Eat To The Beat Changes At EPCOT F&W Fest

EPCOT

As usual, the entertainment for this year’s EPCOT Food and Wine Festival looks really good.  There are a few changes to keep in mind.  First, The Eat To The Beat Concert Series has been designated as a Tier 1 Fastpass+.  There will be a separate queue line at the American Garden’s Theater that will open up 20 minutes before each concert.

Here is this year’s line up:

  • David Cook – September 25-27, 2015
  • Wilson Phillips – September 28-29, 2015
  • Christopher Cross – September 30-October 1, 2015
  • Starship – October 2-4, 2015
  • Smash Mouth – October 5-7, 2015
  • The Pointer Sisters – October 8-9, 2015
  • 38 Special – October 10-11, 2015
  • Rick Springfield – October 12-13, 2015
  • Sugar Ray – October 14-16, 2015
  • The S.O.S. Band – October 17-18, 2015
  • Air Supply – October 19-21, 2015
  • Fuel – October 22-23, 2015
  • Tiffany (NEW!) – October 24-25, 2015
  • Dennis DeYoung – October 26-28, 2015
  • Jo Dee Messina – October 29-30, 2015
  • Everclear (NEW!) – October 31-November 1, 2015
  • Boyz II Men – November 2-4, 2015
  • Sister Hazel – November 5-6, 2015
  • Big Bad Voodoo Daddy – November 7-9, 2015
  • Hanson – November 10-12, 2015
  • Maxi Priest (NEW!) – November 13-14, 2015
  • Chaka Khan (NEW!) – November 15-16, 2015

With three shows daily,at  5:30p, 6:45p, and 8;00p, there should be ample time to see your favorites!

For now, I’d like to wish you all a Blessed and Magical rest of your weekend! Bye, now!

Star Wars Addition to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Star Wars experiences were announced for Disney’s Hollywood Studios at Walt Disney World, Florida at the D23 Expo this weekend.  Here are a few of the highlights…

Star-Wars-Launch-BayStar Wars Launch Bay will open later this year and allow you to experience exhibits, behind-the-scenes action, visit some new characters, food, and new merchandise from the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  This experience will be located in the current Animation Courtyard portion of DHS.

Season Of The Force will debut in early 2016 at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  This will be a new fireworks show set to the score penned by the brilliant composer, John Williams.  This will be a seasonal event and will take place on the weekends.  Dates have not been announced, as yet.  And, I’m not sure if this is a replacement for Star Wars Weekends, or in addition to SWW.

Star-Tours-TACStar Tours – the Adventure Continues will be getting an update.  But, it doesn’t seem like there will be a need for much refurb time.  There will be new scenes added to the current ride from the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens.  This should ad a bit more variety to this random experiential attraction.

Disney VISA Cardholders will be able to order new cards with Star Wars characters on them.  And, there will be the Star Wars Imperial Meet and Greet for Disney VISA holders, as well.

The Star Wars Land experience will take us to a new, never before seen planet near the outer rim.  It will include two new ride experiences, and the much anticipated Cantina will be quite a draw. This 14 acre additions is being considered the MOST ambitious undertaking in Disney Company History.  There will be a mirrored experience built at Disneyland Park in California, too.  No time line has been announced for completion of these projects, but I hope progress will be seen quickly!

Thanks for reading, sharing, or commenting!  Have a Blessed and Magical Day, my friends!

Changes in AOA Rooms Status at WDW

2013-12-04 13.10.33

Disney has decided that the Finding Nemo Suites at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort are now Preferred Rooms!  This means that you will pay a premium to reserve these accommodations.  The amount of this premium will depend on the time of year.  In low season, the premium may be worth the up tick, if you want the closest location to Animation Hall where you have the Ink and Paint Shop, Landscape of Flavors Dining, and Bus Stops to all of the parks.

As an option, while a little farther away, both the Cars Family Suites and Lion King Family Suites are really not that bad.  We stayed Lion King our last trip, and found the distance manageable.  The only real concern is that none of the parking lots are CLOSE to any of the buildings.

Simba by Day! Art of Animation Resort
Simba by Day!
Art of Animation Resort

I truly hope you all have a Blessed and Magical Sunday!

Recent News Events at WDW

Selfie SticksSelfie Stick

Let’s start with the news that is circling the globe at record speed!  If you own a Selfie Stick, and plan to use it at Walt Disney World, don’t bother.  Beginning on June 30, 2015, Selfie Sticks will not be allowed in any Walt Disney World parks or DisneyQuest.  Due to several guest complaints involving safety concerns, WDW felt it was safer to ban the sticks completely.  I find this news to be amazing because every news source I come across is talking about this decision.  It is expected that this move will ripple it’s way around ALL Disney Parks Worldwide in the next few months.

