Archive for September, 2017

Walt Disney World Preview — Week of September 30

by on September 28, 2017

Exciting news happening this week at Walt Disney World. Read on for the whole scoop!

Special Events

  • October 1st marks the 35th anniversary of Epcot! To celebrate this momentous occasion, the park will have exclusive merchandise, a ceremony featuring Voices of Liberty and Mariachi Cobre, and a special version of Illuminations. For more details, click here!
  • Beginning October 1st, guests will have the opportunity to meet Timon from the Disney film, The Lion King. Look for him on Discovery Island at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park!
  • Star Wars: Galactic Nights is returning to Disney’s Hollywood Studios! This after-hours event begins December 16th and includes Star Wars entertainment, character meet and greets, exclusive merchandise, and more. This event sold out quickly last Spring, so book ASAP.

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Universal Orlando Resort Preview — Week of September 30

by on September 28, 2017

The Universal Orlando Preview is brought to you by Storybook Destinations. Storybook Destinations specializes in Disney and Universal travel, is consistently highly rated by our readers, and is owned by our own blogger extraordinaire, Tammy Whiting. Storybook also offers free subscriptions to TouringPlans to clients with qualified bookings.

Is it just me or did September fly right by faster than the Hulk coaster?! Life moves way too fast–get out and have fun people!!

Weekly Crowd Level

Detailed crowd level information can be found here.

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Daisy’s Best Week Ever, September 28, 2017: Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on September 28, 2017

Hello, friends! This week I dedicated myself to falling in love with Disney’s Hollywood Studios again. Well, it didn’t really start out that way. I popped in to do a little shopping but ended up spending the day appreciating the chill atmosphere. I was surprised how much we enjoyed ourselves, so I wanted to take you along to see how much fun a day can be at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

So what was I out hunting to buy? Well, I heard there was a new Hollywood Studios mug for sale at Starbucks featuring the aliens from Toy Story! Since the ride doesn’t open until next summer this seemed too good to be true, but there they were on the shelf. I snapped one up and decided to shop a little before heading out.

Want to see what else I found? Join me for the rest of my day! Click to read more.

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Video: Meeting Talking Donald Duck, Mickey, and Minnie at Disney California Adventure

by on September 27, 2017

Yesterday at Disney California Adventure I was in the right place at the right time and was able to experience a rare meet and greet with multiple talking characters. Donald Duck, Mickey Mouse, and Minnie Mouse were meeting and they were very chatty. Check out our video below for the full encounter.

Overall the meet and greet was very impressive. The characters interacted with each other and told a cute little story about Donald roaring at lions. They also seamlessly responded to my compliments on their clothes. Maybe this is a bit hyperbolic but I could see a child experiencing this and remembering it for years as a highlight of their Disney visit. Even if you’re not a “character  person” at all you have to admit that a group of talking characters interacting this fluidly with guests and each other is remarkable. 

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Ask It: Is It Okay to Take Kids Out of School for a Disney Vacation?

by on September 27, 2017

It’s Wednesday, and time for another Ask It. This week, it’s a hot-button topic and sure to bring about a lot of discussion. School is back in session, and that makes travel more challenging for parents. There’s many considerations about taking kids out of school–their ages, their academic success, how long you are looking at for a vacation, missing testing or extracurricular activities, and more. From some perspectives, a trip to Disney can be educational, and family time comes first. For others, the cost of taking a child out of school is too high to pay. This week, we want to know what you think:

Is it okay to take kids out of school for a Disney vacation?

  • Yes (85%, 1,017 Votes)
  • No (15%, 177 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,194

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The poll is live here and on Twitter. We’ll have your answers next week, and feel to share your views (or your caveats) in the comments.

Ask It Results: How Long is a Good First-Time Disneyland Trip?

by on September 27, 2017

It is truly impossible on a Disney vacation to “do it all”. Even when you think you’ve done everything, you can head home and hear about some wonderful thing that somehow you missed. And although we’d all love to be the guy who visits Disneyland every day for 2,000 days in a row, that’s not in the cards for most people. It can be especially hard for a first-time trip to know just how much time you really need to get the most out of the experience. Last week, we asked you:

If you are making your first trip to the Disneyland resort, how many days should you plan to visit the parks?

With 1,650 votes, here’s your results:

1 Day (16 votes, <1%)

With two theme parks, even though they are within walking distance of each other, there’s simply a lot that you’d have to cram in to make your first visit work with only one day. In one day, you can see highlights in both parks, but it would be difficult to see all the headliners, even with MaxPass and a touring plan in hand.

