Spring is in the air on Main Street, USA in the Magic Kingdom! The citizens of Main Street will celebrate the season with bright pastels, bunches of flowers, and even some new songs to sing!
You’ll be able to catch the festive residents as they perform in the Trolley Show each day on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World from March 3rd all the way to May 12th (that’s nearly 3 months)!
Personally, I’m happy about this celebration. I’ve previously stated my desire for the resort to acknowledge and celebrate Easter/the Spring Season. Main Street just lends itself to such festivities.
This week’s Limited Time Magic event will take the often looked-over Presidents Day and give it the respect it deserves.
During Presidents Day week the much beloved 8-part a cappella group, Voices of Liberty, will be putting on special presidential performances at both Epcot in Walt Disney World and in Disneyland Park. You can catch the group in the America Gardens Theatre at Epcot from February 18-24, and at the Main Street Opera House in Disneyland Park on February 18th and 19th.
Next week’s Walt Disney World Limited Time Magic event has been announced. Next week will see an event many have been anxiously waiting for: Long-Lost Disney Friends Return.
Get ready to travel back to 1971 when you meet up with classic characters like Robin Hood and Friar Tuck, and The Three Little Pigs. Clarabelle Cow and Horace Horsecollar are also scheduled to make appearances throughout the week.
This Limited Time Event is scheduled to take place January 21 to January 27 in the Magic Kingdom. Character meeting times are 9 a.m. to 2:10 p.m. daily.
From the moment this event was announced, many Disney Fans threw up their hats in celebration. It’s always a treat to see the beloved characters we grew up with seeing in film and in the parks. I anticipate this event to be popular with the locals and big fans more so than with families on vacation.
Times for the Winter Wonderland location at Epcot are:
10:30 a.m. – 2:10 p.m.
3:05 p.m. – 5:45 p.m.
This sounds like a cute little event for those who like taking pictures with characters. Canada seems like a great place to have snow, seeing as Canada is known for it’s snow. I wish they had waited until summer to do this. It seems like then would be a more unique and quirky time to have snow. Nevertheless, it will be fun to see the ‘snow’! What do you think?
On Wednesday, December 5, after the Magic Kingdom had already closed to the general public, members of the media and Disney Cast Members were treated to an exclusive sneak peak of the New Fantasyland. What the guests didn’t know was the surprise guest they would be seeing that night.
Around 7:30pm, high above the beasts castle, an ultra realistic flying dragon came into clear sight. The creature flapped its wings, turned it’s head and tail and even breathed fire. Rumors had been going around about a “Disney dragon” since one was seen flying over and airfield in California back in June. The dragon is believed to have been created for an Avatar themed addition set to open at Disneys Animal Kingdom in 2016. As realistic as the dragon looks flying at night, there are some “smoke and mirrors” related to how it works.
Unlike Tinkerbell or Dumbo, the dragon does fly on its own without wires, but not because of its tail and wings. The dragon is actually an ultra light aircraft steered by a pilot. A rear mounted fan and inflatable para-wing keep in afloat. During the day all these items are in clear view.
But at night, with proper lighting reflected onto only the dragons body, the pilot and plane parts are kept camouflaged. Music and dragon noises come from nearby speakers and mask the sounds of the plane’s fan. The dragons movements are so fluid and natural that if you don’t know how it actually works, your eyes may just fool you into thinking this dragon is flying on its own.
As for when and where you can spot the dragon again, Disney officials have said this weeks viewing of the dragon was, for now, a one time only event. It was meant as a sneak peak into technology in the making.
That being said, Disneys spokesman Rick Sylvain was quoted as saying “You never know where or when a dragon might appear again!” Maybe Disney just wants to keep on making us guess what’s going to happen next. That’s the magic and beauty of this amazing company.
Disney Dose will be attending Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party tonight and will bring you pictures and updates throughout the night. Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas is a ticketed event at the Magic Kingdom that has all of the best Disney World Christmas entertainment.
Update: We just returned from Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party with full coverage. In the photos below you can see images from throughout the night. Also, at the bottom of the article you will find videos of the event.
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party started on the right hand side of the front entrance.
It actually had a specific gate for the event. After we were shuffled through the gate, we were given our wrist bands, which were actually checked throughout the night.
Our first stop was Cosmic Rays since we were all hungry and needed our energy for the night.
After reading the brochure for the event, I knew that Cosmic Rays would turn into Club Tinsel. Little did I know that it would actually magically appear right at 7 PM.
As you can see from the picture, Sunny Eclipse’s set went back at 7 PM and his stage actually went into the ceiling. Under his stage, was the Club Tinsel with the DJ intact and already playing music. Never in my life have I seen that stage move. That were truly Disney holiday magic. There were a couple of special Disney guests for the dance party and both could definitely break a move. Goofy and Pluto were both there at 7 PM to entertain guests.
