Archive for February, 2009

Disney Posts Park Hours Schedule for June

by on February 28, 2009

Disney has updated their website to include park hours and the Extra Magic Hours Schedule for June 2009. We have updated our crowd calendar for June 2009 based on the posted schedule. As always, the Crowd Calendar is subject to change.

No inferno for a while..

by on February 26, 2009

The inferno barge from Illuminations is out for repairs for an undetermined length of time. The show will be running without its signature plumes of fire and brimstone for at least a few weeks. Earliest estimates are saying late March, others are saying mid-April before its return.

Disney resorts begin accepting online check-ins

by on February 25, 2009

Walt Disney World hotels have started accepting online check-ins within ten days of your arrival date in WDW. The idea behind this is to reduce the amount of time you spend waiting in line to check in to your hotel. This is accomplished by having you enter your name, address and credit card information online before you leave home.

If everything goes according to plan, a packet will be waiting for you when you arrive at the hotel, containing your welcome kit and room keys. You’ll still need to show photo ID to pick up this packet. We’re told a separate counter will be available for those guests doing online check-in, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

More details can be found on Disney’s website.

Tomorrowland Transit Authority closed April 14-August 19, 2009

by on February 24, 2009

The Tomorrowland Transit Authority will be closed from April 14 through August 19, 2009. This is almost certainly an effect of the Space Mountain refurbishment.

Universal’s Nightlife

by on February 23, 2009

As I mentioned in my last entry, there are plenty of opportunities for night time fun off Disney property. Today we will take a look at Universal’s hub of evening activity, City Walk. This shopping, dining, and entertainment complex offers exciting choices for all tastes. There is a cover charge at this location; you can buy a City Walk Party Pass for $11.99 (plus tax) or if buy Universal’s two park unlimited admission, you can get in for free.

If you’d like to have dinner, there are no less than ten restaurants to pick from. Racing fans will want to hit up NASCAR Sports Grille. Likewise, the basketball nuts will want to visit NBA City. Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville offers cheeseburgers in paradise for the parrotheads in your group (like me!). If you just can’t get enough of the islands, head over to Bob Marley – A Tribute to freedom to grab some Jamaican influenced specialties and artifacts from the music legend’s home. Try the Hard Rock Café for more musical memorabilia. If celebrity chefs are more your thing, check out Emeril’s. Maybe you have a hankering for Creole? Then try Pat O’Brien’s, an import from New Orleans. Seafood lovers will flip for Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant and Marketplace. The Latin Quarter offers up dinner and dancing with a Latin flair. Rounding out the full service options is Pastamore with its family-style Italian fair. Several quick service eateries are also scattered throughout the complex.

Many of these restaurants double as clubs later in the evening with of them offering live entertainment nightly. Margaritaville has a live island inspired band each night. Bob Marley – Tribute to Freedom has a reggae band in the outdoor gazebo in the evening. Dueling pianos and sing-alongs are the feature attraction at Pat O’Brien’s after 6 p.m. A live salsa band plays (and often dances) nightly at Latin Quarter late into the night. There are only a few clubs who do not share their space with the dinner rush. One of these is the groove which has a dj spinning dance songs. If you are in the mood for signature martinis, dancing, and a lounge atmosphere, then check out the Red Coconut Club. City Walk’s Rising Star is a great spot for karaoke fanatics. A live band plays with those brave enough to get up on stage to sing their hearts out.

Universal’s City Walk certainly offers a lot of chances for fun on any given night. Why not try it the next time you visit the Orlando area?

Next time, I’ll take a look at some down town Orlando hot spots…

Want to see the songlist for The American Idol Experience ?

by on February 23, 2009

If you’re ready to get your inner Whitney Houston on during your next trip to Walt Disney World, here’s the list of suggested songs from The American Idol Experience. No word as to whether any of the suggestive lyrics have been edited, but we’d be interested in hearing about your audition experiences.

WDW Today Episode 520 – The American Idol Press Event

by on February 20, 2009

Episode 520 of the WDWToday podcast is available for download. Join host Matt Hochberg as he rubs elbows with American Idol’s best, live on the “Blue Carpet” during the premiere of the American Idol Experience.

One-click subscriptions to WDW Today:

Disney’s BoardWalk Spoodles restaurant refurbishment May 11-23

by on February 19, 2009

We’re told that the BoardWalk’s Spoodles restaurant will be closed for refurbishment from May 11-23, 2009.

Pooh’s Playful Spot added to attraction list, touring plans

by on February 17, 2009

We’ve added Pooh’s Playful Spot to the Magic Kingdom’s attraction list. It’s now visible on personalized touring plans and within the Magic Kingdom’s attraction list. While the Spot has been open for a couple of years, we were unsure as to whether it qualified as an attraction. A quick poll of readers assures us it is.

Conflicting Schedules On Disney’s Websites

by on February 13, 2009

The schedules that we have used for our crowd calendars do not correspond to what Disney is posting on their website. An example of this is March 8th-9th. According to Disney’s website, Extra Magic Hours on March 8th will be at Disney’s Hollywood Studios and on March 9th the Extra Magic Hours will be at the Magic Kingdom. When you call Disney Guest Services directly they will tell you the opposite. In fact it is Extra Magic Hours for the Magic Kingdom on March 8th and Extra Magic Hours for Disney’s Hollywood Studios on March 9th.

So who do we trust?

Some ideas:

  • Disney’s Website has recently been updated
  • International Disney websites correspond to the dates given by Guest Services
  • Disney’s Guest Services take the park hours directly from WDW Parks and Resorts Office

So given these factors we’ll go with the schedule we had, which corresponds to Guest Services (EMH for MK on March 8th, EMH for Studios on March 9th). That being said, if you are traveling to Disney during this time, we encourage you to call Disney directly to verify the park hours. If they tell you something different, let us know.