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SATURDAY SIX CHRISTMAS DAY SPECIAL: 6 Disney Gifts Santa Can Bring Back to the North Pole (AKA The Best of the Disney Outlet Stores in 2017)

by on December 25, 2017

Today’s SATURDAY SIX is an annual tradition. Six Disney Gifts Santa Can Bring Back to the North Pole (AKA The Best of the Disney Outlet Stores in 2017). By now many TouringPlans blog readers know every single weekend brings an edition of the SATURDAY SIX. Some look at the world of Disney, some look at Universal, and some are just next level bananasSome readers of this fine weekly column may not know that we also have The Magic, The Memories, and Merch! where every single month for over four years we have braved the insanity of the Orlando Premium Outlet parking lots to cover the two Disney outlet stores in Orlando. In fact, we even had a very special Four Year Anniversary edition with some special comic strips to mourn celebrate the momentous occasion.

Now, while some Christmas dreams do come true, such as Ralphie Parker getting his official Red Ryder BB gun and us Americans being able to say “Merry Christmas” again (although for the life of me I can’t remember a time when we couldn’t,) other Christmas gifts deserve to go straight to the Island of Misfit Toys. Today we will take a look at some of those very items, starting with…

# 6 – That Creepy Beauty and the Beast Belle Doll

Sometimes at the Outlets I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. Earlier this year, a picture of the world’s worst looking Emma-Watson-as-Belle doll went viral on Twitter. As many people have pointed out, it looks more like Justin Beiber in drag than anything else. I’m actually reminded of those Lawrence Welk skits on Saturday Night Live featuring the Maharelle sisters.  I almost cried tears of joy actually seeing this arrive at the Outlets. Originally $34.95, it was reduced to $19.99.

Creepy Belle.

Creepy Belle.

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In Case You Missed It: Disney News and Rumors – Week of December 15, 2017

by on December 15, 2017

In Case You Missed ItIt’s time!  Have you already caught Star Wars: The Last Jedi? Will you be seeing it this weekend? No spoilers! Remember, not everyone can see the movie opening day or even opening weekend. Especially during this busy time of year! (Don’t these other obligations know there’s a massive movie opening this weekend?! If you did catch the film this weekend, I hope you thoroughly enjoyed it!

This week, we look at the latest Disney trend (rose gold ears were so last month), look at where you can dine with Marvel characters (hint, it’s not where you’d expect) and more.

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

I think there may have been some big news about Disney and Fox this week……what do you think about this massively large news?

Yum! Looking for the best cocktails in the Disney Parks and Resorts? Travel Channel has some suggestions. And they sound incredible. Which one do you want to try?

Oh my goodness! Look at the adorableness of the two new baby tiger cubs! You can now see them on the Maharajah Jungle Trek at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. (Darn it! I was week too early when I went over there last week!)

Looking for something fun to do with the kiddos this holiday break? Fill out the Coco Family Tree and have them learn about this heritage.

Coco was just nominated for two Golden Globes for Best Animated Feature & Best Original Song (“Remember Me”). See what other Disney related shows and movies were nominated.

Coco has hit the $400 million dollar mark globally this week.

Speaking of hitting the $400 million dollar mark, it’s expected that Star Wars: The Last Jedi will hit that and more during its opening weekend. Crazy!!!

Did BB8 bow to the Princes at the London premiere?! How awesome!

In Case We Missed It

What did we miss? Attach your ideas to a Dooney & Bourke Peter Pan Wristlet Bag and send it to blog@touringplans.com with the words “In Case You Missed It” in the subject line.

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!

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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%)

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SATURDAY SIX: 6 Examples of the “Disney Difference”

by on November 4, 2017

This week’s SATURDAY SIX takes a look at 6 examples of the “Disney Difference!” We all have our reasons for why we love theme parks. Many like the thrilling rides, others enjoy the fact they can share experiences with several generations of their family, while some – like us at the SATURDAY SIX headquarters – love that desserts at the resort seem to be getting bigger and bigger with the ultimate goal of sending us straight into a diabetic coma. Of all the theme parks, the one which guests connect to the most is Walt Disney World. There are many reasons for that, and today we are going to look at some examples of the “Disney Difference.” These are things that Disney does that put them in a league of their own. While WDW is at a huge advantage over others due to it’s “blessing of size,” they also show they can be heads and tails above anyone in areas that all Florida parks have in common. Let’s kickoff the countdown with…

# 6 – Parking

While we’ve all had our moments of frustration driving to the Disney parks, it’s only when you go to places outside of The World when you realize what a fine tuned machine Disney has on property. Even with an amount of guests that can sometimes border on obscene, parking at the Disney parks, hotels, and Disney Springs is almost always a breeze. At the parks there are always plenty of Cast Members around guiding you where to go, along with a liberal use of orange cones to make sure you don’t go into the places you’re not supposed to. With plenty of trams going, it is never a long wait between leaving your car and walking to the front gate of the park. Now, no one loves Universal as much as me, but more times than not when I go to park in their parking garage it feels like it is the first day any Team Member there has been on parking duty. Whether the parks are a “2” or a “9” on the crowd scale, it is almost always chaos when arriving at the park. With a lack of Team Members around, cars cut each other off, and later have to wait as pedestrians pass by because no one is controlling them. While not glamorous, the parking experience is the first impression we all have of a theme park, and Universal immediately digs themselves a hole while Disney makes it as pain free as possible.