With December 6th being the first night of the new Fantasyland, we had to at least walk through and marvel in the newest part of the park.
The dwarves help you take a sneak peek into the unopened section of Fantasyland. You can see all of the additions to their ride behind the wall. What a great idea to implement, Disney! I wonder if it is to stop people from standing on the walls by Winnie the Pooh to sneak a peek. Well done.
There were many spots throughout the park that had free hot cocoa and cookies, but we made sure to avoid Pinocchio’s Haus, since it is insanely busy every night. That hot cocoa line was out of the door and backed up to the entrance. We did, however, hit at least three other places for the hot cocoa and cookies.
If someone did not want hot cocoa, they also had apple juice and apple slices. All were complementary and you could have as many as you wanted.
The Christmas Parade was very well-done with a lot of attention to details. I loved how they made the cast members ice skate and ski down the streets. The band that played right before the parade played country versions of the classic Christmas songs.
We were also able to catch Celebrate the Magic and the Christmas fireworks before we headed back down Main Street, through the snow, on our way back home. Watch for future articles with videos of those two incredible events.
Here are two great videos from Disney about the event:
Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party Promo:
Toy Solider training to be in the Christmas parade:
We will also be checking out the new Fantasyland while we are there! Make sure to signup for our email list for more information.
If you are heading out to either coast this 2012 December make sure to check out this Disneyland Walt Disney World Refurbishment schedule. Use this list to correctly plan your magical Disney vacation. Please remember that attraction availability may change at any time. (That basically means that Disney can close down attractions whenever they want to, but most times they don’t) Bookmark this list, print it out, or save it to your mobile device so that you can carry it with you in the parks.
Mouseketeer Club (Grand Floridian Resort) closed through November 2012.
Test Track (Epcot) closed through 12/5/12 for transformation to the Chevrolet Design Center. Read about the new attraction.
Bistro de Paris (Epcot) closed through 12/11/12 for refurbishment.
Courtyard Pool (Grand Floridian Resort) closed through late December 2012 for refurbishment. A zero-entry slope will be added. The Beach Pool and Slide will remain open.
Gasparilla Grill and Games (Grand Floridian Resort) closed through 12/17/12. An extended menu will be available at the Beach Pool Bar and pre-packaged food will be available at Mizner’s Lounge.
Typhoon Lagoon closed through 1/5/13 for annual refurbishment.
Ivy Trellis Beauty and Barber Shop (Grand Floridian Resort) closed through mid-February 2013 for refurbishment.
Epcot Character Spot (Epcot) closed through mid-February 2013. A temporary location will be available near the Fountain View Ice Cream shop where you can see Mickey, Minnie and Pluto. Goofy is appearing at Epcot’s main entrance, near Spaceship Earth.
Grand Floridian Spa (Grand Floridian Resort) closed through mid-2013 due to construction at the resort. The Grand Floridian Fitness Center remains open and guests may use The Spa at Saratoga Springs Resort.
Magnolia Golf Course closed 11/26/12-12/2/12 for refurbishment.
Palm Golf Course closed 12/3/12-12/9/12 for refurbishment.
Oak Trail Golf Course closed 12/10/12-12/14/12 for refurbishment.
Splash Mountain (Magic Kingdom) closed 1/2/13-3/19/13 for refurbishment.
Blizzard Beach closed 1/6/13-3/16/13 for annual refurbishment.
Mad Tea Party (Magic Kingdom) closed 1/7/13-2/18/13 for refurbishment.
Liberty Square Riverboat (Magic Kingdom) closed 2/1/13-2/7/13 for refurbishment.
California Grill (Contemporary Resort) closed 2/2/13-8/31/13 for refurbishment.
Disneyland Christmas 2012
Indiana Jones Adventure (Disneyland) closed through 12/7/12 for refurbishment.
Troubadour Tavern (Disneyland) closed through 5/22/13 for refurbishment.
Mickey’s Fun Wheel (DCA) closed 11/26/12-12/6/12 for refurbishment.
Big Thunder Trail (Disneyland) closed 1/7/13-1/10/13, 1/14/13-1/17/13, 1/21/13-1/24/13 and 1/28/13-1/31/13 for refurbishment.
Big Thunder Ranch Petting Farm (Disneyland) closed 1/7/13-1/17/13 for refurbishment.
Haunted Mansion (Disneyland) closed 1/7/13-1/17/13 to remove holiday overlay.
Primeval World (Disneyland) closed 1/7/13-1/23/13 for refurbishment.
