Archive for May, 2014

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

by on May 28, 2014

MMM positiveIs it already the end of May? This month flew by. It seems we just celebrated Cinco de Mayo at La Cava del Tequila. We saw the annual running of the Kentucky Derby and the beginning of Star Wars Weekends. We rocked our Disney Side at the Magic Kingdom’s 24 Hour Event and we got to ride the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train in soft opens. Meanwhile over at Universal a Dragon showed up at Diagon Alley, and work on the rumored King Kong attraction at Islands of Adventure is in full swing. It has been insanely busy, but we couldn’t forget about our monthly pilgrimage to the Disney Outlet Store!

March’s trip to the Outlet Store brought us unsold Valentine’s Day Duffy Bears from February, while April’s visit saw several St. Patrick’s Day items show up. Surprisingly enough, only two Easter items arrived at the Outlets so far. One is in the form of this Easter Egg Duffy Bear plush. Originally $20, it is now $9.99.

IMG_5307

Turns out this Humpty Dumpty got pushed off the wall.

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Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Review; Educating teh Childrens; MagicBands Update

by on May 28, 2014

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Review

On Friday I was in the Magic Kingdom for its annual 24-hour event, and got to ride the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, the last part of the New Fantasyland construction project that began in 2010.

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train as seen from the Be Our Guest queue in Fantasyland.

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train as seen from the Be Our Guest queue in Fantasyland.

There are a lot of things to like about the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. For one, it’s faster than I expected, but not so fast that it would frighten small children. Also, the ride track is much smoother than any comparable ride in the Magic Kingdom. This should be good news for both families and for seniors who want to avoid the rough ride of attractions like Big Thunder Mountain.

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Disney World Crowd Report – May 18 to 24, 2014

by on May 27, 2014

Crowds at Walt Disney World held steady last week with only one park reaching a crowd level above ‘7’ on our scale. Other than that, most days the parks were about average, between ‘4’ and ‘6’. Crowds at Disney Hollywood Studios and Animal Kingdom were more often lower than expected. In the case of the Studios, perhaps guests are pushing their Studios visit to the weekend to experience the Star Wars festivities. Highlights of the week included Star Wars Weekend and “Rock Your Disney Side”, the Magic Kingdom’s 24-hour summer kick off.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week:

Walt Disney World Resort Crowd Levels – Daily Breakdown

Sunday, May 18, 2014

 WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
5
6

Epcot and Disney Hollywood Studios went opposite directions from our predictions. Soarin’ and Test Track averaged 69 and 64 minutes respectively while Spaceship Earth averaged 24 minutes, a ’10’ on our scale. At The Studios Toy Story Mania reached an average wait time of 68 minutes, much lower than the 85 minutes we predicted.

Epcot
5
7
Hollywood Studios
6
3
Animal Kingdom
5
6

Monday, May 19, 2014

 WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
5
5

Monday’s predictions missed only at The Studios and only by one. Early week crowds continue to be much lighter than crowds later in the week, a trend that has been prominent through late April and May.

Epcot
3
3
Hollywood Studios
3
2
Animal Kingdom
5
5

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

 WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
5
5

Tuesday’s crowd at Disney Hollywood Studios was the lowest of 2014. All Studios attractions ended up as a ‘1’ on our scale. Toy Story Mania averaged 53 minutes while Star Tours and Great Movie Ride were a walk-on all day.

Epcot
4
5
Hollywood Studios
5
1
Animal Kingdom
5
6

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

 WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
4
5

Extra Magic Hour morning at The Studios brought a slightly higher crowd on Wednesday but not by much. Animal Kingdom saw lower than expected crowds as well. At Magic Kingdom the warm weather pushed Splash Mountain’s average wait time to 52 minutes, the highest in the park.

Epcot
3
3
Hollywood Studios
4
2
Animal Kingdom
5
3

Thursday, May 22, 2014

 WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
5
5

The Studios was the best choice on Thursday, as predicted. Other parks stayed close to predictions as well with no park averaging wait times above average.

