Archive for June, 2016

Walt Disney World Introduces New Disney PinQuest Scavenger Hunt

by on June 30, 2016

If you are a Disney pin collector, I have a great new activity for you to participate in this summer. Called Disney PinQuest, this new pin scavenger hunt will take place in the Magic Kingdom where Guests will be able to find and collect a series of limited-release pins all while searching for clues around the park.

Guests are able to use a map with a decoder to solve clues that allow them to collect and purchase a series of seven limited-released Disney Pin Trading pins from different areas around the the park. Disney PinQuest is a great way to interact with Cast Members all while collecting unique pins along the way.

Disney PinQuest


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Let Loose on New Year’s Eve with Disney Countdown to Midnight Celebration

by on June 30, 2016



Celebrate good times and ring in 2017 with a fun party at Disney’s Contemporary Resort! With Disney Countdown to Midnight, you can celebrate the New Year in style with an unforgettable experience.

The fun will take place at the Fantasia Ballroom where Guests will be able to enjoy the “best-of-the-best” bites and wine pairings from favorite restaurants such as California Grill, Flying Fish, Cítricos and Narcoossee’s. In addition, Guests who are 21 years of age and older can enjoy a cocktail or two.

From there, you’ll be able to dance the evening away courtesy of tunes from an interactive DJ who will play music spanning from the ‘60s to today! You’ll also be able to catch the band Alter Ego who will perform a dance-filled revue. The evening will continues as you stroll outside to catch a unique musical act playing songs of today—complete with a retro twist.

Concludes the night as you watch the incredible “Fantasy in the Sky” Fireworks Spectacular from the Magic Kingdom which will officially celebrate the arrival of 2017, alongside a champagne toast.

There will also be themed photo backdrops and props to help you capture the memories of the evening and Guests will receive a special souvenir to commemorate the night.

In addition, complimentary transportation will be provided for select Walt Disney World Resort hotels.

This ticketed event will cost $225 per Guest (tax and gratuity included), and takes place from 8:00 p.m. on December 31 (with official check in beginning at 7:00 p.m.) to 1:00 a.m. The party is for Guests of all ages and is an all-inclusive affair.

Tickets are limited and Guests may begin booking this option starting on July 4.  To purchase tickets or for more information, call (407) WDW-DINE.

Updates to Last Week’s Crowd Calendar Actuals

by on June 30, 2016

We had a minor problem posting our actual crowd levels for June 25-28, 2016, so we’re posting them here temporarily.  The developers fixed the sites for dates beyond June 28.

Here are the crowd levels for June 25-28.

WDWMagic KingdomEpcotHollywood StudiosAnimal Kingdom

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Candlelight Processional Dining Packages Now on Sale for 2016 Holiday Season

by on June 30, 2016

Candlelight Processional


For those of you who are anxiously awaiting being able to book Candlelight Processional dining packages, I bring good news! Candlelight Processional dining packages are now available to book!

Just what is Candlelight Processional? It’s a fantastic and moving show that takes place at the holiday season in the America Gardens Theatre at Epcot that includes a celebrity narrator, a mass choir, and an orchestra all there to performing a re-telling of the Christmas Story. The best way to ensure that you get to see this incredible and extremely popular show, booking the dining package is really the way to go.

This year’s Candlelight Processional takes place from November 25 through December 30. Show times are at 5:00 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8:15 p.m. nightly. (With the exception of December 4 which will only have show times at 6:45 p.m. and 8:15 p.m.)

The celebrity narrator list hasn’t fully been announced for this year, but we do have the start of a partial list. Guests can expect to see:

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! June 2016 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on June 30, 2016

MMM positiveWelcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. We’re now officially into the Summer season here in Orlando and that usually means a whole bunch of new stuff  is available to satisfy the hordes of families coming from around the world. Universal soft opened its Skull Island: Reign of Kong  attraction. How to describe Kong? Well, think of your favorite family friendly attraction. Now think of what the complete opposite of that would be. However Skull Island wasn’t the only queue that brought grown adults to tears as Frozen Ever After officially opened in Epcot and had 300 minute waits. Now, 300 minutes doesn’t sound that bad until you work out how many hours that actually is. Five hours. FIVE HOURS.  In five hours you could fly from Orlando to Anaheim, start and almost finish a runDisney marathon, or build two meth labs at Disney’s Pop Century Resort.

