Posts Tagged ‘Disney’

SATURDAY SIX: In Memoriam – Six Things We Lost From the Theme Park World in the Last Year

by on January 11, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Six Things We Lost From the Theme Park World in the Last Year. While we have a lot of things to look forward to in 2014, including some real work being done up the upcoming James Cameron’s World of Avatar, it’s time to look back at some of what we won’t be seeing again.

Universal Meal Deal

An Affordable All-You-Can-Eat Deal within a Theme Park?!

# 6 – Universal Meal Deal (Universal Orlando Resort)

In time, people probably won’t even believe a deal like this existed inside a Disney or Universal theme park. While the price increased over the years, the Meal Deal price peaked at just $20.99 for an adult. The Meal Deal allowed each guest one entree and one dessert for an unlimited number of times in the participating restaurants. And though a drink was not included in the Meal Deal, Universal has a great refillable drink deal and an even better Coke Freestyle program. In combination, the Meal Deal and the drink programs allowed the average guest who liked to eat to make out like a bandit.

Now Universal has shifted over to a Dining Plan that is much more in line with what guests have experienced at Disney, making finding value much tougher. In fact, you’ll probably see a 10 minute wait at Despicable Me: Minion Mayhem before you can figure out how to save any money on food at Universal, but we will look back and remember a time when guests could eat as many burgers at Captain America Diner as they wanted….could get their fill of pizza at Louie’s, and could chow down on chicken fingers at Circus McGurkus until they waddled out of the park. And, by gosh, we’ll miss those days.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Things in Orlando We’re Looking Forward To Seeing in 2014

by on January 4, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX looks at Six Things in Orlando We’re Looking Forward To Seeing in 2014. 2013 was a great year to be a theme park fan. Just in Orlando we got the opening of Transformers: The Ride 3D and a huge Simpsons expansion in Universal Studios Florida, Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin arrived at SeaWorld, while Disney introduced Princess Fairytale Hall and the incredible Tangled-themed bathrooms at the Magic Kingdom (along with starting a much needed overhaul on Downtown Disney.) But the good news is 2014 looks to be even better, yes, better. Here’s our list of the top six things we’re looking forward to the most over the next 12 months…

UOR_BREADBOX

Will Breadbox be CityWalk’s answer to the ultra popular Earl of Sandwicht at Downtown Disney? (Photo Courtesy of Universal Orlando)

# 6 – Universal CityWalk’s Expansion (Universal Orlando Resort)

In late 2013 Universal unveiled a massive reimagining of its entertainment complex, CityWalk. In fact, the new and improved CityWalk had already started with the opening of Red Oven Pizza Bakery in November, but little did we know how much more would be coming.

By the summer of 2014,  Coldstone Creamery (ice cream), Menchies (frozen yogurt), Bread Box (sandwiches), Antojitos (Mexican), Hotdog Hall of Fame, and The Cowfish (burgers/sushi) will be joining the list of eateries in CityWalk. Pastamore, which is shutting down this week, will also be reopening as yet-unamed Italian restaurant (rumored to be Pranzo) in which guests will be able to see their pasta made from scratch in front of them. Starbucks, currently on the second level of CityWalk, will also be moving downstairs and assume a more prominent position as guests make their way from the Universal parking garages to the theme parks.  Lastly, the Universal Studios Store will undergo a major retheming.

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Disneyland Annual Passholder Event with Dave Bossert on Oct 24

by on October 19, 2013

Disney animation producer Dave Bossert

The Walt Disney feature animators who originally occupied the Magic of Disney Animation attraction at WDW’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios park were furloughed well over a decade ago. But, for one next week at least, a member of Disney’s animation team will appear at the sister attraction across the country.

On Thursday, October 24, Annual Passholders can attend a free session with Dave Bossert, Producer, Creative Director and Head of Special Projects for for Walt Disney Animation Studios. Bossert will tell behind-the-scenes tales and give “a close-up look at the new Disney Animated app.”

The 45-minute presentations will be held at 3pm, 4pm, 5pm, and 6pm at the Disney Animation attraction in Disney California Adventure’s Hollywood Land. Required registration must be done in person at the attraction on the day of the event, staring at park open. As always, a valid annual pass is required, and space is limited.

