Archive for December, 2014

Menu Monday: Lunch at Coral Reef Restaurant

by on December 29, 2014

Photo - Disney

Reception area

While planning my visit for this past September, I was browsing through different dining options and saw Coral Reef Restaurant. After reading a few reviews and chatting with people who had dined there, I was on the hunt for an Advance Dining Reservation (ADR). Because of my husbands work schedule at the time, I had to mentally plan our trip long before I could make reservations. Once work approved his vacation time, I set to work on the details….did I mention this was a month before the trip? (Let me know if you’d like an article on how to plan a WDW trip last minute. I’m an expert!) The stars must have been aligned that day because I not only got an ADR on the day I wanted, but I made a reservation for TEN guests!

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Hollywood Studios AtMousePhere: The Music of Sunset Boulevard

by on December 28, 2014

35705_1503195386401_4289760_nIf you enjoy big bands, jazz, and swing, then taking a walk down Sunset Boulevard is a must for your Walt Disney World trip. In my last AtMousePhere post on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood Studios, I discussed how unique that area of the park is compared to anything in Magic Kindgom, since that park keeps the music true to its theme.

On Sunset Boulevard, the music once again follows the Magic Kingdom concept and stays true to its theme. I love wandering around Sunset Boulevard to see all the details that highlight the 1930s and 1940s. And best of all, the music doesn’t disappoint. My grandfather probably did cartwheels strolling down this street back in 1995 because it would have made him feel so young!

Although The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror is looming in the distance, the music actually stays pretty upbeat until you draw closer to the menacing hotel. Then the atmosphere takes on a more ominous tone.

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Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar 2015

by on December 28, 2014

New Year’s Eve is fast approaching, which means 2015 will soon be upon us. Let’s take a quick look at the 2015 Walt Disney World Crowd Calendar.

Disney World is a crowded place that attracts 50 million visitors per year, and 2015 will be no different. Below is the touringplans.com crowd calendar donut (until we find a better name) that shows the hot spots and low zones for Disney World crowds since 2010. There are three things we notice from the graphic right away: the extreme crowds of Christmas and Thanksgiving; the extreme crowds at Easter that fluctuate yearly depending on when Easter falls; and the low crowds of early September. But there are a lot of other little tidbits of information, as well; let’s take a closer look.

How Crowded will Walt Disney World be in 2015?

Walt Disney World Crowds Since 2010

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons We’ll Never Forget 2014 (No Matter How Hard We Try)

by on December 27, 2014

This week’s  SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We’ll Never Forget 2014 (No Matter How Hard We Try). With this being the last edition of the SATURDAY SIX for 2014 we thought that we would spend a little time looking back at some of the most memorable moments of the year. Now we already covered some of the great things that happened during the year, and some of the worst as well, so today let’s look at six theme park stories that fall into a different area. Events that are almost hard to believe actually happened, but we promise they did, and we’re here with the proof. So let’s kick it off with…

# 6 – The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train rap video

NeverForget_Dwarfs1

There is no truth the rumor that the dwarfs are wearing sunglasses because of the glare coming off the Mine Train’s final show scene. (photo via Disney Parks

 

There are music videos, and there are music videos. This is the latter. Coming off one of the strangest commercials of all time for FastPass+, Walt Disney World outdid themselves with a commercial for the soon-to-open Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction. We admit to watching this commercial on a non-stop loop after we first saw it, laughing harder each time. I mean, let’s be honest, when you think of the Seven Dwarfs, who doesn’t think of rap music?!

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In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of December 26 , 2014

by on December 26, 2014

In Case You Missed It!

In Case You Missed It!

Wow! The year has flown by! How did that happen? It feels like just yesterday I was getting ready to welcome 2014, and here we are saying goodbye to it! I want to thank each and every one of you reading In Case You Missed It this year. I can’t wait to share fun goodies and tidbits I find with you next year! Remember, if you find something that you think may be interesting, you can always drop me a line to let me know.

So with that, I say, “Bring on 2015!”

This week was clearly slower, thanks to the holidays, but I was able to find a few tidbits that I think you’ll enjoy.

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

 

It appears the time has come. MyMagic+ should be headed to other Disney theme parks, like Disneyland, within the next few years. Thoughts? Things have seemed to work much better within the past few months, but the system is still clearly buggy at times. Plus with Disneyland’s Annual Passholders, one wonders how things will change when the system does roll out to that resort.

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The Ultimate Walt Disney World Holidays Tour

by on December 26, 2014

A few weeks ago, I was asked what the must-not-miss holiday decorations were at Walt Disney World for the holidays. Off the cuff, I rattled off the ones that I had seen in years past and that make the headlines: the gingerbread house at the Grand Floridian or the Osborne Lights at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. But truthfully, I had never seen all of the decorations. Would it be possible to see them all in one day? A few planning sessions later, my husband, daughter, and I set out to find out.

