Category Archives: Disney World

Disney World to Extend 60-Day Advance FastPass+ Booking to Guests at Select Non-Disney Hotels

While Walt Disney World Resort Hotel Guests (and those at the Swan and Dolphin) have been able to book FastPass + reservations for 60 days prior to their visit, it now seems that Disney will roll-out the same benefit to multiple Walt Disney World Good Neighbor Hotels, including those on Hotel Plaza Boulevard near Disney Springs.

While a complete list is not available as of yet, we know that these non-Disney hotels will be able to offer their guests the 60-day FastPass booking window sometime before the end of 2017. These bookings will still be done through the MyDisneyExperience app, the same way other resort guests make the advance FastPass+ reservations.

We expect every hotel in the Disney Springs Resort Area on Hotel Plaza Boulevard to be included, but there should also be additional Good Neighbor Hotels on the list when announced by Disney.

Walt Disney World Annual Passholders and all other guests with linked tickets receive a 30-day booking window currently.

Walt Disney World Hit By Another MASSIVE MyMagic+ Outage

Though MyMagic+ enjoyed a fairly smooth rollout during its inaugural year, as this service has gotten bigger over the years and as it has begun including new features, it has unfortunately also suffered an increase in the number of technical hiccups and outages over the past few months as well. During these technical glitches, individual features stopped responding or gone offline temporarily, resulting in a few inconveniences for guests, but nothing too major. However, yesterday, Disney suffered a massive outage that saw an extended loss of almost all MyMagic+ functionality, save for guest admission and hotel room entry, which continued to function as usual.

During the almost day-long outage, guests were unable to make FastPass+ reservations, use their existing reservations, or claim dining reservations through the app. In addition, guests trying to make future hotel room reservations, purchase tickets, or use their MagicBands to pay for items (or use Disney Dining Plan credits) in the parks were unable to do so for several hours. Naturally, there was plenty of confusion around the parks, as guests tried to keep to their vacation plans, and Cast Members tried to make as many accommodations as possible.

Though this type of large-scale outage is fairly rare, this isn’t the first time this has happened, and with this type of unplanned downtime on the rise, it is probably a good idea for guests to take some minor precautions during their vacation to prepare for this type of outage in the future.

1. Be prepared with cash and credit

When Disney first designed the MagicBand system, the idea was to make it so on-property guests wouldn’t have to worry about carrying their wallets with them, giving them the freedom to pay for food, merchandise, and anything else inside Walt Disney World’s theme parks with just a tap of their wrist. However, even though this system works perfectly most of the time, incidents like what happened yesterday show that MyMagic+ simply isn’t the foolproof system Disney would probably like it to be, and relying solely on MyMagic+ could end up being an issue if the system goes down. Fortunately, guests who think ahead and keep credit cards or even a small amount of cash on them won’t have to worry about not being able to pay for lunch or purchase that limited-edition souvenir they’ve had your eye on, even if the system goes down.

2. Confirm your dining reservations

When the MyMagic+ system went down yesterday, pre-existing dining reservations that were made via MyMagic+ were completely lost, and guests could not retrieve them via the My Disney Experience app or the Disney website. And although Cast Members are more than happy to help guests recover a lost reservation, it is important to remember that it is up to the guest to contact the restaurant either by phone or in person to re-confirm the reservation time. And if a guest finds that they have missed their reservation time, they will need to discuss the situation with the restaurant, not only so they can potentially reschedule their dining time, but also so that their credit card isn’t charged a “no-show” fee.

3. Make the best of a bad situation

Image: Disney

This might seem obvious, but when MyMagic+ goes down tempers can flare quite easily. Though it might be frustrating to lose plans that have been made days, weeks or months in advance, the fact is that getting mad will not help the situation.

In fact, savvy guests can turn this initially negative situation into something positive, as many guests ended up leaving the theme parks during yesterday’s outage, resulting in abnormally low wait times for attractions like the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train and Space Mountain. While it is of course a big pain to deal with a MyMagic+ outage on your vacation, if you can stick it out and go with the flow during the outage, you might end up seeing some benefit from this unfortunate situation.

Image: Disney

No matter what your feelings are about the MyMagic+ system as a whole, guests at Walt Disney World have come to rely on this system to get to their favorite attractions. Though one would certainly hope the system doesn’t go down in the future, based on this most recent outage, as well as the volume of outages we’ve seen in the past, it seems no longer a matter of if, but when. However, though there’s nothing guests can do to fix the system, there is plenty they can do to make sure their vacation isn’t ruined by a technical hiccup.

