Archive for June, 2014

Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: June 26, 2014

by on June 26, 2014

Hi everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re starting somewhere a little unconventional, an overpass leaving Disney property! This sunset was too amazing not to share, and this is truly how it looked. I just snapped the photo out my car window with a typical point and shoot camera. No editing wizardry here! Any week that starts like this has to be a good one, right?

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Next, let’s head to Animal Kingdom for the bulk of our updates this week. First up is the new Macaw Fly Over. I didn’t go into this expecting a lot, but we totally loved the show. I’d go out of my way to see it. While it’s over quickly, it’s amazing to see all of those lovely birds flying together. I know my video can’t do it justice, but if you’ve never clicked on one of my videos this is the one to start with! Make sure you check this out on your next visit.

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Disney Parks Celebrity Encounters

by on June 25, 2014

Disney Parks are swarmed with celebrities, from world-famous mice to royalty. Most of them have scheduled times you meet them, get their autograph and take tons of pictures with them. But what do you do when you notice a celebrity in the Parks that isn’t on the Times Guide?

It may have happened to you. You’re waiting patiently in line for one of Disney’s great attractions when you realize that you vaguely recognize a person standing behind you. And then it hits you: You don’t actually know this person – you just saw him/her in the latest hit movie! It’s so out of context, your brain needed a minute to make the connection. So, what now? Before you go over and start hounding someone famous for an autograph, stop and think before you act. Remember, they are there for the same reason you are: to enjoy a Disney vacation with their family; they’re not walking the red carpet to promote their celebrity status. Try to imagine how you would feel if someone came up to you and started bugging you. That’s what you might actually be doing if you gush, ask for an autograph or try to initiate a conversation with someone who is actually a total stranger.

Hugh Jackman recently visited Walt Disney World with his family and posted this shot on his Instagram.  Can you guess what movie project he's working on?

Hugh Jackman recently visited Walt Disney World with his family and posted this shot on his Instagram. Can you guess what movie project he’s working on?

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10 Points of Comparison between Cruise Loyalty Programs

by on June 25, 2014

I spend a lot of time talking about Disney Cruise Line and my deep abiding love for it. Disney, like all major cruise lines, has a loyalty program for repeat guests called the Castaway Club. These programs are all somewhat similar, but they all are different as well. So, let’s compare! There are lots of cruise lines out there, but I’ll stick to five of the biggest players in the American market like Disney, Royal Caribbean, Holland America, Norwegian and Carnival. And, here are 10 things you may be wondering about these cruise lines’ loyalty programs.

1. What Are The Loyalty Programs Called? – Perhaps not surprisingly, every cruise line takes great pride in their loyalty program and calls it something different. Repeat guests on Disney Cruise Line for example, are called Castaway Club Members. On Royal Caribbean it’s the Crown and Anchor Society. On Holland America they are members of the Mariner Society, and on Norwegian it’s called Latitudes Rewards. Carnival calls it their VIFP program. Otherwise known as a Very Important Fun Person. See what they did there? Who doesn’t want to be a very important fun person?

2. How Do I Become A Member? – The standard way is by sailing. With Disney you are automatically registered after your first sailing. Disney will send you a card with your membership number on it after your first sailing (but don’t worry if it doesn’t come in the mail, you can call and get the number). After you have sailed Royal Caribbean, just take your sailing date and ship name and register online. You can also register while onboard your first cruise with Royal Caribbean. On Carnival you can actually register before you ever step foot on a ship and take advantage of some discounts for members. With Holland America, you are automatically enrolled after the first time you sail with Holland America, but you will also be enrolled when you make your first booking if you’ve previously sailed on a line that they have a relationship with – Princess, Cunard, Seabourn, Carnival or Costa. Finally, Norwegian will let you register with Latitudes as soon as you have made a booking, but you will not receive any membership benefits until you have completed your first sailing.

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Walt Disney World Newsworthy Notes – 6/24/14

by on June 24, 2014

It’s been almost a month since we’ve had some Newsworthy Notes, but today, I’ve compiled quite a list that I wanted to share with you all since some of these updates may potentially impact your vacations to Walt Disney World. Let’s dive right in!

