WDW Today

Walt Disney World Preview — Week of September 30

by on September 28, 2017

Exciting news happening this week at Walt Disney World. Read on for the whole scoop!

Special Events

  • October 1st marks the 35th anniversary of Epcot! To celebrate this momentous occasion, the park will have exclusive merchandise, a ceremony featuring Voices of Liberty and Mariachi Cobre, and a special version of Illuminations. For more details, click here!
  • Beginning October 1st, guests will have the opportunity to meet Timon from the Disney film, The Lion King. Look for him on Discovery Island at Disney’s Animal Kingdom park!
  • Star Wars: Galactic Nights is returning to Disney’s Hollywood Studios! This after-hours event begins December 16th and includes Star Wars entertainment, character meet and greets, exclusive merchandise, and more. This event sold out quickly last Spring, so book ASAP.

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New Doctor Strange Experience Debuts at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

by on November 8, 2016

doctor-strangeWere you someone who saw Doctor Strange in theaters this weekend? Do you love this new mystical character from the Marvel universe? If so, make sure to take a trip to Disney’s Hollywood Studios where a brand new show has quietly debuted back near Toy Story Mania.

This new experience is sort of half similar to Jedi Training Academy/half similar to Enchanted Tales With Belle. During this show, young Guests are pulled from the audience by Doctor Strange himself, based upon those who he deems has the potential to become a great master of the mystical arts. The Guests then must attempt to perform spells, which will cause a couple of unique interactions to occur. When that spell portion has concluded, the kids will then be able to have their photo taken with Doctor Strange.

Showtimes for this new experience are currently at 10:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m.

There is currently no official word on how long this show will be available, but it’s certainly a unique experience for the Doctor Strange fan in your family.


Would You Rather: Disney Vacation Club Edition

by on October 9, 2015

Len Testa does an occasional segment for the WDW Today podcast that he calls “Would You Rather.” In it, he and his cohosts compare Walt Disney World vacations of similar pricing.

dvc-logoIt’s a revealing exercise that forces you to prioritize what you really value in your traveling. Perhaps staying off property doesn’t matter if it means you can use the savings for food and souvenirs. Or maybe you refuse to stay anywhere but a Disney deluxe resort, even if it means scrimping elsewhere.

This concept also works well with Disney Vacation Club, thanks to the vacation point system. Whether you own or rent points, everyone is using the same point charts to determine the cost of their stay, so it’s easy to compare apples to apples.

In this exercise, we will compare five different Disney Vacation Club itineraries at Walt Disney World using around 160 points — a fairly standard annual allotment. We’ll compare units with room to sleep at least eight guests visiting WDW in the summer (Magic Season). Join me below to get a sense of varying options DVC presents. 

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Alex’s Top 10 Air Travel Tips for Kids Travelling With Their Parents

by on February 10, 2015

Yoo Hoo!  So I do not know if you people realise but it is definitely quite a big thing picking out your next blog post topic, especially when you are “international” and can’t just pop to the parks for some quick research without missing quite a few days of school. I do not think I would mind as much as my teachers…

By Alex Duncan

The view from the air over London on our way to Florida

I had my lightbulb moment on the train coming home from school. I was sitting with a friend who usually gets the bus, not the train, home. We were gossiping like a pair of average thirteen year old girls (yes, I am now a teenager, whoop) and she said to me, “to be honest, you have travelled by train so many times now that you could probably go to Disneyland Paris all by yourself.”

By Craig Duncan

Plane Selfie! Ready for the flight – tips all adhered too.

This made me realise that I am quite an experienced traveller now and an expert on aeroplanes (airplanes) to and from Florida. Why would I want to go to Disneyland Paris when I have the option of Walt Disney World? Where instead of adding layers of clothing I can wear shorts and flip-flops. So I’ve decided, thanks to this deep inspiration, that I should write a blog post highlighting and sharing some of my favourite travel tips which will make up an aeroplane survival kit for children travelling with their parents.

Well with that out of the way, let’s get on with my tips!

Survival Kit with Top Tips

1) Headphones: I know that this seems silly but I find the airline provided headphones uncomfortable and useless on the older planes.  The newer Airbus A380’s (which sadly do not fly from London to Orlando) are so much quieter that any headphones are fine.  Good headphones can also double up as a sleeping method on any flight.  I always find it easier to go to sleep listening to Taylor Swift (please feel free to substitute for your favourite artist or band), or you can casually just have a jamming session because you feel like it. Alternatively, if you are lucky enough to own noise-cancelling headphones (wish list) these are great as you can do all these things and have a bit of peace and quiet too.

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SATURDAY SIX: Six Ways To Get Your Disney Fix Outside of the Theme Parks

by on January 10, 2015

This week’s  SATURDAY SIX takes a look at Six Ways To Get Your Disney Fix Outside of the Theme Parks. No one loves the Disney theme parks more than us, but sometimes you just can’t get to them no matter how much you want to be there. So today we are going to look at various ways you can get a taste of WDW, without paying the $90-$95 ticket cost to enter the turnstiles. Be forewarned, the more you quench your Disney thirst, the more you are going to want to book your next trip into the parks.

We are going to start off taking the 30,000 foot view (© Jim Hill) and look at things that anyone can enjoy anywhere in the world, while eventually making our way down to things available closer to the actual theme parks in Florida. With that out of the way, let’s being our countdown, starting with…

# 6 – Disney Related Books


Selection of theme park books. (photo by Tim Grassey)

If you haven’t started already, now is the time to build your Disney library. Reading about Walt Disney World (as well as Disneyland and the Disney Cruise Line) is a great way to stay connected with the theme parks, no matter where you are. Anyone reading the SATURDAY SIX should be well versed on travel planning books, such as the Unofficial Guide to WDW 2015, but that theme park bible is just the tip of the iceberg. There are books on finding Hidden Mickeys, books on Disney Imagineers, and books on Disney attractions. I personally love the Imagineering Field Guides (such as the ones for Animal Kingdom and Epcot) because of their small size, allowing me to take them with me on the go without a hassle.

