Archive for January, 2013

Two Exhibits Open in Innoventions

by on January 20, 2013

This week, two exhibits opened up in Innoventions in Epcot’s Future World: Habit Heroes and IBM THINK.

Habit Heroes

The first exhibit, which opened in Innoventions East, is a retooling of an exhibit that originally opened last year but was quickly closed amid allegations that it was insensitive to overweight individuals. Habit Heroes has a new story that teaches guests all about defeating unhealthy habits, with the main enemies being Dehydration, Inactivity, and Poor Nutrition. Guests now have the ability to become their own super heroes, seeing what healthy habits they can develop in their own lives. There are three different training experiences. The first one allows guests to use motion tracking technology that follows your movements as you attempt to vanquish bad habits. The second room has guests use blasters (much like Toy Story Mania guns) to defeat the habits. The third room then has guests complete a teamwork exercise to defeat the enemies.

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Weekly Disneyland Photo Update For January 18, 2013

by on January 18, 2013

Many refurbishment projects continue this week in Disneyland. Seen here is the photo scrim added to the Main Street Train Station.

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10 Ways to Surprise Someone with a Disney Trip

by on January 18, 2013

Is there anyone who wouldn’t like to be surprised by a trip to Disney? Okay, I’m sure there are a few curmudgeons out there who don’t want to go to Disney (although I’m not sure why you’re reading this blog post), and I guess there are also some people who like to plan everything themselves and don’t want to be surprised. But, if you’re hoping to give someone a trip that does not fall into those categories, and are trying to think of a good way to do it, here are some ideas!

I have a couple of tips before we start. First, if you’re giving this trip to someone who’s a planner, or to someone for whom anticipation is half the fun, give it early. Don’t do a “day of” surprise! Give them some time to plan and get even more excited. There’s nothing to say a surprise can’t be 6 months before the trip! Second, if you tell anyone other than the person you are booking the trip through, you’re risking it no longer being a surprise. If you must tell someone else, MAKE SURE THEY KNOW IT’S A SURPRISE! My husband once ruined a surprise for an adorable little 6 year old who had no idea she was leaving for Disney the next day (although to be fair, hubby didn’t know it was a surprise either). Smooth, Honey.

1. Open a Present – If you search YouTube for “Disney Surprise,” you’ll see this is a very popular option. Give someone a present with something inside that represents your Disney trip. A friend of mine gave her sons a little model cruise ship for Christmas and they knew they were going on a cruise. Another one of my friends gave her kids Disney shirts and Mickey ears and they knew they were going to Disneyland. You can have a whole box of clues! Disney dollars, Disney apparel, Disney anything! Another option is a flat out card in their gift telling them they’re going! There are also lots of possibilities for timing here. Birthday, Christmas, anniversary, etc. You decide!

2. Scavenger Hunt – If you want to drag out the suspense a little more, have a scavenger hunt! The first thing the recipient opens could only be a clue! A clue to the next destination where they’ll find – another clue! And then – well you know how scavenger hunts work. The final clue leads to the final destination which will give away the surprise! Fun right?

3. Decoy Trip – Plan a decoy trip. That will explain the suitcases and maybe even get you some help with packing! Or, if you’re surprising adults, a decoy trip will explain the time they need off work! You could go all the way to the airport the day of the trip and keep up this ruse! Or even farther! What if they thought they were taking a Carnival cruise they’ve done a million times before, when instead the limo (yeah limo, I’m going big here) pulls up to a majestic Disney ship in the port? Just make sure of two things. First, don’t let the decoy trip be overly exciting. If they have wanted to go to the Grand Canyon all their lives, don’t tell them they’re going to the Grand Canyon. There are not too many trips that Disney would pale in comparison too, but a lifelong dream might be one of them. Second, don’t tell them you’re going somewhere cold if you’re going to Los Angeles in the summer. Pick a similar climate to your destination so they pack appropriately.


Two Quick Refurbs at the Magic Kingdom

by on January 18, 2013

A couple of attractions will be seeing some quick refurbishments over at the Magic Kingdom.

First, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh found in Fantasyland will be closed from January 22-24, reopening on January 25.  Then, The Barnstomer will have a quick two-day closure from January 29-30, reopening on January 31.

For a full list of attractions being refurbished, check out our Refurbishment Page.

Third Limited Time Magic Event for Walt Disney World – Long Lost Friends Week

by on January 18, 2013


It was one of the things mentioned when Disney discussed Limited Time Magic, and now it’s officially here! Guests will get to interact with some of the Long Lost Friends they haven’t seen in a while.

Special characters will be out in force at the Magic Kingdom from January 21 – 27.  Characters that will be included are Clarabelle Cow, Horace Horsecollar, Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, The Three Little Pigs, and a few other surprises.

Guests who would like to meet these unique characters should pick up a times guide for exact locations.

