“Limited Time Magic” at the Disney Theme Parks in 2013!

October 17, 2012 Cheryl 0
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Disney Parks have 52 weeks of magical surprises planned for you in 2013!  As announced this morning, “Limited Time Magic” features some extra magical experiences, with some Pixie Dust sprinkled in for good measure!   These special events will be occurring about both the Disneyland® Resort and the Walt Disney World® Resort, where they will suddenly appear, and then disappear almost as quickly.   The magic ranges from Park-wide events, to special culinary treats, to limited edition merchandise, to special moments of surprise and delight, and it all begins in January of 2013!

So, what can you expect with to see with “Limited Time Magic” at Disney Parks? Here’s an idea:

  • True Love: Celebrate romance and enchantment throughout Valentine’s Week with special moments and entertainment geared to lovebirds. Disney Princes join their Princesses to meet Park Guests in special settings, prix fixe menus turn up at select restaurants and Valentine’s collectibles will be offered for the week.
  • Independence Week: It’s red, white and blue as Disney Parks salutes America with a 4th of July Fireworks Party — for an entire week, with patriotic lighting bathing the Disney castles on both coasts. Mickey Mouse appears in his patriotic finest and Guests will find special USA shirts, Ear Hats and other limited-edition souvenirs.
  • Long Lost Friends Week: Lesser-known Disney characters will move from the shadows to the spotlight meet-and-greets on both coasts. Photo opportunities with characters that could include Flik, Clarabelle Cow, Remy, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum will surprise and delight your Clients. And Disney Guests even have the chance to vote online for which characters they want to see.
  • Pirate Week: Why talk like a pirate one day when you could celebrate these scalawags all week long? The adventures of Jack Sparrow come to life like never before during a bicoastal buccaneer bash in which the Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts become pirate-palooza: pirate bands, pirate meet-and-greets and more.
  • Dapper Dans Sing Boy Bands: The Dapper Dans, the iconic quartet from Main Street, U.S.A., will add a special finale to their show, claiming the title of the “Original Boy Band” and delivering a medley of hits from One Direction, *NSYNC and the Backstreet Boys.
  • Unleash the Villains: Friday the 13th in September 2013 is a special day, soDisneyland Park and Disney’s Hollywood Studios Park are staying open until the 13th hour (1 a.m.). Maleficent, Captain Hook, Jafar, and other Disney Villains host a dance party, complete with limited-edition collectibles and other nighttime mischief.
  • Golden Horseshoe Revue: The fabled Frontierland show returns to Disneyland Park for one month only, bringing back the corny jokes and enduring songs that were often enjoyed by Walt Disney himself.

I can’t decide which event I am more excited about – Pirate Week, Long Lost Friends Week, or Unleash the Villains.  And I LOVE spending the 4th of July at Walt Disney World®, so a whole week of patriotic event is going to be awesome!!  I may just have to move to Walt Disney World® to take advantage of all of these amazing events!!  Which one are you looking forward to the most?

Walt Disney World Specials for Winter 2013!!

October 10, 2012 Cheryl 0

Great things are happening at the Walt Disney World® Resort!   This December, the Magic Kingdom® Park will hold a Grand Opening of the largest part of their New Fantasyland® Area, Enchanted Forest. Here guests will enjoy new attractions and experiences including Under the Sea ~ Journey of the Little Mermaid, Enchanted Tales with Belle, Ariel’s Grotto, and the new Be Our Guest Restaurant. In addition, Epcot’s® popular attraction, Test Track®, will open on December 6th, after a nearly eight-month refurbishment with an all new reimagined and interactive experience!   If these reasons aren’t enough to make you want to head down to the sunshine state, here are a few more.  I already told you about the great specials that Walt Disney World is having for the holiday season, and the great deal Off to Neverland has going for Princess Half-Marathon Weekend, well now they have added some more great deals!   You can save up to 35%* at select Walt Disney World® Resort hotels this winter!!

