DHS Open For Business

Open During Construction?????????????????

By now, nearly the entire planet is aware that there is construction taking place at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS) at Walt Disney World.  What many may be asking is: What’s Left to visit?  Today, we will look at what there is to do, and if it is still worth a visit!

First, the attractions!  Still available for your entertainment are: Star Tours: The Adventure Continues, Toy Story Midway Mania, Tower Of Terror, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith, and The Great Movie Ride presented by TCM.

There are several shows to view during your visit to DHS.  Voyage of the Little Mermaid, Beauty and The Beast, Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Disney Junior Live! on Stage, and Lights, Motors, Action Extreme Stunt Show (due to close on April 3, 2016.  If the schedules match up well, you could find some very enjoyable moments with some of these offerings.

There are many restaurants available at this point, as well.  Make sure to take time to try one to make your day even more delightful!  My favorite?  50s Prime Time Cafe!50s prime

So, while there will be many, MANY construction walls around DHS, there is still plenty to do during your stay.  Is it worth a One-Day ticket price?  Maybe not!  Is it worth a visit during a week-long stay with Multi-Day Magic Your Way tickets? Absolutely!

Go, Have Fun!

Until next time, have a Blessed and Magical day, my friends!

Welcomed Change WDW MagicBands

Disney has made a change to the MyDisneyExperience website that is allowing return guests to select if they want a NEW MagicBand, or to reuse a previously selected one.  If you are planning to stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, you can now Opt-Out on a new band.

!Magicband-Box
Here are the facts…

You MUST have an active My Disney Experience account.

The existing MagicBand must be less than One Year old.  This is because of the encased battery and the odds of them remaining operational past the one year point are still unknown.

You must opt out for each reservation you make.  But, you can opt back in at anytime, if you change your mind.

The update is currently only available through the My Disney Experience website and not on the app.  There is no word, at this time, of that availability.

Thanks for reading!  Have a Blessed and Magical day

On The Road to WDW

Or, tools for travel to the Vacation Kingdom!

Some of us just don’t have the luxury of flying most of the time.  For me, a family of five gets a little expensive.  On our last visit to Walt Disney World, we spent less than $200 round trip for gasoline.  Including my Mother-In-Law on that trip, that would be about 1/6 of the cost at the best fare rate.  Since that trip on the road, I have found some cool apps to use for our next road trip to WDW, and I wanted to share a few of those with you, today.

GasBuddy Let’s start with one that most everyone is familiar with, GasBuddy.com.  Many of us might be used to using this app for our local area.  But, did you know that there is a tool on GasBuddy to help with planning travel along your route of choice?  There is a gas price map on the site that shows the ‘hot’ zones for gas prices.  All you need to do is look at the map, follow your route, and strategically plan your fuel stops along the way.  It may require an extra stop or two, but it could also save you a significant amount of money.  You can find the map at, http://www.gasbuddy.com/GasPriceMap.

One app I try to pay particular attention to is The Weather Channel. This app Weather Channelallows you to track the weather along the way.  You can plan for stops if the weather starts to look a bit dicey.  Or, maybe decide on a better time of day to travel based on temperatures or rain.  And, if you are headed to WDW, you might want to track what the weather is doing in the Orlando area.

iExitThe iExit app gives you information for exits you are going to be driving by during your trip.  As you approach an exit you can use the app to tell you what
gas stations, restaurants, stores, or hospitals within a few miles of your location.  This can help you plan where you want to stop as you travel go Orlando.  You can check iExit out at, http://iexitapp.com/features/.

Finally, I can’t let a discussion go about apps to Walt Disney World without mentioning one to use while AT Walt Disney World.  The Lines app from touring Planshttp://www.touringplans.com gives you up to the minute numbers on wait times, suggested Fastpass uses, even menus at WDW.  One of the coolest features is the timer!  You use the timer to help Lines get accurate numbers on the actual wait times vs. the times that Disney posts at each attraction.  There is a small annual fee, but if you give WDWToday a listen, you can get a discount code to save a few bucks!