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25 Drinks of Christmas Countdown – Day 10: Bay Lake Sunset from Top of the World Lounge

by on December 10, 2014

The Christmas season is my absolute favorite time of the year. Growing up, one of the little things I loved most was getting an Advent calendar and counting down the days until Santa would be coming down the chimney. As I grew older, I had to leave Advent calendars in the rear view mirror,* but I still miss that daily countdown building anticipation to the big day. So, we’re going to start a virtual Advent calendar here at TouringPlans. For 2014, we are going to countdown our favorite drinks at Walt Disney World and the Universal Orlando Resort.

Criteria: Drinks can be alcoholic or nonalcoholic. Drinks can come from any venue on property as well as the Disney Cruise Line. Bonus points awarded for atmosphere where drink is served. Any drink with glow cubes is immediately disqualified. Ready? Let’s go!

DAY TEN: Bay Lake Sunset from Top of the World Lounge (Bay Lake Tower)


Bay Lake Sunset at the Top of the World Lounge.


We love Disney’s Contemporary Resort for many reasons, but one of our favorites is straight out of a real estate agent’s handbook: location, location, location. Located mere steps away from the Magic Kingdom, it’s impossible to be closer to the Most Magical Place on Earth. One of our favorite things to do at the Contemporary is head over to the Top of the World Lounge at the Bay Lake Tower DVC wing. With a breathtaking view of MK, the Top of the World is home to several signature drinks, including the Bay Lake Sunset cocktail. Ingredient list: Stoli Vanil vodka, Parrot Bay coconut rum, and pineapple juice with a splash of grenadine.

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How Well Does Disney World Meet Vacation Needs?

by on April 25, 2014

True confession time: I am rarely happier than when I am in my own home, in my comfy sweats, consuming a book or movie, and enjoying a glass of tea or wine (depending on the hour). This Class-A introvert could easily putter for weeks without leaving the house. But despite my love of bunny slippers, inertia, and Riesling (preferably in combination), I manage to drag myself out for travel, often Walt Disney World travel, on a regular basis.

But why? I mean, travel is expensive, tiring, uncomfortable, and sometimes just a downright pain in the tush.

Attractions like Living with the Land make education fun, particularly for kids.

Attractions like Living with the Land make education fun, particularly for kids.

Seriously, why bother?

As uncomfortable and annoying as many aspects of travel are, the benefits are many. Some of the positive aspects of travel, any travel, could be:

  • Education: Learning new things.
  • Novelty: Humans seek new experience. Travel quells the thirst.
  • Nostaliga: You’ve traveled before. Repeating the experience evokes pleasant memories.
  • Escape from Reality: Travel takes you away from humdrum obligations at home.
  • Relaxation: Being chill.
  • Change of Climate: You’re cold, you go somewhere warm (or vice versa).
  • Meeting New and Interesting People
  • Enhanced Relationships with Travel Companions: shared experience makes bonds.
  • Comfort: Aspects of your destination might be better/nicer or more comfortable than home.
  • Altruism: Expanding yourself by helping others.
  • Confronting Fears: Stepping out of your comfort zone.
  • Trying New Foods.
  • Moving Your Body: A chance to exercise.
  • To Experience the Natural World.

Now lets see how a trip to Walt Disney World measures up on these criteria.

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Obervations: Epcot April 10, 2014

by on April 17, 2014

Date: April 10, 2014
Crowd Level: 3
Weather: 77°F at 5 p.m. with no rain

It’s time for a walk around Epcot during the middle of what is Spring Break season down here. I actually started out in Future World this time around, which is kind of rare for me as I like to come in the back gate at the International Gateway. I took some shots of the entrance topiary, but instead of focusing on the characters I wanted to catch the riot of wildflowers around them. To my surprise, there are glass flowers intermingled with real flowers, and they’re fantastic! Here are a few shots.


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TouringPlans.com Reunion Scavenger Hunt! November 30!

by on November 7, 2012

Everyone knows Disney’s Hollywood Studios, but how well do you really know it? Come find out the morning of November 30 as TouringPlans.com hosts a fabulous, fantastic, and fanciful festival of foolish fun. If you will be in or around Walt Disney World for Reunion 2012 – co-hosted by WDW Today & Mouse Fan Travel weekend, this completely-not-an-official-part-of-Reunion-so-it-doesn’t-appear-on-Reunion’s-schedule scavenger hunt will only enhance all of that Reunion-y fun!

Date: Friday, November 30, 2012

Time: 8:30 am, with the hunt starting at 9:00 am

Place: Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Details: This will be a scavenger hunt with a slight taste of a jumble thrown in. Teams of 3 or 4 people will answer a series of questions. Those answers will help to fill in a magical phrase that will ensure maximum points. The team with the most points will win…something…probably (prizes yet to be determined, but remember that the real prize is the fun you will have).

We understand that 8:30 am is a bit early, but that will allow us to give you all the information you need and allow you to start as soon as the Studios opens. The game will end no later than 11:00 am, allowing you some time prior to the first WDW Today meet of the day. Oh, here is a quick tip for you: some of the questions will be a little easier to answer if you have access to the TouringPlans.com menu search, which is also available on Lines!

Watch this space for some additional details as well as a way to sign up. Be there and be square!

WDW Today Episode 864 – A Day at Downtown Disney

by on April 15, 2011

wdwtoday logoEpisode 861 of WDW Today is now available for download here. Join TouringPlans.com owner Len Testa as co-host for a podcast that features many Walt Disney World travel planning tips!

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