Disney World Arch2016 Walt Disney World Packages

Vacation packages for Walt Disney World in 2016 have been released and are available up to 499 days prior to your arrival.  That means that you can currently book through mid-November.  There are no special discounts, so far, but if you know you are going, book now and apply the discounts later!

There are several changes to the packages.

Additions

* First, you can now book and pay for a trip with as little as ONE DAY either online or by phone.  This applies to the remaining 2015 and all of 2016 packages.

*Payment due dates have changed.  You can now apply a $200 deposit up to 31 days prior to arrival.  Full Payment is due 30 days prior.  The previous was 45 days.

*Enhanced Miniature Golf with four (4) vouchers per package for use at Disney’s Fantasia Gardens or Disney’s Winter Summerland miniature golf courses.

*Four passes per package to visit ESPN Wide World Of Sports, good for admission for one day per guest.

Subtractions

*Splitsville discounts have been cut from 20% to 10%, but there are no restrictions.

*Removed are the Arcade Game Cards, Bongo’s Cuban Cafe Discount, Children’s Activity Center discount, Disney Tours discount, DisneyQuest Discount vouchers, Fulton’s Crab House discount, Horseback Trail Rides Discount, Guided Bass Fishing Excursion or Bass Nitro Fishing Excursion discount, Paradiso 37 discount, Spa Treatments and Salon Services discount, and Walt Disney World marinas discount.

The courtesy hold on packages booked through Vacation Planners has been reduced from 7 days to 3 days.  If you book through a planner, you will have to make a decision a little quicker or loose the reservation.

Also, keep in mind that the deposit/changes guidelines are for the Disney Travel portion of your vacation.  Any fees governed by third parties may have other guidelines, so make sure you are aware of those, also!

Looking to the Future

With the D23 Expo rapidly approaching, I wanted to take a moment to just speculate a little about news that may, or may not, come out of this year’s event.  Let me just say how much I wish I could be there, myself!

We are probably all tired of rumor and guessing on the fate of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  I am hoping that there will be several rumors put to rest at this year’s D23.  Here is my wishlist…

1. The new name for Disney’s Hollywood Studios?  Disney’s Hollywood Adventure

2. Placement of anything having to do with Star Wars?   Echo Lake to New York Street

3. Expanded Pixar Presence?  Pixar Playground

Keep in mind that these are just guesses on my part.  What about you?  What are you hoping for out of D23?  Let us know in the comments below!  Until next time, have a Blessed and Magical day!

Changes Soarin’ at WDW

The Man who Started it ALL!
The Man who Started it ALL!

Walt Disney always said that things in the parks would continue to evolve and change as imagineers came up with new ideas and technologies.  Well, this week saw a completed refurb and a few announcements of new enhancements at Walt Disney World.

First, Under The Sea: Journey of the Little Mermaid recently completed a short refurbishment that saw enhancements to the scenes.  Most notably, some added fish and the use of additional black lighting to bring out the glow of this dark ride.  I can’t wait to see this one in person!

Walt Disney World announced two rides would be getting a little more space to help with crowds.  These changes have been rumored for sometime, but we now know that a third track is being added to Toy Story Midway Mania at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  This additional track will hopefully help shorten wait times in the stand-by line.  We shall see!

Soarin'And, at EPCOT, Soarin’ will have a third theater added to help swallow larger crowds.  The new theater will have a new screen and an upgraded movie system. I am assuming that it will be going digital, but that hasn’t been confirmed at this point!  Once this third theater opens, the other two will be upgraded with new screens and the upgraded movie system.  A completion date hasn’t been released, but most guesses are in the fall of 2016.

Cinderella’s Royal Table reopened in THE Castle!  I can’t wait to see the new pictures, but at this point, no word on any improvements to the menu.  Stay tuned!

Have a Blessed and Magical Day, my friends!!

magical_matthew

A Single Ride at WDW

One of the best innovations at Walt Disney World isn’t isolated to one park, or one attraction.  It can be found in all but one of the Florida parks!  And, it doesn’t cost extra to use it!  What am I talking about, you might ask?  The Single Rider Lines available at select attractions!

2013-12-07 09.34.01Sadly, there are also a limited number of attractions that offer this option.  Those attractions are: Test Track in EPCOT, Expedition Everest at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Rock n Rollercoaster at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  However, these are three of the more popular attractions on the property!  The time it saves can be as much a half the regular standby line.  And, if you are willing to split up your party, you can all get through a bit quicker by riding as a single!Expedition Everest 2013

There are currently no single rider lines available at The Magic Kingdom, but I wonder if maybe a few of those attractions might be able to support the concept?  I also am curious to know why they don’t exist at all in this park.  My theory, it’s about FAMILY!  The Magic Kingdom exudes the family atmosphere more than the other parks.  So, maybe the idea of breaking up a family for a quick ride doesn’t lend itself to this park.

