Posts Tagged ‘WDW’

Observations From Visiting 3 Different Disney Resorts in 16 Days

by on November 4, 2016

Sleeping Beauty Castle ParisMy wife and I recently decided to visit Paris for a week, and as you may be aware, there is a Disney resort there — so being the complete Disney dorks that we are, paying a visit to Disneyland Paris was a must-do. Of course, our daughter was staying in the Orlando area with her grandparents and we had to come back through there to get her, so we decided to pay the Mouse a quick visit at Walt Disney World while we got over our jetlag. Shortly after arriving back home, I had to head out to Southern California for work, and it presented me with an opportunity — even if only briefly — to visit my third Disney resort in just over 2 weeks. I had to take it.

So, apart from the whirlwind of travel, what is it like to experience every Disney resort in the Western Hemisphere back-to-back-to-back? The three resorts share similar layouts and several attractions, but my biggest takeaway is how much it highlighted the differences between these outwardly similar parks. So, without further ado, let me share some of the biggest stuff I noticed, and pass out a few superlatives…

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First Impressions of Disney Springs Town Center

by on May 18, 2016

When I first heard the concept of Disney Springs, three years ago, I had a hard time adjusting to it. Downtown Disney has had its share of evolutionary challenges, but it seems to have finally come together and transform into a place people thoroughly enjoy visiting. There are still some more stores and restaurants that have not yet opened, but with this weekend’s official opening of the Town Center, Disney Springs is practically complete.

The Town Center brings something that we’ve not really seen in a world class theme park based vacation destination: a shopping mall. It is beautiful and lovely, but there is no denying that Town Center is a mall. And that’s ok. There seems to be enough demand for such a shopping experience on Disney property, and if shopping isn’t your forte, the atmosphere and design of Town Center are enough to enjoy, and then there’s the long list of dining options.

Let’s take a look at the first impressions of Disney Springs Town Center. We’ll also take a look at a few new dining and shopping locations that opened on the edge of the Marketplace and The Landing sections.

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The Springs

Besides the large amount of brand name stores, the springs themselves seem to be getting the most attention. The crystal clear water of the Disney created springs winds through most of the Town Center area. It is incredibly picturesque. The atmosphere of Town Center revolves around these springs.

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever January 21, 2016: Magic Kingdom Martin Luther King Weekend Crowd Observations

by on January 21, 2016

Here at Walt Disney World, it sometimes seems like we just barely survive one holiday peak season before another wave of tourists arrive. After the overwhelming crowds of Christmas and New Year, Orlando’s parks saw a brief respite before Martin Luther King weekend came around and packed the parks again. For this edition of Best Week Ever, we’re going to brave the happy hordes and enjoy a Magic Kingdom Martin Luther King weekend visit.

The Sunday before Martin Luther King Day dawned overcast and blustery in the low 50s (what we locals call “Florida Cold”). But by the time I arrived at the Magic Kingdom’s parking lot, the weather was beginning to clear up into a gorgeous day.

 

Magic Kingdom Martin Luther King weekend

Grey skies, sweatshirts, and shorts: yup, it’s winter in Orlando!

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Video: Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights Closing Night

by on January 8, 2016

Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights Closing night video

After twenty years of warming holiday memories at Walt Disney World’s Disney’s Hollywood Studios, the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights has flickered out for the final time. Following a few days extension, the beloved annual tradition was extinguished for the last time ever on January 6, 2016, and we were there to capture the Dancing Lights closing seconds for you in ultra-sharp 4K video.

 

The last night of the Dancing Lights drew huge crowds to Disney’s Hollywood Studios during the evening. I attempted to park at the theme park around 6:30 p.m., and was redirected to Animal Kingdom instead. The busses arrived for us a a rapid pace, but the detour added at least a half-hour my trip.

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Seth Kubersky’s Best Week Ever December 31, 2015: Surviving Magic Kingdom Holiday Week Crowds

by on December 31, 2015

Do you love ginormous crowds of people, endless seas of strollers, and triple-digit wait times? If so, you’ve picked the Best Week Ever to visit Walt Disney World. But even if you are allergic to all of the above, it is actually possible survive the madness of Magic Kingdom holiday week crowds, and even enjoy a visit to America’s most popular theme park during the busiest week of the year, with the proper preparation.

In contrast to my relatively calm Christmas Day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, my December 29 visit to the Magic Kingdom came smack in the center of 2015’s winter peak season psychosis. I braved the Magic Kingdom holiday week crowds in order to share with you a first-person perspective on navigating Disney when attendance is at its most extreme.

Without that professional motivation, I’d normally avoid Walt Disney World on days when our Crowd Calendar hits 10 out of 10, but many visitors don’t have another option due to work and school schedules. If the busy holiday week is the only time your family can visit WDW, I hope my experiences will help educate you about the perks and pitfalls of a peak season vacation.

 

Magic Kingdom Holiday Week Parking

As any Magic Kingdom veteran knows, simply arriving at the park is an adventure in itself; that’s doubly true during peak holiday weeks. My day of queuing began around 9 a.m., many yards before the Magic Kingdom parking toll booths.

