Soarin Around The World

The Epcot classic Soarin is getting updated! A new movie is being filmed and the ride will lose its California only theme to become Soarin Around The World!

Of course Walt Disney World has a lot of projects going on these days. Hollywood Studios is getting a Star Wars Land and a Toy Story Land. Animal Kingdom is getting Pandora, the World of Avatar. The Magic Kingdom’s New Fantasyland is still fresh enough to be considered new. While this update to Soarin is the not the same as a new land it is something to encourage Epcot lovers.

Soarin’ (Over California)

Many of you are no doubt familiar with Soarin at Epcot.  For those who have never had the pleasure of riding Soarin it is located in the Future World section of the park in the Land Pavilion.

Soarin is a flight simulator but not one like you may be used to. Guests enter one of two (will be three soon!) theaters. Each theater has three ride vehicles each of which has three rows. You are seated in your assigned seat and when everyone is ready the ride vehicles lift you into the air and where once there were three horizontal rows there are now three vertical ones! Your feet are swinging free below you and the canopy above you gives you the impression you are in a hang-glider.

Soarin Around the World

That is when the ride really starts! Guests quickly become immersed in the movie as sights from all over California are mixed with motion, sounds, smells and even the rush of air over your face! It is quite an experience.

Soarin Around The World

Unfortunately, for those in Walt Disney World at least, the ride was a little confusing. After all you are taking off from Florida and then the whole ride features California (the movie was originally filmed for Disney’s California Adventure and came east to Florida later.) The ride even ended at Disneyland!

Now a new movie is being filmed and Soarin will become Saoarin Around the World. New scenes are being added and it is quite possible that parks around the world will have slightly different versions of the ride. Maybe (crossing fingers) it will even be like the new Star Tours and no two trips will be the same!

While Disney has not revealed all the new scenes that will be incorporated you can get a view hints from the Making of Video below. There are definitely a few scenes you can recognize instantly.

For a look behind the scenes at the new Soarin Around the World check this video out!

Unfortunately the new Soarin Around The World will not open until 2016.

Ready to take your own Soarin’ adventure to Disney? Let me help you get the best value for your trip. Get a free quote today by clicking here.

 

Star Wars Land Coming To Disney

That disturbance in the force last weekend was not the Death Star destroying a planet. It was Star Wars fans rejoicing over a major announcement at the annual D23 Expo in Anaheim, California. Star Wars Land is coming to Disney!

Star Wars Land Coming To Disney

There had been speculation for years that Disney was going to add a Star Wars land somewhere. The rumor mill jumped into high gear when Disney bought Lucasfilm. Bob Iger (chairman and chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Company) added to it earlier this year by saying there would be an increased Star Wars presence in the parks.

Many fans were pulling for a Star Wars land at Hollywood Studios in Orlando. This made good sense because the Studios already had the annual Star Wars Weekends in May and early June. And with the Wizarding World Of Harry Potter just down the road at Universal Studios Orlando many people were waiting for Disney to answer Universal’s challenge.

Star Wars land coming to Disney

But there were also rumors that Tomorrowland at Disneyland in California might be the new Star Wars land. There was little to actually suggest this but reality has never had a big impact on rumors and wishes.

It turns out that both coasts are about to experience the power of the Force. Hollywood Studios will be getting a Star Wars Land. Disneyland will also be getting a Star Wars land but the location is not yet clear.

What To Expect From Star Wars land

As you might imagine there were a lot of teasers about what the new Star Wars land would look like but not a lot of details. Here is what we were told…

The new land (presumably at both parks) will be 14 acres and according to Iger, “Our largest single themed land expansion ever.” To get an idea of the scope of this project old Fantasyland was 10 acres and the expansion made it 21 acres.

Star Wars Land coming to Disney

The Star Wars land will not be set on Tatooine, Luke Skywalker’s homeworld. Nor will it be set on any other planet we are familiar with. Instead it will be on a new, as of yet unannounced planet, from the upcoming Star Wars trilogy. This planet has been described as remote port on the edge of wild space.