Not All, 4 hotels in pilot program to accept pets at Disney starting Oct 15

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. >> Four hotels at Walt Disney World Resort will allow guests to bring dogs beginning Sunday.

The hotels near Orlando, Florida, are Disney’s Yacht Club Resort, Disney Port Orleans Resort-Riverside, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort and cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. The Yacht Club adds $75 to daily room rates for canine guests, the other three, $50.

The pilot program is accepting reservations through October 2018. Two dogs are permitted per guest room.

A Pluto’s Welcome Kit includes a mat, bowls, pet ID tag, plastic bags, puppy pads and dog walking maps. Doggy day care and other pet services are offered nearby at Best Friends, an on-property pet care facility.

Disney says dogs staying in its hotels “must be well behaved, leashed in resort public areas and properly vaccinated.”

According to another source:

The Disney Parks Blog has just announced that starting on Sunday, October 15, 2017, select Walt Disney World Resort hotels are testing a program that would allow guests to bring up to two of their dogs. Disney’s Yacht Club ResortDisney’s Port Orleans Resort – RiversideDisney’s Art of Animation Resort and cabins at Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground are all part of this new test. Reservations are being accepted for the testing phase through October 2018.

There will be an additional charge of $75 per day pet-cleaning fee at Disney’s Yacht Club Resort which will be added onto the room rate, and a $50 per day fee at the other three resorts. Dogs will be greeted with Pluto’s Welcome Kit which will include a “mat, bowls, a pet ID tag, courtesy plastic disposable bags, puppy pads and dog walking maps.” Additionally, rooms with a dog staying in them will receive a Pluto-themed “Do Not Disturb” door hanger to notify hotel staff that there is a dog in the room.

Dogs must be leashed in public areas, vaccinated, and well behaved.

Of course, Best Friends Pet Care will still be available on Walt Disney World property, but the opportunity to stay with your canine companion in a Disney resort will have many dog owners extremely excited.

Guests with questions on this new program can call 407-W-DISNEY.

Credit: Disney Parks Blog

Walt Disney World Offering All-You-Care-To-Enjoy Milkshakes at the Magic Kingdom

Who doesn’t love a delicious milkshake?  Just when you think a tasty milkshake at Walt Disney World couldn’t get any better, then they go and offer an all you care to enjoy milkshake, which basically means that you can get as many refills on the milkshake as you want!  The new milkshake offering is located at The Plaza Restaurant on Main Street, USA not far from the entrance to the Magic Kingdom.  This is a fabulous offering an great treat for families to splurge on when they need a sweet, cold treat to enjoy while in the park.  Since the Florida weather is typically warm, ice cream almost always sounds like a great idea!

This special milkshake offering is being sold for $9.00 each and tax isn’t included.  There is a milkshake featured for each month that the all you care to enjoy offering is available for.  This month is a Vanilla and Nutella flavored milkshake.  The featured milkshake will vary from month to month, so it will be exciting to see what flavors Walt Disney World comes up with each month or if they will do any themed milkshakes.

The sign for the “All-You-Care-To-Enjoy Featured Milkshake” reads:

Vanilla Milkshake mixed with Chocolate Hazelnut Spread and topped with Whipped Cream and a Cherry

$9.00

Sales Tax Not Included

This may be one of the most exciting and best valued treats at Magic Kingdom!  What do you think of this new offering?  Would you give it a try?

You can fly non-stop from Vancouver to Disney World for $265 return

The Magic Kingdom is calling you.

Air Canada Rouge’s non-stop flights from Vancouver to Orlando, home to Walt Disney World Resort, are ultra cheap at the start of the New Year, making it an ideal opportunity for fans young and old to put on their Mickey ears for a post-holiday season tropical ‘magical’ getaway.

According to Next Departure, roundtrip flights are for only $265.00 including taxes.

The deal is likely being offered because of the impact of the recent hurricanes on tourism in Florida and elsewhere in the Caribbean region.

However, the Orlando area including Disney World were not severely affected by Hurricane Irma. Damage in the area was minimal, and Disney World quickly returned to full normal operations within a week of the storm’s passing.

