Posts Tagged ‘Magic Kingdom’

Head to head: Night of Joy vs. Rock the Universe

by on August 26, 2015

The weekend of September 11 and 12 is one of the holiest in Orlando, and it has nothing to do with a religious holiday. That’s when, for the past 17 years, both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resorts conduct their dueling Christian music festivals, gathering some of the biggest names in the genre and having all sorts of youths flocking to their parks after hours in even bigger numbers than normal.

Night of Joy 2015

Image © Disney

Disney started its Night of Joy event in 1983, while Universal jumped on the bandwagon with its Rock the Universe much later, in 1998. Despite that discrepancy in age, the two actually share a lot in common, and more than the identical dates: both festivals are hard-ticketed events (meaning you’ll need to purchase separate admission in order to get in) and typically feature musical acts that hop back and forth between the two.

That can make choosing one over the other something of a headscratcher, but don’t fret – that’s why we’re here to help. Below, find a complete comparison between the two on every important indicator, helping you to decide which will be more amenable to your family and your tastes (and, of course, your wallet).

Then, once you’ve made up your mind, be sure to let us know which way you’re going in the comments below.

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History of Walt Disney World’s Cinderella Castle

by on August 24, 2015

Photo - Rikki NiblettWhile washing after dinner dishes, I allow my brain time to wander.

Re-reading that first sentence, it makes me sound exactly like Cinderella. Do I have a future of being a Disney Princess after all?! Ahem, anyway….

Often, my mind will start planning future vacations. Where does it go approximately 99% of the time?

Walt Disney World.

My imagination starts at the entrance of Magic Kingdom. I hear the whistle of the steam train and the smell of popcorn. As I walk past Main Street, U.S.A. (stopping to grab Starbucks because parenting), my eyes dart straight ahead to a beautiful structure. A magnificent place I can only ever dream to live inside of: Cinderella Castle.

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2015 Night of Joy Performance Schedule Announced

by on August 21, 2015

Night of Joy

©Disney

Night of Joy is a hard-ticketed event that takes place in the Fall where contemporary Christian artists visit and perform at the Magic Kingdom. This year’s event is scheduled to take place on Friday, September 11, and Saturday, September 12. Night of Joy events take place from 7:30 p.m. until 1:00 a.m.

Well for those attending the event, we now have an official schedule of events for the evening. Performers play for about 40-50 minutes per set.

Friday, September 11th

CASTLE FORECOURT STAGE

  • 7:40 p.m. – Jeremy Camp
  • 9:45 p.m. – MercyMe
  • 11:55 p.m. – TobyMac

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever August 20, 2015: Magic Kingdom Farewell

by on August 21, 2015

In only two weeks, I’ll be boarding a plane to Amsterdam and leaving Orlando behind for a month-long European vacation — hopefully not the Chevy Chase kind. While across the pond, I’ll be exploring (and sharing with you, WiFi willing) some of the continent’s best theme parks, including Disneyland Paris. But my impending bon voyage means that my latest Best Week Ever visit to Walt Disney World will likely be my Magic Kingdom farewell until some time in October.

[Note: I realize that to people who don’t live in the Orlando area and only visit WDW every few years, the above sounds a bit ridiculous. But such is the life of a theme park writer, so try to suspend disbelief for the sake of this column.]

With that in mind, I documented this final summer stroll around Florida’s favorite theme park, in which I pulled off the amazing anti-achievement of only experiencing one single attraction during my entire afternoon. What ride or show did I pick for my final taste of the Magic Kingdom before departing the country? Read on and find out!

Let’s begin our Magic Kingdom journey the same way every guest’s visit starts: with a walk through the tunnel under the Main Street Train Station

 

And the dramatic reveal of Town Square:

 

It appears I’ve arrived just in time for the 3 o’clock parade! I wonder what time it is?…

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Magic Kingdom Attractions That Are Worth Your Time, Without Using FastPass+

by on August 19, 2015

The most attended theme park in the world can be a little intimidating, especially for a Disney “beginner.” With the advent of FastPass+ guests are clambering to ensure they select the right FastPass for the right attractions and the right time. Let’s take a look at the attractions at Magic Kingdom that don’t require FP+ so you can use those precious time slots for other attractions. We’ll also review the attractions that are definitely worth your time even if FastPass+ is not offered.

DSC01552

Tomorrowland

Some Disney fans might say that Tomorrowland is the land that time forgot. The problem with lands and attractions based on the future, is the future comes a lot faster than you realize and suddenly the concept becomes outdated. Space Mountain or Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin are decent FastPass+ options, but there are three attractions that are worthy of your time without needing to use valuable FP+ time slots.

