Closed for Refurbishments: 2014 Updates

Photo courtesy of The Disney Diner

Photo courtesy of The Disney Diner

Refurbishments are always taking place at the Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts.  Here is an updated schedule of rides and other attractions that are getting ready to be closed for some sprucing up.

*Now, the following information is not official information and may change.  For complete information you can always directly call Walt Disney World to confirm closings before your vacation.

Magic Kingdom

  • Tomorrowland Transit Authority People Mover-  closed from June 2, 2014 until Aug. 4, 2014
  • Astro Orbitor-  closed from June 2, 2014 until Sept. 19, 2014
  • Liberty Square Riverboat-  closed from Aug. 4, 2014 until Aug. 8, 2014
  • Carousel of Progress-  closed from Aug. 25, 2014 until Sept. 4, 2014

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • It’s Tough to be a Bug!-  closed from July 7, 2014 until Aug. 11, 2014

Downtown Disney

  • Parking lots H, I, J, and K are closed. Lots E, F, G are partially closed starting 3/18/2014.  The Team Disney parking lot will be available during busy times.  A shuttle will be provided to Downtown Disney.  A parking garage is being built in this area.
  • Team Mickey Athletic Club- closed from Jan. 27, 2014 until June 13, 2014 
  • Downtown Disney Marketplace Boat Dock-  closed from Feb. 22, 2014 until Fall 2014
  • Pollo Compero-  closed permanently

Disney Golf Courses

  • Disney’s Magnolia Golf Course-  closed from May 21, 2014 until June 4, 2014
  • Disney’s Oak Trail Golf Course-  closed from May 21, 2014 until June 4, 2014

Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa

  • Garden View Tea Room-  closed from June 30, 2014  until  Aug. 29, 2014                                                                        **Perfectly Princess Tea Party will take place at Citricos.

Disney’s Polynesian Resort

  • Polynesian Beach and Sunset Point (East)-  closed from Sept. 9, 2014 until TBD 
  • Great Ceremonial House Lobby-  rehab from Mar. 1, 2014 until Dec. 2014
  •  Captain Cook’s-  closed from Mar. 2014 until June 2014.                                                                                                   **Alternate dining will be available.
  • Moana Mickey’s Arcade-  closed starting Mar. 30, 2014.

 

For even more scheduled refurbishments visit our other article, Closed for Refurbishments: 2014.

Have a magical day! °o°

-Buzz

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Festival of Fantasy Parade

When Buzz came to visit me a couple of weeks ago, we of course had to make a stop at our favorite place on earth! Now it turns out that we planned our trip to the Magic Kingdom and found out that the new Festival of Fantasy parade would start two days after we left. We were upset that we wouldn’t be able to see the parade but glad that we were avoiding the crowds that the parade would bring. So instead of being in the park for Festival of Fantasy we did the next best thing, we watched a live stream!

Unfortunately, Buzz’s vacation ended and she had to head back home. However, I was lucky enough to head back to the Magic Kingdom to see the new parade! I will be the first to admit that I was never the person who would wait on the sidewalk for a parade at Walt Disney World. Why wait when I could experience everything else the park has to offer?! This parade was a different story though. We saved a spot in Frontierland an hour before it started; my family and I were uninterested in waiting 2+ hours on Main Street so Frontierland was the best spot for us. It definitely got crowded and people kept trying to maneuver through the already tight space to see the parade or get out of the area, but once the parade started I was glad we waited for the parade.

The music accompanying the floats was fantastic, and the vibrant colors of each costume and prop gave a feeling of joy and whimsy to the overall production. The characters were expressive and fun; they had great interactions with guests and other characters as well. The order of the floats made sense and gave proper identification to each film that was utilized in the parade. Overall, this is a parade that the imagineers who have been working on it should be proud of for years to come.

Have you seen the Festival of Fantasy Parade? What did you think of it? Is there anything you wish was or wasn’t in the parade?

-Woody

And of course I can’t leave y’all without any photos!

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MyMagic+ Review: A Game Changer?