There will be two major attractions in the new land. One will give guests an opportunity to pilot the famed Millennium Falcon on a secret mission. The other will put guests in the middle of an battle. This battle will not be from the previous trilogies but will be from the upcoming Force Awakens.

Being Disney there will also be merchandising and food options. These locations will be heavily themed and feature creatures both old and new from the Star Wars universe.

One thing was conspicuously absent from the announcement. There was no opening date announced. We will have to wait for that but Disney has announced some teases until the new land opens.

Till Then…

The good news is Disney is not going to wait to start introducing new Star Wars themed content.  There are changes coming to some existing attractions and some  new attractions and events coming. They are expected to begin arriving before the end of the year.

Star Tours will be getting some new variations. Not only will new scenes be introduced but new characters as well. With the randomness that is already built into Star Tours this just adds more options to the mix.

The Jedi Academy is also scheduled for some updating. There will be a new design as well as new characters and story lines.

There are two completely new elements that will be introduced. They are Launch Bay and Season of the Force.

Launch Bay will evidently be a new location. There will be character meet and greets and opportunities to interact with designers and directors. How and when this interaction will take place is still to be revealed. There will also be props, artwork and opportunities to experience some of the best Star Wars video games.

Season of the Force is a new event. It will debut on both coasts but each coast will have at least one unique experience. At Disneyland Space Mountain will become Hyperspace Mountain. At Hollywood Studios there will be a new fireworks show set to the famous Star Wars Soundtrack by John Williams.

Both coasts will share character interactions, special merchandise and food. This will no doubt be similar to Star Wars Weekends.

But What Does This Mean For Star Wars Weekends?

Nothing was specifically mentioned about Star Wars Weekends but Season of the Force would seem to replace the popular event. If so it will greatly expand the opportunity for guests to experience Star Wars and that is a good thing! Guess we just have to wait and see how it all plays out!

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Something Besides Burgers at Disney

Something Besides Burgers at Disney

Headed off to a Disney vacation but afraid of burger burn out? After all that is the only option theme parks really offer. Right? And they will be overpriced too. Right? Well Grumpy cannot disagree about the overpriced but there is no need to suffer from burger burn out. There is something besides burgers at Disney.

In fact you do not have to pay to have a fancy sit down dinner or hit one of the character buffets to escape the bun. There are plenty of options from sushi (yes Grumpy really said sushi) to bbq ribs that will not set you back a fortune. In fact most of them are one quick service dining credit.

Top Quick Service Options By Park

So where do you find these options? First let’s take a look at Grumpy’s top choice for each park (and one honorable mention.)

Magic Kingdom

Columbia Harbor House: In the Magic Kingdom and looking beyond Pecos Bill’s or Cosmic Ray’s? Give Columbia Harbor House a try. Located in Liberty Square you have probably seen it a million times and never paid attention. But you are passing up some good food! The menu centers around seafood and includes tuna, battered fish and shrimp. Have non-seafood people in your party? There are also chicken nuggets on the menu. The theme in the Columbia Harbor house is also worth a look.

Something Besides Burgers at Disney

Epcot

La Cantina de San Angel: Located in the World Showcase’s Mexico pavilion La Cantina de San Angel is an excellent escape from burgers.  La Cantina de San Angel offers excellent Mexican selections like Tacos de Barbacoa. These shredded beef tacos are a Grumpy favorite. The only drawback to La Cantina is the seating is very limited and is outdoor. Note: Don’t confuse La Cantina de San Angel with La Hacienda de San Angel. La Hacienda is in the pyramid and is table service (much higher prices.)

Hollywood Studios

Fairfax Fare:  If you head down Sunset Boulevard towards the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster starring Aerosmith and smell something good cooking it might be Fairfax Fare. This is another one of those places that is easy to overlook. Most people head to ABC Commissary or the Studio Catering Company. They are missing out on some good barbeque. Fairfax Fare offers chicken and spareribs. As with La Cantina de San Miguel one of the big drawbacks here is outdoor only seating.