Favorite Quiet Spots in Disney World Parks

by on June 24, 2014

empty.main.street

September, the best time to find peace and quiet.

Where do you go to get away from it all (when you’re getting away from it all) at Walt Disney World? In particular, where do you go for a little respite from the crowds and chaos? Unless you visit during an especially slow time of year, it’s unlikely you’re truly going to get away from much of anything. People are everywhere. Hope is not lost, however, as the intrepid Disney adventurer is not without options.

Some have an inherent fear of slowing down, of taking a break in the middle of a busy, Touring-Planned afternoon. We don’t want to miss anything. While understandable, the concern is at best misguided, and at worst a recipe for a miserable day. Regardless of whether it’s your first time, or your thousandth, no matter how hale and hardy you may be, it’s a good idea to take some time every so often to recharge your batteries, and I’m not just talking about the ones for your gadgets. Your traveling party will thank you, and you will thank you. Of course, if you thank yourself loudly enough in public, it may just give you that extra personal space you’ve been looking for.

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Potty Talk: Hidden Restrooms of Disney World

by on June 24, 2014

Toilettes Sign in New Fantasyland (Not Hidden!)Avoiding long lines at Walt Disney World attractions is without question one of the best ways to ensure a successful vacation. So consider another way you can cut your time in line—knowing about the World’s hidden restrooms. Restrooms are seldom top of mind when planning a trip to Walt Disney World, but some knowledge about “where to go when you gotta go” can save valuable time and just might make that bathroom break more of an actual break than just another wait in line.

A word about the criteria for “hidden”: some of the highlighted restrooms are indeed hard to spot, but others are more “hidden in plain sight.” Once you “see” them, you’ll be forever thankful as you duck in while the crowds hurry by.

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Fourth of July Festivities for Walt Disney World

by on June 23, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

While I will be celebrating this year’s Fourth of July with a box of sparklers in my backyard, Walt Disney World is getting ready to put on a fantastic show for guests who visit during the patriotic holiday.

At the Magic Kingdom, the festivities kick off on July 3, with a two day celebration. Both days, the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade will run at 12:00 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Each night will then culminates in the “Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky” fireworks extravaganza. The show will take place on both July 3 and July 4 at 9:00 p.m. After the fireworks, there will be two performances of the Main Street Electrical Parade, one at 10:00 p.m. and one at 12:00 a.m. The Magic Kingdom will be open from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 a.m. both days.

Epcot will offer tons of fun activities to help celebrate the occasion. First, guests will be able to meet their favorite Disney characters dressed in patriotic attire outside of the American Adventure.

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios Invites Guests To Rock Your Summer Side

by on June 23, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

While I myself was on summer vacay last week (not to a Disney destination…unfortunately), Disney introduced an all new dance party for you to experience while you are visiting the Walt Disney World Resort on your summer vacation. The party, which takes place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, is called “Rock Your Summer Side.”

During this event, guests have the opportunity to dance along to both a DJ spinning hot tunes, as well as to a live band called The Hollywood Rockers (otherwise known as Mulch, Sweat, and Shears). Guests may also meet and dance with their favorite Disney characters, who are dressed for summer fun. Finally, guests can take a photo with a giant postcard backdrop.

The action all takes place at the Sorcerer’s Hat Stage nightly from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Guests will be able to rock their summer side until August 22.

Disney World Crowd Report – June 15 to 21, 2014

by on June 23, 2014

Two weeks ago on the Crowd Report we saw that the extension of the school year for some districts lowered the crowds levels across the resort. It appears that this past week may be the final week where we see that phenomenon. Crowds were one or two levels lower than expected this week but that was almost exclusively due to lower than expected wait times at Disney Hollywood Studios.

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

Walt Disney World Resort Crowd Levels – Daily Breakdown

Sunday, June 15, 2014

 WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
6
6

No surprises on Father’s Day Sunday. All four parks came in within one of our predicted crowd levels and all were either a ‘6’ or a ‘5’. Star Wars Weekends brought higher wait times to the Studios than pervious weekends, including a 29-minute average wait at Star Tours. Despite hosting Extra Magic Hour evening until 2:00 am, Magic Kingdom stayed at a relatively calm level ‘6’ during the day with only Space Mountain (51 mins), Splash Mountain (56 mins) and Peter Pan’s Flight (46 mins) reaching an average posted wait time above 40 minutes.

