Saturday Six

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)

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SATURDAY SIX THANKSGIVING SPECIAL: Six Reasons for Theme Park Fans to Give Thanks in 2017

by on November 23, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX  is our annual Thanksgiving Special and takes a look at Six Reasons for Theme Park Fans to Give Thanks. 2017 was another great year to be a theme park fan, and for this Thanksgiving we are going to take a quick break from all the turkey, football games, and Black Friday pre-planning to count our blessings and thank the parks and resorts that we love so much. So, for one day only, we ask that all Disney and Universal fans put aside their differences and spend a brief moment appreciating all the wonderful things that we can share together, starting with…

# 6 – The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle

While Walt Disney World has been putting together a stunning display of projection mapping at several of their parks (including one of our favorites, the Tree of Life Awakens shows at Animal Kingdom) Universal finally created a brand new show of their own using the technology with The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle. Using the iconic Hogwarts Castle as a canvas, this new show pays homage to fan friendly moments from the Harry Potter films and books. With references to the Yule Ball, ghosts singing, the flying Ford Anglia, quidditch, and even Weasley Wizarding Wheezes, fans of the Potter Universe are going to love this new Holiday event.  We here at the SATURDAY SIX headquarters will watch anything that has a John Williams score, and The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle is Universal’s first E-Ticket nighttime show worth going out of your way to experience.

The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle.

The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle.

The Magic of Christmas at Hogwarts Castle.

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Ask It: Saturday Six or Outlet Report?

by on November 22, 2017

It’s almost Thanksgiving, and I’m rather thankful for my fellow blogger Derek Burgan, who allows me such rare opportunities as photo model credits as Saturday 6 “Short Person in the Scene #1” and “eBay Pirate”, plus gives me a reason to wander around Disney Outlet stores, filling up my phone with blurry pictures of price tags. Derek is the criminal mastermind behind both the Saturday Six articles and The Magic, the Memories, and Merch! (aka The Outlet Report). Many readers mention that these are two of the articles they look forward to the most on the blog. So this week, we want to know.

Which of these TouringPlans blog features is your favorite?

  • Saturday Six (55%, 262 Votes)
  • Outlet Report (45%, 213 Votes)

Total Voters: 475

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The poll is live here and on Twitter, and we’ll have your answers next week. In the meantime, feel free to share what your favorite Saturday Six article is, or what your favorite item you’ve seen in an Outlet report happens to be, in the comments.

SATURDAY SIX: 6 Reasons We Love FRONTIERLAND at Disney’s Magic Kingdom

by on November 18, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at FRONTIERLAND at Disney’s Magic Kingdom! When Walt Disney created Disneyland in 1955, the genre of Westerns in American pop culture was in its heyday. John Wayne was a giant movie star, Gunsmoke had just started on TV, and Disney itself had a giant hit on its hands with the Davy Crockett series. So it was only natural that one of the lands in the world’s first theme park would be based around the concept of the Old West. The original Frontierland in Disneyland contained few traditional attractions as we know today, and instead was a much more open concept that allowed guests to explore the wilderness  with – believe it or not – the use of stage coaches and even pack mules. Over the years the theme of Frontierland would evolve, including the additions of two of the most beloved rides in any Disney land. Today we’re going to take a look at our favorite parts of this incredible land in Walt Disney World, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Country Bears Jamboree

When Walt Disney World opened in 1971, there were no actual rides in Frontierland. The Walt Disney Railroad went through the area, there was a Davy Crockett canoe experience, and there was the Country Bears Jamboree. Now, if you were to go to the Magic Kingdom today, the one attraction that would never have a chance to be built is Country Bears. Even with massive changes to the show over the years, the show is what many guests would consider “politically incorrect.”  For me personally, Country Bears – along with Enchanted Tiki Room and PeopleMover – is one of my favorite things to do in any theme park because of its charm. Unlike what we are going through today, Country Bears doesn’t have an IP shoved into it in order to sell more merchandise. It is old school Disney at its best, amazing animatronics doing a show with humor and catchy songs. In fact, when Country Bears first opened it was so successful that it became the first original attraction in Florida to be replicated out in Disneyland. Pro Tip: Check your times guide and be around for the Hoedown Happening that takes places outside the Country Bears Jamboree. Here guests get to “hoot and holler” with Disney characters and Cast Members as they dance to music.

