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Studio Backlot Tour To Close at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on September 20, 2014 37 Comments

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Studios Backlot Tour

Yesterday was my last time riding the Backlot Tour

Well, another Walt Disney World attraction will be officially closing at the end of this month. The Studio Backlot Tour will see its last day of operation on Saturday, September 27, marking the end of an era at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

This closure is happening to make way for new experiences; a portion will be used to house the Wandering Oaken Trading Post on the Streets of America, moving the shop and play area closer to the “For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration.”

Also, it appears that other developments are being considered for the area, which will be announced at a later date. Lots of rumors are currently swirling about what Disney could be considering.

The Studio Backlot Tour has been around since opening day of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and while it’s been cut down quite a lot over the years and is really a shell of its former self, it is still a little sad to see the tour close. Matter of fact, I actually rode it yesterday…little did I know that this news was brewing and that it would be my last time on it.

This is yet another attraction closure in a line of closures at Walt Disney World that will all be taking place at the end of this month.  Other attractions and shows ending include Mo’Rockin, The Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps, Off Kilter, The World Showcase Players, and Maelstrom. In addition, The American Idol Experience closed at the end of August.

SATURDAY SIX: Six “Secrets” of the Universal Orlando Resort (MEN IN BLACK, Doc Brown’s Plans, USF’s 2nd Entrance)

by on September 20, 2014 5 Comments

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This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six “Secrets” of the Universal Orlando Resort. Here at the SATURDAY SIX headquarters we look at the “secrets” of the theme park universe we all love; such as Island of Adventure’s Port of Entry and the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade. Today we are going to look at the Universal Orlando Resort itself and examine six things you may not have known you could do there, even if you have gone 100 times. Remember that clicking on any picture will bring up the full size version, and let’s get to counting down the secrets contained within Universal, starting with…

 

# 6 - Tour the “Immigration Room” of the MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack Queue

UORSecrets_MIB1

MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack (photo by Brandon Glover)

 

One of the areas at which Universal excels is attraction queues and one of our favorites is at MEN IN BLACK Alien Attack. One of the areas guests walk by overhead is the immigration room, which seems straight off the set of the first MIB film. What you may not know is that you can actually get a tour of this area. Talk to the Team Member outside of the attraction and ask if them if you can get a tour of the immigration room. If it is a slow time and they have someone available, another Team Member will come out and escort you into this incredible room.

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2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival Menus Added to TouringPlans.com

by on September 19, 2014 6 Comments

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FoodandWinelogosmallYesterday was the soft open of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, which officially began today. Because of the invaluable help of Chat moderator, Susan Weaver; friend of the site, Heather Pero; and blogger, Maddi Higgins, we’re able to bring you this year’s Food & Wine menus and pricing in plenty of time to start planning your assault on the booths.

The biggest change this year is the elimination of all larger sized beer offerings. Whereas in previous years beers were sold in 6-, 12-, and 22-oz. sizes, for 2014 you’ll only find 6-oz. pours and flights of 4 beers at 4 oz. each. Those are priced $3.50 and $9.25, respectively.

It will come as no surprise that prices have generally gone up from last year. Most of the returning items are 25-50¢ higher this year. The majority of food items are in the $3.75 to $5.75 range. Desserts are usually around $3.

Nearly every booth at least one vegetarian choice, though many times that choice is dessert only. Vegan choices are only found at Terra, which returns this year.

The Food & Wine Festival runs now through November 10. TouringPlans recommends visiting on weekdays to avoid what can be very long lines at the food kiosks.

In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of September 19, 2014

by on September 19, 2014 4 Comments

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In Case You Missed It!

One of my favorite days is here!!!! It’s the start of the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival! And you can bet your booty I’m at the park today! Do you look forward to the Festival? Let me know what you think should be on my can’t miss list this year, since I’m actually lucky enough to have two trips scheduled to Walt Disney World right now within two weeks of each other!

Besides my obvious excitement for the Epcot Food & Wine Festival, there was a lot of other Disney excitement this week.  There’s a new manatee at Epcot, a great article about how Universal’s CityWalk was created, and more!

 

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

 

When guests visit Epcot, it seems like there will be a new animal on display at The Seas! A manatee by the name of Lil Joe! Can’t wait to see the big guy in his (hopefully) final home.

I found out something completely new this week! Did you know that The Morocco Pavilion has its very own website? It’s pretty basic, but interesting to know it exists. Read the rest of this entry »

How I’ll Get to Port Canaveral – TouringPlans #Everywhere

by on September 19, 2014

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Photo by Nick Mitchell

Photo by Nick Mitchell

I’m heading to Port Canaveral to get on the Disney Dream on Sunday, October 12, and – once I’m on the ship – things seem pretty easy since there is plenty to do: I’ll eat, swim, play shuffleboard, etc. As I wrote in April, the challenge for me is getting to Port Canaveral. Over the past three months, I’ve made a few decisions, and I want to walk you through my calculations. The Internet is a place where people freely mock others’ ideas and decisions, so I welcome your thoughts.