Fantasmic! (Disneyland) closed 1/7/13-2/14/13 for refurbishment.
Silly Symphony Swings (DCA) closed 1/7/13-2/17/13 for refurbishment.
Grizzly River Run (DCA) closed 1/7/13-2/28/13 for refurbishment.
Mark Twain Riverboat (Disneyland) closed 1/7/13-3/28/13 for refurbishment.
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (Disneyland) closed 1/7/13-10/30/13 for a major refurbishment.
Christmas is right around the corner, and the biggest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, is coming up this week! Maybe you have a Disney fan in your life that you need to buy for. Here are some hot ideas to buy for a Disney fan this year!
Wreck-It Ralph Smash hands are available at the Disney Store for about $24. They also talk & Wreck-It Ralph is the HOT Disney movie of the year so it will be a fun pick!
Pixar Short Films Collection Volume 1 & 2 has all of the short films made by Pixar which is perfect for the huge Disney/Pixar film fan & not likely to be one that they have!
Just released ‘Brave’ is a great family movie from Disney/Pixar. Funny & cute movie that everyone will want to add to their collection.
At a whopping $90 this is the coolest play set around. What better way to bring home the magic than this Park authentic set. They also have Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.
The Cinderella Diamond Edition has emerged from the vault just in time for Christmas and only for a limited time. Grab a copy quick before it goes back into the dreaded vault.
Disney’s Epic Mickey 2: The Power of Two releases just in time for Christmas. Perfect for that Disney fan who is also a gamer!
For the ultimate Disney fan a membership or renewal to D23. It’s about $75 but is worth it for a big Disney fan with many exclusive events.
For the younger set this is the ultimate toy this season. Averaging about $45 at Walmart is the Jake & the Neverland Pirate Ship! There are many cool accessories to buy on the side, as well.
A mega Disney fan would LOVE to have the Walt Disney World Resort Railroad chugging around their tree! Available at the Disney Store.
If you have money to burn who wouldn’t love a Disney Vacation in their stocking. Nothing says awesome gift like getting tickets to the Happiest Place on Earth!
If you do head to the Happiest Place on Earth make sure to get our free guide to the Disney Parks. Hopefully Santa will put a few of these in our stockings, but if not I hope that this gives you some good ideas to get for that Disney lover in your life.
Pictures were taken from the Disney Store. All/most items are available there, and many are also available at other locations worldwide. I hope that you enjoy your Christmas and have a Happy New Year.
I admit it. Most of my posts are on the positive note, even when it is dealing with change. Change is good. Parks and people must change in order to keep up with the times and become even better than before.
This whole notion of Starbucks coming to the Magic Kingdom and Epcot is a little disheartening to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love some of the Starbucks drinks. They are delicious and full of calories that taste oh so good, but does it really belong at Disney?
Starbucks will be replacing the Main Street Bakery in Magic Kingdom and Fountain View in Epcot. I understand the Main Street Bakery. I don’t really like the idea but it is tolerable. The Fountain View? That’s where we get our ice cream! Are they keeping the ice cream?
I do like that the Starbucks employees, or is it Disney cast members, will be dressed in costumes that go along with the theme of each park. The ones at Magic Kingdom will have an early 20th century look and the ones at Epcot will have a futuristic look.
It is still sad for me to see both places be turned into something other than Disney, but maybe it will be a good thing. Some of my fondest memories of Disney are getting coffee on Main Street and walking around and seeing all that Main Street has to offer and is often overlooked. The place where we use to get our coffee on Main Street in Disneyland had a policy of free refills as long as you kept your receipt. Man, that was a receipt that we always kept dry and safe! Is that place changing too? You know the one with the old fashioned stove, wood floor, and checkers table? I really don’t see how a Starbucks can fit in with that classic look.
On a final note, my views of these changes are not the views of Disney Dose or the other contributing writers. These are my own sad thoughts on the changes of such a great American tradition.
Disney World seems to think that they need to copy just about every good thing that Disneyland or any other Disney Park has. In doing so, Disney World has become just a bigger Disneyland. To me the best thing about having Disney Parks around the world is the ability to have them reflect their host state or country’s interests and culture.
It all started when Disney first responded to park guest’s questions of where Pirates of the Caribbean was when the Magic Kingdom first opened. Rather than building the planned Thunder Mesa(which you can read about thoroughly at Jim Hill Media) Disney decided to use those funds to build a new version of Pirates of the Caribbean. So, we went from an amazingly designed entire set of new attractions to taking us one step closer to a bigger Disneyland.
The Haunted Mansion in Disney World is the exact same attraction as it’s sister in Disneyland except for the shell and some recent modifications(Inside the Magic).
