Archive for October, 2012

Wreck-It Ralph Meet and Greet To Start This Month

by on October 23, 2012


It had been announced previously that Wreck-It Ralph from the upcoming movie of the same name, along with Vanellope, will be meeting guests at the Art of Disney Animation in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Now, we know that the start date to greet guests will be Sunday, October 28, 2012. Guests will get to step through Game Central Station, while catching glimpses of the various game worlds from the film on your way to “Sugar Rush” to meet the two characters.


Romance in Walt Disney World

by on October 23, 2012

I remember the very first time my husband and I went to Walt Disney World together. We were just engaged and it was his first trip ever to a Disney park. I was insanely nervous that he was not going to “get it.” His first attraction was Spaceship Earth, and five minutes in he turned to me and said, “this is so cool!” From then on I never doubted his love for Disney World. We even honeymooned there! It is, without a doubt, my favorite place to spend time together. Sadly, my husband and I have not been to Disney World, just the two of us (cue Will Smith song) since our first anniversary trip in 2008. In a few months we are going to finally be getting away together for five days of romance and Disney magic.

My upcoming trip inspired me to write about things that I find romantic about Disney World. Keep in mind that my advice is pretty budget friendly. You do not need to spend a ton of money to have a fantastic time with your significant other. All you really need is a little creativity and time set aside in your vacation for  some romance.

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Magic Kingdom News Bites 10/22/12

by on October 22, 2012

A couple of smaller things have taken place at the Magic Kingdom that we wanted you to be aware of.

First of all, The Country Bear Jamboree in Frontierland has reopened after its refurbishment. A few changes include new benches, carpet, and curtains.  In addition, new fur and some new costumes for some of the bears were also added.  The most noticeable change is that the show has been shortened by about 5 minutes, with some dialog and songs removed completely, in an attempt to make the show a bit more manageable for contemporary audiences.

The second smaller piece of news is that a few weeks back Disney announced that it would be adding something to Pirates of the Caribbean in Adventureland. It appears that the rumors were true: mermaids were added in the section right after the mist scene at the beginning of the attraction. Mermaids can be seen swimming alongside your boat, and they also can be heard singing. In addition, a new skeleton was added to the skeleton beach scene; the new skeleton looks a little different from the other ones.

“FASTPASS Runner” Option Available in Optimized Touring Plans

by on October 22, 2012

A FASTPASS Runner is the person in your group who volunteers to get FASTPASSes for the entire group for an upcoming attraction. The rest of the group saves a bit of walking, and it cuts down on the size of the crowd around FASTPASS machines.

A new FASTPASS Runner checkbox is available in our computer-optimized touring plans, located just above the walking and waiting preferences on the optimization screen. Select this box if you want the optimizer to use a runner when obtaining FASTPASSes; leave the box blank if you don’t want to use a runner.

When the FASTPASS Runner option is enabled, the touring plan’s walking, waiting, and ride times will not include the runner’s effort to obtain FASTPASSes. For example, if it takes the runner 10 minutes to walk to Splash Mountain, get FASTPASSes, and meet the group back in Fantasyland, those 10 minutes will not count against the touring plan’s overall time.

The optimized touring plan guarantees that the FASTPASS runner will meet up with the rest of the group in time for everyone to experience the next step together in the touring plan. And if the group gets to the next step before the runner, the touring plan will indicate how much free time the group has before the runner arrives. The group can use this time to shop, snack or rest before continuing with the touring plan. offers free touring plans for Disney World and Disneyland. These touring plans are completely customizable and can include all your favorite attractions, character greetings, meals, breaks and more. You can even get real-time updates to your touring plan while you’re in the parks, using our mobile app Lines. Visit our Personalized Touring Plan page to get started.

Last Week at Disneyland Resort (10/14/2012 – 10/20/2012)

by on October 22, 2012

All photos copyright Disney

The spook season is on the verge of saying “boo-bye” for another year, so slide over to the Disneyland Resort in the coming week if you want to experience the Halloween Time festivities. But be warned: you won't be the only one flocking to see Haunted Mansion Holiday and Ghost Galaxy next weekend!

Crowd Calendar

Quietest Day: Monday 10/15 was a 2 out 10 at the resort, with crowds at 1.1 out of 10 at Disneyland, and 1.9 at DCA.

Busiest Day: Saturday 10/20 was an 8 out of 10 at the resort, with a 8.4 out of 10 in Disneyland, and 5.5 at DCA.

Subscribe to the Touring Plans Disneyland Crowd Calendar for full details on predicted attendance for the next 30 days.

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Disney Announces Events for New Year’s Eve

by on October 21, 2012

Walt Disney World is one of the most magical places to be during the holidays…and New Year’s Eve is certainly no exception. (Granted, it’s one of the busiest times of year, but it’s certainly magical).

Each year, Disney pulls out all the stops as it rings in the New Year. This year will definitely be the same. Partying will abound, and fireworks will light up the sky as the clock strikes midnight.

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New Unofficial Guide Disney Dish with Jim Hill Podcast – Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort

by on October 20, 2012

The latest Unofficial Guide podcast with Jim Hill is available on iTunes (MP3 here). In this episode, Jim and I are on location at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort. Jim recounts how Disney came up with the idea for Fort Wilderness, and the things Disney’s construction crew had to endure while carving this camp out of the ground. Jim also talks about the beginnings of the Hoop-Dee-Doo Musical Revue.