Buzz and I were finally able to reunite for Spring Break; after months of not seeing each other we were able to return to WDW our home away from home. And I’m sure that all of you would love to hear about all the details about our spring break, this article is actually regarding all things MyMagic+. When Buzz and I left after finishing our College Programs Disney was just beginning to test MyMagic+. And now almost a year later Disney has rolled out MagicBands, Fastpass+, and the My Disney Experience app. So Buzz and I decided that we were going to take on Magic Kingdom as full-on tourists.

See! We're Disneybounding tourists!

See! We’re Disneybounding tourists!

We booked a 2 night stay at Pop Century Resort, had a 1 day ticket to the Magic Kingdom, and customized our MagicBands ahead of time! About 2 weeks before our arrival date, Buzz received our MagicBands. However, because of her school and a little bit of miscommunication in the mailroom, the MagicBands were lost. I called Disney regarding the MagicBands, and they immediately sent out new ones and cancelled out our old ones. Funny enough the mail room found the first MagicBands an hour after we called to order our new ones.

Our MagicBands! They finally arrived :)

Our MagicBands! They finally arrived 🙂

A few days before our trip we decided to switch resorts from Caribbean Beach to Pop Century. Once again, Disney made this transition extremely easy and we were able to keep our MagicBands. We had done online check-in before we had arrived, which made check-in super quick and easy. Disney resorts no longer encode Key to the World cards, so everything is now on MagicBands when you are staying at a Disney resort. This includes charging privileges, room key, park tickets, photopass, and FP+. After we checked in we went to our room and dropped off our stuff— good news our MagicBands worked!

Once we left our room we headed over to Art of Animation to grab a quick bite and explore the resort. In terms of decoration, Art is definitely my favorite themed value resort; it’s a great place to walk around and you feel exactly how Disney wants you to, like you are in the movie with your favorite Disney Characters! And if y’all haven’t seen Art of Animation yet, I would definitely recommend heading over and just walking around the resort. After our stroll we decided to head to Downtown Disney. With all the new construction for the parking garage and the upcoming revival of DD into Disney Springs, it was difficult to find parking. However, once we did find a spot we checked out our favorite shopping district. Team Mickey had already been closed and was under refurbishment to become the new Marketplace Co-Op (click here about the new shops coming to Disney Springs). But all of our favorites were still there, yes Basin White, Earl of Sandwich, and Trend-D, I am talking to you!

Once we had sufficiently wiped ourselves out we headed back to the resort and decided to buy some refillable mugs. For those of you who don’t know, all the mugs on property and just regular cups as well, have RFID tags in the bottom. Meaning, the mugs and cups had chips at the bottom that the drink machines can read, allowing you to refill your mug/cup for a certain amount of time. We did have a few issues when we tried to buy the mugs. Apparently, buying a mug is a very technical process now. Once I reached the register I told the Cast Member I wanted to buy a 3-day usage for my mug, just an FYI it was about 10 at night. The Cast Member was a little distressed about this only because she wasn’t sure if by buying this option so late at night if the cup would work on our last day, so she made sure that I knew to keep my receipt in case anything happened.  I used my MagicBand to buy my mug and then went to fill it. Once I reached the drink station the machine kept telling me my mug was expired, which I knew wasn’t right seeing as how I just bought a few days for it. So I went back to the Cast Member where Buzz was waiting and the CM said that she forgot to code the mug. So she placed it on a sensor and coded it. Once I went back the mug was able to be refilled for another 14 days. I don’t know how that happened, and there isn’t an option to have the mug be refillable for 14 days so I just went with it. Funny enough the same thing happened to Buzz, but when she tried to pay for her mug it wouldn’t work. The CM forgot to set up a PIN for Buzz when we added her credit card on the transaction, and since I already had one set up mine worked, but she never had a PIN under her name before. So I bought the mug for her since we didn’t have our wallets with us because our MagicBands were our wallets at that moment.

