Posts Tagged ‘walt disney world’

2014 Grand Floridian Easter Eggs

by on April 18, 2014

One of the things I love most about writing for Touring Plans is that it encourages me to go out and see things I would have skipped in the past. If you can believe it this is the third annual Easter Egg display at the Grand Floridian, but the first year I’ve stopped by for a visit. I have each and every one of you to thank, because the display is incredible! I couldn’t think of a better way to wish everyone a happy Easter and to share some photos! First the lovely Briar Rose:

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And on the reverse side of the princess is her Prince Phillip. Can you believe each of these eggs is between 16 – 20 inches tall and weighs over 9 pounds even though they are hollow? Also, in frame you can see a non-Disney themed egg. There are eighteen eggs on display this year so I couldn’t feature all of them. Though I focused on the Disney eggs there are others that are more traditional or themed after famous works of art. They are all exquisite!

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Magic Kingdom FastPass+ Parade and Fireworks Viewing Tips and Observations

by on April 17, 2014

FastPass+ parade and fireworks viewing tips

Get a VIP view with FastPass+ parade and fireworks viewing areas at the Magic Kingdom (photos by Seth Kubersky)

Welcome to the future of fireworks and parades at Walt Disney World! In recent weeks, as the final rollout of FastPass+ has concluded in the Disney World parks, I’ve been sharing my experiences using the system as an Annual Passholder at Epcot, as well as at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Since my last post, FastPass+ has been fully implemented for all Disney World guests, including day-guests not staying on Disney property, and I’ve finally had the opportunity to experience one of the most controversial aspects of the new system. Without further ado, here are my FastPass+ parade and fireworks viewing tips, based on my personal observations at the Magic Kingdom.

 

Festival of Fantasy FastPass+ Parade Viewing

When the features of FastPass+ were first announced, the private reserved viewing areas for parades and other spectaculars were the aspect I was most skeptical (even cynical) about. Personally, such performances are usually very low on my priority list during a park visit for several reasons. Most of the parades had grown quite stale to me from years of over-exposure, I have an aversion to spending valuable touring time staking out a spot of asphalt just to get a good view, and I can’t abide being crammed like sardines in the crowd that accompanies the procession. So I would normally use that time to take advantage of marginally shorter queues at my favorite attractions. If I did want to see a parade, I’d typically walk up a minute or so before it started, and make do with a partial view blocked by the sea of shoulder-sitting small-fries in front of me. With a limit (soon to be lifted) of only 3 FastPass+ reservations per day, I couldn’t see myself “wasting” one on something like a parade when Space and Splash are beckoning.

This is currently the closest you can get to Anna and Elsa from Frozen without a mult-hour wait for their meet & greet.

 

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Fireworks & Fun at Fort Wilderness Campground

by on April 11, 2014

IMG_1752I recently got an SOS call from a friend visiting Walt Disney World from out of state. He’d had it with the crazy spring break crowds but he’d promised his kids a fun night and a view of the fireworks. Without hesitation I knew it was time to let him in on one of the best kept secrets on all of Disney property. I told him to walk out of the Magic Kingdom and hop the boat to Fort Wilderness Campground. No, I wasn’t suggesting that he go camping! But I did think his kids would enjoy all the fun (and affordable) recreation options. Not to mention the empty front row viewing for the fireworks! So now I’ll let you in on the same tips I gave him just in case you find yourself in a pinch.

The most important topic to cover at the Campground is transportation. It can be a little daunting at first glance, but it’s actually really simple! The campground has its own internal bus system to take you to various sites. So if you bus in from anywhere on property you’ll end up at their internal bus stop and have to catch another bus to get to the activities. At this bus stop there’s a map with color coded routes. I’ve included the color information below, but it’s always good to double check it as things change. If you take a boat from the Magic Kingdom, it will drop you off at The Settlement, which happens to be where you can find most of the fun.

The Settlement (Route Yellow and Purple at the time of writing) will likely be your main destination when visiting the campgrounds. You can find all the activities listed below there and even more listed here. It’s important to bring cash or your Disney World Resort room key for charging as credit and debit cards are widely not accepted here. Also, more than any other place at Disney schedules seem to change at the Wilderness Campground frequently. If there is any experience you have your heart set on, it’s best to call in advance to verify times and availability. That’s enough business – let’s get to the fun!

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Frozen Out: Searching for an Elsa doll at Disney World

by on April 10, 2014

Elsa doll Disney World

Searching for an Elsa doll or toy at Disney World? Join the club! (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

My family up north doesn’t necessarily share or understand my theme park obsessions, but every so often they call upon my Orlando expertise. Recently, my young niece lost her mind over Frozen (much like half of America, it seems) and wants an Elsa doll more than life itself.

Unfortunately, it seems Barbie-sized “Sparkle Princess” figures of this frigid sister are scarcer than snowmen in summer, as toy stores throughout the New York and Philadelphia regions are chronically out of stock. So I gallantly volunteered to play the heroic uncle by finding one and bringing it to her during my upcoming visit. Surely it would be simple to find an Elsa doll inside one of Walt Disney World’s infinite gift shops…or so I foolishly thought.

I was so wrong.

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Epcot Observations: March 23, 2014

by on March 26, 2014

Despite the overcast skies, Sunday, March 23, was a beautiful day to visit Epcot. But it wasn’t the first park I tried that day. At 8:30am I was rolling up to the parking plaza for Magic Kingdom, but it looked more like a parking lot. The crowds were unreal, with bumper to bumper traffic several lanes deep. I chose to stay in the left lane and head straight for the exit with my fingers crossed crowds would be more manageable at Epcot. Luckily, they were, and I have lots of fun to share! For starters, check out these flower beds!

