Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: January 15, 2015

1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’ll be visiting the Disney Marathon at Epcot, stopping by Disney’s Hollywood Studios to check on the hat, and finishing up at Magic Kingdom. Ready for some fun? Let’s go! 🙂

So why would I include a photo of the Walt Disney World maingate entrance? You might recall that last week I recommended getting to the parks extra early this weekend because of the Disney Marathon. I’ve always enjoyed getting in extra early and getting ahead of the crowds during race weekends, but it had been years since I showed up at 11am. Well, showing up that late meant that traffic stopped right where I took this photo! I decided to tough it out this year so I could share what it looks like with you guys. Click to read more if you’d like to see why you should get there early! 

Unless you’ve visited (and driven!) on a race weekend you might not understand why there is such a delay getting into the park. Well, traffic has to go down to just one lane to allow room for all the runners. I have so much respect for these folks, it was raining and cold but here they were at mile 22! While it did take me a whopping 40 minutes to inch my way to the Epcot main entrance, at least I was in a warm car.

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Despite getting to the park at almost noon, the race was still in full swing. Cheering could be heard all over the park and runners had a clear path through roughly half the park. You might be at home wondering why on Earth someone would visit with all this commotion in the park. Well, at noon Test Track had a 20 minute wait! Soarin’ was a little longer at 45 minutes, but the line was still shorter than you’d expect. Everything else in the park was walk on! Marathon weekend is always the best for visiting Magic Kingdom and Epcot.

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One thing to be aware of is that you will have to wait to cross the running path. They never let the lines get too long, though. It’s pretty easy to get around the park and absolutely worth the slight delay to take advantage of those short lines! Pictured below are about 100 people waiting at the crosswalk.

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In addition to the short lines, check out the views in World Showcase! Even before 11am you sometimes can’t get such wide open views on a normal day. These are also great, wide open spots to watch the race and cheer for the runners. At this spot you’re on the last mile and runners are starting to have fun. I saw lots of people stopping for a beer to carry over the finish line. I even saw one guy with a beer in one hand and a margarita in the other! 😀

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Speaking of margaritas, when is the last time you’ve seen no wait at all outside of La Cava del Tequila? This photo was taken at 12:30pm and this might be the only time I’ve been by that I haven’t seen a wait! This is a stark contrast to just a few weeks ago at Christmas when the lines for Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros stretched all the way out into the streets!

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Now, I normally don’t feature photos of strangers because I think it’s just creepy. However, just this once I hope these two will forgive me. I couldn’t resist featuring Dreamfinder and Figment! I saw lots of great costumes but this was my favorite. Plus, major kudos to these two for keeping up their costumes even through the rain. If these two ever read this you were awesome sauce! Have you ever visited during the marathon? What did you think? Did you see any great costumes?

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Next let’s hop over to Disney’s Hollywood Studios to check on the progress at Starbucks. It looks like it’s so close to opening. As you can see from the photo on the left, it looks like they’re ready to open up the gates. The photo on the right was taken through a tiny slit in the paper on the window. As you can see, there’s a lot setup in there. Remember, you can click on any image to see it larger.

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And now for the real reason for our visit, the hat! While it has been further dismantled since my visit on Sunday, here is our last view of the hat intact. I was so excited when I heard the hat was going to be removed, but seeing it behind walls was bittersweet. It wasn’t until I saw it that I realized I never hated the hat, I just missed the Chinese Theater! Part of me wishes they could just relocate the hat somewhere else. What do you think? Am I alone?

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The construction walls notably feature the Earful Tower and attraction posters of the few things left to do in the park. I thought the below photo was a good one to share for history. This is the last time these three icons will be seen in one photo. I’m very excited to see what the future will bring for the Studios and I’ll be sure to keep you updated at the hat comes down one piece at a time.

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Back on the Streets of America things are much slower these days. It doesn’t look like they’ve started taking down the Osborne Lights just yet, but with them going dark it’s empty back here. Hopefully the changes coming will bring something more popular to the area. Rumors are flying that this was the last year for Osborne Lights at the Studios, but time will tell. Where do you think they should put the lights next year if this isn’t an option?

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Below is the empty space that once housed Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post and Frozen Snowground. Was I the only one blindsided that it closed on January 4th? I didn’t realize that this was a temporary spot and it was always packed despite the crummy location. I’m very hopeful that this is a sign of construction coming to improve the park very soon!