Once we filled our mugs we went back to the front desk and set-up a PIN for Buzz. The Cast Member was extremely helpful and ensured us that there wouldn’t be any issues with our MagicBands and their PINs. I don’t blame the Cast Member’s at all because this is still an extremely new program and there are a lot of steps to take to ensure that every part of the MyMagic+ experience is seamless for guests.

The next day was our one and only day in the parks, and that day would be spent at the Magic Kingdom! We woke up mighty early and grabbed breakfast at the Pop Food Court, and went to the bus stop an hour before park open. When we arrived at the Magic Kingdom our bus stopped at the new MK bus stop. I just have to say it doesn’t look new at all, which I love it is themes exactly like the other stop, and there aren’t buses everywhere trying to get around each other which is fantastic. Anyways, I made sure we had our plastic tickets with us in case our MagicBands did not work. Luckily, we didn’t have any issues with entering the park with our bands and were able to get into the park far more easily than we would have with the old paper and plastic ticket machines.

We arrived so early to watch the Opening show, which in my opinion is totally worth getting to the park before opening.

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Mary Poppins and Stitch? What an odd combination...

Mary Poppins and Stitch? What an odd combination…

We were figuring out our game plan for the day because we had three FP+ set up for the day: Space Mountain, Peter Pan’s Flight, and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. So we decided to hit Adventureland and ride Pirates of the Caribbean and Jungle Cruise, after that we just wandered the park and rode all the rides we wanted! It was busy so we did have to wait in line for most of them, but the lines were not too bad. Then the moment of truth came and it was time for our first FP at Space Mountain. We headed over and there was a small line of people getting ready to scan their MagicBands for their FP’s as well. The system actually worked far better than I expected, and almost all of the guests knew exactly what to do, which surprised me. After touching our bands to the Mickey poles we got the green light to go and started walking down the queue. We definitely noticed the difference between the old FP line and the new one. There were hardly any people in the FP queue when just a year ago you would have to wait in line for a couple of minutes for Space Mountain, even if you had a paper fastpass. Once you reach the end of the queue you touch your band to another pole, and it reads that you used your fast pass. I will admit that it was weird not holding anything in my hand, I kept thinking I was forgetting something, but fear not everything you need is on your wrist.

Following our first FP+ adventure we headed to other rides and then utilized our other two fast passes throughout the day. Overall, they were efficient and easy. You don’t have to go searching for your fast pass in your wallet or pocket because it’s on your wrist at all times. And if you ever do want to change your times or rides for your FP’s, you can do so on the My Disney Experience app (which is advertised everywhere) or by waiting in line at a select location so a Fastpass+ Cast Member can help you make selections.

We finished our day at the Magic Kingdom when the park closed and checked out the day after. Your MagicBand expires when you checkout, and since we did express checkout I believe our bands expired at 11 a.m. So make sure you have everything out of your room and bought everything you want with your band or else it will no longer work for you.

My overall impression as a full-on guest staying on-site for vacation and utilizing the MagicBands is that Disney definitely has something going for them. We used our bands for everything you could use them for, except for Photopass. There are definitely some kinks, that I believe they will need to work out; ie. PINs, multiple bands per person (I already have 4 bands altogether), and FP+. They worked wonderfully for us, and I did notice a difference in line wait times. The fast pass lines are no longer extremely long and the stand-by queues short, giving a false impression of a short wait time to guests. It will be more difficult for guests to abuse the system, which if I’m completely honest is likely a major reason why fastpass+ works how it does (this is my opinion). I do believe that more options need to be available to guests in terms of the amount of FP’s you receive and what rides you can choose. At Magic Kingdom you can choose 2 high level attractions, and 1 lower level (think Mad Tea Party or Mickey’s Philharmagic). Yet, at Epcot and, I believe, DHS and DAK you can only choose 1 high level and 2 low level attractions. I personally find it frustrating that you are limited to only 3 FP in one day and CANNOT park hop. However, I am hoping that once MyMagic+ has gotten more stable and the technology for it has been tested and tested until the folks at Disney start pulling out their hair, then maybe they will add FP’s per day and allow park hopping with them. But until that day comes, Disney has created a game changer once again, and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.