The new Frozen attraction wasn’t the only thing new at Epcot as the Royal Sommerhus meet and greet with Anna and Elsa opened with a wonderful tribute to Maelstrom, and we also had the new Soarin’ Around the World to replace the old Soarin’ Around Scratch Marks and Dust Bunnies. Many guests are raving about the Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular fireworks show at DHS, and SeaWorld opened the first ever hyper coaster in Orlando with Mako. With a staggering height of 200 feet and speeds up to 73 mph, you could ride Mako approximately 32,000 times while waiting in line for Frozen Ever After.

Now while all of you were reading the Shanghai Disneyland etiquette guide – reminding guests, among other things, not to use the landscaping as an outhouse – Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo and I were hard at work to bring you the quality Outlet coverage you expect deserve!

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 yo

It has been a long time but new Tsum Tsums finally showed up, including these three from the Tangled line. Here are Maximus, Pascal, and Rapunzel.  All Tsums are $2.99 and I always buy one of each.


Tangled Tsums.

Also new was this Mulan Tsum Tsum. EDIT: The comments section suggests this is Mother Gothel from Tangled, which much more sense


Got me.

I was this close to buying this really long gator plush. At least I think it’s a gator. Originally $26.95, now $14.99.


Reptile 2695 1499

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Diamond Horseshoe Serving Meals Into September at the Magic Kingdom

by on June 30, 2016

©Rikki Niblett

©Rikki Niblett

The Diamond Horseshoe at the Magic Kingdom’s Liberty Square will continue to offer and all-you-care-to eat table service lunch and dinner option through September 10.

The meal includes a Frontier Salad that’s topped with roasted corn, cornbread croutons, and housemade chipotle-ranch dressing. The main course includes a platter of flavorful entrees to choose from: barbecue pulled pork, sliced turkey, country smoked sausage or braised beef with all the fixins. For dessert, enjoy a campfire brownie, which is topped with a toasted marshmallow. 

Soft drinks, tea, coffee and milk are included with your meal.

The cost for this meal is $33 plus tax for adults and $19 plus tax for children ages 3-9 years.

For reservations, call 407-WDW-DINE.


Julia’s Best Week Ever, June 30, 2016: Fire and Ice

by on June 30, 2016

To completely ruin the writings of Robert Frost, “Some say your day at Epcot will end in fire, Some say in ice.” During this week, I managed to make both of those happen, and lived to tell the tale.

Unless you’re living in a troll cave, you’ve probably heard that the new Frozen Ever After ride opened in Epcot. I had not been a big fan of Maelstrom, and although I enjoyed Frozen, I am not a huge fan. Thus, the Frozen Ever After ride had very low expectations from me about whether or not I’d enjoy it. Because I do have a six-year-old daughter, I knew it would be in my best interest to get on the ride sooner rather than later, so I snagged FastPass+ reservations for the whole family for opening night as soon as they became available. However, being a glutton for punishment, on opening day, my daughter and I headed over to Epcot to be in the crowd of people all trying to be first.


2016-06-21 08.59.58

I will say that people were extremely polite and Cast Members were wonderful, helping grab strollers from people who were trying to make their way to the head of the line. Even so, a five-hour wait didn’t sound appealing, so we went for a different type of boat ride.

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Dining Review: New Epcot Breakfast Options

by on June 29, 2016

With all of the frenzy surrounding the opening of Frozen Ever After in the Norway pavilion of World Showcase in Epcot, it was easy to miss the recent news that there are a few new breakfast options in World Showcase now, too. Aside from the already-available options at Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie in the France pavilion and Sunshine Seasons at The Land, guests can now drop in to La Cantina de San Angel in the Mexico pavilion or Kringla Bakeri og Kafe in the Norway pavilion to satisfy their breakfast cravings. A few days ago, I tried many of the new items to see if they are worth a stop (spoiler alert: they definitely are!).

Chilaquiles con huevos

Chilaquiles con huevos

Mexico’s new options all come from La Cantina de San Angel, the quick service location just across from the main pyramid of the pavilion. The new breakfast menu features three new full-sized entrees unique to this restaurant and a kid’s scrambled-eggs-with-potatoes option, all of which are offered until 11:00 AM daily in addition to a few of the standard menu items (including soft drinks and the restaurant’s popular churros dessert – yes, you can have churros for breakfast, because why not, it’s vacation?). Once you order and receive your food, just like during the early hours of lunch service here, you can take a seat in the covered area on World Showcase Lagoon, or if the sign near the back of the building indicates, make use of the additional (air-conditioned!) seating in the back of La Hacienda’s main dining room (a welcome option in 100% humidity).

