Archive for October, 2013

The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! October 2013 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on October 31, 2013

IMG_8804It’s our favorite part of the month. Time to bathe ourselves in pixie dust, strap on our Mickey Mouse wristwatch, and put on our four armed Monsters University hoodie (because the weather is starting to turn just a little cooler) as we head out for our monthly photo report of the Disney Outlet Store.

The first thing of note when walking into the store is the amount of 2013 branded merchandise available: plenty of photo albums and magnets to grab, as well as calendars. I actually think giving someone a 2013 calendar for Christmas might make for a good gag gift with a note saying something like, “Better late than never,” or “Sorry, they were sold out of 2012s.” Or maybe rip out all the months but December and black out the first three weeks of the month. It makes for a cheap funny holiday gift!


Out with the old, in with the new!


Let’s take a look at some of the shirts available this month…

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10 Disney Cruise Line Secrets

by on October 31, 2013

Everyone loves a good secret, right? Of course, as soon as enough people tell it, it’s no longer a secret. Hear that, Disney Vacation Club? So if you’ve been on a Disney cruise or have been researching for a while, there may not be any great surprises here. But here are 10 of my favorite “not so well known” tips. If you’ve got any others, definitely add them in the comments!

1. All Rooms Are Not Created Equal – While there are three basic room types – inside, oceanview, and verandah, each room type has several options. On the Magic and Wonder there are rooms with obstructed portholes that are classified (and priced) as inside rooms because of the obstruction! An oceanview room for an inside price! On the Dream and Fantasy category 8A’s are like mini-suites in some cases! A mini-suite for an oceanview price! Some of the category 5E’s on the Dream and Fantasy have ginormous verandahs! On the classic ships, 7A’s are classified as a Navigator’s Verandah which should mean the verandahs are enclosed with a circular cut out window. Some of them are actually regular verandahs with slight obstructions so they were reclassified into a cheaper category. Some of the concierge staterooms have huge bump out verandahs unlike their concierge neighbors. There are some “hidden” gems out there. Find them before you go all willy-nilly and book the first thing you see!

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New Soda Flavors Have Arrived at Club Cool in Epcot

by on October 30, 2013



Are you a fan of Club Cool, a place where guests can go to sample Coca-Cola products from countries around the world? If so, then the next time you visit this location in Epcot’s Future World, you’ll have a few new flavors of soda to try.

Seven new tastes are now offered. Beverly, the Italian aperitif that was previously found there, remains. (So will the popular game of getting unsuspecting people to drink this bitter tasting beverage.)

The new flavors are:

  • Fanta Pineapple – Fanta debuted in Europe in the 1940s and was introduced in the U.S.A. in 1960s. It’s now available in more than 90 flavors. This option is caffeine-free and has a sweet pineapple taste.
  • VegitaBeta (Japan) – combines apricot and passion fruit flavors
  • Fanta Melon Frosty (Thailand) – a melon-flavored soda that is the number one seller here
  • Bibo (South Africa) – a fruit-flavored juice drink
  • Sparberry (Africa) – raspberry cream-flavored soda
  • Guarana Kuat (Brazil) – flavored after the guarana berry
  • Inca Kola (Peru) – offers a sweet, almost bubblegum-like taste

It sounds like these are interesting flavors, so make sure to enjoy your complimentary cup of refreshing goodness on your next trip! You may just find a new favorite!

Video: Thor: Treasures of Asgard Opens At Disneyland

by on October 30, 2013

Thor: Treasures of Asgard opens at Disneyland this Friday, but we now have video of the full experience. The attraction is basically a meet and greet culminating in an encounter with Thor himself. The queue features actual props from the two Thor movies, and trust me when I say that you will have plenty of time to look at these items. Thor: Treasures of Asgard has to be the slowest moving queue in all of Disneyland Resort. During the preview I attended there were fewer than 100 people ahead of me in line, but it still managed to take about an hour and a half.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Strollers at Disney World

by on October 30, 2013

You’ve got kids. You’ve got kid stuff. And you’re taking it all to Walt Disney World for a magical fun-filled vacation. Sounds great, but how do you maneuver all those kids and all that stuff all over four gigantic theme parks, your hotel, and maybe an airport or two? With a stroller, of course. Here’s the complete stroller scoop to get you started on your planning.

Do I really need to use a stroller at Walt Disney World?

If you’ve got a child age six or under, chances are you’re going to want access to a stroller at some point during your Disney vacation. Your seven or eight year old might even find himself asking for some stroller time.

Typical Walt Disney World double rental stroller

Typical Walt Disney World double rental stroller

But my child hasn’t used a stroller at home in years, why would he need one at Disney World?

Many guests have worn pedometers during their Disney vacations. Factoring in theme parks, resorts, and entertainment areas, they typically find that they’ve walked somewhere between seven and twelve miles EVERY DAY of their Disney vacation. Just one lap around the World Showcase area of Epcot is almost a mile. Do that several days in a row and you’re going to end up tired. Now imagine walking that much with the tiny legs of a kindergartener, in 90 degree heat.

