SCAM ALERT: WALT DISNEY WORLD HOTEL GUESTS TARGETED

Walt Disney World is often the target of scammers of all varieties mostly because there are lots of people, which means lot of potential victims. At any given time, Disney resort hotels accommodate families in 30,000 or more rooms.

The latest scam targets guests staying in these rooms. Guests have reported that they’ve received a call late at night requesting a confirmation of their credit card information. It’s convincing because they say they’re calling from the front desk, and they even seem to know the guests’ check in date!

Many of the would-be victims have been able to outsmart the scammers saying they would take care of the issue in the morning thus avoiding the scam that could result in unauthorized charges or, worse, identity theft.

Here’s what to look for:

1. Late Callers

Warning Sign: The scammers call late in the evening and say that they had been trying to contact you but have been unsuccessful. This gives clout to why they’re calling so late since most people are not in their hotel rooms during the day.

Avoid it: No one from Disney will call you after 10:30 PM, and if, for some reason, they need to reach you at this time of night, they can ring your room phone silently and leave a voicemail indicated by the red flashing light. What’s more, Disney Cast Members will leave a voicemail if they try and are unsuccessful with reaching you during the day.

Disney Resort Hotel guests are the targets of a new scam.

Disney Resort Hotel guests are the targets of a new scam.

2. Requests for Information

Warning Sign: Scammers will probably know some basic information (even if it’s nothing more than a good guess) and use this to convince you to provide more information.

Avoid it: Never give any personal information including your credit card number over the phone, and avoid posting any travel information on social media. If they know your name, they can find more information to help “verify” their identity and yours.

3. Flyers

Warning Sign: You’ll often find flyers slipped under your door for transportation, entertainment, and especially food delivery.

Avoid it: Some of these flyers are from legitimate companies, but none of them are allowed on Disney property. If you really want to order take-out or take advantage of another service, ask the front desk to verify the legitimacy of a company from a flyer and even a phone book. Even if a Cast Member says it’s legit, it’s still a good idea to avoid giving a credit card number to pay for it. Say that you’ll pay them in cash when they arrive. That way, if they don’t deliver, they don’t get paid. Otherwise, you could pay for food that never arrives.

Unfortunately, Disney World is a prime target for scammers for several reasons. It may be the most magical place on earth, but you still need to keep your wits about you.

Have you ever seen a scam while visiting Disney World?

CONFIRMED: Changes to 2018 Disney Dining Plans including Specialty Drinks

As we previously reported, rumors were swirling that alcoholic and other specialty beverages such as smoothies and milkshakes were going to be available with this year’s Dining Plans. Today, per the Walt Disney World website, we can officially confirm that those drinks will be an option to order with your meal. It also appears that dining plan rates have slightly increased.

Beverage Changes

Guests of all ages will be able to enjoy the following beverage options with their Dining Plan meal:

  • Artisanal milkshakes
  • Fresh Smoothies
  • Premium hot chocolate
  • Soda, coffee, or tea

Guests 21 and over will be able to chose the following to enjoy with their Dining Plan Meal:

  • Beer or cider
  • Wine or Sangria
  • Mixed drinks and specialty cocktails such as a Rum and Coke

speciality beverages

These specialty beverages will be available with quick service and table service meals.

Price Changes

Per the Disney website, prices for 2018 Disney Dining Plans have had a slight price increase. As of right now, we know what the new prices will be for adults on the dining plan.

                                   2018                   2017

Quick Service           $52.49                  $48.19

Disney Dining          $75.49                  $69.35

Disney Deluxe         $116.24                 $106.68

These prices are per adult/per day.

Are you a Dining Plan fan? Let us know!

Kungaloosh and Other Pleasure Island Beverages Coming to Disney Springs

If you’re among the legions who deeply miss the Adventurer’s Club, you will soon have a way to get a taste of it back. Wdwnt.com reports that Dockside Margaritas — located in the Marketplace of Disney Springs — will soon be serving a few signature drinks from the Pleasure Island days… and we were able to confirm this news directly with Dockside Margaritas!

Look for back-in-the-day drinks to include the Adventurer’s Club Kungaloosh and the non-alcoholic Emil’s Strawberry Colada.

You can also look for other Pleasure Island club drinks to be featured on a rotating weekly basis, including the Bell Bottom, Techn-O, and Thriller from 8-Trax, Hoopla from Mannequins, and Punch Line from Comedy Warehouse, among others. (And if the Leisure Suit comes back, I’m moving in.)

Leisure Suite Drink Recipe

Leisure Suite Drink Recipe

Even better, these specialty drinks may be featured with a $9 price tag as part of a #ThrowbackThursday promo (non-alcoholic options will be priced at $5) from June 29th through September 28th.

