Sunday, October 19, 2014

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 10/13/14 - 10/19/14






 

News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such. 

News


Magic Kingdom

  • The Island Supply shop in Adventureland will be closing October 22 to make way for a new store.


Epcot

  • Two new additions will take part in the Candlelight Processional. LeVar Burton will be there December 7-8 and Edward James Olmos will be there from December 9-11.
  • The new flag-throwing entertainment act has debuted at the Italy Pavilion called Sbandieratori Di Sansepolcro.


Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Guests will be able to meet Hiro Hamada and Baymax from Big Hero 6 beginning mid-November in the Magic of Disney Animation. They will find the two in Hiro's garage workshop.



Disney Resorts

  • Trattoria al Forno at Disney's BoardWalk Inn will officially open December 18. You can make reservations beginning on October 21.  Both breakfast and dinner will be offered. 


General Walt Disney World News

  • New specialty MagicBands will be released for the Holiday season.

Rumors

  • Some new interactive merchandise should be coming soon to Disney's Hollywood Studios and the Magic Kingdom.


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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What Happens When An Attraction Goes Down and You Have a FastPass



You've planned your Walt Disney World vacation for months; you've picked which park you want to go to each day, you've made your dining reservations, and you've decided which FastPass+ reservations you wanted. Everything is perfect.

But what happens when the unexpected happens?  What happens when an attraction that you have a FastPass+ reservation for goes down for an issue at the exact time your FastPass is up and ready to be utilized?

Well, the past couple of trips, I was able to experience exactly what happens.

On the first trip, I had a FastPass that I made for Maelstrom.  It went down right before I could make it over. 


The second time was a few weeks later for Pirates of the Caribbean.


As you can see, there are some similarities between the two.  Both say that I can visit the attraction again as soon as it comes back on-line.  In addition, I don't have to do anything to ride; all I need to do is simply visit the attraction, utilize my MagicBand or admission ticket, and I'll be admitted in, no matter the time.

However, if I don't want to (or if the attraction doesn't come back during the day) I have other options that I can choose from.  The options that you can choose from vary, depending on different things.  First, at Epcot, the attraction you can choose from as a secondary choice will depend on the Tier that your first attraction choice was.  For example, Maelsrom was a Tier 2 attraction, so I had the option to choose from any other Tier 2 attraction that Disney has.  (The same would work at Disney's Hollywood Studios, I would suspect...if I had a Tier 1 attraction that went down for issues, I would get to choose from another Tier 1 attraction.  At Disney's Animal Kingdom, I would suspect that all attractions would be available given that they offer no Tiering.)

The interesting part comes when you get to the Magic Kingdom.  You see, because the Magic Kingdom has so many attraction, the park is divided up into different categories.  So, for example, when Pirates went down, we weren't allowed to choose just any attraction.  We could only visit attractions that were somewhat similar. Pirates isn't a thrill ride, so the thrills weren't an option.  However, when we went to Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin and got evacuated off of it, we received paper FastPasses that were only applicable for the thrill rides.  (Yep...Buzz Lightyear is considered a thrill...ok...unfortunately, Seven Dwarfs Mine Train wasn't an option, so we rode Space Mountain.)

As you can see, Disney takes care of guests who may be inconvenienced by an attraction unexpectedly going down when you have a FastPass+ reservation. Have you experienced an attraction going off-line when you had a FastPass+ reservation? Let me know your experience in the comments or on Facebook!

If you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word about A Disney World After All!  Share it on Twitter or Facebook...pin the photos on Pinterest, hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our Facebook page and find me on Twitter, I'm @RikkiNibs!      

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 10/6/14 - 10/12/14





News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such. 

 
News

Magic Kingdom
  • Be Our Guest Restaurant seems to only currently be accepting guests for lunch who have FastPass+ reservations to dine at the restaurant.  The standby line is not currently available.

General Walt Disney World News
  • The Hess Gas Station across from Disney's BoardWalk Inn will be closed for few weeks beginning October 13.