 

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SATURDAY SIX: Top Six Hidden References in Halloween Horror Nights 23′s Haunted Houses

by on October 19, 2013

The Saturday Six is a weekly look at the most interesting, most fun, and sometimes even the most outrageous things within the theme park world that we all love so much. Whether it’s checking out the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, unlocking the secrets of Marvel Superhero Island, or looking at the Portofino Bay Hotel, the Saturday Six is your personal guide to experiencing the very best Orlando has to offer

HHN_Hidden_MikeAiello

Resident Evil house has this picture of Mike Aiello, Creative Director of HHN t.. It has been repurposed from the Leave It To Cleaver house at HHN 19.

This week’s Saturday Six looks at the Top Six Hidden References in Halloween Horror Nights 23′s Haunted Houses. We’ve already done Saturday Sixes on what we loved about HHN 23 and even our favorite food and drink items from the event, but we also took both the Morning Menace and Afternoon Abominations Unmasking the Horror Tours. These were lights-on tours of six of the haunted houses with a personal tour guide from Universal. The Morning Menace tour led us through La Llorona, The Walking Dead: No Safe Haven, and The Cabin in the Woods. The Afternoon Abominations tour took us to Resident Evil: Escape from Raccoon City, An American Werewolf in London, and Evil Dead.

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Hotel Room Views at Disney’s Polynesian Resort

by on October 8, 2013

Last week we launched our Hotel Room View project with a look at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort. Today we’re launching Disney’s Polynesian Resort.

You can see pictures of the room views at Disney’s Polynesian Resort here:

http://touringplans.com/hotel_maps/disneys-polynesian-resort

Just like last week, you’re able to search by room view (Garden, Lagoon, Magic Kingdom), beds (e.g., 1 king or 2 queens), and ADA accessibility, plus walking distance to the lobby and transportation, and more. You can also do side-by-side comparisons of two rooms when you mark them as “favorites.”

The Poly is a gorgeous resort, no doubt. Still, some room views are better than others. For example, rack rate starts at $422 for a Garden View room with 2 queen beds. If you leave it up to Disney, you could get room 1418 at Tuvalu, with a nice view of … a wall. And trees:

Tuvalu-1418

Or you could request 2922 at Tokelau, same price:

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Walt Disney World Guide for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities

by on October 5, 2013

Cover of the New Guide

Cover of Disney’s Guide
Copyright Disney

Following Disney’s recent announcement of the Disney Accessibility System/Disability Access Service (DAS) program, the company recently released the guide Planning a Trip to the Walt Disney World® Resort – A Resource for Guests with Cognitive Disabilities including Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The 40-page guide is a comprehensive look at theme park attractions, transportation, and other areas of concern for guests with cognitive or sensory disabilities. Particularly helpful is the list of potential concerns for attractions including noise, wetness, scariness, and elements of surprise, among several others. The guide is on the Disney company web site at https://wdpromedia.disney.go.com/media/wdpro-assets/help/guest-services/cognitive-disabilities-services/wdw_cognitive_guide.pdf

Additionally, Disney has released a brief guide to the DAS program, which can be found here.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! September 2013 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on September 30, 2013

MMM_LogoWe all have our favorite stores in the Walt Disney World parks and resorts to get our fill of merchandise. Whether it’s World of Disney in Downtown Disney Marketplace, Villains in Vogue at DHS, or Everything Pop! at the Pop Century Resort , it’s not that hard finding a gift shop filled to the brim with the latest Disney vinylmation, t-shirts, and plushes. But did you know that there is a place where all the merchandise Disney has a hard time selling ends up? A truly magical store filled with discount prices and bewildering items straight form the House of Mouse? Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you The Disney Outlet Store.

There are actually two Disney outlet stores in Orlando. Both are in Orlando Premium Outlet shopping complexes, and they are called Disney’s Character Warehouse, presumably because The Land Of Misfit Toys was already trademarked. There is one Character Warehouse located on International Drive close to Universal Studios (4951 International Dr, Orlando, FL 3281), and the other is on Vineland Avenue, right across I-4 near the exits to Disney World (8200 Vineland Ave, Orlando, FL 3282). Today we are going to look at the location near Disney.

