Sunday, April 28, 2013

News and Rumors 4/22/13 - 4/28/13

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


Magic Kingdom

  • A brand new daytime parade will be added to the park during spring 2014.  It will be called the Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade.
  • The Magic Kingdom will be hosting another 24 Hour day during Memorial Weekend on May 24th. 
  • Monsters Inc Laugh Floor will be adding jokes that have to deal with the upcoming Monsters University

Disney's Hollywood Studios

  • Mike and Sulley will be meeting guests in the park at a brand new themed area made out to look like the Monsters Inc Student Union. 

Disney Resorts

  • The Boardwalk Bakery has reopened from it's refurbishment, bringing in sandwiches alongside the famous baked goods. 

General WDW News

  • This week's Limited Time Magic will focus on May 4, which is also known as Star Wars Day.  Over at Disney's Hollywood Studios, they will be celebrating by allowing parents to participate in Jedi Training Academy, a special dance party will take place, characters may ride Star Tours with guests, and a special fireworks show will be performed.  
  • This year's Princess Half Marathon will be adding a new 10k.  In addition, a new challenge will be added called the Disney Glass Slipper Challenge Medal for guests who complete both the 10k and the Half Marathon. 
  • The Monsterail has debuted in the park, a monorail themed after Monsters University.  


  • Next week's Limited Time Magic should be a meet and greet with The Three Caballeros to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. 
  • California Grill is rumored to reopen in September. 
  • Sophia the First may be meeting guests soon in the park.  
  • Princess Fairytale Hall, when it opens, will feature meets with Cinderella and Rapunzel always.  Each will have a surprise friend with her.  (Minus Belle and Ariel.) 
Click Here To Download Touring Plans newest eBook! 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Why A Mystic Manor Attraction Belongs at Disney's Animal Kingdom

Disney has been working on a very large expansion for Hong Kong Disneyland, with the grand opening of an updated version of the Haunted Mansion, called Mystic Manor coming soon. This appears to be an impressive new ride and while a video can't do this attraction it's full justice, if you haven't seen it yet, you really should take a look because it simply looks amazing. 

Many in the Disney community have been impressed after seeing this incredible new attraction video, and I will readily admit, I am one of them.  It is a great new foray into the dark ride world.

Most people who originally saw this attraction thought that something similar would be a great addition for Epcot's Imagination Pavilion.  And I can easily see how that would work for the extremely dated attraction.  Bring back the beloved Dreamfinder, add Figment, and a new story and you have something that will easily draw crowds back to a pavilion that currently is not so popular.

However, as soon as I saw this video, one thought popped in my head.  This attraction, as it is almost, would actually work best at Disney's Animal Kingdom.  It would be a wonderful new addition to a park that sorely needs a new addition.  (That is why they are bringing Avatarland into the mix.)

Granted, I am not a fan of cloning, but I know it is a practice that has been done since the beginning of time at Disney Parks.  I also am ok with this cloning venture because there is a very slim chance I will ever get to Hong Kong.  Nor do I think the average park goer will ever get to Hong Kong.  So, I am taking a step back from my dislike to cloning and amending it to being more ok with it, as long as the attraction isn't on US soil.  

But why would this more whimsical/magical attraction be a great fit for the more logical Disney's Animal Kingdom.  At first blush, they really don't appear to go together well.  Animal Kingdom is too seated in reality.  And yes, that is partially true.  However, it was always the plan to include fun and fanciful into the park.  That is why Beastly Kingdome was on the docket for so many years.  And is something that guests still clammor for.  That is why Avatarland, much as it may be maligned by those of us who are Disney fanatics, is still a go.  Because the park needs to be less like a zoo.  (They try...really they do...but to many, it is still just a fancy zoo with theme park attractions in it.  I am sorry to say it, but it's true.)