Are there any apps you use during your drive to Walt Disney World?  Would you like to share with all of my readers?  Then, please respond in the blog comments section below!

Thank you for reading!  I pray you have a Blessed and Magical Weekend, my friends!

Adult Fun at WDW

This question was recently asked….What is there to do at Walt Disney World for adults with no kids?  Well…where do I begin?

The first thing to consider is which Disney Resort should these no kids adults staying at?  I have a couple of thoughts on that.  Port Orleans Resort – Riverside is a beautiful resort.  It feels like a sprawling southern plantation. With paths to walk, areas to discover, and entertainment on site, you can have a little vacation within your vacation.  You can take a carriage ride that includes a tour of Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter.  It’s a really nice way to see both resorts and can be very romantic.  And, don’t forget Yehaa Bob Jackson!  A little laughter can be a fantastic stress reliever.

At the River Roost Lounge in the Port Orleans - Riverside Resort
At the River Roost Lounge in the Port Orleans – Riverside Resort

You could also choose one of the resorts near EPCOT.  Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club resorts are within walking distance of World Showcase.  You can take a nice stroll from the resort into World Showcase and walk through all of the countries sampling little morsels of ‘local’ cuisine.  You enter between the UK and France pavilions, and can choose the direction of travel from that point.  You are also able to walk, or take a Friendship boat, to Disney’s Hollywood Studios for a ride on Tower of Terror or Rock n Roller Coaster.

Think of the rides you may have missed when you DID have the kids with you!  Time to experience them for yourselves!  Pick a park, pick the rides, go for it!  Have fun and take it all in at your own pace.  Remember to take time to look at some of the details.  Especially on Main Street U.S.A. or in World Showcase!

And, don’t forget the soon to be renamed Disney Springs!  New eating experiences, new shopping spots, and new walkways could add a little love to your vacation.  And, if you are a huge Disney fan, try not to get lost at the World of Disney store!  It’s big and has almost anything you could think of to bring home to the kids, grandkids, favorite Travel Agent.

There is so much more for adults.  Try the golf courses that are on Disney Property.  Plan an evening at a show like: La Nouba, Hoop-Dee-Do Musical Revue at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort, or the Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.  Ask your favorite Disney Travel Agent for suggestions.

Thank you for reading!  May you have a Blessed and Magical Evening!

Around the Disney World

Greetings friends!  I know it has been some time since my last post.  Truth be told, I have had a bit of a hard time finding the ability to blog, lately.  But, I am back and hoping to be back in full swing soon!

Let’s take a look at the news from around the Disney World, shall we?

I am sure that many of us are thrilled to hear that both Marvel shows on ABC have been renewed.  Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter will return to the line up!  I am especially excited about Agent Carter.  It is a brilliant show and Hayley Atwell is very good in the role.  And, she’s kind of cute!  In addition, the release date for the next film in the Captain America, Civil War, series has been announced as May 6, 2016.  This film taunts to pick up where Avengers: Age of Ultron left off.  It should be an adventurous time at the theaters next year.

It appears that most, if not all, of the room refurbishments at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort have been completed.  From what I have seen through video, they look amazing.  These rooms are the same size as the Port Orleans resorts, so it’s no surprise that they look familiar!  If you want to check out the rooms go to https://youtu.be/DMYk3eMKSZY to check out the IThemePark video.

Pirates of the Caribbean Refurbishment has been delayed until June 8, 2015.  The ride will be down until about September 25, 2015.  While there is no real news on what is being done, the speculation is that the boats may be replaced, some safety barriers may be put in place, and a general cleaning and refreshing of the Audio-Animatronics will be done.  Summer may be a little different for those hoping to ride this park favorite.  The Pirates League and Jack Sparrow shows will not be affected by this schedule.  Keep up-to-date on Walt Disney World park refurbishments at https://wordpress.com/page/30334162/1120.

