Category Archives: DisneyLand

The magic is back: Disney reopens in Orlando post-Irma

ORLANDO — There was magic in the air again Tuesday in storm-squeezed central Florida.

Walt Disney World, the mega-entertainment complex and cherished theme park billed as “the most magical place on Earth,” reopened its doors in Lake Buena Vista —  two days after Hurricane Irma began its historic assault on the state.

The Magic Kingdom and Epcot Center were running their normal business hours. Also up and running: Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and Disney Springs.

The complex’s water parks remained shut, but Disney said it hoped to reopen later this week.

On Tuesday, Disney lovers were eager to ride the dizzying Tea Cups, travel under the sea with The Little Mermaid and brave Thunder Mountain. At Space Mountain, one of the park’s most popular rides, guests only waited 10 minutes. Usually, the wait is around an hour.

Paola Pedroso, 28, traveled from Brazil to visit Disney with her bridal party. They flew into Miami on Sunday and stayed at a hotel near Universal Studios during the worst of the storm.

“But it wasn’t scary. We thought it would be,” said Pedroso, a white Mickey Mouse house hat and veil atop her head. “Our family and friends (back home)  were scared more than us because everybody was talking about it. I thought it was going to be a huge thing, but it wasn’t.”

Even cooped up in a hotel before hitting the Magic Kingdom — where they took time to stop for foot-long hot dogs and gooey cheese dip — they still managed to have a good time.

“We had a lot of fun in the hotel,”  Pedroso said. “The hurricane didn’t stop us.”

Pedroso was among tourists from foreign countries and the U.S. who flocked to the park in a bid for a return to normalcy after the shifting and ferocious Irma caused havoc in the central corridor of the state with potent winds and torrential rain.

Irma made its first landfall in the lower Florida Keys early Sunday morning as a Category 4 hurricane before striking land a second time at Marco Island in the west later in the day. The storm then shifted east, passing west of Orlando early Monday as a Category 1, with winds of 85 mph.

Disney never lost power but was slammed with winds and rain that caused trees to topple and water to seep into some buildings. Disney resort hotels remained open during Irma, but the parks were closed Sunday and Monday.

Heartfelt thanks to @WaltDisneyWorld for magically accommodating crews who were diverted unexpectedly en route to help with 

But strolling down Main Street to Cinderella’s Castle on Tuesday, you’d never know a villainous hurricane had just ripped through the state. There’s no debris on the pristine roads, no flooding near the ferry boat docks and not even a chip in Cinderella’s glass slipper or the Beast’s beloved encased rose — housed inside Disney’s crystal figure shop.

Almost all of the rides and attractions were open when the theme park began greeting guests, with the exception of the railroad. Workers were still busy clearing debris from the storm off the tracks. The railroad was expected to  reopen Wednesday.

The park’s restaurant lines filled out quickly as visitors craved something besides the peanut butter sandwiches, protein bars and water they’d been living on during the storm.

Andrea Brian, who lives in Winter Garden about a half hour from Disney, said her daughters were “restless and ready to get out of the house” after hunkering down for Irma.

Since her family has annual passes to Magic Kingdom, she figured it was the perfect time to come.

“We were cooped up in the house for days, and I knew the lines wouldn’t be too long,” she said, taking a break underneath Rapunzel’s castle with her daughters Addison, 6, and Mary Kate, 4.

Faced with Irma and a spooky ride on Magic Kingdom’s Haunted Mansion — her favorite — Addison wasn’t fazed.

“I slept through the whole thing without a peep,” she said of Irma. She managed to stay awake on the Haunted Mansion ride.

But Brian called it “the most horrifying thing I’ve ever been through,” although she’s thankful she never lost power and her house had no damage.

“I’m from Tennessee originally, and there I’ve never experienced wind like that before,” she said.

Glenn reports for Florida Today. Contributing: Susan Miller, Mike Snider USA TODAY

This Is the Most Expensive Mistake You Can Make at Disney

There are a million ways to do Disney. But whether you experience the most magical place on Earth the right way or the wrong way depends on how prepared you are for your trip. Without proper planning, you could make costly mistakes, turning an already pricey vacation downright unaffordable.