Here are my reasons for why Mystic Manor is a MUST BUILD for Disney's Animal Kingdom:

  • Yes, as I mentioned, in it's current format, Mystic Manor is themed around magic.  The magic of opening the box and the excitement that happens once it does.  It IS an updated version of Haunted Mansion.  However, it is also themed around the adventures that these characters (the old man....whose name I don't know...and Albert the Monkey) have taken in the course of their lives. Hmmm...sounds familiar....wait...that sounds like something out of the Adventurer's Club.  All about celebrating the adventures of these characters.  And which park would this type of experience work in, Disney's Animal Kingdom.  So, even in it's current format, it would work because it celebrates the adventures of these two travelers, and the artifacts that they have brought back with them, including this mystical music box. A very Animal Kingdom type celebration.  
  • It has a loveable character.  One of the main things that people go to Disney parks for are the characters.  It is what they are great at creating.  It's why the movies are so incredibly successful.  And Disney has been very successful at creating new characters in the parks.  While Duffy isn't big here, he's HUGE in Japan...and we have the most popular loveable character over at Epcot in Figment.  This is why having a unique character for Disney's Animal Kingdom is a great idea.  It's why it worked at Epcot too.  People come to Disney parks for the characters.  That is no secret.  It's why Epcot seriously bombed when it first opened.  People asked...where are the characters.  This is part of Animal Kingdom's problem too.  Yes, they do offer characters, but if Figment can help make Epcot beloved, then Albert could help to make DAK beloved too.  People feel an attachment to a character created for that park and they immediately feel a connection there.  It's why some of us 30 year olds still love Epcot.  You can't shake Figment.  (Well, and for some, the other stuff was cool too.)  If Albert were seen as a sort of mascot of DAK, I have a feeling things would be better in that park.  And he is precocious enough, much like original Figment that I just think it would work.  People would connect with him, therefore they would connect more with the park overall.
  • Tied right into having a loveable character finally for the park, you have a very LARGE ability to sell merchandise.  Just think of the exclusive merchandise offerings that Disney is missing out on in that park.  Sure, it's neat to have a Kilimanjaro Safaris shirt or a hat with the Yeti on it, but think of how gaga people go over merchandise at the other parks.  If I had to guess, I would say that DAK doesn't see the merch sales that the other parks see and that is because there isn't really an attraction where people HAVE to have something to remember that!  You add that furry fluffball of've just sold yourself a bunch of stuff because people are gonna want something with his cute face on it.  Disney is a company and they love to see Dollar Signs...this attraction screams dollar bills.
  • It is a brand new concept!  Did you know that it has been 7 years since Disney has built something that wasn't based off an already established character at Walt Disney World?  Expedition Everest was the last attraction that has no character tie in.  That is a long time!  And even if something were greenlit tomorrow, it would still take about 2-3 years for it to actually be built and open.  That means 10 years plus will have gone by since we'll see a completely original idea in Florida.  That is an exorbitantly long time.  Especially for a company that is known for it's unique attractions.  It's what made things like Haunted Mansion, Space Mountain, Pirates, Horizons, the Great Movie Ride, and Soarin great.  These were brand new ideas, that weren't tied to any previous characters that had unique stories.  This is what is missing resort wide!  It is what I've been crying out for for years.  Where is the unique?  Here, we have a great new story with amazing updated technology.  It will appease the Disney Geeks, as well as the first time visitor.  It's win-win.
  • IT IS A RIDE!!!!!!  This is a park that is heavy on the animal portion of your visit.  (Makes is Disney's Animal Kingdom.) But the park is awfully low on actual rides.  (I believe there are like seven total.)  And it certainly doesn't have any dark rides in it's doors, something the park is sorely missing.  Adding a ride like this would do what I believe Toy Story Midway Mania did for the Studios.  It will be something that the whole family can enjoy and I would bet it would have large lines throughout the day because everyone will enjoy the whimsy.  There is very little the whole family can enjoy in the form of rides at DAK, making Mystic Manor a very welcome addition.  
So, those are just a few reasons I had on why Mystic Manor would be a perfect fit for Disney's Animal Kingdom.  What do you think though?  Would you like to see it in the park?  Would you like to see it in another park or another version?  What reasons do you have for it fitting here or anywhere else?  Let me know on the Facebook page.  (Or in the comments).  

