Archive for April, 2009

Post Disney Vacation Blues

by on April 24, 2009

Returning home after a  Disney World vacation is often a letdown.  You worked so hard to plan the trip, you had a fabulous time, now you’re exhausted, and people have stopped telling you to have a Magical Day.  You’re not at Disney anymore, Mickey.

How to help make the blues go away…

One of the things I like to do  is look back over my pictures and the ones on the Disney Photopass.  I usually change my screensaver on my computer to a photo from my most recent trip.  It makes me smile to see my family at the Polynesian or another magical place and recall the great time we had together.  I also change the screensaver on my cell phone and every time it rings I have a Disney memory.  When I get really organized I’ll put those photos together in an album.  I’ll let you know when that happens.

Another thing I like to do is listen to my favorite podcast, WDWToday.   These are my Disney friends and they love Disney World as much as I do.  (They don’t know they’re my friends, but it works for me.)  On the WDW Today podcast, they discuss only Disney related topics.  They are a very friendly and informative group.  With my iPod in tow, I walk around my neighborhood and listen to them chat and reminisce.  Their conversations take me back to the fun I had at Walt Disney World —  that brings me great joy.  I suggest listening to WDW Today whenever you can.  They record 3 shows weekly that are about 20 minutes long, so you can always get a Disney pick me up from them.

Even though it may be a while until your next trip, there are lots of ways to keep the memories alive.

WDW Today Episode 556 – The Magic Makers – Jerry Rees

by on April 24, 2009

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Episode 556 of WDW Today is now available for download here.

One-click subscriptions to WDW Today:

Is it a Figment of our Imaginations?

by on April 23, 2009

In a strange turn of events,’s new website makeover include the follow description of the ImageWorks at the Imagination Pavilion in Epcot.

ImageWorks – The Kodak “What If” Labs features a vast array of hands-on, sensory-themed activities and exhibits where you can exercise your imagination and explore your creative side in exciting exhibits that include:

Dreamfinder’s School of Drama – Become the star of your very own film using greenscreen technology
Stepping Tones – Create your own music by stepping on electronic picture panels
Figment’s Coloring Book – Using electric paintbrush guns, add a little color to Figment and Dreamfinder
Electric Philharmonic – Conduct an orchestra through the use of electronic sensors
Rainbow Corridor – Stroll through an illuminated tunnel where colored lights follow you
Vibrating Mirrors – Watch as your reflection changes right before your eyes
Kaleidoscopes – Spin eye-popping colors in intricate designs via large-size kaleidoscopes
Voice-Activated Lumia – Speak out and behold a bevy of shimmering light effects
Bubble Projectors – Blow virtual bubbles on a circular screen and create colorful colors
Figment’s Melody Maker – Help Figment play an instrument to the tune of “One Little Spark”

The majority of offerings on that list are from the original ImageWorks which became defunct after the refurbishment of the Imagination pavilion and the closure of the second floor of the interactive area. We would assume this was a simple mistake referring to outdated source materials, but the wording is modern and it also refers to some of the currently existing offerings on the ground-level ImageWorks.

Is this a major mistake referencing the past or hint of the future?

Warning: Teen In Disney Cyberspace

by on April 23, 2009

Howdy, blog readers! My name’s JillAnn – that’s not a typo – and I’m a few months short of 16. Despite my age, I’ve been lucky enough to go on 19 WDW trips (all cost-conscious trips, of course) and write for The Unofficial Guide for 3 years! In the most recent edition, the 2009 Guide, you can read my “best and worst Disney dessert” reviews.

So I’ll be giving a teen perspective on Disney World – minus only a love of Tower of Terror. If you have no idea how to include your teens in your trip planning, what your adolescents want from a resort, how to set them free in the parks without letting them loose, and more, I’m here for you. I’ll also probably make forays into food commentary – old habits die harder than Bambi’s mom.

I’m psyched to be blogging about my favorite place in the whole universe. Next time (if Len Testa hasn’t fired me by then) I’ll either be helping dads in creating a WDW father/daughter date, or I’ll give tips on getting teens excited about a trip to Disney World. Unless, being a teen, I don’t tell you what I’m doing and then sneak back in at 1a.m.

Late April Crowd Levels

by on April 22, 2009

Far be it for us to pat ourselves on the back but…pat, pat. Our last few weeks of crowd monitoring have confirmed that our estimates of high crowds during the week after Easter and of lower crowds leading in to the last weeks of April. Maximum waits at the Magic Kingdom will continue to be in the 50 to 70 range over the next ten days then increasing to the 70-90 range leading into May.

As always, the crowd calendar is subject to change as we continue to collect information about crowds this spring.

WDW Today Episode 555 – Listener Questions

by on April 22, 2009

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Episode 555 of WDW Today is now available for download here.

One-click subscriptions to WDW Today:

Should I rent a car?

by on April 20, 2009

Whether or not to rent a car seems to be the eternal question for Disney World visitors. For a long time I was too cheap to spring for a car. I lived by the mantra: Disney transportation is free and free is good. Plus, I could live without venturing off property and I didn’t think a car would really save me all that much time. Then last year I took a trip during which I stayed at all three All Star Resorts (the things we do for our readers). My friend and I thought it would be easier to resort hop so we sprung for a rental car. We were amazed to see how much time the car saved us! Between not having to wait in line for the Magical Express, to being able to hop in the car and be walking toward the turnstiles of a park within 10 minutes was pretty awesome. And remember time is money at Disney World.