 

Offer Details:

Disney Value and Moderate Resorts

For stays most nights Jan. 2-17 and Jan. 21 – March 7, 2013:

  • Save up to 30% at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – Riverside and Disney’s Fort Wilderness Cabins
  • Save up to 25% at Disney’s All-Star Sports Resort, Disney’s All-Star Music Resort and Disney’s Pop Century Resort
  • Save up to 15% at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – Family Suites

Disney Deluxe and Deluxe Villa Resorts

For stays most nights Jan. 2-17 and Jan. 21 – March 7, 2013:

  • Save up to 35% at Disney’s Yacht and Beach Club Resorts, Disney’s Beach Club Resort Villas, Disney’s BoardWalk Inn & Villas, Disney’s Polynesian Resort, Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge (standard view rooms), Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas (Kidani/Jambo rooms), Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa, Disney’s Old Key West Resort and Disney’s Contemporary Resort (including Bay Lake Towers)
  • Save up to 25% at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge Resort (including Villas)

Just add Theme Park tickets and your Clients can take advantage of all the winter fun.  Or ask about other great rates Jan 18-20, 2013.

You must book between Oct. 10 – Dec. 31, 2012 to take advantage of this deal, and the number of rooms is limited, so please contact me today to take advantage of this great offer!

* The number of rooms allocated for this offer is limited. Length of stay requirements may apply. Savings based on the non-discounted price for the same room. Additional per adult charges apply if more than two adults per room. Excludes 3-bedroom villas and is not valid at Disney’s Art of Animation Resort – The Little Mermaid rooms. Advance reservations required. No group rates or other discounts apply.

Why plan a trip with me?

October 6, 2012 Cheryl 0

Everyone values different things when they travel.  As your personal travel agent, I’ll get to know each member of your family. This will allow me to plan a memorable experience with specific activities for each member of your family.  When you work with me to plan a trip, you get:

Comprehensive planning services

♦      From pre-trip planning and packing to post-trip ways to extend your travel experience, I can provide a stress-free trip – with as much, or as little, detail as you like.  I will not only give you your travel documents, like some agencies, but I will put together touring plans for your days at the parks, provide tips for seeing your favorite characters and spots to view the parades and fireworks, give recommendations for restaurants and even make all of your dining reservations for you.  I will also keep a close eye on your reservation to make sure that you get the best price for your trip, even if a new deal comes out after you have booked.   There is never a charge for these services.

Travel Experiences

♦      With travels from South America to Europe my knowledge can help you make the most of your trip.

Walt Disney World Experiences

♦      With over 15 trips to the Walt Disney World Resort®, my personal experiences can provide valuable tips and tricks for a vacation like never before.

Communication

♦      Information is shared in your desired format: in-person, phone, email, Facebook page updates, eBrochures, postal mail, or texts!

Timely Information

♦      Working with a formal travel agency, I receive numerous updates daily regarding specials and new offerings that are communicated only through official travel agent channels. This allows me to share this information with my clients before it is made available to the public.

Education

♦      Being associated with an Authorized Disney Travel Planning agency, I’ve completed the entire library of Disney Travel Agent trainings and am engaged in continuing education with Disney Destinations and a full slate of travel destinations and suppliers.

Specialization

♦      While my agency, Off to Neverland Travel®, is a full service agency; we do specialize in Disney Destinations.

Dedication

♦      This is not a job. It’s a passion. It is my goal for everyone to experience the magic of Disney Destinations in a way that provides magical memories for a lifetime.

My Planning Services include:

♦      Resort lodging

♦      Theme park tickets

♦      Non-theme park activities

♦      Excursions

♦      Dining plans

♦      Dining reservations

♦      Special events

♦      Daily touring plans

♦      Souvenir/shopping recommendations

♦      Child-care services – on-site clubs, strollers

♦      Airlines

♦      Car services, shuttles & rental cars

 

email:  cheryl.koren@offtoneverland.com
phone:  856.237.5942

Cheryl Tennant Koren • Magic Maker
Off to Neverland Travel, LLC
An Authorized Disney Vacation Planner
CST# 2090317-40 / Fla. Seller of Travel Ref. No. ST37203

Characterpalooza – an actual Disney best kept secret!

