Trip Planning

Disneyland Preview — Week of January 13, 2018

by on January 12, 2018

This week presents two wildly different experiences — busy holiday weekend, followed by some of the lowest crowds you’ll see all year. Also, the first Disneyland After Dark is this week!  Read on to find out more in this week’s Disneyland preview.

Special Events and Notes

In large part, this is a “regular” week at Disneyland. The holidays are over, no festivals are running, and operations are more or less normal.  With that said, Disney is doing its first “Disneyland After Dark” after-hours event this week on Thursday, January 18.  It is a hard-ticket event (i.e., your regular park tickets or Annual Passes will not get you in), and it costs $95 per person.  The event runs from 8:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m., though your ticket will get you admission to the park as early as 6:00 p.m.

This first installment will be “Throwback Nite” (making it very appropriate that it’s being held on a Thursday), and it will have a 1950s/1960s theme. Guests are encouraged to dress the part (think: Dapper Day). There will be jazz and swing music, special photo opportunities (along with unlimited PhotoPass downloads), characters, and exclusive food and drinks. Also, you’ll be able to see the Fantasy in the Sky fireworks show, which first ran in 1958, that you can typically only see on New Year’s Eve. You can find more details here and here. As this goes to press, there are still tickets available, but we nevertheless recommend getting tickets sooner than later if you’re sure you’d like to attend.

Crowds

Crowds are high for the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday weekend, but drop off sharply immediately thereafter.  Seven and eight level crowds for the weekend, and nothing higher than a three the rest of the week.

Full details, including park-by-park crowd levels, are available on our Crowd Calendar.

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Epcot International Festival of the Arts Overview + Video

by on January 9, 2018

It’s January, which means the Epcot International Festival of the Arts is just around the corner!

Click the video below to learn all about this aesthetic event.

Is it super obvious that I googled artistic synonyms” to come up with the word, aesthetic? Let me know in the comments…

Trip Planning 101 (3.0): Deciding When to Visit Walt Disney World

by on January 8, 2018

Welcome to our periodic refresh of the TouringPlans Trip Planning 101 series, where we walk new WDW trip planners through some of the basic components of getting ready for a trip to Walt Disney World. Here we’re looking at factors to consider as you decide when to make your Disney visit.

The first step in planning a visit to Walt Disney World is deciding when to take your trip. This basic decision can have a big influence on the pace, mood, and cost of your vacation. Here’s a guide on how to choose the best timetable for your Walt Disney World experience. We’ll do this from two perspectives: a family with kids in school and adults not traveling with children.

Gather Your Tools

Before you sit down to plan, you’ll need to gather the following items:

  • A blank calendar. I like having one where I can see whole year in front of me, such as the 2018 calendar above.
  • Your school district calendar (if applicable).
  • Work schedules.
  • Calendars for your family’s activities: sports, church groups, dance recitals, etc.
  • Your personal appointment calendar.
  • The TouringPlans.com Crowd Calendar.
  • The Walt Disney World attraction closures schedule.
  • Access to information about Disney’s special events each month. There’s a great section about this in the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.
  • Access to your favorite weather website, such as weather.com.
  • Access to your favorite airline website, travel aggregator website (Expedia, Travelocity, etc.), or travel agregator app (Kayak, etc.).
  • Access to your favorite Disney discounts website, like MouseSavers.com.
  • Several colored pencils, highlighters, or markers.

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Disneyland Preview — Week of January 6, 2018

by on January 5, 2018

The new year is here, and with it comes much lower crowds and chillier weather. Read on to find out more in this week’s Disneyland preview!

Special Events and Notes

Disneyland MonorailThe busy holiday season comes to a close at Disneyland Resort this week, and with the end of that season comes the far less busy refurbishment season.  Yes, several popular attractions are going offline starting this week.  Some, like Haunted Mansion, Dumbo, Grizzly River Run, and Splash Mountain are undergoing brief downtime for scheduled maintenance or to remove holiday overlays.  Others, like California Screamin’, are gone for good, at least in their current forms.

Crowds

Crowds are all over the map this week, ranging from quite high this weekend as winter break wraps up, to very low towards the end of the week once most kids are back to school.  Wednesday and Thursday notably have level 2 crowds, which are about as low as you’re likely to see all year.

 

 

Full details, including park-by-park crowd levels, are available on our Crowd Calendar.

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Disney’s Contemporary Resort: Part 2 + Video

by on January 2, 2018

Happy New Year TouringPlans.com Friends!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season, and I wish you all the best for 2018.

Today’s video is Part 2 of my Disney’s Contemporary Resort overview. I’ll be talkin’ pools, dining, recreation and amenities.

Enjoy!

Oh! and here’s Part 1 if you missed that!

I’m just now realizing that I used the EXACT same picture for both video thumbnails. *face palm*

Did you make any Disney resolutions for 2018? Mine is to take more photos. Leave yours below!

