Posts Tagged ‘walt disney world’

Epcot DiveQuest and Epcot Seas Aqua Tour Review

by on September 28, 2014

Photo Credit - Disney

Photo Credit – Disney

My husband’s aunt and uncle are huge Disney fans. Not only have they made countless trips to the Disney parks, they have been on several in-park tours as well. While chatting with Uncle Keith, he told me all about his experiences with both the Epcot DiveQuest and Epcot Seas Aqua Tour, and I thought I would share his adventures with all of you. If you’d like to read a review of the Dolphins in Depth tour, click here.

Let’s dive right in!

DiveQuest is a three hour experience giving you the opportunity to scuba dive in a 5.7 million gallon tank with over 6,000 sea creatures. In order to take part in this experience, you must be 10 years or older and be SCUBA-certified. (If there are actually any scuba-certified 10-year-olds out there, I applaud you.) To make reservations, call 407-939-8687. The cost is $175.

Keith was told to show up at the main entrance of Epcot about 15 minutes beforehand. The only things he was asked to bring were his swimsuit and scuba-certification card. After arriving at the Seas with Nemo & Friends Pavilion, he was brought backstage to a classroom. Here, Cast Members summarized the entire program, told everyone what was going to happen, and noted how long everything would take.

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Best Video Games To Play Before Your Next Disney Vacation

by on September 26, 2014

Disney Infinity

Waiting for your next Disney vacation can be grueling. Especially when you get closer to the big day, it becomes almost impossible to focus on anything that isn’t magical and amazing and oh come on why isn’t it here yet? Utterly unbearable anticipation aside, I love the time right before a Disney vacation because it’s usually when I go back and revisit some of my favorite Disney things to remind me of the fun I’m about to have. If you’re reading this site, I’m sure this isn’t a novel concept to you. People watch classic Disney films, research any and all new additions to the parks and do countless other activities in preparation for their vacation. For me, I love to play certain video games that remind me of the Most Magical Place on Earth. For those of you that have the same passion for games, there are several that you can play that evoke the same mood and joy found within the Disney Parks. With that in mind, here are some of my favorite video games that you should try if you’re looking to get excited for your next Disney vacation.

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Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes – 9/25/14

by on September 25, 2014

Who’s ready for more news? I’m back with more for you today! Here we go:

  • There has been a change to the Disney Gift Card Program. New Disney gift cards can now only be activated with a minimum amount of $15. (The previous minimum amount you could load on a new card was $5.) Guests who are re-loading a gift card may still do so with a minimum of $5.
  • The FastPass+ kiosks outside of Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin at the Magic Kingdom are officially closed. Guests looking to book a FastPass+ reservation will now be directed to the FastPass+ kiosk location near Stitch’s Great Escape.
  • The rules for visiting Walt Disney World have been updated. The biggest change seems to focus on those who are e-cigarette smokers, who are now asked to smoke in designated smoking areas.
  • For those of you who read my previous article about Tower of Terror getting on-ride videos, you’ll have noticed that I mentioned that it was likely just the beginning. It turns out that I was completely right, as it another attraction has already received the on-ride video treatment. Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is the next attraction that will capture your ride experience while you are on the attraction. Much like the Tower of Terror ride video, when you ride the attraction with a MagicBand and a linked Memory Maker, you will have your photo and video automatically associated to your My Disney Experience account. Here is the sample video giving you a peek at what to expect.

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‘Wearable’ Halloween Costumes: The Royals

by on September 23, 2014

And we’ll never be roooooyalllls….oh! Hello! Welcome back to another edition of my wearable costume series. I hope some of you found my ideas for Mickey and Minnie Mouse helpful. In case you’re just tuning in, it’s my mission to make your Halloween costumes not only affordable, but comfortable! (Side bar: I sound like an infomercial ad. Think I have a future on TV? Don’t answer that…)

Photo - Angela Dahlgren

Little Cinderelli looking for her mouse friends.

Next up is my take on Rapunzel, Cinderella and Prince Eric.

Babies and Toddlers

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, Disney apparel can be found everywhere. This Cinderella costume is essentially a baby girl onesie with a tutu on it. I found it at Target for less than ten dollars. If you don’t have a matching headband, you can always do what my parents did: Tape a bow to her head. They would take a small bow, attach it to a piece of scotch tape, and place it on my head…thanks parents. My mom claims it would just fall off at the end of the day without any pulling or pain. On second thought, just look for a headband.

