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Disneyland Resort Crowd Report – September 28 to October 4, 2014

by on October 8, 2014

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Late September usually brings crowds that are slightly busier than early September but still manageable and our predictions held true again this year. We also are seeing a continuation of the trend that weekends are busier than weekdays at Disneyland Resort.

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 – September 28 to October 4, 2014

by on October 8, 2014

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{You won’t see much of a blue line on our “What we predicted” vs. “What we saw” chart because we predicted every day correctly except Saturday. The blue line is hidden behind the red.}

Low wait times across both Universal Parks last week including a full week of level ’2′ or lower at Islands of Adventure. Halloween Horror Nights kept The Studios busy in the evenings but during the day we never saw wait times higher than 20 or 30 minutes for most attractions. On our scale neither park reached a level above ’3′.

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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Disney World Crowd Report – September 28 to October 4, 2014

by on October 8, 2014 5 Comments

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Last week was a great week for low crowds across Walt Disney World, especially Monday through Friday. Magic Kingdom Crowds stayed relatively low and were particularly low on days when that park hosted an evening Halloween Party.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week:

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Limited Time Offer – Onboard Credit for DCL Wonder and Fantasy 7-Night Cruises

by on October 8, 2014

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Mt. Rustmore at Castaway Cay. Photo - Laurel Stewart

Mt. Rustmore at Castaway Cay. Photo – Laurel Stewart

Yet another discount to pass on today. This one is for a $100 onboard credit on certain 7-night cruises sailing from Port Canaveral on the Disney Wonder and Fantasy. Because this offer is sponsored by an industry group (CLIA – Cruise Lines International Association), we recommend that DCL subscribers check our Fare Tracker to see if the cost of the cruise is going up or down and ask your travel agent if the onboard credit is the best possible deal you can get. This offer is for new bookings only and the booking window is now through October 13.

Information comes via Small World Vacations: Read the rest of this entry »

Disney Visa Discounts Available for Disneyland through Mid-December

by on October 8, 2014

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©Disney and Chase

©Disney and Chase

It’s a good time to be a Disney Visa cardholder (Ed. – note to self, we should probably do an article on the Disney Visa and its pros and cons one day). Since releasing discounts for Walt Disney World for cardholders, Disney has today released discounts for Disneyland in California for travel weekdays (no Fridays or Saturdays) from the end of October through December 18 (the Thursday before Christmas). So if you’d like to travel to catch Halloween or some truly spectacular Christmas theming, book by December 18 by calling Disney or contacting your travel agent.

As always, thanks to Sue Pisaturo at Small World Vacations for passing on the info about this Disneyland discount.

Offer details are at http://disneyrewards.com/offers/dlrroomq1/ and are as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

Observations from Halloween Horror Nights and Updated HHN24 Touring Plans

by on October 8, 2014 2 Comments

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Hhn24 touring plans

Plan your Nights of Horror with our updated HHN24 touring plans (photos by Seth Kubersky).

Halloween in still three weeks away, but Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 24 is well underway, and as always the event — and therefore our HHN24 touring plan — is ever evolving. After experiencing the rain-soaked chaos of opening night, I returned on a precipitation-free Thursday without the benefit of an RIP guided tour or Express Passes.

The good news is that I was able to experience all 8 haunted houses, and both shows, before the evening ended even without those extra-cost line-cutting perks, but it wan’t easy. To update my previously published Halloween Horror Nights Survival Guide, here’s a summary of my recent observations, followed by an improved edition of my HHN24 touring plans to plot your escape from the evil of overstuffed queues. Read the rest of this entry »

Be Our Guest Restaurant Lunch Currently FastPass+ Only

by on October 8, 2014 57 Comments

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Be Our Guest Restaurant FastPass+ sign

Looks like currently the Stand-by Entrance is no more.

If you not staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel and want to dine at the Magic Kingdom’s Be Our Guest Restaurant for lunch, it appears that you are out of luck for the time being. The extremely popular New Fantasyland restaurant is currently only seating guests who have made a FastPass+ reservation during lunch hours, when the restaurant functions as a counter service location. These reservations are only available to guests staying at a Walt Disney World Resort Hotel. Walk-ups will not be allowed for the restaurant until further notice, with no end date in sight.