Rumors 

  • RunDisney's race docket doesn't include the Tower of Terror 10 Miler in 2015. Rumors are indicating this could be because of construction that is expected to be taking place in Disney's Hollywood Studios.
  • Disney seemingly confirmed that a third track is likely coming for Toy Story Mania.  This track will likely be solely for FastPass+ reservations.

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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Traveling to Walt Disney World with a Senior Citizen



Whew...it's been a whirlwind last few weeks....for those who don't know...I took a trip to Disney World with my family, including my 94 year old grandma; found out that that same grandma had a stroke and was not doing well (though she is doing better, she's still not great, but I'm so appreciative of all of your prayers and good thoughts); oh and then I headed back to Disney World for Epic October to see my Be Our Guest Podcast family.  So...needless to say....my life has been a LOT crazy!

But, now I'm back and you are stuck with me because I don't have a trip planned for a while (though, that could change at the drop of a hat...) so today, I thought I'd take some of the things I learned when I was down there with grandma, so you could learn some great tips to consider when taking a senior citizen to Walt Disney World! 

Now, for those of you who don't follow along, my brother recently moved to Orlando and so my family wanted to go down to see him.  This trip included me, my brother, my mom, and my 94 year old grandma who was taking her first ever trip to The World. (That's right, 94 and never been).  We had a few days to see it all and we managed to squeeze in quite a bit.  It was a fantastic trip filled with a lot of great memories (which helped to keep me sane when I found out grandma had the stroke.)  But with this trip, I learned a lot about touring the parks with someone who is elderly. Today, I thought I'd share my Top 5 tips with you.

  •  Keep mindful of their pace:  This I believe was the hardest for my family to comprehend.  You see, we still see grandma as someone who can do most things.  She is more than capable to us.  What we didn't realize is how tiring even sitting in a chair is.  So, while we certainly tried to keep things on an easy pace, it likely wasn't on the pace that grandma needed.  Try to take breaks in the afternoon and let your senior citizen relax a bit.  Even if they don't want to nap.  They have the same sort of stamina as toddlers in a way; know that going in and you'll be fine.

  • Wheelchairs are your friends (except when they aren't):  There is absolutely no way we could have done Disney without putting grandma in a wheelchair.  She hates wheelchairs, but for all the walking that you do, the wheelchair was a necessity.  I will say, that Disney does an excellent job in accommodating guests in wheelchairs. (And for those who believe that wheelchair guests get right on attractions most of the time, you would be dead wrong...for most rides, we waited in the same line as everyone else does and on quite a few attractions when it was time to ride, we actually had to wait longer for the handicapped accessible vehicle to arrive. It was actually interesting to see what the handicapped accessible vehicles looked like and how they allowed for guests with disabilities to easily ride on attractions.)  The only bad part about the wheelchair was pushing it. You don't realize how hilly some parts of The World are (I'm looking at you hill leading up to The Land...I despise that hill now.)  Also, while the different and unique pavements are gorgeous to look at...they certainly rattle the chair...I could feel it as I was pushing her...makes me wonder how her booty felt!
  • Kids meals are perfect for them:  So....Disney meals are very, very large!  My grandma doesn't eat a lot, but the kids meals were just the right size for her.  The only problem is, there just aren't a ton of choices. (And grandma is EXTREMELY PICKY!)  I've said it before and I'll say it again, I wish Disney would create kids meals that were smaller versions of adult meals at more restaurants.  They did this at Be Our Guest and it worked out swimmingly.  It isn't always kids eating the kids meals Disney...not everyone can and wants to eat a ridiculously large portion...it would be nice to have a bit more variety in kids meal offerings so that those of use who don't eat a lot still get to eat something good.  They've done decent, but things could still be a lot better for kids meal offerings.