Animal Kingdom

Flame Tree Barbecue: A real favorite for visitors to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Flame Tree is found on Discovery Island and offers ribs, chicken and pork sandwiches. The seating area is large but spread out and outdoors. But there is some bad news…Flame Tree is currently closed for refurbishment but some of their offerings are available at kiosks like Beastly Kiosk (also on Discovery Island) and Trilo-bite in Dinoland.

Honorable Mention

Be Our Guest: Be Our Guest is one of the hottest meals in the Magic Kingdom. And by hottest Grumpy means it is hard to get into not that the food everywhere else is cold. In fact it is so popular it is the only quick service (as of publication date) that offers Advanced Dining Reservations.

So why is it honorable mention? For one because you probably will not be able to get in there and it doesn’t really matter what they offer or how good it is if you cannot get in. Secondly, it is only Quick Service for breakfast and lunch. At dinner it becomes Table Service.

Be Our Guest is located in the new Beast’s Castle. It is impressive from the outside and inside. The menu has a French flair to it and includes Croque Monsieur (Grilled Sandwich of Carved Ham and Gruyere Cheese and Bechamel) with Pommes Frites, carved Turkey Sandwich Carved and carved prime chuck roast beef sandwich.

SOMETHING BESIDES BURGERS AT DISNEY

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Disney Changing Refillable Mugs

Disney Changing Refillable Mugs

Disney is changing Refillable Mugs again! Guests will no longer be able to purchase mugs for short stays at a reduced rate. All mugs will instead be $16.49+tax

Those who have been around a while will remember mugs used to be much cheaper than that. The mug was good for the length of your stay and only meant to be used at your resort for that stay.

Disney Changing Refillable Mugs

Of course there was some abuse. People would reuse mugs from previous trips without ever paying again. (For the record that is stealing whether you think the price is too high or not. Whether Disney is charging too much or not is another matter.) Grumpy even had a picture of a woman filling jugs of soda at one of the resorts. Unfortunately I cannot find it again.

This theft led to Disney changing refillable mugs by introducing the Rapid Refill Mug. The Rapid Refill mug looks about the same as the old mug but it comes with a special chip in it. This RFID chip communicates with the dispensers at the Walt Disney World Resorts to let them know if you are authorized to get a drink.

When the Rapid Refill Mug was introduced Disney also introduced a tiered pricing system that let guest pay less for shorter stays.

One thing that surprised a lot of guests was that there was a delay between usages of the Mug. You could not fill it up and drink it down and fill it right back up. There is a 2-3 minute cool down period before you could use it again. This, no doubt, was another attempt by Disney to reduce theft.

Now that Disney has changed the price again (it actually went down for some people doing longer resort stays!) everyone must again evaluate whether the mug is worth it or not. Here are the key things to consider before you shell out $17.

  1. How often are you going to use the mug? If you are not going to use it often it might be better to just buy a single serve paper cup.
  2. How close are you to the refill stations. Most resorts have at most two locations you can use the mug at. Are you going to walk across the resort to get a soda or use one of the vending machines
  3. The locations are not open 24/7
  4. And last but not least, even if you don’t use it that much you can take it home and it makes everything you drink at home taste a little better.

What do you think about the Rapid Refill Mugs and the new price?
For more information visit wdwinfo.com

Win A Disney Vacation

Win A Disney Vacation

Disney is at again and giving you a chance to win a Disney Vacation. The vacation is at Walt Disney World in Orlando Florida and  includes a night in the coveted Cinderella Suite!

To enter you must take a picture of your “Disney Summer Style” or “Disney Summer Treat” and share them on either Twitter or Instragram. Be sure to include the #DisneySummerContest

For full details  and to enter click here.

Disney Free Dining Offer

Looking to head to Disney but not feeling lucky? I can help you with that. Just send me an email to get the process started! (In the interest of full disclosure I cannot get you into the Cinderella Suite)

New Disney Ticket Prices?

New Disney Ticket Prices coming soon?

