Posts Tagged ‘photos’

Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever August 27, 2015: Sunday Stroll at Port Orleans

by on August 27, 2015

Best Week Ever Port Orleans

Join the Best Week Ever parade and stroll through WDW’s Port Orleans resort (photos by Seth Kubersky).

Hold on to your beads, Best Week Ever readers, because we’re heading to the Big Easy! Long before the Art of Animation resort brought California Adventure’s Cars Land to Orlando in motel form, Walt Disney World’s Port Orleans hotels have stood as the East Coast analogue to Disneyland’s New Orleans Square, minus the animatronic pirates and ghosts.

 

It had been so long since I’d stayed at Port Orleans, that the last time I visited the section now known as Riverside was still named Dixie Landings. The resort has had quite a colorful history, including being partially shuttered for a time during the post-9/11 recession; check out this page at PortOrleans.org for a bit of background.

 

Since Port Orleans French Quarter and Riverside are our top picks among moderate resorts at Walt Disney World, I figured I was way past due for a return visit to WDW’s NOLA. And what better time to let the good times roll than bright and early on a Sunday morning?

 

Ok, 9 a.m. isn’t exactly “bright and early” for many people, but as a congenital night owl it’s the best I could do.

 

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever August 13, 2015: Animal Kingdom Area Hotels

by on August 13, 2015

After last week’s adventure to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we’re back with another beastly Best Week Ever that delves into your dwelling options in the neighborhood of Walt Disney World’s newest theme park. Let’s take a trip to the Animal Kingdom area hotels, starting with WDW’s weakest resorts and working our way up to some of its very best!

 

Disney’s All Star Resorts

Let’s begin at the bottom, and I’ll do my “best week ever” best to be as polite as possible: I’m not a big fan of the three value-priced All Star Resorts.

 

It’s been a long while since I’ve stayed overnight in one, but I remember them being large, loud, and largely lacking in the Disney magic of the more expensive on-site hotels.

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever July 16, 2015: Epcot Resort Hotels

by on July 16, 2015

Best week ever Epcot resort hotels

Explore the Boardwalk Inn and beyond in this Best Week Ever walk around the Epcot resort hotels (photos by Seth Kubersky)

Since so many of you enjoyed last week’s tour of the Magic Kingdom monorail hotels, for this edition of Best Week Ever we’re strapping on the sandals for a walk around the other Epcot lagoon. I’ll try to keep the commentary to a minimum this time and just let the pictures do the talking, as we take a tour of the Epcot resort hotels.

My morning started at the Boardwalk Inn, which (unlike some of the monorail resorts) is receptive to allowing off-site guests to park in their lot. A quick walk across the bridge and I’m back in the Atlantic City of the early 20th century!

Boardwalk Inn

 

 

 

The Boardwalk Inn’s public areas are full of lovely thematic details.

 

 

 

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever June 25, 2015: Rainy Day at Animal Kingdom

by on June 25, 2015

best Week Ever Animal Kingdom

Rain or shine, it’s another Best Week Ever at Disney’s Animal Kingdom (photos by Seth Kubersky)

The humidity percentage and heat index have both been hovering around one hundred in Orlando, so where better to spend an “Africa hot” Best Week Ever than in Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Kidding aside, Animal Kingdom holds a special place in my heart, since it’s the first Disney park I ever got to attend before its official opening date, and it remains to this day the most beautifully landscaped of Mickey’s American parks.

Unfortunately, Animal Kingdom is probably also my least-often-visited WDW park, partly because there are only three rides there that I consider must-dos. While I love the Broadway-style shows at DAK, and the animal walkthroughs are truly world-class, it’s inevitable that thrill attractions are what I first focus on when picking a park to attend, and that’s one area in which Animal Kingdom lacks — at least until Avatar-land comes online in 2017.

Happily, there are a number of improvements coming to Animal Kingdom before then, so I headed out on an overcast Friday afternoon to explore the newest one.

My day started out on an awkward foot, as only one tram was servicing the parking lot when I arrived. By the time it finally arrived and transported me to the entry plaza, I practically had to sprint past the front ticket booths…

 

…Through the touchpoints…

 

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever June 18, 2015: A Tale of Two Studios

by on June 18, 2015

Universal Studios Florida

Take a Best Week Ever tour of Orlando’s two Studios theme parks. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

Back to life, back to humidity…

Barely a week ago I was basking in the temperate glow of the Happiest Place on Earth, and now I’m once again enveloped in Orlando’s hot, moist embrace. What better way to celebrate my homecoming than with a visit to two of Orlando’s favorite theme parks with “Studios” in the name? (Okay, they’re also the only two.)

