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Get Ready to Rock Out with the 2015 Sounds Like Summer Concert Series

by on April 15, 2015 1 Comment

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Sounds Like Summer Concert SeriesEpcot brings the music every summer courtesy of its Sounds Like Summer Concert Series. What makes this event unique is that it features tribute bands performing hits of your favorite artists. These bands are about as real as a cover band can be.

This year’s concerts will take place from June 7 through July 25 and the seven different acts will perform for a week at a time.

Many favorites will be returning this year, including Hotel California and 2U. The full lineup includes:

  • June 7-13: DSB – A Tribute to Journey
  • June 14-20: 2U – A Tribute to U2
  • June 21-26: Mike DelGuidice & Big Shot – A Tribute Billy Joel Show
  • June 27 – July 4: Don’t Look Back – A Tribute to Boston
  • July 5-11: Fire & Ice – A Tribute to Pat Benatar
  • July 12-18: Stayin’ Alive – A Tribute to the Bee Gees
  • July 19-25: Hotel California – A Salute to the Eagles

Do keep in mind that entertainment is subject to change.

These fun concerts take place at Epcot’s America Gardens Theatre, which is found at the American Adventure Pavilion. Showtimes are 5:30, 6:45 and 8 p.m. daily and shows are included with your Epcot admission.

So get ready to shake your groove thing and make sure you stop to enjoy the Sounds Like Summer concert series during your summer vacations this year!

Disney It Yourself: Park Map Coasters

by on April 15, 2015 16 Comments

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Photo - Angela Dahlgren Photo - Angela Dahlgren

Today, I have an easy and affordable Disney DIY to share with you all: Disney map coasters!

Pull out those park maps (I know you grabbed one of each as a souvenir. I do the same thing everything time I visit Walt Disney World.), and let’s get crafting! Read the rest of this entry »

How to Spend Your Tax Refund with Disney

by on April 15, 2015 6 Comments

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TouringPlans logoDisclaimer: Somehow discussions on the Internet of taxes and refunds and who gets them will inevitably lead to talk about government policy. If you feel yourself hearing the siren call to post about politics on a travel planning blog, please ignore it and pretend we’re talking about any random cash windfall. You’ve been warned.

Happy April 15! Are your taxes filed? If so, you may be one of the 8 in 10 US taxpayers who are getting a refund on your 2014 taxes. According CNBC, as of last week, the average check the IRS is cutting to people who overpaid is $2815. A lot people choose to overpay and use this as a de facto savings account (and with interest rates as low as they are, who can blame them?).

So let’s say you’re getting a tax refund. What are you going to do now? If you’re reading this blog, your answer may be “I’m going to Disney World!” Or Disneyland. Or taking a Disney Cruise. What will $2815 get you?

Walt Disney World Read the rest of this entry »

Ultimate Water Park Showdown: Blizzard Beach vs. Typhoon Lagoon

by on April 14, 2015 10 Comments

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The iconic Summit Plummet on Mount Gushmore with the sun rising on the horizon

© Disney

With summer just around the corner, it’s the perfect time to start planning for a trip to one of the Walt Disney World water parks. Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon are both awesome, but Disney fans still love to endlessly debate which is better. No matter where you fall in the debate, I think both parks have their strengths and weaknesses. If you’ve never been to either and want to know which water park is for you, you’re in the right place. I’ll break down the parks into categories and pick which park is better in each category to help you better determine where you should go. Maybe you like fast slides or maybe you just want to float in the lazy river all day. Either way, you’ll hopefully have a better idea of which park is for you after reading.

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Schools’ Make-up Days

by on April 14, 2015 12 Comments

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2014-11-26 at 14-02-42This winter, cities from the Southwest to Northeast had extreme winter weather, leading school districts to cancel school due to snow or frigid temperatures. Each school district has its own plan to make-up the missed days.

Most school districts already had extra days in their school schedules or added days during the regular school calendars, making it unnecessary to extend their school years. In addition, to avoid extending the school year, some school districts have held school on Saturdays, on teacher work days, or during parts of their spring breaks.

Here is a list of the schools districts that we track that are extending their school years:

  • Chicago, IL – added 3 days (June 17, 18, and 19)
  • Montgomery, MD (DC area) – added 2 days (June 12 and 15)
  • Louisville, KY – added 4 days (May 29 – June 5)
  • Greensboro, NC – added 2 days (June 12 and 15)
  • Boston, MA – added 6 days (June 22-29)

The make-up days are well distributed across the country, and we do not expect an impact on crowd levels.

Are your kids having to make-up school days? Did it affect your vacation plans?

Disney World Crowd Calendar Report – April 5 to 11, 2015

by on April 14, 2015 3 Comments

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The Disney World Crowd Calendar predictions did well on the first two days and the last two days of last week but from Tuesday through Thursday wait times were significantly higher than expected. The week after Easter last year, wait times at the parks hovered between a level ‘6’ and ‘8’ on our scale but this year the Spring Break / Easter rush extended to the week after Easter as well.

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

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Disneyland Crowd Calendar Report – April 5 to 11, 2015

by on April 14, 2015

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Peak Spring Break Crowds lasted a week longer than we expected this year. In 2014 and in the three years previous, the week after Easter had wait times one to two points lower on our scale than the week before Easter. This year, wait times reached the same level before and after the holiday.

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 Crowd Calendar Report – April 5 to 11, 2015

by on April 14, 2015 1 Comment

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The Universal Crowd Calendar predicted a flatter range of crowd levels last week but what we saw was a more up-and-down pattern. The ‘up’s fell on Monday through Thursday while the ‘down’s fell on Sunday, Friday and Saturday.

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

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The BOATHOUSE Now Open at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney

by on April 13, 2015 14 Comments

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©Disney

©Disney

The BOATHOUSE is the newest restaurant open in Downtown Disney at Walt Disney World. The upscale waterfront dining establishment that specializes in serving steaks, chops, seafood, a raw bar, and more, opened today in what will become The Landing section of Disney Springs. The restaurant will also feature unique nautical offerings, such as a fleet of Aphicars (yep, these cars can go in the water), water taxis, rare dream boats, and more.

As far as the menu is concerned, it is very upscale, however there are a few not so ritzy items offered, as well. Menu offerings are:

Raw Bar

Oysters on the Half Shell – $3.50

Yellowfin Tuna Poke – $16.00

Florida Stone Crab Claws - (Market Price)

Wild Caught Baja Cocktail Shrimp – $4.00

Laughing Bird Shrimp Ceviche – $16.00

Crab & Avocado – $15.00

Anastasia Gold Caviar – $100.00

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Menu Monday: The Specialty Drinks at Hog’s Head Pub at Universal Orlando

by on April 13, 2015 8 Comments

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Amid the bustling streets of Hogsmeade Village at the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter, is a dark, dank pub tucked alongside the Three Broomstick restaurant. Here weary Muggles queue up to order a cup of Butterbeer, Pumpkin Juice, or non-alcoholic cider. However, Hog’s Head Pub is also home to a variety of specialty adult beverages making it one of my favorite places to visit whenever I am at Islands of Adventure. The menu of specialty beverages is not published, you simply need to ask your bartender or you can read this handy dandy list. Prepared to get your mouth watering…

DSC01057

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