Archive for November, 2017

DVC Monthly Preview – December 2017

by on November 28, 2017

Welcome to our second installment of the DVC Monthly Preview here on the TouringPlans blog. If you missed last month’s debut, you can read it here. Read on for a quick recap of DVC news and other information about Disney’s best kept secret.

Booking Windows

This month, here are some booking window dates to keep in mind. For your home resort (11-month booking window), in December, you will be able to book for dates in November 2018. It’s a great time to catch the end of Epcot’s International Food & Wine Festival, or to attend some of the first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties. For all other DVC resorts (7-month booking window), this month you will be able to book for dates in July 2018. If you are planning a Fourth of July trip, you’ll want to start looking at availability right away.

For last-minute trips, besides Aulani, there is very little availability listed for December at DVC’s last-minute resort availability page. You sometimes can get lucky searching for resort availability in case of last-minute cancellations.

DVC News

On the first two Mondays in December, Disney Vacation Club is hosting Moonlight Magic at Epcot, a free after-hours celebration for members. The event will include a DJ dance party, refreshments, Disney characters, and access to select attractions.  Reservations are currently full for the event, but you can check here for an opening in the event of cancellations. DVC began offering these after-hour parties as part of its 25th anniversary celebration in 2016, then continued them in 2017. News is coming out about a full slate of Moonlight Magic events in 2018, and we’ll have more details in next month’s installment.

Epcot Night View

Moonlight Magic at Epcot is 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Dec. 4 and 11. Guests with reservations can enter the park as early as 7:30 p.m.

As of this writing, availability remained for DVC’s Christmas Eve holiday dinners, the Frozen-themed event at Disney’s Contemporary Resort from 3 to 5 p.m. and the Wild West Winterland at Disney’s Grand Californian Resort from 4-6 p.m. Price is $74.95 for adults and $39.95 for children (ages 3 to 9), plus tax and gratuity. Call Member Services at (800) 800-9800 to book the dinner.

If you’re celebrating the New Year at Walt Disney World, DVC has a Screamin’ Monsters New Year’s Eve Eve Dessert Party from 10 p.m. to midnight on Dec. 30. Along with tasty snacks and desserts, characters from Monsters, Inc. will visit, and there will even be a selfie station with Boo’s door. Price is $82.50 for adults and $42.50 for children, plus tax and gratuity.  Call Member Services at (800) 800-9800 to book the party.

We know a lot of DVC members have been clamoring for this next item. Just in time for holiday shopping, resort-specific merchandise is now being sold at the Shop Disney store. Don’t forget that members get a 20 percent discount on purchases.

If you’re interested in the current Walt Disney World ticket offers for DVC members, purchases must be made by Jan. 3, 2018. Members can get 25 percent off a Platinum Plus Annual Pass–that’s the one that gets you into the water parks. Members can also get a 7-day ticket for the price of a 5-day ticket. The bonus to this offer is that once the ticket is activated, guests get six months to use the other days, perfect for DVC members that take multiple shorter trips.

Annual dues projections were released in early November. The highest increase was at Aulani, which saw its dues go up 7.19 percent. Most other increases were in the 4 to 5 percent range. One property, the brand new Copper Creek Villas, actually saw a slight decrease.

Budgets will be formally ratified at the 2017 Annual Meeting for the Disney Vacation Club Condominium Association. Members can attend the meeting and ask questions afterward at 2 p.m., Dec. 7 at Disney’s Contemporary Resort Convention Center. RSVP here if you’re interested in attending.

Read the rest of this entry »

Walt Disney World Christmas Vlog: November 2017 + Video

by on November 28, 2017

Thanksgiving is over and the holidays are approaching!

I celebrated the start of the Christmas season earlier this month whilst visiting Walt Disney World.

Check out the vlog below to see what I did!

Read the rest of this entry »

Park Hours Changed? TouringPlans.com Notifies You

by on November 28, 2017

In order to power our Crowd Calendar and Personalized Touring Plans tools, we have tracked theme park hours at Walt Disney World, Disneyland, and Universal Orlando for years at TouringPlans.com. Recently, we enhanced our Crowd Tracker tool so that it will send you an email when park hours change for dates that you specify.  (When you “Add a Trip” on your TouringPlans.com dashboard, the dates of your trip will automatically be tracked.)