Splash Mountain is another attraction that falls under the magnifying glass when you talk about almost identical attractions. While the insides of the two attractions are very different, the overall concept and outside shell are almost exact copies(in case you were wondering, the Disney World version is much better in this case).
While I understand Disney’s need to start off with a base of similar attractions, they should keep attractions with their differences even if the versions at other parks seem to have better jokes. I am talking of course about the Jungle Cruise in Disney World. When the Magic Kingdom opened you could ride the Jungle Cruise in Disneyland and then in the Magic Kingdom and feel as if they were two amazingly different attractions. Now Disney is trying to centralize the jokes, changing names of characters in the attraction. Below is the Disneyland attraction as captured by Kevin at Tours Departing Daily.
By Kevin Crone
Along the same lines of the Jungle Cruise is the transformation of the Tropical Serenade into Walt Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room, the same attractions as was in Disneyland. In the middle of this transformation is one of the dark moments in Disney history, the change of the Tropical Serenade into..duh…duh…duh…the Enchanted Tiki Room Under New Management. This rowdy, loud Disney attraction starred Iago, Jafar’s cynical sidekick from Aladdin. The overlay of the attraction was meant make it popular again by infusing some nineties culture into it, but all it did was make it one of the most annoying attractions in the Disney Parks. Yesterland.com says that a fan described it with three words,“They ruined it.”
Now Disney is attempting to catch some of Disney California Adventure’s success with Cars Land and bring it to Hollywood Studios. MiceAge reports that Disney has moved Kathy Mangum, show producer for Cars Land, to Disney World without an announcement of what she will do there. Many fans seem to like the idea of Cars Land being added to Hollywood Studios, like the crew over at the Be Our Guest Disney World Podcast, who think that this would be a great way to draw a crowd to Hollywood Studios. I happen to agree completely with them, but I would much rather have the Disney World officials choose to draw a crowd with uniqueness. In the process they would build a bigger fan base and require Disneyland fans to fly to Florida to see their amazing new attraction.
While this article was from the perspective of Disney World being a copycat, Disneyland happens to copy almost as much as Disney World does. The only reason that I decided to detail Disney World today is because they always seem to be a bit wishy-washy about investing Mickey’s money.
There are a lot of limo companies in the Orlando area. I’ve researched a number of them, and I personally recommend Happy Limo. Its reservations department is open 8:00 am to 8:00 pm, 7 days a week, so you won’t have problems reaching someone, and I have found the staff very responsive to all inquiries. You can book any vehicle online 24/7. They also offer live chat from 9am-5pm mon-fri Eastern time. This option is extremely helpful with any questions or concerns you might have. You can get answers in real time.
Happy Limo has provided a coupon for you…the Disney Dose reader. Use the coupon code:
Disney recently took a lot of information off their plate and shared it with everyone else. They shared some amazing new concept promotional artwork and also gave us the final official dates for the opening of New Fantasyland.
In the first awesome new renderings you see an aerial view of New Fantasyland including the recently added Enchanted Forest which begins previews starting November 19, 2012 and opens along with the rest of New FantasylandDecember 6, 2012.
Disney explained that “New Fantasyland in Magic Kingdom® Park at the Walt Disney World® Resort will take enchanting experiences one step further with circus big tops, an undersea grotto and more magic than ever before! Two incredible themed areas –Storybook Circusand Enchanted Forest– will nearly double the land’s original size. ”
Since one half of this land is already opened I decided we would focus on the land that hasn’t opened yet, the Enchanted Forest. Disney describes the Enchanted Forest as offering “a magically interactive realm that brings to life Belle’s beautiful French countryside and allow them to be part of Ariel and Prince Eric’s world. Enchanted Forest will be home to two new castles (Prince Eric’s from “The Little Mermaid” and the Beast’s from “Beauty and the Beast”), a quaint village, waterfalls and plenty of pixie dust!”
The key features of this land will be.
Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid is a major new attraction that takes you on a ride with Ariel and her friends through their exciting adventures above and below the waves – all against a musical backdrop of songs from the classic film.
The castle of the Beast stands majestically upon a hill and houses the Be Our Guest Restaurant(reservations open at noon on August 20), which will feature a lavish dining experience in the elegant ballroom, gallery and mysterious “West Wing” of the castle. With seating for 550, this eatery promises a French bistro flavor, offering “great food fast” service by day and full table service dining in the evening.
Maurice’s Cottage (decorated with a few of his wacky contraptions!) is situated in Belle’s Villageamongst a French countryside setting complete with a wishing well and rustic foot bridge. The inventor’s humble workshop welcomes you into the first scene of Enchanted Tales with Belle, a lively retelling of the “tale as old as time.”