Country Bear Jamboree. (photo by Hunter Underwood)

Country Bear Jamboree. (photo by Hunter Underwood)

Bear claw marks inside waiting area of Country Bears. (photo by Hunter Underwood)

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SATURDAY SIX: 6 Reasons We Love SEUSS LANDING at Islands of Adventure

by on November 11, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Seuss Landing! One of the original six islands that comprised Islands of Adventure when it opened in 1999, the whimsical Seuss Landing created an entire land from the works of Theodor “Dr. Seuss” Geisel. With the area’s over-the-top designs and bright colors, Seuss Landing faithfully recreates the fantastical worlds created in treasured books such as The Cat in The Hat, The Lorax, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

Seuss Landing. (photo by Mike Sperduto)

For me personally, the works of Dr. Seuss worked in many ways like the best of The Muppets. Children like the fun characters and easy to understand stories, but underneath that there was another level that was targeting adults paying attention. Whether its skewering commercialism with the Grinch or showing the importance of environmentalism with the Lorax, Seuss was decades ahead of his contemporaries in using children’s stories to teach valuable lessons. Today we’re going to take a look at some of our favorite parts of Seuss Landing, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – The High the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride

One of my favorite attractions in all of the Universal Orlando Resort is The High In the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride! Extremely reminiscent of one of my favorite Disney rides – the Peoplemover – guests board trains and ride along an elevated track. This allows for some extremely great views of the park. Even better, there are actually two different ride experiences depending on which track you choose to take. To top it off, the ride goes through the Circus McGurkus Cafe Stupendous quick service restaurant. Disneyland has Blue Bayou overlooking Pirates of the Caribbean, EPCOT’s  Garden Grill lets us look down into Living with the Land, and Universal has the Trolley. What we really need is more rides that go through restaurants (after this article please sign my petition at Change.org).

It is also worth noting that the ride is based on the Dr. Seuss story of The Sneetches, and it could not be more relevant with today’s society.

The Hight in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride! (photo by Michael Carelli)

Trolley riders get a chance to see Hulk roar by in the distance. (photo by Michael Carelli)

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SATURDAY SIX: 6 Reasons We Love PORT OF ENTRY at Universal’s Islands of Adventure

by on October 28, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX covers Six Reasons We Love PORT OF ENTRY at Universal’s Islands of Adventure. One of my favorite places at either of Universal’s two theme parks doesn’t have a single attraction or show. Port of Entry is the first official “island” you experience when walking into Islands of Adventure (IOA) and I consider it the best entry area of any theme park in North America. The layers of detail throughout the area transports guests into a world that never existed, yet somehow feels completely real.

The Pharos Lighthouse. (photo by Michael Carelli)

You have passed the gauntlet of photographers and are now entering the fabled Port of Entry. (photo by Hunter Underwood)

The journey through this exotic land starts before you even hit the park, as the impressive Pharos Lighthouse stands tall outside the gates and the wonderful Ocean Trader Market theme plays in the background. I love the short walk from the Royal Pacific Resort to the park as this charming music grows louder the closer I get.

Once through the turnstiles, guests pass by the archway which promises “The Adventure Begins” and they generally make a beeline to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter or quickly head over to the Hulk Coaster and Spider-Man at Marvel Superhero Island. With this edition of the Saturday Six we are going to make a plea to you, Dear Reader, to slow down on your race to the rest of the park and take a moment to take in the immersive land Universal Creative has delivered with Port of Entry. We are going to look through some of our favorite things and let’s kick off the countdown with…

# 6 –  The Love Birds

Sitting together along the walls of Port of Entry are two love birds.  These two birds actually took me a while to find myself, and I have combed over the Port of Entry many times. I had asked Team Members about them and even went to Guest Services and you would have thought I asked where the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was in the park. No one had any idea what I was talking about.

