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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Character Dining

In Honor of Mickey Mouse’s 85th Birthday yesterday we are dedicating this entire week to the main mouse himself!

If you are visiting the parks, chances are you are going to want to meet some characters. Unfortunately, you have to plan quite a ways ahead and wait in some mighty long lines to meet these beloved members of the Disney family. However, there is another way you can meet almost all of your favorite characters without running around the park and waiting in long lines! Instead I recommend you grab a table and eat some food all while waiting for the characters to come to you!

You heard me right, characters will come to you at select Disney restaurants on property! It’s called Character Dining, and at a few restaurants you make reservations to enjoy your company away from the blaring Florida heat and will meet some of your favorite characters!

One of my personal favorite character dining experiences is Breakfast at Chef Mickey’s! Mickey Mouse and the gang come around to your table, take pictures, poke fun at your family sometimes and will do a little song and dance all while you are eating a great breakfast!

Remember though you are paying for this added convenience so character dining isn’t the cheapest meal option; however, I personally believe that it is completely worth it!

Here’s a list of all the character dining experiences available at the Walt Disney World Resort!

  • 1900 Park Fare (Breakfast/Dinner)
  • Akershus Royal Banquet Hall (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)
  • Cape May Cafe (Breakfast)
  • Chef Mickey’s (Breakfast/Dinner)
  • Cinderella’s Royal Table (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)
  • The Crystal Palace (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)
  • The Garden Grill (Dinner)
  • Garden Grove (Breakfast- only on Saturday’s and Sunday’s/Dinner – every night)
  • Hollywood & Vine (Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner)
  • Mickey’s Backyard BBQ (Dinner)
  • ‘Ohana (Breakfast)
  • Tusker House Restaurant (Breakfast/Lunch)

Ensure you check which characters are at which restaurants because they vary for each experience.

-Woody

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Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Sunday: The Disney College Program

So Buzz and I wholeheartedly believe that Cast Member’s are one of, if not the main element, that makes Disney the magical destination it is. The Cast Member’s at Walt Disney World, and throughout the entire Disney company, are some of the kindest most influential people I have  met in my entire life.

If you do not yet know, Disney has internship program called the Disney College Program. It’s a program that allows students in college to work in the Disney resorts, theme park’s, Downtown Disney district, and other locations on property. They are full-fledged Cast Member’s who live minutes away from property with several roommates, and more often than not rely on the bus transportation that is provided to them. However, this experience is one of the most life-altering things a person can do during their lifetime.

So for today’s Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Sunday, instead of a blog entry I am posting a vlog entry. This girl explains what the DCP was like and how it emotionally effects you afterwards. And might I say, she is dead on. Enjoy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-iE8mjNGZ4I

– Woody

Planning Your Disney Vacation: The Basics

So you’re going to Disney World! That’s probably one of the best feelings in the world in my humble opinion! However, you still need to figure out a few logistics—such as: your flights, dining reservations, what type of park tickets to buy, and of course where will you be staying during this magical vacation? Really there are two categories; you will either be staying on-site or off site. What’s the difference? There are a lot actually, so let’s dive in!

Let me just start off by explaining off site hotels to you. These are the hotels that Disney has no ownership over. They aren’t technically on Walt Disney World property; however, there are a few exceptions—i.e. The Swan and Dolphin, Shades of Green, and the Bonnet Creek Resort. Disney does make it a little easier to choose off site hotels because they partner with a few other hotels which receive the title of a good neighbor hotel. A good neighbor hotel is AAA approved, offers assistance with Disney vacation planning and park tickets, and meets Disney’s service and quality guidelines. A quick tip, good neighbor hotels are more prevalent at the Disneyland Resort because the resort only has three hotels on property they can sell out quickly, and the good neighbors are often cheaper. Walt Disney World differs a lot from DLR (Disneyland Resort) in that there are multiple options on property that really can fit the budget and needs of any family.

There are several advantages to staying at a WDW owned/on property resort. First off there are five categories: value resorts, moderate resorts, deluxe resorts, Campground, and Disney Vacation Club (DVC) resorts.