Kids: Boys

There are so many different ways to dress like a Prince. Amongst all these interpretations, a crown and sword seem to be common props. If your little one has a shirt and tie, see if you can convince him to put it on. Hint: Offering a fruit snack or piece of candy may just do the trick. Now, I don’t condone fast food but if you have a burger king, stop by and grab one of their crowns. It would be a really cheap way to get your hands on one. For the sash, head to a craft store and see if they have ribbon 3-4 inches wide. Cut it to size, drape it across his shoulder to his hip and safety pin the ends together. Slick his hair in a nice side part and hand him a sword. Extra points if you find a cape to complete the costume. Voila, your debonair guy will be fighting dragons and meeting his one true love in no time!

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DisneyQuest: Five Floors Of Fun!

by on September 20, 2014

IMG_3420Recently, I was asked to upgrade my Disney pass to help out with some extra stuff here at Touring Plans. I hadn’t bothered with a premium annual in years since it just meant access to DisneyQuest and the water parks. I’d remembered DisneyQuest as a let down with lots of broken machines and outdated technology. It was a couple months after upgrading that I decided to finally stop in and see if anything had changed. I don’t know if it was just because of the time that had passed or due to recent changes, but I had a great time and wondered why I’d written the place off so many years ago. So with a fresh perspective I thought I’d share what you can expect from the five floors of fun at DisneyQuest!

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Why You Should Choose the Magic Kingdom’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour

by on September 12, 2014

For those of us looking to learn more about the Disney magic, or for a whole new way to experience the parks, Disney offers a variety of tours to enjoy. For example, there’s Epcot’s Behind the Seeds Tour, Animal Kingdom’s Wild Africa Trek, and the big favorite, Backstage Magic, where you enjoy a backstage look of all four parks! However, my personal favorite tour has to be the Magic Kingdom‘s Keys to the Kingdom Tour, a five hour behind-the-scenes peek of the most magical park of them all; and for anyone looking to splurge on a tour, it’s my top pick. Why? Read on to see why you should choose the Magic Kingdom’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour.

Keys to the Kingdom Tour - A Glass Slipper Vacation

Earpiece guests use during the tour in order to hear even in crowded places

1. Utilidors

So this is one of the Keys to the Kingdom’s biggest draws, so I’m starting with it! Yes, the Keys to the Kingdom Tour allows you the opportunity to check out the legendary Utilidors, the Magic Kingdom’s tunnels that run underneath the park. Now before your imagination runs off, let me be clear. These tunnels are not something you would see in an Indiana Jones film. These tunnels are technically the first floor of the park, as the Magic Kingdom is actually built on the second level; and these tunnels are where offices and utilities are located, as well as wardrobe for Cast Members. Also, the purpose of the Utilidors is to allow Cast Members to get from one side of the park to the other without breaking theme. You see, Disney is all about the details and putting on a show, and having a Cast Member dressed in Liberty Square garb wouldn’t look right in Tomorrowland, would it? Also, you should know that you only get to see a small portion of the Utilidors during the tour; but even so, it’s still awesome! Also during the tour, you will get a chance to venture backstage to see some park attractions and buildings from behind the scenes. During my tour, my guide took our group to see the warehouse where they store the parade floats. It was just as memorable as the Utilidors!

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Don’t Sweat It: Tips for Flattering Photos in WDW

by on September 12, 2014

We all love going to Walt Disney World for special time with our loved ones, premium customer service, and classic Disney attractions. All of these experiences culminate in lifelong memories, and there is no better way to keep those memories alive than with a simple photo or video. And Disney makes it look so easy! We’ve all seen the commercials of the perfect family, Mom, Dad, and 2.5 kids joyfully skipping along Main Street with photo-shop perfected smiles and iconic Mickey balloon in tow. Disney even tries to help facilitate making this a reality for your family with PhotoPass photographers around every corner and plenty of little “Kodak” photo signs to let you know when you might stumble across the perfect photo opportunity.

©Disney

©Disney

But I imagine many of fellow Disney travelers end up with same anticlimactic photo-viewing experience that I have.  Somehow, meticulously coifed hair ends up in a sweaty ponytail, cherub-cheeked, smiling tots are actually red-faced and bleared-eyed, outfits you spent weeks planning, designing and coordinating are disheveled, sweat/water-spotted, and perhaps even stained from that early character breakfast. Even the PhotoPass pictures are lackluster. No matter how fancy camera technology gets, they capture the Castle and atmosphere almost magically, but somehow, it also captures your humidity-frizzed hair and that annoyed look from your teen who can’t believe you made him stop for another picture.

