Tag Archives: Aulani

May 8, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Kali River Rapids at Animal Kingdom malfunctioned on May 7, and 12 guests had to be removed by firefighters.

*  International Migratory Bird Day will be celebrated at Animal Kingdom tomorrow, May 9.

*  Harambe Marketplace will open in Animal Kingdom later this month.

*  The Rebel Hangar:  a Star Wars Lounge Experience, a new dining spot on Echo Lake in Hollywood Studios will open for Star Wars Weekends beginning on May 15.

*  The 2015 Tinker Bell Half Marathon is this weekend at Disneyland in California.

*  Disneyland will re-open the Main Street animated windows as part of the Diamond Celebration with new technology and effects.

*  Grizzly Peak Airfield at Disney’s California Adventure opens on May 15.

*  Attendance at Disneyland in California has been lower than normal so far this year.  It is thought that it is due to the many attraction closings in preparation for the Diamond Celebration.

*  A sneak peak of Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’ will replace ‘Tomorrowland’ in the Imagination Pavilion Theatre (formerly Captain Eo) on May 30.

*  American Music Machine, an a cappella group performing American pop music, can now be heard at the American Garden Theatre in Epcot’s World Showcase Wednesdays through Saturdays.

*  Disney Cruise Line’s entire fleet were named to the “Top 10 Cruise Ships for Families” by USA Today with the Disney Dream taking top honors.

*  The Florida House and Senate are backing a bill which would affect Disney Vacation Club (DVC) members.  The bill would eliminate the current  cap on tax increases on timeshare owners.  Also, developers would be allowed to extend or terminate a timeshare plan at any date.  For full details, check out DVCnews.com.

*  Sounds from Aulani, featuring music from the resort and the resort clubs, is now available on Pandora.

*  Bilbo (a.k.a. Martin Freeman) has been added to the cast of “Captain America:  Civil War.”

*  Phineas & Ferb on Disney XD comes to an end with the airing of its final episode, “The Last Day of Summer,” on Friday, June 12.

*  “Teen Beach 2” premieres on Friday June 26 on Disney Channel.

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May 1, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Disney has purchased the Carousel Inn, located directly across Harbor Blvd. from Disneyland in Anaheim.  At present, Disney is reporting that current management will continue to operate the motel and that they yet have any long-term plans.

*  Disney’s Hollywood Studios is currently running a pre-order test for Backlot Express and concessions for Fantasmic.  Orders can be placed through May 12 by downloading a free app called “Express Order.”

*  WDW Disability Access Service card is now digital and available on the Magicband.  Guest services can sync them up for you.

*  Harambe Market in Animal Kingdom opens in late May.

*  The Exotic Driving Experience at Walt Disney Speedway will remain closed indefinitely.  It is already scheduled to close for good in August.

*  Tokyo Disney Resort has announced the themes for it’s park expansion.  In Fantasyland, there will be “Beauty and the Beast” and “Alice in Wonderland” themed areas.  A new DisneySea area will be Scandinavian for a “Frozen” theme.

*  “Free Dining” is being offered to guest arriving at WDW resorts staying for 3-14 days with a minimum 2 day park pass during the following days:  8/28 – 9/2, 9/25 – 9/31, 11/8 – 11/19, and 12/15 – 12/21.  Reservations must be booked by 7/10.  Value resort guests will get the Quick Service Plan.  Moderate and Deluxe resort guests will get the Standard Dining Plan.

*  DVC’s Boardwalk Villas are currently being renovated.  Check out DVCnews.com for photos and full story.

*  Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort has officially opened.

*  Disney Cruise Line Chef Patrick Albert, the executive chef of Remy restaurant on the Disney Dream and Fantasy, has been named a Master Chef of France.

*  Disney Visa card holders can save up to 30% on their vacation to Aulani in Ko Olina, Hawaii, by booking with their Disney Visa cards if booked before 10/26/15 for 4 or more nights from 8/16 – 12/21.

*  “Avengers:  Age of Ultron” opens today!!!  It has rated a 74% on Rotten Tomatoes.

