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Artists Announced for the Garden Rocks Concert Series for the 2015 Flower and Garden Festival

by on January 16, 2015

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©Disney

©Disney

Today is full of details about the Epcot special events. First, the dates were released for the 2015 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, and now we have the line-up of artists who will be performing during the Garden Rocks Concert Series for the 2015 Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival. (For those keeping score, the Garden Rocks Concert Series was previously called the Flower Power Concert Series. Since all the artists who are performing nowadays weren’t necessarily around during the 50s, 60s, and 70s, I guess Disney felt the “Flower Power” name didn’t really fit any more.)

Some of the artists performing at this year’s Garden Rocks Concert Series have previously played during the Eat to the Beat Concert Series during the Food & Wine Festival, including Taylor Dane and Starship, and some have been performing at the Flower Power Concert Series for years, such as Peter Noone and The Village People. This year’s list of artists is really an eclectic mix.  Read the rest of this entry »

2015 Celebration of Harry Potter Schedule and Autograph Session Information

by on January 16, 2015 4 Comments

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Celebration of Harry Potter schedule and autograph information

Plan your Celebration of Harry Potter weekend with event schedules and autograph advice.

If Dani’s recent blog post about Universal Orlando‘s upcoming Celebration of Harry Potter event inspired you to attend, you’re probably looking for some hard information on the weekend-long fan convention kicking off at Universal Studios Florida on January 30th. Fear not, muggles, because we’ve found the full details on the Celebration of Harry Potter schedule and autograph session information to help you snag some face time with your favorite wizarding stars.

 

Celebration of Harry Potter Basic Information

The Celebration of Harry Potter, scheduled for January 30 through February 1, 2015, brings Harry Potter fans together with the actors and artists who helped create the blockbuster franchise. Similar to sci-fi and comic book conventions held around the country, the Celebration features panel discussions and question & answer sessions where guests can see some of the series’ stars in person, and possibly get an autograph. Confirmed participants in 2015 include Michael Gambon (Dumbledore), Robbie Coltrane (Hagrid), Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood), and James and Oliver Phelps (Fred and George Weasley). Paul Harris, the choreographer who created “wand combat” for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, will also attend to lead popular masterclasses in wizard dueling.

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Dates Announced for the 2015 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

by on January 16, 2015 4 Comments

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Disney

Disney

It’s the tastiest time of the year…the dates for the 2015 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival have been announced. The fantastic fall event will take place for a grand total of 53 days from September 25 through November 16.

The Epcot Food & Wine Festival features such highlights as nearly 30 Marketplace Booths (featuring lots of yummy sweet and savory tapas-sized food and beverages options), the Eat to the Beat Concert Series, celebrity chef demonstrations, beverage seminars, signature dining experiences, and much, much more!

More details for the event will be released later this year, so I’ll be sure to let you know the info when they do! I cannot wait to once again enjoy the deliciousness that is this great annual event.

In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of January 16, 2015

by on January 16, 2015 4 Comments

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In Case You Missed It!

In Case You Missed It!

Whew! This week was full of a lot of interesting articles. There’s so much that we just need to dive right in! We’ve got movie news, Disney Cruise Line saving passengers from other cruise lines, the latest Universal rumor, and more!

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

 

Yikes. Well, this one isn’t the best news. Disney’s Animal Kingdom made the list as one of the”10 worst zoos for elephants” in 2014.

Have you noticed that many of the arcades at Walt Disney World are no longer offering games where you can win prizes. This is potentially the reason behind the change. Bye bye claw machines.

That Disneyland measles outbreak just keeps getting worse. At last count, there were 22 people in the state of California who have reportedly come down with the disease after visiting the park and the number appears to be growing. Read the rest of this entry »

How to Experience an Empty Magic Kingdom

by on January 16, 2015 19 Comments

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What do you think of when you think of Disney World? Castles? Princesses? Pirates? I sure do! But just like everyone else, I can also think of less magical things such as crowds, long lines, and wait times. Fortunately, Touring Plans can help cut down those long lines and wait times; but one thing that can’t be done is to remove the throngs of people entirely. That is, until now. Yes, in this post, I will explain how to experience an empty Magic Kingdom before the park opens up to the droves of guests. Read on!

I had the castle to myself!

I had the castle to myself!

