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A Tale of Two Runners and runDisney

by on February 15, 2015 5 Comments

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To the shock and utter amazement of those that know me well (and even myself), I am contemplating signing up for a runDisney event in 2016. I have scoured every inch of the runDisney website and read many other people’s blogs about their experiences. However, I had concerns about what hotel was the right one to stay at for these events, so I asked two previous runDisney racers: Dave Russ, a casual runner who mainly does 5ks to support local causes, and Jordan Viebranz, a more seasoned runner who loves sharing his experiences and motivating others to participate.

rundisney_logo

What runDisney event(s) have you participated in?

Dave: I did the Tower of Terror 10 miler in 2014.

Jordan: I participated in the Goofy Challenge this year. Last year (2014) I participated in the 10k and the full marathon.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge

by on February 14, 2015 18 Comments

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This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Each of Walt Disney World’s onsite hotels have their own unique feel, and that rings true from the value end (such as Art of Animation) through the moderates (including Port Orleans French Quarter) and all the way up to the deluxe resorts like The Contemporary. That said, no hotel in Orlando stands more by itself as a one-of-a-kind original experience than Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge.

AKL_logo

Animal Kingdom Lodge.

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Located directly next to Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park (and absolutely nothing else,) many guests consider Animal Kingdom Lodge (AKL) too far out of the way to consider staying at. While the wait for the Disney buses may be a little bit longer than other resorts on property, today’s edition of the SATURDAY SIX is going to count down six reasons we feel everyone should consider staying at AKL as part of their next vacation, starting with…

# 6 – Indian-style Bread Service at Sanaa

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Sanaa bread service. A first ballot hall of famer for Disney food. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Animal Kingdom Lodge is broken up into two parts, the main hotel (Jambo House) and the Disney Vacation Club wing (Kidani Village.) In these two areas there are three of Disney’s best restaurants including Boma and Jiko at Jambo House, and Sanaa at Kidani Village. Unlike many restaurants at WDW that have dumbed themselves down in order to maximize profits as part of Disney’s Dining Plan, AKL’s restaurants deliver an experience that is true destination dining. The standout of these three venues is Sanaa’s bread service. With five different types of Naan bread available and up to nine different accompaniments to go with it, this is a bread service like no other.

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Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes – 2/13/15

by on February 13, 2015 4 Comments

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It’s been a while since I’ve been here with Newsworthy Notes! Glad to see you again for another update of minor, yet important Disney news! Things have been piling up on my desk, so it’s time to share with you all once again.

  • Starting at Downtown Disney, many of the newly announced shops have opened to the public. Guests can now browse through Chapel Hats, APEX by Sunglass Hut, The Art of Shaving, and Sanuk. Erin McKenna’s Bakery’s signage is up and one would expect it to open officially within the next week or so. Also expected to open next week on Monday is Havaianas.
  • Let’s head into the parks, shall we? In the Magic Kingdom, the Tomorrowland Arcade, located at the exit of Space Mountain, has closed abruptly. Many think it’s in relation to the recent (and supposedly vaguely written) law that bans internet cafes. (This law could have the opportunity to potentially be applied to video game arcades that dispense prizes or provide winning tickets, which many of Disney’s arcades in both the parks and resorts did.)

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In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of February 13, 2015

by on February 13, 2015

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In Case You Missed It!

In Case You Missed It!

Happy Friday the 13th!  While I can avoid walking under ladders and breaking mirrors, I cannot stay away from black cats, given that I own one. Oh well. Guess that means bad luck for me. (He’s worth it. He’s such a sweetie.)

Also, here is your reminder that tomorrow is the day. If you haven’t bought something for your sweetheart yet, better do it now. And for those who are not relationshipped up…never fear! To quote one of my favorite TV shows, Parks and Recreation, “Treat Yo Self!” (And also make sure you tell a friend or a family member how much you love them. I made sure to send my parents and brother Valentine’s Day cards just to tell them how much they mean to me.)

Today, journey with me as we take a selfie, feel our Spidey sense flare up as there are changes afoot, and win a Grammy. (Ok…I didn’t win a Grammy…where’s Kanye championing my cause?)  Anyway…let’s get to it!

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

 

Walt Disney World…wait…first…let me take a selfie. Ok…so, back to what I was discussing…Walt Disney World was named as the second most popular place to take a selfie. I’m gonna be honest…I do it all the time. So, I’d say the findings are correct.

This family is traveling, by foot, to Disneyland to Walt Disney World to honor their daughter who passed. I wish them the best of luck in their mission. Read the rest of this entry »

Direct-to-Room Check-In Option Coming to Walt Disney World

by on February 13, 2015 21 Comments

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All-Star Movies Check-in

Soon Guests won’t need to check-in before heading to their rooms.

A brand new perk is currently rolling out for Walt Disney World Guests to participate in–eligible Guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel will have the option to go directly to their hotel room, bypassing the hotel’s front desk.

In order to take advantage of this new perk, once a Guest has customized, ordered, and had their MagicBands shipped to their home, they will receive an email, letting them know that Direct-to-Room Check-In is available to them.  Keep in mind that the MagicBands must be in the Guest’s possession at the time of arrival at the hotel. (If you’ll remember, MagicBands are used as room keys now. If you don’t have your MagicBand on you, you won’t be able to enter your room.)