IMG_8236

Where wishes are granted, dreams are fulfilled, and prices are slashed.

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Universal Merchandise Review – A Look At Universal’s Uni-Minis

by on September 22, 2013

MMM_LogoWelcome to The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! This month we’re going to look at Universal’s Uni-Minis.

Similar in size to Disney’s popular Vinylmation, Uni-Minis differ in a couple ways. While the vast majority of Vinylmations are repainted versions of the classic Mickey mold, almost all of the Uni-Minis are more in line with Disney’s Park Starz series, which eschews the traditional Mickey form and instead lets the artists create whatever they want. The Uni-Minis do have their version of the Mickey mold, and it is in the form of a generic looking bear. These figures are usually limited editions and produced for specific events like Grad Bash or Mardi Gras.

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Haunted Mansion Bride from Disney’s Park Starz next to Minion from Universal’s Uni-Minis

The heft of a Uni-Mini is also slightly less than a Vinylmation. At $12.95 per figure  (same as a standard Vinylmation), the Uni-Minis feel flimsier than their Disney counterpart, although the style of each figure is closer to the $18.95 Park Starz series. There is articulation in both the head and arms of almost all the Uni-Minis.

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SATURDAY SIX: Top Six Reasons We Loved the 2013 Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

by on September 21, 2013

The Saturday Six is a weekly look at the most interesting, most fun, and sometimes even the most outrageous things within the theme park world that we all love so much. Whether it’s the top six “secrets” of Marvel Superhero Island, a look a the Loews Royal Pacific Resort, or even the craziest food items at Universal, the Saturday Six will be your personal guide to experiencing the very best Orlando has to offer.

This week’s Saturday Six looks at the Top Six Reasons We Loved Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party 2013.

Madame Carlotta MNSSHP

Madame Carlotta in front of the Haunted Mansion

# 6 – Characters Who Only Come Out During the Party

If you are a fan of rarely seen characters (and judging by the success of Limited Time Magic’s Long Lost Friends week both in WDW and Disneyland, most of you reading this are) MNSSHP is going to satisfy you and then some. The Dapper Dans are out and about as the Cadaver Dans, complete with creepy make-up. Madame Carlotta can be seen in front of the Haunted Mansion, interacting with passers by. Jack Skellington and Sally from Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas have a special (and popular) meet-and-greet. All your favorite characters, like Mickey Mouse and Minnie, are dressed up in their Halloween costumes.

Seven Dwarves MNSSHP

The Seven Dwarves (photo courtesy of Michelle Myers)

The MNSSHP will also be your chance to get your picture taken with all of Seven Dwarfs at the same time. This unique photo op is one of the most popular things every year at the party, and the line starts to form around 5:30 PM, well before MNSSHP officially begins. If meeting the Seven Dwarfs is on your character bucket list, it’s recommended you just bite the bullet and get in line around 6 PM so that you give up as little party time as possible. If standing in lines for character photos is your thing, then you’re in luck, because MNSSHP has princesses and their princes (such as Rapunzel and Flynn Ryder) meeting guests together, along with villains such as Dr. Facilier, Maleficent, and the Queen of Hearts, that you never run into during a normal day at the park.

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Hollywood Brown Derby Tests New Lunch Menu

by on August 4, 2013

Waygu beef burger with house-made fries

Waygu beef burger with house-made fries

Last week I saw an advertisement in the Disney Hollywood Studios times guide for some limited time lunch offerings at The Hollywood Brown Derby, so I decided to invite my friends Mark and Kendra along to a brunch this past Sunday. I tried going the week before, but the waiter informed me the chef refused to serve me off the lunch menu because it was 5 o’clock (lunch hours are 11:30 to 3:00) and he had already packed up the prep work for lunch. Okay, whatever. More on that later.

The Signature Lunch Specialties menu, according to the times guide, included old favorites such as the noodle bowl and famous Cobb salad and three new items: A tuna Niçoise salad, a waygu beef burger with house-made fries, and an open-faced crab sandwich. You could also order off of the regular full Brown Derby menu.

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