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This Month in Disney Parks History: January

by on January 16, 2018
Filed under: Just For Fun

Can you believe we’re only two weeks in to 2018? I don’t know about you, but I feel like the holidays were ages ago already. I guess that’s what happens when you go back to a regular work or school schedule after enjoying some time off. The good news is, here at TouringPlans, we know the cure for those post-holiday blues. Disney, Disney, Disney! So we’re back with another edition of Disney Parks History. Let’s take a look at all the January happenings over the years.

1959: The Dapper Dans, a barbershop quartet act, premiered at Disneyland almost six decades ago.  They can still be found entertaining guests with their humor and harmonization along Main Street U.S.A. in both Disneyland and Magic Kingdom. Read the rest of this entry »

Back to the Basics: Rider Switch (Swap) at Walt Disney World + Video

by on January 16, 2018
Filed under: Video, Walt Disney World (FL)

Say you’re at Walt Disney World with your kids and significant other. There’s an attraction both adults REALLY want to experience, but the kids are either too young or don’t meet the height requirement.

What do you do?

Use Rider Switch of course!

Watch the video below to see exactly how to use this feature.

Enjoy!

How have used rider switch? How did it work? Let me know in the comments!

ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex Debuts New Arena

by on January 15, 2018
Filed under: Recent News, Walt Disney World (FL)

ESPN Wide World of Sports

©Rikki Niblett

To help celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, a brand new area is now open for those who may be heading to a sporting event being held at Walt Disney World. This new area is known as The Arena at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and it is going to be a versatile space will be able to easily host both large and small events.  The new arena is the third indoor competition venue at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and is one of the largest in the country designed specifically with cheer and dance events in mind.

One of the unique features of The Arena is its flexibility. This space can be converted to host more than six regulation-sized basketball and volleyball courts and can be further expanded to host open-floor exhibitions and other major events. There will be 8,000 seats and a separate box office.  Read the rest of this entry »

Walt Disney World Children’s Activity Centers to Close

by on January 15, 2018
Filed under: Recent News, Resorts, Walt Disney World (FL) 5 Comments

Children's Activity Centers

©Disney

The three remaining Walt Disney World Children’s Activity Centers are slated to close. The last day of operation will be July 31, 2018. This move is apparently being done because fewer Guests are using these services than in the past.

The three Disney-run Children’s Activity Centers are Simba’s Cubhouse at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Club Lilo at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, and the Sandcastle Club at Disney’s Beach Club Resort.

Children ages 3 to 12 who visit these activity centers are able to explore imaginative worlds with activities that educate, entertain and enchant, as well as meet some of their favorite Disney friends. Parents are then able to head out for some fun of their own, knowing their kids were having a great evening, too.

As an alternative, Disney recommends in-room babysitting services from a company called Kid’s Nite Out. It also appears that Camp Dolphin at the Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel (which is on Disney property but not operated by Disney) will continue to be available for Guests to utilize.

10 Disney Cruise Line Secrets

by on January 15, 2018
Filed under: Disney Cruise Line 10 Comments

I’ve talked Disney cruise tips, Disney cruise myths, questions, etc. etc.  I even wrote about some Disney cruise secrets way back in 2013!  But this time, friends, we are delving deeper.  I have real secrets here!  Well okay, secrets is a strong word.  But “10 Not Well-Known Things About Disney Cruises” is kind of long.  I think I’ve got at least one thing here that will surprise even the most experienced of Disney cruisers.  I’m going to try at least!  Let’s see if you knew all of these.

1. Disney will Transfer Just Luggage from Disney Resorts – I have good news if you are trying to get from Walt Disney World to the port in a vehicle that won’t quite fit all of your luggage. Disney will transfer it for you! That’s right, you do not need to be on Disney transfers to take advantage of the luggage transfers.  For a cost of $25 for up to 6 bags, and $3 a bag after that, Disney will pick up your luggage in your WDW resort room on the morning of your cruise.  You won’t see it again until it appears in your stateroom later that day.  Call (or have your travel agent call) the cruise line directly the day before you sail to set it up.  It will be charged to your onboard account.  I sail with a large group of ladies every September and we love to take a huge limo to the port, but there is no limo that exists that will hold 24 ladies plus their luggage.  So we send 18 or so of our bags on the transfers while we travel in style.  Worth it. Read the rest of this entry »

SATURDAY SIX News Desk: A Look At Recent Stories In the Theme Park World

by on January 13, 2018
Filed under: Saturday Six, Walt Disney World (FL) 4 Comments

This week’s SATURDAY SIX is a special one as we once again dust off the blue blazer and step behind the SATURDAY SIX News Desk. It has been a whirlwind of theme park related news lately. Our long national nightmare is over as “millennial pink” MagicBands are finally available, a Disney guest yelled “Lock Him Up!” at a Donald Trump audio-animatronic (to be fair the person who filmed everything in portrait committed the biggest offense of all,) and somehow Disneyland guests now have crazier donuts than us in Orlando. Be fair to Florida!

