Feb 102016
 

IMG_1142

This is my daughter Caitlin meeting her all time favorite Disney character, The Beast at Be Our Guest restaurant in October 2015. He danced her around the room, then kissed her hand! The look on her face says it all! (Submitted by Traci M.)

In each issue we feature a magical memory submitted by one of our readers. We look forward to sharing your memories in upcoming issues! To submit your memory, email a photo with a short description to info@magically-speaking.com.

Feb 102016
 

When you get in trouble and you don’t know right from wrong
Give a little whistle! Give a little whistle! – Jiminy Cricket

Q. I recently returned from an awesome trip to Walt Disney World. While there, I tried out Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, but didn’t have time to complete it while I was there. I won’t be going back until 2017. Will my progress be saved by then? I love your show and hope to hear from you soon. (Submitted by Theo H.)

A. Hi Theo!

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is a lot of fun and I’m so glad to hear that you enjoy the interactive game that takes place in the different lands of the Magic Kingdom.

So, theoretically, your progress should be rolled over, which is great news for you! However, I have heard that about a year or so ago, there was a glitch that occurred that set people back to the beginning. Of course that’s rare and has only happened the one time, but it is something that could potentially happen.

I hope you have fun on your next trip playing Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom!

Feb 102016
 

Walt Disney World Closures and Refurbishments

Magic Kingdom

  • Liberty Square Riverboat will be closed for refurbishment through February 22.
  • Magic Carpets of Aladdin will be closed through February 3.
  • Mad Tea Party, will be closed for refurbishment from February 22 through February 26
  • Jungle Cruise will be closed for refurbishment from March 1-3
  • Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, will be closed for refurbishment from April 4 through July 2016

Epcot

  • New – The Circle of Life Film at The Land Pavilion, will close for refurbishment through April 3
  • Soarin’ will undergo expansion in the coming months. When work is complete in 2016, the attraction will include an additional theater. Soarin’ will also get updates to its screens and projection system, bringing a visually enhanced experience. The attraction will be closed through mid-summer 2016.
  • Maelstrom and the Spirit of Norway movie have closed. In their place, a new “Frozen” themed attraction will be built that is expect to open in early 2016. The new attraction will take guests to Arendelle and immerse them in many of their favorite moments and music from the film. The pavilion will also include a royal greeting location with Anna and Elsa.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • Pizza Planet will be closed for refurbishment through November 7. When it reopens in late 2016, the restaurant, still serving the popular pizza and salads, will have additional seating and registers.
  • Lights, Motors, Action! Extreme Stunt Show, Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure Playground, Monsters Inc. Character Meet & Greet, Writer’s Stop, Watto’s Grotto, Studio Catering Co. and Prop Shop are scheduled to close on April 3 due to redevelopment plans for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. All of these closures will be permanent to make way for new expansion projects at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.
  • A new Toy Story Land will be coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The 11-acre land will include a family-friendly roller coaster and an alien saucers attraction, in addition to a third track for Toy Story Mania to accommodate even more guests. The Toy Story Mania track addition is expected to be completed by the end of 2015.
  • A new Star Wars-themed Land will be coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, allowing Star Wars fans to step into the stories from a galaxy far, far away. Plans to bring Star Wars to life include creating Disney’s largest single-themed land expansions ever at 14-acres. This authentic land will have two signature attractions, including the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, on a customized secret mission, and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

 

  • Work on The Tree of Life will cause some operational changes through the first few months of 2016. Changes include the relocation of Tarzan to an area by the Disney Vacation Club kiosk on Discovery Island, removal of the macaw perch, and a new access for the Wilderness Explorers Insect badge by Adventurers Outpost. Additional changes may occur based on the work.
  • Disney Outfitters will be closed for refurbishment through mid-March 2016.
  • The Boneyard will be closed for refurbishment from February 22 through March 17
  • Flights of Wonder will be closed from through March 17.
  • Pandora – The World of AVATAR will bring the fantasy world of James Cameron’s AVATAR to life at Animal Kingdom Park. The new land will feature a new E-ticket attraction, AVATAR Flight of Passage, that will allow Guests to soar on a winged creature known as a Banshee over a vast alien world. Additionally, “Rivers of Light,“ expected to open next spring, will combine live music, floating lanterns, water screens and swirling animal imagery on the natural stage of Discovery River; and two new animal species, African wild dogs and hyenas, were announced for the upcoming nighttime version of Kilimanjaro Safaris, which is also expected to open next spring. Construction on Avatarland is expected to wrap up around 2017.