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    Sunday, April 21, 2013

    News and Rumors 4/15/13 - 4/21/13

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



    • The new France artisan ice cream and sorbet shop has a new name, L’Artisan des Glaces.  It is set to open mid-June. 

    Disney's Hollywood Studios

    • Fantasmic! will be seeing a test this week of FASTPASS from April 22 - 27.  During the test, Cast Members will be handing out tickets at the Hollywood Studios Tip Board after 12:00 pm. 

    Disney's Animal Kingdom

    • The Wilderness Explorers game set to debut this year will have guests armed with field guides, tasked with completing challenges aimed at deepening their understanding of animals and the world that we live in. Guests will have the opportunity to earn up to 30 different sticker badges in a self guided tour exploring the park at their leisure.The game will be geared for ages 7-10, but any age can play along.  
    • The Adventurers Outpost will debut May 12. 

    Downtown Disney

    • Car Masters Weekend will take place on June 14 – 16.  The event will offer a car show, chances to meet some of the Cars and Cars 2 characters, Cars filmmaker Jay Ward and automotive designer Chip Foose. In addition, there will be a Cars and Cars 2 movie marathon at the AMC Theater, food and drink, live entertainment, caricatures, and more.

    General WDW News

    • This week's Limited Time Magic is a Party!  A Party for the Planet!  Guests who visit Disney's Animal Kingdom will get the opportunity to meet less seen characters, who will take part in a DJ dance party in Dinoland USA and also will take part in the Jammin Jungle Parade.  They include:  Thumper, Miss Bunny, Koda, Kenai, Lilo, Stitch, Flik, and Princess Atta.  Also, guests will get the opportunity to purchase the Worms and Dirt tart, which will be found at Tony’s Town Square and Liberty Tree Tavern in the MK, Kringla Bakeri Og CafĂ© and Sunshine Seasons at Epcot, plus at Capt. Cook’s at the Polynesian Resort.  In addition, a Worms and Dirt cupcake will be available at will be found at ABC Commissary, Pizza Planet, Backlot Express, Studio Catering Co. and Starring Rolls Cafe at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Kusafari Coffee Shop and Bakery and the espresso and coffee cart at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Plus at Kona Cafe at the Polynesian. 
    • Annual Passholders who love Blizzard Beach will get the opportunity to get in for free after 2 pm on May 9 and 16. 
    • Another component of the MyMagic+ system has come on line.  Now guests will have the opportunity to be checked in the the Mobile Lobby Experience which equips Cast Members with iPads, allowing them to check in guests from locations other than the front desk.


    • The AFI Showcase at DHS is potentially getting an Oz: The Great and Powerful display.

    Download the ALL NEW 2013 Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks.  Get $2 off the price by using the code Magic13

    Thursday, April 18, 2013

    15 Fun Facts For Disney's Animal Kingdom's 15 Anniversary

    Wow!  Can you believe it!  Disney's Animal Kingdom will be turning 15 in just a few short days!  This park and I have a love/hate relationship.  Well...I guess it's more a meh/meh relationship.  While it is a wonderful park full of wonder and exploration, for me, personally, it just doesn't hit the nail on the head.  Maybe it's because I just don't spend nearly enough time here.  I honestly have gone trips and trips without stepping foot in this park.  And usually if I do, it's only for a few hours before I'm off to another park. 

    (I think there are many contributing factors here...for is the lack of actual rides.  That is what I am coming to Disney for.  Yes, I enjoy soaking up the atmospehere as much as the next person, but a Disney Park is a theme park and is supposed to also have attractions for me to enjoy.  Of which I particularly enjoy about 5 of in the entire park.  I can add a few more to the list when spending time there, but on a normal visit...about 5 is about right.  Two is the fact that my husband doesn't particularly enjoy going here with me, so I go alone usually.  He finds this park boring.  Maybe part of that is related to the fact that the first time we went here, he got really sick that day, unrelated to the park, and because of that, has never really had any desire to go back. Three is because of the park's limited is closed super early, even in the summer.  I think the best time to go to a park is at night.  They have a special kind of energy and because I'm never able to visit after the sun has set in this park...well, that energy hasn't really hit me yet, I guess.  Woah...did I go off on a tangent....) that I've officially had my therapy session about Disney's Animal Kingdom....