*  Disney Junior has renewed “Miles From Tomorrowland” for a second season.

*  Disney and Hulu have signed a deal to make Disney shows available on Hulu.

The Disney Visa Credit Card

The Disney Visa credit card is an option available to save money on and for a Disney vacation. It offers 1% return on everything charged to the card in Disney Dream Reward Dollars which can be spent for anything at the parks, resorts, Disney Cruise Line, and even the Disney Store. It also offers 10 – 15% deductions on some things at the parks, resorts, or ship. I will list these later.

So, is it a good option? The resounding answer is….maybe, sometimes. Allow me to try to explain. For a rewards credit card, 1% return is not very generous. If your current card offers no rewards, then obviously, this is better. “A penny saved is a penny earned.” That is exactly what you get with the Disney Visa. On the plus side, it is a 1% return on ALL, not just select, purchases. For example, the Target Visa offers 5% off purchases from Target. We get most of our groceries and household items from Target; so, the Target Visa is a much better deal to use there. It gives no rewards on gas, dining out, park tickets, or reservations. So, it is not good to use at those times.

We usually keep two cards. I do not like to have more than two cards, because it can become very confusing quickly. No matter how generous the “rewards,” the APR financing for credit cards are horrible. So, no credit card is a good idea if you do not pay if off on time, every time. Having too many cards and forgetting a payment negates any benefit. For quite some time, we kept the Disney Visa as our secondary card to use on anything not from Target. It worked well. Perdita has since changed to an another one which fits our current situation better.

Another instance in which it may be a good option is if you have a hard time setting money aside specifically for Disney, and you want spending money for a Disney vacation. Disney is the only place that the Reward Dollars can be spent.

Now, let’s look at how much you will have to charge to “pay” for things at the parks. Let’s say that you use your card for gasoline only, like the “average” American, you drive 13,500 miles per year, your car averages 25 miles per gallon and gas costs $2.50 per gallon. That comes out to 540 gallons, $1,350 spent, and $13.50 Disney Dream Reward Dollars. This will buy you a quick service meal with dessert or a refillable mug. Most of us will use it for much more than just gas, like dining out, park tickets, and reservations.
So..
$1,000 charged = 10 Disney Reward Dollars (DRD) = a quick service meal
$3,000 charged = 30 DRD = a table service meal
$10,000 charged = $100 DRD = 1 day admission to Magic Kingdom.

Every little bit does help, though.

Another potential money saving role of the Disney Visa is for purchases only for the Disney Vacation. You can sometimes (rarely) get discounts on tickets and reservations. You just have to watch closely. They due offer 0% APR for 6 months off of large Disney purchases like vacation packages, cruises, and DVC purchases. It also offers discounts at many, but not all, shops in the parks and resorts. Saving 10% on souvenir purchases and the “free” character photo may be worth it. If you are an annual pass holder or a Disney Vacation Club (DVC) member, then you already have similar, but better perks; so, it really does not make sense for you.

Again, is the Disney Visa a good money saving option? I will stick with my prior answer, “sometimes, maybe.” You will have to decide for yourself. I will list the benefits below to help.