Rebel Hangar – A Star Wars Lounge Experience will be located in the Backlot Express area at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  And will offer a menu inspired by the Star Wars movies and television shows during Star Wars Weekends, beginning on May 15, and running through June 14, 2015.  Star Wars Weekends are Fridays Saturdays and Sundays.  Reservations can be made online.  The menu looks pretty good.

And, finally, the Magic Eye Theater, which has been the home of Captain EO for what seems like forever, has been assigned the task of bringing previews of new Disney movies.  Currently, you can see a 4D preview of Tomorrowland Starring George Clooney.  And, later in May you can get a glimpse of the new Pixar movie Inside Out. Maybe it is time for Michael Jackson to stand down from his mission, but I have to admit that I’ll miss it!  No word, yet, on whether EO will return or maybe something new might slide in to this spot.  Personally, I wouldn’t mind a up-to-date reboot of Magic Journeys!

Well, that’s it for now.  As always, thank you for reading!  Have a Blessed and Magical Day, my friends! 

Battle of the WDW Podcasts

Repost: Round 2 starts Saturday, March 28,2015

I am certain that I am not alone when it comes to using any method possible to fill the gap between visits to Walt Disney World.  One of the most common, I suspect, and one I use daily is Walt Disney World Podcasts.  I currently have 22 in my list!  So, I thought it would be fun to run an unofficial poll and see how we all rank our favorites.  This will NOT be an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination, but in the style of my friend Bob All-In-WDW we will have 5 sets of 4 to begin our time.  I will leave it up for two days to give everyone a chance to vote.  The top two from each set will move into the next round.

Dessert Party Changes for Magic Kingdom

There is a ‘new’ dessert party coming to the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World.  Or, it may be better to say it’s a revamping of the old Tomorrowland Terrace Dessert Party.  Beginning, July 5, 2015, the Wishes! Fireworks Dessert Party debuts and will also be held at the Tomorrowland Terrace with an improved view of the fireworks over Cinderella Castle.

Wishes!
Wishes!

Desserts include chocolate dipped strawberries, chocolate mousse, ice cream, season fruit and cheese, and Disney character themed cupcakes.  Beverages include hot chocolate, a signature lemonade, coffee, and tea.

Now here’s the real change!  The cost for the party is $49 for adults, and $29 for children, including tax.  As of March 20, 2015, reservations are available by calling 407-WDW-DINE or at http://www.disneyworld.com.

Thanks for reading and….PARTY ON!

News from around THE World of WDW

Hot off the presses!!!  Be Our Guest Restaurant will be accepting reservations for lunch beginning February 25, 2015.  There is also the option to pre-order your meal beginning at 30 days out up to 5 minutes prior to your arrival time. Lunch will be served from 10:30am – 2:30pm.  Call 407-WDW-DINE to make your reservation.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios welcomes Starbucks into the park under the banner of The Red Trolley Car Cafe located at the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Sunset Blvd.  With this addition to the Starbucks locations, only Animal Kingdom has yet to open a location.  But, no worries, it’s on the way this summer!

From the Disney Blog
From the Disney Blog

Speaking of DHS, the Sorcerer’s Hat is nearly gone!  Latest pictures show only the naked base remained as of Friday, February 6.  Once completed, the view from the main entrance will be the facade of The Great Movie Ride.  A view I hope to see, soon!

There are only a few days left to save up to 30% on select Disney Resorts at Walt Disney World!  You need to book this deal before February 16, 2015 to get this savings!  And, it’s good for travel on most days between February 22 and June 15, 2015.  After that, the savings is ONLY 25% if booked before March 28, 2015!  AND, if you upgrade to as room and ticket package, you receive one more Disney Park ticket day FREE!

If you have any questions about any of these items, or anything else, feel free to contact me at: threestrandswdw@outlook.com.  I will be happy to refer you to one of the many Disney Travel Specialists I have become acquainted with over the past few years.

