I normally try to put things in order, but this week I decided to start with this killer sunset instead! From all the way in Tomorrowland I had no idea the sky was lighting up until we breezed by on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover. Luckily, I managed to snap this one shot! It seemed like the perfect way to start this week.
Want to see what other trouble we got into? Be sure to click to read more!
In addition to four theme parks, the Walt Disney World Resort also offers two water parks: Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. Both of these water parks boast unique themes and, in true Disney fashion, a great story! Typhoon Lagoon, the older of the two parks, is meant to be a little tropical resort that was drenched and tossed by a typhoon which created pools, tossed items onto rooftops and into trees, and left the Miss Tilly boat perched atop Mount Mayday! This park is a windblown paradise with little gags wherever you turn; and it’s also home to some popular ways to get wet, such as the thrilling Humunga Kowabunga slides, the relaxing Castaway Creek, the iconic Surf Pool, and the Crush n’ Gusher water coaster. If you’re considering a visit to this popular water park, check out these Disney Savvy Tips for Typhoon Lagoon to make your day as magical as possible.
But wait! There are a few things you should know first before planning a trip to Typhoon Lagoon. First of all, Disney is now offering a 1-Day Water Park Pass which provides one-day admission to either Typhoon Lagoon or Blizzard Beach for $61.77 with tax for ages 10 and up or $53.25 for ages 3-9 with tax. This now means you can water park hop for a day! You can also purchase a Water Parks Annual Pass with unlimited admission to both water parks for $117.15 with tax for adults, or $105.44 with tax for kids ages 3-9. But if you have a Premium Annual Passport, you already have the privilege of unlimited admission to both parks.
I am back from another great trip to Walt Disney World, and I have some news that I learned that you need to know for your upcoming trips. There are lots of great tidbits that I think are of great interest, so let’s dive right into the fun!
Over at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the fantastic macaw show, Winged Encounters – The Kingdom Takes Flight, will see a small change. The landing perch has been relocated in front of the Tree of Life. The show will continue to be performed at 9:15 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Previous location of the Winged Encounters perch. And yes, the birds DO fly AT you!
The weather has been very overcast for the past week or so, but that didn’t make the view below any less sweet! This was my first time seeing the Studios hat free in fifteen years and I made a special trip just to see it. I vividly remember when I was a little girl that before the park would open Goofy would dance and play in front of the theater. I’d totally forgotten until I saw this again. I also remembered the Rocketeer “flying” from the roof with his jet pack. Anyone else remember these things? Let me know in the comments below! I’d love to reminisce with you.
Of course, since I was there I had to check out what else was new for you. Click to read more to see what other trouble we got into this week.
St. Patrick’s Day is in about a week and a half and if you’ll be visiting Walt Disney World from March 13-17, then there is only one place where you should be to get your Irish on and that’s at Raglan Road for the Mighty St. Patrick’s Day Festival!
The five day event is an authentic St. Paddy’s Day celebration featuring great Irish cuisine, live music, performances by award-winning Irish dancers, complimentary face painting, and of course, lots of green everywhere!
Raglan Road guests ready to “get their green on” can participate in festivities that run from 4 p.m. until 1:30 a.m. March 13 and from noon until 1:30 a.m. March 14-17.
The highlight is the music courtesy of the fantastic bands that will take one of three different stages. This year, bands will include the very best of native Irish talent – Drops of Green, Reel Ó Gránde, The Brayzen Heads and The West Coast Trio. Topping off the Festival are Scythian and $3 Band — two of the very best Irish bands in America.
With the announcement of Downtown Disney’s conversion to Disney Springs, many were hopeful and excited about the changes to the shopping and dining district. One place that I think most people thought would be on the chopping block was Planet Hollywood. The restaurant has consistently poor reviews and well, let’s face it, Planet Hollywood’s are a thing of the 90s. However, with the announcement of Disney Springs also came the news that Planet Hollywood was staying. Granted not in the same form; it was to be converted into what will eventually be called the Planet Hollywood Observatory.
The details were released that the restaurant will see a complete redesign on the outside, with a gorgeous new brick exterior, a new water tower (built from the neon sign that is currently present), and an expanded outdoor terrace and bar. The look is much less gaudy than what is currently there.
Welcome back to this brand new edition of Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes! (Crowd cheers…ok…maybe not…but a girl can dream.) This week has been very fruitful with little tidbits to share with you all; I’ve got lots of refurbishment news, details on Be Our Guest Restaurant, new information on Avatarland, and more!
Wow! There are a lot of refurbishments that have been scheduled for Walt Disney World. Let’s start at the Magic Kingdom. First, for those traveling in the summer, you will unfortunately not get to experience Pirates of the Caribbean. The attraction, which has been riddled with problems lately, will be seeing a 4+ month refurbishment, from May 11 through September 25, reopening September 26. No word on what the refurbishment will entail, but it is certainly necessary. There will also be a two day refurbishment of Stitch’s Great Escape in early March, March 1 and 2. The attraction will reopen on March 3. For those visiting Disney’s Animal Kingdom for barbeque, you’ll have to wait a little longer, because Flame Tree Barbeque’s refurbishment has been pushed back to last until April 22, reopening April 23. At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, it would appear that Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show will be closed for a refurbishment from April 20-24, reopening on April 25. Also, Voyage of the Little Mermaid will be closed September 7-10, reopening on September 11. You can always keep up with the latest refurbishments on our refurb page.
