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Disney World Planning Challenges: Business Conferences—Tips for Squeezing in Some Magic

by on December 10, 2014 3 Comments

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Although attending a business conference at or near Walt Disney World isn’t quite the same as taking a vacation trip, it’s still a wish come true for a Disney enthusiast. Several strategies can help you get your Disney fix around a conference schedule. In fact, a business trip to the World can be an excellent opportunity to experience the park in some new and exciting ways.

Balancing Your Time

The first priority in planning time for fun while at a conference at Disney World is figuring out how to balance work and leisure time. Consider arriving in Orlando a day before the conference or giving yourself an extra day after the conference ends. Being creative with the overall time frame of your trip can give you a free half-day or more to enjoy Disney. Once the conference starts, plan to make a quick exit at the end of the day and spend the afternoon or evening at leisure.

Mix It Up—Spending Time In and Out of the Parks

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Downtown Disney’s West Side, including the AMC Dine-In Theatres (photo by Brandon Glover)

With the limited number of hours you’ll be able to spend in the parks (unless you’re lucky enough to have an Annual Pass), it doesn’t make sense to purchase park tickets for every day of your trip. Instead, a business trip can be a chance to experience some of Disney’s offerings outside of the parks such as at Downtown Disney and Disney’s BoardWalk.

If your hotel is located near Downtown Disney or you have access to Disney transportation (current construction at Downtown Disney makes traffic and parking a challenge), Downtown Disney can be a great non-park destination. It has lots of dining options and an even wider variety of merchandise than can be found at the parks, and don’t forget about its AMC Dine-In Theatres where you can enjoy both dinner and a movie.

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Taste of Hollywood To Go Packages Returning for Holiday Season at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on December 9, 2014 2 Comments

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©Disney

The busy holiday season is rapidly approaching, and over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios there is a great option for guests to have the chance to grab a quick meal, as well as a reserved seating for Fantasmic!

The Taste of Hollywood To Go Winter Fantasmic! Package Meals are pre-packaged offerings that are available from December 24 through 31. There will be five different picnic-style choices that guests can choose from. They are:

  • Golden fried chicken with roasted garlic mashed potatoes, sweet corn and carrots and warm apple crisp
  • Veggie sandwich made with ginger-marinated tomatoes and cucumbers, with quinoa salad, and chocolate cake
  • California and tuna sushi roll with avocado, orange and tomato salad, ginger-marinated tomatoes and cucumbers and a spicy pecan chocolate cluster
  • shrimp salad with fresh pita, ginger-marinated tomato and cucumbers, and mandarin orange cheesecake
  • cold-cut roast beef with creamy horseradish, potato salad, grilled asparagus and chocolate cake

In addition, there will be two kids options: Read the rest of this entry »

Guests Can Now Purchase Tickets Through My Disney Experience App

by on December 9, 2014 1 Comment

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Disney has now made it even easier to purchase tickets. Through an app update, guests can choose to purchase them through the My Disney Experience app.

And trust me when I say it is so easy to do! Simply tap on the giant circle with the + sign. Pictorial options will pop up, allowing you to easily make FastPass+ reservations, make dining reservations or add any extras. Of course, the final option allows guests to purchase tickets.

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25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 9: PBR in a Paper Bag at Cabana Bay Beach Resort

by on December 9, 2014 7 Comments

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The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY NINE: PBR in a Paper Bag at Cabana Bay’s Atomic Tonic

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Pabst Blue Ribbon and its paper bag koozie. (photo by Brandon Glover)

 

No one is going to mistake a can of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer for top shelf alcohol, but in a working man’s terms, it gets the job done. We love the new Loews Cabana Bay Beach Resort at Universal, and one of the many surprises of the retro-themed hotel was discovering a paper bag koozie for PBR at the Atomic Tonic pool side bar. Cabana Bay is the new standard for what a “value” resort can be, so we have no problem popping the top of a 16 ounce can of American’s “value” beer and enjoying the Orlando weather.

