Archive for November, 2014

Choosing the Right WDW Discount

by on November 26, 2014

As a frequent Walt Disney World traveler, and also not a Florida resident, I’m sufficiently addicted to Disney vacation planning books, podcasts, blogs, discussion groups, and other research areas that can help me sustain my pixie dust addiction without breaking the bank or going in debt. During my years of research, I’ve heard lots of claims of which Disney discount is “best”, and while I trust many of the sources I frequently research, I’ve learned that not all discounts pack the same punch. Depending on your party size, your frequency of visiting the parks, and your touring style, some discounts are better than others. In this article, I’ll review the most common (and often reoccurring) discounts available and analyze how those discounts can apply differently to different Disney vacationers.goofy discount

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Disney and Turner Classic Movies to Pair Up

by on November 26, 2014

Adco-superJumboWe all know that there are major changes on the horizon for Disney’s Hollywood Studios and now another interesting development has come to light – cable channel, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will be the official sponsor for The Great Movie Ride.

This paring will marry the two in perfect harmony, with TCM receiving credit as the sponsor on all signage and marketing for the attraction. In the queue, guests will enjoy new digital movie posters and will be able to view a new pre-ride video featuring Robert Osborne, the host of many Turner Classic Movies programs, who will provide insights from movies guests will experience in the attraction. In addition, an updated finale will feature a new movie montage of classic movie moments. Finally, when guests exit the attraction, they’ll have the opportunity to take photos with a classic movie theme.

In addition, as part of this deal, Disney will allow TCM to play classic movies and TV programs in special reoccurring programming blocks that will happen approximately four to five times a year. These blocks will be called “Treasures from the Disney Vault.” (And I need to make sure that I have TCM on my satellite now…)  This programming will begin at 8:00 p.m. EST December 21 through 5:15 a.m. EST on December 22.

According to the initial report which was released late last night, TCM executives say the agreement began with an administrative assistant, Amanda Tymeson, who returned from a visit to Disney World and suggested “that TCM and Disney would be great partners” in revamping the Great Movie Ride.

These changes for The Great Movie Ride will take place in Spring 2015. The Great Movie Ride was an initial 1989 opening day attraction for Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Review of a Saratoga Springs Two Bedroom DVC Villa

by on November 26, 2014

While Disney World offers a vast variety of different resorts to choose from for guests staying on property, the Disney Vacation Club (DVC) Villas offer even more options and experiences, particularly when it comes to room sizes! During my last few trips to Disney World, I had the opportunity to enjoy stays at several different DVC Villas; but today, I’m zeroing in on Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa in this review of a Saratoga Springs Two Bedroom DVC Villa.

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Saratoga Springs Congress Park

First of all, the Disney Vacation Club is Disney’s own timeshare program where members purchase and use points for their vacation experiences. It can be difficult to understand, but Disney Vacation Club (DVC) 101: What is DVC? can help fill in the gaps. If you are not a Disney Vacation Club Member, the good news is that you can still stay at a DVC Resort! You can do so by booking through Disney, just as you would any other resort; however, other guests like to rent points or even buy points from other members, but you definitely want to make sure that the seller is legitimate and reliable.

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Disneyland Resort Crowd Report – November 16 to 22, 2014

by on November 25, 2014

Disneyland crowd levels were up last week but not significantly so, except for Saturday. We tended to miss low with our predictions all week but we still managed to get within one index level of what we observed most days.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Disneyland Resort Crowd Report:

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Disney World Crowd Report – November 16 to 22, 2014

by on November 25, 2014

After a surprise crowd level at Magic Kingdom on Saturday, November 15, we were very curious to see how crowds would pan out last week. Our predictions did well all week until, for the second week in a row, a surprisingly large crowd level ‘7’ at Magic Kingdom on Saturday. Disney Hollywood Studios showed some higher than normal crowd levels as well but in general, the crowd levels have been within normal limits of what we’ve seen in past years, with the exception of Saturdays at Magic Kingdom. In fact, Epcot’s crowd levels have been near replicas of previous years as the success of last week’s predictions show. This indicates we are seeing a change in crowd pattern rather than a change in overall crowd level (although there is some evidence that crowd levels are up as well). Regardless, in the coming days you may see some crowd levels change in December, especially on Saturdays at Magic Kingdom.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the Disney World Crowd Report:

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Universal Orlando Resort Crowd Report – November 16 to 22, 2014

by on November 25, 2014

To say last week was a slow one at Universal Orlando Resort is an understatement. Wait times at both parks stayed in the lowest levels of the year all week, exactly as we predicted. Even the weekend crowds could not muster a crowd level above ‘2’ on our scale.

