Posts Tagged ‘Magic Kingdom’

Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever July 9, 2015: WDW Monorail Hotels

by on July 9, 2015

Best Week Ever WDW monorail hotels

Take a Best Week Ever grand circle tour of Disney’s Grand Floridian and the other WDW monorail hotels. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

Welcome aboard another Best Week Ever, where we’re off on a “grand circle tour” at the Vacation Kingdom. That phrase may have brought to mind the iconic Walt Disney World Railroad, but there is another kind of transportation loop at the Magic Kingdom — and this one is (mostly) free to enjoy, well without paying admission anyway. I recently spent an afternoon exploring Walt Disney World’s monorail hotels via foot, boat, and (of course) monorail.

 

Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

I began my tour of the WDW monorail resorts at the recently retro-named Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort because it is the easiest to access from the Transportation and Ticket Center’s parking lot. (The hotel’s parking lot is reserved for guests with room or dining reservations, and we’d never sanction sneaking in…)

 

Current map of Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

The “Poly” has seen plenty of changes in the last couple years, and the transformation isn’t finished yet, as you can tell by the construction walls that confront you along the approach from the TTC.

 

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Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes – 7/7/15

by on July 7, 2015

Happy Tuesday! I’m here with some more little nuggets that will help make your next Walt Disney World vacation that much better. (Well, hopefully.) Who’s ready to jump right in to the fun?

  • The Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party at the Magic Kingdom has officially been replaced by the Wishes Dessert Party. The new version is relatively similar to the previous version, with a few additional desserts, and a higher cost–$49.00 per adult (ages 10 and up) and $29.00 per child (ages 3-9).
  • Also at the Magic Kingdom, as a reminder, Liberty Tree Tavern is now closed for refurbishment as they work on the kitchen area.
  • There has also been a character meet and greet location change. Now guests can meet some of your favorite characters from The Princess and the Frog at Heritage House in Liberty Square. The location was previously a FastPass+ Kiosk Station and prior to that, the location sold merchandise.
  • The Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party will be presented at only 12:30 p.m. and 5:40 p.m. on the following dates:  July 10, July 14, July 15, July 21, and July 22.

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Six Sunny Day Observations from the Magic Kingdom

by on July 5, 2015

sunny day observations from magic kindgom

Blue skies and white clouds over Cinderella Castle on a recent afternoon in the Magic Kingdom (photos/video by Seth Kubersky)

If you follow my Best Week Ever column, you know that I’ve had the dubious fortune of getting exceedingly damp during my last few visits to Walt Disney World. You may have even begun to believe that I carry my own storm clouds around with me, like a cursed Douglas Adams character. So, I thought it was time to sweep away the clouds with six sunny day observations from the Magic Kingdom, where I (miracle of miracles) recently spent an entire afternoon with barely a drop of rain.

Same-Day FastPasses Aren’t Extinct

On my most recent Magic Kingdom visit, I was breaking in my brand-new blue MagicBand, which I received free via mail as a renewing Annual Passholder. (After a few more years I should have the whole color collection). And what better use for a new MagicBand than FastPass+ attraction reservations?

Of course, you may assume that by showing up on a busy summer afternoon and not checking for FastPass availability until I was riding the tram to the TTC, I’d be out of luck. But much to my delight, I was able to secure some decent ride times, after a bit of fiddling with the MyDisneyExperience system.

Pro Tip: The MDE mobile website is much more user-friendly than Disney’s smartphone app when searching for alternate time slots.

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Selfie Sticks Now Banned Across Walt Disney World Property

by on June 26, 2015

IMG_8629

©Seth Kubersky

Due to safety concerns, selfie sticks (the extendable poles where you can attach a phone or a camera to the end) are now banned property-wide across the Walt Disney World Resort. This means you cannot use them at the theme parks, the water parks or DisneyQuest Interactive Theme Park. This new rule will go into effect on June 30.

Guests who attempt to bring selfie sticks into the park will be stopped at bag check and they will be escorted to Guest Relations where the device will be tagged and the Guest will be given a claim ticket to retrieve it upon exit. For those who get caught using a selfie stick in a park, a Cast Member will escort the guest to a regional Guest Relations area where the device will be tagged and a claim ticket will be given to the guest. Again, the Guest will be able to claim their selfie stick as they exit.

All guests must relinquish their selfie sticks, they cannot simply put them away if a Cast Member approaches them about it.

Recently, Disney banned selfie sticks on attractions, however, it seems that more drastic measures needed to be taken regarding these devices.

What are your thoughts on the ban? Do you think it’s a good idea or were you a fan of the selfie stick?

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Independence Day Will Be a Blast at Walt Disney World

by on June 23, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

If you will be visiting Walt Disney World during the Fourth of July weekend, you will have a lot of fun activities in store! It will be a magical two day celebration to honor America’s Birthday! (It will not be a salute to all nations, but mostly America. This will be a full blown salute to America!)

For those who are looking to celebrate the holiday with blowing stuff up, you will be covered with fireworks on both Friday, July 3 and Saturday, July 4.

  • The Magic Kingdom will show “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” at 10:00 p.m.
  • At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Coolest Summer Ever Dance Party will segue into the “Rockin’ Fourth of July Celebration” fireworks show.  It will be a rock n’ roll tribute across America. The DJ will start at 5:45 p.m. and the fireworks will start at 10:15 p.m.
  • Epcot will have a special Fourth of July tag at the end of IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth, which will take place at 9:00 p.m. In addition, you won’t want to miss the special Fourth of July concert from Voices of Liberty at the America Gardens Theatre at 12:30 p.m., 1:45 p.m., and 3:00 p.m.  They will then move inside the American Adventure Pavilion for shows at 4:15 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.  Oh and don’t miss Don’t Look Back, a Boston tribute band who will be performing at the America Gardens Theatre at 5:15 p.m., 6:30 p.m., 7:45 p.m., and 9:00 p.m. Guests will also be able to meet patriotic characters throughout the day.