Of course, Mickey hats and other Disney paraphernalia will be vastly inflated on site and not worth the expense. But other lesser known mistakes are made all the time — some without knowledge you’re even committing one. Here are 10 of the costliest Disney mistakes, ranked from minor to catastrophic.

10. Assuming your child is privy to child prices

  • Price of your mistake: $6 per day per child, plus food

Although Disney brings out the kid in all of us, guidelines for whom it considers a true child are relatively strict. Those who are 10 and over must pay adult level admission prices, as well as adult menu food prices — even if your 12-year-old only craves Mickey waffles and orange juice.

The adult breakfast at the Be Our Guest Restaurant, for example, is a full $8 dollars more expensive than the kid breakfast option. Ticket prices for adult verses child admission also vary by $6 per day, which could get pricey depending on the day of the week and the number of days you plan on staying.

Next: Food mistakes that’ll add up quickly

9. Food options in the park

  • Price of your mistake: About $15 per person

Not researching your food options before entering Disney could be costly for you and your family. Walt Disney World has a variety of in-park food options that range in price from $14.99 per adult to over $60 per adult. Snacks are obviously cheaper, but it’s not uncommon to pay $5 for ice cream Mickey ears, a prerequisite vacation buy.

People with food allergies, dietary preferences, or just a hankering for savings can bring their own food into the park. Katie, the blogger behind Kitchen Stewardship, spent a whole day at the theme park and succeeded in bringing her own food.

Many guests think leaving the park for cheaper food options is smart, but they’re just wasting time and money. The most efficient savings strategy is to eat a free resort hotel breakfast first, then pack a bag of snacks for the trip.

Next: Forgetting to alert the staff of this one thing could cost you.

8. Keeping your birthday a secret

Walt Disney World Resort marked its 45th anniversary

Disney knows how to celebrate. | David Roark/Disneyland Resort/Getty Images

  • Price of your mistake: $15 to $20 worth of freebies

Celebrating another trip around the sun is definitely not something you want to keep secret at Disney World. In fact, you’d be breaking a cardinal Disney mistake by not alerting the staff of your birthday — or any other monumental celebration occurring during your stay.

Any guest armed with a celebration button will get special treatment throughout the resort. As explained in Theme Park Tourist, this button acts as a big flag for staff who are prepared to offer you anything from free desserts and Starbucks coffees to sandwiches and impromptu birthday serenades.

Next: Ticket strategies are important for your budget.

7. Going with the wrong ticket strategy

Disney World

Make sure you take advantage of your time there. | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

  • Price of your mistake: $75 for a six-day visit per person

The length of your stay is what really influences your spending habits at the park, and trying to decipher among varying ticket options can get hairy. It’s best to keep it simple. The longer you stay, the cheaper it gets. And the older your kids are, the more valuable a Park Hopper becomes.

The Disney Tourist Blog recommends first-timers stay for six to eight days to get the most out of their vacation. If you plan on going multiple days, bundle your day passes for super savings. For example, individual day passeswill run $99, but a six-day pass is only $65 per day.

In addition, upgrading to a six-day Park Hopper ticket is only $75 more. But buying this would be a waste of money — almost an entire Disney dinner meal — if your crowd is too young to withstand multiple parks back to back. Most people don’t recoup their value because there’s only so much time in a day.

Next: Some things are better left unplanned.

6. Adding on all the bells and whistles beforehand

Paying as you go will save you from paying for things you don’t need. | Mark Ashman/Disney via Getty Images

  • Price of your mistake: $90 in additional fees

If you’re prone to upgrades and sweet-sounding deals, one of the biggest — and most expensive — mistakes you can make at Disney would be going for broke when it comes to park access. Part of Disney’s magic is the art of the upsell, meaning guests have the option to purchase ticket add-ons, such as Park Hopper and Park Hopper plus. This gives you access to the main parks, the water parks, golf courses, and ESPN’s Wide World of Sports.

But it doesn’t make sense to pay for options you won’t use ahead of time. Seven days’ worth of Disney World theme park access and seven Water Parks Fun & More admissions might seem doable during planning, but actually trying to visit these in real time will feel like running an Iron Man race. Add-ons aren’t worth it if you only plan on making one visit to the other parks. And because they’re cheaper than the main park, it makes sense to purchase admission separately throughout your vacation to ensure you only pay for what you use.

