Tag Archives: Disney Cruise Line

May 22, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Happy Birthday Disneyland!!  Disneyland’s 60th anniversary Diamond Celebration begins today.

*  Disneyland’s new ‘ Disneyland Forever’ fireworks show begins tonight.

*  The new ‘World of Color – Celebrate!’ premiers today at Disney California Adventure.

*  Magic Kingdom in Orlando and Disneyland in Anaheim are open 24 hours today.

*  Disneyland California will begin testing of FastPass+ system this summer.  Hong Kong Disneyland will follow in 2016.

*  Disney has posted “No Selfie Sticks” signs outside Big Thunder Mountain and Splash Mountain at both WDW and Disneyland because people were not obeying the rules.

*  Grizzly Peak Airfield opened this week at Disney’s California Adventure.

*  Peter Pan’s Flight in Disneyland will not re-open until July 1.

*  Chef Mickey’s at Disney’s Contemporary Resort begins serving brunch May31.  Reservations can begin being made on May 22.

*  The new Boathouse restaurant at Disney Springs has joined the Disney Dining Plan.

*  New Restaurants are coming soon to WDW Disney Springs:  The Edison (American food and cocktails), Sprinkles (cupcakes, ice cream, and cookies), Blaze Fast-Fire’d Pizza (artisanal pizza), Vivoli Gelateria (gelato), Tea Traders Cafe’ by Joffreys (loose leaf teas), STK Orlando (steaks), Morimoto Asia (Pan Asian), and Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar (Indiana Jones inspired lounge).

*  A drunken 27 year Ohio man had to be rescued from the Bay Lake after running a golf cart off the Wilderness Lodge Bay Lake pier and trying to swim away from shore per the Orlando Sentinel.

*  Disney will be adding 26 new DVC lodge cabins at the Wilderness Lodge per a construction work plan released this week.

*  DVC member services will closed all day on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25, 2015.  DVCMember.com can still be used that day.

*  Tokyo DisneySea is building a new Pixar, Nemo themed attraction set to open in the Spring of 2017.

*  Disney Cruise Line will be sailing out of New York City to both Canada and the Bahamas in 2016.

*  The largest Disney Store in the world has opened in Shanghai, China.

*  Disney’s ‘Tomorrowland’ opens today with a mediocre 53% fresh rating from Rotten Tomatoes.

*  Disney/Pixar’s upcoming ‘Inside Out’ is a huge hit at the Cannes Film Festival.

*  ‘Pirates of the Caribbean:  Dead Men Tell No Tales”  is already $70 million dollars over budget with 3 months of filming still left to go.

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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.

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.

Running on the Disney Dream

Pongo here.

The three of us took our first cruise a little over a year ago, a 3 day cruise to the Bahamas out of Port Canaveral upon the Disney Dream. Being addicted to running, I made it a part of the experience. On board, you can either run laps around Deck 4 or go to the fitness center on Deck 11. I avoid treadmills unless no other option exists. The walking/jogging track around deck 4 is 0.4 miles long. You might think that it would be boring, but I quite enjoyed it.

Disney Dream Deck 20140203-LThe deck is made of trex-like material which has good traction, even when wet. It is plenty wide along the sides of the ship, but fairly narrow around the front and rear. There are mirrors around turns which are very helpful as to not run head-on into others. The best thing about running on deck 4 is the view. I ran each morning as the ship was pulling into port. The views were spectacular, whether pulling into Castaway Cay or into Nassau. One of the major joys of running to me is taking in the sights. Seeing the waves, the islands in the distance, the rising sun, the pastel buildings, and other ships was sheer joy. Having a new perspective with each lap from the movement of the ship, to me, made it even more interesting. The breeze from the water made it very comfortable, too. It did not feel like running in circles.

Cons: The only con I can think of is being fairly “restricted” to running in the morning due to crowds. The deck is rarely very crowded, but with people looking overboard, relaxing deck chairs and playing shuffle board, it would be hard to keep a steady pace.

castaway cayrunDisney has a 5K, untimed, free, fun-run on Castaway Cay. I did not know about this when we took the cruise. Check with the ship activity director or concierge to sign up. I wish I had known. Next time!

So, if you are a runner or walker, don’t forget your running shoes and shorts. You will enjoy it. I recommend running in the early morning as the track is not crowded, the breeze cools you, and the sights are the best.

extra tip: The shower gel supplied makes great “detergent” to hand wash sweaty clothes in the cabin sink, that can then be hung to dry in the shower.

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

April 24, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  The final Exhibition Everest Challenge will be ran at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on May 2.  I am sad that I never had a chance to do this.

*  Registration for the Walt Disney World Marathon on January 10, 2016 opens on April 28 and will quickly fill.

*  “Live with Kelly & Michael” will host 5 shows at  Main Street, USA and Sleeping Beauty Castle at Disneyland from May 18 through May 22 as part of the Diamond Celebration.