October 5, 2012 Cheryl 6
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Walt Disney World claims to have lots of best kept secrets, but here is one that actually lives up to that claim!  “Characterpalooza” is an unadvertised Character Greeting session that occurs almost daily at Disney’s Hollywood Studio’s on the Streets of America!  It used to occur inside the Art of Animation building, but the recently moved it so the characters can roam around and greet guests!!

Who will you see?  Well that is the surprise!   Not even Cast Members can tell you who is going to make an appearance!

The timing and number of Characters depends on the following show times for Fantasmic that evening:

  • If Fantasmic isn’t scheduled, Characters will appear from 4:50 to 6:50 PM.
  • If the first Fantasmic begins before 7:30 PM, then Characterpalooza will not occur since the Characters will be getting ready for Fantasmic.
  • If the first Fantasmic begins at 7:30 PM, Characters will only appear between 4:50 and 5:10 PM.
  • If the first Fantasmic begins at 8:00 or 8:30 PM, Characters will appear from 4:50 to 5:50 PM.
  • If the first Fantasmic begins at 9:00 PM, Characters will appear from 4:50 to 6:30 PM.

Last time we were there we saw Captain Hook, Mr. Smee, Genie, Jafar, Snow White, Pinocchio, Gepetto, Queen of Hearts, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb, Mary Poppins and her penguins, and The Wicked Queen (from Snow White).  The Little Einsteins were also there!  We are really big on getting Character signatures, so any chance to catch a rare one is a treat.  If you feel the same way, I would definitely recommend scheduling some time in the Streets of America!

Get tips like these and more when you book your Disney vacation with me.  Request a free no-obligation quote today and let me help you plan a character-filled Disney getaway!

Many thanks to wdwhints.com for providing research material for this article.  You can read their article on Characterpalooza here!  Kenny the Pirate is also an excellent reference for the most up to date information on Characterpalooza!!

 

 

 

Overview Series: DisneyQuest

October 5, 2012 Cheryl 1

DisneyQuest is an “indoor interactive theme park located on the West Side in Downtown Disney. It is housed in a five-story building, where guests enter the first-floor lobby and are transported via a magic elevator to the third floor atrium at the start of their visit.  All five floors feature opportunities for interactive adventures for your whole family, although it is probably more geared towards the older children and adults.  DisneyQuest requires a separate admission ticket which can be purchased on its own, or is part of the “Water Parks and More” option.  No one under the age of 10 is admitted without a chaperone 16 years of age or older, and strollers are not permitted. Here is a quick overview of the DisneyQuest, including attractions, dining and shopping.

Floor 1

Attractions:  Virtual Jungle Cruise, Pirates of the Caribbean: Battle for Buccaneer Gold

Dining:  none

Shopping:  DisneyQuest Emporium

Floor 2

Attractions:  Radio Disney SongMaker, Animation Academy, Living Easels, Sid’s Create-A-Toy, Aladdin’s Magic Carpet Ride, CyberSpace Mountain

Dining:  none

Shopping:  Guest Gallery

Floor 3

Attractions:  The Underground Arcade, Mighty Ducks Pinball Slam, Race Zone, Venturport, Classic Games, Buzz Lightyear’s AstroBlaster

Dining:  none

Shopping:  none

Floor 4

Attractions:  Sports Arena Arcade, Ride the Comix, Kid’s Area (for younger guests ages 2-7)

Dining:  Wonderland Café

Shopping:  none

Floor 5

Attractions:  Invasion!  An ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter, Ride the Comix, Classic Games

Dining:  FoodQuest

Shopping:  none

Parking and Transportation

The Disney transportation bus station that services DisneyQuest is located to the right of Planet Hollywood.  The buses service all of the Disney resorts and Good Neighbor hotels.  Resort boats are also available from Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, and Port Orleans resorts.  There is also complimentary boat service between the 3 sections of Downtown Disney.  A taxi stand is located in Parking Lot K.  If you are driving, parking is free, but lots do tend to fill up.  Parking lots I – Q service West Side.

 

Save up to 25% off your room during Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend!!