Value Resorts include: the three All Star Resorts, Pop Century, and Art of Animation (the newest resort on property). These resorts are made for families on a budget who still want to have the Disney experience! They’re great resorts to stay in especially for little kids because characters from movies, musical instruments, sports equipment, and items from different decades become larger than life! The motto at Disney’s All Star Resort’s is “Where Fun is larger than life”! I definitely believe they succeed at that.

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(Photo courtesy of chipandco.com)

Moderate Resorts are a little more expensive than Value resorts but aren’t as much as deluxe. They have more immersive theming, have larger rooms, and have more room options than the standard and preferred that is available at most of the values (excluding AoA). The resorts in this category include: Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Port Orleans Riverside, Port Orleans French Quarter, Coronado Springs Resort, and the Cabins at Fort Wilderness. Instead of only a cafeteria for food options, a few of these resorts have table-service dining options (CBR and POR). Overall these resorts all have completely different theming from one another and are great for the whole family.

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(photo courtesy of http://www.mouseplanet.com)

Deluxe Resorts are the most expensive resorts on property. They arguably have the most amounts of theming, services, and room options available on property. These resorts include: Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, Polynesian Resort, Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Wilderness Lodge, Beach Club, Yacht Club, Boardwalk Inn, and Contemporary Resort. These hotels have table-service options and you often need a reservation to dine at one. The resorts have the most services available to their guests, as opposed to the other resort categories. They’re a little more upscale but still keep the Disney values and charm in the décor and through the cast members.

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(photo courtesy of hotels.about.com)

The Campground is exactly what the name says, it’s a campground. You can bring your own R.V or just stay in a tent! You are basically just renting out a little plot during your stay and choosing how you want to sleep that night. This is often the most affordable option in terms of buying from Disney, it just depends on if you are bringing your own camper or sleeping underneath the stars in a tent. The Campsite is part of Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort.

The Disney Vacation Club Resorts are all Deluxe Resorts. They are part of the already existing deluxe hotels or are 100% DVC. These resorts include: Disney’s Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, Bay Lake Tower at the Contemporary Resort, The Villas at Grand Floridian Resort and Spa (opening October 23!), Animal Kingdom Villas- Kidani Village, Boardwalk Villas, Beach Club Villas, the Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, Animal Kingdom Villas – Jambo House, and the just recently announced soon to be built Polynesian Resort Villas. These DVC resorts are available to all Disney Vacation Club members, and then are available on a first come first serve basis to non-DVC members. You can always buy points from a DVC member if you’d like or just book a room on the Disney World website. These villas come in several different sizes; the most common are: studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom suites. However, there are a few differences between villas and regular hotel rooms on property; you can read about those differences and DVC here: http://www.wdwinfo.com/disney-vacation-club/.

Now how does this all have to do with Park Tips Tuesday? Well I am now finally able to explain that! By staying on property you get several amenities and perks that guests staying off site do not receive. Most resorts off site do not provide transportation to the Disney Theme Parks; however, every Disney owned resort has transportation to and from each theme park including water parks as well as Downtown Disney, Disney’s own shopping district. What’s even better, it’s completely free of charge! You don’t even need to tip the driver. Another perk of staying on site are Extra Magic Hours. Extra Magic Hours are every day at at least one theme park. The park will either be open one hour earlier or two hours later to Disney Resort guests’ only. And another brand new perk that is slowly rolling out is My Magic+. Guests’ will receive Magicbands through the mail before their arrival date or at check-in. These Magicbands are completely optional and can act as your room key, credit card, park admission, and can get you fastpasses at whichever park you’re visiting that day! I’m not going to go in-depth about My Magic+ yet, that is for another time in another article, but it is definitely going to revolutionize the way guests explore Walt Disney World!

Essentially, your Park Tip for Park Tip Tuesday is, if you want a simpler more hassle-free stay and would like to be enveloped in a Disney bubble for the entirety of your vacation, then I would definitely recommend staying onsite in a Disney Resort!

-Woody

Do you have a favorite Disney Resort to stay at? Do you disagree with the idea of staying on property? Or do you simply have any park tips you’d like to share with us? Feel free to comment below, send us an email, tweet us, or post on our Facebook page! We would love to hear from you!

To learn more about good neighbor hotels head to http://www.wdwgoodneighborhotels.com/

To receive more information about Disney resorts, their prices and amenities head to https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/resorts/