Posts Tagged ‘Animal Kingdom’

Animal Kingdom AtMousePhere: The Music of Africa

by on November 18, 2015

Photo Courtesy Brian McNichols

Photo Courtesy Brian McNichols

In our second segment of music from Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we go to the section of the park that revolves around Africa. This area includes a village called Harambe and the attractions Kilimanjaro Safaris and Festival of the Lion King.

Harambe Village (and its market) has a nice variety of music in its area. It doesn’t stick to the norm, but mixes styles that make you feel like you’re in a real African village.

The village was created as a good connection to the savannah that you see in Kilimanjaro Safaris. The idea was that people who lived in the village would be in charge of the savannah and the safari rides. There’s a lot of history shown through the weathered buildings, fort, and canons. But the area music brings out the modern style.

Let’s take a listen!

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Extend the Magic: Using Photo Books to Tell Your Story

by on November 6, 2015

extend the magic

Photo books are a great way to extend the magic of your trip!

I’m sure you’ve all been there – your Disney vacation is over and the dreaded Disney blues set in and all you want to do is extend the magic from your trip. The end of a Disney trip can be depressing, but I’ve developed methods for extending the magic past the vacation so I can bask in the Disney happiness just a little bit longer. One of my main methods of doing this is through the creation of photo books.

Now I know what you might be thinking, “Photo books? Anyone can create photos books to document a vacation! What makes your method so special?” Well I’m glad you asked. I approach photo book creation for Disney trips from a unique angle. Rather than just documenting step-by-step the different events that take place on a trip, I attempt to find a new and different storytelling theme for every photo book I create. My desire is that the photo books not only transport us back to the wonderful memories from the trip, but also make us laugh at the way I chose to tell the story. Essentially, I’ve embraced the idea of being goofy. Let me break down my process step by step.

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Walt Disney World Zombie Apocalypse: Tips and Tricks

by on October 2, 2015

There is a significant uptick in zombies every October at Walt Disney World.

There is a significant uptick in zombies every October at Walt Disney World.

We at Touring Plans like October as one of the best times to visit Walt Disney World. It tends to have some of the lowest crowds of the year, the weather is slightly more tolerable than the surface-of-the-sun heat you can experience in the summer months, and there are unique events like Epcot’s International Food and Wine Festival that can really enhance your experience. With that said, October can also be challenging, in that the potential for a zombie apocalypse increases dramatically during this time of year, as the chart to the right shows.

There are a couple of reasons for the spike in zombies in October. First of all, Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party takes place at the Magic Kingdom most nights during this time frame, which is one of the few times a year that all guests are invited to dress up in the parks. Zombie outbreaks happen when zombies are allowed to infect others and grow the size of their army of walking dead at a rate faster than they can be addressed. On regular park days, Disney security are able to easily spot zombies and deal with them before they can infect others; during the parties, however, zombies will blend in with the masses and infect others before anything can be done, and that’s when problems have arisen. Additionally, many guest visit Universal Studios on their Disney trips, and this provides a prime opportunity for cross-pollination from the zombie regulars at Halloween Horror Nights.

With the foregoing in mind, I wanted to provide some of my favorite tips and park locations to put yourself in the best position to deal with hordes of the undead slowly shuffling through the parks. Join me after the jump!

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Disneyland vs. Disney World: The Matterhorn Bobsleds and Expedition Everest

by on September 29, 2015

Everest1

Expedition Everest

Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort share a number of the same attractions, such as Space Mountain, Pirates of the Caribbean, “it’s a small world,” and many others. But if you think that these attractions are the same on both coasts, you would be mistaken.

One of the many things I love about Disney is that they never do the same thing twice; and while the attractions that can be found on both coasts may share the same names and themes, they do have differences too. Hey, who doesn’t like variety, right? But you have to wonder, which resort has the best version of a popular attraction? Which Disney Park has the bragging rights? Well, that’s what I’m going to find out by comparing two tall and somewhat snowy attractions in Disneyland vs. Disney World: The Matterhorn Bobsleds and Expedition Everest.