Next: Perks sometimes outweigh price.

5. Forgetting available resort perks

Disney Paris resort and hotel

Disneyland Hotel at The Walt Disney Studios at Disneyland Paris | Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

  • Price of your mistake: $90 at minimum

Guest who choose to stay off the Disney resort will save a bit of money, but they’ll miss out on convenient travel perks only offered to resort guests. It worth considering value when choosing accommodations, as resorts offer free entertainment, transportation, and food to hotel guests. Not only will you pass over contagious Disney magic outside the theme park, you’ll pay $20 per day to park, $50 and $70 per day in rental car fees, and likely waste money on expensive breakfasts each morning.

Planning to just sleep at your resort would be careless, as well. Many of the resorts offer free entertainment options that are instrumental in saving money on your vacation. The resort lobbies are one of the best places for character photo opportunities,and many will offer free tours to guests looking to take it all in.

Next: How much time are you wasting in line?

4. Forgoing line strategies

Spinning Teacups at Disney Paris

Be first in line for the Teacups. | Bertrand Guay/AFP/Getty Images

  • Price of your mistake: All the time in the world

The biggest gripe about Disney is the “hurry up and wait” phenomenon that no park hopper or ingenious map route can seem to squander. Without proper preparation, you’ll spend the majority of your day waiting for a ride while withering away in the hot sun. But Disney didn’t achieve unprecedented success without a few tricks up its sleeve. Guests will commit a detrimental Disney mistake by ignoring simple wait-time hacks, such as Ride Switch, FastPass, and Single Rider policies.

FastPass allows riders to choose three attractions per day to jump the line into the “FastPass” lane. Some rides have an entirely separate lane for single riders who don’t mind strapping into a coaster alone. And Ride Switch is a timely solution for parents who must switch off with another parent to wait in line with a child who can’t ride. And if you’re not using Disneyland phone apps to scout the shortest lines in the park, then you’re doing Disney all wrong.

Next: Why it’s an expensive mistake to spend all your days at Disney

3. Spending the entire vacation at Disney

The IllumiNations Reflections Of Earth Laser and Fireworks

Epcot should be experienced. | iStock.com/JimVallee

  • Price of your mistake: $107 per day

There’s no need to splurge on five days’ worth of passes if you know you can hit everything the Magic Kingdom and Epcot have to offer in three. An adult one-day ticket is $107, all of which will go to waste if you’re stuck catching Z’s at the hotel room. It’s best to spread your Disney trip across all attractions to save money. As mentioned earlier, Water Park tickets are $45 cheaper than a theme park pass and could prove to be more relaxing than navigating a crowd at Hollywood Studios.

Disney Tourist Blog suggests that you buy one day fewer worth of tickets to enjoy other amenities available to you for less money. Visitors on the WDWinfo blog advise vacationers to take a breather with an off day. For example, take a leisurely ride on the Monorail to check out nearby Disney resorts, or wander around the Disney campgrounds.

Next: Suppress your desire to splurge.

2. Splurging on overpriced experiences

Minnie Mouse meet and greet with kids

Kids can meet their favorite characters around the park, too. | Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

  • Price of your mistake: $333.64 for tea with a princess, for example

Amid all the magic and music, it can be tempting to indulge in a few lavish Disney-related activities. And though they might make for an unforgettable trip, they’ll definitely be costly.

Disney Fanatic breaks down a few of Disney’s most extravagant activities, including princess teas, backstage private tours, and dolphin encounters. But if your children want to have tea with a princess, expect to pay over $300 for the royal treatment.

Next: Should you really bring the kids?

1. Bringing kids who are too young to appreciate such an expensive vacation

family at disney world

These memories can last a lifetime if they’re old enough. | Todd Anderson/Disney Parks via Getty Images

  • Price of your mistake: About $370 for a six-day child’s ticket

We hate to say it, but towing young children to Disney World or Disneyland might be your most costly Disney mistake ever. Florida weather is brutal in the summer, and trudging through all 27,000 acres of the park in search for Minnie Mouse is exhausting for little legs. In fact, some would say Disney is no place for children — at least those who wouldn’t appreciate it.