Let’s look at how the crowd levels stacked up each day last week on the TouringPlans.com Universal Orlando Resort Crowd Report:

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Embracing the Crowds as a Solo Traveler

by on November 25, 2014

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A pretty normal crowd to open the Magic Kingdom

Many times the purpose of a solo trip is to “get away” from things. Get away from work. Get away from family or friends. Get away from crowds. Get away from stress. Get away from reality.

Walt Disney World provides a great release for solo travelers, which can qualify for all of those “get away” moments…except the crowds. It has come to my realization that there are fewer and fewer “low crowd” times at Walt Disney World these days. I was there on a solo trip in mid-October, and it still felt like there were tons of people in the park. Even if attractions promoted 20 minute wait times, there were still people in the attraction, and I still had to wait in a crowd.

So how do solo travelers enjoy the crowds, no matter what the time of year? Well, maybe not enjoy, but tolerate or embrace the crowds? Here are some tips.

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Grand Floridian Gingerbread House Officially Open

by on November 24, 2014

This past weekend I was in Walt Disney World, and I just happened to be there on the day that the Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort‘s Gingerbread House officially debuted for this season! The house is huge and so gorgeous, and the best part is that you won’t be able to miss the delightful smell of gingerbread that permeates the lobby. Overall, it screams holiday cheer and is legitimately incredible to see in person.

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Menu Monday: How to Order the Chocolate Glass Slipper Dessert

by on November 24, 2014

Looking for a way to make a special meal at a Disney World restaurant even more magical? How about something to commemorate a birthday, anniversary, proposal, or milestone? If so, this Chocolate Glass Slipper Dessert may be just what you’re looking for! What is it? It’s a perfectly royal way to satisfy your sweet tooth and to celebrate a special occasion at Disney World. It consists of a chocolate shell shaped as Cinderella’s famous glass footwear, along with a few other sweet compliments and a personalized message tailored to your celebration. Find out how to order the Chocolate Glass Slipper Dessert for your next special event at Disney World.

Chocolate Glass Slipper Dessert

Chocolate Glass Slipper Dessert

Location

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Menu Monday: Birthday Fun at Teppan Edo with Review

by on November 24, 2014

Photo - Tammy Whiting

For those of you who don’t know, Teppan Edo is a delightful restaurant found in the Japan Pavilion located in the World Showcase at Epcot. That was a mouth full, wasn’t it? Here you can enjoy teppan-yaki-style cooking prepared right at your table by a talented Japanese chef. It’s not just a meal, but a fun and unique experience. Trust me, it’s something to put on your culinary bucket list!

Teppan Edo is my favorite place to eat in the World Showcase for two reasons: the memories and the overall experience. The first time my husband and I went to Disney World together, it was our favorite dining experience of the trip. We were with my parents and Michael’s aunt and uncle. Michael had raved about this place as he had been there once before. With such positive reviews coming from a Disney Curmudgeon, I knew this was definitely a place I had to try.

Following our arrival, we waited in the “lobby” for a short time before being seated. As we walked down a long hall way, I could peak into each room to see wait staff and chefs tending to their guests. I couldn’t wait to get started!

Now, the grill is centered around family-style seating so if you’re an introvert, you may have to keep an open mind. My parents could talk to a wall, so they plopped right down next to a middle-aged couple from New York. Yes, they had a New York accent. Yes, I couldn’t get enough of it. We soon learned that they were teachers like my mom, so they all had plenty to gab about.

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