*  Disneyland will offer several special dining experiences for Mother’s Day on May 10.  Reservations can be made at either Disneyland.com/dine or 714-781-DINE.

*  The “Tomorrowland” movie preview has replaced Captain Eo at Epcot.

*  Pandora Jewelry is now selling custom Disney themed jewelry at Uptown Jewelry in Magic Kingdom at WDW and at La Mascarade d’Orleans in Disneyland.

*  Disney’s “Tomorrowland” will premiere at the Anaheim Downtown Disney on May 9.  It is an invitation only event.

*  From May 22 through July 5 Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon will host “Teen Beach 2” beach parties daily.

*  Dockside Margaritas opened this week in Disney Springs/Downtown Disney at WDW.

*  Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort’s Kiki Tikis Splash Water Play Area has now opened.

*  The discounts for DVC (Disney Vacation Club) members to “La Nouba by Cirque de Soleil”at Downtown Disney in Florida has been extended through June 27.

*  Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Dream will offer new experiences this fall.  There will be a new Star Wars themed youth area and another Disney Infinite themed youth area.  There will now also be a Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique on board.

*  Disney Cruise Line now offers a free app, “The Disney Cruise Navigator App,” at the Apple App Store and Google Play that will allow passengers to engage in Onboard chat and have the Personal Navigator at their disposal.  The App is available aboard all of the DCL ships.

*  “Daredevil” has been renewed for a second season on Netflix.

*  Marvel’s “The Avengers:  Age of Ultron” opens next Friday, May 1!

April 3, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

The baby rhino at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has been named Kiama by popular vote. Her park debut has yet to be announced.
A giant sand sculpture has been added in front of Animal Kingdom to promote the upcoming “Monkey Kingdom” movie.
Rumor that a new attraction (not “Frozen” in Norway) is coming to Epcot in 2016. Check out the full story at wdwnt.com.
Blizzard Beach waterpark at WDW marks its 20th anniversary.
DVC’s Polynesian Villas & Bungalows has opened.
A new construction permit suggests change coming to Wilderness Lodge; likely major renovation and conversion of hotel rooms to DVC timeshare villas.
Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto opens at the Polynesian resort.
Disney Cruise Line announces “Tangled: the Musical” will premiere aboard the Disney Magic in November.
Another live-action re-make is in the works by Disney: “Mulan.”
Disney announces a live-action “Winnie the Pooh” movie is in development. When will it end?
Disney has eight winners in Nickelodeon’s 28th Annual Kids’ Choice Award.
Favorite TV Show: Austin and Ally.
Favorite Family TV show: Modern Family.
Favorite TV Actor: Russ Lynch.
Favorite TV Actress: Laura Marano.
Favorite Villian: Angelina Jolie/Maleficent.
Favorite Animated Film: “Big Hero 6.”
Favorite New Artist: Fifth Harmony.
Favorite Female Singer: Selena Gomez

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.

March 27, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

* “Tomorrowland” sneak preview will be starting in mid-April at California Disneyland in the Tomorrowland Theater and at WDW Epcot in the Imagination Pavilion (home of Captain Eo). The preview will last 10-15 minutes. “Tomorrowland” opens on May 22.
* Skippers Cantina, a Jungle Cruise themed restaurant, is coming to the Magic Kingdom.
* All exhibits in Innoventions West at Epcot will close for good on April 30. This includes Where’s the Fire?, Great Piggybank Adventure, and IBM Think. It is unknown what the plans for the area are.
* The Dream House in Epcot’s Innoventions East is set to close, too.
* Innoventions in Disneyland California is set to close at the end of March. It is rumored that Star Wars attraction(s) will take its place.
* Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Animal Kingdom Lodge were granted official accreditation by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
* Art in the Garden will be at the Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival from March 27 – 29 featuring art exhibits along the World Showcase.
* An exhibit of concept art from the upcoming Pixar movie “inside Out” has opened at Disney Hollywood Studios in the Production Gallery of the Magic of Disney Animation.
* Marvel “Super Heroes Headquarters” store will open in May at Disney Springs (Downtown Disney) in Florida.
* Registration for Avengers Super Heroes 1/2 Marathon at Disneyland California opens on April 7.
* DVC Polynesian Villas and Bungalows open on April 1.
* Disney Cruise Line announced its first British Isles itinerary. Leaving from Dover, England on 6/5/16, the 12 night cruise will make stops in England, Ireland, Scotland and France. From our calling, it appears that it has already sold out and there is a waiting list.
* Disney bans smoking in all of its films rated PG-13 or below.
* Disney’s Aladdin celebrated its first anniversary on Broadway on March 20.

* Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes are adding Loki as a playable character.

*Editorial:  We love The Great Piggy Bank Adventure, Disney Dream House, and Where’s the Fire and will miss them.  Epcot needs more attractions.  I hope that there are plans for replacements, better than Habit Heroes, or an entirely new attraction.