Disney Springs

  • Planet Hollywood will be closed for refurbishment through summer 2016.
  • New – Fulton’s Crab House will close early April 2016 to begin a major remodel. Currently, the re-opening date is undetermined.
  • Parking Lots – Entrance 2 – Lots A-G will be closed through August 1 in preparation for the construction of Town Center and the East Garage.
  • Roadwork on Buena Vista Drive will take place through March 2016. Due to heavy roadwork, expect delays on Buena Vista Drive. It is recommended that Guests use complimentary Walt Disney World Resort transportation from Parks and Resorts to Downtown Disney and plan to arrive early for reserved dining and entertainment experiences.
  • Downtown Disney will undergo a multi-year transformation into Disney Springs. New and completed areas will open in phases, and the project is expected to be complete in 2016.

Water Parks

  • Typhoon Lagoon will close for refurbishment through March 12.

 

Disneyland Resort Closures and Rehabs

Disneyland

  • Autopia has closed for refurbishment with the reopening dates to be announced at a later date.
  • Jingle Cruise will close on January 11 with the reopening dates to be announced at a later date.
  • Rivers of America and the Disneyland Railroad has closed temporarily to make room for a new Star Wars-themed land at Disneyland Park. Attractions along the Rivers of America that will close include:
    “Fantasmic!”
    Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia
    Rafts to Tom Sawyer Island
    Pirate’s Lair on Tom Sawyer Island
    Davy Crockett Explorer Canoes
    These attractions are expect to reopen in the future.
  • Big Thunder Ranch, including Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue, Big Thunder Ranch Petting Farm and Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree, has closed permanently.
  • 20th Century Music Company has closed on January 25 with the reopening dates to be announced at a later date.
  • Indiana Jones Adventure will close on February 29 with the reopening dates to be announced at a later date.
  • A new Star Wars-themed Land will be coming to Disneyland park, allowing Star Wars fans to step into the stories from a galaxy far, far away. This authentic land will have two signature attractions, including the ability to take the controls of one of the most recognizable ships in the galaxy, the Millennium Falcon, on a customized secret mission, and an epic Star Wars adventure that puts guests in the middle of a climactic battle.

Disney’s California Adventure Closures and Refurbishments

  • Luigi’s Flying Tires has closed. A new attraction will debut in its place at the beginning of 2016.
  • Soarin’ Over California will be closed February 8 through some later date to be announced.
  • Disney’s Aladdin – A Music Spectacular has closed. The Hyperion Theater will be transformed for the “Frozen” theatrical production. The show will immerse guests into the world of “Frozen” with elaborate costumes and sets, stunning special effects and surprising scenic transformations.
  • Muppet*Vision 3D is closed indefinitely while theater is used for Frozen-themed show.

Outside the Theme Parks

Continue reading »

Feb 102016
 

My magical tip is when shopping in the Disney theme parks, the experience is so much better if you can have your purchases sent to your room. Guests have the option of sending their packages back to their resort when shopping in most stores property-wide. (Submitted by Carolyn G.)

Best of Be Our Guest Podcast

BOGP Logo 300x300x72Each issue we will feature a snippet of what you could learn by listening to the Be Our Guest Podcast. Be sure to check back each issue for more fun.

Episode 973 – First Time at Disneyland for Star Wars Race Weekend Staying at Grand Californian

We are excited to have Ashley from Arkansas join us to discuss her recent first-time visit to Disneyland for the Star Wars – Light Side Race Weekend!  Hear about getting to Disneyland from the mid-south, staying at the Grand Californian Hotel, touring Disneyland and California Adventure over a runDisney race weekend as well as mini-reviews of each race!