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Conquering the Magic Kingdom Mountains in an Hour

by on June 22, 2015

Photo courtesy of WDWnews.com

Photo courtesy of WDWnews.com

While it’s true that the Magic Kingdom is home to a number of classic family attractions, such as “it’s a small world” and the Jungle Cruise, the park is also home to a number of thrill rides promising speed, drops, and screams!

It seems, however, that at the Magic Kingdom there is a rule that the park’s thrill rides must be delivered in the form of mountains. Attractions such as Splash Mountain and Space Mountain are some of the park’s most popular and both are known to flood their queues with guests and evaporate those FastPass+ reservations. This causes guests like myself to plan and strategize on how to get that adrenaline fix without wasting valuable park time in line.

Usually I trust FastPass+ or a Magic Kingdom Touring Plan to get me on these mountain-shaped attractions without suffering long waits, but during my last trip I had a crazy thought — Can you conquer the Magic Kingdom Mountains in an hour? Feeling confident, as well as caffeinated, I decided to find out.

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Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes – 6/17/15

by on June 17, 2015

Welcome back to another edition of Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes! The place for all your small, yet important Disney news! It has been a while again since I’ve had news like this to report, but the desk is full of small pieces of paper again, so I figured it was about time to clean off the desk and get the news to you! So, let’s get right to the good stuff!

  • Attention those planning 2016 Walt Disney World vacations! 2016 WDW vacation packages will be released on June 22.
  • Splash Mountain at the Magic Kingdom is now open during evening Extra Magic Hours.
  • Beginning on July 3, Tony’s Town Square Restaurant will serve guests continuously from 11:00 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. as opposed to offering separate lunch and dinner meal periods. The menu will continue to feature Italian specialties including pizza, pasta, and salad.
  • Beginning this week, the bats on Maharajah Jungle Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be offstage for anywhere from 4-6 weeks while the exhibit is refurbished. During the refurbishment, the area will be inaccessible to guests. The Wilderness Explorers bat badge will continue to be distributed in the breezeway outside the exhibit.
  • The Wave…of American Flavors at Disney’s Contemporary Resort has new breakfast and lunch hours. The breakfast buffet and a la carte will run from 7:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m.  The breakfast buffet only will be available from 11:00 a.m. until 11:45 a.m. Finally, lunch begins at 12:00 p.m.
  • At Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, beginning on July 5, the fitness center, salon and Casitas leisure pool will be closed for maintenance.  During this time, guests can visit the feature pool and the other two leisure pools at the resort. Additionally while the work is being completed, a temporary fitness center will be set up in the Casitas area. This refurbishment work is expected to last until October 12.
  • Guests staying at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort will be able to experience poolside service from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. daily at the Lava Pool Deck and beach.  Guests can choose to enjoy cocktails, flatbreads, sandwiches, kid’s meals, desserts and more delivered right to their spot in the sand.

That’s it for this edition…thoughts?

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Walt Disney World Speedway Closing for Parking Lot Expansion

by on June 16, 2015

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.

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Disney World Attractions in Need of a Revamp

by on June 3, 2015

Escape the heat by enjoying the Carousel of Progress.

One of the aspects that I feel truly separates Disney Parks from other theme parks is the presence of “classic” attractions. By classic attractions, I mean those that might not have state of the art technology by today’s standards, or cost the size of a small island, but remain relevant, charming, and downright fun years or even decades later. Attractions like Splash Mountain, The Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean are just a few examples of these that come to mind. As brilliant as Disney Imagineers are, there is an occasional attraction misstep from time to time, which is inevitable.

It’s incredibly difficult to determine what’s going to resonate with audiences at any one moment, let alone ten, twenty, or fifty years from now. For a variety of reasons, some attractions just don’t age well and feel outdated rather than classic. Most of the time those attractions are replaced (see most of Disney’s California Adventure) but other times, they remain. Below, I’ve listed some attractions that I believe fit this description. These aren’t outright bad attractions per se, but they are ones that have the potential to be really fantastic with a revamp or retheming.

Without further ado, here are some attractions in need of a “tune up” along with what could be done to make them better and my suggestions for what attractions to go on instead.

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Best Magic Kingdom Attractions for Teen Boys

by on June 2, 2015

The Disney Parks were designed with families in mind, to serve as escapes from the real world; where parents and kids can have fun together. But have you ever noticed that a certain element of the family tends to be overlooked? Do you know what it is? It’s the demographic Disney forgot: Teen Boys.

Now, I’m not a teenage boy, but I do have a teenage brother who loves Disney World, despite the lack of commercials and ads directed toward his age group: So I sat down with him for the scoop on what Disney World has to offer teen boys like himself. In the past I’ve covered the Best Disney World Restaurants for Teen Boys and Best Disney World Resorts for Teen Boys, but for today I’m focusing on the Magic Kingdom in this installment of The Demographic Disney Forgot: Best Magic Kingdom Attractions for Teen Boys.

10. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

One of the Magic Kingdom’s newest additions, the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is very popular (and known for its lengthy wait times). This gentle coaster focuses on the Seven Dwarfs from Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as guests ride in swinging mine carts in and out of the mine where a million diamonds shine! I consider it to be the perfect family ride in that it’s gentle enough for little ones, but still manages to entertain older kids. My teen Disney Bro admits that the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is rather tame, but the ride experience is smooth and a lot of more fun than just passing by scenes on a slow moving track. Also, the audio-animatronic dwarfs inside the mine are really impressive and worth seeing!

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