Five Reasons to Visit Walt Disney World in 2018

by on January 1, 2018

As workplace calendars take shape for 2018, attention turns to vacation destinations. For the Walt Disney World addicts among us, it’s not a question of whether we’ll go, but when and for how long. Others may need additional incentives to choose theme parks over the beach or big city.

For those of you with the challenge of convincing your significant other to spend their valuable vacation time armed with MagicBands and Touring Plans, we’ve got you covered. Read on for five reasons you can use to argue that 2018 is the year to visit Disney.

Let’s see Andy’s backyard

New lands don’t come around every year, but for the second straight summer, Walt Disney World will take down the construction walls and invite visitors to a new theme park land.

While not as impressive in scope as Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, the new Toy Story Land will bring kid-friendly attractions to a park that badly needs them, Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Disney announced an opening of summer 2018 for the land. If it follows the same pattern as Pandora, that would mean soft openings in May.

Two new attractions and a quick-service dining location will be added with the opening of Toy Story Land.

The land, which will include the existing Toy Story Midway Mania! attraction, will be modeled to look like Andy’s back yard. Visitors shrink down to toy size in their surroundings. The two new attractions, the Slinky Dog Dash roller coaster and Alien Swirling Saucers, should be kid-friendly, but with enough clever theming to appeal to everyone.

Add a quick-service dining location, Woody’s Lunch Box, and you have enough to bring visitors back to Hollywood Studios, even as a large portion of the park continues to be blocked off by construction walls (more on that later).

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Disneyland Preview — Week of December 30

by on December 29, 2017

Another super busy week at Disneyland Resort as we transition to 2018, though it becomes slightly more manageable as the week progresses. Read on to find out more in this week’s Disneyland preview!

Special Events and Notes

We get to usher in 2018 this week, and that means we get to experience the special New Years offerings at Disneyland! The New-Year’s-only (generally) Fantasy in the Sky  fireworks will run twice on New Years Eve, at 9 pm and again at 11:55 to welcome the New Year. If seeing the fireworks from Main Street U.S.A. is important to you, you’ll want to make sure you stake out a spot even earlier than usual. California Adventure will also ring in the New Year at Paradise Pier with its Fountains and Fireworks countdown. Special dining events are available at Napa Rose and PCH Grill; advance reservations are strongly recommended for these experiences. 

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International Parks Round-Up — What to Expect in Early 2018

by on December 26, 2017

As 2017 comes to a close, it’s time to look ahead at 2018 in the International Disney Parks. There’s a lot happening over the next few months, so let’s dig in to each park!

Season of the Force

Star Wars: A Galactic Celebration will be lighting up the Tower of Terror in Walt Disney Studios Park. (Photo Courtesy of Disney)

Disneyland Paris

The first part of the year at Disneyland Paris is dedicated to Star Wars. The Season of the Force is taking over both Disneyland Paris parks from January 13 – March 25. This event includes a wide range of entertainment and special offerings, including:

  • Star Wars: A Galactic Celebration. A new nighttime extravaganza that includes projections, special effects, live characters, and music. You can find this in Walt Disney Studios Park.
  • Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away. This stage show takes place in Walt Disney Studios Park and features breathtaking displays of the Force.
  • First Order March. Captain Phasma will be leading a battalion of stormtroopers throughout Walt Disney Studios Park at various times of day.
  • Star Tours: The Adventures Continue is launching in Discoveryland at Disneyland Park.
  • Hyperspace Mountain is taking over Space Mountain, giving you the chance to enlist in the Rebel Alliance and battle the Imperial Forces on your flight in Disneyland Park.
  • Lastly, there is a mysterious component to the Season of the Force, but all that Disney is announcing is that a fleet of intergalactic surprises will be coming soon.

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Disneyland Preview — Week of December 23

by on December 22, 2017

We’re at that point of the year when EVERYONE is off of school, and that means that Disneyland will be BUSY. What else is in store? Read on to find out in this week’s Disneyland preview!

Special Events and Notes

The same holiday festivities we’ve been talking about continue this week at Disneyland Resort.  This includes the Festival of Holidays at Disney’s California Adventure (featuring food and drink kiosks sprinkled throughout the park). Princess Elena of Avalor has a special show, and there’s also Disney ¡Viva Navidad! (celebrating Latino holiday traditions). During the Festival, Annual Passholders are eligible to pick up a Sip & Savor Pass for $45 that is good for eight Festival food and beverage offerings (excluding alcohol).

Still haven’t had a chance to meet Santa? The big guy will be at Ahwahnee Camp Circle at the entrance to the Redwood Creek Challenge Trail with other holiday activities. Santa will be taking a breather starting on Christmas, but Goofy will take over and will be available for photos in the same location. 

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Disney’s Contemporary Resort: Part 1 + Video

by on December 19, 2017

Hi everyone!

Let’s take the monorail to Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Today, I’ll be covering the resort’s theme, rooms, room views and transportation.

Enjoy!

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