REWARDS:
1% in Disney Dream Reward Dollars on all card purchases.
PERKS:
0% APR for 6 months on select Disney vacation packages, cruises, Adventures by Disney trips, and Aulani resort.
0% APR for 6 months on purchase of DVC membership, including member add on. This does not include purchases on the resale market.
$50 onboard credit aboard a Disney Cruise Line vessel when purchased in full with the Disney Visa.
Free 5 x 7 character photo from 1 – 7 p.m. daily at Innoventions West in Epcot at WDW and from 10:30 – 1:30 daily at Blue Sky Cellars in Disney’s California Adventure in California.
10% off select purchases of $50 or more at most, but not all shops, at WDW, Disneyland, and DVC resorts including Aulani, Vero Beach, and HHI. In general, the large stores selling Disney merchandise, like Mousegears in Epcot, will give the discount.
10% off dining at select WDW restaurants: Boma, Jiko (sometimes), and Sanaa at Animal Kingdom Lodge; ESPN Sports Club and Flying Fish (sometimes) at the Boardwalk Resort; Shutters at Caribbean Beach Resort; The Wave at the Contemporary Resort; Trails End Restaurant at Fort Wilderness; Citricos (sometimes) and Grand Floridian Cafe at the Grand Floridian; Olivia’s Cafe at Old Key West; Boatwrights at Port Orleans; The Turf Club at Saratoga Springs; Artist Point (sometimes) at Wilderness Lodge; Captain’s Grill at the Yacht Club; Hollywood Brown Derby (sometimes) and Hollywood & Vine (sometimes) at Disney’s Hollywood Studios; Biergarten (sometimes) at Epcot; Big Thunder Ranch, French Market, and River Belle Terrace at Disneyland California; Cocina Cucamonga Mexican Grill, Wine Country Trattoria (lunch), and Paradise Garden Grill at Disney’s California Adventure; The Lounge at Steakhouse 55 (breakfast), Steakhouse 55 (lunch), Disney’s PCH Grill (breakfast and dinner) and Storytellers Cafe (lunch) at the Disneyland resorts;
15% off select tours and experiences: (Magic Kingdom) Disney’s Family Magic Tour, Disney’s Keys to the Kingdom Tour, Disney’s The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour; (Epcot) Gardens of the World, The UnDISCOVERed Future World, Disney’s Dolphins in Depth, Epcot DiveQuest, Epcot Seas Aqua Tour, Behind the Seeds; (multiple WDW parks) Backstage Magic, Disney’s Holiday D-Light Tour at Christmas, Disney’s Yuletide Fantasy at Christmas; (Fort Wilderness) Wilderness Back Trail Adventure and Horseback rides; (Port Orleans and Fort Wilderness) carriage rides; (WDW Deluxe Resorts) spa treatments of $45 or more; (Disneyland) Welcome to Disneyland, Discover the Magic, Cultivating the Magic.
10% off certain California Downtown Disney establishments: Jazz Kitchen, Wentzel’s Pretzels, RIDEMAKERZ, Alamo Rent A Car, ESPN Zone.
15% off purchases from littlemissmatched in California Downtown Disney.

I hope this is useful.

Pongo

Is Disney literally a year-round activity?

March Madness is here. Our College basketball team, the University of Louisville men’s basketball team played in the Elite Eight cardyesterday for a chance to go into the final four and it occurred to me that basketball for us is mostly year-round with the actual season, recruiting and the like. Then it occurred to me that while basketball is nearly a year-round activity, Disney has truly become a year-round activity.

Some events are pay only, like the Very Merry Christmas Party, and the Not So Scary Christmas Party...
Some events are pay only, like the Very Merry Christmas Party, and the Not So Scary Christmas Party…

Our Disney obsession is really gaining ground. Due in part to DVC (Disney Vacation Club) ownership, we are going to Disney World more and more. We started with Christmas, then Flower and Garden, then Food and Wine, and now other times of the year. When we are home we are thinking of our next trip and even while we are at WDW we are planning our next trip! We read websites, twitter feeds, blogs about Disney. I shop for Disney items (both at the parks and at home)! Our collection of Disney pictures and knick-knacks keeps growing exponentially. This has really become a year-round sport/activity.

There are far worse things to have as hobbies/obsessions. Everyone needs something to think about and plan for and do. Ours happens to be Disney and it involves the whole family which is a good thing that we can share this as a family. We go to the parks together, watch Disney movies together, went on a cruise together, went to Aulani together, now write the blog together. Disney has actually brought us closer as a family so that is a good thing as well.

Other events are all day events, and free, like the the International Food and Wine Festival, and the Flower and Garden Festival.
Other events are all day events, and free, like the the International Food and Wine Festival, and the Flower and Garden Festival.

We have even incorporated a little bit of Disney in our yard. ( I will write future blog posts about Disney in the home and outside.)

So to summarize, Disney has become a year-long activity in one form or another.