October 4, 2012 Cheryl 0

Fairytales do come true during Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend!  This event brings women of all ages together to participate in a magical event designed just for them.  The runDisney course will take you through the Magic Kingdom® and Epcot® Theme Parks, and whether running solo or with a group of your closest friends and family, you can bet that every mile ran in a race at the Walt Disney World® Resort is a magical one!

But don’t let that royal treatment end at the finish line! Stay at one of the Walt Disney World® Resort Hotels and enjoy accommodations fit for any princess! Just a few of the on-site benefits include Disney’s Magical Express® Airport Transportation, Extra Magic Hours, and legendary Disney hospitality.

And as an extra bonus, Off to Neverland Travel is offering discounted room rates at select Walt Disney World® Resort Hotels for Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend. Availability of these discounts are limited, so contact me today to reserve your spot.  Discount theme park tickets are available as well, and dining can be added to any package.

Not participating in the Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend? No problem! You can still enjoy the magic of the Walt Disney World® Resort with these discounted rates!

Booking Window:

Oct. 5, 2012 – Jan. 14, 2013 (or while availability lasts)

Offer Details:

Save 10%-25% on your stay for  Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend at select Walt Disney World® Resort Hotels. Available Resorts include:

  • Disney’s All-Star Music Resort
  • Disney’s Port Orleans Resort – French Quarter
  • Disney’s Wilderness Lodge
  • Disney’s Contemporary Resort
  • Disney’s Beach Club Resort
  • Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
Stays may be extended to arrive before or depart after Disney’s Princess Half Marathon Weekend, but are based on Resort availability.

Discount Terms: All rates are subject to availability. Offer cannot be combined with another offer or discount. Advance reservations required. Additional room types may be available at a discounted rate, but are based off of availability. Each room containing more than 2 adults (ages 18+) may be subject to an additional fee of $10-$25 per person per night. Deposit amount equal to one night’s stay plus taxes will be due at the time of booking. Disney Dining Plan and Discounted Ticket options are available for an additional fee – please ask me for more details. Any cancellations made after booking will incur a $50 cancellation fee, per room, on top of any fees charged by the supplier.  Ask me for exact details as cancellation fees from the supplier vary based on type of room/package booked.

Overview Series: Downtown Disney

October 4, 2012 Cheryl 1

This is Part 6 of the Walt Disney World Overview Series.

Downtown Disney is an open-air shopping, dining, and entertainment center located at Walt Disney World Resort.  This very large outdoor area is free to enter, and offers complimentary parking and transportation to all Disney hotels (but not it’s theme parks).  The complex is divided into three areas:  the Marketplace, Pleasure Island, and the West Side.  Each section features a selection of entertainment venues, shops, and uniquely themed restaurants. Here is a quick overview of the area, including all of the shopping, dining, and entertainment options.

History

According to Wikipedia, Downtown Disney opened on March 22, 1975, as the Lake Buena Vista Shopping Village, a shopping complex intended to serve the planned residences within the Walt Disney World property.  However, as resorts took the place of the residential areas, it became more focused as a shopping destination for Walt Disney World Guests, and it’s name changed to the Walt Disney World Village.  On May 1, 1989 Pleasure Island opened as an adults-only area featuring themed bars and clubs that required a separate admission ticket, and the shopping area once again changed names to the Disney Village Marketplace.  In 1995 the whole complex was rebranded Downtown Disney, and in 1997 was expanded again when West Side opened its doors with such offerings as Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba and DisneyQuest.  The World of Disney (in the Marketplace) was also opened.  Then on September 27, 2008, all of the Pleasure Island nightclubs closed as part of a larger refurbishment of Downtown Disney, in order to make room for new shopping and dining offerings.  Pleasure Island was to be rebranded Hyperion Wharf – a dockside-themed shopping and dining area – but the project is on hold indefinitely as the Imagineers re-theme whatever they plan to build.

