Archive for April, 2015

Disability Access Service Now Digital at Walt Disney World

by on April 30, 2015

MagicBandWalt Disney World has transitioned its Disability Access Service into an all digital format. Guests will now be able to have the information that was previously recorded on a card now stored on their MagicBand or ticket media.

The Disability Access Service is designed to accommodate those guests who are unable to wait in a conventional queue due to a disability, including those non-apparent disabilities.

To use the updated system, guests who need the Disability Access Service will still need to visit Guest Relations and have their photo taken that will be linked to the MagicBands of your entire party. (This means that you will need to make sure to let Guest Relations know the full number of members of your party. This cannot change, without another stop at Guest Relations.) The maximum number of guests per one Disability Access Service is 6, and it will be valid for 60 days. Paper cards will no longer be issued.

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NBC Sports Grill Brew Replacing NASCAR at Universal CityWalk

by on April 30, 2015

NBC Sports Grill Brew

The new NBC Sports Grill Brew is bound for the site of Universal CityWalk’s former NASCAR restaurant. (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

Since late last year, the entire theme park community (ok, just Derek Burgan) has been mourning the closure of the NASCAR Sports Grille, and eagerly awaiting news of what’s next for the former restaurant’s prominent footprint along the promenade of Universal Orlando‘s CityWalk. After months of watching NASCAR’s slow-motion demolition, we finally have evidence confirming rumors that an NBC Sports themed restaurant would be the new replacement. User “CatCatCat” on the forums was the first to share a new State of Florida business license filing that lists “NBC Sports Grill Brew” as the new eatery’s name.

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More Shops Open at Walt Disney World’s Downtown Disney

by on April 30, 2015



Downtown Disney is seeing more changes, as a few additional shops have opened officially today.

The first is the Super Hero Headquarters, which is themed around your favorite Marvel characters. Guests experience a high tech shop, with tons of great Marvel merchandise including clothing, prints, collectibles, toys, and more. If you are a fan of anything Marvel, this is the place you want to check out. The Super Hero Headquarters is located on the West Side where the United World Soccer Shop previously was. (The Shop is still selling soccer merchandise at a kiosk over by Cirque du Soleil, for those who are curious.)

The second is a jewelry store called Erwin Pearl. It offers high-quality fashion jewelry including earrings, necklaces, rings, bracelets, pins, and watches. The Downtown Disney location carries the fully array of options. Erwin Pearl has been making fashion pieces since 1954 and is an expansive line of affordable luxury jewelry made from the finest materials. The shop is located in The Landing.

Two other stores are expected to also open at The Landing soon. They are Vivoli Gelateria, which will offer specialty gelato, espresso, and paninis, and Joffrey’s Tea, which will offer hot and cold teas, packaged teas, plus accessories. There has been no announcement as to when these locations will officially open.

With continual changes occurring at Downtown Disney, I’ll be sure to keep you posted on any updates!

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

by on April 30, 2015

MMM positiveThe end of April is upon us, and thus comes the second – yes, second – Outlet Report of the month. That’s right, on April 1st, when you were wondering whether or not the Motorola selfie stick was real or if Olaf was truly replacing Stitch’s Greatest Escape, we gassed up the Merch Mobile and headed down State Road 535 to cover a non-Disney owned Outlet Store (don’t worry, we grabbed an extra bottle of Xanax for the road rage.)

Since that day a lot has happened. The BOATHOUSE opened at Downtown Disney, offering a S’mores Baked Alaska that is surely going to be near the top of our next article spotlighting outrageous eats at Walt Disney World. TouringPlans’s own Daisy Lauren did her must-read Best Week Ever from Tokyo Disneyland Resort (you’ve got to see the picture of the Chandu Tail from Tokyo Disney Sea.) And one crazy person even wrote about all the special events that WON’T be coming to Orlando anytime soon (although who wouldn’t want to go to A Celebration of Twister?!)

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 item is one I had speculated we could be seeing after the Mickey Mouse kitchen clock magnet made its way to the Outlet last month. This Stand-By Entrance timer magnet was marked down to $3.99. I’m pretty shocked to see this already because I don’t think it came out that long ago and it is a very clever idea. I guess people just want to use the FP+ of the kitchen (AKA the microwave.)


