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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Selfie Sticks to be completely banned from all four Walt Disney World parks.

NOTE: This has been confirmed by a Disney spokesperson. 

My inside sources have revealed that Disney will be banning selfie sticks from it's Walt Disney World parks entirely, not just on rides. You can expect these changes to come into effect very soon. Probably by the  end of this July, 2015

UPDATE: The ban will go into affect June 30th, 2015 and will also include both water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. 

UPDATE: Disneyland and Disney's California Adventure will also have a ban in affect beginning June 30th, 2015.

Disneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disney will begin a ban on July 1st. No official word about Tokyo Disneyland, although signs are leaning toward a future ban as well. 

Disney had made a huge push to remind guests that selfie stick use was not permitted on rides with new signage around the parks. Cast members have also been reminding guests to store the items while on rides. Either this approach is not working, OR too many people are being selfish and not paying attention when using their selfie sticks throughout the parks. I have often seen people walk right into others as they record themselves walking around Disney. It was also a huge pain the butt to get good pictures on our last visit because of all the selfie sticks in the way. Perhaps selfie sticks finally disrupted the magic enough to have them completely banned all together. 

Security will be checking guests and their bags for selfie sticks upon entering the parks. Guest that have selfie sticks will have the option to return it to their cars or resort or given the opportunity to hand it over where it will be kept be guest relations. Guests will be given a ticket to use to retrieve their selfie sticks once they exit the park. 

So what are your thoughts? Are you happy to see a selfie stick free Disney? Leave your comments below. 

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Monday, June 22, 2015

10 Tips to Help you Survive and Enjoy a Walt Disney World Parade.

  • Get your Fast pass.  Fast pass+ is recommended if a particular parade is a high priority of yours. I highly recommend it for the Festival of Fantasy Parade. Not only will you not have to fight the crowd for some space, but you will have a fantastic viewing spot. (Not all parades have fast passes, but major ones such as Festival of Fantasy Parade and The Main Street Electrical Parade do.)

  • Know where to go.  Preferred viewing for fast pass+ is temporarily being moved from in front of the castle to down by the flag pole during the Hub refurbishment construction. Be sure to ask where it is during your visit. 

  • Arrive early.  People will start to grab spots for the parade up to two hours early (and more). Even if you use fast pass+ you will want to arrive to the designated preferred viewing area at least 30 minutes ahead of time to get a good spot within the area. 

  • Pay attention to the details.  There is so much to see on all the floats and costumes. Disney crams a TON of magic into its parades. It tough to catch it all in one viewing. We often watch a parade more than once on our trips.

  • Interact with the characters. Not only will they wave and talk to you from the floats, but those dancing and walking along the street just may come up and interact with you. We had the pleasure of Dopey and the other dwarfs coming up and tickling my daughter and poking fun at my sons. 

  • Take pictures. We got a lot of memorable pictures. Most of the time if a character saw we were snapping a pic they would pose or do something funny. We snapped many awesome pictures to help us capture our trip during the parades. 

  • Grab a snack and drink. Kids (and adults) are much happier when they are fed and not too thirsty from the Florida sun and heat. Not only will it keep you from getting cranky, but it will help pass the time while you wait for the parade to start.

  • Go Potty. Yes I said it. Nothing spoils a parade like having to leave and fight the crowd to take a 3 year old to find a potty. It is also just as miserable to have to sit there while you yourself are about to burst. If you have little ones in the Magic Kingdom, there is a baby care center next to The Crystal Palace for them and you to go potty in. If you don't have little ones, there are plenty of restrooms nearby. 

  • Wear sunscreen.  I have to admit I am not a big sunscreen wearer. That being said, the daytime parades are the one time I apply it to myself and family at Disney. The sun will be directly above you and you will be standing still with very little shade. Some of the worst (and only) sunburns we have gotten at Disney were because of the parades. Even my family that lives there and have annual passes have made the mistake of not applying sunscreen and getting completely burnt. Not only will you be miserable and sore the rest of your trip, but you may even develop sun poisoning that leaves you feeling like you have the flu. Apply liberally and don't forget your ears and back of shoulders and neck. 

  • Glow Sticks/jewelry. In the evening when crowds gather for parades and fireworks, and the lights are dimmed it can be hard to spot your little ones (or spouse! lol). A good trick is to stock up on glow necklaces and bracelets before your trip and wear them to help spot your family members. I like to buy a bunch at my local dollar store and keep them in my backpack on our trip. 

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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Frozen Ever After ride in Epcot replaces Maelstrom.

UPDATE: Frozen Ever After and Anna and Elsa's Sommerhus meet and greet have open!!!! Check out our videos on youtube to see them.

Frozen Ever After full ride POV

Anna and Elsa's Sommerhus

UPDATE: Frozen Ever After and Anna and Elsa's Summerhus meet and greet area will open June 2016! 

To learn about the new Anna and Elsa meet and greet area being built alongside of the new Frozen ride, CLICK HERE.

Disney has just released concept art for the newly named Frozen Ever After ride in Epcot.  
You couldn't have a Frozen ride without Elsa belting out Let It Go.
The ride, which replaces Maelstrom in the Norway Pavillon of World Showcase in Epcot, will follow the original ride's pattern and track as well as use the original boats. It will be set in Arendelle and all your favorite Frozen characters will be featured. Guests will get a glimpse of Wandering Oaken's Trading Post and steamy sauna. The trolls will be there too telling the love story of Anna and Kristof. You'll get to see Olaf singing and ice skating with Sven. Even Marshmallow (the giant guard snowman) and the Snowgies (featured in the short Frozen Fever) will join in on the fun as well. The final scene will feature a "grand finale" with the Frozen cast.