  • They will enjoy the darndest things:  My grandma absolutely loved things that I never thought she would.  Some of her favorites were Jungle Cruise, Carousel of Progress (her mom actually had some of the things from the first scene in her kitchen), Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, it's a small world, and Ellen's Energy Adventure (even though she doesn't like Ellen...those were her words describing her liking the attraction...haha!) She also had a great time at Yeehaa Bob's, who is found at Port Orleans Riverside in the River Roost Lounge. (Though she didn't want to meet Bob, despite me trying to get her to.)  Did I ever think in a million years that my grandma would enjoy Buzz Lightyear?  Nope...but it was a clear winner.  Make sure to ask them what they enjoyed and take them on attractions that are similar! 

  • Remember the time together:  I knew this was a special trip, so the memories that I have are priceless, but I made absolutely sure that one thing I did was to take pictures of my grandma.  I took tons of her enjoying things.  It was so great to see her so happy.  (And with the stroke, those photos of her being happy are a source of happiness for me.)  Not only did I take photos of her, but I took photos with her.  You all may know I'm a fan of the selfie....so selfies with grandma were something I made sure to do.  Those are some of my favorite photos I have of the entire trip.  Because it shows off the fun that grandma and I were having together.  So make sure you capture and remember the memories.  They will be so important going forward. 
One last tip:  I know this makes it more than five...but meh...make sure to keep your senior citizen hydrated.  My grandma hates water and doesn't really drink much during the day, so it was hard to convince her that Florida sun would take a lot out of her and that she would need to keep water in her system.  Of course, while we were there, we only had one super hot day...so my advice to her fell on deaf ears...but really....if you take a senior citizen...make sure they drink liquids.  I don't want to see something bad happen cause they didn't. 


For those who say I can't take the senior citizen in my family to Walt Disney World, they wouldn't enjoy it, I am here to tell you, you are dead wrong. My grandma had a fantastic trip with all of us and we with her.  Will the pace be slower, yes; will they get to do everything, no; but no matter what, it will be worth it.  Knowing that we all had good quality family time together is all that matters.  Because let's face it, this...this trip right here....that's what going to Disney is all about; creating the memories that you will cherish forever. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat, if we could.  Unfortunately, that will likely never be the case. 

So, my best piece of advice about traveling with senior citizens is don't put it off any longer.  Plan that trip with your extended family today.  You never know what tomorrow will bring; my family is proof of that.

Have you ever traveled with Senior Citizens?  What are your best tips? Let me know in the comments section or on the Facebook page. 

If you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word about A Disney World After All!  Share it on Twitter or Facebook...pin the photos on Pinterest, hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our Facebook page and find me on Twitter, I'm @RikkiNibs!     

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 9/29/14 - 10/5/14



News

Magic Kingdom

  • The Haunted Mansion gift shop, Memento Mori is in soft openings.
Epcot
  • The new lumberjack show called The Canadian Lumberjack Show, has debuted at the Canada Pavilion.
  • Maelstrom has closed officially to make way for a Frozen attraction.
  • Jonathan Groff will be a narrator for Candlelight Processional December 3-4 and Joe Morton will be narrating from December 12-14.

Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Disney has introduced a new Frozen Holiday Premium Package from November 7 through January 4 (with the exception of November 20 and December 10.) Cost is $89 per adult, and $59 for ages 3-9, plus tax. Theme park admission is required and not included. Guests will be able to take advantage of:
    • Reserved seating for For the First Time in Forever: A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration
    • A Frozen themed dessert party
    • Reserved viewing spot at the Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights
    • A special holiday lithograph
    • A Frozen themed pin.

Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • The Affection Section will be closed for a refurbishment from October 7 - November 11.

General Walt Disney World News
  • Kouzzina has closed at Disney's BoardWalk Inn.

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 9/22/14 - 9/28/14




News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such. 


News

Magic Kingdom
  • The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train has the option to add an on-ride video to Memory Maker.