I know what you’re thinking. A Disneyland classic and an Animal Kingdom coaster. These two attractions are so different how can you compare them? But if you really think about them both, you will notice that they both share a number of similarities. But before I get ahead of myself, let me explain for those who haven’t experienced these Disney mountains before.

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Disneyland’s Matterhorn

What is the Matterhorn Bobsleds?

The Matterhorn Bobsleds is a Disneyland icon. This famous mountain dominates the Disneyland skyline and houses a vintage (but totally safe!) tubular steel coaster that takes guests in and out and down the Matterhorn Mountain. This attraction is special to Disneyland as it is the only one in the world and came from the mind of Walt Disney himself. When filming Third Man on the Mountain in Europe, Walt decided he needed the famous Alpine peak in his park. It first opened to guests in 1959 and has undergone several facelifts and updates through the years.

What is Expedition Everest?

Expedition Everest is themed after the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest. On this attraction, guests embark on a expedition into the Himalayan Mountains by train, but the legendary Yeti of the mountain isn’t too happy about that. The train zips in and out of the mountain, and even goes backwards! Expedition Everest first opened in 2006 and was an addition to the Asia section of Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park. The attraction was an immediate success and still is one of the most famous thrill rides at Walt Disney World.

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How I learned to stop worrying and love Pandora-The World of Avatar

by on September 8, 2015

The Na’vi just can’t win.

First, the initial announcement that James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar would be coming to Disney’s Animal Kingdom was met with jeers from those who questioned the introduction of fantasy in a park dedicated to realism, along with those who groused about the tree hugging politics of the film and others who just didn’t think the intellectual property was a fit with Disney’s family friendly fare.

Then at the D23 Expo, the big reveal for Pandora-The World of Avatar was overshadowed by the hoopla surrounding the announcement of Star Wars-themed lands at Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

Overlook the 2017 opening of Animal Kingdom’s newest land if you will. I’m here to tell you why you should be excited enough to plan a trip around the debut of Pandora and why it won’t be the dud that some Disney fans suspect.

©Disney

©Disney
From left, James Cameron, Disney Parks & Resort Chairman Tom Staggs and Joe Rohde view a model of Pandora-The World of Avatar.

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All it Takes is Faith and Trust! (And a Little Bit of Help from the Touring Plans Readers)

by on September 2, 2015

All it takes is faith and trust

“All it takes is faith and trust!” – Peter Pan

It’s no secret that I am a planner. A crazy-nutcase-super-planner (I admit it). I don’t take even a short trip to Disney World without planning FastPass + selections and Advanced Dining Reservations at the earliest opportunity. I mean, have you read my articles on planning for spontaneity? If my introductory and advanced courses in leveraging MyMagic+ didn’t paint a vivid picture for you of my planning love, I’m not sure what would.

As I was planning for our upcoming trip over Labor Day weekend, a wild thought occurred to me. What if, for one of the days of our trip, I didn’t pre-plan anything? (Cue intense hyperventilation.) I know that some people are critical of MyMagic+, citing that it “forces” them to plan their trips months in advance. I don’t share in that sentiment, and even though I don’t personally go the non-planning route that doesn’t mean I believe it can’t be done. (Did everyone follow that convoluted sentence? I plan because I want to, not because I believe that one must plan in order to have a good time at Walt Disney World.)

Now you might be asking yourself, “How would this type-A planner know that someone can enjoy a day in Disney without planning?! She probably doesn’t even know how to have an impromptu day at Disney World!” Valid points, dear readers, and those thoughts are precisely what have led me to this particular experiment. And YOU are the key to this experiment. Essentially, I need you to tell me what to do.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! August 2015 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on August 31, 2015

MMM positiveWelcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. As you can see, thanks to a landslide vote, the Outlet Report is continuing despite it’s negative impact on my mental health (more on that later). However, no matter how crazy the Vineland Ave outlets make me, nothing can take away from the incredible month we had in the theme park world. The D23 Expo came with the announcements of Star Wars land, Toy Story Land, and more details on the incredible World of Avatar coming to Animal Kingdom. You can read both of my articles about the D23 news including one written BEFORE the convention and one written AFTER. Not to be outdone, Universal announced that it would be building a Fast & Furious attraction while getting rid of Disaster and Beetlejuice. Fast & Furious has actually quietly become one of the biggest franchises in Hollywood history. Furious 7 has made over $1.5Billion dollars this year and to put that in perspective Frozen made “just” $1.27Billion. What a great time to be a theme park fan.

