Tag Archives: Disneyland

June 5, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

***Second Star to the Right Disney Blog will be undergoing fairly major changes this weekend.  We are changing our name  and we are changing our theme to more of a magazine based format.  Our articles, the News Roundup, and Weekly poll will all remain the same, but hopefully in a more attractive, user friendly format.  We hope that you follow us through this transition***

*  Disney and the NBA are developing a new attraction for Disney Springs at WDW to be called the “NBA Experience at Walt Disney World.”  It will offer hands on interactive experiences to help bring the game to life.

*  WDW is testing new pricing on Rapid Refill Mugs at Pop Century, the All Star Resorts, and Port Orleans-Riverside.  There will no longer be 1,2, or 3 day options, only the length of stay option.  The price of the length of stay option has been decreased from $17.99 to 16.49 (plus tax).  It is anticipated that this will be employed at all WDW resorts later this year.

*  The 2015 Epcot Food and Wine Festival  will have a new experience for this fall:  Remy’s Ratatouille Hide & Squeak Scavenger Hunt.  Special maps will be given to lead you through the World Showcase in search of hidden Remy statues.

*  Epcot is now showing sneak peaks of Disney/Pixar‘s ‘Inside Out’ at the Imagination pavilion, former home of Captain Eo.

*  New DVC member merchandise can be purchased at DisneyStore.com.

*  The Emotions from the upcoming Disney/Pixar movie ‘Inside Out’ will precede the Pixar Play Parade at Disney California Adventure beginning on June 19.

*  Harambe Market in the Africa area of Animal Kingdom is now open.

*  The annual attendance report from the Themed Entertainment Association shows that Disney parks are the 6 busiest parks in the U.S.: 1. Magic Kingdom 2.  Disneyland  3. Epcot  4. Animal Kingdom  5. Hollywood Studios  6. California Adventure.  Attendance rose from 2%(Animal Kingdom) up to 4% (Magic Kingdom).  Universal Studios Orlando followed at #8, but had an attendance increase of 17%.

*  The D23 Expo 2015, at the Anaheim Convention Center, will feature a new concert, Silly Symphony Celebration, on Sunday August 23 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.  It will feature a 32 piece band playing songs from the Silly Symphonies while showing clips from the shorts.

*  Disney Channel has announced that a new series based on “Tangled” and with the voice talents from the movie (including Mandy Moore and Zachary Levi) will premiere in 2017.

*  Disney will be making a live-action film based on the ‘Night on Bald Mountain’ scene from “Fantasia.”

*  Tron 3 has been canceled.

*  In October, Disney will release a new high-tech toy, Playmation, that is somewhat different in that it hopes to get kids away from the computer and out moving about.

Advertisements

5 Disney Father’s Day Gift Ideas

With Memorial Day behind, the next “major” holiday, Father’s Day, is fast approaching on June 21…. I know, even Hallmark has been unable to generate much excitement for Father’s Day. That said, we dads do appreciate any acknowledgement,..and gifts. Don’t forget the gifts!

So with no further ado, here is your Father’s Day gift guide for a Disney Dad. We will stick with the obvious, because most of us dads will be glad to get just about anything. Let’s talk about Men’s Fashion. Like many men, I have no “style,” but I do have “a style.” We typically wear khaki shorts or jeans, a polo or t-shirt, and oftentimes a cap. About the most bold statement made from our clothes is our team color (red) and logo (UofL/Go Cards!!). So, in general, for clothing, sticking with the basics and avoiding anything too flashy or over the top is a good idea.