While I won’t spoil the fun in discovering where they are, I actually stumbled upon them when checking out another item on this list (there’s your only hint.)  There is a “coo-ing” playing over speakers in their area, and once you see them you’ll wonder how you missed them for so long. I would imagine this is a detail that 99.44% of IOA guests never notice, and that’s what I love about it. The term “Disney Difference” gets thrown out a lot when it comes to detail in theme parks, and while some may be wondering where the Disney Difference went at Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios, I think they will find it in spades at IOA.

The Love Birds of IOA. (photo by Hunter Underwood)

# 5 – “Main Street Windows”

Getting a window on Main Street at the Magic Kingdom is one of the highest honors one can achieve at Walt Disney World. Whether it’s Disney family members Elias and Roy Disney, Imagineers Mary Blair and John Hench, or management like Lee Cockerell and Frank Wells, having your name in tribute on one of these windows is a theme park equivalent to having a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, except that they are much harder to attain and actually mean something.

Universal also pays homage to the people who helped create their resort in a variety of ways at both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios FLorida, including window tributes. This particular window in Port of Entry is for “Codiga Adventures” and is referencing David Codiga, a former Executive Vice President of Universal Creative. Mr. Codiga’s most recent project was the High Roller observation wheel in Las Vegas, the world’s tallest ferris wheel.

Codiga Adventures – referring to David Codiga, one of the architects of Islands of Adventure. (photo by Hunter Underwood)

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The SATURDAY SIX Looks At Disney’s Dog-Friendly Hotels

by on October 21, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Disney’s DOG-FRIENDLY Hotels! There was unbridled chaos in the Disney fan community this week as we were all rocked by an announcement that no one saw coming. In a late-Friday news dump, specifically timed in order to bypass a news cycle, Disney revealed that selected resorts would become dog-friendly. Once controversial subjects – such as pool hopping, reusing refillable mugs on multiple trips, and children who stay at the age of 9 for over 4 years – have now been replaced by an even more nefarious subject. One that threatens to ruin all of our collective vacations…

That said, we here at the SATURDAY SIX are going to do our best to bring this community together to help speed along the healing process. It is time to look at some of the “fine print” conspicuously hidden in the new dog-friendly rules. To go over these Dos and Don’ts we’re going to riff on the classic “Goofus and Galiant” formula, except tweaked for a more sophisticated outrage culture audience using David and Derek. David is David Davies, a longtime TouringPlans analyst and IT strategist, who most recently had his emotion processing chip upgraded to sync with the latest version of iOS. Derek is Your Humble Author. Together we hit the new dog-friendly guidelines from every angle possible to show the big picture. Ready to see what we found out? Well let’s kick off the countdown with…

# 6 – Pre-Trip Grooming

Many WDW guests aren’t aware of Best Friends Pet Care, which is located at WDW directly across the street from Port Orleans Riverside. As Julia Mascardo pointed out in her great primer to dog-friendly resources at WDW, Best Friends not only offers kennel service for dogs, but day care and grooming services. We all want to look our best for vacation, shouldn’t Man’s Best Friend?

 

# 5 – Feeding Your Pet

Because only licensed service animals are allowed in Disney restaurants and food courts, guests are encouraged to bring their pet’s favorite food and snacks to be served in-room.

 

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SATURDAY SIX: 6 Reasons We Love HALLOWEEN at the Disneyland Resort

by on October 14, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Halloween at the Disneyland Resort! Here at the SATURDAY SIX HQ we are suckers for Mickey’s Not Scary Halloween Party at the Magic Kingdom. Boo-To-You is one of our favorite parades, Happy HalloWishes is one of our all time favorite fireworks spectaculars, and – no matter how absurd it may technically be to “waste” your time doing it – picking up candy at the treat stations is a blast. This week though we are going across the country to see some of the Halloween offerings in Disneyland. With fun decorations, exclusive treats, and one of the most amazing top-to-bottom overlays of a land ever done, Disneyland truly brought it’s “A-game” this year and we’ll look at our favorite parts starting with…

# 6 – Haunted Mansion Holiday

In September, The Haunted Mansion began its annual transformation into Haunted Mansion Holiday. Inspired by Tim Burton’s 1993 stop-motion musical The Nightmare Before Christmas, this soup-to-nuts overlay features characters such as Jack Skellington, Sally, and Oogie Boogie cavorting among our favorite mansion haunts to music from Danny Elfman’s memorable score. Everything, and we mean EVERYTHING, at the Mansion has been tweaked for this special holiday version. The outside facade, the signage, the stretch room pre-show, and the entire ride is decked out with the Nightmare Before Christmas story, making it a completely different experience than the original attraction.