Disney recently sent out a survey to annual pass holders for both Walt Disney World and Disneyland. The questions focused on whether pass holders would pay more for high traffic days. Such days would include summer, spring break and holidays like Christmas. Different days of the week could even have different prices. (Disney already charges higher rates to stay at its resorts for weekends.)

It should be noted this was only a survey. Nothing is set in stone (and Grumpy hopes they just set it in the trashcan where this proposal belongs.)

The proposal was a three tiered system. The tiers would be bronze, silver and gold. To add to the frustration of another possible price increase is the fact that you could end up paying three different prices for your tickets!

And to top it off, there is no savings for the bronze ticket. It would cost just as much to go on a slow day as it does now but busier days would cost more.

Disney has not offered a reason for the survey but it could be a way to reduce crowding. Or it could just be a way to squeeze more money out of the guests.

For more information check out thisDemand Pricing At Disney.

Shaking my Grumpy head. What do you think?

Disney World Free Dining

Disney World Free Dining

Disney World Free Dining for 2015 has finally become a reality! This is the most popular special that Disney offers. As such it is important to get your reservation made early. When they say the number of rooms are limited they mean it! When enough rooms are filled at a resort they will close that offer for that resort.

Getting dining reservations during the Disney World Free Dining Offer is even harder than normal! And it is never easy! Just another reason to let me help you get started today!

So When Is Disney World Free Dining Available?

Free dining is available when you check in during the following dates:   Aug. 28 – Oct. 2, Oct. 25-31, Nov. 8-19, Dec. 15-21, 2015.

To qualify for the Disney World Free Dining you must stay at least six nights and seven days. Your package must include tickets. Your tickets must include either the Park Hopper or the Water Park and More Option.

Which Resorts Are Excluded?

The latest information is that only Offer excludes The Villas at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, Bay Lake Tower at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid Standard View Rooms, campsites, 3-bedroom villas, Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort, Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter Resort and Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort (for select dates).

Prices and availability are subject to change without notice.

Ready to get started?

So if you are ready to book your vacation let me help you out. My service will not cost you anything and I will be your personal concierge from planning your trip to making sure you have a magical time while you are there. To qualify for this package your trip must be book by July 10, 2015.

 

Disney World Free Dining

Free Disney VIP Getaway

Free Disney VIP Getaway

Are you one of those people who has your next Disney vacation all planned out but then you look at the bank statement and say not this year? Grumpy knows that feeling but here is some good news! Coca-Cola is offering a free Disney VIP Getaway!

The Free Disney VIP Getaway is described like this:

Discover the enchantment of all fourWalt Disney World® Theme Parks on a 4-day VIP Disney spring getaway from Coca-Cola! Warm up your spring with some Disney magic and enter for your chance to win by completing the entry below.

Not exactly sure what makes that a VIP experience but if Grumpy wins that is VIP enough! Click here to enter and if you win you can let the rest of us knows how it feels to be a VIP! Expires April 30, 2015 so better hurry!

Not ready to trust your luck to get you to Disney? Grumpy can help. As part of Magical Vacations By Me (An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner) Grumpy can make book your next trip, make your dining reservations and help with Fastpasses so you can forget the hassle and focus on the fun! Click here to get started.

Free VIP Disney Getaway

New Star Wars Trailer

New Star Wars Trailer

Disney just released a New Star Wars Trailer! While some Disney purists might insist that the Star Wars universe is not part of the Disney universe Bob Iger would disagree. Four billion dollars does give you a sense of some ownership!

Iger has also teased those of us who are both Disney and Star Wars fans with hints about an expanded Star Wars presence in the Disney Parks. Hopefully we will learn something more concrete at this years D23 Celebration. Continue reading New Star Wars Trailer

Be Our Guest Testing Breakfast

Be Our Guest Testing Breakfast

For a while there have been rumors but now it is official. Starting March 20 Be Our Guest at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom will be testing breakfast. In fact the reservation system is already accepting requests for what is sure to be a popular breakfast option. The test will last until June 18th. Continue reading Be Our Guest Testing Breakfast

News, Views and Reviews from Walt Disney World