Archive for August, 2014

Boo to You: Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP)

by on August 29, 2014


The Halloween party is fun for all ages!
Photo by Kent Philips

Ed. – if it’s August, it must be Halloween in Central Florida. Today we’re running this article on Walt Disney World’s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, along with one on Universal Orlando Resort’s Halloween Horror Nights and Busch Garden’s Howl-O-Scream.

Not into the dark side of Halloween? Fake blood, chainsaws, and people chasing you not your thing? Although Halloween is usually associated with these things, there are still some of us innocent hearted individuals that prefer the Halloween of our youth: carving pumpkins, dressing up as our favorite cartoon character or super hero, eating caramel apples and drinking apple cider, and my all-time favorite the glutinous event of trick or treating. There was just something about knocking on the door of family and friends dressed as a smurf, hobo, Raggedy Anne, or whatever other thing my mother concocted that made my heart beat with delight. Waiting ever so patiently while grandma oohed and aahed over me, all the while wondering with childhood anticipation what goodie she was going to place into my plastic pumpkin. Sometimes it was raisins (oh granny, what a great sense of humor you have) and sometimes it was a whole regular size candy bar (jackpot!). Either way, it was my reward for this one night of joy.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: August 28, 2014

by on August 28, 2014

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re taking a peek at Villains Unleashed at the Disney’s Hollywood Studios, taking a long overdue trip to Epcot, and ending with a look at the cutest shopping trend to hit Downtown Disney. Now let’s get started with these amazing photos courtesy of my fellow blogger, Scott Wurzel. Why aren’t they my photos you ask? Well, I skipped out on this one. Even up until the day of the event I was still itching to buy a ticket. It just isn’t the kind of thing I miss! But after not even being able to get into the park for the Villains night last year, I had serious doubts if the Studios could handle the event. Reviews have been mixed online, but I’m glad I trusted my gut. I don’t think this would have been much fun with the outrageous lines and short supply of event items. Did anyone head to the park for this event? What did you think?

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Big Changes Coming to Epcot’s World Showcase Performances

by on August 28, 2014

Bye Bye Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps. Such a great show!

Bye Bye Spirit of America Fife & Drum Corps. Such a great show!

Here’s how I started my morning…I got a text from a friend telling me that something crazy was happening…a bunch of World Showcase acts were being removed. You know, those fantastic performers that you see around the promenade. I thought…no way. This has to be one of those off-the-wall rumors…it can’t be true. And then I got on Twitter…and I kept seeing the rumors with more fervor. It can’t be…

Well, now, it is official. Four different acts that perform around Epcot’s World Showcase – Off Kilter, MO’ROCKIN, the World Showcase Players, and the Spirit of America Fife & Drums Corps – will give their final performances at the end of September.

The first to leave will be the World Showcase Players. The last performance date for this comedic troupe found in the United Kingdom Pavilion will be on Thursday, September 25. They performed skits, oftentimes enlisting audience members to be a part of the fun.

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Gambling Disney Style – Disney Cruise Line Bingo

by on August 28, 2014

Disney Cruise Line Bingo 2Who’s ready for some gambling, Disney style? While it’s true that the Disney Cruise Line ships do not have casinos, fear not my fellow gamblers, there is still a way for us to get our fix. Disney Cruise Line bingo is a fun family activity that everyone can enjoy! I must admit, I love gambling. Now I’m not hearing my name being called by an evil slot machine or anything, but I do enjoy everything from craps to keno and bingo is no exception. I am a third generation bingo player; both my grandma and my dad are huge fans. So when I found out that I would be covering Disney Cruise Line bingo, I was beyond excited! I’ve played bingo in several places across the United States so I was very interested to compare Disney Cruise Line bingo aboard the Disney Wonder with my previous experiences. Please join me as I share my Disney Cruise Line bingo adventure with you!

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Disney Cruise Line Skagway, Alaska Train Excursions: Compare/Contrast

by on August 28, 2014

t_logo_fbTouring Plans blogger Kristi Fredericks recently compared our dog sled excursions on a Disney Cruise Line voyage to Alaska. We’re back with another round of Alaska Port Adventure comparisons, this time we’re looking at two train related excursions in the port of Skagway, Alaska. Kristi took the White Pass Railway and Trail Camp trip, while I took the All Aboard Steam Train tour. Here’s the scoop…


  • Price: $168 for guests 10 years old and above, $85 for children three to nine years old and free for children two years old and younger.
  • Price add ons: There is an opportunity to purchase souvenirs at the Liarsville Gold Rush Trail Camp.
  • Time requirement: The total excursion time is about 4.5 to 5 hours.
  • Physical issues: This excursion is both wheelchair and stroller accessible. Both must be collapsible. Guests must be able to walk on gravel to transfer to the train and motor coach.
  • Age limits: None.
  • Other important details: Passports are required for all guests, because this Port Adventure crosses into Canada.