Downtown Disney
  •  LaNouba is offering a dinner package this fall. The package is offering 1 ticket to a 6:00 p.m. performance, Tuesday through Saturday on the following nights: September 30 through November 1 or November 6 through November 22.  Guests can choose to eat dinner at Wolfgang Puck Grand Cafe, Planet Hollywood or Splitsville Luxury Lanes either before or after the show. The offer includes one entrĂ©e, dessert and a non-alcoholic beverage.  Cost is: 
    • 99 plus tax for a Category 2 ticket ($89 plus tax for children ages 3 to 9)
    • $119 plus tax for a Category 1 ticket ($109 plus tax for children ages 3 to 9


General Walt Disney World News
  •  Disney has updated the park rules. The biggest change relates to the smoking of e-cigarettes. For the full details of all the changes, check out the updated info.
  • Disney has updated the monorail schedule again.  This schedule is in effect until further notice. The updated schedule is: 
    • Magic Kingdom Resort Beam - 7am to 1 hour after park close
    • Magic Kingdom Express Beam - 8:30am to 1 hour following park close
    • Epcot Beam - 8am to 11pm or 1 hour after Magic Kingdom closes (whichever is earliest)

Download the brand NEW Disney Food Blog Guide to the 2014 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.  The fun starts this week! Find out about this year's festivities.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 9/15/14 - 9/21/14





News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.  


Walt Disney World News


Magic Kingdom
  • The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train now has the ability to add video to your Memory Maker profile.
  • Splash Mountain will see its annual refurbishment from January 4 - 30. 


Disney's Hollywood Studios
  • Studio Backlot Tour will close on September 27 for new enhancements. Part of the Streets of America portion of the attraction will be used for the new version of the Wandering Oaken Trading Post.

Disney's Animal Kingdom
  • Kali River Rapids will have a refurbishment from January 20 through February 4.


Rumors
  • Could there be a Frozen Premium Package for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party?  It would be similar to the Villains Soiree, with premium viewing for the parade and fireworks and special dessert party at Cinderella's Royal Table with a potential meet opportunity with Olaf.

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Sunday, September 14, 2014

Walt Disney World News and Rumors 9/8/14 - 9/14/14



News and Rumors are gathered from various different sources. All rumors are rumors and are to be taken as such.  


News


Magic Kingdom
  • Elsa will be taking over the Holiday Castle Lighting Ceremony this year.  In addition, Anna, Elsa, Kristoff, and Olaf will debut in the "Mickey's Once Upon a Christmastime Parade" this year.
  • The phone charging stations found at Cosmic Rays and at the Tomorrowland Arcade have been removed.  The charging stations were there as a part of a test.

Epcot
  • Maelstrom will be closing on October 5.  In it's place will be a brand new Frozen attraction will be built. Also, a new meet and greet featuring Anna and Elsa will be constructed.  The new attraction is expected to be complete by early 2016.  For my thoughts, read my latest blog post.

Disney's Hollywood Studios
  •  The "For the First Time In Forever - A Frozen Sing-Along Celebration" will be continuing past September 28.  In addition, the Wandering Oaken's Trading Post will be moving closer to the sing-along, and will feature a larger play area.


General Walt Disney World News
  •  By this December, Apple Pay will be able to be utilized at the Walt Disney World Resort. 
  • The amount to activate a Disney gift card has changed; the rate now starts at $15.

Rumors

  • Toy Story Mania will see an expansion, making the attraction larger with what one can assume would be at least one more track.
  • Disney Princess MagicBands seem to be on their way.
  • Minnie could be moving from her meet and greet location at the Art of Disney Animation Building and could be moving back to Hollywood Blvd.

Download the brand NEW Disney Food Blog Guide to the 2014 Epcot International Food and Wine Festival.  The fun starts this week! Find out about this year's festivities.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Frozen Attraction Headed to Epcot



Have you heard the news?  Well I'm sure that of course you have...Frozen is coming to Epcot! 