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Happy HalloWishes Dessert Premium Package Introduced for Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

by on August 17, 2015

©Disney

©Disney

If you’re going to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom this year, then you’ll have the opportunity to participate in a brand new dessert party called the Happy HalloWishes Dessert Premium Package.

This special opportunity will offer guests a premium viewing location at the flag pole in Town Square on Main Street U.S.A. for Mickey’s Boo To You Parade. After the parade, guests will then make their way over to the Tomorrowland Terrace where they will be able to experience a special dessert party. From here, you’ll be able to catch the Happy HalloWishes fireworks show.

The dessert party will feature lots of great Halloween-themed treats chocolate-dipped strawberries, adorable ghost meringues, candy corn panna cotta, peanut butter-chocolate pretzel “witch fingers,” spiced pumpkin cheesecake brownies, peanut butter “spider” whoopie pies, seasonal fruits and cheeses, and yes, seasonal cupcakes. Beverages will include sparkling cider, lemonade, hot chocolate, coffee or tea. Guests will also receive a skull mug filled with candy as a trick-or-treat takeaway. 

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Jungle Skipper Canteen Restaurant Headed to Magic Kingdom

by on August 14, 2015

Copyright Disney

Copyright Disney

The first Walt Disney World D23 Expo announcement has been made. The Jungle Skipper Canteen is headed to the Magic Kingdom!

While full details are scarce still, the restaurant will be located in Adventureland, in the former location of the Adventureland Veranda.

Guests who wish to dine at this establishment will get to enjoy “World Famous Jungle Cuisine”for both lunch and dinner served by Jungle Cruise skippers in one of the many themed rooms, including a crew mess hall or a once hidden, secret meeting room of the Society of Explorers and Adventurers. Menu items will be inspired by flavors of Africa, Asia, and South America.

Guests have been seeing this area under construction for months, so it’s nice to get official confirmation that the rumors of a Jungle Cruise-themed restaurant is indeed coming to the park.

It won’t be long until this restaurant officially opens–it is expected to be open by the end of 2015. Stay tuned and I will release more information about this exciting, and what should be extremely popular restaurant as I learn it.

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Your FastPass+ Priorities for the Magic Kingdom

by on August 13, 2015

I recently updated the FastPass+ recommendations for each of our 50 Magic Kingdom Touring Plans, using our latest computer models to save you the most time in line. The biggest change is that Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is recommended more frequently, because FastPass+ reservations are more readily available now than when the ride first opened.

As before, each of the touring plans suggests the FastPass+ recommendations you should make in advance of your visit, like this:

Suggested start times for FastPass+ reservations:
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train = 9 AM
Peter Pan’s Flight = 10 AM
Enchanted Tales with Belle = 11 AM

I also added new recommendations for day-of FastPass+ reservations you can get at the Magic Kingdom’s in-park kiosks, after you’ve used your original set. These are based on our statistician Steve Bloom’s excellent analysis of when day-of FastPasses run out for each attraction. Here’s what the new recommendations look like:

You should be able to get day-of FastPass+ reservations starting around lunchtime. Here’s what we suggest:

Buzz Lightyear = 3:30 PM
Pirates of the Caribbean = 7 PM

When I updated the plans, I kept count of many times each attraction was identified as needing FastPass+. If you’re building your own touring plan, or you prefer an unstructured tour, this list shows the hot spots in the Magic Kingdom:

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Custom Mickey Ears Tutorial and Giveaway

by on August 13, 2015

Custom Mickey Ears 1

Planning outfits is one of the best parts of a trip!

I love building up excitement before trips to Disney World. I think it stems from my love of planning: planning meals, planning FastPass+ selections, and even planning outfits. Ohhhhh, I love planning outfits for Disney! Whether you view it as Disney bounding or just spirited dressing, I love focusing on every aspect, down to the details (except for shoes – my feet demand comfort in Disney, so it’s tennis shoes 99% of the time!). One of my favorite details is my custom Mickey ears.

To make a (very) long story short, a little over a year ago I wanted some custom ears, and I knew I could make something better than what I saw on Etsy (certainly cheaper), so I set out to create my own pattern. Since then, I’ve perfected the design, and I’m very pleased to be able to share this tutorial with you. If you’ve got some basic sewing skills and can wield a hot glue gun, I’m confident you can make your own custom Mickey ears, too!

Do you feel like maybe your crafting skills aren’t up to snuff to make your own Mickey ears? No problem! Read through to the end of the post for how you can enter to win your very own custom Mickey ears, made by me!

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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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