Archive for November, 2017

Universal Orlando Resort Preview – Week of December 2

by on November 30, 2017

I’ve finished the Thanksgiving leftovers and put up the decorations–it’s Christmas time! This week we’re looking at one of the quietest times of the year at Orlando theme parks, travel options between Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando, and more!

Weekly Crowd Levels

The weeks between Thanksgiving and just before Christmas are one of the quietest times to visit the Orlando parks and our crowd calendar shows that. Enjoy the low wait times and have a warm Butterbeer for me.

Detailed crowd level information can be found here.

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Eating Tokyo Disneyland’s Cute Christmas and Halloween Food

by on November 30, 2017

If you don’t stuff your face with food while visiting Tokyo Disneyland, then why did you even go? There’s so much cute and delicious food at Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea that you can easily spend a day snacking until you need to be brought back to your hotel in a wheelbarrow. In this video, Tom and Sarah from Disney Tourist Blog join me to eat Tokyo Disney’s cutest, elaborately packaged, and tasty Christmas and Halloween treats.

Be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel to see our videos for Tokyo Disneyland, Walt Disney World, and many other Disney destinations. 

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Walt Disney World — Week of December 2

by on November 30, 2017

A new musical group at Epcot? Keep reading to see what else is new at Walt Disney World!

Special Events

  • To celebrate the release of Coco, there’s a new musical act at Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion. El Mariachi Coco de Santa Cecilia will be performing through January 6th. For more information, check out Rikki’s article.
  • Hours have been extended for Christmas Tree Trail! To check out these Disney-inspired trees, visit Disney Springs through January 7th. New hours below!
    • Monday – Thursday: 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.
    • Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
    • Sunday: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
    • Christmas Eve (12/24): 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
    • Christmas Day (12/25): 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
  • IMPORTANT: Changes have been made to Disney’s Magical Express (DME) pick-up times. Due to new TSA protocols, DME will pick you up from your Disney resort hotel anywhere from 3 hours and 45 minutes to 4 hours and 15 minutes prior to your flight time. Read Rikki’s article for more details.

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The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! NOVEMBER 2017 Photo Report of the Disney Outlet Store

by on November 30, 2017

Welcome to the latest edition of The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! the longest running monthly look at the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. Outlet Intern Julia Mascardo (when she’s coming up with the greatest ASK IT question ever written) secret shopper Daisy Lauren (when she’s not taking another trip across the globe to visit Tokyo Disneyland) and I found a whole bunch of neat items this month including a super cool EPCOT snowglobe (whaaaaaaaaat?!!), Figment magnets from Festival of the Arts, and – of course – Star Wars jewelry.

Ready to see what we else we found? Alright, let’s go!

This may be an Outlet first. Usually it takes a long time for new movie merchandise to make its way to the clearance racks. Heck, we still barely see any Moana merch being discounted. But despite the fact that we are still a couple weeks away from Star Wars ep VIII: The Last Jedi coming to theaters, a porg cup has arrived at the Outlets.  For those that don’t know what porgs are (AKA the lucky ones,) they are one of the many new alien creatures being introduced into Star Wars canon so they can sell more toys. Porgs are constantly being discussed on social media and in ridiculous mainstream articles.

There’s a chance there is some small error in all of these cups, forcing them all to be taken off regular retail shelves. Nothing that I saw however. Original price $19.99, now $7.99.

Ugh, porgs. (photo by Brian Carey)

Well lookee here! Speaking of first time ever, here are the first items from Pandora: The World of Avatar to make it to the Outlets. During the seemingly 10 years or so that Avatar was being built, my E-Ticket Report podcast cohosts and I discussed how hard it would be for Disney to create a merchandising bonanza from a film that could barely sell a single item of anything even when it was the still in the theaters (and is to this day still the highest grossing movie of all-time.) The movie Avatar sold a lot of tickets no doubt, but it did not get many people to open their wallets for any of the tie-in merchandise like books, shirts, or toys.

So Disney had a tough hill to climb in order to create demand for a product that has never existed. To their credit, they created a smash hit with the Banshee Connect Experience. Guests and eBay pirates alike stood in long lines to purchase banshee puppets that sit on your shoulder. They also delivered on Na’vi “tails,” an item very popular with young adults who have watched Bill & Ted’s Excellent Halloween Adventure mock “Avatarland” for the last few years at Universal’s Halloween Horror Nights. After that there is a steep drop in items you would see guests buying. There is an $80 action figure, in which guests are scanned to have their face on the figure, but unfortunately the figure ends up looking nothing like you.

There is also a bunch of ACE branded items that look like they are just rebranded toys from Dollar General, like these two items. The first is an “eco-explorer” kits, which includes a shovel so small it must be used to dig graves for ants. Originally $16.99, this was “lightly reduced” to $12.99.

Pandora!

The other item is an Explorer Lantern, which when turned on projects wood sprites onto the ceiling. This was originally priced at $19.99 and had an Outlet price tag that was also $19.99. Most likely this means it would ring up at $16.99 or $9.99, but I wasn’t going to find out.

In brightest day, in blackest night,
No Outlet item shall escape my sight.
Let those who put merch on eBay’s site,
Beware my power… Explorer Lantern’s light!

The oath I take before heading out to the Disney Outlet Store. (photo by Julia Mascardo)

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Ask It: The Candlelight Processional

by on November 29, 2017

It’s the time of year for Peace on Earth, and there’s plenty of holiday spirit at Disney parks. One long-running tradition is the Candlelight Processional, a retelling of the Christmas story with word and song with a celebrity narrator and a full choir. This week, we’d like to know:

Is the Candlelight Processional something you like to do every year, occasionally, or never?