Nearby in Belle’s Village, find the rousing Gaston’s Tavern and Bonjour! Village Gifts.
Find the hidden Mickeys above. Hint! Look in the water.
Since Disney also released a description of Storybook Circus I have given that to you below.
Storybook Circus – Now Open!
Step right up to Storybook Circus, a throwback to the golden era of classic three-ring attractions.
Soar through the air on Dumbo the Flying Elephant, which is now twice the fun thanks to the addition of a second pachyderm squadron.
At the Big Top at Dumbo the Flying Elephant enjoy themed (and air-conditioned) play experiences – from the Human Cannonball to a Tower of Flames – and will receive a circus ticket pager upon entering that goes off when it’s their turn to board the attraction!
Enjoy the classic Barnstormer attraction, which has a bright new look, featuring Goofy as The Great Goofini. It’s a twisting, turning roller coaster “flight” high above the circus fun.
Cool off at Casey Jr. Splash ‘n’ Soak Station, a circus-themed water play area. Water squirts from playful monkeys, elephants, camels and from Casey Jr. when he lets off billows of cooling “steam.”
Disney has announced that the California Grill along with the upper levels of the Contemporary Resort in Disney World will go through a long renovation starting January 6 2013 and last through late summer. The only details to the renovation is that the restaurant will be “tweaked” and that some changes may be made to the open kitchen. Rumors are circulating on the web that the restaurants name may even be changed. The California Grill is many Walt Disney World guest’s favorite restaurant, give us your thoughts. Are you sad that the California Grill will be closed? Does this interrupt your visit?
Continue to watch Disney Dose to for updates on the project. You will hear the second we do. The best way to stay up to date is to sign up for our email list on the side of this page.
Before guests can participate in the Highland Games Tournament, they must spin the wheel and pick the clan they are representing.
With the luck of the Scottish, my family all spun Clan DunBroch. There were three games to participate in as well as an elaborate sand display and crayon rubbing.
Archery is not as intimidating to my children as it first once was. When we first met Merida at the Magic Kingdom Meet and Greet, my children were scared to try their hand at archery. After seeing my children finally attempting archery at Epcot, I have a tip for hitting the target: Let go of the arrow! The cast member was very patient and showed them the correct stance, how to hold the bowstring and arrow, and finally how to release the arrow.
Flip the Haggis
Flip the Haggis was the next event. My children had no idea about what they were flipping. I must saw that even though haggis is actually quite good, the idea of it still does not sit right in my tummy. The Cake Toss was the final game they were able to play. The Mini Caber Toss was shut down for the day, due to wilting logs. Seriously, that is how hot and humid it was that day!
Brave Sand Display
Built where the Chimpanzees sand display was, the Brave sand display is an elaborate piece of art. Both sides of the sand display have characters sketched and shaped into the sand as well as hidden Mickeys. At the end of the path, guests are encouraged to create their own rubbing of the different Clans in exchange of Brave postcards. Sadly, it was hot and our crayons were warm, so our rubbings were one big colored mess instead of a clear rubbing of each family. It was still a fun idea and we are always happy to receive the collection of Brave postcards.
Brave Crayon Rubbing
There is a walkway on the other side of the Highland Games Tournament with banners about the movie. The triplets are even there being silly between the banners. The playground that was left over from the Flower and Garden Show is now the Brave Training Grounds. It is for guests 12 and under and still no drinks are allowed. Be prepared to finish your drink before you get in there. Don’t worry, they have a drink and ice cream cart strategically placed at the entrance so thirsty Clans will be taken care of as soon as they leave the Training Grounds.
Brave Training Grounds
If you need your Brave fix, you can get it at the Highland Games Tournament in Epcot, the Merida Meet and Greet in Magic Kingdom, or the Archery Lessons at Fort Wilderness Campgrounds. There are even apps for Brave, along with the movie itself, so there are plenty of ways to fit Brave into your week. The Highland Games Tournament closes at 7pm so plan accordingly. The heat and humidity of the Florida summer can be overbearing so remember to bring water and sunscreen when you try out at the Highland Games Tournament!
Downtown Disney’s Characters in Flight Balloon was closed today. Due to an accident in a similarly constructed balloon at Ocean Park in Hong Kong falling 20 meters, Disney has shut down the balloon until further notice.
A dragon was discovered above the Shafter’s Minter Field in Bakersfied California. Bakersfield is two hours from Glendale. Do you know what is in Glendale? Walt Disney Imagineering.
