Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

Holidays Around the Parks: Magic Kingdom Edition

by on December 25, 2017

Good morning and Merry Christmas to all! I hope none of you received coal in your stocking this morning, because I still have a ton left over from last Christmas. I mean, what can you do with it?!? Anyway, for those of you whom haven’t read any of our previous entries this holiday season, we’re bringing you a GLORIOUS full-page investigative report surrounding the holiday decorations from around the Orlando area theme parks. Some parks have delivered jaw-dropping new additions, while others…well, maybe I will have a few places to send that coal after all. So sit back, put on that new Derek Burgan mixtape (available now at an outlet bargain bin near you), and enjoy the festivities from the Magic Kingdom.


It’s a gorgeous afternoon at the Magic Kingdom, with plenty of reds and greens as far as the eye can see.



The Main Street Station is always well dressed for any holiday. While I prefer the Jack-O-Lanterns during Halloween, the red bows and garland are a welcome sight for passengers arriving from Storybook Circus.


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How to Escape the Disney World Crowds During the Holiday Season

by on December 22, 2017

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times… It was the holiday season at Walt Disney World. Yes, Walt Disney World during the holidays is one of the best times to visit due to the magical holiday décor, festive treats and merchandise, special entertainment, ticketed events, and more. But it’s also one of the busiest times of year with gridlocked paths and extra-long waits not only for attractions, but for restaurants, monorails, and even the restrooms! Many Disney World regulars avoid the parks around the holidays and understandably so. But with a little strategy, you and yours can still enjoy Walt Disney World during the most wonderful time of the year. Take a look at a few of my strategies for how to escape the crowds at Disney World during the holiday season.

Rope Drop Mornings

If you don’t start your day at a Disney Park with rope drop, you’re doing it wrong. This is my philosophy no matter what the season, but even more so at the holidays.

First of all, you can walk on almost any attraction without the need for FastPass+, meaning you can save those reservation slots for when the holiday crowds descend. Cast Members are usually out and welcoming guests into the park, and many areas of the park are largely empty and give you the sensation of having the place all to yourself.

Mornings at the Magic Kingdom are definitely the best time to visit as this is when the Main Street Vehicles and the Main Street Trolley Show are out and about, something you won’t see any other time of the day. I also have to note that Main Street, U.S.A. now opens a full hour before the park does, meaning you can get your shopping out of the way, grab a coffee at Starbucks, and take one of those coveted crowd-free photos for before the park even opens.

Note: While I recommend rope dropping all of the parks during your vacation, I should mention that rope dropping Animal Kingdom does NOT mean a crowd-free experience at Pandora – The World of Avatar. Flight of Passage is still incredibly popular and pretty much everyone rope dropping the park are heading in that direction. However, a crowd-free experience is still a possibility throughout the rest of the park!

Visit Disney Springs Early in the Day

Shopping shouldn’t be your only reason to visit Disney Springs as Walt Disney World’s ultimate shopping and dining destination also offers live entertainment, decorations, a meet and greet with Santa Claus, and the Christmas Tree Trail complete with a 100% chance of snow!

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Holidays Around the Parks: Gingerbread Edition

by on December 22, 2017

One of the most well-known traditions of Walt Disney World’s holiday offerings are the gingerbread houses located around the resorts. The oldest of such, the Grand Floridian gingerbread house, has been a staple of the resort’s decorations for nearly twenty years. In the following years, we’ve seen gingerbread creations added to the Contemporary and Beach Club resorts, as well as a location inside Epcot’s American Adventure – which, I believe, is the first such display inside a park. To begin our journey, we will start off with Epcot.

In years past, this was the location for the Hanukkah storyteller during Epcot’s Holidays Around the World celebration. With the story of The Maccabees being told musically at a new outdoor location, we now have this massive gingerbread house, featuring a special appearance by Honest Abe himself. If my math is correct, it would take one person four score to consume this entire gingerbread National Mall.

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Holidays Around the Parks: Universal Orlando Edition

by on December 13, 2017

It’s the most wonderful time of the year to visit the theme parks – from a decorative standpoint that is. Last time I took you on a tour of Holidays Around the World at Epcot, but today we’ve taken a short trip up I-4 to check out the holiday cheer at Universal Orlando. Both Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios parks have their own major attractions, with Seuss Landing transformed into Whoville, and the Macy’s Holiday Parade moving through the streets of Universal Studios. Oh, and there will be plenty of Potter along the way.

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Universal Orlando Resort Preview – Week of November 18

by on November 16, 2017

Hello everyone, it’s my favorite time of the year: Thanksgiving! My turkey is purchased and I’ve assembled a spreadsheet of the start times and temperatures for each dish. At Universal Orlando it’s full steam ahead to Christmas as their holiday entertainment begins this Saturday, November 18th.

Weekly Crowd Levels

With Thanksgiving this week groups are traveling on vacation to Orlando. Monday, Tuesday, and Friday are the busiest days with this coming weekend being the lightest on crowds. Saturday begins Universal’s new Christmas offerings, so expect locals to come out to see the new shows and parade. Additionally our own math wizard Fred Hazelton crunched the numbers and found that crowd levels at the Orlando parks are larger than normal for November.

Detailed crowd level information can be found here.

