Creating Your Own Custom Pin Art: A Tutorial

by on September 25, 2017

Rapunzel Pin Art

A great way to showcase your pin collection is by making pin art!

As far as souvenirs go, Disney pins are pretty high on the list for unique and fun merchandise. They have pins for characters, pins for rides, pins for special events and anniversaries, and pins for everything in between. Chances are you’ve seen a wide variety of pin offerings on your trips to various Disney locales. I love Disney pins. My husband and I are always quick to buy pins for special events and to mark specific trips. If we stay at a new resort, we’ve got to get the pin. If we visit during Food and Wine or Flower and Garden, we’ve got to get the pin. This is one of our traditions, and it isn’t one that will be going away any time soon.

The big question then becomes – what do you do with all these Disney pins? As someone who uses the pins to remember our trips, it is important to me that they don’t end up packed in a shoe box under the bed, never to see the light of day again. Enter my crafty side. Through trial and error (the first few attempts were NOT GOOD) I came up with a method for creating pin art. This is a fairly simple craft project that just about anyone can do. (Truthfully, the hardest part of this process is laying out the pins and getting them situated just right in the artwork.) This tutorial will walk you through the entire process and gives tips and lessons I’ve learned in creating a few of these over the years. (Spoiler alert – I learned a brand-new lesson with the pin art I created for this tutorial!)

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Fun Ideas for Disney World Problem Solving

by on March 9, 2017

Hard to believe it, but Disney World could be even better!

Hard to believe it looking at this view, but Disney World could be even better!

Let me throw this out there to start — I LOVE Disney Parks. In addition to just being, well, FUN, they are also marvels of modern engineering, and it is astonishing to me that they can do what they do at the scale that they do it every single day and night. Considering what they seek to accomplish, the efficiency is pretty incredible, and its amazing that we don’t have to deal with more Walt Disney World problems than we do. 

With that said, there do indeed exist imperfections. What Disney may not realize, however, is that the solutions to these minor annoyances exist right under their noses right now! That’s right, by just borrowing ideas from other aspects of its parks, Disney can make its already great parks even better! Read on for a few realistic and not-so-realistic, blue sky hopes for the future of the parks to find out how!

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Pokémon GO at Walt Disney World

by on March 3, 2017

Pokémon GO

With the highly anticipated release of Pokémon GO Generation 2, Pokémon trainers are on the move again, looking to “catch ’em all” and walking miles in the hopes of hatching a rare Pokémon from an egg. One local secret is that Walt Disney World is an excellent place to play Pokémon GO. Here’s some tips to help improve your Pokémon GO experience at Walt Disney World.

What is Pokémon GO?

Pokémon GO is an app available on iPhone and Android devices that lets you “catch” cute creatures, called Pokémon, in real world locations. Players, called Pokémon trainers, hunt for Pokémon, battle in virtual gyms, walk distances of 2-10 km to hatch “eggs” within the game, and collect objects needed in the game from Pokéstops, GPS-identified landmarks.

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The alternate reality of Disney World’s posted wait times (short, wonkish)

by on January 30, 2017

The alternate reality of Disney's posted wait times

I’m preparing for a talk with UCF data science students later this month on the statistical and machine learning tools we use for our Disney World wait time predictions.

After covering the basics – how we collect wait times, the hundreds of things we consider (everything from Extra Magic Hours to public school holidays, to the state of Brazil’s economy six months ago) – I wanted to say a little about how to handle the situation where you know in advance that Disney’s posted wait times will be wrong.

I’m comparing Buzz Lightyear’s actual wait times and posted wait times using the graph below. If the time you actually spent in line was exactly the posted wait time, every red dot shown below would fall on the black diagonal line.

As you can see, the red dots do not all fall on the diagonal. Some aren’t even close. The dot in the lower right that I highlighted is an example of someone waiting 5 minutes to ride Buzz Lightyear when the posted wait time said they’d wait 70 minutes.

The other dot I highlighted, in the upper left, represents someone actually waiting 65 minutes when the posted wait said they’d be there for 30 minutes.

The average difference between the actual wait time and the posted wait time at Buzz Lightyear is around 40% – roughly 8 minutes, plus or minus – out of 20 minutes (the average posted wait at Buzz). But as you can see, it varies. A lot.

Even a Crystal Ball Wouldn’t Help

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How TouringPlans Calculate Attraction Closures

by on September 8, 2016

Reported ClosedOne of the most disappointing things that can happen at Walt Disney World, or any theme park, is to arrive at an attraction and find out the ride is closed. Some poor Cast Member has to tell a countless number of guests that the attraction is unavailable. The next questions the cast member gets is “When will it reopen?” and “Why is it closed?” Many closures are due to weather. Beyond that, the cast member generally will not know (or will not share) much information, nor will he or she tell you how long a closure will last.

Back in May, Len Testa announced that the Lines app now predicts when closed attractions will reopen. Re-optimized touring plans will adjust plans and moved a closed attraction to a time we expect the ride to be reopened. A warning: This post is on the geeky side and shows the analysis that is being used to make the app work. If you don’t want to peek inside the black box, feel free to stop reading. If you choose to proceed, may the light shine upon thee.

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