1.  Shirts – Most of you know your dad’s taste. If your gift is something that he will wear at home and not just at WDW or Disneyland, then it will be much more appreciated. Again, for most of us, nothing too wild. Simple designs with basic colors usually work best. There are great selections at your local Disney Store or there is still time to order from DisneyStore.com. Target has Marvel and Star Wars shirts. Stick with t-shirts and polos. These are usually cheaper and will get more wear. IMG_3871
2.  Swim trunks – Summer is here. If your dad likes the pool, lake, or ocean, then this would work well. I recommend something discreet and tasteful like these. IMG_3875
3.  Caps – A lot of us, especially those who are or are becoming follicularly challenged really like caps. Be careful, though, because most of us are particular about the “style” of cap: baseball, trucker, flat-bill, golf, etc. These are hard to order online. Get a good look and feel of you dad’s favorite cap(s), go in person, and pick out one of the same style. If in question, then it is best to choose something else.IMG_3867
4. Watches – I absolutely love my Mickey Mouse watch! I wear it every day. I get compliments on it frequently from children and adults. Most dads will love a watch and will not feel weird wearing it. Classic colors (black, brown, tan) and materials (leather, cloth) work best. Just avoid wild bands. It does not have to be expensive either. DisneyStore.com has a good selection. Target has Marvel watches.IMG_3866
5.  Mugs – Mugs are an excellent, and inexpensive choice. I don’t drink coffee, but I love mugs for my hot tea. I use several; so, a new one is never a bad thing. Some people, like our accountant, place Disney mugs on display in their office. The Disney Store currently has some good options including Pooh Bear and “Inside Out” mugs. DisneyStore.com has great options, too. If you will be at WDW or Disneyland prior to Father’s Day, then the new Starbuck’s Disney commemorative mugs are a sure fire hit. **TIP** Buy 2 mugs; one for each of his 2 favorite parks. Give him the mug of his second favorite on Father’s Day. He will like it, but it will leave him wanting the one from his favorite park. Stash the other mug away until Christmas or his birthday and then give it to him. You have scored twice!IMG_3908IMG_3910IMG_3909

Don’t forget your dads on Father’s Day this year. Your Disney dad will be thrilled with one of the above options.  I hope this helps.
If you have any other ideas, I would love to hear them. Please leave a comment.

Pongo: Working father and Disneyphile.

Neverland2001: Disney Question of the Week for May 30, 2015.

First, the results to last week’s question, “Which is Your Favorite Disney Park?”  We would like thank everyone who voted.

Magic Kingdom       39%

Epcot           28%

Disneyland CA         17%

California Adventure   11%

Hollywood Studios     5%

All others                     0%

***Magic Kingdom is the Winner! ****  I expected this, but I am surprised how close Epcot was.  Epcot held the lead for much of the week.

The question for this week is designed to help us choose topics on which to write.   We hope to be able to inform, entertain, and be a resource for you.  We recently had a request for more information on the DVC.  Your feedback will help us be a better resource.  If I have set the poll up correctly (certainly not a given), then you should be able to choose as many options as you like, and, you should be able to add your own.  More specific comments and suggestions in the comments secton will be greatly appreciated.

May 29, 2015: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Duke Energy is going to build a solar farm in Orlando, Florida, near WDW, in the shape of a Mickey head.

*  Magic Kingdom‘s Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party will feature a new show in front of Cinderella Castle this fall called the “Hocus Pocus Villain Spectacular,”  hosted by the Sanderson sisters from Disney’s “Hocus Pocus.”

*  Disneyland has released new Made With Magic merchandise for it’s Diamond Celebration including a new Mickey ears hat with the Diamond Celebration pattern on it and a paintbrush with light up functions.

*  Epcot will soon be offering a new tour called ‘World Showcase Destinations Discovered.”  It will be a 5 hour walking tour through and backstage at the World Showcase pavilions.  It will include a lunch and a cultural demonstration.  The cost will be $109 dollars per person.  (Ouch!!)

*  The Harambe Marketplace at Disney’s Animal Kingdom has now opened.

*  Guests to Animal Kingdom can now see several new baby animals including sable antelope and white rhinos.

*  This fall, to help celebrate it’s 10th anniversary, Raglan Road restaurant in Disney Springs at WDW will host a Raglan Road Master Chef Contest.

*  Disney is working on building robots that walk and move like cartoon characters for the parks.

*  The Walt Disney Company announced this week that it will be expanding the use of the MagicBands technology in WDW.  What this means was not announced.

*  DVC resorts will soon be updating their laundry rooms with new “high tech” laundry equipment as well a mobile website to check on washer/dryer availability.

*  The Drew Brees Passing Academy is returning to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at WDW this summer featuring other NFL stars and 20 or more prep football teams from around the country.

*  For a “nominal fee” ($35 per adult to be exact), DVC members can view the Magic Kingdom‘s Independence Day eve fireworks display from the convention center Port Cochere of Disney’s Contemporary Resort.  The “DVC Independence Day Dessert Party” will include an delectable array of desserts, a cash bar and performances by the Dapper Dans and the Dixieland Band.

*  The Disney Vacation Club Member Cruise will sailing to Alaska this year.  Check members services for details.

*  “Teen Beach 2” is to be released on DVD on June 26.

