Posts Tagged ‘Early Entry’

PotterWatch: Zonko’s Closed, London Waterfront Walls, & Hogwarts Express Details on Friday

by on March 13, 2014

Zonko's Closed and more Wizarding World news in this week's PotterWatch (photos by Seth Kubersky)

Zonko’s Closed and more Wizarding World news in this week’s PotterWatch (photos by Seth Kubersky)

In this week’s edition of PotterWatch, we head into the original Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando‘s Islands of Adventure on the day before Zonko’s closed, then check out the new construction walls along the London Waterfront in Universal Studios Florida. Finally, we’ll tell you when you can hear fresh details about the Hogwarts Express, and share new information on early entry for Universal Orlando resort hotel guests.

Zonko’s Closed

For the first time, a significant component of Hogsmeade Village has disappeared. Zonko’s Joke Shop, one of the original shops at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, permanently closed its doors this week. It will reopen in the coming months as an extension of the adjoining Honeydukes candy shop, which is usually overcrowded.

 

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Ultimate Halloween Horror Nights 23 Touring Plan

by on October 15, 2013

We’re heading into the home stretch of Universal Orlando’s Halloween Horror Nights 23, and if you plan on facing the undead hordes you’ll need a good plan now more than ever. Luckily for you, we’ve been on the ground every weekend of the event so far, and have recorded over 300 pieces of wait-time data for the haunted houses.

Here’s the final result: field-tested touring plans, designed to help you tackle all eight mazes in a single evening without the use of extra-cost express passes — provided you pick the right night to attend (Wednesday or Thursday are best, Saturdays are worst, and Sunday can be surprisingly busy), arrive early, and stay late.

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Disneyland Resort Half-Marathon Weekend Traffic Alert

by on August 30, 2013

Image copyright Disney

If you are into the wonderful world of collecting runDisney medals, you undoubtedly already know that this weekend is not only Labor Day, but also the sold-out Half-Marathon Weekend at Disneyland Resort. But even if the only Disney running you do is to Peter Pan at rope drop, you should be aware of the athletic activities in case you were planning on an early morning visit to the Anaheim parks in the next few days.

Race-related activities kicks off this morning with the Disneyland Health & Fitness Expo, which continues until 5pm Saturday at the Disneyland Hotel. On Saturday (8/31) the 5k Family Fun Run and 10k race start at 5:15am and 6:15am, respectively, with Kids Races held in Downtown Disney at 10am. Finally, the Pasta in the Park party takes over a corner of Disneyland at 6pm (separate ticket required, sold-out).

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New “Mysteries of Magic” Experience Available to Disneyland Hotel Guests

by on May 26, 2013

Photo courtesy Orange County Register

The “early entry” hours offered to select ticket-holders and resort hotel guests at Disneyland are a wonderful way to experience the magic of the Happiest Place on Earth with minimal wait times. But what if you've been on every Fantasyland and Tomorrorland ride a million times, and are looking for a new way to spend the early A.M. inside Disneyland Park?

The brand-new “Mysteries of Magic” experience is now being offered during Tuesday and Thursday “Extra Magic Hours” exclusively to registered guests of the three Disneyland Resort on-site hotels. Participating guests will get to participate in a private workshop inside the Main Street Magic Shop, where they will “be amazed, mystified, and intrigued” as they are introduced to the world of performing prestidigitation.

Participants (who must be 5 years old or older) in the hour-long program will recieve personal instruction on performing several magic tricks, training materials, and a 10% discount on any items purchased from the Magic Shop during the session. The experience costs $10 per person (plus valid park admission) and space is limited. This may be a temporary or seasonal event, but no closing date is announced. See the concierge or front desk at your hotel for more information or to sign up.

This program is so new that we have not had a chance to try it yet. If you've experienced the new “Mysteries of Magic” event, please leave your impressions in the comments below.

 

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5 Ways to Start Your Day in Disney California Adventure

by on March 18, 2013

All photos by Seth Kubersky

Recently, I wrote about five of my favorite ways to begin my day at Disneyland Park. Until this past summer, Disneyland’s original park was most visitors’ first destination, with its little brother Disney California Adventure an afterthought on many itineraries.

Now, how the tables have turned: since last June’s grand re-opening of DCA, headlined by Cars Land and the Radiator Springs Racers E-Ticket, the former also-ran is often drawing as many (or even more) “first click” entries as its older sibling. That means more and more visitors are starting their Disney day on Buena Vista Street instead of Main Street, U.S.A.