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On my way back to the front of the park I noticed a billboard for Inside Out. So far the limited previews haven’t sold me on seeing this one, but I’m sure I will when it comes out in June. Have you heard anything about this film? Are you excited about it? Maybe I’m just getting old! 😉

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Back at the front of the park, the American Idol theater is now sitting vacant again. The large screen out front is just being used to list showtimes around the park. Does anyone else remember Superstar Television? I really wish they would bring back a modern version of this classic in this space.

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So what do we do on a light news week? What else? Shopping! Heading into the studios I noticed a new 2015 Sorcerer Mickey. Below right are some really fun Muppets hats, they aren’t new but can be hard to find so I wanted to show them off. Everything pictured below retails for $24.95. Which is your favorite?

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Below are tons are new Magicbands that are now available for sale. Ironically, Disney’s Hollywood Studios is the best place to find all the new Magicband designs. The large emporium style store and the photography store both have all the latest and greatest. Maybe they just haven’t come out with the right character yet, but I have no interest in buying a Magicband. What do you guys think? Who is buying these?

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These sweatshirts win the weirdest new item of the week. The fabric felt high end but what do you think of the design? They almost looked screen printed with photos of Mickey and Minnie plush. At $49.95 I expect these will be at the outlets soon. (As I’m sure Derek will report, all the Christmas clothing that was in the parks a few weeks ago is already at the outlets!)

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Of course, the next big holiday is Valentine’s Day. So far the only merchandise I’ve found are the items you see below. Minnie and Mickey are each $16.95 and Duffy is $20.00. While the Mickey and Minnie look recycled from previous years, I don’t remember the Duffy. All of the sudden they seem to be releasing a Duffy with every holiday. Did he get popular while I wasn’t looking? 😉

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Now let’s hop over to the Magic Kingdom where half of Uptown Jewelers is hiding behind a wall. This is one of my favorite shops and I almost never visit the park without stopping by. While I don’t like circulating rumors, I’ve heard from more than one person that this will be a retail Pandora store. I’m a big fan of the brand so I’m hopeful this is what’s moving into the space. Fingers crossed and I’ll report back when it opens.

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Also in this space are gobs of Haunted Mansion Dooney & Bourke purses. It seems that Disney has finally kept up with the demand of these bags. Or maybe they’ve finally priced them so high that they aren’t flying off the shelves? In any case, if you were hoping to get one of these on your next trip they are still here.

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Over at Memento Mori (the new gift shop by the Haunted Mansion) this new figurine is available and retailing for $95. I can’t be trusted with breakable things or I might be tempted by this, especially since it lends itself to being the first in a set. I would think they’d release figurines of the other three stretching posters. Memento Mori is still a gorgeous gift shop and much easier to get into these days. I haven’t seen a wait to enter since Christmas.

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I wanted to finish up this week with a little dark ride photography. I know I’ve included photos similar to the one below in the past, but I think I finally got this one right. This Ariel in particular tends to have crazy eyes! After multiple attempts I think I might have caught her only good angle. Does anyone have requests? I tend to hop on my favorite rides over and over but I’m always happy to take requests of anything you guys would like to see. Are you homesick for your favorite ride? Let me help! 🙂

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Lastly, we haven’t visited it’s a small world in a while so I thought I’d share a few photos from our ride on Friday night. We had a boat almost entirely to ourselves so I didn’t have to worry about my shutter snap bothering people. I know it isn’t the “latest news”, but who can resist smiling when you look at these?

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That’s everything for this week. Now let’s see what you can expect if you’re visiting next week.

Crowd Calendar: Crowds will be pretty tame this week but expect a little jump for Martin Luther King Junior Day and the weekend prior.

Weather: Highs in the low 70s and lows in the 50s? It’s another week in paradise!

Remember: Have you made your dining reservations for July 3rd and 4th? Magic Kingdom will present their holiday fireworks on both nights so be sure to plan ahead. There’s still lots of availability if you’ll be in the area over those dates.

Here’s my top tip for this week: While I always share the weather, it’s worth noting that you just can’t trust the forecast here. Earlier this week we left for Universal dressed for the high to be 65 degrees with sunny skies, but by the time we got there (not even an hour later) the forecast had updated to a high of 57 degrees with rain! We weren’t prepared for the swing in weather so we had to skip our visit. Be sure you come prepared for anything this time of year!

Do you have any news I missed or any requests for coverage next week? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and thanks so much for reading! I’m wishing all of you the Best Week Ever, until next time!

Daisy Lauren

I'm just about the biggest Touring Plans fan ever and still pinching myself that they let me be part of the team! I love sharing all things Disney with you and always appreciate your ideas and feedback at: daisylauren@touringplans.com or @dizdaisylauren on twitter Above everything else THANK YOU for reading and commenting!

