Posts Tagged ‘television’

Walt Disney World Resort Television

by on July 19, 2016

POR FQ TV ConsoleThere is so much information that you can take in and memorize before embarking on a Walt Disney World vacation…park hours and show times, what the restaurants are and what is on their menu, what is the music playing around the resort and where can you find it for your iPhone, so on and so forth.

There is also a ubiquitous part of your Walt Disney World Resort hotel room that you could potentially familiarize yourself with in advance–and perhaps you should because I’m talking about something you quite possibly have on for every waking moment spent in your room: the television. Walt Disney World resorts, like many hotels, do not simply follow an Orlando area cable or satellite provider. The channel lineup available in the resorts is decidedly Disney and much more varied than what you might find at a typical roadside hotel around the country.

The first few channels, and the ones that many Disney guests watch every day, are the ones programmed by Disney specifically for the resorts. Foremost is the Walt Disney World Resort “Must Do’s” with Stacey, a spunky 13-year-old inside a 23-year-old’s body who rides the newest and most popular rides while spouting the occasional touring tip and trivia fact. Just by the fact that you have pointed your web browser at this site, you are likely already more informed than any actual information you will glean from Stacey. Nevertheless, this channel is considered a Disney World tradition by many longtime guests and “watching the park tour channel over and over again” is something many people always remember after their trip. (If you haven’t visited Walt Disney World in many years, this took over the channel that formerly had the “Zip-A-Dee-Do-Dah Tip for Today.” And yes, the jingle is now stuck in my head too.) There are also channels displaying park hours and special events while others show round-the-clock infomercials for Disney Springs and the Disney Vacation Club.

Next up are the Orlando affiliates of the major television networks followed by the channels in the Disney cable portfolio, including every ESPN known to mankind. The ESPN networks are followed by other sports networks (some that I don’t even get on my cable package at home!) Notably missing however, are the Fox Sports networks: FS1 and FS2. Make note of this if you are hoping to catch post season baseball, college football, MLB Saturday broadcasts, or UFC, among others. For a more complete rundown of where to catch major sporting events on property, check out this article that I wrote last year.

The next few channels are other Walt Disney World resort exclusives, including one exclusively showing Disney cartoons including bedtime stories for young children in the early evening. (Note that I spoke to someone in guest services at Port Orleans French Quarter while researching this article and she stated that the bedtime stories also appear on the Disney Channel, channel 13.) More special resort channels show up near the end of the lineup including one on Adventures by Disney and another on safety around the resort (which probably should be emphasized a bit more in light of recent events.)

Everything else is typical American cable staples including  The Weather Channel, CNN, TBS, Food Network, History Channel, Lifetime, so on and so forth.

Read the rest of this entry »

American Ninja Warrior Invades Universal Studios Florida

by on May 6, 2015

American Ninja Warrior USF

American Ninja Warrior films at USF on May 10-12, 2015. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

American Ninja Warrior, an NBC and Esquire Network (originally G4) competition show based on the long-running Japanese hit Sasuke, has taken over the New York section of Universal Studios Florida for episode tapings that will take place after park hours on May 10th through 12th.

Tickets to attend the tapings, which will be held at 10:30pm, 12:30am, and 2:30am on Sunday night/Monday morning and Monday night/Tuesday morning, are almost completely sold out at this point, but you may still be able to join the wait list.

Read the rest of this entry »

TNA Wrestling Returning to Universal Studios Florida

by on November 4, 2013

TNA Wrestling Returns Universal

TNA Wrestling Impact is returning to Universal Studios Florida

Earlier this year, TNA Wrestling pulled up stakes and left its home in Universal Orlando’s soundstages, ending the resort’s last regular television production. Now, we have word of a reversal in course, as TNA Wrestling is returning to Universal Studios Florida and will resume regular filming there in November.

The first new episode of TNA Impact will be recorded live at Universal Orlando’s Soundstage 19 on November 21-23, 2013. In the past, guests wishing to be part of the studio audience could attend free of charge. Since production typically occurs inside the soundstages, we anticipate little to no impact on crowds or touring inside the parks on broadcast days. Keep an eye on Universal’s production website for information on how to attend.

Read the rest of this entry »

Keeping Up with the World While You’re at Walt Disney World: Part One, Television

by on December 15, 2011

One of the aspects of a Walt Disney World vacation that I enjoy the most is that you can easily live “in the bubble” and have no contact with the rest of the world. You can pretend that the world outside has disappeared and all that exists is Mickey Mouse and cupcakes and double rainbows and twinkling lights – kinda like the G-rated version of Vegas.

Double rainbow over the Contemporary

But what happens if you, gasp, want to have some news from elsewhere? What happens if you want a little non-Disney entertainment in your life? If you’re like me, your first instinct could be to power on the telly. (Sad, but true.)