Epcot
4
5
Hollywood Studios
3
1
Animal Kingdom
6
4

Friday, May 23, 2014

 WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
6
6

Rock Your Disney Side! Magic Kingdom opened for 24 hours straight beginning at 6:00am on Friday morning. The crowd was dominated by locals and annual passholders who took an opportunity to experience a soft opening of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. Wait times were moderate throughout the day so our prediction of a crowd level ‘6’ between 10am and 5pm proved correct. Friday was a surprisingly good choice to experience Star Wars Weekend at The Studios, which had a crowd level ‘2’.

Epcot
5
5
Hollywood Studios
5
2
Animal Kingdom
7
5

Saturday, May 24, 2014

 WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
7
5

Our predictions for Saturday put crowds higher than average for the first time all week. That turned out to be correct at Animal Kingdom and Epcot while Magic Kingdom and The Studios stayed average.

Epcot
7
8
Hollywood Studios
6
5
Animal Kingdom
7
6
What to Expect This Week
May 25 to 31, 2014
The Crowd Report

The Crowd Report

Memorial Day is over, so is “Rock Your Disney Side” but soon, school districts will approach the end of their respective school years and we will see summer crowds begin. June can be a good time of year to visit if your kids are done school in the middle of the month, the peak of summer crowds will not begin until late June.

To see Walt Disney World Crowd predictions for the days of your vacation, check the Crowd Calendar.

To get details about our predictions of future crowds or details about crowds in the past check out the Crowd Calendar and select “Jump to Date” on the left margin.

Car Masters Weekends Returns to Downtown Disney

by on May 27, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

With Memorial Day officially in the books, it’s now time to start thinking about dad. Father’s Day is right around the corner and if you’ll be in the Walt Disney World area on June 14-15, and are a fan of all things having to do with cars, have I got the perfect day for you!

Car Masters Weekend, an event celebrating all things automotive, will be returning to Downtown Disney. This is the 4th year for the celebration and activities will abound during the fantastically fun weekend!

The main event is the Car Show, presented by Meguiar’s, where approximately 100 classic, muscle, and exotic cars will be on display. Fans can even vote for their favorite. Then on Sunday, the best of the best will be crowned during an awards ceremony.

Car Masters Weekend is a perfect family event, featuring a ton of entertaining action. Lightning McQueen, Finn McMissle, and Mater from Cars 2, will be on hand for photo opportunities. In addition, at the AMC Downtown Disney 24, there will be a Cars and Cars 2 movie marathon. Plus, if you want to meet an actual Pixar filmmaker, Jay Ward will be on hand to take part in Q&A sessions.

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Disney Vacation Club 101: Accommodations – What Do You Get?

by on May 27, 2014

DVCSignThis is the second in our series of articles on Disney Vacation Club. You can read the introduction to DVC at Disney Vacation Club (DVC) 101: What is DVC?

One of the draws of buying into Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is the wide range of accommodations you can book. Studios are most like the other regular hotel rooms at Walt Disney World. Villas, which range from one- to three-bedroom units, are a whole of other level of vacationing. There are similarities and differences in all these between the resorts. Hopefully having everything in front of you at once will help you compare and choose the best rooms for you and your family.

Before you read this, I’d like to thank Disney.com for making this information transparent and easy to find…but I can’t. So instead, a big shout out goes to the following sites who helped me fill in the blanks:

Elegant and spacious living at the Grand Floridian Villas

Elegant and spacious living at the Grand Floridian Villas

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SATURDAY SIX Special Edition: A Theme Park Tribute to America

by on May 26, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX for Memorial Day is a very special one. A Theme Park Tribute to America. It is thanks to our brave members of the military, both past and present, for the great country we live in and the freedom we have to visit some of the world’s greatest theme parks. Today we’re going into the Orlando parks and looking some of the tributes to America and its soldiers.

# 6 – Spirit of America Fife & Drum corps (Epcot)

fife3

Spirit of America Fife and Drum Corps (photo by Brandon Glover)

Who knows where we would be today without the soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War and the Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps perform a patriotic tribute to them in front of the American Adventure pavilion in Epcot. With marching music and military formations, the Fife & Drum corps evoke the spirit of the Continental Army. Whether it’s “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “God Bless America,” or “Grand Old Flag,” the four man band (plus a flag bearer) will have your heart pounding in pride.