The attraction which was just announced today, will be replacing the Maelstrom attraction in the Norway Pavilion and will feature "favorite moments and music from the film." (What this tells me is it will likely be a re-hash of the movie's best scenes.)  The Norway Pavilion will also gain a meet and greet with Anna and Elsa again.  Rumors are indicating that Maelstrom will close on October 5 and will re-open with the Frozen theme in early 2016. 

Disney claims that the "Frozen elements are great complements to the Norway Pavilion, which showcases the country and region that inspired the film."  However for many, this is just the final nail in the coffin for what Epcot once was. 

You see, Epcot was once a place of edu-tainment.  It heavily featured opportunities to have fun and learn too.  However, in recent years, that edu-tainment factor has been rapidly decreasing.  Some say Test Track being built was the start of Epcot removing learning opportunities.  Still others claim things started going downhill when characters were introduced, since originally there were no characters to be found in the park, on purpose. 

As for me, I really have no problems with characters in Epcot, whether they be in World Showcase or Future World.  I've always thought that if the character can help tell the story and teach and inform, then it's ok.  (I'll readily admit that I was one of those kids who was bored with the original versions of Epcot.  I'm sorry, but I was.  The one thing that I had an affinity for from "old" EPCOT was Figment...a character...)  However, lately, even I've noticed teaching guests in a fun way really seems to be being taken away, piece by piece. 

My first issue was with the Nemo refurb.  While I think Nemo being added to The Seas, which was a more or less dead pavilion at the time, could have been a great educational opportunity where they could have taken the characters from the film and taught people about the fun of the ocean with the attraction, they instead replaced the former ride with a re-hash (and not a very good one mind you) of the movie. There was so much potential there!  And yes, I know you can still learn about fish throughout the rest of the pavilion, but I felt that they missed their chance on the attraction. 

Then we have Gran Fiesta Tour...for some reason this one doesn't bother me as much.  I don't know why.  I actually kind of like this attraction.  I like that they used The Three Caballeros and incorporated them to the attraction, but again, I wish it would have been a touch more edu-tainment involved.  There was the chance to do that and they dropped the ball. 

Other recent attractions people have issues with are things like Soarin, but I still find that educational, seeing the different landscapes of California. (And if you believe rumors, eventually we'll see different landscapes of the world...so that one's alright.) 

The refurb that really bothers me is actually Test Track.  I found the old one (which many did not) to still be educational; teaching guests about how cars are tested.  However, with this new version, I literally get nothing from it.  Matter of fact, I just watched a tv special on Walt Disney World that was on my DVR where they explained about the attraction and that's when I finally realized what the heck was going on.  I never realized that I was supposed to be "in the computer".  If the purpose of the attraction has to be explained, to me, you're doing it wrong. 

So, now we are here...with Frozen taking over Maelstrom.  While Maelstrom isn't perfect...trust me...it's a mish-mash of Norwegian lore...it still has touches of the original concepts of Epcot.  It was still somewhat educational, and extremely fun.  It held the ideals and taught some of the history of Norway. 

With the new Frozen attraction, they could have chosen to make it educational about the country of Norway.  (While I get that Arendelle is fake, it is based enough off of Norway that I'm ok with Anna and Elsa being included in some manner of the Norway Pavilion.) It just would have been nice to see some edu-tainment included with this updated attraction. 

Instead, it seems it will be, yet again, another re-hash of a movie that we've all seen and know by heart.  (Or at least that's what I'm assuming given the description of the attraction currently released by Disney.) While that's fine, Epcot isn't the park to include an attraction like that in.  You could have done a re-hashed version of the movie at the Magic Kingdom or Disney's Hollywood Studios even. 

I think that Disney did a good job of incorporating Frozen into the Stave Church exhibit in the Norway Pavilion.  Many artifacts on display are legitimate Norwegian and show how they were included in the movie.  So that tells me that they can still make things educational while connecting the education with characters that people care about.  They just don't want to. That's probably the saddest part about this news. 

I get that Frozen was this huge phenomenon and you want to reap the benefits of that Disney, but could you at least give us something original that you could utilize these well-loved characters in?