Disney wanted to keep this new dragon a secret so they drove two hours and even swore the airport officials to secrecy. But, Bakersfield Californian reports that restaurant manager Tammy Zaninovich posted pictures on Facebook after seeing the dragon. One of those pictures is the one you see above.
“It breathes fire and the mouth opens and closes,” Tammy Zaninovich tells Bakersfield Californian. “It’s pretty cool.”
It has been almost nine months since Disney announced the Avatar project and no other word has come. Except for some small references, Disney and James Cameron haven’t been talking about this upcoming land.
In the official word from Disney, they avoided the question.
“I can’t really tell you much. So sorry,” Disney spokeswoman Angela Bliss said Thursday, confirming only that what people around the airport saw (she never used the word “dragon”) was a project of Glendale-based Walt Disney Imagineering.
“We’re really always looking for new ways to expand the magic at Disney Parks,” Bliss said. “But we really don’t have any specific comments about what you’re asking me about.”
Disney will continue to test the project in the months to come, make sure to watch Disney Dose for more information on the subject.
Disney World has two main types of dining: Table Service & Quick Service. Table Service includes any sit down restaurants as well as character dining and some dinner shows. Quick Service (also called counter service) includes all walk up options. Think of it as the fast food of Disney World.
It would be difficult to avoid Quick Service during your stay at Disney World, & rest assured you do not need any kind of reservation to partake in their services. For the purposes of this article whenever dining is mentioned it is referring to Table Service Dining for which you often need a reservation.
Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) are reservations you make for Disney World’s Table Service Restaurants to ensure a seat. These are very helpful if you are wanting to dine on Disney Property as seating can be very limited, & for some places impossible to get without a reservation. So without further delay, here are 10 tips to help you navigate the world of ADRs.
Tip 1: Get them!
You are not required to have ADRs to dine at Walt Disney World, however, if there is a place that you really want to eat at it is HIGHLY recommended that you get an ADR as space is limited. Obviously, the more busy the season you travel the more booked up everything will be, but do not be fooled it is good to get them all year round. If you have the Disney Dining Plan getting ADRs is a MUST.
Tip 1A: GET THEM!
This is the point where you might decide you don’t want your trip micromanaged 6 months in advance. You might think that it would be exaggerating to say that all restaurants will be booked and you will not be able to get a seat. I assure you that it is no exaggeration & that it is really hard to get a seat at the last minute – especially to somewhere good.
Tip 2: Do Research
Research the restaurants that are available in each park. Find out which ones your family would be interested in visiting based on your itinerary. If you are unsure of a specific venue try reading some reviews or looking at menus to get an idea what the flavor of the place is. Write a wish list of places you want to try. Find out which ones are popular & which ones need a deposit when you book. If you have the Disney Dining Plan make sure you know the ones which take more than one credit.
Tip 3: Prioritize
Now that you have the list of places that you would like to dine, it is time to prioritize. The highest priorities should the ones that are the most popular & therefore hardest to book (Character Dining, Dinner Shows, Popular Restaurants) as well as the restaurants you really have your heart set on attending. Write out a schedule with the days you would like to have a reservation (that would be probably every day if you are on the Disney Dining Plan) & on your schedule jot in the place you’d like to go, as well as the time you would like to dine.
Tip 4: Have a Backup Plan
For every restaurant on your schedule remember to put a back-up choice in case you cannot get a reservation to your first choice. As crazy as it may sound the place you have your heart set on may already be booked so it does not hurt to have a backup. Also, try to be somewhat flexible with your reservation time. Remember the time YOU desire to eat your breakfast, lunch, or dinner is the time EVERYONE wants to do the same…being flexible will make your reservations go more smoothly.
Tip 5: Book Early!
ADR’s can be booked up to 180 days in advance. The earlier the better! Many people call at 7am at the 180 day mark, especially if they are trying to book something popular like Cinderella’s Royal Table or dinner at Le Cellier. Book as soon as you have the opportunity to do so to try to get the optimal amount of options.
Tip 6: Book It!
Now that you have your list all sorted out & written down you can make your reservations! You can book online or by phone. If it is your first time it may be easier to book by phone (407) WDW-DINE) so that the Disney Representative can help you & answer any lingering questions. Make sure you have your credit card ready for reservations that require a downpayment.
Tip 7: Make Accurate Reservations
Be sure to give an accurate headcount which means remember to include any infants or toddlers. Because Disney still has capacity limits and must adhere to them it is necessary to include everyone in your party! Also, you cannot book at multiple locations for one time. Disney will not allow you to book 2 meals within 2 hours of each other, and it’s not fair to other guests to monopolize the system.