Dockside Margaritas at Disney Springs Marketplace

Dockside Margaritas at Disney Springs Marketplace

You may also see the drinks available on other days of the week… just not with the Thursdays-only $9 price tag. In fact, the Bartender we spoke with believes that the beverages maaaay appear at Dockside Margaritas as early as this weekend (though she could not confirm 100%). In any case, they’re on the way!

So, raise a glass…  and “KUNGALOOSH!”

Evening Extra Magic Hours Extended At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Through Rest Of Summer

When Pandora – The World of Avatar opened at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, rare evening Extra Magic Hours were made available to resort Guests. Now, Disney has just extended those and  is giving you even more chances to enjoy Pandora at night.

pandora extra magic hours

From the opening of Pandora on May 27 through July 4, Disney offered Extra Magic Hours of 11 p.m. until 1 a.m. at Animal Kingdom.

After that date, evening Extra Magic Hours will continue nightly through Aug. 19, 2017, but they will take place from 10 p.m. until 12 a.m. (midnight).

Not that it should be news, but Extra Magic Hours are only available to Guests staying in Walt Disney World Resort hotels. Please, check the schedule of operating hours to stay up-to-date on any changes that may occur with only Pandora being open some evenings and all of Animal Kingdom being open others.

 

 

CASTING A MAGICAL SPELL AT DISNEY PARKS AND RESORTS

By Beth Deitchman

Jungle Cruise skippers—braving some of the world’s most “dangerous” waters, armed with good humor and puns… The delightful Fairy Godmothers-in-Training of the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutiques—who use their unique blend of pixie dust to create magical transformations for young princesses- and knights-to-be, all around the world… Cast members have always been a vital part of the story for guests at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, but with the opening of Pandora – The World of Avatar at Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida and Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission BREAKOUT! at Disney’s California Adventure in California, they’re taking the magic they make—not to mention the guest experience—to a whole new level.

Bridge to Pandora - The World of AVATAR

When guests cross the bridge into Pandora, they leave Earth behind as they venture to this new moon. And every cast member they encounter has done the same. Pandora is presented “in story,” set many generations into the future, long after the events of director James Cameron’s Avatar films. Conflicts between humans and the indigenous Na’vi are long since over, and all of the people who remain on the planet have made the deliberate choice to call Pandora their home. The cast members who guests will encounter on Pandora have been encouraged to determine for themselves why each of them decided to stay. “We put together such a great group of cast members who want to learn the Na’vi language, who want to come up with their backstories, why they’re on Pandora, all of those things,” Avatar producer Jon Landau (pictured below) told D23.

Jon Landau

Landau has his own unique Pandoran backstory—he has played the role of Marshall Lamm, the founder of Alpha Centauri Expeditions, or ACE—the tour company that facilitates guests’ journeys to Pandora, handling all of the infrastructure, such as check-in-points at attractions. Cast members who work on Pandora wear nametags “issued” by ACE—rather than a traditional Walt Disney World badge—while they’re engaging with guests on the new planet.

Pongu Pongu

“There are also ex-pats, people who stayed on at Pandora after [the conflict] was done,” Walt Disney Imagineering Executive Creative Director Stefan Hellwig said. Guests will encounter the ex-pats while they’re patronizing the merchandise shops or enjoying the local cuisine at Pongu Pongu and Satu’li Canteen. Ex-pats serve as the proprietors of these Pandoran businesses that cater to travelers from Earth. Both the ex-pats and the ACE employees are extremely knowledgeable about Pandora, able to answer guests’ questions about the planet’s flora and fauna, as well as the Na’vi customs. Plus, they speak Na’vi, welcoming all visitors to Pandora with a smile and the traditional greeting, “Kalxti!”

Windtraders

Across the country at Disney California Adventure, cast members are having a blast helping to bring to life the story behind Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission BREAKOUT! As “Terrans” (or earthlings)—ostensibly employees of The Collector, Taneleer Tivan—their true loyalty is to the Guardians and, most importantly, the guests. “We are kind of like double agents,” attractions hostess Summer Mendoza explained. “We are supposed to be strict and think the collector is the greatest, but we are really helping Rocket. We can even create our own back stories to add to the show.”

Guardians of the Galaxy - Mission BREAKOUT

Walt Disney said, “You can dream, create, design, and build the most wonderful place in the world… but it requires people to make the dream a reality,” and that continues to be a guiding tenet at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. “Our cast members are the most important part of telling the story of this attraction and all these characters,” Disneyland Resort Entertainment Senior Manager Glenn Kelman said. “I think one of the things I’m most excited about is tapping into the creativity of our cast and empowering them with enough toys so that they make choices that fit their personality.”