What’s abundantly clear is a Disney vacation is expensive. And a toddler who cries through a character dining meal or spends afternoons and evenings napping (the prime show times) is wasting their price of admission. It’s best to wait until your child is a bit older to enjoy all the sights.

Follow Lauren on Twitter @la_hamer.

Walt Disney World Fourth of July Celebrations

Fourth of July and fireworks. They go together like peanut butter and jelly, right? Walt Disney World is ready to celebrate the good old red, white, and blue in fantastic fashion. So, if you are wanting to salute all nations, but mostly America, they have some great ways to do it!

Magic Kingdom
Celebrate with Disney’s Celebrate America! A Fourth of July Concert in the Sky which commemorates the Fourth with brilliant fireworks that are all choreographed to patriotic music. The best part about this fireworks spectacular is that they are shown on two nights – July 3 and July 4 at 9:00 p.m. So you have two chances to catch this unique and special show.
You also don’t want to miss The Muppets Present…Great Moments in History. During the show, Miss Piggy, Kermit, Fozzie Bear and friends reenact famous moments in American history all in a fun manner. This is a live show that is performed daily in Liberty Square.
Another must see during the holiday is the Flag Retreat which takes place at 5:00 p.m. each day in Town Square on Main Street U.S.A.
The Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade will be shown twice on both July 3 and 4 – once at 12:00 p.m. and once at 3:30 p.m.

Epcot
At Epcot, Illuminations: Reflections of Earth will add a patriotic twist to the show, with a special finale tag that celebrates America. Illuminations takes place at 9:00 p.m.
Guests will absolutely not want to miss performances by the talented Voices of Liberty. This is an a cappella group who perform traditional Americana tunes during a 4th of July Concert at the America Gardens Theatre at 5:30 p.m., 6:45 p.m., and 8:00 p.m. During the day, catch American Music Machine on the America Gardens Theater stage, as they perform pop hits, at 12:00 p.m., 1:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 3:00 p.m. and 3:50 p.m.
Guests who love to meet characters can meet Disney favorites all dressed up to celebrate America’s birthday throughout the day at the American Adventure Pavilion.
Finally, Guests do not want to miss the American Adventure show which is a journey through important moments in America’s history narrated by Audio-Animatronic figures of Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain. Prior to the show, make sure to stop in the American Heritage Gallery for “The Kinsey Collection.” This exhibit showcases 400 years of African-American achievement through rare art, documents, books and artifacts.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios
What’s more American than Star Wars? Celebrate this great icon of our culture with the “Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular” fireworks spectacular. This show takes place nightly at 9:30 p.m. The show dazzles with themed fireworks, lasers, special effects and video projections of iconic characters and scenes from the Star Wars saga, all set to that unforgettable film score.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom
For the first time ever, Guests can experience a nighttime show on the Fourth of July at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. The new nighttime show celebrates a connection with nature through fire, water and light. Rivers of Light is shown twice nightly at 9:15 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Disney’s Grand Floridan Resort & Spa
The resort will be hosting an All-American July 4 cookout from 7:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. Guests will enjoy a meal of grilled steak and shrimp, hot dogs, baked beans, sides, plus specialty drinks, beer and wine. There will be a live DJ on hand and fun crafts for kids. Once dinner is over, Guests will be able to head to the Grand Floridian Marina for sweets, as well as a view of the Magic Kingdom Fourth of July fireworks. This special experience costs $120 plus tax for adults ages 10 and up, and $59 ages 3 to 11. Gratuity is included. For reservations, 407-WDW-DINE.
I will make sure to update this post as additional Fourth of July events for the resorts get announced!

As a reminder, the Fourth of July is one of the busiest days of the year at Walt Disney World. Make sure you come prepared with a plan and pack your patience. (Oh and be prepared for the heat!)
Fourth of July is a fun experience no matter where you are, but Disney certainly goes all out to celebrate America’s birthday.

Disney Characters Surprise Deaf Child with Sign Language

This deaf boy’s special moment at Disneyland will make your day!