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But, I’m getting ahead of myself! I took several photos of the deep lines at bag check and entrance gates. I’m guessing those aren’t as fun to look at as the topiaries at the park entrance. Sorry for the odd angle, but this was just mobbed with folks taking photos! (Don’t worry – there are lots more coming!)

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More Adventures with Disney World Annual Passholder Advance FastPass+: DHS & DAK Edition

by on March 22, 2014

Welcome back to the continuing saga of Walt Disney World’s recent roll-out of Annual Passholder Advance FastPass+ privileges to the general public. As explained in our last episode, all WDW annual passholders should now be able to make up to 7 days of FastPass+ reservations within the next 30 days through the My Disney Experience website and apps. Last time, we looked at how I set up my first week of FastPass+ selections, and saw how my first intinerary turned out at Epcot (TLDR: not perfect, but pretty good).

For this followup, follow me to Walt Disney World two least-popular parks for examples of how advance FastPass+ may (or may not) work to your advantage at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios FastPass+

Much like my day at Epcot, I arrived at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios parking lot a little after 1:00 p.m.

Advance FastPass+

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Adventures at Epcot with Walt Disney World Annual Passholder Advance FastPass+

by on March 21, 2014

Walt Disney World regulars rejoiced last week, as the rollout of advance reservation FastPass+ features finally reached all WDW annual passholders. That means that all Disney World annual passholders should be able to access the My Disney Experience website or mobile app and make FastPass+ bookings up to 30 days ahead of time. Previously, I shared my experiences using FastPass+ as an annual passholder making same-day reservations using in-park kiosks, as off-site guests still must do (at least for now). Now, I’m going to detail my personal adventures with week #1 of Annual Passholder advance FastPass+ reservations.

Getting Started with Annual Passholder Advance FastPass+

First of all, if you haven’t already, log into MyDisneyExperience.com and set up an account. Be sure to link your account to your valid annual pass using the ID number on the back of your pass, or voucher number if you have not yet redeemed an online purchase.

Next, visit the Magic Band page to customize your RFID wristband. You can select a color and name, verify your shipping address, and receive confirmation that your order has been received.

According to the webpage, Magic Bands should start shipping to annual passholders shortly.

Until your Magic Band arrives, you can continue to use your RFID-enabled credit-card-sized annual pass to enter the parks and activate FastPass+ sensors.

If you carry a smartphone in the parks, be sure to download the Apple or Android app. The iPad app is probably the most efficient platform for scheduling and adjusting FastPass+ reservations, but the website and phone apps work fairly well.

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A Trip Around The World: Canada

by on March 10, 2014

This is it! The grand finale we’ve all been waiting for, Canada! I have to tell you guys I’m a little sad to see it end, but I’m so excited to show you the Canada pavilion! If you haven’t been able to join us until now, why not take a look at Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, ItalyAmericaJapanMoroccoFrance, and the United Kingdom? You can take a world tour and still be home in time for dinner! (Anyone who caught that obscure Muppets reference, please leave a comment. We should really be best friends.)

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I always like to start with a wide shot of the land, but if you were leaving the United Kingdom and heading towards Canada, the view wouldn’t be quite so glamorous. You’d come to the park entrance to the old Millennium Village. This area hasn’t been open to the average guest since 2001, and it’s now used mostly for convention space and private events. The photo below gives you a peek at what it looks like inside today.

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A Trip Around The World: United Kingdom

by on February 28, 2014

Greetings from the United Kingdom! Can you believe we’ve already toured Mexico, Norway, ChinaGermanyItaly, America, Japan, Morocco, and France? We’ve almost seen the entire World Showcase, with only two stops left on our world tour. If you recall when we left off in France we were crossing a long bridge. At the end of this bridge you have two choices. You can head towards your right into the United Kingdom, which will look like the below photo.

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If you turn left, you’ll head towards the International Gateway, which exits the park towards the Beach Club, Yacht Club, Swan, Dolphin, and BoardWalk resorts. This makes it an easy walk to Beaches & Cream, which is one of the most fun restaurants on all of Disney property. (Seriously – if you don’t know what I’m talking about, click that link. You don’t want to miss this place! Okay – now back to our regularly scheduled world tour.)

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Walt Disney World Ticket Prices Increase Breakdown

by on February 23, 2014

magicyourwayIt looks like Walt Disney World ticket prices increased overall. Yesterday, I mentioned how it looked like the single day tickets would increase, but it now appears that all Walt Disney World tickets have increased in price.

As previously mentioned, Disney increased the price of Magic Kingdom single day park tickets by $4 to $99, for those ages 10 and up. In continuing with a precedent set during the last ticket increase, park admission for Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom will continue to cost just a little less. At these three parks, single day tickets now cost $94 for ages 10 and up. That’s also a $4 increase.

Overall, Magic Your Way Base tickets have jumped about $15 per ticket.

It’s not just Magic Your Way tickets that have increased in price. Tickets have increased all around, with minor increases to Park Hoppers, as well as the Water Park Fun and More options – both of which increased in price by $1. The only exception is for those wanting to buy a 2 or 3 day park hopper admission, when in that case, the cost decreased by $10, to $49. Also, the Park Hopper & Water Park Fun & More combined ticket option increased by $2. Finally, the price of the No Expiration option has increased substantially.

This is how the new pricing is structured:

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