Archive for November, 2012

Discount Code – Buy Disney World E-Book Get Disneyland E-Book Free

by on November 23, 2012

Our new holiday eBooks for Disney World and Disneyland are perfect reading while you’re in line for your Black Friday holiday shopping.  Use promo code BLACKFRIDAY when purchasing both to get the Disneyland version for free.  Today only.

Link to our e-books:

Goodbye Gobbler Gallery: A Thanksgiving Tribute to Disneyland’s Ex-Turkeys

by on November 22, 2012

Disneyland's Big Thunder Ranch may not draw as much demand as the similarly-named roller-coaster next door, but it's always been one of my favorite places in the resort for catching a quiet moment.

Best known as home to the Happiest Petting Zoo on Earth (featuring a herd of friendly pigmy goats) the Ranch is currently in the clutches of Santa Claus and his elf-managing Mrs.

This year's Jingle Jangle Jamboree features photo-ops, DIY craft stations, and seasonal performance by Billy Hill and the Holiday Hillbillies on the arena stage. But this year, you may notice certain long-running VIP guests are absent.

Read the rest of this entry »

When Does a Walt Disney World Annual Pass Make Sense?

by on November 21, 2012

Let’s say you’re visiting Walt Disney World for two weeks. Lucky you!

If you’re a UK resident, there are 14-day Disney World ticket options available to you. You lovely Brits can move along now, nothing to see here. But if you’re a North American visiting Disney for two weeks, you’ll quickly see that there’s no immediately apparent ticket option that makes sense for you. There are 10-day Magic Your Way tickets, but nothing longer than that. What to do?

Annual pass holders have access to discounted WDW hotel room rates.

First lets look at some basic numbers. A ten-day basic, one park per day, adult ticket currently costs $318. But let’s face it, if you’re going to Walt Disney World for an extended period of time, you’ll want a Park Hopper ticket, which runs $375. Given that as a starting point, if you’re staying for 14 days, your ticket options are:

  • Stick with a 10-day ticket. Spend your remaining four days at your resort, Downtown Disney, or other Orlando area attractions.
  • Add the Water Park Fun & More option to your 10-day Park Hopper. This involves only a slight bump up in price, making your ticket cost $397 instead of the non WPF Hopper at $375. Adding WPF gives you ten admissions to the water parks, DisneyQuest, ESPN Wide World of Sports, a round of 9-hole golf, and some daytime minigolf. This is plenty of additional fun to fill four non-theme-park days.
  • Add a four day ticket to your ten day ticket, giving you a full 14 days of theme park admissions. Let’s say that for these four days you don’t need Hopper capabilities. A basic adult four-day, non-Hopper WDW ticket costs $256. Add that to your previously purchased $375 10-day Hopper and you’re looking at a ticket outlay of $631.

Compare this to the current price of a standard Walt Disney World adult annual pass: $611. Clearly, for a 14-day visit, if you’re going into the theme parks every day, then an annual pass makes sense. You’ll save at least $20 getting the pass versus getting 14 days of park tickets in Magic Your Way form.

Read the rest of this entry »

Yuletide Fantasy Tour Review

by on November 21, 2012

The Yuletide Fantasy Tour is about holiday traditions around the world with a little bit of Disney holiday traditions sprinkled in. It is open to guests age 16 and older and is only available select days in November and December. In 2012 it is offered Monday through Saturday at 9am from November 26 to December 29. There are a few exceptions to this schedule: the tour is not offered on 11/30, 12/1, or 12/25. This review is based on the 2011 tour, so some changes may have occurred for the 2012 season.

Guests on Yuletide Fantasy TourLike the Holiday D-Lights tour, Yuletide Fantasy is a multi-park tour offered by the Disney Institute. Since separate park admission is not required, Disney Institute tours usually have higher prices than single park tours such as Keys to the Kingdom.

At $84 (without discounts or tax) for 3.5 hours, the Yuletide Fantasy tour may look like a losing proposition compared with other tour options. For example, the 4.5-5 hour UnDISCOVERed Future World tour is only $54.

When reviewing tours, I place a lot of emphasis on value: not just the cost of the tour or the use of a ticket day, but what you receive in exchange for forfeiting precious vacation hours. As I set out for my Yuletide Fantasy Tour, I kept that in mind since a 9am tour means giving up valuable early morning park time.