Frozen Ever After will incorporate the latest technological advances in animatronics. Like the dwarfs in the newer Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride in Magic Kingdom, the Frozen animatronics will feature projection animated faces. 

As more news and details are announced we will update. 

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Friday, June 5, 2015

The Kitchen Sink at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop

If you want one of the most insane dessert items you can find at Walt Disney World, be sure to get yourself a Kitchen Sink from Beaches & Cream Soda Shop in The Yacht and Beach Club Resort. It's one of those legendary Disney food items ranked right up there with Dole Whips, Turkey Legs and Mickey Ice Cream Bars. 

Here is what it contains:
  • ½ cup fudge topping, warmed
  • ½ cup butterscotch topping, warmed
  • ½ cup peanut butter topping, warmed
  • 1 medium banana, sliced in 1/2 –inch slices
  • 1 cinnamon spice cupcake (2 ½ x 1 ¼-inch), quartered
  • 1 angel food cupcake (3 x 1 ½-inch), quartered
  • 2 4-oz. scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 2 4-oz. scoops chocolate ice cream
  • 2 4-oz. scoops strawberry ice cream
  • 1 4-oz. scoop mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • 1 4-oz. scoop coffee ice cream
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • ¼ cup marshmallow crème
  • ¼ cup strawberry topping
  • ¼ cup pineapple topping
  • 1 14-oz can dairy whipped topping
  • 1 brownie (6-inch x 6-inch), quartered
  • 1 regular-sized (2 ounce) candy bar, quartered
  • 4 chocolate cookies with cream filling
  • 1 tablespoon sliced toasted almonds
  • 1 tablespoon dark and white chocolate shavings
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate cookies with cream filling, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon chopped jellied orange slices (approximately 2 large slices)
  • 1 tablespoon milk chocolate chip morsels
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter chip morsels
  • 1 tablespoon chocolate sprinkles
  • 1 tablespoon rainbow sprinkles
  • ½ cup drained maraschino cherries
  • served in an actual mini sink complete with faucet

NOTE: You can order your Kitchen Sink unassembled. They will bring each item in a separate bowl for you to mix, but I prefer to have it served totally mixed up and glorious the way it was meant to be!

Beaches & Cream Soda Shop Info:
Located in The Yacht and Beach Club Resort in the Epcot area across the lake from The Boardwalk.
Hours are 11:00am - 11:00pm daily
CLICK HERE to view the official menu
CLICK HERE to make a reservation
Beaches and Cream is located where the fork and knife arrow is.
Epcot is just to the right on the map.

Beaches & Cream Soda Shop is within walking distance of the backside of Epcot via The International Gateway. Another option is to take a boat from the Hollywood Studios area over to the International Gateway. You can also simply park at The Beach Club if you have your own car. There are other options as well, simply ask a cast member the best way to get from where you are to there if you are unsure. I personally prefer to park at The Yacht and Beach Club and walk into Epcot for the day and finish the day at Beaches and Cream (or earlier, so you can go back into Epcot for Illuminations). 

Beaches & Cream Soda Shop is a popular dining spot with limited seating, so a reservation is HIGHLY recommended even if you only want the Kitchen Sink. They do offer other great classic all-American items such as burgers, sandwiches, and other ice cream treats. If you mainly want the Kitchen Sink and you don't have a huge party I would suggest not eating a meal first. Eat earlier in the day, so you'll have room for the ice cream beast! If you time it just right you can eat a light lunch, then the kitchen sink and have a quick service meal or snacks later in the evening. Or eat a light dinner and enjoy this monster sundae late in the evening. 

The Mini Kitchen Sink
If you are a little intimidated by the regular sized Kitchen Sink, Disney does offer a smaller version. Another upside to the smaller version is that you get to keep the "sink" which looks like Mickey's pants. You can get this at Beaches & Cream Soda Shop as well as The Plaza Ice Cream Parlor and Plaza Restaurant in Magic Kingdom. They have recently added the availability to order different types of the smaller version which feature various flavors and toppings. 
The smaller Kitchen Sink in a souvenir bowl 

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Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Disney's Quest closing to make way for The NBA Experience, a new restaurant and interactive venue for families coming to Disney Springs 2016.

UPDATE: Quest has officially closed. 
UPDATE: 11/2017 Quest has been demolished. 

Disney has just announced plans for a new experience for guests to enjoy on their next Disney vacation. The NBA experience will have fun interactive activities for the whole family. It will also boast a full sit down dining restaurant. 

I would imagine this will be a great activity for groups traveling with youth teams to Disney World for events at ESPN Wide World of Sports. 

Disney's Quest will be closing to make way for the new NBA Experience. Quest is a 5 story "interactive park" that allows guests to play video games, build and ride virtual rides and more. No word on an official closing date, but you can expect it to happen within the year. I will update as soon as I have an official date.
Disney's Quest in Downton Disney
For now, all we know is that The NBA Experience is slated to open sometime in 2016 the future (updates have been extended by a great amount of time). I will post updates as they become available. You can read the original news release from the Disney Parks blog HERE

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