As a result, we advise you arrive at DCA’s front gate at least 45 minutes before the official opening time; guests are typically allowed into the entry plaza at least 30 minutes early, and Disneyland’s current ID-checking procedures can make for slow lines at the turnstiles. Most importantly, don’t visit DCA on an Extra Magic Hour┬ámorning (currently Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday) unless you are staying in a Disney resort hotel and can take advantage of the early entry.

Once you are inside the park and awaiting rope drop, what to do? Here are my top five tips for making mornings at DCA more memorable:

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Extended February DCA Park Hours for Disneyland Annual Passholders

by on January 28, 2013

Image copyright Disney

In a surprise move, Disneyland Resort has quietly released details of a new limited-time perk for all Disneyland Annual Passholders. On Thursday nights in February 2013, Passholders can stay in Disney California Adventure for an extra 2 hours past the usual closing time. That’s 120 more minutes to enjoy the rides in Cars Land and elsewhere around Anaheim’s hottest attraction.

The program will only be offered on Thursdays, February 7, 14, 21, & 28. Passholders will be allowed to stay until 10pm on the 7th, 14th, and 28th, and until 11pm on the 21st.

In order to participate, you must arrive at DCA between noon and 90 minutes after the regular park closing time, in order to obtain a special wristband near the front turnstiles. A valid annual pass and photo ID are required; regular parking fees still apply.

Note that this temporary “stay late” program is in addition to the ongoing early entry perk, which allows annual Passholders into the parks an hour early on the weekends. That program runs through April 14, but is not available on February 3.

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Cars Land Survival Guide: General Admission

by on July 18, 2012

Arrive at DCA at least 45 minutes before park opening...

Looking for traffic avoidance advice as you drive down the crowded Route 66? Well, pull up to the pump and fill up on some free touring info, certain to make your first (or next) visit to Cars Land at at Disney California Adventure a little less fraught.

Recently, we related our step-by-step plan for surviving the Early Entry hour at Cars Land. Since the publication of that piece, Disnelyand announced the expansion of Extra Magic Hours for resort hotel guests to 7 days per week at both parks, now through September 13, 2012. Our advice is to take full advantage of the early admission programs if you are eligible for them, but that’s out of reach for the bulk of visitors this summer.

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Cars Land Survival Guide: Early Entry

by on July 11, 2012

7 a.m., seconds before rope from in Cars Land for Early Entry. (All photos by Seth Kubersky)

The new Cars Land attractions are barely three weeks old, but their popularity has already pushed the Disneyland Resort in general, and the Disney California Adventure park in particular, to record levels of attendance. The old conventional wisdom was that the sparsely-attended second gate didn’t require the same assiduous planning as its older sibling to enjoy in a single day. But at least until the Cars Land hoopla dies down — which we don’t expect to happen any time this summer — you’ll need an efficient itinerary to absorb all the relaunched park has to offer.

The 2013 edition of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland will soon be winging its way to the presses, packed with our brand-new optimized touring plans for tackling Disney California Adventure’s latest additions. Unfortunately, it will arrive on store shelves too late to help those of you planning to visit within the next few months. Therefore, in honor of the recently-passed Independence Day holdiay, we wave the flag of freedom from frustration, and offer you this “survival guide” to liberating yourself from the long lines in Cars Land.

As always, our number one advice is “Arrive early, arrive early, arrive early!” For the foreseeable future, as far as Cars Land is concerned, you’ll want to add at least two more “arrive earlies” to that mantra. Much of your touring strategy depends on whether you are eligible for one of the park’s Early Entry programs.

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Last Week at Disneyland Resort (6/17/2012 – 6/23/2012)

by on June 25, 2012

Welcome once again to our mostly-weekly wrap-up of what’s been happening at Disney’s Anaheim resort. Deepest apologies to anyone left bereft by the absence of this column, but the Touring Plans team was obviously occupied by a teensy-tiny little Grand Reopening that you may have heard about. Fret not: we’re back to bring you the news of everything that’s happened in the week since Cars Land and Buena Vista Street were unveiled to public.

Crowd Calendar

The new attractions at Disney California Adventure have rewritten attendance rules at the resort, and redefined what “busy” means.

Quietest Day: Thanks to Annual Pass blackouts, Saturday 6/23 was only a 3.8 at Disneyland and 5.4 at Disney California Adventure.

Busiest Day: Tuesday 6/19 was unofficially reported by Al Lutz as the highest-attended day in the history of Disneyland Resort, until the record was broken again on Wednesday with a 4.4 in Disneyland and 9.9 at DCA.

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