Another reason to consider using a stroller is the safety factor. Let’s face it, Walt Disney World can be a crowded place, particularly during high intensity times like park closing or during the fireworks. Even if you’re holding a child’s hand, it’s quite possible to lose him in the melee. To avoid separation, or having your child get accidentally stepped on by another guest, it may be easier to keep him in the confines of a stroller where you’re in charge of the direction and pace of movement.

Additionally, some children simply become overwhelmed by the constant stimulation at Disney World. A stroller can be a safe haven – a contained environment where a child can go to temporarily regroup and decompress.

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Ask Jim Hill Ep 12 – Does Disney Listen To Feedback From Social Media?

by on October 29, 2013

On this episode, Jim Hill and Len Testa answer a viewer question about Disney and social media. Does Disney listen to its fans? If so, to what extent? Also, another viewer asks if a large scale DCA-style expansion is possible in Walt Disney World.

If you missed last week’s episode you can see it here:

New episodes are posted every Tuesday, so be sure to subscribe on YouTube!

If you would like to download an audio version of Ask Jim Hill, Episodes 1 – 9 are now available on iTunes.

Former Imagineer Tony Baxter to receive Main Street Window at Disneyland on November 1

by on October 29, 2013

Tony Baxter

Tony Baxter at D23 (Image courtesy Disney)

Imagineer Tony Baxter, the creative mind behind iconic Disneyland attractions like Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, and the Indiana Jones Adventure may have retired from the Walt Disney company earlier this year, but his presence in the parks is far from forgotten. That will be permanently assured this week, as a window above Disneyland’s Main Street, U.S.A., honoring Tony Baxter will be unveiled this Friday, November 1.

As reported by the Orange County Register, Baxter is scheduled appear in Disneyland park this Friday morning for an 8:30 a.m. unveiling ceremony, which was originally announced at August’s D23 Expo. Anyone with a valid park ticket may attend; the park officially opens at 9 a.m. that day, but the turnstiles will open at 8 a.m. to accommodate those attending the ceremony.


Afternoon Abominations: Halloween Horror Nights 23 Unmasking the Horror (Resident Evil, An American Werewolf in London, and Evil Dead)

by on October 29, 2013

We’re continuing our review of the Unmasking the Horror tour, a lights on tour of Halloween Horror Nights (HHN) houses. Our Morning Menace tour included La Llorona, The Walking Dead: No Safe Haven, and The Cabin in the Woods. After a brief lunch, our tour picked up at 2:30PM for Afternoon Abominations and our first stop would be at Resident Evil: Escape From Raccoon City.

Throughout the tour we were shown little details that we never saw the night before when we toured all the houses as part of HHN. It is either too dark or we just didn’t have enough time to see everything with all the action going on around us. For example, in the opening room to Resident Evil, we never noticed this tribute to the Nightmare of Elm St. franchise that is off to the side.


This particular street leads the nation in nightmares. A close second is SR 535 in Orlando.

Remember, you can click on any photo to see the full size original.

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Get to Know the Epcot Kidcot Fun Stops

by on October 29, 2013

So you’re walking through the World Showcase at Epcot and you see these tables with kids sitting there, just sitting and coloring and being chill. What’s happened? You’ve entered the Kidcot zone.


Uh, What’s a Kidcot?

Kidcot is a made-up word that’s supposed to promote the idea that Epcot is fun for kids.

When my kids were small, they quite liked the World Showcase. My oldest daughter now wants to study international relations, due, in no small part, to her fascination with visiting the countries of Epcot when she was younger. However, there is the perception in some circles that the World Showcase is not enticing to children because there are few rides in this area. The Kidcot Fun Stops are meant to serve as a way to coax a reluctant child through the Showcase loop.

So what happens at a Kidcot Fun Stop?

The Fun Stops are really just tables, one for each of the 11 World Showcase countries, staffed by natives of the represented lands. The tables are stocked with stick-puppets (currently your choice of Duffy the Disney Bear or Perry the Platypus from Phineas and Ferb) and markers. Kids (or adults, but mostly kids) can sit at the tables for as long as they like and color the puppet.

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The Hollywood Brown Derby Lounge To Open

by on October 28, 2013

Brown Derby entrance

I love a good meal, and it appears that I will have a brand new location for getting a quick and delicious bite at Disney’s Hollywood Studios! A brand new lounge area is opening up on the patio of The Hollywood Brown Derby. Dining at the Lounge will be on a first come, first served basis, so no Advanced Dining Reservations will be accepted.

The menu consists of small bites. These include options like Artisinal Cheeses, Brown Derby Sliders, Duck Confit Tacos, Prince Edward Island Mussels, Charcuterie Board for two, and Brown Derby Shrimp Cocktail. Beverages will include beers, wines, and cocktails. Guests may also order from the full Brown Derby menu, upon request.

The Disney Dining Plan will not be accepted here; however, the Tables in Wonderland card will.

The Lounge is scheduled to be open Monday – Friday from 11:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. The lounge officially opens on Wednesday, October 30.

The restaurant is based off The Brown Derby, a longstanding Hollywood landmark in California that is famous for the creation of the Cobb Salad.