The offer is only available on the following dates in 2018:

  • Departure dates:
    • January 10, 17, 24, and 31
    • February 7, 21, and 28
  • Return dates:
    • January 17, 24, and 31
    • February 7, 14, 21, and 28
    • March 7, 14, and 21

Here’s how to track those flights down:

  1. Go to priceline.com
  2. Search for: Vancouver (YVR) to Orlando (MCO)
  3. Mix and match the departure/return dates for your preferred length of stay.
  4. Note that you will have to pay in USD, so take into account the 2.5-3% foreign exchange fee from Canadian credit cards. You will save about $20 when paying in USD versus paying in CAD.

Carrie Barnette, a Disney worker who went to school in Orange County, killed in Las Vegas mass shooting

The bird always reminded her of her grandparents who had passed away, friends and family said.

Now, her friends and family with whom she shared that personal detail, will see hummingbirds and think of her.

Barnette, who attended Pacifica High in Garden Grove and worked at Disney California Adventure, was among the 59 people killed at the Route 91 Harvest festival in Las Vegas on Sunday night, her friends, family and The Walt Disney Co. officials confirmed Monday. Barnette, who lived in Riverside, was 34.

“She was a ray of sunshine,” said Destiny Calderon, 31, who several years ago worked with Barnette at Disney California Adventure. “She always had a smile. If you had a bad day, she would lift you up.

“She was the model example of what a Disney cast member should be,” said Calderon, who now lives in Houston, Texas. Barnette was her food prep trainer. They kept in touch through Facebook and other social media platforms.

Tragedy hit home in the Magic Kingdom when friends and family found out a pair of Disneyland Resort cast members – employees – were struck by gunfire from shooter Paddock during a country music concert in Las Vegas. Another Disney worker, Jessica Milam, was injured in the shooting. She is recovering from surgery, friends relayed on facebook.

Barnette was part of the culinary team at Disney California Adventure for 10 years, Disney Chairman and CEO Robert Iger said in a statement Monday. Calderon said Barnette worked as a food prep trainer and manager overseeing the restaurants and concession stand at the theme park’s Pacific Wharf area.

“We are especially heartbroken over the loss of one of our own to this unconscionable and senseless act,” Iger said. “Our thoughts are with her family, along with our support, during this incredibly difficult time.

Disneyland President Michael Colglazier added: “We mourn the loss of our cast member, Carrie Barnette, and we offer our most heartfelt condolences to her family, fellow cast members, friends and loved ones as well as all who were affected by this senseless act.”

Barnette’s cousin, Janice Chambers, told the Arizona Republic her family waited through the night for word about her.

“We knew she had been shot,” Chambers said. “This morning a friend with her confirmed she is gone.”

Iger added, “Another valued Disney cast member, Jessica Milam, was also seriously injured and we are praying for her recovery.” Milam’s Facebook page says she is a student at Cal State Fullerton.

Joey Castillo, who is married to Barnette’s younger sister, Amy Castillo, said this has been a shock for the whole family. Barnette had just purchased a home in Riverside, a couple of miles away from her sister.

“She’s a very loving person,” Castillo said. “She always put others before herself, was a very hard worker and she loved going to her music concerts.

“She loved her nieces and nephews,” he said. “She was just a joy to have around and very caring. She was my wife’s sister and her best friend. She loved working at Disney’s California Adventure.”

He said his in-laws and wife, Amy, are “trying to keep it together, she is just still in shock. We all are.”

Calderon had spoken to Barnette about the concert on Facebook just a few hours before the shooting. Barnette was a big country music fan. Her Facebook page has pictures and music videos of country music musicians. Immediately, after learning of the shooting, Calderon messaged Barnette to check if she was OK. No response.

It was only hours later, she found out through a friend that Barnette was a victim.

“My heart sunk,” Calderon said.

Castillo said Barnette loved hummingbirds because it she saw them as a sign that her grandparents – Norma Joy and Neil Barnette – were watching over her.

Now, when they see a hummingbird, they’ll know it’s a sign of Carrie watching over their family, he said.

“She was always happy and loved her grandparents with who she’s now with up in heaven,” he said. “She will be greatly missed.”

People Are Waiting An Hour For Disney’s Oogie Boogie Popcorn Bucket!

You’ve seen him. You’ve already fallen in love with him. You MAY have already tried but failed to find him (because he’s selling’ out, y’all)…

Oogie Popcorn Bucket

Oogie Boogie Popcorn Bucket

Oogie Boogie Popcorn Bucket

It’s the Glow-in-the-Dark Oogie Boogie Popcorn Bucket, and he’s taking Disneyland at Halloween Time by storm! AND you may be able to find him floating around Disney World, too, where he’s exclusive to Mickey’s Not-So-Scary-Halloween Party.