*  “Tomorrowland” brings in a lackluster $40 million on it’s opening weekend.

5 Overlooked Attractions at Walt Disney World –

1) The Magic of Disney Animation– This is an interactive drawing class led by a Disney artist. Guests learn step-by-step instructions on how to draw a Disney character. You never know which character you will draw, so it is fun to do the class each time you visit WDW. The class takes 30 minutes and you get to take home your art. This is located in Hollywood Studios.Unknown 2) Living With the Land– A relaxing 13-minute boat ride that takes you on an informative journey through a tropical rain forest, a desert complete with sandstorm, and the plains of a small farm. Guests learn about Hydroponics, Aeroponics and Aquaculture. You see many plants with unusual fruits and veggies, and fish farms are also on display. The educational part of this boat ride is geared towards adults, but younger guests will love it also and enjoy spotting the different fruits and vegetables. This is located in Future World at Epcot.Unknown-1 3) One Man’s Dream– This is a tribute to the “Man behind the Magic”. It is a self-guided walking tour that will take you through a series of exhibits including: scaled replicas, photographs, audio interviews and memorabilia that tell the story of Walt Disney. There are over 400 artifacts on display such as models of Main Street U.S.A. from Disneyland, scaled replicas of Sleeping Beauty’s Castle from Disneyland, scaled models of Animal Kingdom and others. There is a re-creation of Walt’s old office, his 2nd grade desk, and even an Academy Award from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs on display. This is located in Hollywood Studios.Unknown-3 4)Outdoor entertainment at Epcot- There are a wide variety of performers that are located mostly in World Showcase, with The Jammin’ Jammitors being the exception (they perform a percussion show that is not to be missed in Future World). Each country hosts different acts that perform on a schedule that can be picked up at the park entrance. Just a couple of examples are: Mariachi Cobre at the Mexico Pavilion, the Canadian Lumberjacks at the Canada Pavilion, andThe British Revolution at the United Kingdom Pavilion which are all three band performances.) There are also many other types of entertainment such as Serveur Amusant at the France Pavilion (a very skilled performer balances on chairs stacked seemingly into the clouds. Just kidding, but he does go pretty high!), Taiko Drummers at the Japan Pavilion, Sergio the juggler at the Italy Pavilion, and many more. 5)Flights of Wonder– Several times a day in the Asian area at Animal Kingdom, the Flights of Wonder are performed. The shows are about 25 minutes long and feature over 20 species of exotic birds, including Harris hawks, Barbary falcons, macaws, ibis and yellow-naped Amazon parrots. The show features free-flying birds performing stunts with the trainers auditory cues to guide them. There is also some comedy thrown in that makes the show even better.

Top 5 Money-Saving tips for Disney World-

Perdita (mom) here-

I am the money-manager in the house so I do the investigative work when it comes to saving money for Disney World. Some of the 5 tips for saving money are so long I will have to elaborate in a separate article, but some are not

1)Eat Cheaply-I have covered this in a previous article, but it bears repeating. This one tip alone can save hundreds easily. Some people don’t think about how much a meal can cost (easily $30-40/person). If you have a family of 4 that is about $160. If you factor in 3 meals/day that could easily add up to $500/ day plus any snacks and drinks you may buy at the park. Let’s just say you do spend this much and you are staying 7 days. You can easily see how the meals can add up to thousand alone. I know Disney isn’t cheap for even the “cheap” meals I have advocated, but it makes a real difference.

2) Buy Disney Vacation Club (to save even more, buy on the re-sale market)-
I am writing a couple of articles about this because there is so much about this topic. This one move has enabled us to go to the parks much more frequently than we otherwise would have been able to.

3)Use Miles Cards and sign-up bonuses for your travel
Again I will elaborate more later, but if you have a favorite airline or have one airline (for us it is Southwest Airlines) that is convenient for travel, get their credit card.

4)If you don’t have Disney Vacation Club consider Value and Moderate Resorts
When we called in to Disney in 2009 to make a reservation we didn’t even know there were value resorts. (There are value, moderate, deluxe, and deluxe villa resorts.) They booked us in a deluxe resort. When I thought back to the time I called several years before and they priced the vacation (the one we couldn’t afford) they also had booked us into a deluxe resort. Ask about all options and check the website.