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The Best of Walt Disney World for Adults

by on September 27, 2017

The Best of Walt Disney for Adults

Welcome back to Part 5 of my blog series – The Best of Walt Disney World! In case you missed it, over the next several weeks, I’ll be sharing with you the top picks in attractions for various groups of travelers visiting the Walt Disney World theme parks. So far we’ve discussed favorites for babiespreschoolersgrade school kids, and teens. Next up are the young-at-heart adults. When checking out the list, keep in mind each attraction that made the cut scored at least four stars by the adults surveyed. Come on, everybody, here we go!

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Every New Item at the 2017 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Reviewed

by on September 26, 2017

With so many items available at the 2017 Epcot International Food & Wine Festival, it can be overwhelming to know what new dishes to skip or sample. That’s where I come in – as TouringPlans’ resident food reviewer, I’m continuing my tradition of sampling every new dish at the festival this year so you don’t have to! Below, you’ll find reviews and photos of all of the new food, and at the bottom of this review, you’ll find rankings of how I’d categorize each dish (skip, try, must-try, or Best of the Fest). Be sure to use the quick links below to navigate through this guide!

The Food
Epcot Legacy Showplace
Flavors From Fire
Light Lab
Active Eats
Coastal Eats
Cheese Studio
Almond Orchard
Farm Fresh
The Rankings
Best of the Fest – Top Ten New Dishes
Definite Must-Try Dishes
Try If You Have Time
Skip And Save Your Appetite


The Food



Epcot Legacy Showplace

  • Zesty Cheeseburger and Cheddar Cheese Macaroni Handwich

Epcot Legacy Showplace's Zesty Macaroni HandwichI wanted to love the handwich so much. The nostalgia. The pure cheese of it all (literal and figurative). But alas, it was not truly cheeseburger macaroni as I expected upon reading the menu. This had only about one or two kernels of beef in here, and was mostly just mushy, far overdone macaroni with a touch of red pepper shoved into a Cozy Cone cone. Unfortunate execution of a fun idea.

  • Chilled Scotch Egg Wrapped in Sausage with Mustard Sauce

If you’ve ever had a true scotch egg (even from Rose & Crown), this cold offering won’t particularly impress you, but it’s a decent stab at bar food in a location focused primarily on selling craft beers. I wish it hadn’t been cold – it would’ve been far better warm, as the sausage around the egg became a bit mealy as a result of the chill.

  • L’Orange Cotton Candy: A Mixture of Lime and Orange Cotton Candy (V)

Epcot Legacy Showplace's Scotch Egg, L'Orange Cotton Candy, and Bright HorizonsHard pass here – this is just a giant bag of lime and orange cotton candy pieces. There’s no reason to buy this unless you have kids genuinely in search of cotton candy.

  • Bright Horizons: Sprite with Multi-Flavored Boba Pearls (non-alcoholic)

The redeeming quality of this drink is that it comes in a very nice light-up cup that makes a decent souvenir. The boba pearls are multi-colored and pretty, but consider how much you’re paying for a cup of (likely flat, like mine was) Sprite – there’s truth in advertising here.

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Attraction Overview: Gran Fiesta Tour + Video

by on September 26, 2017

It’s Attraction Overview Day!

Today, enjoy a video all about the Gran Fiesta Tour Starring The Three Caballeros.

This attraction is found inside the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot’s World Showcase.

Have fun!

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Five Things I Wish I Knew Before Checking into Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort

by on September 25, 2017

Ahh…Disney’s All-Star Resorts. With their bright bold colors, over-sized pop culture icons, and low price tag, these Disney Value resorts are a popular option for families, young adults, and large groups. If you have only stayed at a Moderate or Deluxe resort, you might wonder: How is a Disney All-Star Resort different?

The lower room rates should be a clear sign that you will be offered fewer amenities than the pricier resort categories. For instance All-Star Resorts have smaller rooms, no full-service restaurants on site, only offer bus transportation (instead of boat or monorail options), and have no water features that accommodate boating, fishing, and so on. The All-Star Resorts do offer a feature pool with lifeguards, daily activities, and a nearby pool bar plus additional quiet pools on opposite ends of the resort, a food court, a gift shop, and in-room pizza delivery. Simply put, Value resorts like Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort offer a “more fun less frills” atmosphere. Aside from these basic differences, there are a few other things that you might wish to know before checking in to Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort that aren’t quite as obvious by looking at a list of amenities.

At least one of the amenities is a bar. Honestly, what else do you really need?

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