Tip 8: You May Cancel
If you change your mind you CAN cancel. Disney asks that you call and cancel at least 1 day ahead of time out of politeness. For dining experiences that require a deposit you should make sure you know the refund policy before you cancel. Be assured that you are not locked into a commitment with most restaurants in Disney World.
Tip 9: Stick to It!
I would suggest that you try to stick with the places that you picked for simplicity’s sake. Once you cancel a reservation it can be very hard to pick up another one the closer you get to your trip (or during your trip!) so cancel at your own risk!
Tip 10: Work (and Play) Around Your ADR
This is not as hard as it sounds. If you have an ADR for 5 o clock in the Magic Kingdom make sure that you are at your destination 15 minutes ahead of your ADR to make sure you get seated. Disney only asks for 5 minutes, but it’s probably better to plan to be a little early because traveling times may take longer than expected. Disney will try to seat you if you are late, but you might have to wait, & hey, it’s rude!
Whatever you decide, dining in Disney is a pleasure. Make your vacation easy and have all of your Table Service Meals planned before you go. If you love to live on the fly there is always the possibility that there will be a last minute cancellation, & obviously there is always Quick Service. Bon Appetit!
(This post is wirtten by @DizBuzz from WDWlove.com. Do you want to write a guest post for us, contact us.)
Disney World is the happiest place on earth rain or shine, but what should you do if a drizzle dampens your day? Do not fret, and do not let a little liquid spoil your magic, instead let the water whet your appetite for adventure! Here are 5 things to in a Disney drencher:
Go Undercover – There are lots of places around Disney World that are indoors, even many attractions. Space Mountain, Tower of Terror, It’s Tough to be a Bug, and The Living Seas are just a few attractions that are completely inside. There are many in each park. You can also grab some food and wait for the storm (or at least the heaviest showers) to pass. If it looks like it’s going to pour all day consider playing it up at Disney Quest in Downtown Disney.
Seize the Storm – The truth is that a rain storm is an optimal time to be in Disney World. It really cuts down on the lines. So grab your poncho and just go for it! This is the perfect time to ride all of the water rides – who cares about getting wet?! The lines will be shorter for a lot of your favorite attractions so think of the clouds as your friendly fast pass! You can even get some good photos. It would be the perfect opportunity to get a silly family picture playing in the rain. What better time to get a photo under the Singing in the Rain umbrella in the Streets of America at Hollywood Studios?
Do Something New – Now is the perfect time to try that thing that you’ve never bothered to do before. You can stop and smell the roses a little instead of rushing from attraction to attraction. For instance, on a regular day you may not bother to go see a movie, but it may be a treat to do just that at the AMC Downtown Disney on a dreary night. Try that attraction or exhibit that always looked a little too boring. Explore all the nooks of Disney that you have never uncovered. Why not check out that resort that you’ve always wanted to stay at? The ideas are limitless.
Rest & Relax – Nothing wears you out faster than long days playing in the sun. A gloomy day is a good excuse to catch some rest. Chill out in your room, or catch a massage at the closest spa. You may want to depart from the parks to head out for a bite to eat on the town or grab some supplies you need (snacks, sun block, ponchos?). Enjoy your resort and see all that it has to offer to help you relax. You can even take a dip in the pool if the weather is not severe.
Shop ’till You Drop (or at least the rain stops) – There are so many wonderful places to shop in Disney and sometimes in the hustling crowds we don’t take time to enjoy them. There is no better time to hunt for some special treasures! Not only is there a whole world of shopping pleasure in Downtown Disney, but each park has different little stores to discover. Don’t forget to shop at the little bakeries & other confectioneries to pick yourself up a treat!
Disney is not only fun on days that are dry! Every day at Disney can be magical. Most attractions and rides stay open during rainy weather as long as it is not dangerous – even the parades and fireworks! Don’t let a little drizzle ruin your next trip!
(Thank you to OnlyWDW for providing the cool picture at the top of the post.)
Walking into the Art of Animation, you would never think that it was a value resort. The theme is evident in the parking lot, lobby, pool area, and throughout every section of the resort. The cost of the rooms, during the summer, range from $139 to $400 depending on if you get a single room for just a couple of people or a family suite with an inova table bed and room for six. When it is all said and done, the resort will have ten buildings, three pools, and two playgrounds. An animator even sits in the lobby at certain times so guests to see the magic behind animation! Landscape of Flavors, the pool and play area, and the different sections of the resort make it my top resort choice.