Every hotel room on property has a television, or in the case of suites and villas, more than one television. But just because the TV is there, that doesn’t mean you’re going to get the same infinite number of channels that you have access to home. Nor is the Disney hotel TV experience anything like what you’ll find in other hotel situations – no pay per view first run films or soft core channels here. There’s no danger that the kiddos will accidentally encounter something untoward while they’re flipping through the channels. Depending on your point of view, this could be a godsend, or a bit of a bummer.

So what is available on your in-room TV?:

  • Major networks: ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, PBS, CW
  • A heavy dose of ESPN: ESPN, ESPN Classic, ESPN 2, ESPN News, ESPNU, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Wide World of Sports
  • Basic news: CNN, CNN Headline, MSNBC, CNBC, ABC News Now
  • Lifetime: Lifetime TV, Lifetime Movie Network
  • Specialty networks: The Weather Channel, BET, TBN, iOn, The Golf Channel, local independents
  • The comfort of home for international guests: Univision, Telefutura, DW (Deutsche Welle), TV Japan, CCTV (Central China Television)
  • The wonderful world of Disney media: Disney Channel, Radio Disney (delivering audio), Toon Disney, Disney XD, ABC Family, SoapNet (soon ending)
  • In-house channels: Must Dos at WDW, Walt Disney World Today (Park hours, Entertainment Schedules, etc), Disney Vacation Secrets Revealed (Disney Vacation Club sales propaganda), Your Disney Resort (info about your specific hotel), Your Next Disney Vacation (sales info for Disney Cruise Line, Adventures by Disney, other Disney parks), Company Clips (short segments of Disney TV shows and movies), Disney convention information, Duffy bedtime story
  • Spanish and close-captioned versions of several of the above

It's difficult to ignore the TV in the room

While the bare bones items are covered, a quick glance will tell you what’s missing: movie channels (HBO, Showtime, etc.), non-Disney children’s programming (anything Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, etc), cable staples (USA, Bravo, Food Network, Comedy Central, MTV, etc.), non-ESPN sports (MSG, CBS Sports, etc.), and much, much more.

Logically, the relative paucity of TV options make sense; the powers that be want you out in the parks buying t-shirts and Diet Coke, not holed up in your room glued to a Psych marathon. The heavy emphasis on Disney branded or controlled networks also scans. You are a captive audience, they’d be silly not to take advantage of this.

So what’s the big whoop? You’re there on vacation to see things and do things. Why do you care what’s on TV? Here are a few situations where the Disney TV situation may matter to you:

  • It’s time for the big game. I’ve been told by some (OK, my husband) that there are some football/baseball/basketball games that simply cannot be missed. But if YOUR game is not on the Florida version of a major network or ESPN, they you’ll need to find an alternative viewing venue. The obvious logical choice is the ESPN Club restaurant at the Boardwalk resort. They have a gazillion big screens, cold brew on tap, and hella good wings. The possible problem with this is that if the game is really, really big, then loads of other folks will have the same idea. During our 2010 Christmas visit to WDW, dear hubby trotted over to ESPN to watch the Giants in the playoffs (or something like that). When he got there, the wait to get inside was an hour and half long. He ended up watching the game at the bar of an off-campus Chili’s.
  • When it’s a special episode of a big show. Let’s face it, there are some TV programs that are events. You want to see them when they’re actually on – to be part of the cultural buzz. An example of this might be something like the season or series finale of a show like the Sopranos or Mad Men. Yes, of course you can set your Tivo to grab the show at home, or perhaps do a next-day download on to your iPad on iTunes (made somewhat easier with Disney’s recent easing of the Wifi reigns), but if you want real-time, you’ll have to belly up to that bar at Chili’s again. And that gets complicated when someone’s got to hang back and watch the kiddos.
  • When you’re trapped in your room. On several Disney visits, one of my kids has been slammed with an illness that required rest and recovery “house-bound” in the hotel room for a day or two. While Hannah Montana reruns will do the trick for a while, after hour seven or eight, you’re going to want some variety. If you’re in a villa-style room with a DVD player, you can run down to the gift shop to buy or rent a movie. Otherwise, you’re stuck. My solution, fill that iPad to the brim with kiddie favorites, just in case.
  • When you have a ritual viewing routine. Hubby and I like to watch the Daily Show before lights out. It’s familiar; it’s comforting; it frames the flow of our day. And it doesn’t happen at Walt Disney World. I’ve made my peace with this one. I’m happy to lulled into oblivion by the sonorous sounds of Stacy on her endless quest to explore the best of WDW. But hubby has complained about it during every one of our dozens of Disney visits. Forewarned is forearmed.
  • The Must Do is an unavoidable must watch

    In an upcoming post, I’ll explore what your on-site options are for newspapers, magazines, and books. But in the meantime, let us know what your experiences have been with the resort television situation. How do you cope without your usual lineup? Or are you too busy touring to even notice that there’s a set in the room? Let us know in the comments below.

    UPDATE: 3/28/12 Disney is expanding the television offerings at the resorts.