Marketplace

As the name suggests, the Marketplace is made up of a multitude of Disney-related shops and themed restaurants.  Stores include:  T-REX Retail Shop, LEGO Imagination Center, Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, World of Disney, Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop, Basin, Arribas Brothers, Rawlings Making the Game, Team Mickey Athletic Club, Ridemakerz, Tren-D, Once Upon a Toy, Disney’s Pin Traders, Mickey’s Pantry, Spice & Tea Exchange, Marketplace Fun Finds, LittleMissMatched, Goofy’s Candy Co., Rainforest Café Retail Shop, The Art of Disney, Disney’s Wonderful World of Memories, Disney Design-a-Tee, and Disney’s Days of Christmas.  These are all great spots to pick up a souvenir, a gift for a friend back home, or just spend a few hours browsing.

There are also lots of places to grab a bite to eat!  There are several quick service and table-service options to choose from.  Options include:  Earl of Sandwich, Ghirardelli Ice Cream and Chocolate Shop, Marketplace Snacks, Pollo Campero, Wolfgang Puck Express, Cap-n Jack’s Restaurant, Rainforest Café and T-REX.

And if all that eating and shopping weren’t enough, there are other entertainment options too!  You can rent a boat from Cap’n Jacks Marina, ride a train or Carousel, or enjoy a live performance at the Waterside Stage.  And at Christmas, you can even meet Santa!  The Marketplace is a fun shopping experience for the whole family!

Pleasure Island

Although the nightclubs are closed (I sure do miss The Adventurer’s Club), there are still a few restaurants and shops open on Pleasure Island.  Curl by Sammy Duvall, Apricot Lane Boutique, Fuego by Sosa Cigars, and the Raglan Road Irish Shop are unique options for shopping, and Cookes of Dublin, Raglan Road Irish Pub and Restaurant, Portobello and Fulton’s Crab House are great places to grab a bite to eat.

West Side

Downtown Disney’s West Side is the most eclectic of the three areas and offers the most entertainment options.  These include Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba, DisneyQuest, the House of Blues, AMC Theatres Downtown Disney 24 and Dine-In Theatre, and Splitsville (opening fall 2012).  Dining options include:  FoodQuest, Wetzel’s Pretzels, Wolfgang Puck Café and Express West Side, Bongos Cuban Café and Window, House of Blues Restaurant, Paradiso 37, and Planet Hollywood.  Last but not least the shopping:  the Cirque du Soleil Boutique, Bongo’s Gift Shop, Blink by Wet Seal, D Street, Disney’s Candy Cauldron, DisneyQuest Emporium, Hoypoloi, House of Blues Company Store, Orlando Harley-Davidson, Planet Hollywood Shop, Pop Gallery, Something Silver, Sosa Family Cigars, and Sunglass Icon.

Parking and Transportation

As Downtown Disney is such a large complex, knowing where you are going, where you are going to park or where to get a bus or taxi is important.  Disney transportation Bus Stations are located at the far end of the Marketplace and to the right of Planet Hollywood.  These buses service all of the Disney resorts and Good Neighbor hotels.  They do not, however, service any of the Theme Parks. Resort boats are also available from Saratoga Springs, Old Key West, and Port Orleans resorts.  There is also complimentary boat service between the 3 sections of Downtown Disney. Taxi stands are located in Parking Lot B (Marketplace by Basin), Parking Lot H (West Side by Planet Hollywood) and Parking Lot K (West Side by DisneyQuest).  If you are driving, parking is free, but lots do tend to fill up.  Parking lots A – D service the Marketplace, lots E – H service Pleasure Island, and lots I – Q service West Side.

Overview Series: Disney’s Water Parks

October 3, 2012 Cheryl 1

 This is Part 5 of the Walt Disney World Overview Series.

The Walt Disney Resort has two water parks for your enjoyment – Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach.  Each require a separate admission ticket, which you can purchase at the front gate.  Guests with the “Water Park Fun and More” option on their theme park tickets can also get in without an additional charge.  Spending a day at a water park is a great way to cool off in the Florida sun, have a great time, and make some magical family memories.  Here is a quick overview of the parks, including attractions, dining and shopping.

Recommendation:  don’t forget the sunglasses, sunscreen, and water shoes/flip-flops – the ground gets pretty hot!

Note:  The water parks close each year for refurbishment.  Only one park is closed at a time.  The schedule is on the Walt Disney World Website, or I can provide that information to you as well.