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Heading to Orlando? Pop on over to the Kissimmee Popcorn Company

by on May 26, 2014

Kissimmee Popcorn Company SignFair warning: if you don’t have a trip to Orlando planned soon you might want to postpone reading this one. If you continue on I can’t be held responsible for any airfare booked as a result! You’ve been warned. 😉

Many of you have probably seen me dropping into articles here and there that I’m maniacally planning a trip to Tokyo Disneyland Resort later this year. Apparently, I’ve been talking about it a little too much at home, too. Earlier this week my hubby came home and announced he had a surprise for me. We piled into the car and just a short while later arrived at the Kissimmee Popcorn Company. For anyone who is confused, Tokyo Disney is known for exotic popcorn flavors sold around the parks. Some of the oddest include: curry, strawberry, soy sauce, and milk tea! I didn’t find any milk tea popcorn, but I did find something really special. And just like all good things – I couldn’t wait to share it with you guys!

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Spice Up Your Trip with Disney World Challenges

by on May 25, 2014

During your first several visits to Walt Disney World, you’re likely to be fully consumed with logistics and checklists. How do I get from my hotel to the Magic Kingdom? Did little Susie get to meet Mickey? Where did I park the stroller? But once you’ve gotten a few trips under your belt, you may be ready to spice things up by adding some Challenge activities to your vacation.

Try to meet as many characters as possible in a single day.

Try to meet as many characters as possible in a single day.

What’s a Challenge?

A challenge is really anything you construct to make part of your trip into a game, quest, contest, or hunt. Some well-known challenges include:

  • Hunting for Hidden Mickeys. Popularized by Hidden Mickey Guy Steve Barrett, hunting for Hidden Mickeys involves scanning attraction and resort decor for camouflaged illustrations of Mickey Mouse’s head. See how many you can spot in a designated location.
  • Drink (or Eat) Around the World. Consume a particular food or beverage item in each of Epcot’s 11 World Showcase countries. The classic version involves ingesting an alcoholic beverage in each country. But there are snack versions (famously, the WDW Today Sip & Snack trip in which TouringPlans’ fearless leader Len Testa chugged a bottle of Canadian maple syrup) and candy versions as well.
  • Pin or Vinylmation trading. Purchase and trade to collect all of a particular series, or focus your search on finding all depictions of a particular character, film, resort, or attraction.
  • Ultimate Touring Plans. Virtually compete with other guests to see who can do the most theme park attractions in the least amount of time. Requires stamina, speed, and a strong bladder.

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SATURDAY SIX: Top Six Roller Coasters in Orlando

by on May 24, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX covers the Top Six Roller Coasters in Orlando. We here at the Saturday Six offices have been looking forward to the grand opening of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train for a while and one of the side effects of that anticipation has been having roller coasters on our brain. Luckily we are blessed with a lot of fantastic coasters in Orlando. But which ones are the very best? Today we are going to find out…

# 6 – Dragon Challenge (Islands of Adventure)

COASTERS_DragonChallenge

Dragon Challenge (photo by Mike Sperduto)

Dragon Challenge in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter squeaked by over Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster to take the # 6 spot. In its former incarnation as Dueling Dragons, this coaster had the unique experience of two trains leaving at the exact same time and at several points of the ride come oh-so-close to touching each other. Unfortunately the trains are now staggered, so while they don’t offer that exhilarating rush of coming near each other, they offer two exciting – and different – experiences. The Chinese Fireball (red side) has got faster speed and a bigger drop while the Hungarian Horntail (blue side) has a zero-gravity roll, cobra roll, and plenty more inversions to put a smile on your face. Waiting for front row on both is highly recommended.

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In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of May 23, 2014

by on May 23, 2014

In Case You Missed It!

While I’m not at the Rock Your Disney Side event tonight, I am dressed up. As you read this I am sitting in my office in my own villain costume right now, and I think I look good as Drizella from Cinderella. 🙂

If you are like me and not partying it up in either Disneyland or Walt Disney World, here’s some fun that will hopefully make things a little better.

In Case You Missed It – Disney and Universal Orlando News and Rumors

 

Wow! This is neat! Here is a copy of the Disneyland Prospectus. This was used to promote the idea of Disneyland to potential backers. There is some great detail in the map, as well as the documents that go along with it.

In news that makes you go, hmmmm…the Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the “Disney Exec Who Led MyMagic+ Will Leave the Company.” What are your thoughts about this move?

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