Hotel Room Hacks: Ways to Make the Most of the Supplies in Your Walt Disney World Hotel Room

by on January 16, 2013

A while back, I wrote a post which listed all the things that you can expect to find in your Walt Disney World hotel room. Most of the items on the list seem pretty straightforward. I mean, an ice bucket is just an ice bucket, right?


In addition to being a container for conveying frozen water, your ice bucket can do double duty as a corral for your daughter’s hair supplies, a bowl for your microwave popcorn, or place to warm your baby’s bottle. Here are some hacks you can use to make the items found in your hotel room do double duty when you’re on your Disney vacation.


Your hotel toiletries can be used for many things other than getting clean.

  • Meant to: Keep your hair clean.
  • Can also be used:
  • As a gentle detergent to rinse the chlorine out of your swimsuit.
  • As a “stain stick.” Rub a little into a clothing stain. This will delay the stain setting until you can actually wash the garment.
  • As a bubble bath for cleaning kiddos. Pour a slow stream of shampoo into the running tub water and watch the bubbles appear.
  • As a “window cleaner” for your kids’ swim goggles.
  • Remember: If you’re not staying on points at a DVC villa, you can get as much free extra shampoo as you need just by placing a quick call to housekeeping.

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Riding Around the World (Showcase) on a Segway

by on January 15, 2013

There are many tours one can partake in at Walt Disney World. Out of all of them, the “Keep Moving Forward” Segway tour of Epcot was always the one that stood out to me. Unbeknownst to me, I was given a birthday present during my last trip and suddenly found myself a part of this tour.

This specific tour was new as of September 17, 2012, although it is just a slight remodel of an older tour. The “Keep Moving Forward” tour lasts 3 hours and includes breakfast and Segway training. The cost is $99 and it is available for ages 16 and up, although under 18s will need a signed waiver by a parent or guardian. A 15% discount is available for annual passholders or DVC members.

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This Is A French Restaurant…

by on January 15, 2013

“This is a French restaurant.” That is what my server felt necessary to point out when I asked what the vegan options are at Monsieur Paul. A French restaurant? Really? I had no idea! The fact that it’s a) called “Monsieur Paul b) located in the France Pavillion at Epcot and c) a mere few feet away from a giant replica of La Tour Eiffel did not tip me off.

I realize that traditional French fare is not typically plant-centric. Being in a theme park and not traipsing around the 5th arrondissement, however, I figured I would be met with the typical Disney restaurant procedure: ask if anything is vegan, explain what “vegan” means, then usually talk with a chef about things that can be created, or menu items that can be modified. Instead, at Monsieur Paul, I was told that there was nothing available to meet my requests, but the server guessed they could make me a salad (a French salad, I hoped!).

Unfortunately, there was no vegan option for an appetizer, or an amuse bouche so I settled on sparkling water, until my entree arrived. The entree was good, and may deserve an extra bunch of kale on top of the rating given, but the journey to said entree was disappointing.

So, what did I eat? I was served hash brown potatoes, over grilled potatoes, over asparagus and carrots, over leeks, with a side of potato beignets. Yes, lots of potato. The presentation was pretty, and I must say the triple potato whammy was the best part. Though everything was a bit overly greasy and salty, in the end, I appreciated the effort and managed to eat every bite. 


For dessert, I was served raspberry sorbet, strawberry sorbet with raspberries.  This is a fairly standard vegan dessert option at just about every Walt Disney World restaurant, and is always a delightful end to any meal.

Now, I get it. I understand menus are written to please the general public, and not always with special diets in mind. I also am well aware that the vegan diet is not always the easiest to accommodate on the fly. I would have like to feel that someone was trying to give me a good dining experience, though. I’ve had good meals and bad meals while dining in Walt Disney World, but I was extra surprised at the lack of feigned effort at this restaurant. Best part of my meal? The swanky fizzy water.

Unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend this restaurant for vegans or vegetarians based upon this experience. Maybe we would have better luck in real France.

TouringPlans Site Maintenance – Tuesday, January 15 Midnight to 2 AM

by on January 14, 2013

We’re doing hardware maintenance early Tuesday morning, between midnight and 2 AM Eastern. The site, blog, and mobile app (Lines) will be unavailable during this time.

Last Week at Disneyland Resort (1/6/2013 – 1/12/2013)

by on January 14, 2013

All images copyright Disney

The first full week of the new year has come and gone at Disneyland, and with it went the record-setting holiday crowds. If you visit the Anaheim resort on weekdays between now and mid-February, you should find some of the mildest lines of the year, but be aware; a bevy of attractions boarded up for refurbishment may make up for the short waits.

Crowd Calendar

Quietest Day: Thursday 1/10 was a 2 out of 10 at the resort, with 2.5 at Disneyland, and 1.1 at DCA.

Busiest Day: Sunday 1/6 was an 8 out of 10 at the resort, with a 7.3 at 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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