For the upcoming trip we opted to get a car for several reasons. We’re going to be at the parks early several mornings. With the DHS anniversary festivities and forecasted high crowd levels, it’s in our best interest to arrive well before opening. Having a car will shave some time off of how early we’ll have to get up. Also we’re resort hopping and it will be much simpler to have your own vehicle to do this. We’ll also be able to make a stop at a grocery store to get some supplies. Since we are staying for 10 days paying for food, bottles of water, etc. on property for the entire trip would be a very expensive venture. Additionally, having a car will give us the flexibility to wander off site from time to time if we have a bit of pixie dust over load during such a long trip.

As you can see I highly recommend renting a car. But before I wrap it up let me offer a few more tips. Always check for discount codes; you’ll be surprised how much money you can save. You can also sign up for free customer loyalty programs for most rental companies operating out of Orlando International. These allow you to skip to the head of the line and make your way to WDW faster. In the name of saving time, you might actually take the bus to Magic Kingdom since you’ll be able to bypass the TTC.

There’s always a ton to think about when planning your Disney trip. Hopefully this entry has helped give you some insight on transportation front.

Next week I’ll discuss packing and prepping before the big trip!

WDW Today Episode 554 – Misery Loves Walt Disney World

by on April 20, 2009

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Episode 554 of WDW Today is now available for download here.

One-click subscriptions to WDW Today:

“Picnic in the Park” at Animal Kingdom

by on April 19, 2009

“Picnic in the Park” at the Animal Kingdom is a new dining option that began April 7, 2009. Basically, you are purchasing the same meal for 3 or more people in a cute reusable “Every Tree Has Character” tote bag (available for $2.95 in the gift shops).

Here is how it works:

1. Place your order between 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM at Guest Relations (Guest Relations is to the left just after you pass through the turnstiles). After 1:00 PM go directly to Tusker House to place your order.
2. You must allow two hours between ordering and pick up.
3. Pick up your order at Kusafiri Coffee Shop and Bakery next to Tusker House.
4. Payment is due when you pick up your order. The “Picnic in the Park” is a Quick Service Meal on the Disney Dining Plan. (i.e. A picnic for 3 will require 3 quick service meal credits.)
5. Find a place to enjoy your picnic.

Your picnic options come in 2 tiers:
A. $24.99 for 3 (minimum order): 3 sandwiches, 1 side, 3 desserts and 3 small Dasani waters
B. $29.99 for 3 (minimum order): Rotisserie chicken or 1 pound of ham, 2 large sides, 3 desserts, and 3 small bottles is of Dasani Waters.

No substitutions allowed. Be sure to let the Cast Member know if you have food allergies so they can make proper arrangements.

I was able to “Picnic in the Park” earlier this week. There were only two in our party, but the Disney research must go on, so we ordered the picnic for three. Consequently, this gave us the opportunity to try many of the selections. There is no picnic for two. We ordered a chicken wrap, a ham on ciabatta, and a turkey on focaccia, a side of fruit, a chocolate chip cookie, a brownie and a rice krispie treat.

The sandwiches came with mayonnaise or a mayonnaise based sauce and lettuce on them. The chicken wrap also included tomato and the ham had onions but no tomatoes. We were surprised. Had we known we would have requested no mayo and no vegetables on at least one of the sandwiches? If you have leftovers you are out of luck or risk getting food poisoning from carrying the mayonnaise laden sandwiches around. The sandwiches were good, but nothing to write home about.

The fruit salad was really more of a cantaloupe and honeydew salad with a few pieces of pineapple and watermelon. We ate most of it and there were only two of us.

The chocolate chip cookie and the rice krispie treat were exactly what you would expect. Very good. However, the brownie was not so hot. Very disappointing.

I wish there had been a choice of beverages with the picnic or at least a bigger bottle of water. We finished all 3 small bottles of water and I also purchased a Diet Coke.

The other problem with “Picnic in the Park” is that you sort of have to plan your day around your picnic pick up time.

I think “Picnic in the Park” is a nice idea and just needs a little tweaking. Your humble correspondent has a few ideas for Disney: 1. Offer a Picnic for 2 also. 2. Don’t put the mayonnaise or the mayonnaise based sauces on the sandwiches. Let the “picnicee” do it at the time they eat to help keep the sandwich from getting soggy.This will allow any leftovers to be eaten later instead of thrown away. Also, offer mustard. 3. Offer a choice of beverages and or give a LARGER bottle of Dasani Water.

Would we “Picnic in the Park” again? Probably not. We prefer the freedom of choosing different entrees and eating when it is most convenient for our “Touring Plan.” We also thought the quality of the food was fair. At over $8 per person for three people or in our case around $13 person, we would rather have barbeque at Flame Tree Barbeque.

This was our experience. I am sure Disney will continue to work the “bugs” out of “the Picnic” in order to raise the quality. I hope you enjoy your “Picnic in the Park.”

Chef Remy

by on April 19, 2009

A quick video snippet from Disney on their newest and tiniest animatronic addition to Epcot. If the past has taught us anything, this addition will be short lived before being rocket-shipped to Hong Kong Disneyland and never returning stateside – thus was the fate of Lucky the Dinosaur and Muppet Mobile Labs (lets not grouse over the fact that WDW actually has muppet and dinosaur themed areas while HKDL does not.)