Typhoon Lagoon

The park, which opened on June 1, 1989, is home to the world’s largest outdoor wave pool.  The theme of the park is the “Disney legend” of a typhoon that wreaked havoc upon a formerly pristine tropical paradise. Ships, fishing gear and surfboards are strewn about where the storm flung them. The centerpiece of the park is “Miss Tilly,” a shrimp boat impaled upon a mountain named “Mount Mayday” that erupts a 50-foot (15 m) geyser of water every half hour, right before the ship’s bell sounds.  In addition to the wave pool there are slides, a water coaster, and you can even snorkel with sharks!  Typhoon Lagoon is located near Downtown Disney, and lockers are available for rent.

Attractions:  Typhoon Lagoon Surf Pool, Castaway Creek, Ketchakiddee Creek, Keelhaul Falls, Mayday Falls, Gangplank Falls, Humunga Kowabunga, Storm Slides, Shark Reef, Bay Slides, Mountain Trail, Crush ‘n’ Gusher

Dining:  Leaning Palms, Getaway Glen, Typhoon Tilly’s Lowtide Lou’s, Let’s Go Slurpin’, Happy Landings, Surf Doggies, Crush Hot Dog, Hideaway Bay (picnic area)

Shopping:  Sinapore Sal’s, High ‘N Dry

Blizzard Beach

The park opened on April 1, 1995 and was the third Walt Disney World water park (Disney’s River Country was the first water park at the Resort. It opened on June 20, 1976 and ceased operations on November 2, 2001.)   The theme of the park is the “Disney legend” of a freak snowstorm in the area, leading to the construction of Florida’s first ski resort. Naturally, the snow didn’t last long, leaving behind a collection of waterlogged but snow-less ski jumps and chair lifts. The failed resort was in the process of closing for good when an alligator was seen sliding down a flume and splashing into a pool of water, screaming “Yahoo!” and the “ski resort” was reborn as a water park. Most of the major attractions at the park, including a 12-story drop body slide, are hosted atop of Mount Gushmore, and split into three colored slopes to aid guests navigating around the park: Green, Red and Purple.  All water areas are heated with the exception of the melting snow in the ice cave of Cross Country Creek (and boy is that cold!!). Typhoon Lagoon is located near Animal Kingdom, and lockers and Polar Patios are available for rent.

Attractions – Green Slopes:  Summit Plummet, Slush Gusher, Teamboat Springs, Chairlift

Attractions – Purple Slopes:  Toboggan Racers, Snow Stormers, Downhill Double Dipper

Attractions – Red Slope and Ground Level:  Runoff Rapids, Melt-Away Bay, Cross Country Creek, Ski Patrol Training Camp, Tike’s Peak

Dining:  Lottawatta Lodge, Cooling Hut, Frostbite Freddy’s, Snow-Balls, Avalunch, I.C. Expeditions, Warming Hut, Polar Pub

Shopping:  Beach Haus, Snowless Joe’s, Shade Shack

Parking and Transportation

There is no shortage of ways to get to the Disney Water Parks:

Buses:  to all Walt Disney World Resort hotels

Parking:  available at the front entrance

 

Overview Series: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

October 2, 2012 Cheryl 1

This is Part 4 of the Walt Disney World Overview Series.


Disney’s Animal Kingdom was fourth park built at the Walt Disney World Resort, and it opened on April 22, 1998.  The theme is conservation, and the park is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which means they have met or exceeded the standards in education, conservation, and research.  The park consists of seven themed areas, with all but one connected to Discovery Island, which contains The Tree of Life, a sculpted 14-story artificial tree that serves as the centerpiece and icon of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In 2011, the park hosted approximately 9.8 million guests, ranking it the fourth-most visited amusement park in the United States and seventh-most visited in the world. Here is a quick overview of the Park, including the rides, shows, dining and attractions.

The Oasis

The Oasis is the park’s main entrance. Along with providing various guest services, the Oasis features a number of animal habitats.