We’ll start with some random observations from around Universal Studios Florida, and then take a ride down I-4 to Disney’s Hollywood Studios on the first day of Frozen Summer Fun.

Universal Studios Florida

The day I picked to visit Universal Studios Florida was predicted to be a 7 on our crowd calendar, but actually came in at only a 4 (part of a trend of lower actuals at Universal Orlando last week). Even so, there was a healthy flow of visitors entering the resort as I arrived in late morning.

I missed Universal Studios Florida’s actual 25th anniversary on June 7th because I was busy visiting Universal Studios Hollywood, but I still picked up a couple of these commemorative 2-Park Guide Maps for my collection. You can snag one for yourself at either Universal Orlando park through June 20th.

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever: June 4, 2015 Busch Gardens Tampa

by on June 4, 2015

Welcome to the second installment of “Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever,” and let me start by thanking everyone for all your kind comments on my first column. This week, we are detouring outside of the immediate Orlando area and taking a road trip west on I-4 to Tampa. Last week, I was invited to Busch Gardens Tampa for a press announcement about the park’s 2016 roller coaster project, and I decided to stick around after the festivities to stroll around what might be Central Florida’s most underrated theme park.

My morning started with an eighty minute drive from downtown Orlando to Busch Gardens Tampa parking lot; if you are staying on Disney property, the trip is about twenty minutes shorter. Upon arrival, I was escorted to the park’s Egypt section, where MACK Rides is constructing a family-friendly spinning coaster called Cobra’s Curse behind the old Tut’s Tomb walkthrough.

Excavate a Best Week Ever at Busch Gardens Tampa (photos by Seth Kubersky)

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April 2015 Kongstruction Update and Jurassic Park Construction

by on May 1, 2015

Kongstruction

Kongstruction continues as Skull Island takes shape at Islands of Adventure. (photos by Seth Kubersky)

It’s been about six weeks since our last Kongstruction update, and progress on the exterior of Universal Orlando’s newest E-Ticket is still progressing rapidly.

Rumor has it that the yet-unannounced Islands of Adventure attraction may be titled Skull Island: Reign of Kong, and it appears on track for a 2016 debut.

Here’s our latest collection of construction photos, all taken (as always) from guest accessible locations.

First, a look at the King Kong project site from the Toon Lagoon side:

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Photo Gallery: 2015 Universal Orlando Spring Break Crowds

by on April 7, 2015

The Easter eggs have all been hunted, and the Passover seder plates are put away, but the 2015 spring break crowds have not yet departed from Orlando’s attractions. While wait times over the weekend weren’t quite as bad as initially predicted, it’s still been a very busy holiday week at Universal Orlando, as Universal Studios Florida and Islands of Adventure both experienced their heaviest attendance since New Year’s Day. In case you weren’t brave or foolish enough to experience Easter Week in person, here is a photo gallery of Universal Orlando spring break crowds to give you a virtual taste of last week’s madness.

Universal Studios Florida Spring Break Crowds

You know its going to be a busy day at USF when the temporary turnstiles in between the entry gates are in use.

Universal Orlando spring break crowds 2015

Spring break crowds descended on Universal Orlando last week. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

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Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto Soft Opening Photos and Video

by on March 31, 2015

Trader Sam's soft opening

Mystery, adventure, and lots of rum await at the Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto soft opening. (Photos and video by Seth Kubersky)

It took a couple days longer than originally expected, but WDW’s hotly anticipated Trader’s Sam Grog Grotto soft opening finally began on Saturday, March 28th. Of course, we were on hand when the new watering hole’s doors opened for the first time, in order to bring you these photos and video (it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it). So grab a bottle of rum and take a virtual visit to the Polynesian Village Resort‘s trendy tiki bar, minus the long line or hangover.

Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar in the Disneyland Hotel has a loyal following, and its east coast cousin looks to be a hit right out of the box, based on the crowds attending the Grog Grotto’s initial days of operation. For the first day of soft opening, some guests got in line 5 hours early, and by an hour before the 4 p.m. scheduled opening there were already well over 100 people waiting.

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More 2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Food Finds

by on March 21, 2015

While Epcot’s Flower and Garden Festival hasn’t yet caught up with the International Food and Wine fest in edible options, there are still more items to sample than any human stomach should attempt in a single day (trust us, we’ve tried). Therefore, I recently followed up my first visit to 2015 Flower and Garden Festival with another lap around World Showcase, this time in the opposite direction. The following photos show of some of my favorite Flower and Garden food finds from the western “hemisphere” of Epcot’s promenade, along with a closer look at a few of the floral arrangements we overlooked the first time around.

2015 Epcot Flower and Garden Food Finds

Let’s start with Urban Farm Eats, home to two of my favorite dishes at this year’s festival.

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