February 13, 2015: Disney News Roundup

*  The Walt Disney World Speedway with the Richard Petty Driving Experience is set to close and be demolished to open space for improved traffic and parking patterns.

*  The newest Starbucks at WDW, the Trolley Car Cafe’, has opened at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

*  “A Cooking Safari with Mickey:  Recipes from Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge” will go on sale this spring at Animal Kingdom.

*  “Luigi’s Flying Tires” attraction in Cars Land at Disney’s California Adventure will close this month and will be replaced with a Dancing Cars Ride.

*  Disney Cruise Line has announced Star Wars Days on select cruises from January through April 2016.

*  Spiderman is now officially part of the Disney/Marvel universe.  Disney and Marvel will co-produce the next Spiderman movie with Sony, set to be released in July 2017.

*  “Frozen” wins Grammy awards for  Best Compilation Soundtrack for Visual Media and Best Song Writing for Visual Media “Let It Go.”

*  Disney’s new app., Miles from Tomorrowland:  Missions, a game based on the Disney Jr. series  “Miles from Tomorrowland” is now available.

Coming tomorrow:  more Disneyland Reviews.

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Just Back from Disneyland

We have just returned from Disneyland, “The Happiest Place on Earth.”  Prior to going, we were told by several people that Disneyland was just a smaller, dirty, less friendly version of the Magic Kingdom.  We decided to give it a try anyway and are we glad we did!  The rumors could not have been further from the truth.  We found the parks to be as clean and the cast as friendly as at WDW.  We were no more or less likely to be ran over by a stroller, either.  Disneyland is smaller in size than Magic Kingdom, but the attractions are more closely packed.  There is a different feel to the Disneyland resorts than WDW, but I believe that this is more due to the layout and number of “locals” that came at the end of the day and weekends.

There is a lot more to do at Walt Disney World, most of which are at Epcot and Animal Kingdom, but there is enough difference to keep it fresh and feel new, such as Cars Land and Mr. Toad.  We loved the layout with Disneyland, California Adventure, and Downtown Disney connecting at a quad and being an easy walking distance, less than 1/2 mile, from all of the Disney hotels.  It all feels connected, and I never once missed riding the park busses.  Park hopping and returning to the room for a siesta were much easier.  Downtown Disney felt like a part of the parks.

WDW could take some tips from Disneyland to make it even better.  Here are some things that we noticed.  There is foliage everywhere.  Trees, flowers, and shrubs are all over the parks.  It softens the feel and definitely adds beauty.  Park benches and other places to sit are readily available.  Finding a comfortable place to sit is not a problem.  Villains walk the streets and pose for photos, which sounds bad, but when they are Captain Hook, Cruella DeVille, and the Evil Queen (from Snow White), it is a good thing.  Street entertainers, like the Dapper Dans riding on the horse drawn trolley and singing to the riders, are more present and accessible.

We love Walt Disney World, and it still “home.”  But, We now love Disneyland, too, and can’t wait to return.

More about Disneyland coming in the following days.

Roly’s Most Anticipated Rides at Disneyland

Hello, Roly here. We are leaving tomorrow for Disneyland. This will be my first visit. I am excited about seeing everything, but especially for rides that are not at WDW.
My #1 ride that I am wanting to do is “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride.” There are several reasons. Mainly, I have heard all about it being replaced by “The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh” in Magic Kingdom. The next big reason is that it has one of the best concepts of all the rides: riding through the English countryside from the perspective of Mr. Toad in his automobile. The next, and probably biggest reason being that, of course, it isn’t at WDW. I am also very exited to see the outside of the ride, themed to look like Toad Hall.
The next ride I most want to do is “Snow White’s Scary Adventures,” with the outside themed to be the Evil Queen’s castle. I want to ride it because it was at WDW the first time I went, but I was too young to remember it.
Indiana Jones is the third, because, well, it’s a ride, based on the Indiana Jones movies. With traps going off after entering the temple, it sounds like it might be the coolest thrill ride at WDW or Disneyland. Maybe, maybe not. It might not be as good as,” Splash Mountain”, or “Tower of Terror,” but the concept is certainly better than any other thrill ride in the parks.

Guide to Choosing a Deluxe or DVC Resort

You cannot go wrong with any of the WDW deluxe or DVC resorts.   We each have different ideas of what will help make the perfect vacation.  Here is a guide to help you choose which resort will make this perfect vacation easier to achieve.  Follow the outline to find the right resort for you.

What is the most Most Important Factor that the resort can offer?

A.  Proximity to the resorts:  If you plan on spending most of your time at a particular resort, then this is very important (Magic Kingdom for the kids,  Epcot for the “Food and Wine” or “Flower and Garden” festivals).

1.  Magic Kingdom

a. Contemporary Resort and Bay Lake Tower.  This is the nearest resort.  You can ride the monorail, or you can

easily walk the half mile.  It is the only resort from which you can walk directly to Magic Kingdom.

b.  Grand Floridian.  Easy access to MK from monorail.  Great ambience.

c.  Polynesian.  Also on the monorail.  Island food and atmosphere.

2.  Epcot.  Epcot can be reached by walking  1/3 mile on foot to the International Gateway; or by the friendships from

the Epcot resorts.

a.  Low-Key/more relaxed

i.  Beach Club

ii. Yacht Club

b. More activities

i.  Boardwalk

3.  Hollywood Studios.  Any of the Epcot resorts have DHS access via the friendships or on foot.

a.  Boardwalk.  It is about a half mile walk to DHS along the waterway.

b.  Beach Club/Yacht Club.  Approximately 1 mile walk.

4.  Animal Kingdom can only be reached by bus from any resort.

B.  Best Theme/ Atmosphere

1.  Animal Kingdom takes you to Africa with views of the savannah (including giraffes, zebras, etc.)  Rooms are like sleeping in a tent while on safari.   The lobby with art and artifacts is amazing.  Many of the staff are African.

2.  Wilderness Lodge transports you from Florida to the Western mountains.  It’s like a slice of Yellowstone.

3.  Grand Floridian is the closest most of us will get to staying on “Main Street U.S.A.”  The jazz musicians at night

tip it over the top.

C.  Resort activities.  If you are looking for a more “traditional” vacation with shopping, golf, and spa treatments.

1.  Saratoga Springs.  “Senses” is one of the two best spas on WDW property.  Lake Buena Vista Golf Course is located

here.*  You can walk to Downtown Disney for shopping and night life.

D.  Access to your car.  This can be important if you plan on driving to other resorts or to the parks, or even to other places       in the Orlando area.  Disney transport can take up to hour to get you from one resort to another for dinner reservations.

1,  Old Key West allows parking near your room and the easiest car access.

* all resorts offer taxi vouchers to and from any of the WDW golf courses.

I hope this helps.

Pongo