TouringPlans Everywhere

Disney Cruise Line: Merchandise Photo Report of Castaway Cay (iPhone Cases, Shirts, Letters In a Bottle)

by on October 31, 2014

Earlier this week we covered the exclusive merchandise on the Disney Cruise Line, and today we will take a gander at the products on Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay. Much like the gift shops on the Disney Wonder, it was amazing to see the wide variety of merchandise available on the island, and how much of it was actually good. I knew that I was in for a treat when the first thing I came across was the refillable mugs, and not only did they have a style similar to ones we see at the Disney resorts, but they also had plastic coconut shaped cups. Now, these coconut cups are completely impractical, as you have to separate them almost in half to put in your soda, but I absolutely loved them. There are several soda machines on the island where you can refill your mugs for free, and then you can use them on the ship as well.

 

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Refillable mugs and coconuts at Castaway Cay.

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#Everywhere: The Disneyland Results Are In!

by on October 29, 2014

2014-10-10 at 19-55-52As many of you probably know, I recently made my first trip to the Disneyland Resort in California as part of TouringPlans #Everywhere. A few months back, I wrote a post here about what I expected to find when I traveled to Disneyland. Well, now I’m back and will attempt to address all of my previous impressions, which were almost all made from a position of ignorance (as most of my impressions are). If you are planning a trip out west and do not want to be spoiled (like I didn’t) please read no further.

I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say, so let’s just get right into it:

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Reasons To Go On a Disney Cruise

by on October 25, 2014

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Reasons To Go On a Disney Cruise. Earlier this month I was fortunate to be able to take my first ever Disney Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder as part of TouringPlans #Everywhere promotion. The experience was pretty amazing overall, and while before the trip I had a hard time understanding why people would pay so much for a Disney Cruise when there are some great alternatives (such as Royal Caribbean) for a fraction of the price, I now see exactly what draws people back again and again to DCL. In fact, I think for many Disney fans a sailing on the DCL is a must-do, as it provides an overall immersion in the Disney brand that even many on-site WDW vacations can’t compete with. Today we are going to look at six of the reasons you should consider popping a Dramamine and sailing the high seas with Mickey and the gang. Remember that clicking on any picture will bring it up in full size, so grab that life jacket and let’s start counting down…

# 6 – The Characters

DCL_Character_Donald

Donald Duck on the DCL Wonder.

 

We knew that there were going to be characters on board the Disney ships that you could meet, but we were not prepared for how many. There were the Fab 5 of Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Goofy, and Pluto. The ubiquitous Chip and Dale. Daisy Duck. Frozen‘s Anna and Elsa. Disney Jr. characters such as Sofia the First and Jake. Disney princesses including Ariel, Tiana, Rapunzel, Snow White, Aurora, Belle, and Cinderella. Lastly, there were miscellaneous characters such as Peter Pan, Captain Hook, and Stitch. These were just the ones that I personally saw throughout the cruise, as we never looked to see where the characters would be, or at what time, which leads me to believe that there are even more that I didn’t see.

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TouringPlans #Everywhere – Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort Review

by on October 24, 2014

©Disney

©Disney

I can’t believe #Everywhere has come and gone. Our last few cruisers are off their ships and everyone is back on the clock. I hope everyone enjoyed all the live tweets from Walt Disney World, Disneyland, Disneyland Paris, Tokyo Disneyland, Disneyland Hong Kong, the DCL Magic, Wonder, Dream, and Fantasy, Aulani, Vero Beach, and my destination, Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort, a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) property in Hilton Head, South Carolina.

So how was it? I can’t believe I didn’t go sooner and that it took “taking one for the team” to get me to check it out. Both my travel partner, Len Testa, and I were very happily surprised at how much we loved this resort. I’ll try to break down the review into logical sections, but first the small print – for all the #Everywhere trips, TouringPlans picked up the bill for lodging, transportation, and food. We booked at rates available to the public and didn’t receive any incentives from Disney or the travel agents we booked with beyond what anyone else would get. In the case of the three DVC resorts, those were all booked using my own points as opposed to booking with cash through Disney or renting through a 3rd party.

Location

The resort feels secluded, but not so much as in this publicity shot. Photo © Disney

The resort feels secluded, but not so much as in this publicity shot. Photo © Disney

The photos on the Disney site, make Hilton Head Resort look like it’s really secluded. This is clever cropping though. The resort is at Shelter Cove Marina, which is a fairly commercial site with moorage, restaurants, retail, condos, and other resorts. Disney’s resort is on the edge of this area with the actual marina on one side and undeveloped marshland on the other. The clever thing about how the resort is situated is that once you’re actually there, you do feel like the resort is on its own island. As a coastal town, Hilton Head has mostly mild weather; you can see the forecast and weather history at Weather Underground.