5)Don’t fall for the “Dining-Plan-Package”
They will tell you that you are saving money when in fact they have that built into the package. If you price the vacation for room only I have found you save money. (a caveat is that is only if you don’t care about eating at the fine dining restaurants). I have found that on room-only reservations you can get about 30% off on the rooms most of the time anyway and they put the dining plan in the package and keep the room at full price. There are exceptions to this but I have found this to be the case when we have called.

More tips later!

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.

Disney Parks Tip: The Single Rider Line

Some rides at Disneyland and Walt Disney World offer single rider lines. For the single rider line, you have to be okay with being seated where-ever there is a space. You will not be seated with anyone else from your party When there is an empty seat on a ride such as when there is a party of 3 on a ride with 2 seats per row, you are seated in the seat next to third member of that party. It is a great way to decrease wait time, if you don’t mind riding “alone.” The reason to do this is to cut your wait time. In general, I have found that you can usually cut your wait time compared to the stand-by line by 1/2 to 1/3.

The California parks employ this on more rides; so, we will start there. Splash Mountain, Indiana Jones Adventures, and Matterhorn Bobsleds in Disneyland, and Soarin’ over California, Radiator Springs Racers, Grizzly River Rapids Goofy’s Fly School, and California Screamin’ all have this option. Radiator Springs Racers has an obvious labeled line to enter. For the other rides, you will need to ask the cast member at the beginning of the queue. We used it on Radiator Springs Racers, Indiana Jones and California Screamin’. The first two were simple. California Screamin’ involved stairs and elevators and was confusing, but still cut our wait time drastically. imageimage

In Walt Disney World, the single rider line is available on Test Track in Epcot, Rock n’ Roller Coaster in Hollywood Studios, and Expedition Everest in Animal Kingdom. The lines to Test Track and Rock n’ Roller Coaster are pretty obvious and easy to find. The Expedition Everest line is a little removed from the stand-by and fastpass queues. If you don’t see it, ask a cast member. We have used it on all of these several times. Since these are rides with some of the longest wait times, it really can save you quite a bit of time.image

The International Disney Parks have this option, too. Someday I hope to use these.
Walt Disney Studios Park at Disneyland Paris: Crush’s Coaster, Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop, RC Racers, and Ratatouille.
Tokyo Disneyland: Splash Mountain.
Tokyo DisneySea: Indiana Jones Adventures, and Raging Spirits.
Hong Kong Disneyland: Big Grizzly Mountain Runaway Mine Car, Splash Mountain, and Toy Soldiers Parachute Drop.

Here are some ideas of when this could be useful: If no one else in your group likes thrill rides, but you are busting for some excitement; if everyone else is tired; if younger members (or older ones I guess) are waiting in a long character meet and greet line; if you have already seen the parade or fireworks. The list could go on. I wish that this option was available on more rides with long waits, but I will take what I can get. So, if you don’t have a fastpass and you want to ride one of the above named attractions, but not spend the entire day waiting in line, then think “single rider line.”

May 15: Weekly Disney News Roundup

*  Star Wars Weekends at Hollywood Studios begins this weekend.

*  The Coolest Summer Ever at Walt Disney World kicks off with Magic Kingdom staying open for 24 hours from 6 a.m. Friday May 22, through 6 a.m. Saturday May 23.

*  Disneyland’s Diamond Celebration opens on May 22 by staying open 24 hours  and will debut the “Paint the Night” parade, “World of Color – Celebrate!  The Wonderful World of Walt Disney” and “Disneyland Forever” fireworks.

*  Grizzly Peak Airfield at Disney’s California Adventure opens today.

*  The Hatbox Ghost has returned to Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion.

*  New oil can themed souvenir cups are coming to Cars Land in Disney’s California Adventure for the Diamond Celebration.

*  Jock Lindsey’s Hangar Bar, an ‘Indiana Jones’-themed restaurant is scheduled to open this fall at Disney Springs in Orlando.

*  Online advanced reservations can now be made for “Rebel Hangar – A Star Wars Lounge Experience” at Hollywood Studios.

*  Disneyland Paris Half Marathon, to be ran on September 25, 2016, has released a promotional video for the inaugural event.  Registration dates have not yet been announced.

*  A new DVC Preview Center has opened in Downtown Disney at Disneyland in Anaheim.

*  ABC will air a live Disneyland Diamond Anniversary special.

*  Johnny Depp tried to sneak his Yorkshire terriers into Australia while filming the fifth ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie.  He was caught, and now, they must either return to the US or be euthanized.

*  The Muppets are coming to ABC during prime-time this fall!!