Archive for January, 2014

In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of January 31, 2014

by on January 31, 2014

In Case You Missed It!

Extra! Extra! I’ve got the Disney News and Rumors that you missed this week.
Which one’s your favorite?

In Case You Missed It – Disney News and Rumors

I love the back stories of how Disney Legends came to work for the company. So many took such different paths that are quite intriguing. I came across a great article this week about one such Disney Legend, Charlie Ridgeway. It’s a multi-parter, so a few days later, part two shared the story of Charlie working as the Disneyland beat reporter for the L.A. Times-Mirror and then getting hired to work for the company. I’ll be sure to share the rest of this fascinating series with you when it comes out! (I am anxiously awaiting more, myself!)

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What’s In Your Bag?

by on January 31, 2014

New Frozen Backpack available at

New Frozen Backpack available at

Anyone that knows me might find it funny that I’m tackling the subject of what to bring for a day in the parks. When I’m heading just up the street to Disney World I normally travel very light in an attempt to skip the bag line. (Unless I’m carrying my camera bag – but that is a whole different article!) However, when I travel all the way to Disneyland I turn into an Eagle Scout, ready for any possible situation! I don’t want to have our trip interrupted by any little thing that comes up. So today I’m sharing my long perfected list of everything that you might need.

Park tickets, ID, Cash, and Credit Cards

It’s implied that you won’t get far without these items but I included them anyway to cover the basics. It’s a good idea to clean out your wallet before you leave home and only bring the essentials to the park with you. That way you won’t lose everything if it goes missing. Besides, why bring cards you can’t use at Disney?

Cell Phone

Especially with the My Disney Experience App it’s becoming more important to have your phone with you in the parks. Who am I kidding? I never go anywhere without my cell phone! That brings me to another thing that is always good to have on hand – Ziploc bags. They are good for 1,000 purposes. In this case, that purpose is keeping your cell phone dry on water rides or downpours.


Even on a cloudy day sunscreen is very important. Nothing will ruin the rest of your trip like a nasty sunburn. Applying regularly throughout the day is just as important. My favorite kind to bring to Disney are sunscreen sticks. You get all the protection without risking an extra liquid in your bag that could potentially become a sticky mess.

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Disney Vacation Club To Offer New “Membership Magic” Perks

by on January 30, 2014

DVC Membership Magic


Today, Disney launched its new program for Disney Vacation Club members called “Membership Magic” – an unprecedented batch of membership enhancements, exclusive experiences, and special offers. Among the new additional perks are Walt Disney World experiences created for DVC members, discounts, a new online location for exclusive merchandise, and more.

Among the new perks are a new or better discounts for certain Annual Pass purchases. Starting on February 6 and lasting through April 30, DVC members can save off the regular price of three different Disney Annual Passes. They are:

Walt Disney World Premium Annual Pass

This pass offers unlimited park hopping at all four Walt Disney World Theme Parks, two Water Parks, DisneyQuest Indoor Interactive Theme Park, Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course, parking, and no blackout dates. The discounted cost is $484. This is a savings of $245 off the regular price.

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International Guests May Now Utilize Resort Airline Check In

by on January 30, 2014

Walt Disney World attracts a ton of international travelers each and every day. Previously, those staying at the resort hotels were unable to participate in the popular Resort Airline Check-In process. However, that appears to be changing, as now international guests will be able to participate in this program. The roll out started earlier this week.

For those who are unaware, the Resort Airline Check In Service is a complimentary service that allows Disney Resort Hotel guests utilizing Orlando International Airport (MCO) to check in for their flights, collect their boarding passes, and even check their bags at the hotel’s Airline Check-In desk. Then, once you arrive at the airport, you can bypass the airport check-in desk and head straight to the security lines.

The resorts will be rolling out this process for international travelers in stages, which are scheduled from now until the middle of March. The dates for the roll out at Walt Disney World hotels are:

  • Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – currently offering
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort – currently offering
  • Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground – currently offering
  • Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – currently offering
  • Disney’s Polynesian Resort -currently offering
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge – currently offering

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My Updated Experiences with Offsite Annual Passholder FastPass+

by on January 30, 2014

Disney World offsite Annual Passholder FastPass+ updated

One of the kiosks that offsite Annual Passholder FastPass+ users must use.

Last week’s post documenting my first experiences as an offsite Annual Passholder FastPass+ user sparked a sizable reaction, with almost 50 comments so far. Since then, FastPass+ has replaced paper “legacy” Fastpass at all four Walt Disney World parks, and Rikki Niblett revealed plans to test a MyMagic+ program for offsite Annual Passholders in the coming months.

In the meantime, there are still plenty of questions surrounding the FastPass+ program as it applies to those not staying in an onsite resort hotel. I’ve spent some more time testing the FastPass+ service and talking to cast members who work with it, and I’m here to report back my first-hand experience with some of the questions raised by our readers.