Pambazo de chorizo con huevo

Pambazo de chorizo con huevo

My first taste of the new breakfast options came from the pambazo de chorizo con huevo, a breakfast sandwich-type meal with scrambled eggs, chorizo, jack cheese, red onions, lettuce, and guacamole ($9.95). The pambazo is served dipped-sandwich style, covered in a mild red chili salsa – traditionally filled with potatoes and chorizo, but here we see eggs instead. The scrambled eggs within the bread roll are real eggs (no weird powdered eggs here, a definite positive), cooked with the chorizo to give them a smoky, savory bite offset by the creamy guacamole and crunchy lettuce. My bread roll was a bit stale, but nothing that couldn’t have been fixed by a few drips of the green tomatillo or spicy red chili sauces available on the restaurant’s condiment bar. This is a fairly traditional Mexican take on a popular on-the-go style breakfast, full of flavor and pretty filling, considering the roll and the scrambled eggs. Overall, I was a fan, and think this will probably be a winner for many, though I did prefer the next two menu items I tried a bit more.

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Walt Disney World July 2016 Preview

by on June 29, 2016

Welcome to TouringPlans’ preview for Walt Disney World for July 2016 – everything you need to know if you’re traveling to the Happiest Place on Earth next month. Who’s ready for July?

Orlando Average Weather for July


Hi 98.1, Low 75.5, 76.3% Humidity, 17 days with rain

July Weather for Orlando






July in Orlando is HOT, but at least it’s a wet heat. Pack your light colored clothing, swimsuits, and lots of sunscreen. Plan to visit the parks early in the morning or late in the day to avoid the heat as much as you can and spend your afternoons napping or at the pool. Summer’s extended hours mean there is plenty park time available after dark, so take advantage of it, especially if you’re eligible for Extra Magic Hours.

Upcoming Live Chats for July

Want to chat live about your trip? Join us on Facebook throughout the month as our experts take your questions in a fun and lively discussion.

July 1 — Overnight at the Air and Space Museum. Brian will be spending the night in Washington, D.C.’s Air and Space museum (not sleeping…hopefully) as part of the building’s 40th birthday. They will likely be short notice depending on timing and crowds, but there will be at least one live tour of some of the museum’s exhibits.

Times for all live chats are posted in advance on our Facebook page and on Twitter.

Walt Disney World Park Crowds for July

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Taking Your Parents to Walt Disney World: The Interview

by on June 29, 2016

Copyright Claire Nat 2016After a whole year of planning and preparation, my parents and I took our week-long trip to Orlando at the beginning of June! It was hot, it was muggy, and we endured a heavy dose of Tropical Storm Colin, but we had a great time!

But don’t take my word for it; I’ll let my parents speak for themselves!

Read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 before you read on! A big thanks to Jan from MEI and MouseFan Travel for setting up our resort and dining reservations and tickets!


Overall, how did this trip to Orlando go compared to previous trips you took in 1988, 1995, and 2000?
Dad: We certainly did more and had a better idea about what we were doing in advance, which made the whole trip successful.
Mom: I think I enjoyed this trip a bit more than all the others because it was based solely on what we wanted to do and we didn’t have to accommodate any small children. I always loved seeing the attractions through the eyes of my children, but this time I got to be the kid!

Copyright Claire Nat 2016What was your favorite part of the whole week?
Dad: I enjoyed the unexpected diamonds in the rough – Captain Jack’s Pirate Tutorial, The Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, the Dapper Dans – things I wasn’t expecting to enjoy so much.
Mom: This was tough! My sentimental favorite attraction is it’s a small world because I was at the 1964 World’s Fair when the ride debuted.

What was your least favorite part of the whole week? 
Dad: Waiting so long for Fantasmic, only to have it canceled 30 minutes before showtime. (That was the night that Tropical Storm Colin came through.)
Mom: My exhaustion in the heat. I wish I could someday visit Florida in any other season than summer. I also thought Stitch’s Great Escape was a waste of time. (Author’s note: I did warn them!)

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