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Once Upon a Time Materializes in Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on June 17, 2015 12 Comments

Mr. Gold is back in New York! No, this isn’t a spoiler for the upcoming season of Once Upon a Time, and it isn’t real New York. But if you walk New York Street in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, you’ll find a storefront for a very intriguing shop.


Unfortunately, it seems that ol’ Rumplestiltskin is out for the day, as there’s no way to get into the shop, but he’s left some interesting pieces of his collection in plain view in the front and side window.

From the dagger that causes so much trouble (or is it a clever fake?) to the book that ties the series together, there are items to draw the interest of fans of all ages. Since the window display debuted, there hasn’t been a time when people aren’t peering in to see what they can find.

Perhaps even hidden in the display are clues for next season. Only time will tell.


(Photo by Julia Mascardo)

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Current Disney Cruise Line Last Minute Deals

by on June 16, 2015



Looking for last-minute specials on Disney Cruise Line? The following cruises are showing availability.

Disney Cruise Line Last Minute Deals

  • 6/20/15 – 9-night Norwegian Fjords on Disney Magic – sails from Copenhagen – IGT from $3999 for 2 adults, OGT and VGT also available.
  • 7/29/15 – 5-night Bahamas on Disney Dream – sails from Port Canaveral – IGT from $2832 for 2 adults, OGT and VGT also available. This cruise has 2 stops on Castaway Cay.
  • 8/3/15 – 7-night Dover to Barcelona on Disney Magic – sails from Dover – IGT from $3417 for 2 adults, OGT and VGT also available.

Fares are current as of today, June 16, and subject to availability. Florida resident and military specials may available for some cruises as well. Ask your travel agent for details.

Want even more Disney Cruise Line information? You’ll love The Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line or our Disney Cruise Line subscription.


Walt Disney World Speedway Closing for Parking Lot Expansion

by on June 16, 2015 2 Comments

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

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

Back in February, we told you about the fact that the Richard Petty Driving Experience would be closing this summer. Well, according to the Orlando Sentinel, now we officially know why! The Walt Disney World Speedway will be closing for…more Magic Kingdom parking.

Disney has filed plans with Reedy Creek about demolishing the Speedway to make room for this expansion of the most popular theme park’s parking lot. At the time of the announced closure of Richard Petty’s Driving Experience, Disney claimed that they would be closing the area due to transportation improvements, so the news that the area will turned into more parking spaces for guests doesn’t come as much of a surprise.

The Richard Petty Driving Experience has been a unique activity for many to participate in. For those who are huge NASCAR fanatics, those who liked fast and exotic cars, and those junior riders who felt the need for speed, this was a great way to get a feel of being out on a true course.

After a deadly accident that occurred a few months ago, the Exotic Car Experience has been tabled, however, the regular Richard Petty Driving Experience and the Piston Cup Junior Ride Along program have continued. The last day for guests to participate in either of those two activities is August 9.

Video: Farewell to the Original Disneyland Band Castle Show

by on June 16, 2015 2 Comments

original Disneyland Band Castle show

The original Disneyland Band castle show has taken its final bow, but you can relive it with TouringPlans. (Photo and video by Seth Kubersky)

“Now it’s time to say goodbye” to one of the longest-running entertainment offerings in Disneyland history, as the Disneyland Band has disbanded, at least in it’s original form. Weeks ago, an “end of run” notice was filed with the musicians’ union that represents Disneyland Resort employees, notifying members of the historic 16-member marching band that they would have to reaudition for their roles (some of which they’d held for multiple decades) in a newly reorganized Disneyland Band, which will feature “a new sound” and “high-energy choreography.”

The classic Disneyland Band, which has been performing Americana classics since the park premiered in 1955, was originally expected to perform until the new one debuts at Disneyland’s official 60th birthday on July 17th. But (as reported by the “I Support Walt Disney’s Disneyland Band” Facebook fan page) the final performance of the full band under director Kurt Curtis was held on Monday, June 15.

The new Disneyland Band will be slightly larger, and feature 2 members of the original ensemble, while the rest will be redeployed in smaller musical groups (at least through the Diamond Celebration). That’s why I’m so grateful I stumbled into the band’s midday castle show during my recent Disneyland visit. While the microphones weren’t quite cooperating, this complete video of the Disneyland Band castle show should give you an idea why these performances were popular for generations:

In less than a month, we should have our first look at the all-new Disneyland Band, and if you are a fan of modern-day drum corps choreography, you should probably be looking forward to it. If not, keep an eye out for former Disneyland Band members as they pop up in new spots around the parks.


Video of New Eighth Voyage of Sindbad Stunt Show at Islands of Adventure

by on June 16, 2015 2 Comments

The cast for IOA’s new Sindbad show greets young fans after their first show. (photos and videos by Seth Kubersky)

After over a month-long hiatus, the new Eighth Voyage of Sindbad Stunt Show has debuted at Universal Orlando‘s Islands of Adventure, and we have exclusive video of the entire first performance of the refurbished production.

Sindbad fans out there (both of you) may be wondering what’s changed with what can charitably called Universal’s most problematic production. While the show’s spectacular set has received a sparkly paint job and some new props, nothing has been radically changed on the visual side.