The problem is that this re-hashed version of the movie will do gang-busters and will likely be extremely popular when it officially opens...and to the corporate world, that's all that matters.  But I can guarantee that if they used the characters for educational purposes, they would still get the people to flock towards the attraction, AND they would make those of us who loved the edu-tainment of Epcot just a little bit happier about the decision to remove an attraction that, while quite campy, still taught us about the country of Norway. Isn't that what these World Showcase countries were for in the first place? 

What are your thoughts?  Are you excited to see Frozen included in Epcot?  Wish they would put it somewhere else? Let me know in the comments section or on the Facebook page! 

If you like this article, I shamelessly ask that you spread the word about A Disney World After All!  Share it on Twitter or Facebook...pin the photos on Pinterest, hit up the Google + emblem...just let others know about us here!  Also, make sure to LIKE our Facebook page and find me on Twitter, I'm @RikkiNibs!      

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Top Seven Things I'm Most Excited About For My Upcoming Trip to Walt Disney World

I've got a fever. The fever for Walt Disney World.  I am officially less than one week out on a fantastic trip (leaving next Tuesday) and honestly, I've never felt the hours move so slowly, but also so quickly.  It's like a weird time situation!

So, because I literally cannot concentrate on a legitimate blog post to write about for this week, you get this one.  :)  The Top Seven Things I'm the Most Excited About Experiencing During my Upcoming Trip to Walt Disney World!

  • Experiencing Disney's All-Star Movies:  This will be my first time staying at All-Star Movies.  It's the last of the All-Stars I have had on my list to stay in.  While I've explored the resort before, I've yet to spend a night there.  Also, I'm excited because it's the first time in I think I year since I've stayed on Disney property.  So I'm excited to have the full Disney hotel experience. 
  • Visiting with my family:  This is the first trip that my family will have had in Orlando since 2002.  Pieces of my family have been on vacation with me since then, but we'll all be together (sort of...dad won't...unless he decides last minute to make a visit during the weekend...if that's the case, then it will legitimately be the first family vacation there as a whole family since 2000. But dad's never really been a theme park fan, so we'll see how this goes.)
  • Taking my grandma for the first time ever:  Speaking of family....my grandma, who is 94, will be taking her first ever trip to Walt Disney World!  While I know this will be a different kind of vacation, taking things slow and letting her rest, I'm excited to see what she thinks of the resort.  I think she's gonna be blown away. (Though it's hard to tell...she's like that former Olympian...she certainly doesn't show when she's impressed very much)
  • Visiting CityWalk:  This trip is a trip to go see my brother and so on the night we arrive, the plan is that he's gonna take us over to CityWalk for dinner.  I'm excited to see this updated version of Universal's shopping and dining district, as well as trying out one of their restaurants.
  • Epcot's Food and Wine Festival:  By happen-chance we planned our trip around the opening weekend of Epcot's Food and Wine Festival! I love opening weekend and I'm so excited to get the opportunity to try some delicious treats and check out the new stuff for the Festival.
  • Be Our Guest Lunch:  I've had dinner here, and now I'm excited about trying lunch!  I've got the Fastpass for it already.
  • Frozen Summer Fun:  I was hoping that this event would get extended because I thought it sounded neat.  I want to take in the Frozen Sing-Along, eat an Olaf cupcake, build a snowman, see the parade, and more!  Even though my family isn't Frozen obsessed (I started watching the movie with my mom back in June and we never did get around to finishing it together) I still think they'll enjoy the event. 
While there are a few other things that I'm excited about experiencing, these are the major ones and why I cannot concentrate, even as I type this blog!

For those who want to follow along with the fun, make sure to follow me on Twitter or on Facebook as I'll be posting a ton!  (PS:  get ready to enjoy lots of photos of my very cute 94 year old grandmother!)

What do you want to see me do on my upcoming vacation?  Write in the comments or on the Facebook page and you never know, I just may do it!