    Let's dive right into the topic for the day...which is despite my lukewarm feelings for this area, it really does have the same theming that the rest of the parks have.  Actually, in ways, it has even more!  So today, we are going to look at 15 fun facts for the park's 15th anniversary about why you (and I) should appreciate DAK just a little more and what helps to make this park extra special. 

    1. For a small donation, you can join Disney in their efforts to help wildlife with the Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund.  You'll even get a button for contributing!  
    2. Why does my straw feel weird?  Because it's made of paper!  Because the park is very animal conscience, there are no plastic straws found in the park whatsoever. 
    3. If you are stopping at the Dawa Bar in Africa, make sure to listen closely!  The area is filled with the "neighbors" of the area making noise!  
    4. Make sure to really look at the details in the queues at this park.  while they are done well in the other parks, DAK really makes the queue the beginning of the story, giving you really in depth clues as to what you may be expecting and fun little gags that enhance your wait.  
    5. While many dislike the Chester and Hester Dinoland USA area, because it feels like a roadside carnival, it really is themed quite well.  ( a roadside carnival!) Take a look at some of the shops and restaurants for really great gags!  These guys have a sense of humor for sure!  
    6. There are four different tours that you can take at Disney's Animal Kingdom.  They are the Backstage Safari Tour, Wild by Design, Sunrise Safari (sorry, only available to Club level guests staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge), and Wild Africa Trek.  
    7. There are more than 320 animals carved into the Tree of Life
    8. Have you ever explored the murals in Pizzafari?  Each room represents different things.  They are the Home Room, Nocturnal Room, Camouflage Room, Bug Room, Four Seasons Room, and the Upside Down Room.  
    9. Make sure to talk to the Cast Members at the park.  They are a wealth of knowledge about the animals there.
    10. In Dinoland USA, there is a replica of a Tyrannosaurus Rex named Dino Sue.  She is a direct copy of the real version found at the Chicago Field Museum
    11. Got a vet wannabe in the family?  Take them to Rafiki's Planet Watch.  If you ask in the morning, they could tell you if there are any surgeries happening that day.
    12. Finding Nemo - The Musical is actually the third show to appear in the Theater in the Wild.  The previous two were Journey into Jungle Book and Tarzan Rocks!
    13. Did you know that Mickey's Jammin Jungle Parade does a loop in the park?  There is actually a portion that goes through twice, allowing you to get really great photos during the second time around because most people leave.  
    14. Make sure to check out some of the live entertainment like the Tam Tam Congo and Gi-Tar Dan\
    15. When visiting It's Tough To Be A Bug, make sure to check out the punny adds for bug movies...
    That's gonna do it!  15 fun facts all about Disney's Animal Kingdom!  Happy Birthday!  We'll see what the next 15 years have in store for you!  

    Sunday, April 14, 2013

    News and Rumors 4/8/13 - 4/14/13

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


    Magic Kingdom
    • A Pirate’s Adventure-Treasures of the Seven Seas is now set for a summer opening. 

    Disney's Animal Kingdom
    • Anandapur Ice Cream Truck is now closed for a refurb until May 23rd.
    • This year, on April 22nd, this park will be celebrating it's 15th Anniversary.  Events that will occur that day are: 
      • A special opening ceremony will take place at the Tree of Life at 8:40 am with speeches from Josh D’Amaro, VP of Disney’s Animal Kingdom; Dr. Jackie Ogden, VP of Animals, Science, and Entertainment; and Joe Rohde, Senior VP of Walt Disney Imagineering Creative
      • Artists presenting their work for purchase in Africa and on Discovery Island
      • Earth Day “Party for the Planet” which will involve interactive experiences focusing on animals and nature.  Takes place from 9 am – 5 pm.
      • 15th Anniversary limited merchandise
      • Special food and drink options

    General WDW News
    • This week's Limited Time Magic is all about celebrating Disney Fairies.  Tinker Bell will be on hand at Tinker Bell’s Magical Nook with her dear friends Iridessa, Rosetta, Silvermist, Fawn, Vidia, and Terence.