This continued evolution of the interaction between cast members and guests builds upon Disney’s enduring legacy of storytelling and helps to deliver the most immersive experience possible. “It’s why people go to theme parks today, to escape the world we’re in,” Landau said, “and we’re truly giving them a place to escape to.”

Take a Walk in the Park This Summer with New Dooney & Bourke Handbags and More at Disney Parks

Handbags by Dooney & Bourke have been a favorite stylish accessory for guests visiting Disney Parks for years.

Recently, one of the most popular collections received a colorful and creative update thanks to Paola Gutierrez, Senior Graphic Design with Disney Consumer Products and Interactive Media Creative Group. I spoke with Paola about her work on the new design that connects directly to Disney Parks.

Take a Walk in the Park This Summer with New Dooney & Bourke Handbags and More at Disney Parks

“We wanted to update the ‘Disney Sketch’ collection, which was originally introduced more than eight years ago,” explained Paola. “The new collection called ‘A Walk in the Park’ was drawn in a coloring book style, and has a nice nods to memories from Disney Parks. Guests will still find beloved Disney characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. They will also find characters and icons from Disney Parks such as Big Al’s guitar from the Country Bear Jamboree or a Hitchhiking Ghost from the Haunted Mansion.”

Look for three silhouettes in this collection including a Tote, a Zip Satchel, and a Crossbody Wallet.

'Walk in the Park' MagicBand

The “Walk in the Park” design is also found on a limited release, retail MagicBand that is presented in a specially designed box. Containing the innovation of MagicBand 2, guests can use it to unlock the magic of a Disney vacation – from effortless theme-park entry, FastPass+ redemption and Disney PhotoPass association, to skipping the front desk and going directly to your resort room.

Pirates of the Caribbean-Inspired Dooney & Bourke Handbag Collection

Fans of Dooney & Bourke handbags will notice several new silhouettes being offered at Disney Parks this year. Some of these silhouettes were included with the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction collection such as the Crossbody Bag with oversized leather tassel.

“Our guests shared they wanted more options, so this year we are introducing a mixture of classic and new silhouettes,” said Angelique Vu, Merchandise Product Developer for Accessories.

Take a Walk in the Park This Summer with New Dooney & Bourke Handbags and More at Disney Parks

Angelique gave me a sneak preview of two new collections being released in July.

The first is a continuation of the “Dream Big, Princess” collection with handbags inspired by Disney’s “The Princess and the Frog.” The handbag shown above contains a gorgeous image of Princess Tiana, and will include a specially designed leather hangtag.

The second handbag will be part of a Madame Leota-themed collection inspired by the Haunted Mansion attraction.

These handbags will be released on July 22 at the Marketplace Co-Op in Disney Springs. Guests attending this launch party will also have the opportunity to meet Ian Ray, Creative Director for Dooney & Bourke from 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. These collections will also be released at Disneyland Resort on the same day.

Guests may find Dooney & Bourke handbags in select merchandise locations at Disney Parks, on DisneyStore.com, or via the Shop Disney Parks app.

11 THOUGHTS DISNEY FANS HAVE WHEN OTHER PEOPLE TALK ABOUT DISNEY

Being a Disney diehard means accepting three things: that about 85% of your time is spent singing, that you’re consistently Rafiki-ing your pets, and that no one but other Disney fans will ever truly, fully get you. But that’s okay, because we Disney fans can all console and congratulate each other… and your pets secretly like being Rafiki’d anyways. To remind us that we’re not alone, here are eleven thoughts you probably find yourselves thinking on a daily basis (right?):

1. When some random scrub claims to “loooove” Disney, and then asks you if there’s a difference between Disney World and Disneyland:

Lilo-record-player

“You don’t even know what it MEANS to love Disney, much less “loooove with four O’s” Disney, guy.”

2. When someone tries to tell you that Marilyn Monroe was the model for Tinker Bell, or some similar myth:

Sleeping-Beauty-Head-desk

“I would educate you, but I literally cannot even begin to summon the energy.”

3. When you casually mention Disney to someone you just met, and their eyes light up with the brilliant gleam of a thousand dying suns:

Thumper-spinning

“At last, I have found a kindred soul.”

4. When one of your non-Disney-fanatic friends agrees to watch a Disney movie with you and it’s not even your birthday:

Rapunzel-Jumping

“Best day ever! I know I say that a lot but I really, actually mean it this time.”