Olive Crest, a nonprofit that provides safe homes, counseling, and education for abused, neglected, and at-risk children, took a trip to Disneyland and discovered that magic is real. In the video above, you see a 2-year-old boy communicate with Pluto in sign language. Pluto responds, followed by Minnie and Mickey, in sign language.

The characters were not informed of the child’s condition prior, but responded in the best way possible!

GET READY: PARK CLASSICS FANTASMIC!, RIVERS OF AMERICA, AND DISNEYLAND RAILROAD ARE RETURNING TO DISNEYLAND

It’s going to be a magical summer for celebrating at the Happiest Place on Earth. Not only will we soon be celebrating the 62nd anniversary of Disneyland, but beloved, classic attractions like Fantasmic!, the Rivers of America, and the Disneyland Railroad are returning to the Park better than ever! We’re over the moon about this! Here are the details:

FANTASMIC!

We were excited to learn that this fantastic nighttime spectacular is returningwith its original fanfare and iconic theme song. And now we’re thrilled to share that Fantasmic! will officially make its return on July 17, the same day as Disneyland’s 62nd anniversary. What an amazing day it will be! As we previously learned, there will be magical new scenes to experience, including a scene inspired by Aladdin. Remember this whimsical image we were treated to?

What an unbelievable sight! And now we’re learning that there will be a scene inspired by The Lion King, too! Ahhh! This is phenomenal news. Our current expression:

Yes, yes, YES! We just can’t wait for the return of Fantasmic! With displays that will be brighter and more vibrant than ever thanks to new state-of-the-art projection technology, this will truly be a spectacular show. We’ll be counting down the days until July 17.

RIVERS OF AMERICA

This epic adventure through majestic landscapes inspired by four of America’s rivers—the Mississippi, the Columbia, the Missouri, and the Rio Grande—will delight guests once again with enhanced experiences through inspiring landscapes. Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island will make its return on Friday June 16. And on July 29, Mark Twain Riverboat, Sailing Ship Columbia, and Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes will sail back into action! Excuse us while we go sing “Just Around the Riverbend” in excitement!

Pocahontas Riverbend

With new adventures to see and enhanced features, including 5 dazzling waterfalls in a new Columbia Gorge section, the Rivers of America will be the place to see this summer. There will even be a beautiful new waterfront on the north bank. Courtesy of Walt Disney Imagineering, here’s a look at an artist’s rendering of the new riverbank we’re looking forward to gliding along:

What a glorious view. And as you can see in this image, the Disneyland Railroad will travel along the new elevated trestles of the Rivers of America attraction. Which brings us to …

THE DISNEYLAND RAILROAD

Also making a return on July 29, the Disneyland Railroad will once again travel on a grand circular tour of Disneyland. For the first time ever, the railroad will veer left to continue around the park, showcasing restored and enhanced dioramas of the Grand Canyon and Primeval World. It will be a splendid sight to behold, and we are so ready to go on this scenic adventure!

This summer at Disneyland is going to be so epic, so legendary, so … classic. We can’t wait for the return of these amazing attractions! Are you excited, too? Tell us in the comments!

Music and lyrics for “Just Around the Riverbend” were written by Alan Menken and Stephen Schwartz.

Gelatoni Merchandise Arrives at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

We have some exciting news for fans who love to collect all-things Duffy the Disney Bear and his friends! Tomorrow, Gelatoni, a Disney friend of Duffy, will arrive at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa, in Hawai‘i. Guests who have visited Tokyo Disney Resort may recognize Gelatoni as the cool cat with an artistic flair for creating new masterpieces.

At Aulani Resort, guests can pick up an array of Gelatoni items created exclusively for Aulani—from adorable plush sporting Hawaiian vacation attire to must-have souvenirs and accessories. In total, there are 13 new items to discover. In fact, Aulani Resort is the only Disney Resort in the U.S. to offer Gelatoni merchandise!

Gelatoni Merchandise Arrives at Aulani, a Disney Resort & Spa

Also available exclusively at Aulani Resort are plush of Duffy the Disney Bear and his best friend ShellieMay. Duffy is ready for a relaxing Hawaiian vacation, dressed in his aloha shirt, and ShellieMay is wearing a coordinating dress. The Tori Richard-designed outfits depict various Aulani iconography in the tropical print designs, including the mischievous Menehune found throughout the resort.

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