Find out how the iPhone 6 Plus holds up at WDW’s Magic Kingdom (images by Seth Kubersky)
It took nearly two months of waiting, but my precious pre-ordered iPhone 6 Plus finally arrived last week. And where was one of the first places I took it? Why, Walt Disney World, of course! When Apple’s supersized smartphone debuted back in September, this Techcrunch article on using the new “phablet” inside Disneyland caught my eye. Since theme park reporting is one of the primary reasons I upgraded my iDevice, I wanted to write this companion piece sharing my initial experiences using the iPhone 6 Plus at WDW’s Magic Kingdom.
Yes, the iPhone 6 Plus is freaking ginormous, especially for the first few hours you hold it. Then it starts to seem normal, and your old phone begins to look puny in comparison. While riding attractions, the phone fit fine in the front pocket of my not-so-skinny jeans, and emerged again afterwards with nary a bend in sight.
Last year’s inaugural Jingle Cruise was criticized for confining the custom scenery largely to the Jungle Cruise’s boathouse queue, and for some jokes that were staler than fruitcake. As you can see in the following Jingle Cruise POV videos, more holiday decor has been installed along the riverbanks, and the spiel has been adjusted appropriately to reflect the additions.
The Cabana Bay garden bridge opened recently, and even though the walkway between the hotel and CityWalk isn’t yet fully landscaped, I wanted to capture the following POV video to give you a feel for this new path’s potential:
Unfortunately, this new flag-waving act didn't fare any better in my estimation than it did in Daisy's. As a fan of drum and flag corps, I was really looking forward to this show. But while there were a few impressive tricks, overall I was deeply disappointed with this troupe's poor performance quality.
While the lead performer (who executes an amazing foot-juggling solo) was excellent, the rest of the group was sloppy, unenthusiastic, and shockingly unprofessional, chatting casually with each other during the show.
While the show I witnessed gathered and retained a slightly larger audience than when Daisy saw them, it seemed singnficantly smaller than what the Ziti Sisters used to attract. Without some serious improvements to show quality, I can't see it lasting very long.
DHS’s Studio Backlot Tour and Catastrophe Canyon is now an ex-attraction. (Photos and video by Seth Kubersky)
The operating day has just ended at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and with it the sun has set on the final day for the park’s Studio Backlot Tour and Catastrophe Canyon. The behind-the-scenes tram tour, which saw its closing day of operations today (Saturday, September 27, 2014), ended its career a pale shadow of its former self. But the tour originally served as the thesis attraction of the Disney/MGM Studios park, much as Spaceship Earth is for Epcot and Killimajaro Safaris for Animal Kingdom.
What was once a multi-part, multi-hour tour that delved into nearly every aspect of old-school movie making had long ago been whittled down to a brief special effects water tank demonstration, followed by a tram ride through the park’s mostly dormant backlot. Even so, there were still glimmers of the epic original attraction to be found along the Studio Backlot Tour, especially in its explosive Catastrophe Canyon centerpiece, which continued to wow guests right up until closing day.
The World Showcase Players are just one of the popular shows that closed this week at Epcot (photo & video by Seth Kubersky).
As you’ve probably already heard, Walt Disney World has given the pink slip to several popular Epcot World Showcase shows, which held their final performances this week. I spent a stormy Tuesday afternoon catching up with a few of these old favorites with one final viewing, and wanted to share some video of these now-extinct Epcot World Showcase shows.
Off Kilter, the popular Canadian Celtic rockers, were unfortunately off duty during my visit. But I captured closing-week performances from three of their compatriots: Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps, MO’ROCKIN, and World Showcase Players.
Watch these videos and see World of Color in a whole new way. (images by Seth Kubersky)
Just as Walt famously said that the Disney empire “all started with a mouse,” the magic of Touring Plans all started with a book — namely, the Unofficial Guide. As co-author (with Bob Sehlinger and Len Testa) of The Unofficial Guide to Disneyland, I’m proud to announce that preliminary work is complete on the 2015 edition of our Anaheim guidebook, which will make its way to store shelves in plenty of time for the resort’s upcoming 60th anniversary. Naturally, we’ll continue to refine the text right up until the time it is sent to the printers later this year, and we’ll be bringing you details on the changes made to the tome as its publication approaches in the fall. But for now, I wanted to share a tiny taste of a couple of the changes coming to the Unofficial Guide, via a few fun Disney California Adventure videos — featuring the Mariachi Divas and World of Color — that I recorded during my most recent visit to the Happiest Place on Earth.
The Mariachi Divas are one of my favorite under-the-radar entertainment diversions found at Disney California Adventure, but until now they’ve be unjustly under-represented in the Unofficial Guide to Disneyland. We’ve rectified that with an an expanded entry on this fabulously festive singing group.
When you get tired of relaxing by Cabana Bay’s pool, use this transportation guide to get to Universal’s theme parks (photos by Seth Kubersky).
Cabana Bay Beach Resort, the newest Loews-operated on-site hotel at Universal Orlando, only opened at the end of March, but if you’ve been following our coverage – from my mega-sized photo gallery from opening day to Derek Burgan’s Saturday Six devoted to the property – you may feel like you’ve already stayed there. One aspect of Universal’s first moderately priced hotel that many readers have asked for more information about is the transportation options available to guests of Cabana Bay. As you may have heard, Cabana Bay does NOT offer water taxi service like Universal’s original 3 luxury properties. So I spent a recent sunny afternoon testing various methods of getting from the hotel to the parks (and vice versa), in order to bring you this comprehensive Cabana Bay transportation guide.
Parking at Cabana Bay
Cabana Bay doesn’t offer valet parking, but that deficit is offset by a $10 daily self-parking rate for hotel guests, which is significantly cheaper than parking at the other Universal hotels. Parking lots ring the hotel, so you can park right alongside your room. Unfortunately, high parking rates for non-guests ($8 for 5 to 30 minutes, $20 for 30 minutes to 24 hours) make it expensive for locals to drop in and knock down some pins at the Galaxy bowling alley.
Opening night at Universal Studios Florida Mardi Gras 2014 (photos & video by Seth Kubersky)
Fat Tuesday may not arrive until March 4, according the the Catholic calendar, but Mardi Gras is already in full effect at Universal Studios Florida. Opening night on February 8 of Universal’s Mardi Gras 2014 celebration included a concert by American Idol star Daughtry, and the premiere of new Jules Verne-themed floats in the 2014 Mardi Gras Parade. Even intermittent rain didn’t diminish the considerable crowds who came out for Mardi Gras 2014‘s damp debut, though slick streets did ground the stiltwalkers.
Derek Burgan will be back in the coming weeks with a couple Mardi Gras-themed “Saturday Six” columns, but until then I wanted to bring you a virtual taste of the festivities.