Previously Disney tested handing out paper “return tickets” to standby guests. This test left many guests out of luck, as tickets were often snatched up quickly first thing in the morning.

Be Our Guest Restaurant is still a table service location at dinner and absolutely requires guests to make Advanced Dining Reservations in order to dine during the evening hours.

Beating the Post Disney Blues – Part 2

by on October 8, 2014 8 Comments

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You planned what to do before your trip – how to tell the kids, what to pack, book the flight, or chart the roadmap course. You definitely planned what to do during your trip – where to stay, what to visit, where and what to eat. Did you plan what to do after the trip? After vacationing at the happiest place on earth, it is hard to come back to reality when your vacation is finished. To make your return home a little less “blue”, you may want to organize a plan for your return home from your trip.

Jedi Training Certificate

Jedi Training Certificate

1) Plan time with friends: Before you leave for vacation, make plans within the first week or two of your return with someone fun. That’s what friends are for – to lift your spirits. Our kids usually miss their friends by the time we get back, so we invite a whole family over. If you know someone else who is planning a trip to Disney, even better. You can share all of your tips while they are still fresh in your mind.

2) Frame the souvenir: Did you pick up any certificates or autographs while in the park? Frame it with a photo of the event happening. My son trained as a Jedi and fought Darth Vader. Now he has the certificate and photo to prove it.

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Observations from Disney’s Hollywood Studios Toy Story Midway Mania FastPass+ Only Testing

by on October 8, 2014 55 Comments

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Toy Story Mania FastPass+ only test

This week’s Toy Story Midway Mania FastPass+ Only testing means you may sees this sign at DHS.

If you want to toss some virtual rings this week at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you’d better head to My Disney Experience right now, because for the first time Walt Disney World is experimenting with eliminating all standby options at this headlining attraction. As Rickki Nibblet reported, a Toy Story Midway Mania FastPass+ Only test means that from October 6-9, 2014, you must have a FastPass+ reservation — booked in advance online or day-of at an in-park kiosk — in order to ride the popular Pixar-themed shooting gallery. The standard standby line will not be available at all during the testing period, and once all FastPass+ reservations are claimed for the day, you will not have the option of waiting in line the old-fashioned way.

Having previously experienced Epcot’s short-lived experiment with using paper FastPasses for the Soarin’ standby line, I wanted to see how this FastPass+ Only test operated at Toy Story Midway Mania (TSMM). Monday, Oct. 6, was a moderate 5 on our Crowd Calendar, but now that the Studio Backlot Tour is closed, TSMM is (along with The Great Movie Ride) the only all-ages ride in the park. Since guests seem willing to wait an hour or more in standby for TSMM even on off-peak days, I was curious to observe their reaction to this temoprary change.

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Disney World’s Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique-A Dad’s Perspective

by on October 8, 2014 20 Comments

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Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Worth every penny.

Living close to Walt Disney World, our trips are usually short ones. We have always opted for frequent, short visits, rather than infrequent, extended stays. This year was going to be different, however. We had the trip to end all trips planned. We were set for the first week of September, in hopes of taking advantage of low crowds and free dining. We were also going to splurge on a few things we had yet to do in our years as Disney enthusiasts, and one of those things—the one we were most excited about—was taking our four and six year old daughters to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. After years of watching them gawk longingly at little Princesses walking up and down Main Street, U.S.A. it was finally going to be their turn.

Then, as the best laid plans of mice and men often do, things changed. Nothing earthshattering, yet the budget for our once mammoth trip was sudden smaller. Much smaller. Things would have to be cut, and as my wife and I began whittling away, we both knew what the biggest piece of the pie was. Still, we couldn’t bring ourselves to do it. Instead, we decided to cut our trip down to two nights, downgrade our hotel to All-Star Sports, and just be otherwise thrifty where we could. Sure, I debated on if this was the right decision in the weeks leading up to our stay. For reassurance I consulted our daughters on which they would prefer—a longer trip or to keep their appointments at the Boutique—and both were certain they wanted their royal makeovers. In truth—as much as I wanted to spend the extra time on Disney property—I was glad they had stuck with the Boutique. There was no assurance we would be able to take them in the future if they passed on it now, and though my oldest was only six, I feared this would be the last opportunity she would have to really enjoy the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique experience before she outgrew it. And the last opportunity we would have to enjoy her enjoying it. Read the rest of this entry »