So I don’t usually share the videos that Disney posts, but I will if I find them particularly newsworthy…like today, where they posted one hyping up Avatar for Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It’s nice to finally see some more information about the project. The new concept art shown in the video is quite gorgeous, but what really impressed me was when they finally showed some of the bioluminescent aspects. It almost reminds me of being under the sea, seeing a unique type of illuminated coral. These additions will certainly make Animal Kingdom a destination once the sun sets. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out the video:
As a non-Florida resident, my trips to Walt Disney World are not as frequent as I’d like. And when I get the opportunity to get to my favorite place on earth, I plan every moment of every day and pack in as much pixie dust as possible. It’s not uncommon for me to only get 4-5 hours of sleep a night as I open and close parks and fill the days with finely-tuned Touring Plansand FastPass+ reservations. These trips usually end with me in a Disney-induced coma on a plane heading back to the southwest, but completely content. I imagine it’s what marathon runners must feel like. Yeah, it can be painful, and sometimes you wonder if you’re insane for committing to this, but afterword it’s such a triumph and you can’t help but feel proud for all you’ve accomplished.
It’s vision that brings us all joy. Photo by Michael Dahlgren
When I was presented with the opportunity to be in Orlando for a work conference, my heart simultaneously leapt and crashed all at once. What a great excuse for an impromptu Disney trip (especially with a flight and 2 hotel nights paid for)! But then I looked at my budget, there’s a reason I didn’t have a Disney trip in the works already – I was already over-extended and committed to other trips this year. But how could I be in Orlando – so close to the House of the Mouse and NOT go?! The mere idea violates my very nature as a Disneyphile. I confided my disappointment in friend who kindly suggested, why don’t I just pick one park to go to for a day? That suggestion is almost more unnatural. One park? How can I choose one park? That’s like choosing a favorite child! I love them all! Choose the classic innocence and magic of Magic Kingdomover the food and culture of Epcot? Or the details and natural beauty of Animal Kingdomover the stomach churning thrill rides of Hollywood Studios? No, no – there’s no way to pick just one park! The thought then occurred to me, I could do the four-parks-in-one-day challenge. But with only one day to dedicate to parks, I couldn’t be cheated that way. And I know that there’s no way I could only do one or two attractions in each park and pass by everything else without knowing I’d be right back to really do the park justice. And the time spent traveling between parks would take up too much precious time. So, that ruled out four park hopping.
The most coveted theme park award of all… The Golden Burgy.
This week’s SATURDAY SIX presents the Inaugural 2015 Theme Park Awards. This weekend, while the rest of the world is preparing for The Oscars and spending hours watching awards given to films they haven’t even heard of, let alone watched (not to mention the outright Best Picture snubs of Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain America: Winter Soldier), readers of this column will be able to see their favorite theme park attractions get the attention they deserve. The Golden Burgy, theme park media’s highest award, is being handed out to the rides, shows, restaurants, and experiences that truly stood out over the past year.
Just as the Academy Awards hand out their lesser prizes before the main show, we’d like to present two of our minor awards before we get to the big ones. First, a Golden Burgy goes to the Holy Land Experience in the category of Best Theme Park Food Pun for their Garden of Eaten Chicken Salad Sandwich. Interestingly enough, Holy Land had all the nominees in this category including JerusaLamb, Land of Milk (no honey,) and My Cup Overflows Souvenir Refillable Cup. The category of Biggest Theme Park Free Fall experience was the tightest race of all the nominees. Falcon’s Fury at Busch Gardens was the favorite to win, but the coveted Golden Burgy instead went to SeaWorld’s stock price. Now that’s a drop.
With those out of the way, allow us to present to you the Inaugural SATURDAY SIX Theme Park Awards, starting with…
# 6 – Best New Ride Experience – Diagon Alley’s Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts
The rotunda inside Gringotts bank includes an incredible view. And this is just the queue! (photo by Tom Bricker)
What else needs to be said about Universal’s newest E-Ticket attraction? The queue for Escape From Gringotts is one of the best in theme park history, loaded with magical details from the Harry Potter films. There are incredible goblin animatronics and million dollar chandeliers hanging above that make the Gringotts Bank lobby almost an attraction by itself.
Unlike IOA’s Forbidden Journey’s “best of” trip through the first four Potter films, Escape From Gringotts places guests directly into events from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part II. Ingeniously showing a movie scene from another perspective, Escape From Gringotts takes Universal’s motto of Ride The Movies to the next level.
Worst New Ride Experience – Being attacked by bees on Rip Ride Rocket
“Oh the humanity!” Swarms of bees attack riders on Universal Studios Florida’s Rip Ride Rockit. (photo by Mike Sperduto and Matt Cleary.)
While just a minor blip on the radar in 2014, the story of Rip Ride Rockit having a minor problem with bees was enough for us to envision the plot of a new horror film.
For Valentine’s Day lunch we couldn’t think of a better place than Kona Cafe. The food is wonderful and the setting is comfy and casual. Traffic was worse than we’d anticipated so we made it to the podium exactly on time for our 12:30pm reservation. Of course, that meant we had to wait about 15 minutes for a table. They seemed quite short staffed with several empty tables despite gobs of people waiting outside. It was nice to have the tables next to us open, though. Our appetizer of potstickers ($8.49) were super yummy and came out so quickly they beat our drinks!
Want to see what we ordered? Be sure to click to read more!