Note that the following is strictly from the perspective of a local Annual Passholder who has not stayed onsite since FastPass+ testing began, and has not been selected for any beta testing programs. If you previously stayed onsite and still have a MagicBand linked to your admission media, or are otherwise already eligible to use the My Disney Experience app and website to make advance FastPass+ reservations, your mileage will vary.


How busy are the FastPass+ kiosks?

It varies widely. The lines at some, like the Fantasyland kiosks at Mickey’s PhilharMagic, are epic. Others seem to be largely deserted.

I received assistance from this FastPass+ cast member inside Magic Kingdom’s Town Square Theater with almost no waiting.

Heritage House near The Hall of Presidents is my favorite FastPass+ service area: indoors, air conditioned, and utterly empty every time I’ve visited.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! January 2014 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on January 29, 2014

MMM positiveAh, the first photo report of the Disney Outlet Store for the new year. 2014 is going to be a interesting and fun time for me in the Disney Universe. I recently received my first Magic Band, followed by making my first FastPass+ reservations, and will be taking my first ever Disney Cruise in October. But first we shall be making our monthly pilgrimage to the Mecca of unsalable merchandise. It has been a chilly winter so far, even for us Floridians, so before our trek we’re going to warm up with some hot chocolate in our Spaceship Earth mug and strap on our Captain America battle helmet to brave the elements outside.

Please remember to click on any picture to see it in full size.

It’s always a good day when special event merchandise shows up at the outlets and this trip was a bonanza as items from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party hit the shelves.


Various pieces of merchandise from the 2013 Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party

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Ask Jim Hill Ep 23 – How Does Disney Measure An Attraction’s Popularity?

by on January 28, 2014

In this episode of Ask Jim Hill, Len Testa and Jim Hill answer a viewer question about how Disney measures the popularity of attractions in its parks.

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

If you have a question about Disney or Universal history, you can submit it to, and he may answer it on the air!

Observations From Disneyland: January 27, 2014

by on January 28, 2014

DSC01758Hi, and welcome to another Observations post. Before I jump into my trip on January 27, I want to look back at the prior night. I mentioned previously that Fantasmic! is currently down for refurbishment, and because of that the Mark Twain Riverboat is running later than usual. Not only do you get to take some fantastic nighttime rides on the Mark Twain, but you can also view the fireworks from the boat when it is docked. It’s a great place to catch the fireworks and avoid the insanity of Main Street during fireworks time. And, I mean, come on, you’re on a giant steam boat watching fireworks. How cool is that?

DSC01760So if you see a Disney blogger sitting quietly on the Mark Twain at night, it’s probably me.

More pictures after the jump:

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How to Make FastPass+ Reservations

by on January 28, 2014

Disney veterans have been bombarded for months with information and speculation about Disney’s new FastPass+ program. We’ve covered most of the frequently asked questions about FastPass+ and those magical MagicBands, but what we haven’t done is walk you through EXACTLY how to go about making your FastPass+ reservations. New FastPass+ users, pull up a seat.

There are three primary ways to make FP+ reservations: in-advance at home on a computer, in-advance or same-day on your smartphone or tablet, or same-day at in-park kiosks. Currently, the in-advance options are primarily available to guests with both reservations at a Walt Disney World resort hotel AND tickets purchased prior to your arrival at the parks (some annual pass holders are in the mix and more AP holders will be added in the coming weeks). Again, please note that you will only be able to make FP+ reservations if you have park tickets of some sort. Unfortunately, guests without an annual pass and staying off-site cannot currently make advance FP+ reservations. If you fall into this category, you’re limited to making same FP+ reservations at in-park kiosks.


1. The first step in making FastPass+ reservations is to create an account with (If you already have an account, go ahead and log in, skipping this step.)

To make a FastPass+ reservation on a computer, you must have a Disney online account.

To make a FastPass+ reservation on a computer, you must have a Disney online account.

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A Glimpse at the Outdoor Kitchens for Epcot Flower & Garden Festival

by on January 27, 2014

Epcot Flower and Garden Festival Outdoor Kitchen


Last year, at the Epcot Flower & Garden Festival, Disney introduced the Garden Marketplaces, which offered up small bites of delectable treats and beverages with a focus on fresh ingredients. For 2014, they will be returning under a new name – Outdoor Kitchens.

The booths are similar to what you would see at the Epcot Food & Wine Festival booths. This year, there will be eleven kitchens total, all found around the World Showcase Promenade.

Quite a few booths will be returning from last year, such as the Florida Fresh booth and The Smokehouse. There is also a handful of new stops, including Urban Farm Eats.

Here is the full list of all the Outdoor Kitchens that will be featured during this year’s festival:

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