Ok theme park fans, it’s time to talk turkey! If you want to have the Best Week Ever at Walt Disney World, common wisdom says that the Thanksgiving holiday isn’t the most stress-free time to visit in terms of attendance. In fact, the last week of November can be one of Orlando’s busiest seasons, right behind Christmas Week and Spring Break. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a great time in the parks this week, as long as you go in armed with some advice from your friends at Touring Plans, plus a whole lot of patience. To prove the point, I recently spent an afternoon elbow-to-elbow with Magic Kingdom Thanksgiving Week crowds to bring you this turkey day travelogue. Hopefully you won’t find it too fowl!
Violating the first rule of holiday touring, I showed up at the Magic Kingdom not at rope drop, but at high noon, just as park attendance should be reaching its peak. Much to my surprise, I was parked not in outer Siberia, but in the Zurg section of the Villains lot, right night to medical parking. From here I could walk to the TTC as easily as taking the tram, a nice treat on a busy day.
See videos of Straight Outta Food Truck and 3 other new Universal Studios Florida street shows. (Videos by Seth Kubersky)
Between the end of Halloween Horror Nights 25, and the recent permanent closures of Disaster and Twister, Universal Orlando has said farewell to a long list of attractions in the past few weeks. But when one door closes, another opens — or in this case, four new Universal Studios Florida street shows have opened.
To be accurate, some of these shows aren’t exactly brand new; one has played seasonally at USF for years, and others have been in previews for a month or more. But Universal finally added them as official attractions on the most recent park maps, so we are bringing you a look at these entertainment additions with full videos of each new production. None are worth making a special trip to the park for, and their combined attendance won’t approach the capacity of the major rides recently closed, but all four shows are worthy of 15 minutes out of your day if you are in the area when one begins.
Start celebrating the holidays at the Magic Kingdom with the 2015 Jingle Cruise (Photos/video by Seth Kubersky)
It seems like it was only last week that we were celebrating Halloween…oh wait, it was only last week. Well, never mind the 90 degree weather, the winter holidays have arrived at Walt Disney World! Only days after it was decked out with spirited All Hallows decor, the Magic Kingdom is already dressed for Christmas. And to start the season in safari style, the 2015 Jingle Cruise has docked in Adventureland, bringing holiday cheer to the world-famous Jungle Cruise attraction.
First, let’s take a stroll from the entrance’s poinsettia planter and up Main Street U.S.A., where a towering Christmas tree has made its annual appearance:
It’s been a little over a month since I left Europe behind, but I’ve still got a wealth of international Disney fun left that want to share. I’ve already raved about the walk-through attractions at Disneyland Paris, but today we’re taking a hard look at some of the park’s rides and shows. Every hardcore Disney fan has probably already heard about the Paris park’s unique takes on Disneyland originals like Space Mountain and Haunted Mansion (a.k.a. Phantom Manor). However, you may not know about some other Anaheim originals that have also migrated across the Atlantic, and mutated along the way. Just in case you can’t afford to fly off to France to see them for yourself, here’s a video head-to-head comparing four Disneyland Paris attractions against their Disneyland equivalents.
Disneyland Storybook Land Canal Boats vs. Disneyland Paris Le Payes des Contes de Fees
One of the oldest operating attractions at Disneyland, Fantasyland’s Storybook Land Canal Boats benefit greatly from exquisite horticultural design and live narration.
Disneyland Paris has the superficially similar Le Payes des Contes de Fees, but it replaces the human guide with recorded music, and the agricultural detail isn’t nearly as meticulous.
As a closing cast crew-member of Ghostbusters (it was my first gig at USF back in 1996) I never entirely warmed up to the show that replaced it, as the effectiveness of Twister’s effects varied widely throughout the attraction’s 17 year lifespan. But if you’re a fan of “so bad it’s good” entertainment, the aggressive ennui emanating from stars Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt was absolutely priceless, making Twister a strong candidate for Orlando’s best worst attraction.
Pirates in the Caribbean fireworks, one of 4 must-see shows on the DCL Magic (videos by Seth Kubersky).
The Disney Cruise Line is famed for its live entertainment offerings, and the DCL Magic is no exception. Despite being the oldest ship in the fleet, the Magic has some of DCL’s freshest shows, which I was lucky enough to experience on my recent Transatlantic crossing. You can’t go wrong with any of the mainstage production in the Walt Disney Theater — I’m particularly partial to Disney Dreams, and am excited to see the new Tangled musical — but there are tons of other live shows around the boat that you shouldn’t overlook. If you are stuck on dry land dreaming of sailing the seven seas with Mickey, whet your whistle with these new videos of 4 must-see Disney Cruise Line shows from the DCL Magic.
Freezing the Night Away Deck Party
Ok, this first entry might be stretching the “must-see” moniker for most adults, but if your kids are still Elsa-crazed you aren’t going to want to skip this one. Freezing the Night Away with Anna, Elsa and Friends is a relatively recent addition to the DCL deck party rotation, which debuted earlier this year on the Disney Wonder, and was subsequently added to the Magic. It serves as the capstone to a full day of Frozen-themed activities, including a chocolate scavenger hunt, maypole dance, and special Norwegian-inspired dinner menu.