In addition, in order to be eligible, Guests must have also paid their reservation in full. Finally, in order to participate, Guests must have completed the Online Check-In process, which includes providing a credit card and PIN number, which allows Guests to easily use their MagicBand for charging privileges once they arrive, as well as providing at least one method of communications, either phone number or email. If a Guest has completed all eligibility steps, they will receive a message via email and/or text prior to their arrival notifying them of their room number and that they have the option of going directly to their room.
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How Luigi’s Flying Tires Ranks With Other Short Lived Disney Attractions

by on February 13, 2015 22 Comments

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Buonanotte, Pneumatici Volanti. ©Disney

Buonanotte, Pneumatici Volanti. ©Disney

Luigi’s Flying Tires is closing forever on February 16, 2015. The attraction opened on June 15, 2012. The TouringPlans Math and Science Department has informed me that the length of time between those two dates is 976 days. That big of a number may have seemed like a lot when I was a child, but as an adult I can tell you that it is, in fact, not. How does that rank with other notoriously short lived Disney attractions?

1. Tomorrowland Boats aka Phantom Boats – Disneyland – 331 days*

The Phantom Boats have the honor of being the first attraction removed from Disneyland. This simple ride was made up of small four-person boats in a lagoon (where the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage is currently located) that were motor powered, and unbelievably, controlled by guests without guide rails or cast members. Information is sparse on this particular attraction, which is why there is an asterisk next to the total number of days. The Tomorrowland Boats ran for approximately three weeks in 1955, but then is August of the same year they were renamed to “Phantom Boats.” The attraction was closed again in October, 1955. The Phantom Boats made a short return in the Summer of 1956 but were then retired for good. Read the rest of this entry »

Cape Canaveral Dining: Florida Beer Company

by on February 13, 2015 1 Comment

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Florida Beer Company IPA - Natalie Reinert

The Swamp Ape Double IPA at Florida Beer Company.

Cards on the table: Florida Beer Company is not, strictly speaking, Cape Canaveral dining. It’s actually one of the southeast’s largest brewers and Florida’s leading brew company, with a 5,000 square foot tap room open to the public. But since you can order in food from any number of great Cape Canaveral restaurants, and pair your meal with flights or single glasses of craft beers brewed on site, Florida Beer Company ranks as one of the great unique dining establishments in the Cape Canaveral area.

You probably know that at TouringPlans, we always recommend arriving for your Disney Cruise a day in advance — after all, that ship is leaving on time, whether your plane arrived on time or not. And so if you’re looking for something great to do in Cape Canaveral the day before your cruise, and you love craft beer, you’ll want to plan a visit to Florida Beer Company.

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Disney World Planning Challenges: Managing Vacation Fatigue

by on February 12, 2015 12 Comments

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Don’t be Dopey – plan ahead for vacation fatigue ©Disney

When you’re looking forward to a Walt Disney World vacation, it’s easy to imagine that the sheer amount of fun to be had will drive away any effects of fatigue—that you and anyone traveling with you will have endless energy and enthusiasm. The reality is that the typical Disney World vacation is far more active than restful, and underestimating just how tiring the fun can be is a common pitfall. Fortunately, a little planning can go a long way toward fending off some of the usual fatigue-causing culprits and keep the fun rolling.

Here are some of the common causes of fatigue during a Disney World trip and steps to take before you or your fellow travelers find yourselves overtired and crabby in the most magical place on earth.

Walking

Disney World is huge! If walking is your main mode of getting around in the parks, plan to do a lot of it. My family generally covers 7-14 miles a day, even when we take an afternoon break. I love that we get so much exercise to help offset all the yummy meals and snacks at the World, but reaping the benefits entails some precautions: Read the rest of this entry »

Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: February 12, 2015

by on February 12, 2015 21 Comments

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101Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’ll be stopping by Beach Club Resort and Epcot for dinner. Then we’re checking out what’s new at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and spending a little time at the Magic Kingdom for an epic view of the Festival of Fantasy Parade. I have so much to share with you, let’s get going! :)

On Friday night when we decided we needed a Disney style dinner we’d originally set out for Beaches & Cream Soda Shop. This is an awesome spot for a casual hamburger, but unfortunately it was packed when we got there and reservations weren’t available. With the My Disney Experience App we were able to find a table available at Tokyo Dining over at Epcot. We spent a little time strolling through the Beach Club on our way there. Wow, it’s beautiful! I haven’t stayed at this hotel since I was a kid. Look at it now!

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So who wants to visit Tokyo Dining with me? Click here to read more!  Read the rest of this entry »

Richard Petty Driving Experience to Close at Walt Disney World

by on February 11, 2015 10 Comments

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On the race track at the Richard Petty Driving Experience ©Rikki Niblett

On the race track at the Richard Petty Driving Experience ©Rikki Niblett

If you want to have the opportunity to see and feel what NASCAR drivers experience or drive an exotic car, time is running out! News broke today that the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Walt Disney World Speedway will be closing sometime in June. The race track, which can be found in the Magic Kingdom’s parking lot, allows guests to participate in both ride-alongs, as well as get behind the wheel themselves. The speedway is being closed to make way for transportation improvements, however, there is no word on exactly what improvements will be occurring.

The Richard Petty Driving Experience has been a unique activity for many to participate in. For those who are huge NASCAR fanatics, this was a great way to get a feel of being out on the course. Just a few years back, in addition to allowing guests behind the wheels of race cars, they could also choose to participate in the Exotic Car Experience, letting guests drive fast cars like Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and more. Also, just this past year, another new option was added for those with kids who wanted to feel the need for speed. They could participate in the Piston Cup Junior Ride Along program, riding in cars that were reminiscent of those that could be seen the movie Cars. Read the rest of this entry »