So – as usual – we took a page out of our old college playbook, chugged down a case of 5 Hour Energy, and pulled an all-nighter. That’s right, we crammed as much information as we could into our tiny brains so that we could report back to you, Dear Reader, with all the relevant facts (and before we forget it all tomorrow). So sit back, know that you are getting all the news that’s fit to print (and plenty more that’s not), and let’s begin our countdown starting with…

# 6 – Monorail Red goes “Suns Out, Guns Out”

You would have had to be living under a rock to miss this story, as news went viral with a video of a monorail running while a door was open. As we covered in a recent SATURDAY SIX, it has been a rough year for the Disney monorails. Actually more like a rough five years, if not a full decade. It’s one thing for the cabs to look dirty, or even for parts to fall off, but a monorail running with a door open seems like a whole bunch of safety features would have had to fail all at once. Walt Disney World has a wide assortment of vehicles available for guests to get to and from resorts, including the new Minnie Van service along with the upcoming gondolas, but it is clear some major TLC is needed to into bringing the monorail service back up to to the level it should be.

Artwork by EPCOT Josh. You can buy a t-shirt of this design by clicking here

Open door of monorail as seen on WESH.com

Read the rest of this entry »

Heads Up, Disneyland’s Main Street Is Under Heavy Construction

by on January 12, 2018
Filed under: Disneyland (CA) 13 Comments

If you’re heading to Disneyland in the next few months you should know of several closures that will affect your visit. Multiple rides are closed and under lengthy refurbishments, such as Splash Mountain in Disneyland, and most of Paradise Pier in DCA (check our Disneyland Resort Refurbishments page for the exact closing and opening dates). Main Street, U.S.A. is under heavy construction as its horse-drawn street car tracks are being replaced. Take a look at the pictures below to get an idea of the scale of the construction that is happening.

As soon as you walk in to Disneyland’s town square you’ll notice construction walls. The entire area around the flag pole is blocked off.

Disney announced that new brickwork will be installed along with the new trolley track. From the official Disney Parks Blog: “For the first time, the horse-drawn streetcar track on Main Street, U.S.A., will be replaced in its entirety.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Disneyland Preview — Week of January 13, 2018

by on January 12, 2018
Filed under: Disney California Adventure, Disneyland (CA), Disneyland Park, Trip Planning, Weather, Weekly Preview

This week presents two wildly different experiences — busy holiday weekend, followed by some of the lowest crowds you’ll see all year. Also, the first Disneyland After Dark is this week!  Read on to find out more in this week’s Disneyland preview.

Special Events and Notes

In large part, this is a “regular” week at Disneyland. The holidays are over, no festivals are running, and operations are more or less normal.  With that said, Disney is doing its first “Disneyland After Dark” after-hours event this week on Thursday, January 18.  It is a hard-ticket event (i.e., your regular park tickets or Annual Passes will not get you in), and it costs $95 per person.  The event runs from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., though your ticket will get you admission to the park as early as 6:00 p.m.

This first installment will be “Throwback Nite” (making it very appropriate that it’s being held on a Thursday), and it will have a 1950s/1960s theme. Guests are encouraged to dress the part (think: Dapper Day). There will be jazz and swing music, special photo opportunities (along with unlimited PhotoPass downloads), characters, and exclusive food and drinks. Also, you’ll be able to see the Fantasy in the Sky fireworks show, which first ran in 1958, that you can typically only see on New Year’s Eve. You can find more details here and here. As this goes to press, there are still tickets available, but we nevertheless recommend getting tickets sooner than later if you’re sure you’d like to attend.

Crowds

Crowds are high for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, but drop off sharply immediately thereafter.  Seven and eight level crowds for the weekend, and nothing higher than a three the rest of the week.

Full details, including park-by-park crowd levels, are available on our Crowd Calendar.

Read the rest of this entry »

Disney Cruise Line Preview — Week of January 13, 2018

by on January 12, 2018
Filed under: Disney Cruise Line, Weekly Preview 6 Comments

The Disney Cruise Line Preview is brought to you by Storybook Destinations. Storybook Destinations specializes in Disney travel, is consistently highly rated by our readers, and is owned by our own blogger extraordinaire, Tammy Whiting. Storybook also offers free subscriptions to TouringPlans to clients with qualified bookings.

Ahoy, mateys! I’m Heather, and I’ll be bringing you the up and coming on all things Disney Cruise Line. Welcome back again this week. Let’s see what’s new in the DCL world.

Ports of Call

 

Read the rest of this entry »

In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of January 12, 2018

by on January 12, 2018
Filed under: In Case You Missed It 2 Comments

Every once in a while, a news week is filled with stories that I cannot believe. Things that just seem ridiculous or incredible for one reason or another. This is one of those weeks!

This week, we give props to Coco for its big win, learn the Disney Springs made a very interesting list, and more.

In Case You Missed It – Disney and Universal Orlando News and Rumors

 

And this is why you aren’t supposed to lean against the doors on the monorail.

This week, UCF was able to take part in a special parade at the Magic Kingdom honoring their undefeated season. Were you there?  Read the rest of this entry »