To get to the tool, visit a Crowd Calendar and then click on the “Crowd & Hours Tracker” link at the left. The Crowd & Park Hours Tracker has a simple display of the dates, crowd levels, and park hours for the dates that you specify:

Sample Crowd & Park Hours Tracker Page on TouringPlans.com

When Disney and Universal update park hours, we generally notice the changes within 24 hours and then incorporate those changes into our systems. In turn, you will receive an email notification about the change. Here is a sample email notification:

Example Email from Crowd & Park Hours Tracker

As in the past, you also receive a notification if we update our predicted crowd level for any day that you are tracking.

The Crowd & Park Hours Tracker (including email notifications) is only available to TouringPlans.com subscribers.

Enjoy!

 

Handmade Candy Canes are Back at Disneyland Resort

by on November 27, 2017

©Disney

One of the most popular events that takes place during the holiday season at the Disneyland Resort is the making of hand-pulled candy canes. It is not only entertaining to watch in the window, but they are also delicious to purchase. There is one small caveat though. The candy canes are in limited quantities! Very limited quantities.

The making of candy canes has been around for 49 years, since 1968 and they are made completely from scratch. This includes the mixing the ingredients and hand-pulling the candy to rolling, twisting and wrapping up the final products which end up measuring 18 inches long.

You’ll find these hand-pulled treats at the following locations on the following dates going forward:

Read the rest of this entry »

Disney Breakfast Beyond the Mickey Waffle

by on November 27, 2017

Before people flood the inbox with comments, I want to state on the record that I love Mickey Waffles. They are a quintessential Disney breakfast food, and I hope that they last for at least my lifetime without any changes to that amazing flavor and style. That said, sometimes it is nice to have a breakfast that goes beyond the Mickey Waffle and the standard breakfast fare (eggs, some sort of pork product, etc.). Here are five choices for breakfast options at Walt Disney World that go beyond normal breakfast offerings.

The Wave

Chances are, if you end up on the weekend at The Wave for breakfast, you’ll find a large number of locals dining here. The fresh, seasonal flavors and largely reasonable (for Disney) prices, plus relative ease in securing last-minute reservations, make it a solid choice. The buffet tends to get most of the attention, with items like seasonal yogurt parfaits and fruit salad with popping boba, but you’ll be hard pressed to find anyone who skips the sweet potato pancakes with local honey butter. And for the Mickey Waffle crowd, you can get those here as well–but in a multigrain format. It doesn’t quite taste the same as the “normal ones”, but then you can always eat two because it’s healthy…right?

 

Boma and The Mara

Depending on whether you’re looking for a quick bite before heading to the parks or a more laid back meal, and depending on your budget, both Boma (the table service buffet) and The Mara (the quick service option) at Animal Kingdom Lodge are wonderful options for unique offerings. Some of the more unique dishes found at breakfast include bobotie (an African-style meatloaf with an egg custard on top) and pap and chakalaka (think grits with a tomato stew). Although these dishes may seem exotic, the flavors are not so unusual that they would turn off even the slightly adventurous eater.

Read the rest of this entry »

SATURDAY SIX: Fourth Annual Theme Park Turkeys of the Year

by on November 25, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX is one of our favorites as we present the Fourth Annual Theme Park “Turkeys” of the Year. For Thanksgiving this week we took a look back at things both Disney and Universal fans should be thankful for, but today we are going to go the other way. Gather ’round as we continue the fine tradition of awarding six Theme Park “Turkeys” to the craziest, most outrageous, or just downright weird stories of the year, concluding with the coveted Golden Turkey award. Let’s kick off the ceremony with a situation that was “for the birds”….

# 6 – That Time Geese Pooped on Disneyland Guests and 911 Was Called

“1 if by sea, 2 if by land…3 if by air. ” – Paul Revere, probably

You thought YOU had a bad day at the parks? Back in June, a group* of geese took to the skies over Disneyland and rained down a hail of poop that was so dramatic that it brought police and firefighters to the park. Now, this may sound funny to you and me (and just about any other human on the planet,) but those with geese feces all over their rose gold Etsy Mickey Ears weren’t laughing. A total of 17 guests (11 adults and six minors) were defecated on, and to put that number in perspective only 15 guests are able to ride Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage per hour**.

This is why they ask you not to feed the birds people!!

Oh, the humanity! (art by Juliette Elton)

Read the rest of this entry »

Disneyland Preview — Week of November 25

by on November 24, 2017

Thanksgiving is in the rear view mirror as we move forward through the holiday season! Read on to find out what to expect in this week’s Disneyland preview.