The Be Our Guest Podcast is hosted by Disney lover Mike and co-hosted by fellow Disney aficionados Pam, Rikki and Debbie. The show covers everything from listener experiences to questions about how to make the most of your dream trip to the world! We hope you will join us each week as we share our love of all things Disney and we hope you will share yours as well. The BOGP family has members from all over the world and we hope you will join us!

Listen to us every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at Be Our Guest Podcast!

Feb 102016
 

Lost

 

Last week, you could find Ms. Lost waiting for the gangster to board her tram at the Great Movie Ride! Congratulations to Jody W.!

This week, Ms. Lost went back in time to find this beautiful lamp. Where was she?

If you think that you can help, please email your answer to: lost@themouseforless.com

Send in your guess by February 20. Please be as specific as possible, noting not only the park but the specific ride, attraction, or section where the picture was taken. For instance, instead of saying, “Epcot,” say, “At Epcot at Maelstrom” (which isn’t this week’s answer). One random entry from all correct entries will receive a Disney trading pin.

Feb 102016
 

By Jennifer Retzlaff

Many of us have Disney vacations coming up either for spring break or during the summer months. Walt Disney World can be overwhelming to those visiting for the first or even the one hundred and first time, but there are some steps you can take to help make the most of your trip.

Before You Leave:

Make Dining Reservations

Magically Speaking Feb Book Reservations

If you are planning on eating at any of the Disney table service restaurants while on vacation, it is greatly encouraged to book your reservations ahead of time. 180 days ahead of time for those staying on Disney property to be exact. Highly sought after reservations to places like Be Our Guest Restaurant, Cinderella’s Royal Table, Chef Mickey’s and many others book up quickly leaving little room for walk up reservations during these busy months. In order to prevent your Disney princess from being disappointed she doesn’t get to eat in the castle, try to make those reservations as close to the 180 mark as possible.

Book Your Fastpass+

A few years ago now Disney started the new FastPass+ system where Disney guests are able to book their FastPasses up to 60 days ahead of arrive time. Although there are mixed reviews on this new system, many find the opportunity to book their favorite rides, shows, meet and greets or parades ahead of time a positive to their trip. Just like with the dining reservations, FastPasses book up quickly so it is greatly encouraged that you try to make these as soon as the window opens to you 60 days if you are an on-site guest and 30 days if you are staying off property. There are normally some passes available on the day of, but the times will be greatly limited and mostly for those rides that aren’t as popular. Doing a some research ahead of time regarding fastpasses is also a good idea. There are a variety of sites and books that will help you determine which attractions would give you the most bang for your buck when booking fastpasses. These leads us right into step number three which is research.

Do Your Research

As I stated before, Disney is a huge resort that can become extremely overwhelming. Just the four main parks offer a variety of shows, rides, parades, and meet and greets for guests to choose from. With that said, I would highly recommend doing some research over the different parks you would like to visit. If you aren’t like me who loves to research, just take some time to familiarize yourself with the different parks and rides that each park offers. This will help when you head out in the morning to prepare your group for what they should be expecting that day. You don’t want the little guy to think he is going to take on stormtroopers when you are really heading to Animal Kingdom to visit the dinosaurs. Having a basic understanding of each park, what it offers, and what food is there will help make your visit run that much smoother.

Make a Plan

As big as Walt Disney World is and as dining reservations and FastPasses are becoming more of a necessity, having a plan for each day prior to arriving will help you feel less overwhelmed. I am not suggesting you plan every moment or even every day, but having a general idea of which park you might prefer to head to will help everyone feel more in control when your magical vacation starts.

While There:

Now that you have taken a few steps before leaving to make sure that your trip will run smoother, here are some to help keep the magic going while you are on your Disney vacation.