Thanks for reading and have a Magical and Blessed Weekend, my friends!!

First Time vs. Second, Third, and Beyond at WDW…Part One

The Walt Disney World Welcome Archway
The Walt Disney World Welcome Archway

When it comes to planning trips to Walt Disney World, h)ow you plan may depend greatly on what number visit it is for you.  Today, we will begin to look at some of the differences that may take place in those plans. And, we will start with the first time guest.

If you are a first time guest, how you plan may also depend on kids or no kids!  For our purpose, today, we will be using some general plans.  If you have kids, feel free to adjust accordingly.  Or, better yet, leave a comment below to help others who may need some help.

First time guests often want to push as much into their plans as possible.  They may even attempt to ‘do it all”!  Having a good plan is essential to making this work.  Start by determining how many days you want to be in the parks, to help you plan for your overall number of days for your Disney World vacation.  Then, look at a crowd calendar (there are a few available online), and that will help you judge the flow of each park on a given day.  For first time guests, I do not usually suggest Park Hoppers, as it can be confusing enough just getting to one park each day.  Once you have figured out which park to do on what day, it’s time to plan our order of attractions.  And, there are a number of methods that can be used for this, as well.

If you want to do a few Character meals, make sure you make your Advanced Dining Reservations (ADRs) at the 180 day before arrival point, or as soon as you book a vacation if less than 10 days.  If you are an onsite guest, you can book your entire stay at the 180 point before your ARRIVAL day.  This is called the 180+10 rule!  Also, if you have a larger family, and want the convenience of just making the ADR and showing up, you may want to consider the Disney Dining Plan.  For more information on that, see DDP – Plus Dining at https://wordpress.com/post/30334162/1132/

With the new Fastpass Plus (FPP) system, you can choose your rides up to 60 days in advance, if you are staying at a Walt Disney Resort.  If you stay at a hotel off-property, you have 30 days in advance to make your ride selections. You can do three a day, for one park.  After you use those three FPPs, you can select another one at one of the FPP Kiosks found throughout the parks.  If you want to do one of the hard to get attractions (ie, Anna and Elsa Meet, 7 Dwarfs Mine Train, Soarin, Toy Story Midway Mania), you may want to plan those for later in your stay to increase your chances of getting one of those.

I try to tell my clients to set a flow, not necessarily go WITH the flow, that works for your family.  I find it easier than criss-crossing the parks and putting more mileage on my feet.  However, do what works best for what you want to accomplish.  And, if you do have little ones, you may want to plan a midday break for rest and recovery.  Then, return to the park in the evenings.

One last thing I would suggest.  Don’t plan to do EVERYTHING there is to do!  I have been to WDW 12 times, and STILL haven’t seen it all!  But then, that gives me an excuse to go back over, and over, and over again!  We will look at how to plan when you return in the next issue of the threestrandswdw blog!  Thanks for reading and have a Blessed and Magical day, my friends!!

A Cast Member Christmas Greeting

Anyone who has traveled to Walt Disney World, knows the value of good Cast Members that create magic all of the time!  Today, I wanted to ask everyone to thank the Cast Members.  If you are in the parks this week, take a moment to wish them a Merry Christmas!  Especially those working ON Christmas Day!

I have read a number of posts, lately, ranging from rave to ruin.  And, I can’t help but think that a little Christmas cheer sent their way, would be greatly appreciated!  It may even be more valuable then the gratuities we leave behind!

So, if you have had an outstanding interaction with a Cast Member, would you take a moment to post it in the COMMENTS section at the BOTTOM OF THIS POST?  I am working to forward some of them to Disney World Guest Relations, as a type of massive thank you!

And, may I add…A VERY Merry Christmas to all of my readers!  May the blessings of this day become a miracle in your life!

Cast Members are Artists!!
Cast Members are Artists!!