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Disney World Crowd Calendar Report – May 3 to 9, 2015

by on May 12, 2015

Throughout May we are seeing a significant trend where wait times are dipping lower than usual in the middle part of the week. Last week we saw crowds dip low on Tuesday through Thursday but otherwise hitting crowd levels in line with historical averages for May. Other than those middle days the Disney World Crowd Calendar did a fine job predicting crowd levels at all four parks.

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

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Universal Crowd Calendar Report – May 3 to 9, 2015

by on May 12, 2015

Last week, Universal crowds were down significantly compared to what we would expect historically for mid-May. Other than Saturday, neither park could muster a crowd level above a level ‘4’ on our scale.

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

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Disneyland Crowd Calendar Report – May 3 to 9, 2015

by on May 12, 2015 1 Comment

Last week, the Disneyland Crowd Calendar did a great job predicting the wait times at both parks. As indicated by the comparison (right) between what we expected and what we saw, the resort wide crowd levels were within one index point every day last week.

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

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Current Walt Disney World Discounts: 5-11-2015

by on May 11, 2015 7 Comments

TouringPlans logoPlanning out your summer or beyond? Here’s a list of the current Walt Disney World discounts (fine print follows):

Florida Resident – now through July 2 and July 6 to August 13. Selected resorts only

Annual Passholder – now through August 10. Selected resorts only.

Free Dining – for arrivals August 28 to October 2, October 25 to 31, November 8 to 19, December 15 to 21 – minimum 6 night stay required for this package. Selected resorts only.

Room Only Discounts – now through October 3. Selected resorts only.

Magic Together/Magic for the Whole Family/Summer and Late Summer Preschool – packages based on families of 3 or 4 staying at All Star Resorts. Ask your travel agent for details. June 16 to September 10.

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Mythos: The Best-Themed Restaurant at Universal Orlando

by on May 11, 2015 10 Comments

Yes, The Three Broomsticks may be the best quick-service restaurant at Universal Orlando Resort, and, yes, a lot of Broomsticks’s impressiveness is due to its immaculate theming, which is arguably in a league of its own.

But Mythos differentiates itself in a number of key ways, from the small (it’s a table-service eatery rather than a counter-service one) to the large (instead of being based on a pre-existent intellectual property, it has the double duty of creating another world for guests to inhabit from scratch while simultaneously transporting them there). When added together, it becomes quickly apparent that Islands of Adventure’s premiere venue is also its most immersive one, and that, indeed, Mythos takes top thematic billing at the entire resort.

What, exactly, is in a theme, and how does it impact your culinary experience? Let’s find out.

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SATURDAY SIX: Top Six Meet and Greets at the Magic Kingdom

by on May 9, 2015 16 Comments

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the Top Six Meet and Greets at the Magic Kingdom. Let’s face it, meet and greets have become an important part of the vacation experience for many guests. Gone are the days when you could randomly bump into characters roaming the parks as the meet and greets of today have become attractions themselves, with some lines equaling even the best rides and shows in the parks. With elaborate sets, must-do character dining, and even special events based around the opportunity to meet characters, nobody does meet and greets better than Walt Disney World. Today we are going to look at the very best meet and greets at the Magic Kingdom, along with a little advice from an expert on meeting characters, Kenny the Pirate. The rankings are based on several factors including; theming of the meet and greet area, guest interaction with the characters, and a pinch of Je ne sais quoi (the indefinable magic that some meet and greets deliver which stays with you and your family for years, if not a lifetime.) Remember that clicking on any picture will bring it up in full size, and with that out of the way let’s start with…

# 6 – The Little Mermaid (Ariel’s Grotto)

Disney hit a home run with New Fantasyland delivering a great coaster with the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, a wonderful dark ride with Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, and the first “E-Ticket” dining experience with Be Our Guest Restaurant. They also over-delivered in the area of meet and greets with the hilarious Gaston (who we just may see later in the list,) Enchanted Tales with Belle (including the stunning Lumiere animatronic and the how did they do that Magic Mirror,) and Ariel’s Grotto.

