Archive for November, 2014

DVC Merry Member Mixer Brings Holiday Cheer

by on November 30, 2014

The trees and garland are up all over Epcot. The holiday music wafts through the air as you enter the gates. It’s a balmy 85 degrees. Feels like…winter?

Even with the heat, many families were standing in line in their holiday finery and heavy winter sweaters for the first DVC Merry Member Mixer of the year. Located at the World Showplace between Canada and the United Kingdom, this event is held during the holiday season for DVC members and their guests. It is a tradition for many families to enjoy holiday cheer at this free event.

Snow falls at the entrance to the Merry Member Mixer. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

Snow falls at the entrance to the Merry Member Mixer. (Photo by Julia Mascardo)

I brought my personal self-described expert on all things holiday-related (my four-year-old daughter), and into the winter wonderland we went.

As you enter through the snow, make sure you are nice to Santa’s elves standing outside. One had the naughty list, and one had the nice list – I didn’t look to see which list I ended on, but my daughter was assured she made the nice list….so far.

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Thanksgiving on the Disney Wonder and Castaway Cay

by on November 30, 2014

Let’s clear something up right away. If you’re caught up on the TouringPlans blog, or follow us on Twitter, you already know that the Bloom family won Thanksgiving. We’re all just battling for second place at this point.

This Thanksgiving, Len Testa and I were on a 5-night Western Caribbean Disney cruise on the Wonder. To be honest, cruising wasn’t my first choice for celebrating. My intent was always to spend the holiday in Palm Springs. Unfortunately, no one else in the family was keen on it, and airfare to California from North Carolina never dropped to within my comfort level. So with two weeks to spare, and having eliminated a few other options, I found restricted rates* on the Wonder for the 23rd to the 28th. This met my needs of warm weather, not having to cook, and price, so after finding favorable airfare, I booked it.

The atrium of the DCL Wonder decked out for Christmas in November. Photo - Laurel Stewart

The atrium of the DCL Wonder decked out for Christmas in November. Photo – Laurel Stewart

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Enjoying Disney World While Pregnant

by on November 30, 2014

Photo - Angela DahlgrenWhile five months pregnant with our baby girl, my husband and I decided to celebrate with a “baby moon” at Walt Disney World in July 2013. I was nervous at first, but quickly realized there are so many ways to enjoy Disney with a baby bump!

Note: Make sure you check with your doctor before embarking on your Disney vacation. Ask about any restrictions and advice they may have. Your health and safety comes first!

Hydrate! Hydrate! Hydrate!

I can’t stress this one enough. Florida, especially in the Summer, is HOT (well, hot for this Minnesota native), so it is imperative to make sure you’re drinking enough water. Whenever you see a water fountain, take a drink! Carry a water bottle with you at all times. Ask your wonderful husband or partner to “spring” (pun intended) for a cold bottle of water available all around the parks. Getting enough H2O is crucial for you and your little one.

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New Lines App Feature Adds Attractions to Park Touring Plans

by on November 29, 2014

Now you can add an attraction to your Disney and Universal touring plans while reading the ride’s description in our Lines mobile app.

We’ve updated the attraction pages to show whether the attraction is already included in a touring plan. A new button on the page allows you to add the attraction to a touring plan:
Add Disney or Universal attractions to your touring plan


On the next screen, you’ll choose whether to add the attraction to an existing touring plan or new plan. If the attraction is already a part of a plan, you’ll have the option to add or subtract multiple rides:

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SATURDAY SIX: Inaugural Walt Disney World “Turkeys” of the Year

by on November 29, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX is a special one as we have the Inaugural Walt Disey World “Turkeys” of the Year. For Thanksgiving this week we took a look back at things both Disney and Universal fans should be thankful for, but today we are going to go the other way. Gather round, as we are starting a new tradition and award six WDW “Turkeys” to the craziest, most outrageous, or just downright weird stories of the year, concluding with the coveted Golden Turkey award. Let’s kick off the ceremony with a relatively recent one….

# 6 – FastPass + Testing at Toy Story Midway Mania

Kim Kardashian may have broke the Internet in November, but WDW itself set the precedent in October when it broke Hollywood Studios doing a controversial test using the park’s most popular attraction, Toy Story Midway Mania. For reasons still unknown, the attraction became FastPass+ ONLY for four days, giving guests no opportunity to wait in a standby line. The normally long standby line for TSMM was essentially switched over to Guest Services, where many guests queued up to voice their opinions on this test. The end result of the test? Scores of unhappy guests. One of the only family friendly rides in the park running at less than 100% capacity. And perhaps further evidence of a large percentage of WDW guests that just plain don’t want to participate in MyDisneyExperience or MyMagic+, something which could present a challenge for WDW in the coming years.


Sorry folks, ride’s closed. Moose out front shoulda told ya. (photo by Seth Kubersky)

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In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of November 28, 2014

by on November 28, 2014

In Case You Missed It!