24 thoughts on “Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: January 15, 2015

  • January 15, 2015 at 9:08 am
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    Regarding the previews for Inside Out – the one thing I’ve noticed as a big fan of Pixar is that their trailers often don’t do them justice. I remember seeing a trailer for Finding Nemo in a theater and thinking that it might be their first failure. I might have been a little off in my judgment. Given the director(s) for Inside Out, I have high expectations for that one.

    • January 15, 2015 at 12:02 pm
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      Hey Jeff – now that you mention it, I remember the awful Finding Nemo previews. Pixar hasn’t failed me yet so you know I’ll be there opening weekend. It’s cool to hear what other people think – thanks for your sharing! 🙂

  • January 15, 2015 at 9:14 am
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    Daisy – have you thought about making a book or ebook guide to WDW with your photos? For our upcoming trip I’m looking for a good book of WDW for my 6 and 8 year old kids that talk about the attractions and parks but also include lots of pictures.

    • January 15, 2015 at 12:08 pm
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      Oh- Hi again, Jeff! 🙂 I would have responded all at once had I seen this. You’re so kind! I’ve never thought about doing something like that, but wow! I appreciate that you think I’m any good. Are you familiar with Tom Bricker? I’ve purchased Disneyland photo books from him before so I would think he has WDW too. (Not to mention he’s infinitely more talented than I am!)

      But let me know if there’s anything specific you’re looking for, I have photos of everything so I’m happy to help.

  • January 15, 2015 at 10:36 am
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    Ack! Now they have tons of the purses after I had to go through the whole ebay deal! I even got my precious purse from Disneyland, even though I’m a WDW girl through and through. I sure hope they keep having the wallets and whatnot by the time I’m there in a month! Looks like there’s a ton now.

    • January 15, 2015 at 12:12 pm
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      Aw, Katherine. I hate that you went the eBay route. 🙁 I’ve been there. It’s just the worst! I didn’t mention that I also picked up marathon shoes last weekend too. I can’t believe how they are selling on eBay.. but what else do you do if you aren’t here?

      They don’t have HM wallets, but they have wristlets. Are those what you’re seeing? Just want to make sure you aren’t homing for something that doesn’t exist. 😉

      • January 15, 2015 at 12:52 pm
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        Yep, wristlets would be awesome, but I’m just a sucker for anything Haunted Mansion. I’ve never been so in love with a purse. I’m just not that kind of person. But I HAD to have it. So yep, Ebay! It’s alright, I mean I paid a bit more but I didn’t have to go to Florida, stand in line, and then be disappointed!

        • January 16, 2015 at 11:50 am
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          Would you like the barcode? I didn’t realize those weren’t out there? Let me know and I’ll send. You can also email me on my TP address. Happy to help! 🙂

  • January 15, 2015 at 10:37 am
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    I loved Superstar Television, too. The green screen aspect is incorporated into Disaster at Universal, but I wish Superstar TV would come back. DHS has closed 3 attractions (Jack Sparrow, Backlot, and American Idol) in the last year (4 if you include Wandering Oaken), and only opened the Frozen sing-a-long in the same time. I think Superstar TV would be really embraced.

    • January 15, 2015 at 12:13 pm
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      Yay, Erin! I’m not the only one that remembers! It seems like the perfect way to push all of their ABC shows too. I wish they’d do something with the space. Studios felt a little empty before they started shutting down attractions – now it feels like it’s going out of business! 😉

      • January 15, 2015 at 2:26 pm
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        Absolutely! They could have Agents of Shield, Once Upon a Time (which regularly makes generous if not particularly good use of the green screen), and Modern Family, as well as things from Disney and Dis Jr. for the younger crowd. And you’re right, it does have a bit of that “going out of business” feel. My family went for the first time ever in December, and our favorite attractions for the five of us (two grandparents, two parents, and a toddler) were all at DHS (TSMMx2, Star Tours, Tower of Terror, and Disney Jr. Show), but none of us said that DHS was our favorite overall park, partly because each attraction was so crowded (fewer attractions means more crowds at the existing attractions).

        • January 16, 2015 at 11:51 am
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          We don’t like thrill rides so there are only 3 rides we’ll get on at Studios. Right now the biggest draw there is watching that hat come down! LOL

  • January 15, 2015 at 11:28 am
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    Anyone have suggestions for ADR’s for July 3 or 4? This is our first trip during the Fourth of July holiday. Good places to see fireworks in any of the parks would be appreciated!