The timer can only hold times up to 99 minutes and 59 seconds, so it is definitely not the Anna and Elsa Timer Magnet which goes up to six hours.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: April 30, 2015

by on April 30, 2015

1Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’re visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot for some Flower and Garden Fun! Who is ready to take a beautiful stroll through the parks and do a little shopping? I know I am, so let’s go! 🙂

As you can see from the photo, the skies were bright and blue this week. Since we arrived in the evening it wasn’t too hot either! It was absolutely perfect.

Since there wasn’t a lot of breaking news this week I decided to find some new items for sales and just take some photos of the landscape. First up, I noticed this new Mickey figurine for $49.99. There is a switch on the bottom that makes the hat light up. It just adds a little color around the white shapes on Mickey’s hat. It’s very subtle, I bet it would look amazing in the dark! There were also some new Star Wars cook books. I’ve noticed lots more Star Wars goodies showing up – it looks like they are getting geared up for Star Wars Weekends.

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Want to see what else we saw this week? Be sure to click to read more below!

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New Mobile App Test for Dining at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on April 29, 2015

Over the past few years, Disney has been testing ways to get food to people faster and more efficiently. For example, they’ve been doing it with Be Our Guest Restaurant at the Magic Kingdom, where guests can pre-order their breakfast or lunch up to 30 days prior to their trip. However, right now, there is currently a new test occurring, this time at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

To take part in the test, guests must first download the Express Order app on the Apple or Android device. Guests will also need to make sure that they have checked to allow for location services and Bluetooth to be accessed.


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Extra Hotel Fees and Costs You Need to Budget For

by on April 29, 2015

Going on vacation is such a treat. It’s a fantastic privilege that can pay off in so many ways. But if you don’t factor in all the extra costs and budget appropriately your vacation can go from being refreshing and rejuvenating to frustrating and stressful. I’m a hotelier at heart and I am continually surprised, and saddened, whenever I come across guests who did not anticipate different hotel fees and other extra costs that can pop up when staying at a hotel. So to help you plan and budget, let’s talk about the most common costs.


Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort – it may not have a lot of hotel fees, but it carries some of the highest room rates in Orlando. Photo source:


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Get to Know the Disney Cruise Line Navigator App

by on April 28, 2015

Guests traveling on the Disney Cruise Line ships have long relied on the Personal Navigator, a daily printed guide to information about the timing of onboard activities such as movies, shows, character greetings, and youth activities. In late 2013, DCL introduced the Personal Navigator in app form. It took a while for the app to be fully functional on all four of Disney’s ships, and there’s some information that still works better in a print format, which is still available, but the app now has enough functionality and unique features that you can almost get away with using it exclusively. Here’s what you need to know …

How can I get the Disney Navigator App?

It’s available via free download from the iTunes App Store or from Google Play for Android.

OK, I got the download, but it doesn’t look like there’s much to it.

You’re right. With one exception, there’s not much that happens with the Navigator App while you’re on dry land. The real functionality of the app only happens while you’re on board a Disney ship. The one cool thing the app can do on land is work as a countdown clock for your sail date. You can use the countdown clock to amp up the excitement as your trip gets closer, or to remind you that you really do have to start packing.


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Universal Crowd Calendar Report – April 19 to 25, 2015

by on April 28, 2015

Last week, other than Wednesday and Saturday wait times were a couple points lower than the Universal Crowd Calendar predicted. No park reached a crowd level higher than a level ‘6’ on our scale, good news for guests who visited the resort. It seems clear that the Spring Break season has ended and we have entered the post-Easter lull that should last from now through Memorial Day weekend.

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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Disneyland Crowd Calendar Report – April 19 to 25, 2015

by on April 28, 2015

Last week Disney California Adventure wait times were lower than expected during the first half of the week while during the second half of the week Disneyland Park had higher wait times than expected. Otherwise, the Disneyland Crowd Calendar predicted average wait times within a few minutes of what we observed.

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

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