Most quick service options are fairly similar at the resorts. There might be a few unique items, but the typical hamburger, pizza, and peanut butter and jelly are the common items. Walking into Landscape of Flavors, I quickly realized that it was NOT like other quick service places. There are five distinctive food shops with choices from Mongolian beef stir-fry with naan bread to a child’s create your own salad. There is a myriad of dessert options in both the bakery and in the cooler. I highly recommend the cheesecake bites and the Mickey fruit tart. There is even real silverware and washable plates. The cast member did warn us to NOT microwave the plates since they tend to explode. Interesting but useful tip. The decorations in Landscape of Flavors represented a variety of Disney animated films with their own cozy areas, equipped with the best part of the place…their own beverage stations! Five beverage stations and three TVs in total! That is a dramatic difference between other resorts and Art of Animation.
The center of the resort serves as a gated play area for children and adults alike. The Big Blue Pool, the Schoolyard wet play area, Squirt’s Righteous Reef, and the Drop Off bar provide a place for guests of all ages to hang out, play, and swim. The entire area is gated with card readers at the entrances. At this point, you can simply turn the handle and go inside. I have a sneaking suspicion that eventually only registered guests will be able to enter that area. Mr. Ray, Crush, and a sea anemone with Marlin and Nemo overlook the entire area.
Finding Nemo, Cars, The Lion King, and The Little Mermaid will all be sections of the resort where guests can stay and play. At this point, Finding Nemo is the only section that is available for guests. The ocean theme continues into the hallways with the lights, paintings, carpet, and starfish room numbers and into the resort rooms with bedspreads, wallpaper, and furniture. Life-size cars, equipped with lit headlights, and the spinning Cozy Cone Motel sign stand in front of the Cars section. For now, guests can only take pictures over the fence since the area will not be ready until June 18th. The Lion King section will open on August 10th and The Little Mermaid will open on September 15th.
Details and service are what make a Disney resort different from other places around the parks. Art of Animation falls nothing short of spectacular on both items. We plan on spending most of our resort time here, especially as it opens up new sections, and so we can try every item on the incredible menu. (Of course, don’t forget about the desserts!) The fact that all of these details and service are at a value resort just reinforces my belief that Disney is the best place in the world to vacation, unwind, or simply eat dinner. See you at the Big Blue Pool!
We are less than one month away from completion of the billion dollar expansion and improvement project of the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California. For me (a 30 year passionate Disney Fan) there has never been a more exciting time in Disneyland history. My first concern (like many others) with any Disney change is… Will the original vision Walt Disney had for his amusement park be preserved and represented within the new expansion and improvements? Since I am unable to see the newest changes (the few media reviews have been exceptional), I look to history, and ask myself what was Walt’s vision? What was the blueprint left for the future of his vision, and how has the Company handled preserving Walt’s vision in the past?
The vision of Walt Disney can be best illustrated by reading the bronze plaques hanging over the tunnels just entering Disneyland’s Main Street. The plaques read “Here you leave today and enter the world of yesterday, tomorrow, and fantasy”. Walt’s vision was to have an amusement park that transports you from everyday life, into a Disney story. A place that he said, “never will be finished as long as there is imagination in the World.” Walt’s vision first came to life when Disneyland opened its gates in 1955. He went on to show the world the future of what he wanted for his vision at the 1964-1965 Worlds Fair.
The 1964-1965 Worlds Fair saw Walt Disney introduce and perfect many new innovations. The future of amusement park entertainment was laid out in four exhibits: Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln; The Carousel of Progress; Ford’s Magic Skyway; and It’s a Small World. These four exhibits helped Walt fine tune his system of Audio-Animatronics. Walt and his Immagineer’s system of Audio-Animatronics can still be seen in most all attractions in every Disney park. Walt also had the foresight to use large corporate sponsorship of the pavilions (Pepsi, GE, Ford) to fund his visions into becoming reality (a practice still widely used by not only Disney, but all amusement parks worldwide).
After Walt, the company has never lost sight of the importance these four exhibits have had on their history. Parts, if not all of these exhibits still can be seen in Disney parks today. The Carousel of Progress (Magic Kingdom, Florida), Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln (Disneyland, California) and It’s a Small World (Disneyland, California) can all still be enjoyed in their original versions Walt dreamed and built. The audio-animatronic dinosaurs from Ford’s Magic Skyway were placed in dioramas seen today in Disneyland, when riding The Disneyland Railroad (the ride Walt held closest to his heart).
It may disappoint some, but not all things can stay the same, change is needed to stay ahead of the growing competition. Walt Disney reminded us Disneyland would always grow and change based on present imagination. So, some old things must go to make room for the new. The Walt Disney Company has done an amazing job at keeping the fine balance between preserving the most important parts of their history and the need to always be progressively ahead of amusement park entertainment (Cars Land, Buena Vista St. and yes, even Fantasy Faire). The Disneyland Resort has always exceeded my expectations and never given me any reason to doubt them, why begin now?
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