Our group met outside Guest Relations to the far right of Epcot’s turnstiles. By the time 9am rolled around, all 34 folks in my group had arrived, signed in, and received name badges. Then we were off to the tour bus. In addition to providing a welcomed seat between stops, the bus also served as our locker.

Read the rest of this entry »

Join us for a post-Thanksgiving meet at Disney California Adventure

by on November 20, 2012

After you finish stuffing your face on Thanksgiving, come to Disney California Adventure and hang out other TouringPlans users. We will be meeting in the seating area of Boardwalk Garden Grill (the covered area to the right of the entrance to Goofy’s Sky School) in Disney California Adventure. To tie this meet in with the Thanksgiving holiday we will buy everyone in attendance a piece of delicious Pumpkin Fudge from Trolley Treats (or another kind of fudge if pumpkin isn’t your thing)! The meet will take place on Saturday, November 24 at 2 PM.

If you are going to attend the meet, please RSVP on PlanCast. See you there!

Relaxing in the shade while eating fudge and escaping the crowds and heat, sounds like a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!

New Unofficial Guide Disney Dish Episode – What Really Inspired Walt To Build Disneyland

by on November 20, 2012

This is one of my favorite episodes in the entire Unofficial Guide podcast.  Join Jim and me on Disneyland’s Main Street as Jim tells what really inspired Walt to build Disneyland.  You’ve probably heard the story of Walt taking his daughter to a local amusement park, but that’s only part of the story.  Starting with a young Walt’s visit to Universal Studios, Jim traces the evolution of Walt’s theme park ideas, through the concept for a walk-through of Gepetto’s workshop, to financing deals needed to open Disneyland in 1955.  There’s the usual mix of unsubstantiated rumor, sketchy source material and bad jokes.  You’ll love it.

Links: iTunes here / Direct MP3 download here

Last Week at Disneyland Resort (11/11/2012 – 11/17/2012)

by on November 19, 2012

All photos copyright Disney

We hope you got a chance to check out Disneyland's seasonal decor during last week's slow period, because this week will be slammed with holiday tourists. On the plus side, a couple Fantasyland classics returned recently from extensive refurbishment, revealing a famous puppet-eating whale who now looks better than he has in years.

Crowd Calendar

Quietest Day: Tuesday and Wednesday 11/13 & 14 were both a 1 out of 10 at the resort, with a 1.1 at Disneyland, and 1.1 at DCA.

Busiest Day: Sunday 11/11 was a 9 out of 10 at the resort, with a 7.6 at Disneyland, and 8.7 at DCA.

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

Read the rest of this entry »

WDW December Park Hours Updated

by on November 18, 2012

The Disney World park hours were recently updated for the month of December, with operating hours extended for the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom. There are now a handful of days where the Magic Kingdom is open until 12am and even 1am with a second Main Street Electrical Parade added.

Hollywood Studios also had quite a few days changed, and will now stay open until 9 or 10pm occasionally. Those days will also see an additional showing of Fantasmic!. Animal Kingdom had many closing times adjusted as well.

The chart below shows all current park hours with changes in red.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Mickey Check Coming To Kids Menus At Disney

by on November 17, 2012

Guests will soon notice a “Mickey Check” on menus for kids’ meals at Walt Disney World and Disneyland. This symbol means that a specific meal meets Disney nutrition guidelines as part of the Disney Magic of Healthy Living Initiative.

The Mickey Check is currently being rolled out for Quick Service locations and will be included at all Table Service locations by January 2013. The Check has already appeared on the menus at the Be Our Guest Restaurant in Florida’s Magic Kingdom.

The Check is there to identify meals that are appropriately portioned and balanced, with limited calories, saturated fats, sodium, and sugar. These meals must contain at least three of the following items: fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, whole grains, and lean protein (including beans, eggs, and nuts). In order for these meals to meet the Mickey Check criteria, there can be no substitutions (although substitutions will be offered should guests choose them).

New Unofficial Guide Disney Dish Podcast Available – Saving Disney’s California Adventure

by on November 17, 2012

Episode #24 (iTunes link / MP3 link) details the steps Disney went through to boost attendance at DCA. Jim covers Disney’s introduction of “quick fix” live shows, through the development of Little Mermaid, World of Color and Cars Land. Recorded live in DCA in October 2012.