Of course, the scenery was never Sindbad’s big problem. It’s the shallow, self-referential script that was always the source of our issues with the stunt show, and (for better or for worse) the dialogue has remained about 90% unchanged.

Before we get to the main event, one element definitely is all-new. Ten minutes before showtime, an “assistant stage manager” selects a few volunteers from the audience to act out the story. Here’s a complete video of the opening day preshow:

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MagicBand Watch Slider Review

by on June 15, 2015 23 Comments

Finally, a watch for a MagicBand…? (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

Finally, a watch for a MagicBand…? (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

Confession: I haven’t worn a wristwatch in almost 20 years, yet when I slip on a MagicBand not a day goes by that I don’t look down at that band on my wrist to check the time.

For more than a year, I have been looking at the internet for some sort of watch attachment for a MagicBand. Finally, Disney created a watch slider (or MagicSlider) attachment for your MagicBand, on sale anywhere that MagicBands and accessories are sold. But is this really what people have been asking for?

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SATURDAY SIX: The Six Most Interesting, Most Unusual, and Strangest Souvenirs in EPCOT’s World Showcase

by on June 13, 2015 40 Comments

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at the Six Most Interesting, Most Unusual, and Strangest Souvenirs in Epcot’s World Showcase. After last week’s article on the Six Best Snacks in World Showcase, we’re going stay in the same area and look at another underrated part of Epcot; all the unique gift shops. This is the one theme park in Orlando, if not the world, where you will not find the same old stuff. Outside of the Norway Pavilion, it’s pretty much impossible to find any Frozen merchandise and you will have to go to Future World if you want the Disney Parks merchandise you will usually see at the other parks, Disney resorts, or Disney Springs. It’s a breath of fresh air and there are so many incredible items throughout World Showcase. However today we are not going to look at those. Instead we are going to look in the nooks and crannies and find the six most interesting, unusual, and strangest items starting with….

# 6 – Panda Sitting On a Toilet (China Pavilion)

While World Showcase is filled my with great shopping experiences, by far and away my favorite area to browse is at the Yong Feng Shangdian Department Store in the China Pavilion. It is a gigantic store packed with some of the coolest and most unusual in all of WDW. Wall of actual swords? CHECK. Intricately designed wooden ships? CHECK. Jade sculptures? Gorgeous Chinese dresses? Paper fans and chop sticks? All here. This is a store you could spend the better part of an hour just walking through and checking everything out. It also may contain the most amount of panda related items in Florida. Panda stuffed animals, keychains, coffee mugs, earmuffs… you name it, this store has it. The greatest of all panda items is this Panda Siting on a Toilet toy. Who knows why it could possibly exist, but aren’t you glad it does?


Panda has to be reading a collection of the SATURDAY SIX, right? Only thing that makes sense.


Wait a second. SOLAR POWERED?! Now I’m going to have to buy this to see exactly what it does. Will report back Dear Readers.

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Zuri’s Sweets Shop Opens at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Soon

by on June 12, 2015 4 Comments

Harambe Market 2Harambe Market is the great new dining establishment at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in the Africa section of the park, featuring lots of great items, such as ribs, chicken skewers, sausage corn dogs, beverages, and more. Well, now, there will be one more stop for guests. Zuri’s Sweets Shop will open on June 17, and it will be a unique shopping destination!

This new shop is an extension of Mombassa Marketplace and is a traditional candy counter with an African twist. It will features 80 exclusive food items inspired by the tastes of Africa. Guests will be able to purchase things like trail mixes, bottles of signature sweet and spicy BBQ sauces from Flame Tree Barbeque, themed sweets featuring The Lion King charactersand more!

In addition to sweets, guests will be able to pick up other unique merchandise such as decorative “Blessing Baskets,” which are handcrafted baskets created by artisans from Africa.

This shop rounds out the opening of Harambe Market and it sounds like the perfect stop for those looking to take home a little of Africa with them.

In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of June 12, 2015

by on June 12, 2015 4 Comments

In Case You Missed It!

In Case You Missed It!

No one guessed my favorite movie line from last week…Here’s more of it, so you all can get it in context.  “I’m Woody! Howdy. Howdy. Howdy!” Did you guess it was the shark wearing Woody’s hat in Toy Story?  I get a chuckle from that every time.

It’s time for this week’s fun, which includes a neat video of how Maximus from Tangled will be portrayed in the musical on Disney Cruise Line, a look at what Jurassic Park could have been at Islands of Adventure, and much more!

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


This is the can’t miss article this week: “How Robert Iger’s Fearless Dealmaking Transformed Disney.” It’s certainly an interesting and introspective piece. This is such a fantastic read. What are your thoughts on it?

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Vivoli Gelateria Now Open at Downtown Disney

by on June 11, 2015 4 Comments



Are you looking for authentic Italian gelato on your next Walt Disney World vacation? Then you need to head to Downtown Disney to experience Vivoli Gelateria, a brand new gelato location now found in The Landing section.

Vivoli Gelateria was founded in Florence, Italy, and the Downtown Disney location is only its second ever full-service shop.

The quick-service place showcases gelato making, an art that has been perfected by three generations of family. This really is a family run business, as it was founded in 1932 by Raphael Vivoli and his two brothers. Vivoli Gelateria started out as a dairy. It is now run by Raphael’s granddaughter, Silvana. Read the rest of this entry »