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What’s the Strangest Thing Sold at Epcot?

by on December 9, 2014 39 Comments

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There’s plenty to love about shopping at Epcot’s World Showcase. I can’t get enough of the cheery Japanese candy, friendly German Christmas ornaments, or cheeky British tee shirts. And then there are the World Showcase merchandise items that leave me scratching my head. These are the things that leave me thinking, “Who approved that addition to the merchandise list?” “What is the demographic profile of the typical buyer?” and “Has anyone actually ever purchased this item at Epcot before?”

So that you can be as perplexed as I am, here’s a tour of just a few of Epcot’s oddities.

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There’s absolutely nothing wrong with vanilla extract. I have several bottles in my pantry standing ready to be called into service for holiday baking. But who goes to a theme park and decides that’s what they’re going to bring home?

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Disney World Crowd Report – November 30 to December 6, 2014

by on December 9, 2014 5 Comments

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After a busy week of Thanksgiving crowds the week before, last week saw a return to a mix of low and moderate crowds across Walt Disney World Resort, as expected. Some parks, some times of the day still saw relatively high wait times but they were the exception, not the overall trend. Overall, last week was a good week to visit the resort. On December 5th, the crowd calendar was updated to reflect recent trends.

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

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Disneyland Resort Crowd Report – November 30 to December 6, 2014

by on December 9, 2014 1 Comment

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Last week, our crowd projections did well the first half of the week but our second half did not properly reflect the impact of Candlelight Processional on wait times across the resort. We saw average wait times on Thursday through Saturday at or near the highest points on our scale in some cases.

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 Orlando Resort Crowd Report – November 30 to December 6, 2014

by on December 9, 2014

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Post-Thanksgiving week crowds at Universal Orlando Resort were very low, some of the lowest we’ve seen at any theme park this Fall. Guests to Universal last week saw near empty parks in the early morning with lower than average crowds building in the afternoons. Only Saturday saw park levels above a level ’2′ on our scale.

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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25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 8: Old Fashioned at Belle Vue Lounge

by on December 8, 2014 4 Comments

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The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY EIGHT: Old Fashioned at Belle Vue Lounge (Disney’s BoardWalk Inn)

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An Old Fashioned at the Belle Vue Lounge in Disney’s BoardWalk Inn. (photo by Brandon Glover)

 

Sometimes you just find the perfect drink in the perfect setting, and today we have that with an Old Fashioned at the Belle Vue Lounge. The overall theme of Disney’s BoardWalk Inn is a trip back through time, with guests being completely immersed within the aesthetic of an Atlantic seaside resort from the 1930s. Nowhere is that more evident than within the Belle Vue Lounge, which is like no other bar on WDW property and is a true hidden gem. Belle Vue will transport you back to a different era, when people took a break and sat down to enjoy conversation with friends, instead of just searching for an outlet to charge their smart phones. What we enjoy about having an Old Fashioned at the Belle Vue is that the drink is served very strong, a possible nod to the prohibition era the lounge’s theme takes place in.

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Menu Monday: When It’s Hot, Save Some Dosh at Walt Disney World (Pt 2)

by on December 8, 2014 18 Comments

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Well, like Toy Story 4 or Frozen 2 I am back, with a sequel to my previous article on free water at Walt Disney World. I would kindly ask that you read that article first (if you haven’t already) as this will help you understand how my harsh judging system works. It will also enlighten you to the best places go get free water in the Magic Kingdom. In this follow-up, which I hope does not go straight to DVD like Simba’s Pride, I am going to review the free water options in the other three main Disney theme parks. Wish me luck.

As you all know, Christmas is getting nearer so really there is no better time to do a saving money article. Who couldn’t do with saving up to $40 a day on your Disney holiday (vacation)? (Price based on a family of four each drinking four bottles of water each a day at $2.50 a time). Water is a necessity when touring any Disney theme park, but why pay out every day when Disney offers free water?

So without further ado, I will start with Epcot and everyone’s favourite; yes it’s Club Cool. If you have yet to experience this then you really need to. Coca-Cola have (Ed. – note British English uses plural possessives to refer to companies) set up a number of sample stations for their drink products around the world. OK, so it is not technically “water” but it’s free and it is a drink, albeit in mini cups, but they are limitless. I would definitely recommend Italy’s famous Beverly, but if you have already tried this, maybe taste all the different flavoured Fantas. Just remember that there is no limit to how many you can have.

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