-Woody

Have you tested or used any of MyMagic+? Did you have a great or lousy experience with it? Let us know in the comments, on Facebook, Twitter, or in an email!

You’re Invited…

to the “Rock Your Disney Side: 24- Hours” event in Disney Parks coast to coast!

Photo courtesy of the Disney Company.

Who:  You, your friends, and family

What:  This is a celebration to kick off the summer of 2014…#DisneySide style!

Where: Disneyland and Magic Kingdom (WDW)

Date:  May 23-24, 2014

Time:  6:00 AM- 6:00 AM

***Be sure to dress like your favorite hero, villain, princess, or pirate.***

For more information click here.

Hope everyone has a magical day!! °o°

-Buzz

Not All Disney Magic Is Found In The Parks!

Hey everyone, Mickey here!

So, I know that basically the  main reason to go to Walt Disney World is to go to all of the parks and Downtown Disney, but have you heard about some of the cool activities that the resorts offer as well?  You can choose anything from campfires, carriage rides, movies, and so much more.  I, personally, loved going to the Boardwalk.  You can basically walk around and see a whole bunch of side acts.  Now I’m not trying to brag, but I was a part of one.

Kody at Boardwalk

If only you guys could have seen how the act actually went down.  It was very embarrassing on my part, yet, it was also a lot of fun.

Here is a quick little list that I think would be probably the best activities to do while visiting the Mouse at WDW.

1. View animals in the dark with night vision binoculars 

At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, you can walk outside at night and use a pair of night vision binoculars to get a great view of how the animals act at night.  Not a lot of people know about this, but I can tell you that it is defiantly worth your time.  I was able to take a night during my DCP to travel over to the resort and give it a try.  It is such a fun experience.  Now, you might have to share with somebody since they have a limited number of binoculars, but trust me it’s worth the wait.

2. Campfire Anyone? 

If you ever feel like having a good ol’ fashioned sing-a-long and a s’more, then head over to Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and join Chip ‘n’ Dale.  After everyone is done making their s’mores, the resort also plays a movie on a big blow up movie screen for everyone to enjoy.

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(Photo from: http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com/activity-campfire.php)

3. Carriage  Rides 

This is one of my all time favorite ideas Disney has.  You can take a nice carriage ride through Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground or Disney’s Port Orleans-Riverside Resort.  I, personally, would choose to go through Riverside.  There’s just something about the way the resort is set up that I think would be more fun for this type of activity.  They also offer a Holiday Sleigh Ride during December, which is essentially the same ride, just with a lot more Christmas spirit.  However, this particular sleigh ride only departs from Fort Wilderness.  I have yet to go on the carriage ride, but I will someday.  By the way, this would be a great date idea for anyone out there looking for a great way to impress that special someone.  Even if you’ve been married 50 years, it’s never to late to try to impress and do something fun and new.

4. Parasailing 

Sammy Duvall’s Watersports Centre located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort offers parasailing and much more.  If you have never been parasailing then I don’t know what you’re doing with your life because it’s one of the best feelings in the world. But, what makes this particular location extra special is that you get to be flying high above the water and see the Magic Kingdom.  I can’t even begin to think about how much fun this would be.  They also offer a number of different water vehicles that you can rent and drive out on the lake.

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(Photo from: http://wdwprince.wordpress.com/)

5. Boardwalk 

Flat and simple, just go to Disney’s Boardwalk Resort and walk around.  There is so much to see!  A lot of great performers have shows all along the Boardwalk, especially at night.  There are bikes you can rent to take for a spin around the area, but please be careful!  I played a game of corn-hole with a family while I was there.  There is also a piano bar called Jellyrolls, which I heard makes for a great night out (without the kids).  It is a 21 and over bar, but you can bet the next time I’m in WDW, I am making a stop there.

There are plenty of other activities to go and do at the resorts so don’t just stick with some of my ideas.  If not, just go from resort to resort and check them all out.  They are all so unique and beautifully designed that is it just breath-taking. Now go, have some fun!

“You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”                    – Walt Disney

–Mickey