    • The new Adventurers Outpost meet and greet area is expected to open in mid-May.
    • Rumors are floating that Disney may be adding 2 more cruise ships. 
    Click Here To Download Touring Plans newest eBook! 

    Sunday, April 7, 2013

    News and Rumors 4/1/13 - 4/7/13

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

    Magic Kingdom

    • Pete's Silly Sideshow will now be opening 45 minutes after park open, except on Extra Magic Hour Mornings or extremely busy days. 


    • A new Mediterranean restaurant will be added to the Moroccan waterfront.  Called Spice Table Road, it is expected to have indoor, as well as outdoor seating and should be open by the end of 2013. 
    • Reminder:  The Fountainview closes on April 8th to make way for a Starbucks location.

    Disney's Hollywood Studios

    • The Countdown to Fun Parade and Disney Channel Rocks have officially ended their runs.  No replacements have been announced for either.
    • Billy Dee Williams (Lando Calrissian) is set to appear during Weekend IV (June 7th - 9th) of Star Wars Weekend. 

    General WDW News

    • This week's Limited Time Magic has the Disney Truck Shop parked at Downtown Disney's Westside and selling a limited edition shirt.
    • One of the Limited Time Magic events could be a Disney Fairies week, celebrating all of Tink's friends, both past and present. 

    Download the ALL NEW 2013 Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks.  Get $2 off the price by using the code Magic13

    Thursday, April 4, 2013

    Dining Review: Columbia Harbor House

    Ok...picture's start to feel that rumbling in your start to's time to think about grabbing lunch.  If you're in the Magic Kingdom, you should really consider grabbing lunch (or dinner) at Columbia Harbor House.

    This restaurant is such a great choice for people because it offers guests with a wide variety of options, that are not your typical hot dog and hamburgers.

    You step inside and are immediately transported to a nautical theme and lots of wood, quite reminiscent of a ship wheel.  The restaurant features tons of memorabilia on it's walls that look like they came right off a pirate ship.  The restaurant offers two floors, with dining areas on both.  If you are looking for a quieter place to go, try the upstairs level.  Most of them time, it is less crowded than the downstairs section.  Plus, if you sit by the window, you can look down on Liberty Square.

    Now let's look at the food.  Given the appearance of the restaurant, it seems obvious that the restaurant would lean more towards sea-faring cuisine and that would be a correct assumption.  Items on the menu include the Lighthouse Sandwich which features hummus with tomato & broccoli slaw on toasted multi-grain bread, the Anchors Aweigh Sandwich with white tuna with lettuce and tomato on toasted multi-grain bun, a lobster roll, fried shrimp, grilled salmon, fried fish, and chicken nuggets.  They also one of my favorite things, New England Clam Chowder.

    The chowder is creamy and delicious with good chunks of clam and potato.  Add some crackers and it makes for a perfect snack or even a light meal.

    Another really great option, the lobster roll.  I tried this for the first time during my last trip and really loved it.  It had a lot of chunks of lobster, coated in mayo, with pieces of celery and onion.  I will admit that the onion is kind of overpowering.  If you don't mind tasting onion a few hours after eating, this is perfect for you.  (Or have some mints or gum to get rid of the taste.)

    I also really enjoy the fried shrimp.  I am such a sucker for shrimp and get it in any form I ever can.  These are not piddly little shrimp.  These are decent sized, that are crispy to perfection.

    Columbia Harbor House is one of the best options for guests who are looking for something that is a bit out of the ordinary, when someone isn't looking for the typical burgers and pizza.  It is a must dine at when I take trips to Walt Disney World.

    What are your thoughts about Columbia Harbor House?  Have you been there?  What do you usually get when you eat there?  Let me know on the Facebook page.