Glowing Oogie

Glowing Oogie

Still, Ooogie Boogie is not the only creepy collectible at Disney Parks this fall. We’ve already spotted several in Disneyland, and there’s more on the way coming to both Disneyland AND Walt Disney World! Different pieces will start arriving throughout September AND October, so you’ll have to keep your eyes

Mission find #mickeypumpkin popcorn bucket accomplished ❤️🎃

A post shared by Vanessa (@disneym0m) on

Halloween Time at Disneyland and Walt Disney World is officially in full swing!

The parks have been decorated for Halloween, there are new special spooktacular food items around the parks, and there is also a new popcorn bucket Disney fans are freaking out over!

There are two special Halloween Time popcorn buckets at the parks this year: Mickey Pumpkin and Oogie Boogie from Disney’s Nightmare Before Christmas.

 

While the Mickey bucket is easier to get, people have been waiting in hour-long lines around the parks to get their hands on one!The $15 buckets have been selling out quickly! Disney has been trying to restock the buckets but if you see one while you’re at the parks, get in line and grab one!

Holiday Decorations Coming Soon to Walt Disney World Resort Hotels

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Well, almost. Halloween celebrations are in full swing at the Walt Disney World Resort, but Christmas is just around the corner! After the final night of Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, Cast Members will begin working to magically transform the resort into a merry wonderland. While the Christmas decor in the parks is absolutely gorgeous, there is truly something to be said for the holiday decorations that fill the halls and lobbies of the more than 25 resorts on property.

Each Disney resort on property gets decked out with their own holiday decorations, some of which are worthy of a visit to see, even if you aren’t staying at that particular resort. One of my favorite things to do at Walt Disney World, during the holiday season, is resort hop and take in all the beauty of the resort Christmas decorations.

I love all of the holiday decor around the Walt Disney World property, but a few resorts stand out from the rest. Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Beach Club Resort, and Disney’s Yacht Club Resort all feature some amazing holiday displays that are worth experiencing.

During the holiday season, walking into Disney’s Wilderness Lodge feels like walking into a storybook Christmas. Centered in the resort’s lobby is a large, stunning, Christmas tree; along with the over-sized fireplace the decor makes for a magical place to sit and relax with a cup of hot cocoa. Over at Disney’s Grand Floridian, a beautifully decorated tree graces their lobby as well, but the decoration that truly stands out at this deluxe resort, is their life-size gingerbread house. The attention to detail on this edible work of art is incredible, and the delicious smell of gingerbread is sure to put you in the holiday spirit! Grand Floridian’s gingerbread house isn’t the only remarkable edible decor on property. The holiday decorations at Disney’s Beach Club Resort feature a life-size, functional, carousel made of gingerbread. Beach Club’s sister resort, Disney’s Yacht Club is home to one of my favorite holiday decorations. The resort’s set up includes a gorgeous holiday village with a miniature train. Walt Disney had a love of trains, and I love that connection within the display.

Change at the Disney Parks Is a Good Thing — Here’s Why

The Disneyland of next decade is not going to look like this one. Disney California Adventure will be unrecognizable, nearly all Epcot rides will be tied to movies you’ve already seen, and some of your absolute favorite attractions may go away forever. (Deep breaths, please.)

If it feels like your Mad Tea Cup of nostalgia is spinning too quickly, I get it. The amount of change coming to Disney’s theme parks in the next five years is overwhelming, and not just because writing about it is my full-time job.

There are so many exciting new experiences — Riding a Tron Lightcycle coaster! Piloting the Millenium Falcon! Scurrying around on the Ratatouille ride! — all on their way, which sadly means others need to leave, too. Ellen’s Energy Adventure and The Great Movie Ride shuttered this month to make way for Epcot’s Guardians of the Galaxy-themed coaster and the first-ever Mickey Mouse ride, respectively. Some of Disneyland’s most charming areas were bulldozed for Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, and the bulk of Disney’s Hollywood Studios has already been halved into a construction zone. When Disney California Adventure rethemes Paradise Pier as Pixar Pier, favorites like Mickey’s Fun Wheel are bound to change — and once that Marvel-themed expansion eventually does get announced? Well, A Bug’s Land is likely on the chopping block, too.