Attractions:  The Oasis Exhibits

Dining:  Rainforest Café

Shopping: Garden Gate Gifts, The Outpost Shop

Discovery Island

Discovery Island is located roughly at the center of the park, in the middle of the Discovery River waterway.  This is the “central hub” of Disney’s Animal Kingdom, connecting the other sections of the park, with the exception of Rafiki’s Planet Watch. Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade passes through this section of the Park each afternoon, and you can meet Russell and Dub from Disney’s Up.

Attractions:  It’s Tough to be a Bug, Discovery Island Trails

Dining:  Safari Coffee, Flame Tree Barbecue, Beastly Kiosk, Pizzafari

Shopping: Creature Comforts, Disney Outfitters, Island Mercantile

Camp Minnie-Mickey

Camp Minnie-Mickey is themed as a rustic summer camp where you can meet and greet many Disney characters.

Attractions:  Festival of the Lion King, Greeting Trails

Dining:  Campfire Treats, Camp Kiosk

Shopping: none

Africa

Set in the fictional east African village of Harambe, this area contains a number of animal exhibits, shops and restaurants. Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade passes along the edge of this section of the Park each afternoon.

Attractions:  Kilimanjaro Safaris, Pangani Forest Exploration Trail

Dining:  Dawa Bar, Tusker House Restaurant, Kusafiri Coffee Shop & Bakery, Harambe Fruit Market, Tamu Tamu Refreshments

Shopping: Mombasa Marketplace

Rafiki’s Planet Watch

The one section of the park not connected to Discovery Island, Rafiki’s Planet Watch is instead connected to Africa. Guests board the Wildlife Express Train for the short trip to and from Planet Watch, which consists of three distinct areas related to animal conservation.

Attractions:  Wildlife Express Train, Habitat Habit!, Conservation Station, Affection Station

Dining:  none

Shopping: Out of the Wild

Asia

Asia was the first expansion area added to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, first opening in 1999. Like Africa, the section’s attractions are part of a fictional place, the kingdom of Anandapur.  Mickey’s Jammin’ Jungle Parade passes along the edge of this section of the Park each afternoon.

Attractions:  Flight of Wonder, Maharajah Jungle Trek, Kali River Rapids, Expedition Everst  – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain

Dining:  Mr. Kamal’s, Upcountry, Yak & Yeti Restaurant, Yak & Yeti Local Food Cafes, Amandapur Ice Cream Truck

Shopping: Mandala Gifts, Serka Zong Bazaar

Dinoland U.S.A.

DinoLand U.S.A. is inspired by the Guests general curiosity about dinosaurs.  There are no parades in this section of the Park, but there are opportunities to greet characters.

Attractions:  The Boneyard, Fossil Fun Games, Finding Nemo – The Musical, Primeval Whirl, TricerTop Spin, DINOSAUR

Dining:  Restaurantosaurus, Trilo-Bites, Dino-Bite Snacks, Dino Diner

Shopping: Chester & Hester’s Dinosaur Treasures, Dino Institute Shop

Parking and Transportation

To get to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you can take a bus or drive your own car.

Buses:  to all Walt Disney World Resort hotels

Parking:  available at the front entrance

Overview Series: Disney’s Hollywood Studios

October 1, 2012 Cheryl 0

This is Part 3 of the Walt Disney World Overview Series.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios is a theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort. Spanning 135 acres in size, its theme is show business, drawing inspiration from the heyday of Hollywood in the 1930s and 1940s. The third park built at the resort, it opened on May 1, 1989 as Disney-MGM Studios.  On January 7, 2008 the name was officially changed to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. In 2011, the park hosted approximately 9.7 million guests, ranking it the fifth-most visited amusement park in the United States, and eighth-most visited in the world. The park consists of six themed areas. However, unlike the other Walt Disney World parks, Disney’s Hollywood Studios does not have a defined layout; it is more a mass of streets and buildings that blend into each other, much like a real motion picture studio. Here is a quick overview of the Park, including the rides, shows, dining and attractions.