Along the way you’ll hear sounds from the campground including background music, buses, maintenance and, well, people camping. We end the podcast by walking the trail from Fort Wilderness to Wilderness Lodge, and Jim talks about how the success of Fort Wilderness led to the construction of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

Upcoming episodes have already been recorded for the Wilderness Lodge and Disney World’s water parks. Jim and I will be headed to Disneyland in a few days to cover those parks, and possibly more.

Don’t forget to leave feedback on iTunes. Thanks for listening!

10 Best E-Ticket Rides At Disneyland

by on October 19, 2012

It’s always dangerous to list the “best” of anything, since obviously everything is subjective, but at the risk of offending half the readers by leaving off their favorite, why not!  This is my opinion and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of anyone else at TouringPlans, any other Disney fans, or anyone else of great importance.  It’s just my favorites.  I’ve ridden most of them too many times to count, so I do have some basis for my opinion.  But in the end I will not insist this list is anything more important or valid than my opinion.

Wikipedia, which is never wrong of course, defines an E-ticket ride as a ride that is “an unusually interesting, thrilling, or expensive experience.”  The term originated at Disney where until 1982, Disneyland and the Magic Kingdom took coupons for rides.  The most popular ones required an “E-ticket.”  Back in the day, E-ticket rides included the Submarine Voyage, Matterhorn Bobsleds, and even the Mark Twain Riverboat.  Nowadays, we don’t tend to think of the Mark Twain Riverboat as an unusually interesting, thrilling or expensive ride.  Relaxing, beautiful, and fun?  Sure!  But thrilling?  Not even close.  So I’ll pick out of the rides I think would be E-ticket rides if the system still existed today.  There are certainly more that would qualify, but these are my top 10.

1. Radiator Springs Racers – The LA Times said Radiator Springs “redefines” E-ticket rides.  The article said it’s the kind of ride only Disney can do.  The entire article is chock full of praise for Radiator Springs, using phrases like “pinnacle of theme park supremacy” and “bar-setting.”  I couldn’t have said it any better.  Praise for Radiator Springs is universal and words cannot do it justice.  If you haven’t made it to California Adventure to try it yet, go.  Do it.  Get there now.

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Vote For Your Favorite T-shirt Design

by on October 18, 2012

We have a winner! The chosen design will be available for preorder literally very soon.


You’ve begged. Pleaded. Bargained. And we’ve listened. Those snazzy red t-shirts that you see our staff sporting at meets – we’re ready to start sharing them with you.

We have two designs for you to vote on – both based on our popular Disney Dish with Jim Hill podcasts (iTunes or RSS). After a winning design is chosen, we will do a pre-order on the shirts and have the printer do a run of shirts for a single sale.

So first let’s put it out there.The back of the shirt will have our URL. The front? Well that’s up to you.  Both shirts will have the same back (shown below).

  • literally. (61%, 381 Votes)
  • wellll.... (39%, 246 Votes)

Total Voters: 627

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The poll will end Wednesday, October 24. We will announce the winner after that and open up preorders,



More Vegan Eating at Food and Wine

by on October 18, 2012

Speaking of the 2012 Food and Wine Festival (because really, you’re currently either talking about that or the Fantasyland expansion), we should venture over to the Festival Center and explore some hidden vegan eats featured this year!

Located in the Wonders of Life Pavilion, the Festival Center is buzzing with all things food and all things wine throughout the Fall months. This year, the Festival Center features the Chase Lounge (where there is not one chaise lounge, which is a missed opportunity in my book) for those who have a Chase credit card. Here, you can get wristbands for priority seating for the Eat to The Beat Concerts, and also wristbands for entrance into a special Illuminations viewing area. Also, the lounge features complimentary coffee and soft drinks, along with a big touchscreen map of the park. Pretty cool!

Throughout the Festival, there are a number of talks, seminars, and demonstrations that take place throughout the day, everyday in the Festival Center. If you find yourself visiting for any of these reasons, I’d like to direct you over to Intermissions Cafe, the coffee and snack counter on your right as soon as you descend the ramp at the entrance to the building.

Intermissions Cafe showcases a number of different champagnes and wines, but also has some quick meal options including something called a Vegan Trio. There’s that word again! Am I dreaming? Is the word “vegan” finally becoming part of the WDW menu vocabulary? I certainly hope so!

The Vegan Trio costs $6.75 and would be great to share as a snack, or have all to yourself for a light meal. The platter includes: couscous with raisins and almonds, tabouleh, hummus, a roasted red pepper puree, and pita bread. The winner here is probably the roasted red pepper puree, but the whole dish is great. It also comes in a re-sealable container, so you can take it with you and save some for later if you’d like! It’s so good, reasonably priced, and I highly recommend checking it out. 

It’s so nice to have this other option as an addition to the Food and Wine Festival this year at Epcot. It seems that the components of the Vegan Trio are all things they serve elsewhere in the park, just not necessarily together in one platter. It would be great to see this option stick around, and hopefully become available in more quick service locations throughout property. If you find yourself in the Festival Center, not on a chaise lounge, give this trio a try-o!