5. When someone tells you Disney is for kids:

Nana-knocking-over-blocks

“You’re right, it’s totally for kids—both the human kind and the goat kind! It’s also for, including but not limited to: adults, tweenagers, octogenarians, artists, witches and wizards, cat people, dog people, single-celled organism people, spelunkers, mailmen, aspiring welders…”

6. When people assume literally any animated film is Disney:

Jasmine-raja-aladdin

“Tell us, what’s it like to be so completely, utterly, overwhelmingly wrong?”

7. When a baby you know displays the telltale signs of an early affinity for all things Disney:

Dory-squishy

“Look at you being an adorable little mini-human with wonderful taste. You’re my favorite niece/nephew. Don’t tell the others.”

8. When your teachers mention Disney and everyone in your class immediately turns and looks at you:

Little-Mermaid-Hair

“My time to shine.”

9. When someone says you talk about Disney too much:

Elsa-door-slam

“I don’t care.”

10. When someone asks what you love about Disney:

Belle-riding-bookshelf

“How do I even begin to count the ways?”

11. When someone says they don’t like Disney:

snow-white-bye

“BYE.”

We’d ask you if you relate to any of these, but that’s a silly question with a predetermined answer, so how about for the comments section you share any other thoughts you’d like to add to this list instead? Go.

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.

Don’t be alarmed, but a part of Disney World’s monorail just *fell off*

Let’s start off by staying that everyone is fine, there were no major issues, and operations on mostly all Monorail tracks around the theme park have resumed as normal. But on Friday afternoon, part of Disney World’s monorail *fell off.* That certainly doesn’t happen every day.

A guest visiting EPCOT happened to be standing in the theme park’s parking lot — FYI, the Monorail passes over the EPCOT parking lot — when suddenly a metal piece from the overhead vehicle fell to the ground. There were no injuries when the piece fell, as there were no guests in the immediate area. (Guests onboard the Monorail didn’t even realize anything had happened.)

We were leaving Epcot at 12:55 pm walking to our car. We were directly under the monorail looking at it pass over us. It started making..

.making sounds and some little pieces flew off then the bigger piece flew off. Thankfully we were more to the left and it went right.

The guest flagged down cast members working in the EPCOT parking lot, who then alerted the monorail team. The Blue Monorail was stopped, but guests were not evacuated; the monorail was then towed back to a station where the guests safely unloaded. Still, no injuries, no one was hurt, just a little hot and shaken.

Numerous fire trucks and ambulances preparing to evacuate guests from monorail blue at Disney World

According to WFTV 9 in Orlando, Florida, Disney issued a statement saying that, “Blue Monorail had a malfunction and they don’t know what caused it to stop.” In a separate issue, to the Orlando Sentinel, Disney spokeswoman Wilma Colon explained that “The Epcot line will remain closed as workers investigate the problem.”

Exactly *what* piece fell from the Blue Monorail is still being investigated. While all parts of the monorail are pretty important, the fact that the monorail didn’t stop immediately signifies that it wasn’t a vital piece to keep the vehicle running. But still, you know, it’s probably kinda important.

We hope that Disney gets to the bottom of what exactly went wrong, and operations can resume as normal on all monorail lines. <3

Is a Haunted Mansion Restaurant Coming to Walt Disney World?

The WDW rumor mill certainly has been active these past few weeks. It seems that there’s a rumor of a new coaster or attraction based on the latest, hottest Disney IP popping up every other day.

The latest rumor involves the possibility of a Haunted Mansion themed restaurant coming to the Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World.

Now, I put a little more stock in this particular rumor given the source. User WDW1974 on the WDW Magic Forums has proven to be a pretty reliable “insider” over the years, and this one comes from him/her/them.

From the forum thread

And before Tom Amity* decides to break news that was broken here a long time ago, let me again spell out that a new Haunted Mansion eating venue/experience is coming to the MK, despite the mixed reviews of the Skipper Canteen.

Given the popularity of The Haunted Mansion, I completely believe this could be a thing. In fact, my wife and I always joke that eating in the West Wing of Be Our Guest is pretty close to what a Haunted Mansion restaurant would probably be.

My question is — where would it be located? Would it be a new building, or would they re-theme an existing dining location? If we’re talking about a re-theme, I say it’s time to throw Columbia Harbour House overboard. It’s right across the street, and it’s pretty mediocre.

Some other quick rumors and updates from WDW1974…

As the talented Mr. Ripley used to say, you’re free to believe it or… or not.

Should any of these rumors turn out to be true, The Kingdom Insider (and the entirety of the Disney blogosphere) will be there to tell you so.

Stay tuned, foolish mortals…

(“Tom Amity,” I believe, is the codename for Tom Corless of WDW News Today. Apparently he’s not well-liked over on WDW Magic, though I didn’t follow the drama.)

[Hat Tip: Orlando Weekly]