Our goal was simple: see the holiday decorations offerings at all Walt Disney World resorts*, all four theme parks, and Downtown Disney – and do it in one day. And, thus, the Ultimate WDW Holiday Tour challenge was born. We live-tweeted our day with #wdwholidaytour and posted updates for TouringPlans subscribers through the Lines app. Here’s our results, and our impressions.

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Disney World Winter Vacation: Planning for Pool Time?

by on December 26, 2014

Kidani Pool. Photo: Disney

Water play areas like this one at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Kidani Village, make for wet fun even when adults don’t want to swim. Photo Copyright: Disney

The other day, I was walking through the grounds of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge and heard a family of three planning their afternoon. It went a little like this:

Mom: “And so we’re going back to the room…”

Child (Age 3 or 4): “I want to go swimming.”

Mom: “And we’ll take a little break and then we’ll eat something…”

Child: “I want to go swimming.”

Dad: “Then we’ll go to the park and see the Christmas parade!”

Child: “I want to go swimming.”

If you spend enough time at Disney resorts, you’ll notice this is a pretty common theme of conversation. Parents are there for the action of the theme parks, kids are swooning for the pools — whether it’s a relatively boring quiet pool or a grand themed feature pool. Adults really underestimate how much the average child longs to be immersed in chlorinated water… or the temperatures at which they’re willing to do it. For some people, the cut-off temperature is 90 degrees; others might be a little more forgiving and go with 70. Every now and then I see someone in a pool when it’s 50 degrees and I have to go have a hot chocolate on their behalf. But I’ve found that there practically has to be snow on the ground for a kid to think it’s too cold to swim.

Should you plan for pool time on your Disney World winter vacation? Your kids probably think so! 

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25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 25: Butterbeer at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter

by on December 25, 2014

The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY TWENTY FIVE: Butterbeer (all versions) at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter (Universal Orlando Resort)

butterbeer

Frozen Butterbeer and regular Butterbeer with Hogwarts Castle standing majestically in the background.

 

The Game Changer.

When the Wizarding World of Harry Potter – Hogsmeade Village opened in 2010, it was a brand new day at the Universal Orlando Resort. Guests were leaving with bags filled with Potter merchandise, a stark contrast for a resort that sold a ton of Thing 1 & Thing 2 shirts, but little else of note. Harry Potter and the Forbbiden Journey had a queue that guests wanted to spend more time in. Imagine that. In a world where theme parks are spending Millions (if not Billions) on getting guests through queues quicker, guests wanted to stay longer in the elaborate Forbidden Journey queue. As Vizzini would say, “Inconceivable!”

But what no one was prepared for was a little drink called Butterbeer. To say it was popular may be the understatement of the century, as Universal celebrated selling one million Butterbeers just six months after their debut. It is said that Universal made enough money of the sale of Butterbeer in those six months to completely cover the entire cost of the Wizarding World. Since the very first drinks were poured, guests have debated which was better: regular Butterbeer or frozen Butterbeer. The answer? Neither, the Hot Butterbeer is clearly the best. They are all so good they are going to collectively get the # 1 spot and, what the heck, we’re going to add in Butterbeer Ice Cream from Florean Fortescue’s as well!

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: December 25, 2014

by on December 25, 2014

1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World! This week we’re stopping by Disney’s Hollywood Studios, checking out some sweet treats at the Contempo Cafe, and taking another detailed look at the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party. I can’t wait – so let’s get going! 🙂

Now, you might be asking yourself why I’m not covering the new Polynesian lobby or the Comedy Warehouse returning to the Disney’s Hollywood Studios. While I pride myself on bringing you guys the latest news from the parks every week, I’m home enjoying some time with my family for the holidays. Rather than leave you without any Disney goodness at all, I decided to pull some extra fun from the past couple of weeks to share with you. I’ll be back next week to share the latest news and to get ready for the craziness that is New Year’s Eve at Walt Disney World! I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday! How are you celebrating? I’d love to hear in the comment below!

We started celebrating a couple weeks ago in the Disney parks. As you can see to the left, we wanted to build a snowman! While it was only about six inches tall, it was the best these Floridians have done in a while. 😉 Want to see what else we did? Click to read more.

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25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 24: Lapu Lapu at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort

by on December 24, 2014

The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY TWENTY FOUR: Lapu Lapu at the Tambu Lounge (Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort)

lapulapu_tp

Lapu Lapu at the Tambu Lounge.

 

We are in the middle of huge changes going on at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort. The Pineapple Lanai quick service station opened earlier this year, offering guests an easy way to grab a Dole Whip outside of the Magic Kingdom. The recently renovated lobby area opened, the DVC bungalows on the Poly beach should open in the spring, and 2015 will also bring the long awaited Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto. While all this change is exciting, two things at this Deluxe resort are staying exactly the same: ‘Ohana and the Tambu Lounge. Located on the second floor of the Grand Ceremonial House, the Tambu Lounge is effectively the waiting area for ‘Ohana, but guests can go any time and order off the menu. Here is where you can find the iconic Lapu Lapu. Served out of an hollowed out pineapple, this legendary drink is a combination of Myers’ Original dark rum and tropical fruit juices while topped with Bacardi 151 rum.

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