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TouringPlans #Everywhere: Disney Magic Observations from a DCL First-Timer

by on October 23, 2014

Disney Magic observations

There’s nothing like your first look at your first Disney cruise ship! (Photos by Seth Kubersky)

As part of the fantastic TouringPlans #Everywhere project, I recently had the amazing opportunity to experience my very first Disney Cruise Line vacation aboard the Disney Magic, on an unusual 7-day itinerary out of Puerto Rico. While I’ve previously stayed on-site in both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, and traveled with some of Disney’s competitors in the cruising and all-inclusive resort industries, this was my initial experience as a guest of DCL. Overall, I have to say that I went in with sky-high expectations, almost all of which I can happily report were met or exceeded. But that’s not to say there weren’t a few surprises along the way. Here are a handful of Disney Magic observations and advice from this first-time (but hopefully not last-time) DCL cruiser that may may your vigin voyage a little smoother.

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Video: “Once Upon a Time” Nighttime Spectacular at Tokyo Disneyland

by on October 22, 2014

I was in Tokyo Disneyland last week as part of TouringPlans Everywhere and got a chance to see the new nighttime spectacular that premiered earlier this year. The show is called Once Upon a Time and uses the same projection technology seen in Celebrate the Magic at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World and Disney Dreams in Disneyland Paris. Once Upon a Time is presented on to Cinderella Castle and features Mrs. Potts and Chip as they take the audience through various classic Disney animated films like Peter Pan and Alice in Wonderland, through newer films like Tangled and Frozen. Laser, fire and pyrotechnics also appear along with the projections on the castle. Personally I enjoyed the show quite a bit and thought each sequence was beautifully done. The show clocks in at almost 20 minutes long, so with Once Upon a Time, Tokyo Disneyland Electrical Parade AND fireworks the nighttime entertainment lineup at Tokyo Disneyland is sizable and impressive. But enough of what I think, take a look at our video of a full performance of the show:

Disney Cruise Line: Merchandise Photo Report of the Disney Wonder (Pins, Plush, Shirts, Vinylmation and More)

by on October 22, 2014

As part of the recent TouringPlans Everywhere promotion, I was lucky enough to set sail on my first ever Disney Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder. As a whole, I was blown away by the experience, but one thing that stood out to me was how much fantastic merchandise was available onboard the ship. Last year I sailed on a Royal Caribbean cruise, and despite an incredible sailing, found absolutely nothing in their gift store worth buying. Recently, I have been making my way around various Disney resorts and finding there is very little unique merchandise within the gift shops. Whether at a value resort like Pop Century, a moderate such as Port Orleans – French Quarter, or even a deluxe like The Contemporary, it didn’t matter, everything was pretty much the exact same. This was not my experience on the Disney Cruise Line, and I’m glad to report that the ships have some of the best merchandise I have seen in any Disney store, ever. Below is a look at some of the fantastic merchandise you can only buy on a Disney Cruise.

 

DCLMerch_2014_purpleshirts

Remember that clicking on any picture will bring it up in full size.

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Daisy Lauren’s Best Week Ever: October 16, 2014 at Disney’s Vero Beach Resort

by on October 16, 2014

1Hi everyone! Welcome to the best week ever! While you’ll normally find me covering all the latest news at  Walt Disney World, this week I had the amazing opportunity to visit Disney’s Vero Beach Resort as part of TouringPlans #Everywhere. This resort was one of a very few Disney locations I hadn’t visited and I was excited to check it out.

Vero Beach is a very easy drive from the Orlando International Airport. We clocked it at just shy of two hours. We could have been there a little sooner but noticed that Disney routes you around some of the less desirable parts of Vero Beach. In any case we were checked through the guard gates in just a matter of minutes and ready to start our fabulous beach weekend. Want to see more? Please click to keep reading! 🙂

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TouringPlans #Everywhere: I’m Going on my First Disney Cruise Aboard the Disney Wonder!

by on October 7, 2014

Over the past few weeks and months you’ve probably read several articles on the upcoming big October event – TouringPlans #Everywhere. If not, here’s the skinny: during Columbus Day weekend, TouringPlans is sending its staff across the world to Disney destinations in order to collect content, meet our subscribers, and if we can squeeze it in, have some fun, too. Brian McNichols, my cohost of the Pardon the Pixie Dust podcast, is going to Disneyland. Gerelyn Reaves is going to the Aulani resort in Hawaii. Guy Selga is going to Tokyo Disneyland. And I’ll be going to the Disney Outlet Stores in Orlando. Just kidding, I’ll actually be taking my first ever trip on the Disney Cruise Line aboard the Disney Wonder.

DisneyCruiseLine_Dream

Spoiler Alert: This is NOT the Disney Wonder, this is the Disney Dream.

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TouringPlans #Everywhere – Meet Schedules

by on September 30, 2014

t_logo_fbHave you ever wanted a chance to hang with TouringPlans staff in locations throughout the globe? Sunday, October 12, is your opportunity. This is the day of TouringPlans #Everywhere. We will have our people posted at every Disney location in the world on the same day, blogging and tweeting for your reading pleasure. And we’d love to see you while we’re at it.

Here is where everyone will be available. All times are local. DCL meet ups may change due to what’s happening on the ship that day – watch Twitter for updates.

If possible, please RSVP via email to the person who’ll be there so we’ll have an idea what to expect:

Meet Up Locations

Europe
Disneyland Paris – meet Brad Huber (developer and Saints fan) at 3:00 pm at the Market House Deli on Main Street in Disneyland Park. Email brad@touringplans.com.

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