Magic kingdom holiday week crowds parking

 

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The Force Awakens at Disney’s Hollywood Studios with More Star Wars Fun

by on December 23, 2015

In case you’ve been living inside the belly of an asteroid-bound space slug, The Force Awakens has ignited moviegoers and burnt down box office records ever since the long-awaited Star Wars sequel hit screens nationwide on December 17. Right now, there’s no better place in Orlando to celebrate The Force Awakens than Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which has spread new Star Wars stuff to every corner of the park. In this follow-up to my first look at the recently added DHS Star Wars offerings, we’ll check out additional attractions, edibles, and entertainment engineered to take you to that galaxy far, far away.

Star Wars Launch Bay and Chase Disney Visa Private Meet and Greet

Let’s start with a walk around Disney’s Hollywood Studios, which I originally broadcast on the Touring Plans Periscope channel.

 

Now, let’s check out the recently opened Star Wars Launch Bay walk-through exhibit.

Star Wars The Force Awakens Disney's Hollywood Studios

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2015 Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special Now Playing at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on December 23, 2015

2015 Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special

Enjoy the 2015 Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special from the comfort of your couch (photos & video by Seth Kubersky)

The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights may get all the publicity, but one of my favorite parts of the holidays at Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the chance to reunite with performers from the former Pleasure Island. The 2015 Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special is now playing for a limited run in DHS’s Premier Theater, once again rekindling the Yule Log of improv comedy at Walt Disney World.

 

A tribute to the popular comedy club that once anchored Downtown Disney’s Pleasure Island in the days before Disney Springs, the 2015 Comedy Warehouse Holiday Special brings a half dozen of the beloved venue’s veterans together for half-hour shows of skillfully improvised skits and seasonal songs.

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“No Planning” Holiday Dining at Disney World

by on December 6, 2015

Believe it or not...sometimes not every table is filled months in advance!

Believe it or not…sometimes not every table is filled months in advance!

It is no secret that making dining plans for an entire Walt Disney World vacation can be a difficult and time consuming task. This task becomes even harder during the busy holiday seasons when Advance Dining Reservations can completely fill up months ahead of time. While we can not stress enough how important the planning process is for dining, touring, etc. (otherwise what would we be doing running a website like this?) we also must admit that there are times when it is enjoyable, and even a relief, to visit Walt Disney World with no plans and to simply “play it by ear.” So even though we can’t really recommend visiting Walt Disney World at the holidays with no planning, we can tell you that if you decide to go this route, you will not be completely out of luck  for eating a quality holiday meal. Here are three suggestions for how you might approach the situation (yes, this is a planning guide for a trip with no planning…sometimes we can’t help ourselves.)

 

Fife & Drum SignBook A Last Minute ADR

As of the morning before Thanksgiving 2015, a quick MyDisneyExperience search of all restaurants at Walt Disney World for an afternoon reservation on Thanksgiving for a family of four yielded plenty of results including restaurants in all four theme parks, Disney Springs and plenty of resorts throughout property, many of which offer special holiday menus. So even with only one day of planning, it is possible to get an ADR for a holiday meal. It should also be noted that Disney is well aware that the vast majority of its guests on Thanksgiving day will be looking for a meal that at least in some way contains turkey, dressing, etc. and some restaurants that normally wouldn’t serve this kind of cuisine add it to the menu for the holiday including Magic Kingdom’s Tony’s Town Square Restaurant and Animal Kingdom Lodge’s Sanaa. Similarly, ham is among the most common standard menu items on buffets and can easily be found on menus throughout property for Christmas and Easter meals. The point being that you may not even need to sacrifice your traditional holiday menu items by booking a last minute ADR at wherever is available.

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Grand Floridian Gingerbread House and More 2015 Holiday Fun

by on December 3, 2015

Walt Disney World‘s theme parks are world famous for their holiday decorations, but their hotels aren’t far behind when it comes to decking the halls, and the flagship Grand Floridian resort is certainly no exception. The 17th annual erection of the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House is always a sure sign that Christmas is on it’s way, and 2015’s confectionary cottage looks as delicious as ever.

 

Grand Floridian Gingerbread House 2015

Wicker reindeer and green garlands greet guests arriving at the Grand Floridian. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

Let’s begin with a look around the Grand Floridian lobby, which once again sports one of the most magnificent indoor Christmas trees you’ll find on Disney property.

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Star Wars Launch Bay, Trials of the Temple, and More Now Open at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on December 3, 2015

Star Wars Launch Bay

Star Wars Launch Bay and other galactic goodies have joined the lineup at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

Brace yourselves for the jump to hyperspace, because Disney’s Hollywood Studios has unleashed an army of new Star Wars attractions upon Walt Disney World visitors, just ahead of the worldwide debut of The Force Awakens. As of December 1, Star Wars Launch Bay has joined the DHS attraction lineup, along with Path of the Jedi, and an enhanced Jedi Training Academy: Trails of the Temple show. Plus there’s some exclusive new Star Wars snacks to sample.

We were there for opening day of the new Star Wars attractions to bring you this detailed photo review of the additions. Let’s start with a look at the current Times Guide, with the new offerings highlighted by a red symbol.

 

Star Wars Launch Bay

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