Posts Tagged ‘walt disney world’

Menu Monday: Best Counter Service Restaurant at Hollywood Studios

by on February 16, 2015

We continue this journey to find the best counter service restaurants in Hollywood Studios.  Hollywood Studios has to be one of the hardest counter service options to track because the menus and prices tend to change for each season. Add in the continuing construction, and things are bound to change. Before your next trip to the Studios, be sure to check out the latest menus for options and prices either at the Touring Plans menu page, or at the official Walt Disney World menu page. With that said, most of the menu staples will stay consistent. If a counter service location offers burgers and sandwiches, you can expect for it to be consistent, but you may find an updated price or a new “gourmet” option available. If you missed previous entries, be sure to read all about the best counter service options in Magic Kingdom, as well as in Animal Kingdom. To refresh your memory, here is the grading scale I’ve used to determining how each counter service location has earned it’s ranking:

  • Value (portion/cost ratio) = 10 points
  • Flavor = 10 points
  • Originality = 5 points
  • Atmosphere = 5 points
  • Grand total = 30 possible points

Sunset Boulevard Restaurant Row

Catalina Eddie's, Rosie's All-American Café, and Fairfaxe Fare are all located on Sunset Boulevard near Tower of Terror.

Catalina Eddie’s, Rosie’s All-American Café, and Fairfaxe Fare are all located on Sunset Boulevard near Tower of Terror.

It may seem like cheating, but due to the proximity of all of these options in the same area. They can easily be viewed as one dining location with multiple options, similar to the concept of the food court at your local mall. Catalina Eddie’s, Fairfax Fare, and Rosie’s All-American Café are all situated at the end of Sunset Boulevard, near the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘N’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith. Because of this prime real estate by two of the park’s powerhouse rides, and the fact that the three restaurants share the same seating area, this place gets packed quickly. It’s often a spot for families to gather and wait while a portion of their party experiences one ride or the other (or both). Because of this, finding an open table is tricky, and it gets busy early in the day and stays that way. The best plan of attack is to find a table before ordering food, then go in shifts to the location that appeals to your taste buds while another holds the table while you order. Never leave a child alone, but if you’re traveling with a several adults or teenagers, this is the best strategy.

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Richard Petty Driving Experience to Close at Walt Disney World

by on February 11, 2015

On the race track at the Richard Petty Driving Experience ©Rikki Niblett

On the race track at the Richard Petty Driving Experience ©Rikki Niblett

If you want to have the opportunity to see and feel what NASCAR drivers experience or drive an exotic car, time is running out! News broke today that the Richard Petty Driving Experience at the Walt Disney World Speedway will be closing sometime in June. The race track, which can be found in the Magic Kingdom’s parking lot, allows guests to participate in both ride-alongs, as well as get behind the wheel themselves. The speedway is being closed to make way for transportation improvements, however, there is no word on exactly what improvements will be occurring.

The Richard Petty Driving Experience has been a unique activity for many to participate in. For those who are huge NASCAR fanatics, this was a great way to get a feel of being out on the course. Just a few years back, in addition to allowing guests behind the wheels of race cars, they could also choose to participate in the Exotic Car Experience, letting guests drive fast cars like Lamborghinis, Ferraris, and more. Also, just this past year, another new option was added for those with kids who wanted to feel the need for speed. They could participate in the Piston Cup Junior Ride Along program, riding in cars that were reminiscent of those that could be seen the movie Cars.

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Experiences to Enjoy in a Group of All Ages at Walt Disney World

by on February 11, 2015

Photo - Michael DahlgrenJenna, an awesome reader of the TouringPlans blog, told me how she traveled to Walt Disney World with her family, ranging in ages 2-82 years old. She expressed how the group wanted to stay together the entire time, but it was hard to think of different attractions the whole group could do together and enjoy.

After hearing Jenna’s story, she inspired me to put together this list of activities and attractions that would appeal to a group of all ages.

You’ll notice that I did NOT include any attractions where a guest would have to get in and out of an attraction vehicle. I did this for two reasons:

A. You won’t have to worry about height restrictions!

B. If someone is confined to a wheel chair or electric scooter, that person will not have to stand or do any walking to get on the attraction.

Also, if you see an asterisk (*) next to an attraction, that means a FastPass+ reservation can be made.

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Disneyland or Disney World – What’s the Difference?

by on February 5, 2015

Disneyland or Disney WorldDisneyland or Walt Disney World? This has long been a debate among Disney theme park enthusiasts. I have been visiting both the California original and its flashy Florida cousin my entire life, and I love both destinations for different reasons. It is hard to pick a favorite, because both Disneyland and Disney World have unique and wonderful experiences to offer. Of course, you will find lots of opinions all over the internet about which resort is better. Disney fans are a loyal bunch, and we will defend the love of our favorite Disney destination with great passion. I recently wrote a book called “A Tale of Two Resorts” that attempts to answer this age-old question of whether Disneyland or Disney World is better by comparing both destinations in several areas. Please join me in this four part series where we will look at Disneyland and Disney World side-by-side to compare them. We’ll start with size and scope, atmosphere, and weather.

Magic KindomResort Size and Scope

Disneyland Resort is approximately 500 acres (0.78 square miles) located in the city of Anaheim in the heart of southern California. The resort itself is a sanctuary surrounded on all sides by busy streets, hotels, shops and restaurants. To put that in perspective, imagine the feel of Central Park in New York City and you’ll have a little bit of a sense of what Disneyland Resort is like. The resort includes two theme parks, three Disney hotels, dozens of restaurants, and a shopping and entertainment district. The two theme parks, Disneyland and California Adventure, sit directly across from each on either side of the esplanade, requiring about a five minute walk from entrance to entrance.