The parking situation at Disney Springs is now the E-Ticket of parking in Orlando. Themed garages with signs outside letting you know how many spots are available on each level, but then signs inside the garage telling you how many spots are open in each row. Then you actually have a light above each spot, which will be red when a car is in the spot, or green when it is empty. This lets you know immediately where you need to go rather than driving 1 mph up and down each row, rubbernecking to try and find an empty spot, only to blow your stack when you see an “empty” spot and it ends up having a motorcycle or compact car in it.

Epcot parking. (photo by Brandon Glover)

Disney Springs lime parking garage. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

Sign outside Disney Springs parking garage indicates how many spots are available. (photo by @bioreconstruct)

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Universal Orlando Resort Preview — Week of November 4

by on November 2, 2017

The Universal Orlando Preview is brought to you by Storybook Destinations. Storybook Destinations specializes in Disney and Universal 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.

Hi again! It’s Daylight Saving Weekend! Don’t forget to roll your clocks back one hour on Saturday night — which means an extra hour of sleep, which means you’ll be up and ready to hit the parks early Sunday, right????

Weekly Crowd Level

Detailed crowd level information can be found here.

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Disneyland Preview — Week of October 14

by on October 13, 2017

So, the weekend approaches, and you’re thinking about a trip to Disneyland, right? Of course you are! Read on to find out what to expect in this week’s Disneyland preview.

Special Events and Notes

Halloween season continues at Disneyland this week, with attraction overlays old and new, and a ton of Halloween-themed decor and treats. Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy are back, and Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout has received a monster-themed overlay that while not really Halloween-y per se, is different, a lot of fun, and definitely appropriate to the season. Specifically, Mission Breakout transforms into Guardians of the Galaxy — Monsters After Dark in the evenings, where the Collector’s Palace is overrun with monsters. Snag a FastPass timed for the end of the night if you can, as lines can get long; the attraction will remain in its normal mode during the day.

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Universal Orlando Resort Preview — Week of October 14

by on October 12, 2017

The Universal Orlando Preview is brought to you by Storybook Destinations. Storybook Destinations specializes in Disney and Universal 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.

So you survived Friday the 13th….sounds like you deserve some playtime!

Weekly Crowd Level

Detailed crowd level information can be found here.

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Disneyland Preview — Week of October 7

by on October 6, 2017

Thinking of coming to Disneyland this week to check out Gay Days, the Halloween festivities, or just because? Read on to find out what to expect in this week’s Disneyland preview!

Special Events and Notes

The week starts with the continuation of Gay Days at Disneyland Resort. Gay Days are way for members of the LGBT community to get together with their friends and families and enjoy a few days at the parks. It is not an official, Disney-run event, so there are no special activities or merchandise provided by Disney, but the event organizers will designate one park for Gay Day participants to visit on each day. Disneyland Park is the designated park for Saturday and California Adventure is the designated park on Sunday, so expect more participants at those parks on those days. As with any large group converging upon the parks, we’re expecting an uptick in crowds for the weekend, with both days at level 8 for the resort. For more information, check out the official website for Gay Days Anaheim.

Monday is Columbus Day, which means that schools will be closed, and the parks will be busier than they would ordinarily be on a typical Monday. On the upside, bigger crowds means a more complete show schedule, so it’s an opportunity to see Fantasmic! and/or the fireworks if you can’t make it over the weekend.

Also, while Mickey Mouse has been talking at Walt Disney World for some time now, Disneyland is now testing a meet and greet at Disney’s California Adventure where Mickey, Minnie, AND Donald all talk, TOGETHER, to you and each other.  It’s pretty fantastic, so check out a video of it here. Note that because it’s currently being tested, no set schedule is available as this goes to press. We’ll let you know as soon as it becomes something you can plan for; for now, just keep your eyes peeled!

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Disneyland Preview — Week of September 23

by on September 22, 2017

Halloween festivities continue this week at Disneyland, with even more Halloween parties! Read on to learn more in this week’s Disneyland preview.

Special Events and Notes

Photo – Disney (Joshua Sudock/Disneyland)

Halloween season is officially in full swing at the Disneyland Resort now. In addition to yearly favorites Haunted Mansion Holiday and Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy: Mission Breakout is getting a new Halloween makeover of its own — in the evenings, it will transform into Guardians of the Galaxy — Monsters After Dark. The attraction will remain in its normal mode during the day.

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