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Using Disneyland Touring Plans and the Lines App

by on August 27, 2014

Radiator Springs Racers entrance -Natalie Reinert

I was determined to avoid lines at Disneyland as much as I do at Walt Disney World. Serious planning was needed.

As a Disney World veteran, there are two things I don’t bother with much anymore: park maps, and extensive planning. I know where everything is, I know when I want to see it, and I know how long I am willing to wait for things (about twenty minutes, generally). I think at this point my feet carry me from place to place without my brain directing them.

But for our first (of many, we hope!) Disneyland Resort trips, I knew that I needed to do some extra planning. Standing around with my face in a park map, trying to figure out where to go next, was simply not an option. I don’t even carry a bag in the park, let alone a map. But I needed a plan to get my family around Disneyland and Disney California Adventure without wandering aimlessly and getting caught in long queues. And, just in case of attraction breakdowns or unexpectedly long wait times, I needed the ability to make an on-the-spot back-up plan. How could I manage that in a park I’d never been before?

Enter personalized plans from, and the Lines App.

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Animal Kingdom Touring: How a Touring Plan Can Help

by on August 27, 2014

I have grown to love all of the parks at Disney World, but the one that took me the longest to befriend was Animal Kingdom. It’s not that I don’t love the theme (what’s not to love about animals?). It’s not that I don’t love the attractions (Kilimanjaro Safaris and Finding Nemo the Musical are two of the best things at any park, in my opinion.) It’s that I’m always feeling the pressure of the time schedule.

Pangani Forest Exploration Trail

I just love the gorillas along the Pangani Forest Exploration Trail, one of my favorite YOPAs.

Animal Kingdom is made up of three types of attractions. The first (and most prevalent) is Your Own Pace Attractions (let’s call these YOPA, just for fun). These are experiences that take varied amounts of time, depending on your pace and interest level. The YOPA list is long:


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Trip Planning Dashboard Now Includes Parks You’re Visiting Each Day

by on August 27, 2014

Those of you who are subscribers know we’ve recently introduced a new trip planning dashboard, and today we’re releasing the next iteration – adding parks to specific days in your trip, and integrating trips with our main crowd calendar. Here’s what the new features look like.



When you login to your dashboard, you’ll see that your trips now have the option to add parks to specific days. You can click on the link for the day you want to choose parks for (highlighted in orange in the picture above) to go to that day’s crowd calendar, including information about park hours and special events. There you can pick one or more parks to visit that day.

Parks you select will show up on your dashboard as you see above with their crowd levels. We’ll try to guess which parks you’ll visit based on the touring plans you already have for that day, or you can just select the ones you’re interested in (especially handy if you’re not using a plan or haven’t quite decided what you’re doing yet).


Want to take a look at the big picture? Now the main crowd calendar page will highlight your trips and scroll directly to your next trip dates, turning the crowd levels for the parks you plan to visit green to easily scan. It will also display the name (or names if your trip dates overlap) of your trips in the notes for each day.

All these changes work with all three of our trip-enabled properties (WDW, DLR and UOR), and are available now to all subscribers. Let us know what you think so far and stay tuned – more trip planning goodness is, well…planned. 😉

IllumiNations Cruise: A View Worth Every Penny

by on August 26, 2014

Epcot lights up the sky.  Photo by Disney

Epcot lights up the sky. Photo by Disney

If you are one of the unfortunate ones to never have experienced IllumiNations: Reflections of Earth before, you have really been missing out. IllumiNations is the story of our Earth’s history, its present, and the hope for its future, showcasing people, flora, and fauna. This fireworks, laser, and video show will be the culmination of your extraordinary day at Epcot. After visiting Future World and then stuffing yourself with wonderful delectables throughout the many countries around World Showcase, find a seat or standing area around the Lagoon and be prepared to experience pyrotechnic greatness.

The only downside to IllumiNations is that I sometimes find it a waste of good Disney time to be camping out around the World Showcase hours before the nightly showing to get a prime viewing location. If this has ever crossed your mind or if you are just looking for that over the top experience, perhaps to celebrate a wedding, birthday, or anniversary, then you should try an IllumiNations Cruise.

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Fair Trade and Eco Friendly Souvenirs at Walt Disney World

by on August 26, 2014

t_logo_fbRecently, a TouringPlans user asked for suggestions about where to find eco friendly or fair trade souvenirs at Walt Disney World. Although Walt Disney World does frequently issue statements about their corporate culture of environmental awareness and ethical trade practices, finding souvenirs that are clearly eco friendly or fair trade does take a bit of looking.

As I shopped, three common themes I found were:

  1. If you are trying to find non-mass produced, fair trade, and/or eco friendly souvenirs, you can almost always skip the larger shopping locations (The Emporium, Mouse Gear, World of Disney).
  2. If you want something that has a Disney character or says Walt Disney World, you will have a lot of challenges finding anything that meets these standards.
  3. When talking with different people about what they consider to be eco friendly or “ethical souvenirs”, there is a lot of variation to what people find acceptable.

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