    • January 15, 2015 at 12:16 pm
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      Hi Jenny! I picked California Grill. I don’t normally like snooty places but they have an epic view of the Magic Kingdom. You really can’t go wrong on the monorail loop. Plus, it looks like the Pirates and Pals Fireworks Cruise is still available so that’s an option too. 🙂

      • January 15, 2015 at 12:28 pm
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        Thanks Daisy! Love your blog posts, I look forward to them all week!

        • January 16, 2015 at 11:51 am
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          Aw, thank you!! You don’t know how happy it makes me to hear that! Hugs!!

  • January 15, 2015 at 6:52 pm
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    I am wholeheartedly on board with the hat being relocated, even within DHS. I just think it makes a much better park icon than the teeny, out-of-the-way earful tower. I will have to take extra special care of my park icons glitter t-shirt now since I won’t be able to easily get another one later! I was with everyone shouting for the view of the Chinese theatre to re-emerge, but now I’m sorry to see it go. I’m glad I got some pictures. *sniffle*

    Great news about the HM purses, maybe they’ll still be available for my next trip! Or maybe I can convince someone to take a picture of the barcode for me. :p

    • January 16, 2015 at 11:55 am
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      Hey Gillian – I didn’t know the barcodes weren’t out there! I put it on my to do list for this week and I’ll get them to you. Think they’re popular enough to get in the blog, or should I just email you? You guys can always email me for stuff like this, I’m really happy to help! 🙂

      Want the icon shirt barcode too? Assuming they don’t end up at the outlet.. LOL

      • January 26, 2015 at 2:42 am
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        I’m sorry I didn’t reply sooner, I just saw that you put up the bag codes in your recent blog. Thank you! 😀 I’ll always treasure my shirt and probably wear it less so I don’t need to buy another. Goodbye hat; I barely knew you.

  • January 15, 2015 at 8:10 pm
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    I’m for relocating the hat. I’ve actually never been to DHS without it, so for me it was “the way it was supposed to be”. It wasn’t until I saw pics of the view from the entrance without it here that I realized how much it was taking away from the “instantaneous immersion” feeling, and how different it would feel to enter the park without it. I’d love to experience that next time I’m there, but I don’t want the hat to be just gone.

    • January 16, 2015 at 12:00 pm
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      Hey Jennie – That must be extra sad for you! I can’t imagine if they hat were the only thing I’d known in that park. The only thing getting me through is seeing what an amazing change they made at California Adventure. I’m really hopeful that something similar is coming for the Studios! Regardless, I think I’ll be missing that hat with you! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  • January 16, 2015 at 11:19 am
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    Hi Daisy!

    Always love your blog posts! 🙂 It gets me to Friday!!! Where did your traffic start on your ride in? I really hope it’s a Pandora store! I can’t believe the disneystore.com site has been out of the charms for a couple months now, and while they’re out eBay people are making tons of money since you can’t get them from Disney. I myself have been upset about this since I want some of them too. Do you know if you can find the charms in the parks or are they all out too?

    Anywho, can’t wait till next week for your next post!

    • January 16, 2015 at 12:04 pm
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      Hi Cleo! Thank you so much – I just love hearing this! That’s actually the reason the site owners picked Thursday for me! Any requests for next week? I’d love to visit somewhere extra special just for you! 🙂

      The traffic started wwaaayy out when I entered Disney property but it was only bad past the Studios. Most people bailed and went to AK or DHS.. but it’s a trap! Always go to MK and Epcot, they’re empty.

      A couple people have emailed me suggesting that I do a full Pandora post answering your questions above and more. I’m going to put in the idea for approval. So hold that thought – hopefully I’ll have tons of info for you very soon!!

      • January 16, 2015 at 11:31 pm
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        Are they empty because the marathons run through them, and the others busy because there is no marathon so people rush to those ones? I would love to read a Pandora article, I need to find out the UPC numbers or something so that I could maybe call and see if they have any separate from disneystore.com.

        As for my visual request, would it be weird if I asked for a picture or two of the walking path that connects Tomorrowland and Fantasyland? I think it goes behind Tomorrowland Speedway? That area is so beautiful (at least it was last time I was there lol) and I feel like people forget about it because they’re always rushing to the next thing, I myself am guilty of this but we usually utilize that path because it used to be not super crowded with people, but who knows what it’s like now. If that is too weird of a one, I love me some Monorail pictures <3 Don't know if you end up riding the Monorail that often since I have no idea how you commute to everywhere Disney, but I adore it and all transportation. Or hey, 5-legged goat anyone? From the Contemporary Concourse area.

        Thanks again Daisy!!!!

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