Decision 1: When to Arrive and Leave?

I am going to arrive in Central Florida on the day before my cruise. Everyone recommends this, and since it’s a requirement of my job to get on the Disney Dream on time, I’ll minimize my chances of literally missing the boat, even though it will cost an extra $100-200 for a hotel room and food on Saturday.

After my cruise, I’d love to extend the magic by visiting Walt Disney World for a few days. Even though I have a Tables in Wonderland card that expires on October 31 that I’m tempted to exploit for more “value,” after running the numbers I couldn’t pull this off at a price I’m willing to stomach. If I stayed at Disney World for 4 days/3 nights after my cruise, it would run me roughly: Read the rest of this entry »

Disney Cruise Line Misty Fjords National Monument Flightseeing Excursion

by on September 19, 2014 4 Comments

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Misty Fjords National Monument

©www.disneyworldenthusiast.com

Fellow Touring Plans blogger Erin Foster and I were fortunate enough to sail aboard the Disney Wonder on an incredible cruise to Alaska this summer. In case you missed it, we recently compared our Skagway dog sledding excursions as well as our Juneau train excursions. This time I’m back with all of the details from my final excursion in Ketchikan; the Classic Misty Fjords National Monument Flightseeing Port Adventure. Here’s everything you need to know to help you decide if this outing sounds like a good fit for you.
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Disney’s Aulani Resort: Small Tips to Make a Big Difference

by on September 18, 2014 3 Comments

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Aulani back view

Photos by Sarah Graffam

One of the benefits of being a frequent Walt Disney World visitor is starting off a vacation at the World with virtually no learning curve. Knowing ahead of time exactly what plans need to be made before visiting and being able to navigate the entire resort and every park make it easy to become immediately immersed in the magic. So, although my family felt that familiar Disney welcome when we arrived at Aulani this summer, we knew ahead of time that it would take some time to get familiar with the ins and outs of the resort.

This article shares a few of these ins and outs in the hope of helping future visitors to Aulani ease into their vacation a bit faster. Because, believe me, everyone who stays at this gorgeous resort will want to enjoy every moment and relax at every opportunity.

Shopping for groceries, sundries, and souvenirs. Before settling into their room on the first day, many Aulani guests want to pick up at least a few basic grocery and sundry items. Aulani’s Kālepa Store has lots of Aulani/Disney souvenirs as well as a limited selection of groceries. Some of the grocery prices at the Kālepa Store aren’t too bad by Hawaii standards, but if you are looking for more selection or better prices, there are a couple of off-site options. These include a shopping area in Kapolei with stores such as Target and Costco about 10 minutes from Aulani. If coming from Honolulu, take H-1 West to Exit 1, or if coming from Aulani, take HI-93 East to Exit 1A.

Another option is Island Country Markets (an ABC Store) within walking distance of the resort. This small grocery store also offers souvenirs, beach items, beer and wine, and more. The prices for some items seemed good while others seemed a bit high, but (after an initial stop at Target) we made a couple of visits here during our stay and found everything we needed. Hawaii-themed baseball caps were a bargain at only $12-15, and goggles for the pool started at $3.99. In addition, the store had good-quality waterproof smartphone pouches for around $20, which allowed us to use our phones to take many fun photos as we floated along Aulani’s lazy river or cruised down the two water slides. Read the rest of this entry »

Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: September 18, 2014

by on September 18, 2014 26 Comments

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1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! I have so much to share with you this week. We’re stopping by Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Downtown Disney, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios for some epic catch up after my trip to Tokyo Disney Resort. (If you missed that, you can find it here.) So without any further delay, let’s jump right in!

Our good friend, the crane over Cinderella’s Castle, is back to install the Castle Dream Lights. I don’t think anyone can deny how beautiful these lights are once they’re installed, but the crane is such an eyesore! It seems like it’s there a third of the year anymore between installing the lights and removing them after the holidays. If they can ruin thousands of once in a lifetime photos in front of the castle I think they can close the Haunted Mansion a few weeks out of the year to install Haunted Mansion Holiday. Okay, I know I’m the only one that thinks that way, and we’re never getting the overlay, but you’d think they could not have the crane up for so long every year. But I’m getting ahead of myself, my day didn’t start in the Magic Kingdom. I started with one of the epic breakfasts of Disney World! But you’ll have to click below to find out more! :)

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Universal Orlando Crowd Report – September 7 to 13, 2014

by on September 17, 2014

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Universal Orlando Resort saw typically low September crowds last week despite some hot weather. Neither park reached a crowd level above a level ’2′ until Friday and attraction wait times stayed well below annual averages all week.

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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Disneyland Resort Crowd Report – September 7 to 13, 2014

by on September 17, 2014 3 Comments

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September is usually the least crowded month at Disneyland Resort. Add in the extreme California heat experienced last week and you get some super low wait times. We also saw some higher than usual waits at rides more likely to cool you off like Splash Mountain and Grizzly River Run.

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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