The Grotto is located right next to the Mermaid attraction and personifies what Disney can bring to the table. Walking into the area guests will receive the same wow factor they got when seeing the elaborate queue of Under the Sea or the impressive Ursula figure during the ride. This is a setting befit of a Disney princess.Guests are asked to sit next to Ariel on her clam shell bench, and this provides an intimate experience you just don’t get at many meet and greets. Like her movie counterpart, this Ariel will comment on unusual items guests may have that wouldn’t be found in the water, along with having age appropriate conversations with each and every guest. This is your only opportunity to meet Ariel outside of a dining package, and be sure to ask how her friends Flounder and Sebastian are doing!


The Little Mermaid. (photo by Jackie Laughters)


Ariel’s Grotto. (photo by Daisy Lauren)

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Star Wars Rebels: The Ultimate Guide To Play in ABC Sound Studio

by on May 8, 2015

©Star Wars

©Star Wars


Are you a fan of Star Wars Rebels? Well if you are and you need a refresher or you missed the first season, you’ll have a chance to catch up and relive the exciting adventures from the series’ first season at Disney’s Hollywood Studios before the second sesason premieres on June 20 on Disney XD.

Beginning on Friday, May 15, Guests will be able to catch Star Wars Rebels: The Ultimate Guide, where they can view the exciting adventures of the crew of the Ghost. This special first season recap will take place in the ABC Sound Studio, where the Cinderella sneak peek is currently taking place. The Cinderella preview will end on May 13.

Star Wars Rebels: The Ultimate Guide will be showing daily from 10:00 a.m. until 30 minutes prior to park closing.

The recap is being introduced right in time for Star Wars Weekends, which begins on May 15.

In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of May 8, 2015

by on May 8, 2015 1 Comment

In Case You Missed It!

In Case You Missed It!

Wow! This has been a busy Disney and Universal week! I could barely keep up with all the fun! Every day there was some new announced and another great article to read!

What is your favorite news piece that came out, whether it’s listed here or around the Disney/Universal blogosphere?

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


This week, Disney announced its Quarter 2 earnings and the company did much better than previously expected, beating expectations with a 10% increase. Find out how. Also, for those who would like to see the full transcript of this week’s earnings call, it can be found here.

Wow! All four Disney Cruise Line ships have been named as part of the 10 Best Cruise Ships for Families by USA Today. Which ship is your favorite to sail on? Read the rest of this entry »

Feel the Force Premium Package Preview

by on May 8, 2015 3 Comments


Face your fears. Plan ahead. Enjoy the Premium Package.

2015 Feel the Force Details

When the Feel the Force Premium Package Star Wars parade and dessert party was announced last year, I went through a range of emotions on the first day. I started at “That is way too expensive for all of that…” moved quickly to “Maybe I can move a few things around…” Eventually, I ended up at “I must book that thing NOW…” While most reviews were tentative compliments through downright trashing, prepared visitors can make the most out of the experience to turn it into a worthwhile expense. Just be prepared to move to certain areas – and enjoy all that can be offered for the weekend. Read on for a review of last year’s experience. Read the rest of this entry »

Nintendo Attractions Coming to Universal Theme Parks

by on May 7, 2015 5 Comments

Nintendo characters and attractions are coming to Universal parks world-wide.

Universal might not have shocked anyone with yesterday’s long-awaited confirmation that King Kong is coming to Islands of Adventure, but today’s surprise announcement has certainly caught many observers off guard. A joint press release revealed that Universal has teamed with Nintendo to bring the Japanese company’s iconic video game characters to life at theme parks around the world.

The official statement, which we’ve reproduced below, is very vague, with no specifics on which resorts or intellectual properties are involved, nor a timeline of when the promised attractions might open: Read the rest of this entry »