If there were Single Rider options for The Magic Kingdom, what would you choose?  What other attractions would you like to see Single Rider added to?  Let me know!

For now, I wish you all a Blessed and Magical Day, my friends!!

threestrandswdw

Changes In Ticket Prices at WDW

WDW2015

It has happened, my friends.  The annual, sometime semi-annual, ticket price increase has taken place overnight!  The biggest impact is to the one-day ticket price, but all prices have increased!  Here’s what it will cost you now.

One-day Adult Ticket to Magic Kingdom…………$105.00 plus tax for a total of $111.83 each.

One-day ages 3 – 9 Ticket to Magic Kingdom…….$99.00 plus tax for a total of $105.44 each.

One-day Adult Ticket to EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom  …………………….$97.00 plus tax for a total of $103.31 each.

One-Day ages 3 – 9 EPCOT, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom………………..$91.00 plus tax for a total of $96.92 each.

3- day Adult Magic Your Way Tickets………………$275.00 plus tax for a total of $292.88 each.

3 – Day Age 3 – 9 MYW Tickets………………………..$256.00 plus tax for a total of $272.64 each.

You get the idea!  Most of the daily changes are only a few dollars, but those add up with larger families.  Multiple day tickets are still the best way to go as the daily average decreases considerably with the more days you plan to be in the parks.

If you want to add the Park Hopper Option, you will pay an extra $64.00 per ticket, and it doesn’t matter how many days are on your ticket!  So, let’s look at an example of the Adult Ticket portion of a vacation package.

A 5-day Magic Your Way ticket……………………$315.00

Park Hopper Add-On…………………………………….64.00

Tax………………………………………………………………24.64

Total…………………………………………………………$403.64

You can add Water Park and More for an additional $64.00, as well. Or, combine Park Hopper and Water Park and More for a combined package of $90.00.  And, Memory Maker can also be added for $169.00 if done at least 4 days ahead of your arrival.

Thanks for reading, my friends, and have a Blessed, Magical, and hopefully warm day, today!

Check-In Changes at WDW

Checking into your Walt Disney World Resort room has just gotten streamlined!  Testing on this began late last year, but has now moved into the active phase of the My Disney Experience life.

Disney World Arch

The first resorts to convert began on February 10, 2015 and include Animal Kingdom Lodge, Art of Animation, Contemporary Resort, Polynesian Village Resort, Pop Century Resort, and Port Orleans Resort including Riverside and French Quarter.

On February 25, 2015 Boardwalk Inn, Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Wilderness Lodge, Yacht and Beach Club Resorts will begin the bypass check-in.

Finally, on March 10, 2015 you will have All-Star Resorts, Caribbean Beach Resort, Coronado Springs Resort, Old Key West Resort, and Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa will complete the transition.

Here’s how it works!  Once you order your Magicbands for your current stay, and order them shipped to your home, you must complete the Online Check-In process on the My Disney Experience App or Website.  You must either pay for your reservation in full, or assign a credit card to you Magicband with a PIN number.  And, you must also decide if you prefer to have communication via email or text.

Before your departure you will receive and email explaining the Direct-To-Room service with additional information.  You will receive a text or email notifying you of your room assignment.  And, once you arrive at your resort a Cast Member will assist you in what to do next.

This is an OPTIONAL service, according to Disney, I would love some feedback from anyone who uses it!  Just leave your comments below!  Have a Blessed and Magical Weekend, my friends!!

Monorail Changes at WDW

So, have you seen the current schedule for the Monorail?  Both the Express and Resort Loops have been affected with the current round of refurbishments being implemented at Walt Disney World!  The schedule is from the Walt Disney World Travel Agents website is as follows…

Monorail

The Walt Disney World® Resort Monorail System will undergo refurbishment that will impact the Resort and Express monorail beams on select days in February and March. During these times, Monorails on the Resort beam will travel between Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa and Magic Kingdom® Park. Monorails on the Express beam will now make an additional stop at Disney’s Contemporary Resort as they travel between Magic Kingdom Park and the Transportation and Ticket Center.

Monorail service will continue to be available from all stations while this work takes place. Monorail operating hours will remain unchanged. Guests may note a difference in the way they board the Monorail and should allow for additional travel time to reach their destinations. Guests staying at impacted Resorts will receive in-room communication upon their arrival.

So, the only common station is at Magic Kingdom park.  If you want to go to the Contemporary from The Polynesian, you will have to take the Resort Loop monorail to the Magic Kingdom, and either walk to the Contemporary, or get on the Express train that will go back through the Polynesian on it’s way to the Transportation and Ticket Center, and the Contemporary.

The dates for this schedule are: February 9 – 12, 23 – 26 and March 2 – 5, 2015 from 11:00am to 7:00pm.

Hopefully, this will mean smoother and more reliable service once all of the upgrades have been completed.

Thanks for reading! Have a Magical and Blessed day, my friends!!