Jack Skellington welcomes guests to Haunted Mansion Holiday. (photo by Brian Pinsky)

Haunted Mansion Holiday. (photo by Brian Pinsky)

Haunted Mansion Holiday. (photo by Brian Pinsky)

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SATURDAY SIX: 6 Reasons We Love Disney’s WILDERNESS LODGE

by on October 7, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons We Love Disney’s WILDERNESS LODGE. Disney has three classifications for their resorts: Value (including Pop Century and Art of Animation), Moderate (Port Orleans Riverside and Fort Wildnerness), and Deluxe (The Poly and BoardWalk). Today we are going to look at one of the Deluxe offerings with Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge.

 

Inspired by national park lodges and inns of the early 20th century, Wilderness Lodge was designed by Peter Dominick, an architect who also was a major influence in Disney’s Grand Californian Lodge and Florida’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Sitting alongside Bay Lake, Wilderness Lodge is in between The Contemporary and the Fort Wilderness campground and offers relaxing boat rides to both locations as well as the Magic Kingdom. Like many other guests, we here at the SATURDAY SIX have fallen head over heels in love with Wilderness Lodge, and today we are going to count down our reasons why, starting with…

# 6 – Fire Rock Geyser

With the entire resort in effect a tribute to our great American national parks, the hourly eruption of Fire Rock Geyser gives guests a taste of what people experience when seeing Old Faithful at Yellowstone in Wyoming. Taking place at the top of every hour, Fire Rock Geyser’s explosion of water is a unique event at the Wilderness Lodge and a true piece of “Disney Magic” that separates the mouse house from its competitors.

Fire Rock Geyser.

Fire Rock Geyser erupting its plume of water at the top of every hour.

Fire Rock Geyser. (photo by Daisy Lauren)

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SATURDAY SIX: 6 Things Disney Can Take to the Dump Along with The Great Movie Ride

by on September 30, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX makes its long awaited return to the Disney Dump! With Walt Disney World doing a little “Spring cleaning” this summer and deciding to get rid of even more attractions (Great Movie Ride, Ellen’s Energy Adventure, and the Music of Pixar Live! among others) we here at the SATURDAY SIX have put our noggins together and figured out a couple more things they can take to the dump as well.

The world famous Disney Dump. (art by Matt Cleary)

We made our first trip to the Disney Dump a couple years ago, and anything that was asked for then would not be eligible for this article. This is why you won’t see Dinoland USA, Electric Umbrella, ABC Commissary, BoardWalk Pizza Window, Journey Into Imagination with Figment and Stitch’s Great Escape. Look at that list again and keep in mind Stitch’s Great Escape is still around while the Great Movie Ride – the heart and soul of DHS – is now gone. Today we’re going to take a look at things we’d all be better off without, and let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival

When Captain EO made its debut in 1986, it was the epitome of what made Disney Disney. Produced by George Lucas, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, score by James Horner, starring Michael Jackson, EO was an all star collaboration of the highest order. The movie itself was one of the first true “4D” films, in which the theater itself became part of the experience with seat movement, laser and smoke effects. There was absolutely nothing outside of Epcot Center that could be compared to Captain EO.

Now, if you have a DVD player in your house (or NETFLIX) you can have your very own replacement for Captain EO with the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival. Unlike Captain EO, several of the short films used in the “festival” have been converted into 3D, despite the fact they weren’t made with 3D in mind. This is the difference between buying a beautiful bouquet of flowers for your significant other, and just grabbing something off your front lawn right before you get home. Captain EO represents a certain era of Disney, when only imagination was the limit to what could be achieved. In a way, the Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival also represents an era of Disney; one in which intellectual property, branding, and corporate synergy supersedes “outdated” concepts like “theme.” Do yourself a favor, stream a Pixar short on your mobile device while waiting in line for a better attraction.

Disney & Pixar Short Film Festival. (photo by Brandon Glover)

When “air conditioning” is your number one selling point. (photo by Brandon Glover)

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