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Ask It Results: Best Holiday Park Decorations

by on November 15, 2017

Around the house here in Gold’n’Oak it’s beginning to look a lot like pre-Christmas. The bins of Halloween décor have been packed away, and the bins of Christmas décor are staged in different places in the house for easy deployment after Thanksgiving day. At Disney parks, it is incredible how the logistics teams come together to flip a virtual switch to change from Halloween to Christmas seemingly overnight. Because the two décor sets happen so close, it is easy to make comparisons between the two. So last week we asked you:

Which holiday season gets the best decorations at a Disney theme park?

Here’s your results.

Halloween (204 votes, 17%)


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The Holidays Are Here at Disneyland Resort

by on November 3, 2017

Disneyland Holidays


November 10 kicks off the official holiday season at the Disneyland Resort and it’s the most festive time of the year! This year, there’s going to be some fun new additions mixed in with the standby favorites.

First, this year will mark the debut of new seasonal transformations in Cars Land! Due to the success of Haul-o-ween, Mater and Luigi have put a holiday spin on their attractions. In addition, there will be new delicious eats and great new merchandise, and Disney characters in their holiday finest. Here’s what you can expect:


  • Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle features shimmering icicles and more than 50,000 twinkling LED lights. Oh and you don’t want to miss the fireworks spectacular “Believe … in Holiday Magic” as it features a magical snowfall finale
  • The “A Christmas Fantasy” Parade will return with daily performances. The parade will feature favorite Disney characters who will join Santa Claus to spread holiday cheer along with marching tin soldiers, gingerbread cookies, dazzling floats and lively holiday music.
  • Guests can meet Santa at his special location in Critter County
  • There will be a gigantic  60-foot Christmas tree with nearly 1,800 ornaments that will welcome guests to Main Street, U.S.A.
  • “it’s a small world” has been transformed into “it’s a small world” Holiday to celebrate children around the world and the holiday traditions of their countries. FastPass will be available for this attraction.
  • Of course, you don’t want to miss Haunted Mansion Holiday which celebrates the collision between Christmas and Halloween with Jack Skellington and his friends from “Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

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Epcot Holidays Around the World Changing to Epcot International Festival of Holidays

by on September 7, 2017

©Rikki Niblett

The Epcot Holidays Around the World has always been a holiday season staple. During the event, Guests get to experience holiday storytellers from countries around the world, taste different holiday cuisines, and more. Well, this year, it’s going to be seeing a change, because everything at Epcot is a festival. 🙂

The experience will now be known as the Epcot International Festival of Holidays. Guests will still be able to learn about the holiday traditions of the countries found in World Showcase. You’ll get to enjoy live musical performances and take a festive global tour as performers bring time-honored traditions to life throughout World Showcase.

Oh and it wouldn’t be an Epcot festival without food and beverage booths! Guests will be able to enjoy more seasonal food & beverage specialties at the now expanded Holiday Kitchens. Guests will be able to indulge in the flavors of the season as they explore the tastes of the holidays around the world as each marketplace booth will celebrate a different nation. We don’t know all the options yet, but here’s what booths we do know will be there:

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Holidays at the Disneyland Resort Return in November

by on September 5, 2017

Holidays at Disneyland


If you are planning a Disneyland Resort trip during the holidays, you are in for a magical experience. This year, the holiday season will take place from November 10 through January 7 and will include some great fan favorites, once again.

At Disneyland, Guests will be able to enjoy seasonal favorites, including Sleeping Beauty’s Winter Castle and “Believe … in Holiday Magic” fireworks, complete with snowfall. Guests will also find the soaring Christmas tree in Town Square on Main Street, U.S.A.

You also won’t want to miss the“A Christmas Fantasy” parade, a daily procession with floats, music, marching soldiers and holiday cheer. Oh and Santa will be there too! Want to meet him? He’ll be found welcoming guests at a special location in Critter Country. Disneyland also will have its traditional holiday overlays at both “it’s a small world” Holiday and Haunted Mansion Holiday (which opens on September 15).

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Gifts for a Theme Park Vacationer

by on December 19, 2016

Christmas Minnie Ears

If you’re searching for a last-minute holiday gift or a little something special to add to your own holiday wish list, TouringPlans is here to help! I compiled a list of what I think are some of the best gifts for those planning to visit the parks soon. And while holidays present the perfect gifting opportunity, most of these will work year-round for other celebrations like birthdays or anniversaries too.

Accessories for a Minion fan

Wearable Gifts – For a truly impressive gift, put your knowledge of their favorite character, attraction, or movie to good use. From custom t-shirts and mouse ears to lanyards and pins, there is an endless supply of fun things they can wear to the parks. Even better, there is an endless supply of online or local stores that sell these too, so finding something perfect while staying on budget shouldn’t be too hard.

Disney themed day-bags

Gear – There are certain items that almost every theme park vacationer likes to pack: poncho, day bag for the park, refillable water bottle, portable phone charger, hand sanitizer, and so on. Other items, like a toiletries bag, suitcase, or travel friendly snacks, are great ideas for travelers in general. Depending on the budget, you could pick just one item or put them together into a gift basket that will please any theme park vacationer.

Photo Package – Both Disney and Universal offer photo packages to capture those special vacation memories. Plenty of vacationers on tight budgets question whether the package is worth it, but receiving it as a gift can alleviate those worries. The price is discounted when purchased in advance, and they receive photo memories to cherish for years to come. It’s a definite win-win.

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