Take Breaks

Magically SPeaking Feb Enjoy Resort

It doesn’t matter if you are two, twenty-two or fifty-two; everyone needs breaks while on a Disney vacation. It is often hot and humid which drains your energy quickly. Also, if it is crowded, taking a break from people is also a good thing for one’s patience. These breaks can be at the resort, at the park or riding the monorail around. Just take sometime to relax and not feel like you have to be doing something. These breaks will make your trip that much better as you will be refreshed and able to enjoy the magic that much more.

Explore your resorts

Magically Speaking Feb Take Breaks

Disney resorts are within themselves an amazing experience. Make sure that you schedule some downtime at your resort and look into all the events going on at the resort itself. This could mean swimming and taking part in the many activities provided at the pool to watching a Disney movie outside. Each resort has so many unique experiences to offer don’t forget to slow down and take them in as well. You are paying for it!

Use the FastPass+ System

If you took advantage of my earlier tip and made your FastPasses prior to heading to Disney, you are one step ahead on this one. While you are at Disney, you can still utilize FastPasses. Using the My Disney Experience app you can adjust your FastPasses that you have already made. Many travelers find this useful as they feel like they can have some more flexibility when in Disney. Just remember that not all FastPasses will be available on that day so you take that chance when changing or modifying them. It is a good to know this however so if you get swimming and don’t think you will be back to the park, or it is raining and you don’t want to go to Animal Kingdom that day, it gives you the chance to change things around while on vacation.
The other part of the FastPass system you can use while in Disney is taking advantage of booking more following using your originally three. After you have used your original three FastPasses, you are able to book one additional one at that park from a FastPass+ kiosk. If you plan this right, you could easily keep booking FastPasses throughout the day at that theme park you are attending. Again, not all rides will be open, but it still gives you a chance to guarantee yourself another ride throughout the day. We weren’t picky with our fourth, fifth, and sixth FastPasses while there as we used them as bonuses to what we had already booked and also had some fun letting the system tell us what to ride.

Eat at off times

This one can be a huge time saver and stress reliever. Disney’s quick service restaurants get extremely busy from 11 a.m. -2 p.m. on most days. If you and your family are able to eat late or early, it would save your group some time as you will be able to move faster through eating and also be less stressed as finding a seat should be a lot easier. Use these busy times to hit up some rides and shows at they should be a little slower during this prime eating time.

Hit up the shows for breaks

Magically Speaking Feb Enjoy SHows

My number one tip for your trip while at Disney is to take breaks. If you don’t want to head to your resort as you feel it will waste time, then check out some of the shows and less popular attractions to provide you with some much needed downtime. Even though it will still be entertaining, sitting in the air conditioning for a show can greatly revive one during the day. In Epcot there are a variety of amazing shows in World Showcase that you can see, Magic Kingdom has the Hall of Presidents, Country Bear Jamboree, Carousel of Progress, and The Enchanted Tiki Room as great places to rests. Animal Kingdom and Hollywood Studios are a little bit harder to find easy, quick places to relax, but if you can’t get into Festival of the Lion King or Finding Nemo: The Musical at Animal Kingdom, Dinoland offers some more relaxing places and is usually less crowded than the other parts of the park. Hollywood Studios has One Man’s Dream, where you can learn about Walt Disney and the new Star Wars Launch Bay, which is filled with artifacts from the movies. No matter how you do it, just make sure to schedule in some breaks.

Use the Disney PhotoPass photographers

Magically Speaking Feb Use Photographers

Disney provides a variety of PhotoPass photographers throughout each of the four main parks. These cast members are there to help you capture your memories. Take advantage of them. We have always purchased the Memory Maker from Disney, which allows us to prepay for all of our pictures ahead of time. The last few times we have gone, we have taken around 400 pictures making it well worth the money spent. Even if you don’t purchase this offer, the photographers will still help take pictures on your phone/camera. Don’t miss those special moments in front of the castle because you don’t have someone to take the picture, use these well-trained, amazing cast members to capture that memory.

Walt Disney World is an amazing vacation and hopefully these few tips will help you in your planning a magical trip and experiencing the magic of Disney while on your vacation. Happy planning!