Archive for March, 2015

The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! March 2015 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on March 31, 2015

MMM positiveThough the March Hare is about to leave us on the last day of this very month, you need not worry because the April Fool has arrived a day early and is here with a brand spanking new Outlet Report. So take a break from hunting for Easter Eggs at Epcot, put aside your souvenir mugs from the soft opening of Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto, hold off on booking that breakfast reservation for Be Our Guest, and be sure to pick your jaw up off the ground because it’s still there from finding out the Magic Kingdom opened up Aunt Polly’s on Tom Sawyer Island earlier this week. 

Prepare yourself for a trip to not just one, but BOTH Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando (physical addresses for both are located at the end of every edition of MM&M.) That’s right Dear Reader, I did the impossible and braved the I-4 traffic and horrendous parking situations at both outlets, for YOU.

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).

Our first stop is the Disney Outlet closer to Universal at the end of I-Drive and was surprised to see the first ever Tsum Tsums show up. I’ve seen them before at Once Upon a Toy in Downtown Disney, but never felt compelled to buy one at $6 a pop. That said, unlike Vinylmation, I can definitely see the cuteness factor and why people would want to collect them. The only Tsum Tsums available were the seven dwarfs and only the ones pictured below. Of course I bought them all.



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5 My Disney Experience Mistakes—and How to Avoid Them

by on March 31, 2015

Disclaimer: While I am a Cast Member, the following is based on my own experience and does not necessarily reflect the policies of the Walt Disney Company.

If you’re reading this blog, you probably like to plan ahead. The introduction of My Disney Experience has provided us with so many ways to fine-tune your vacation before you even arrive. But if you’re not careful, My Disney Experience can cause problems for your vacation before it even starts. Pay close attention to these tips so you’re well prepared for your Walt Disney World vacation.

my disney experience

Sign in to start planning, but beware…

1) You don’t have a ticket for each person.

Each person needs to have park admission in order to get into the park and to make FastPass+ selections. If only some people on your account have park admission, you will only be able to select FastPasses for that many people. So if you select FastPasses for the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and to meet Anna and Elsa for your ticket, anyone else in your group who does not have tickets will not be included in the FastPass.

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Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto Soft Opening Photos and Video

by on March 31, 2015

Trader Sam's soft opening

Mystery, adventure, and lots of rum await at the Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto soft opening. (Photos and video by Seth Kubersky)

It took a couple days longer than originally expected, but WDW’s hotly anticipated Trader’s Sam Grog Grotto soft opening finally began on Saturday, March 28th. Of course, we were on hand when the new watering hole’s doors opened for the first time, in order to bring you these photos and video (it’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it). So grab a bottle of rum and take a virtual visit to the Polynesian Village Resort‘s trendy tiki bar, minus the long line or hangover.

Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tiki Bar in the Disneyland Hotel has a loyal following, and its east coast cousin looks to be a hit right out of the box, based on the crowds attending the Grog Grotto’s initial days of operation. For the first day of soft opening, some guests got in line 5 hours early, and by an hour before the 4 p.m. scheduled opening there were already well over 100 people waiting.

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Disneyland Crowd Calendar Report – March 22 to 28, 2015

by on March 31, 2015

Last week, crowd levels followed the pattern predicted by the Disneyland Crowd Calendar with the exception of Thursday when we saw lower crowds than expected. Resort-wide the crowds never reached a full ’10’ but also never dipped below a level ‘8’ (other than on Thursday). Spring Break crowds kept the parks’ thrill rides quite busy all week.

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

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Universal Crowd Calendar Report – March 22 to 28, 2015

by on March 31, 2015

A cold front that swept across Central Florida last week kept wait times significantly lower than the same period in years past. The Crowd Calendar predicted crowd levels at ‘7’ or above but we saw many days with crowd levels as low as a ‘4’. More local residents that normal, many of whom were on Spring Break last week, may have decided not to visit the parks.

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

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Disney World Crowd Calendar Report – March 22 to 28, 2015

by on March 31, 2015

A cold front in Central Florida last week kept the Disney World crowd levels lower than the crowd calendar predicted. Local residents on Spring Break who planned to visit the theme parks may have chosen to remain at home rather than head to the parks and battle the March chills. Crowds were still significant however, with many days reaching levels in the upper part of our scale – plenty of ‘6’s, ‘7’s and ‘8’s.

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

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Lessons from My 1st runDisney Event

by on March 30, 2015

runDisney Expo

Your runDisney Experience begins at Disney’s Wide World of Sports, where you’ll find everything you need to prepare at Expo!