Epcot
5
6
Hollywood Studios
5
5
Animal Kingdom
6
5

Monday, June 16, 2014

 WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
7
7

Crowds at Disney Hollywood Studios have surprised us throughout May and June and continued to surprise us this week. A 10:00 pm closing plus Evening Extra Magic Hours until midnight would suggest a park crowd level around ‘8’ but attractions like Toy Story Mania (75 minutes), Tower of Terror (46) and Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster (53) had average wait times well below what history would suggest (predicted 102, 64 and 73 minutes, respectively). The phenomenon continues to focus only at The Studios. We saw ‘7’s and ‘6’s at the other three parks, as expected.

Epcot
6
6
Hollywood Studios
8
4
Animal Kingdom
7
7

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

 WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
8
7

Another very slow day at The Studios on Tuesday. Toy Story Mania averaged 69 minutes (predicted 99), Tower of Terror 37 minutes (predicted 64) and Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster averaged 53 minutes (predicted 70). Meanwhile, Animal Kingdom was very crowded with all attractions reaching a level ‘8’ or higher on our scale with the only exception of Expedition Everest (averaged 36 minutes, a level ‘6’).

Epcot
8
7
Hollywood Studios
8
4
Animal Kingdom
7
9

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

 WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
8
7

Wednesday’s crowds were the lowest of week, especially for Epcot. Soarin’ averaged 79 minutes which is only a ‘6’ on our scale and Test Track hit an average of 67 minutes, twenty minutes lower than expected. Overall, our predictions hit the mark again with Disney Hollywood Studios as the only exception, again.

Epcot
6
5
Hollywood Studios
8
5
Animal Kingdom
8
8

Thursday, June 19, 2014

 WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
7
7

Again on Thursday we saw low crowds at The Studios. Toy Story Mania averaged only 69 minutes, very low for a Thursday in June with a park closing of 10:00 pm. Our prediction of ‘7’ for Magic Kingdom and Epcot looked good though, even though Magic Kingdom hosted Extra Magic Hour morning and remained open until 1:00 am.

Epcot
7
7
Hollywood Studios
8
4
Animal Kingdom
7
6

Friday, June 20, 2014

 WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
7
6

Slightly lower crowds on Friday with no park hitting a level above ‘6’. We will be interested to see how wait times look at The Studios over the next few weekends now that Star Wars Weekends have concluded. Will they return to stable levels compared to history or will it continue to surprise us with low wait times.

Epcot
7
6
Hollywood Studios
7
5
Animal Kingdom
7
5

Saturday, June 21, 2014

 WHAT WE
THOUGHT
WHAT WE
SAW
ANALYSIS
Magic Kingdom
6
5

Saturday’s wait times were slightly lower than predicted across the resort although Epcot was a ‘5’ as predicted. Any park seemed to be a good choice on Saturday. Disney Hollywoods Studios reached a level ‘4’ which was lower than expected but similar to Saturdays during Star Wars Weekends in May and June.

Epcot
5
5
Hollywood Studios
6
4
Animal Kingdom
7
5
What to Expect This Week
June 22 to 28, 2014
How Crowded is Disney World?

How Crowded is Disney World?

Summer season is upon us so you can expect the parks to be crowded, hot and rainy in the afternoon. Park hours are long however so you have lots of time to visit in the morning, take a midday break and return in the evening for a full day of touring.

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.

Observations: June 17, 2014: A Magical Evening

by on June 23, 2014

I hope you’re ready for a magical evening, because earlier this week the rain finally stopped, and I couldn’t wait to get back to the Magic Kingdom! Before we get started I wanted to remind everyone that the new monorail schedule goes into effect in just a few days. Be sure to check it out.

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Actually, maybe the monorails not being around isn’t such a bad thing because it took me almost 40 minutes to get from the parking lot over to the Magic Kingdom gates. I can’t complain, because I did end up in the most magical place on Earth, but I would’ve liked to have been there earlier than 8pm! In any case, you can see this time of year I had plenty of sunlight left to take photos for you. 🙂

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