney parks, hotels, and Disney Springs is almost always a breeze. At the parks there are always plenty of Cast Members around guiding you where to go, along with a liberal use of orange cones to make sure you don’t go into the places you’re not supposed to. With plenty of trams going, it is never a long wait between leaving your car and walking to the front gate of the park. Now, no one loves Universal as much as me, but more times than not when I go to park in their parking garage it feels like it is the first day any Team Member there has been on parking duty. Whether the parks are a “2” or a “9” on the crowd scale, it is almost always chaos when arriving at the park. With a lack of Team Members around, cars cut each other off, and later have to wait as pedestrians pass by because no one is controlling them. While not glamorous, the parking experience is the first impression we all have of a theme park, and Universal immediately digs themselves a hole while Disney makes it as pain free as possible.

The parking situation at Disney Springs is now the E-Ticket of parking in Orlando. Themed garages with signs outside letting you know how many spots are available on each level, but then signs inside the garage telling you how many spots are open in each row. Then you actually have a light above each spot, which will be red when a car is in the spot, or green when it is empty. This lets you know immediately where you need to go rather than driving 1 mph up and down each row, rubbernecking to try and find an empty spot, only to blow your stack when you see an “empty” spot and it ends up having a motorcycle or compact car in it.

Epcot parking. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Disney Springs lime parking garage. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Sign outside Disney Springs parking garage indicates how many spots are available. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

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The Holidays Are Here at Disneyland Resort

by on November 3, 2017
Filed under: Disneyland (CA), Holidays, Recent News 4 Comments

Disneyland Holidays


November 10 kicks off the official holiday season at the Disneyland Resort and it’s the most festive time of the year! This year, there’s going to be some fun new additions mixed in with the standby favorites.

First, this year will mark the debut of new seasonal transformations in Cars Land! Due to the success of Haul-o-ween, Mater and Luigi have put a holiday spin on their attractions. In addition, there will be new delicious eats and great new merchandise, and Disney characters in their holiday finest. Here’s what you can expect:


  • Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle features shimmering icicles and more than 50,000 twinkling LED lights. Oh and you don’t want to miss the fireworks spectacular “Believe … in Holiday Magic” as it features a magical snowfall finale
  • The “A Christmas Fantasy” Parade will return with daily performances. The parade will feature favorite Disney characters who will join Santa Claus to spread holiday cheer along with marching tin soldiers, gingerbread cookies, dazzling floats and lively holiday music.
  • Guests can meet Santa at his special location in Critter County
  • There will be a gigantic  60-foot Christmas tree with nearly 1,800 ornaments that will welcome guests to Main Street, U.S.A.
  • “it’s a small world” has been transformed into “it’s a small world” Holiday to celebrate children around the world and the holiday traditions of their countries. FastPass will be available for this attraction.
  • Of course, you don’t want to miss Haunted Mansion Holiday which celebrates the collision between Christmas and Halloween with Jack Skellington and his friends from “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

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