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you).

Our first item is actually one of my favorite things that I have ever bought inside a Disney park and it was at Star Wars Weekends two years ago. This Star Wars Bowling Set was originally $21.95, marked down to $12.99. The bowling balls are the Death Star and a thermal detonator, how great is that?

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Luke Skywalker could bullseye womp rats in his T-16 but can he hit a 7-10 split?!

IMG_2141

If we have to get a thousand bad Star Wars items just to get one great one, I guess I can live with it.

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Menu Monday: Rainforest Café Showdown

by on August 24, 2015

Rainforest CafeMy family and I are big fans of the Rainforest Café. During our travels across the country, we always make a point to visit this restaurant every chance we get. In the last few years, we’ve dined at the Rainforest Café in Disneyland, Las Vegas, Dallas, San Antonio, Galveston, and of course, Downtown Disney (Springs) and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

What keeps us going back again and again? We are suckers for a good theme! The more immersive and detailed the environment, the more we love it. This, coincidentally, is one of the main reasons we repeatedly visit Disney World as well. There’s just nothing quite like escaping to another “world” whether it’s for just a meal or for an entire trip. During our summer vacation this year, my family and I had the opportunity to dine at both Disney World locations. Are you considering a visit to the “rainforests” of Downtown Disney and Animal Kingdom? Trying to decide which one is best for you? Then read on for the complete Rainforest Café Showdown; your adventure is about to begin!

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2015 Disney D23 Expo Predictions

by on August 12, 2015

D23expologo

This week marks the fourth ever D23 Expo, which is the exposition event for Disney D23 (the official fan club for The Walt Disney Company). Since 2009, and every second year after that, the event has offered fans the chance to come together and celebrate all things Disney while also getting a sneak peek at upcoming projects across the company’s numerous divisions including parks, film and even video games. With rumors swirling about possible announcements for quite some time now, speculation and anticipation are at a fever pitch. One of my favorite parts of any event like this is making predictions because a) it offers me the chance to brag about how right I was or b) laugh at how wrong I was. I can’t lose! With that in mind, here are my ten predictions for the D23 Expo.

©Disney

©Disney

10. Hollywood Studios Gets a New Name

Let’s get one of the big ones out of the way. Every Disney fan at this point knows that Hollywood Studios is getting a huge revamp. With the new changes will also come a new name for the park, which was previously revealed by Disney CEO Bob Iger after he got tricked by a young fan at the annual shareholders’ meeting. From everything I’ve read, the most popular new name appears to be Hollywood Adventure but at this point, it’s anybody’s guess.

Chance it happens: 90%

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Tips for Conference Goers at Disney World Who Are Too Cool for Characters

by on August 12, 2015

Q: Why do lots of people without kids visit Walt Disney World if they think it’s for the preschool set?

A: They’re getting paid to be there.

My first visit to Walt Disney World as an adult was for a convention. According to Disney Meetings, Walt Disney World is home to over over 700,000 square feet of meeting space. Six of Disney’s own hotels include convention space, and that doesn’t include the on-property Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin resorts, which add 329,000 square feet to that total. Hundreds of thousands of additional conventioneers visit Orlando each year to attend events at the Orange County Convention Center and many other hotels in the area. In other words, if you are a professional who hasn’t attended a conference in Orlando yet, you probably will soon.

However, not everyone visiting central Florida wants to be immersed in Mickey and pals. If you are visiting Walt Disney World as part of a business trip, you may be worried that your visit will be a nightmarish cacophony of cartoony characters.

Chef Mickey

I promise, you can avoid this guy entirely.

You can certainly get your fill of characters in Walt Disney World if that’s your thing, but you can also avoid them entirely. This post will explain where to stay during your trip to maintain an oasis of calm in Mickey Central as well as how to fill your leisure time in Walt Disney World without getting too much pixie dust on your clothes, and where you can have a dignified, character-free meal.

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