Special Events and Notes

Photo ©Disney

Lots of holiday touches at every turn at Disneyland! Make sure you check out the Festival of Holidays at California Adventure. In addition to food and drink kiosks sprinkled throughout the park, which are always well-received, Princess Elena of Avalor has a special show, and Disney ¡Viva Navidad! will be taking place throughout the Festival.

Over at Disneyland Park, the daytime parade has been replaced by A Christmas Fantasy Parade and Believe… In Holiday Magic takes over for the evening fireworks. Also, the holiday overlays for it’s a small world and Haunted Mansion remain in place for the season. Over at Disney’s California Adventure, a couple of Cars Land attractions get the holiday treatment for the first time this year: Luigi’s Rollickin’ Roadsters transforms into Luigi’s Joy to the Whirl, and Mater’s Junkyard Jamboree becomes Mater’s Jingle Jamboree. The resorts are all decked out with holiday decorations, including a gingerbread replica of the Grand Californian in that hotel’s lobby! Make sure you check out Rikki’s preview to learn more about what you can expect for the holidays.

Read the rest of this entry »

Disney Cruise Line Weekly Preview — Week of November 25

by on November 24, 2017

The Disney Cruise Line Preview is brought to you by Storybook Destinations. Storybook Destinations specializes in Disney 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.

Ahoy, mateys! I’m Heather, and I’ll be bringing you the up and coming on all things Disney Cruise Line. Glad to have you aboard, and away we go with this week’s preview.

Ports of Call (High/Low Temperature, Chance of Rain)

Disney Magic

  • 25 November – At Sea
  • 26 November – New York (46/30, 40%)
  • 27 November – At Sea
  • 28 November – At Sea
  • 29 November – At Sea
  • 30 November – Antigua (83/76, 20%)
  •    1 December – San Juan (86/74, 60%)

Disney Wonder

  • 25 November – At Sea
  • 26 November – Key West (78/68, 42%)
  • 27 November – Castaway Cay (76/68, 20%)
  • 28 November – Nassau (83/70, 25%)
  • 29 November – At Sea
  • 30 November – At Sea
  •    1 December – Galveston (67/54, 30%)

Disney Dream

  • 25 November – Nassau (85/72, 54%)
  • 26 November – Castaway Cay (77/70, 2%)
  • 27 November – Port Canaveral (72/63, 25%)
  • 28 November – Nassau (83/70, 25%)
  • 29 November – Castaway Cay (79/63, 6%)
  • 30 November – At Sea
  •    1 December – Port Canaveral (74/57, 25%)

Disney Fantasy

  • 25 November – Port Canaveral (74/58, 9%)
  • 26 November – At Sea
  • 27 November – Cozumel (79/71, 42%)
  • 28 November – Grand Cayman (81/78, 20%)
  • 29 November – Falmouth (85/75, 60%)
  • 30 November – At Sea
  •    1 December – Castaway Cay (80/62, 55%)

Read the rest of this entry »

In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of November 24, 2017

by on November 24, 2017

In Case You Missed ItHappy Black Friday! Have you been shopping since late last night? I stayed home and enjoyed the extra sleep! I might go see Coco this weekend though! Are you going to see the film?

This week, we got to see a TON of permits, see two new movie trailers for upcoming films, and more. Let’s not delay and get straight to the fun.

In Case You Missed It – Disney and Universal Orlando News and Rumors

This week, we got to see a LOT of blueprints. Take a look at them for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, Ratatouille, Tron, Main Street Theater, and Nintendo Land at Universal.

Using intellectual properties has become a huge staple for theme parks. At IAAPA, some of Disney and Universal’s top creative minds shared what it is that makes a great IP-based attraction. What are your thoughts on IP attractions and lands? 

Read the rest of this entry »

Universal Orlando Resort Preview – Week of November 25

by on November 23, 2017

The holiday bustle has begun at Universal Orlando with Thanksgiving break crowds, new holiday offerings, and peak season pricing. This week we cover the debut and widespread praise of the new Christmas offerings and answer another question pulled from the Mail Bag. Oh, and I hope you remembered to set the oven to the new temperature for the turkey.

Weekly Crowd Levels

Thanksgiving break is over and we are entering the quiet period before the Christmas vacation rush. Now is a great time to visit the parks as queue wait times are low, parks are not crowded, weather is pleasant, and Christmas events are running.

Detailed crowd level information can be found here.

Read the rest of this entry »