It’s easy to freak out when the fate of your favorite roller coaster or family lunch spot may imminently cease to exist, and throwing history in your face about how “Walt wanted the parks to be ever-evolving” won’t help that. But maybe this will: regardless of what change is on its way, I’m convinced Disney Parks are about to become the best they’ve ever been.

I’m convinced Disney Parks are about to become the best they’ve ever been.

When the Streets of America are removed at Walt Disney World or California Screamin’ likely changes forever at Disneyland Resort, it’s not our childhood memories being sent to a landfill. Large-scale changes like these are intended to only make Disney more, well, Disney. For visitors, especially young children, the ability to see beloved characters come to life in a technologically savvy way is key to the parks’ longevity. We’re beyond meeting Winnie the Pooh while eating a sausage link at a character breakfast constituting a mind-blowing interaction, and Disney’s in-park experiences need to reflect that. Instead of being confined to rewatching dusty VHS tapes of beloved classics and watching the zombie-like mannequins blink back at you from within Fantasyland dark rides, kids these days have conversations with animated Finding Nemo characters and text Mike Wazowski their favorite jokeswhile on vacation, mirroring the level of high-tech interactions they have in daily life.

Replacing an old favorite like Maelstrom with a Frozen-themed ride-through isn’t just for mass appeal, it’s for bringing the Disney experience guests have at home to life in as transportive a way as possible. I’d rather be lost at sea in the World Showcase lagoon than be forced to stand in line for Epcot’s Frozen Ever After attraction, but even I know that seeing Disney’s wildly advanced Anna and Elsa audio-animatronics before stepping outside to meet them IRL takes the movie’s essence further than the ride’s middling plot ever could, and that’s what it’s all about. These widespread changes are coming solely to appeal to us — our generation — so that we have a better experience with our future families on visits to the parks.

It’s not just the big public stuff either. Disney is trying desperately to eradicate the all-chicken-nugget-everything theme park lifestyle for our Instagram-savvy peers who want craft beer instead of Bud Light, gourmet desserts in place of grocery-store-quality cupcakes, and food that will photograph as well as it tastes. Gone are the crayon-colored ’90s hotel rooms in favor of sleek interior decor that feels like a clean Airbnb; food trends are being followed more quickly, merchandise is getting way cooler, and lodging is even becoming its own attraction.

All of those insane ticket price hikes are at least going toward something, with more attractions, updates, and enhancements like these announced weekly. It used to cost less to get through the Magic Kingdom’s gates, sure, but you’d spend your entire day standing in line because Fastpass+ didn’t exist and you couldn’t order souvenirs, tickets, and food from your phone.

I professionally critique Walt Disney World and Disneyland, but when Disney Parks reinvent something these days, they tend to go above and beyond. The transformation of Florida’s Downtown Disney to Disney Springs is both stunning and serene, with eateries like Morimoto Asia, D-Luxe Burger, The Polite Pig, and Amorette’s Patisserie stacking the deck with places I insist people dine at while visiting Walt Disney World. When refurbishments are unveiled, it’s clear that things haven’t just been replaced, they’ve been enhanced. Take Disneyland, for example. The new Fantasmic! updates are so unbelievable that nightly fireworks now take a back seat, the rock work on Disneyland Railroad’s rebuilt route is irrefutably gorgeous, and Maxpass makes skipping standby lines and enjoying the park to its full capacity easier than ever.

We locals (understandably) freaked when The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror closed at Disney California Adventure, but Guardians of the Galaxy — Mission: BREAKOUT is already the highest-rated attraction across both parks. Personally, I think the new ride is — don’t egg me please — better than its predecessor, but some change comes without silver linings. The Great Movie Ride’s removal makes the center of Disney’s Hollywood Studios somewhat of a ride graveyard, the backstory justification for Guardians of the Galaxy coming to Epcot being that Peter Quill “visited as a child” still makes me gag, and honestly, I don’t think seeing The Tivan Collection from the Monorail will ever feel quite right.

Still, there’s a reason I don’t let any of the park changes bother me on a personal level. Down in Florida, the reason Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando Resorts keep introducing new attractions, dining locations, lodging options, and immersive themed lands is to pull the tourism crowd flow toward themselves and away from the other. The speed with which rides and park lands are being greenlit is unprecedented; never before would we have seen E-Ticket attractions, full-fledged lands, and groundbreaking waterparks opening on the exact same day.

It’s an era of theme park revolution, and we’re the ones who will benefit from it. If a few favorite experiences have to go by the wayside to make living within our favorite movies, characters, and stories a reality, I’m all in.