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Healthy Habits at Walt Disney World

by on February 4, 2015

Photo Credit - Savannah Sanders

Hollywood Studios Walking Path

Getting and staying healthy is a popular resolution this time of year. But what can be a struggle at home may seem nearly impossible or just not at all fun when you’re on the road.

Healthy habits at Walt Disney World?! That’s crazy talk.

When I go on vacations, I love to indulge myself. It’s all part of the experience! However, on my last trip, I tried to make an honest effort to keep up the healthy lifestyle I strive to live at home.

I spoke with a primary care physician at the Mayo Clinic, who gave me an insight into the do’s and don’ts for maintaining personal health and wellness. Here were his recommendations:

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Menu Monday: 50’s Prime Time Cafe

by on February 2, 2015

50s Prime Time CafeDuring my last Disney World vacation with my boys, we enjoyed several tasty table service meals. In case you missed it, we dined at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop, ESPN Club and Rainforest Café in Disney’s Animal Kingdom. When we headed over for a day in Disney’s Hollywood Studios, we planned an advanced dining reservation (ADR) for one of our favorite spots – 50’s Prime Time Café. Known for its classic comfort food, vintage atmosphere and lively banter, we were really looking forward to our lunch at 50’s Prime Time Café plus a fun filled day in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Our Day Begins

Just like every day of this vacation, we woke up early and grabbed a quick breakfast at Landscape of Flavors at Art of Animation before heading off to the bus stop. Although this resort only has one bus stop and it is often very busy, they seem to have a limitless supply of buses, because we never had to wait for more than about 5 minutes. Once on board, it was standing room only for the short drive to Hollywood Studios.

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Walt Disney World Monorails Will See Temporary Modified Routes in February and March

by on January 27, 2015

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

For those of you unaware, the Walt Disney World monorail is currently undergoing enhancements where they are updating the infrastructure of the system, in an attempt to make the process automated. With this enhancement process, the monorail schedules have been changing periodically over the past year. It appears that on select dates in February and March, the monorails will be running a modified way, yet again.

The monorails on the Resort and Express beams will see different stops on select dates which include: February 3-5, February 9-12, February 23-26 and March 2-5 and these updated routes will occur from from 11:00 a.m. until 7:00 p.m.

On these dates, the Magic Kingdom Resort Beam will have trains travel only between Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and the Magic Kingdom.  (The Resort loop will not stop at Disney’s Contemporary Resort or the Transportation and Ticket Center.)  Over on the Express Beam, the trains will stop at the Magic Kingdom, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, and the Transportation and Ticket Center.  (The stop at Disney’s Contemporary Resort is new on these specific dates.)

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Menu Monday: Rainforest Cafe at Disney’s Animal Kingdom

by on January 26, 2015

Rainforest Cafe at Disney's Animal KingdomMy family and I love the Rainforest Café. As we travel around the country, we always take every opportunity that we get to stop and enjoy a meal at this restaurant. Over the years, we’ve dined at the Rainforest Café in Disneyland, Dallas, Galveston, Denver (now sadly closed), Las Vegas, Downtown Disney and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The location in Animal Kingdom is by far one of our favorites with its spaciousness, enthusiastic wait staff and high quality cuisine. Please read on to learn more about this delicious destination and our exciting morning in Animal Kingdom. Your adventure is about to begin!

Art of Animation

The Day Begins

On this day of our Disney vacation, my boys and I woke up early and had a quick breakfast at Landscape of Flavors at our home base for this trip – Art of Animation. If you haven’t had the chance to check out this Disney resort yet, I would recommend just stopping by to take a look around. It has a huge gift shop, a fun arcade for the kids and lots of great photo opportunities without all of the crowds. After our tasty breakfast of pastries and fruit smoothies, we headed out to the bus stop for our ride to Animal Kingdom.

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Relocating to Florida: Part Three: The Florida Difference and Disney as a local

by on January 23, 2015

TouringPlans logoWe’ve made it to the final installment in my relocation series! Below are links to Part One and Part Two.

Part One: Weather and Finances

Part Two: New Surroundings and the Disney Distance

We’re back with fellow Touringplans bloggers Julia Mascardo and Natalie Reinert as we discuss the Florida difference and traveling to Walt Disney World as a local.

How often did you think you’d be visiting the parks?

Julia: I thought that we’d probably be at the parks once or twice a week.

Natalie: As long as we are living nearby, we’ll be at the parks a few times a week.

How often do you actually visit the parks?

Julia: Like we thought, once or twice is what we do in a typical week. We often do end up at a resort once a week as well, just to grab breakfast or dinner.

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Using an Electric Scooter (ECV) at Walt Disney World

by on January 22, 2015

Renting a scooter can help your senior keep up.

Your chariot awaits!

My mom, Terri, has two autoimmune diseases: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and Rhematoid Arthritis (RA). Because of this, walking for long periods of time (especially in the hot sun) causes her pain, dizziness and exhaustion. We have visited Walt Disney World many times and each time, she did her best to explore the parks on foot. However, as her diseases progressed, walking became more and more difficult for her. She tried to walk slower and take more breaks, but we could still see the pain in her eyes. My mom is a selfless and caring person, so she felt guilty. She felt she was holding us back and letting us down. She saw us changing plans to accommodate her and so she started making excuses to stay behind in the room to prevent any inconveniences.

Time for a Change

I noticed her attitude change, and explained that she was neither an inconvenience nor letting us down. I don’t see her as a woman with two diseases. I see her as my loving mother. My family and I love spending time with her and were so sad to see her missing out on the fun. I spoke with my Dad and we approached the subject of an electric scooter, or electric conveyance vehicle (ECV). At first, she declined. She was embarrassed because she thought she would be the only one using one. She thought getting around would be difficult and using Disney transportation would be a hassle.

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