Committing to run your first big race is a bit overwhelming, particularly when it’s a runDisney event. There are a lot of things you don’t know as a novice, things that a more experienced runner might not even think about. If you’re thinking about registering for a runDisney event – particularly a future Princess Half Marathon – here are some things I learned from my first Glass Slipper Challenge.

Find Your Perfect Fit

While runDisney offers a lot of special opportunities, not every event is right for you. It’s not always easy to find extensive information, and even consulting other runners may not give you a clear picture of what to expect.

Running challenges – like the Glass Slipper Challenge – look like great fun when you’re signing up months in advance, but don’t forget that you’ll actually have to RUN those races eventually, and running for consecutive days can take a big toll on your body. You still want to enjoy your race AND your vacation, so be confident, but also realistic before you decide to be Dopey. There’s always next year!

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Easter Egg Excitement Enters Epcot

by on March 30, 2015

Easter has sprung all around the Walt Disney World resort. From the magnificent Easter egg displays at the Grand Floridian to Mr. and Mrs. Easter Bunny meeting their friends over at the Magic Kingdom, spring is in the air. Screen Shot 2015-03-29 at 8.11.12 PM

One special event is the Disney Egg-stravaganza 2015, a Disney Easter egg hunt, held at Epcot from March 27, 2015 through April 5, 2015.

For a $4.95 fee (with no discounts available), guests can purchase a packet containing a map and themed egg-shaped stickers. Then the fun really begins. Every country in World Showcase (plus the Outpost) has a large Disney character egg hidden somewhere in the pavilion. As you find each egg, place the sticker with the correct character on the spot on the map for that location. Once you have found all twelve hidden eggs, return to the Port of Entry and show your completed map for a special reward. The map and the reward are yours to keep as a souvenir.

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The Three Broomsticks: The Best Quick-Service Restaurant at Universal Orlando

by on March 30, 2015

On the one hand, it’s extraordinarily easy to pick The Three Broomsticks as the best quick-service restaurant at all of Universal Orlando Resort – it’s one of the best-themed experiences to be had in the entire industry, generally, let alone a culinary one, specifically. (Of course, the accomplishment is only abetted by Harry Potter’s whimsical mythology and engrossing details, which already does much to transform eating into a magical experience [no pun intended].)

The Three Broomsticks facade

Image © Dan Hatfield

On the other hand, however, it’s a rather controversial choice. First, there’s the little matter of Three Broomsticks’s competition at the resort, which is considerable; everything from the quick-service Fast Food Boulevard to CityWalk’s ever-expanding options to, of course, that other Potter establishment, The Leaky Cauldron, offer compelling reasons – especially of the gastronomical kind – to stay away from the first Wizarding World’s dive.

There’s also the little matter of the restaurant’s menu not being the most expansive, and that the quality of its food, while still substantial, isn’t of the same level as, say, Mythos, Islands of Adventure’s flagship eatery just down the path a ways (though the latter is a full-service stop, which might be comparing apples to oranges).

It’s actually a testament to The Three Broomsticks’s wonderfully addictive atmosphere that the restaurant more than manages to make up for its shortcomings, and that the overall experience truly is greater than the sum of its individual parts.

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Camping 101: Fort Wilderness RV rentals

by on March 29, 2015

Author’s note:  This is Part One of a Series on the ins and outs Disney’s Fort Wilderness.  Part One focuses on Fort Wilderness RV rentals.  Part Two will focus on how to get groceries and supplies to the RV when you will be flying into Orlando, and Part Three will explain transportation within the vast campgrounds.

Some of the best vacation memories I have from my childhood involve some element of nature and camping. Whether it was a weekend at a family member’s cabin in the woods or staying with my grandparents in an RV at the lake, I cherish each memory. Into adulthood I have wanted to experience the closeness of nature again. I’ve fantasized about cashing it all in, buying an RV, and traveling the country, working odd jobs (or blogging more steadily) as I go. Nothing but me, my husband, the fur kids, and nature in my day. Sounds peaceful, but delusional, I know.

Instead of camping, most of my adult vacations have been spent in Disney World. These vacation memories are just as cherished as those nature themed ones of my youth. I have often thought that combining the two would make for one amazing trip, but quickly dismissed the thought because we do live out of state and don’t own that coveted RV yet.

Courtesy John Scanlan

Courtesy John Scanlan

Yes, we could stay at one of the Cabins at Fort Wilderness, but the thought of shlepping all the camping essentials in my luggage, just doesn’t appeal to me. I would rather just show up, clothes and toiletries in tow, and plop myself into the experience.

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