In effort to help us all have vacation pictures we want to display in our homes, offices and on social media, here are some tips that can help you and your family have that nearly perfect “Kodak moment”.

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Apple Pay to be Utilized at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts

by on September 9, 2014

Did you happen to catch Apple’s announcements today? Whether you caught them live or relived the event through social media like I did, it seems like Apple is introducing a great line of new products. Now I know you’re asking….Rikki…what does this have to do with Disney? Well, I’m getting there.

You see, today Apple released information about a brand new payment system called “Apple Pay.” Apple Pay will allow people to use their phones to pay for things; payments take place with just a single touch, with no need to open an app. You’ll simply swipe your phone (which of course, has been linked with a credit card) and place your finger on the Touch ID sensor. Once you hear the beep, you’re good!

Again…where am I going with this?

Well, Apple let us know that Disney will be one of the companies that will accept this new form of payment. The system will begin its roll out in October, and guests who own an iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus will be able to utilize this new technology at Walt Disney World, as well as at Disney Stores. This new app will be useful when paying for food and merchandise and should be fully available by Christmas.

For those who missed the announcement made this afternoon, you can find out more about Apple Pay and see what the excitement is all about.

 

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The Disney Dazzle: Cinderella’s Royal Table

by on September 7, 2014

We’re back for another Disney Dazzling story! If you want to read about my magical time meeting Mickey Mouse, click here.

I experienced breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table* in early 2014. Reservations had been made the previous fall, and the anticipation had been building ever since. Not only would I be visiting Magic Kingdom, but I was going to meet five of my childhood idols. My inner five-year-old was rejoicing at the opportunity!

We walked down Main Street, U.S.A., and the closer we got to the castle, the faster I walked. I’m pretty sure I was sprinting those last few yards, trying to quickly close the distance between the castle and myself.

The entrance to the restaurant is next to Fantasyland. As I walked through the castle tunnel, I noticed five beautiful mosaic murals depicting Cinderella’s fairy tale. Fun Fact: These murals were made with over 300,000 pieces of Italian glass, and some contain sterling silver and even 14-karat gold. They were sure a ‘gem’ to look at! (bu dum, chee!)

Photo - Keith Dahlgren

How majestic!

Upon notifying the hostess of our arrival, we waited outside only a few minutes before being ushered into the castle. We walked through a gothic archway and entered the beautiful entry hall. The medieval-inspired hall had antique-looking tapestries covering the marble walls, while aged light fixtures made the space glow. I saw several coat of arms high above, and wooden benches lined the walls. As I walked further in, I saw none other than Cinderella herself greeting guests. My mind began to wonder as I waited in line: Would I be able to give her a hug? Would she let me live in the castle with her? If she asked, I would surely say, “Yes,” even if it meant having Gus and Jaq as roommates. When it was our turn, she smiled and signed my autograph book while asking us about our morning. She graciously accepted my hug (Hugging a princess, check that off my bucket list!), and a Disney photographer took our picture. There were other photo opportunities following our time with Cinderella. I recall a throne chair, suit of armor, and an old fireplace. We took a picture of our baby daughter in the fireplace (don’t worry, it wasn’t lit), and, luckily, she didn’t get any soot on her dress.

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Walt Disney World Noteworthy News – 9/3/14

by on September 3, 2014

I’m back again with quite a few great little tidbits that you may want to keep in mind for your next Walt Disney World vacation.

  • The Harmony Barbershop, located on Main Street, U.S.A., will be closed for almost two months this winter. The popular stop for guests to get their little one’s first haircut (and my hubby likes getting his cut here, too) will be closed from February 5 through March 30, reopening for guests on March 31.
  • The “Move It, Shake It, Celebrate It” Street Party at the Magic Kingdom will have an amended schedule for September 10, 11, 15, and 17. The parade will only perform at 5:40 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
  • We all know that Epcot will be getting new acts over the next few months in World Showcase. Well, now I’m here to share a few small details about the acts. Sbandieratori Flags is the flag choreography act in Italy; the Canadian Lumberjack Show, which is considered a thrill show, will take place in Canada; B’net Houariyat is a musical/dance act for Morocco; and Scottish Musical Trio will perform Celtic music in the United Kingdom Pavilion.

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