I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving with family and friends! Now it’s time for the best part – leftovers! Of course, today is also Black Friday, so who went out and got some awesome deals?

As far as this week’s fun reads, I found information about what you should think about when cruising during the holidays, photos of cats from Disneyland, and much more!

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


The Motley Fool had a detailed look at “21 Interesting Facts About the Walt Disney Company.” I certainly learned a lot reading this article, and I think you will too.

Seriously, if you are not reading former Disney artist Floyd Norman’s blog, you should be. This week he wrote a great piece about what it was like to work for Disney in the 1960s. That story about the horse is fantastic. It’s so great to hear about the company from someone who lived it.

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DISNEY CRUISE LINE: Christmas Merchandise Photo Report

by on November 28, 2014

Last month we featured photo reports of the merchandise available in the Disney Cruise Line gift shops, along with Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. Since that time, DCL has shifted over into its Very Merrytime sailings and has a limited selection of Christmas-related items for sale.


DCL Christmas Ornament. $11.95.

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

by on November 28, 2014

MMM positiveBlack Friday. One of the biggest shopping days in the ‘Murica calendar. There couldn’t be a a more appropriate day of the year for a photo report of the Disney Outlet Stores (other than April Fool’s Day of course.) I will be said to see November go though, because as a theme park fan this was a HUGE month. We said hello to the much needed parking garage at Downtown Disney, and goodbye to my beloved NASCAR Sports Grille at Universal CityWalk. Both Universal and Disney opened new eateries: the unbelievably great Cowfish at CityWalk, and the just plain unbelievable (as in not believable) food truck park at Downtown Disney. The Magic Kingdom unveiled the awesome new queue for Peter Pan’s Flight, and the entire WDW resort area is starting to look like Christmas with the Wilderness Lodge getting its King Kong-sized tree and the Grand Floridian & Contemporary resorts putting up their must-see gingerbread houses. This may go down in the history books as the greatest month of all time, at least until next month.

Enough jibber jabber! Who is ready to hit the Outlets? Remember that clicking on any picture will open a full size version of it (don’t say we didn’t warn you).

We’re going to start off with my of my all-time favorite items I have ever seen at the Outlets: a Luigi’s Flying Tires toy! The huge rumor over in California is that the Luigi’s Flying Tires attraction is going down in January for “refurbishment”… and not coming back. Even mainstream film and pop culture sites have picked up on the story. Seeing this toy at the Outlets would be like stumbling upon a Habit Heroes comic book, or a pin for Stitch’s Supersonic Celebration. Originally $9.95, this bad boy is now just $4.95, but its value to me is priceless.


Staying true to the ride itself, this toy also doesn’t work.

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SATURDAY SIX THANKSGIVING SPECIAL: Six Reasons for Theme Park Fans to Give Thanks in 2014

by on November 27, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons for Theme Park Fans to Give Thanks. 2014 was a great year to be a theme park fan, and for this Thanksgiving we are going to take a quick break from all the turkey, football games, and Black Friday planning, to count our blessings and thank the parks and resorts we love so much. So, for one day only, I ask that Disney and Universal fans put aside their differences and spend a moment appreciating all the wonderful things that we can share together, starting with…

# 6 – Disney and Universal Merchandise is Better than Ever

It wasn’t long ago, that the only merchandise people were buying at Universal were Thing 1 and Thing 2 shirts. Over at Disney, almost every single store, whether in the parks, hotels, or Downtown Disney, was selling the same generic”Disney Parks”stuff. A seismic shift started to occur in 2010, when the Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened, and blew the doors off everyone’s projections in the area of merchandise and Butterbeer. Guests were now walking out of Universal with house robes, wands and chocolate frogs in hand. This success was then repeated throughout both of their theme parks, with unique and exclusive items found everywhere you looked, from the EVAC action figure at Transformers gift shop, to the faux girl scout cookies in Despicable Me’s Super Silly Store, to my personal favorite – The Film Vault –  a whole new store focusing on retro merchandise.


Jungle Cruise merchandise found at the Marketplace Co-op in Downtown Disney. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: November 27, 2014

by on November 27, 2014

Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re taking a look at resort decorations at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, stopping by the Magic Kingdom to check out the new Peter Pan’s Flight queue, and wrapping up with a visit to Downtown Disney and Animal Kingdom. I have so much to share, so let’s get started! 🙂

And what better way to start than with the stunning lobby of the Animal Kingdom Lodge? After all these years I’m still amazed walking in here. I think it might be my favorite hotel (and not just because Jiko is hiding inside). The tree towering inside looks perfect and coordinates with all the garland strung around the lobby. While there isn’t much else at the resort in the way of Christmas decorations, what more could you ask for? Be sure to click below to see what else is new this week.


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