The Secret

The Magic Kingdom opens most mornings at 9:00 AM, but the secret is that two park restaurants open even earlier, such as The Crystal Palace and Cinderella’s Royal Table. (Note: Cinderella’s Royal Table is currently closed for refurbishment but is expected to reopen in spring of 2015.) If you are able to book an advance dining reservation before park opening, you will be able to walk through the empty park in order to check-in for your breakfast!

Now, before you get too excited, let me clarify a few things. For one, the shows and attractions at the Magic Kingdom do not open for anyone until the park opens, and many of the surrounding lands are roped off to guests who do have early morning reservations. Still, getting in early was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had at Disney World.

Getting In

When I first heard about this Disney World secret, I immediately booked an advance dining reservation at The Crystal Palace for my upcoming vacation dates. It took some checking and re-checking for several days, but I finally was able to grab a reservation at 8:20 AM on a day when the park opened at 9:00 AM. Score!

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Relocating to Florida: Part Two – New Surroundings, Schools and The Disney Distance

by on January 16, 2015 6 Comments

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Photo - Michael DahlgrenWelcome to Part Two of my relocation series! If you missed the beginning of this series where I interview fellow TouringPlans bloggers, Julia Mascardo and Natalie Reinert about weather and finances, read Part One to hear more about relocating to Florida.

Today, we’re going to discuss housing and living within close proximity to Walt Disney World. Let’s begin! Read the rest of this entry »

Disney World Planning Challenges: First-Time Touring at Crowd Level 10

by on January 15, 2015 8 Comments

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Fantasyland - December 30, 2014, 11:09 AM (Photo by Sarah Graffam)

Magic Kingdom’s Fantasyland – December 30, 2014, 11:09 AM (Photo by Sarah Graffam)

We finally took the plunge this year. After multiple trips to Walt Disney World in assorted months, my family decided to take a trip during the absolute busiest time at the World, between Christmas and the first few days of January. As first-time Christmas time visitors at Disney World, we had certain expectations about how it would be to tour with the masses of people visiting during the holidays. This article tells how these expectations matched up with reality as well as how well our planning and previous trips prepared us for the trip. But first, here is some background on how we got to the point of braving Christmas time crowds at Disney World.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: January 15, 2015

by on January 15, 2015 24 Comments

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1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’ll be visiting the Disney Marathon at Epcot, stopping by Disney’s Hollywood Studios to check on the hat, and finishing up at Magic Kingdom. Ready for some fun? Let’s go! :)

So why would I include a photo of the Walt Disney World maingate entrance? You might recall that last week I recommended getting to the parks extra early this weekend because of the Disney Marathon. I’ve always enjoyed getting in extra early and getting ahead of the crowds during race weekends, but it had been years since I showed up at 11am. Well, showing up that late meant that traffic stopped right where I took this photo! I decided to tough it out this year so I could share what it looks like with you guys. Click to read more if you’d like to see why you should get there early!  Read the rest of this entry »

New Details About Frozen Addition for Epcot’s Norway Pavilion

by on January 14, 2015 12 Comments

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©Disney

©Disney

Good news, Frozen fans! Reports say that documents have been filed with the South Florida Water Management District and the Reedy Creek Improvement District that share some new details about what we can expect with the updated Norway Pavilion at Epcot.

The paperwork indicates that a brand new 13,000 square foot building will be added in what is currently a backstage area that is situated between the Mexico Pavilion and the Norway Pavilion. This new section will house the previously announced Frozen meet and greet, women’s restrooms, and more.

For a map overlay of how the project may fit in Epcot, check out Theme Park Insider.

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The Walt Disney World Road Trip: Tips, Tricks and What Not to Do

by on January 14, 2015 17 Comments

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Photo - Michael Dahlgren

Recently, my family decided to make a last minute trip to Disney World the week of New Year’s. Before everyone faints at the heresy of going during the busiest week of the year, my brother’s school was playing in a bowl game in Tampa, so my family decided to kill two birds with one stone. Quickly putting aside the loud warnings in the back of my head about the massive crowds, I couldn’t turn down a pseudo surprise Disney trip. The resort reservation was all set (we would be staying at a Finding Nemo Suite in Disney’s Art of Animation Resort), and I already had my annual pass, but the flight fares were absolutely insane from Baltimore, which is the closest airport to me. Being a more intelligent person than I, my girlfriend suggested a simple alternative. Why don’t we just drive down? So we did. I hope everyone who is considering the possibility of driving instead of flying finds this useful. Read the rest of this entry »