Hollywood Boulevard

Hollywood Boulevard is Hollywood Studios equivalent of Main Street, U.S.A.  It houses a large number of shops, is the main Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! Parade route, and has lot of street entertainers.  At the end of the street is the Sorcerer’s Hat, the icon of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Attractions:  The Great Movie Ride

Dining:  The Hollywood Brown Derby

Shopping: Adrian and Edith’s Head to Toe Costume Shop, Celebrity 5 & 10, Classic Car Memorabilia, Crossroads of the World, Disney & Company, Keystone Clothiers, Mickey’s of Hollywood, Movieland Memorabilia, Oscar’s Superstation, Sid Cahuenga’s, Studio Prop Co, Studio Showcase, Superstar Shop, Tailor to the Stars, The Darkroom,

Echo Lake

Echo Lake is the park’s small oval-shaped lagoon, which was actually designed to form one of the ears in the enormous Hidden Mickey from the park’s original layout.  The Pixar Pals Countdown to Fun! Parade begins here by Star Tours.

Attractions:  The American Idol Experience, ABC Sound Studio (usually closed), Indiana Jones Epic Stunt Spectacular, Star Tours – The Adventures Continues

Dining:  Hollywood & Vine, Tune-in Lounge, 50’s Prime Time Café, Min and Bill’s Dockside Diner, Oasis Canteen, Backlot Express

Shopping: Adventure Outpost, Indiana Jones Gift Truck, Tatooine Traders

Streets of America/Commissary Lane

When the Disney’s Hollywood Studios first opened to the public, this portion of the theme park was closed off and only accessible via the Backlot Tour.  It is now open for everyone to be able to walk down these made up streets featuring architecture from New York and San Francisco. The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights light up the Streets of America during the winter holiday season.

Attractions:  Muppet Vision 3D, Honey I Shrunk the Kids Movie Set Adventure, Lights Motors Action! Extreme Stunt Show, Studio Back Lot Tour, Monsters, Inc, Phineas and Ferb, Stars of Cars 2

Dining:  Pizza Planet Arcade, Mama Melrose’s Ristorante Italiano, Studio Catering Co., High Octane Refreshments, Sci-Fi Dine-In Theater Restaurant, ABC Commissary

Shopping: It’s a Wonderful Shop, Stage 1 Company Store, The Writer’s Stop, Youse Guys Moychundice

Animation Courtyard/Mickey Ave/Pixar Place

This section of the park originally was the starting point for the tours of the Park’s active production studios. Its entrance is marked by a square “studio arch,” much like a real Hollywood studio lot entrance might be marked. Mickey Avenue is really just a sub-section of Animation Courtyard, with no real distinction.   Pixar Place, the park’s newest section, includes many of the original soundstages used when the park hosted actual production facilities. Today, Pixar Place resembles the Emeryville, CA campus of Pixar Animation Studios.   There are several opportunities to greet characters here – from the Toy Story gang to Characterpalooza in the Art of Animation.

Attractions:  Voyage of the Little Mermaid, The Magic of Disney Animation, Disney Junior – Live on Stage, Walt Disney:  One Man’s Dream, Toy Story Midway Mania!

Dining:  Hey Howdy Hey Take Away

Shopping: Animation Gallery, In Character-Disney’s Costume Shop, The Studio Store

Sunset Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard was the first expansion to Disney’s Hollywood Studios, opening in July 1994.  It has several shops, rides, shows, and restaurants. The open-air Hollywood Hills Amphitheater is the home of Fantasmic!, a nighttime show featuring Mickey Mouse and many other Disney characters in a story filled with fireworks, lasers and water effects.

Attractions:  Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage, Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster Starring Aerosmith, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Fantasmic!

Dining:  Starring Rolls Café, Toluca Legs Turkey Co., Anaheim Produce, Rosie’s All-American Café, Catalina Eddie’s, Fairfax Fare, Fantasmic Food Offerings

Shopping: Beverly Sunset Sweet Spells, Legends, Once Upon a Time, Rock Around the Shop, Sunset Club Couture, Tower Hotel Gifts

Parking and Transportation

There is no shortage of ways to get to Hollywood Studios:

Boat Launches: to Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort, Disney’s BoardWalk, and the Swan and Dolphin

Buses:  to all other Walt Disney World Resort hotels

Walking Path: to Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort, Disney’s BoardWalk, and the Swan and Dolphin

Parking:  available at the front entrance