  • Occasionally (36%, 120 Votes)
  • Never (34%, 115 Votes)
  • Every year (30%, 99 Votes)

Total Voters: 334

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The poll is live here and on Twitter, and we’ll have your results next week. Do you have a favorite narrator? Let us know in the comments.

Ask It Results: Saturday Six or Outlet Report?

by on November 29, 2017

If there was only one Derek Burgan-based poll that you vote in for 2017, we hope this was the one you chose. (If it isn’t, let us know what other Derek Burgan-based polls are out there, because that’s creepy there’d be more than one, ya know?)

In this world where things can be high stress and depressing at times, having these brief glimmers on sunshine can brighten anyone’s week. For many of you, as evidenced by comments left in the articles, notes on Twitter, and the occasional fan letter made from cut out letters from magazines or newspapers, these articles are worth looking forward to every week (for Saturday Six) or once a month (for the Outlet report). This week, because I enjoy Sophie’s choice types of polls, we asked you:

Which of these TouringPlans blog features is your favorite?

Here’s your responses (with the understanding that although “Both” was the clear winner, even though it wasn’t a choice…).

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Details about the 2018 Epcot Festival of the Arts

by on November 28, 2017

©Disney

I am super happy to see that the Epcot Festival of the Arts is returning. Debuting last year, the festival celebrates everything artistic. This includes visual arts, culinary arts, performing arts, and so much more.

The festival has been expanded for 2018, with it taking place every day this year, from January 12 through February 19. During the Epcot Festival of the Arts,  Guests will be able to see some gorgeous works of art in person. They will also be able to participate in seminars and watch the creative process live. There are multiple food booths called Food Studios located around the World Showcase promenade which features dishes that are serious works of art. Finally, through a collaboration with Disney Theatrical, favorite music and Broadway talent will perform at the America Gardens Theatre singing the award-winning music of Disney on Broadway. (Which I recently shared details about how you can now book the Disney on Broadway Dining Packages.)

Here is the rundown of what you can expect to experience at this year’s Epcot Festival of the Arts:

Featured Exhibits

There are not only Featured Exhibits that contain unique artwork, but many of the World Showcase pavilion’s artwork is also highlighted. These Featured Exhibits can be seen in the Odyssey Festival Showplace.

  • Disney’s Iconic Artists  – Study pieces that are responsible for creating so many childhood memories.
  • Disney-Inspired Original Art – Take home original artwork created by some of Disney’s most beloved artists.

Pavilion Exhibits

  • American Heritage Gallery – American Adventure: Journey through 400 years of African-American achievement.
  • Art of Disney – Future World West: Purchase work by popular Disney artists as well as Festival merchandise.
  • Bijutsu-kan Gallery – Japan: Delve into the origin and evolution of “kawaii,” Japan’s cute culture.
  • Gallery of Arts and History – Morocco – Check out the unique designs of time-honored crafts.
  • House of the Whispering Willows – China: Discover the wonders of the new Shanghai Disney Resort.
  • Mexico Folk Art Gallery – Mexico: Celebrate the traditions of Día de Muertos.
  • Stave Church Gallery – Norway: Observe art representational of the culture that influenced Disney’s Frozen.
  • Chalk Gallery – World Showcase: Watch imaginative chalk artists recreate works by famous masters.

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Downtown Disney District to Offer Special Holiday Fun

by on November 28, 2017

©Disney

The holiday season is officially here and the Downtown Disney District at the Disneyland Resort is fully embracing the festiveness. Guests will see that the planters around the shopping and dining district are bursting with oversized ornaments and bright holiday lighting. There is also Christmas tree found in the center of the promenade.

Of course, there is lots of entertainment to experience, including a brand new caroling act called Holiday Harmony. The group is clad in ugly sweaters and they will perform fun Christmas carols.

Looking to meet the big man himself? Guests can attend Breakfast with Santa, which will take place at Catal Restaurant. Here, Guests are invited to join Santa Claus and his elves for a family-style breakfast, carolers and more! All kids will receive a Build-A-Bear Workshop teddy bear from Santa himself! This breakfast will take place on December 16 and December 21-22.

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Disney Vacation Club’s Moonlight Magic Returns for 2018

by on November 28, 2017

©Disney

Attention Disney Vacation Club owners! The incredibly fun Moonlight Magic event will be returning for 2018! What is Moonlight Magic? They are exclusive parties for DVC members that allow them to have “private” time in the parks, riding attraction and meeting characters, some of which are rare! There are also complimentary treats and beverages, as well as special dance parties.

Moonlight Magic will take place on both coasts. Here’s a look at the 2018 Moonlight Magic schedule:

Magic Kingdom

January 11 and 28, and February 6
(Booking begins for Members with Resort reservations on the event dates December 7. Pending availability, booking opens for all Members on December 21.)

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

March 21, April 17 and May 16
(Booking begins for Members with Resort reservations on the event dates February 8. Pending availability, booking opens for all Members on February 22.)

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El Mariachi Coco de Santa Cecilia Now Performing at Epcot’s Mexico Pavilion

by on November 28, 2017

©Disney

Have you had the chance to see Coco yet? Well, to tie the film into its Mexican heritage, the Mexico Pavilion at Epcot has introduced a new musical act for a limited time.

El Mariachi Coco de Santa Cecilia is a musical act that was inspired by the film and they will be entertaining Guests through January 6. The group gets their name courtesy of  the town of Santa Cecilia, which is featured in Coco.  El Mariachi Coco de Santa Cecilia will perform songs from the movie including “Remember Me” and “The World Es Mi Familia.”

In addition, a new interactive exhibit and festive dioramas that showcase scenes from the film will be added to the Mexico Folk Art Gallery. Currently the gallery features an exhibit called Remember Me.

Coco is now in theaters.