Tag Archives: Disneyland

Disney Updates!

Eek!  It’s been a month since I last posted.  I’ve only gotten about five reminders from my cousin that I need to post so here’s a short post finally.

In the past month of my blogging absence, Disney has come out with news update after update.  I feel like I have been away from this blog for a year.  Here are a handful of the updates I have found especially interested from the past month:

  • Animal Kingdom update: Rivers of Light, the new Animal Kingdom night show, will officially open on April 22nd
  • WDW general update: Park pass prices are now tiered based on when you go and the passes have (on average) also increased in price
  • Disney Springs update: A new list of more stores was released on the Disney Parks Blogs and includes Anthropologie, Kate Spade, as well as many others (I think the list had almost 30 new stores which will open over the next few months)
  • RunDisney update: Wine and Dine Half Marathon registration was pushed back and a 10K was added to the race weekend.  After two years of terrible weather, the night race has been moved to a Sunday morning race which has brought some mixed reactions in the online RunDisney running community
  • Disney California Adventure update: California has seen the success of Food and Wine at WDW and so now some weekends in April and May will see a Food and Wine Festival on the other coast
  • Hollywood Studios update: A new Star Wars fireworks show will be opening this summer.  The current one has been very successful and I have heard rave reviews but the new one will supposedly incorporate the use of projections.
  • Epcot update: The new Frozen ride (which replaced Maelstrom-thank goodness) will be opening by the summer
  • Another general WDW Update: Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Purple Magic Bands are now available!!  After almost two years of guests requesting them, they are finally available.
  • Movie update: Zootopia premiered in theaters over the weekend.  This movie did better than Frozen did in its first weekend.  That’s crazy to me.  However, my Newsfeed on Facebook was filled with EVERYONE from my younger cousins to many of my college aged friends going to the theaters to see it.  Has anyone seen it yet?  I won’t get to the movies until late March for “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2” so Zootopia will have to wait until the summer.

 

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WDW Annual Pass Changes

As many of you probably heard, effective Sunday, there is a new Annual Pass Program at both Walt Disney World and Disneyland.  WDW MAGIC Annual Pass Article provides a great summary of the changes, but I will go into them in a bit here.  I also looked at Theme Park Insider.  It was a bit challenging to try to compare the Annual Pass prices over the past two years since once the new prices came out, everyone changed their websites!

Basically, the whole system has been changed.  So you used to choose between a Premium Annual Pass or the basic Annual Pass and then there were other options for Florida residents.  However, now anyone can purchase a Platinum Plus or Platinum pass but only DVC and FL residents can purchase a Gold pass and only FL residents can purchase a Silver, Weekday, or Epcot after 4pm pass.  So, there are many more options and they are way more complicated than necessary.  The price difference between the old regular Annual Pass and the new Gold pass is $64 for DVC and FL residents at $549.  The difference between the old Premium Annual Pass and the new Platinum one is $115 for everyone (up to $749) and $44 (up to $649) for DVC and FL residents.  These differences are WITHOUT taxes and see the links above for a more organized breakdown.  An 8 day Park Hopper pass is $435.59.  So, if you are going for an 8 day trip and are a DVC Member the Gold Pass is over a $100 more than the 8 day pass.  Once you add a second trip on though, the cost sort of evens out because a one day pass is $100 and then you get all of the Annual Pass discounts (10% off merchandise, 10% of boat rentals…etc).

The only added benefit that Disney has put in to sort of justify the price increases is getting PhotoPass downloads with the Platinum Plus, Platinum, and Gold plans.  I see this as a small benefit because when you go with family members, you might want to purchase a few pictures and I was shocked by the online price of $15 a pop for a photo.  But on the other hand, cast members are often willing to take a photo with your personal camera or phone or the family in line behind you will do so.  And many guests just take photos of the screens when they come off rides instead of buying the photo even though there is now a watermark on the screens.

The price of Tables in Wonderland also increased from $100 to $150 for Annual Passholders and DVC members and $125 to $175 for FL residents.  Tables in Wonderland is a dining discount card where you can receive 20% off of meals at many WDW restaurants.  However, you are not able to purchase this card unless you are an Annual Passholder, FL resident or DVC member.  If you go to Disney with a large group and eat meals at the restaurants on the list, then the card usually pays for itself after a few meals, but the $50 increase is not small change.

In conclusion, and while we wait for my cousin to finish the WDW Weekend trip recap and send it to me…have the price changes affected anyone’s future pass purchase plans?

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The Perfect Age to Take Your Child To Disney

I have to admit this title may be misleading and I apologize for those who came here hoping to find an exact age.  I could have spent hours working on an Excel document with average heights at each age to determine how many rides kids could go on, assessing how often kids get scared of characters through the years, and figuring out the weight of snacks, diapers, and extra pairs of clothes that parents have to carry for children at each age.  But, I would have ended up exactly where I am now.

One of my pet peeves is when parents say “We are heading to Disney this year because Sam and Sally are the PERFECT age to go to Disney.”  Really? It takes every inch of pixie dust in me to smile politely back and say “Oh yes, I am sure they will especially enjoy it this year.”

It is sort of like saying “I am giving my child ice cream this year because they are the perfect age to have it.”  Almost everyone I know (children and adults included) enjoys ice cream.  When kids are little, they might not be able to finish a small cup of ice cream or might make a mess of the cone.  When they become a little older, they might eat too much ice cream and then get a stomach ache.  When they grow to a pre-teen or teenager, they will aim to finish the largest sundae possible.  And then when they are an adult, they might eat ice cream a little slower than a teenager, but will still enjoy it immensely.

Bringing it back to Disney, if you bring a baby to Disney, they will make a mess at meals and will spit up probably and need a diaper change or four.  But they will still smile while meeting the characters and going on rides.  Yes, they might sleep or cry but they will do all of this at home as well.  An elementary school child might think they can go on all of the big rides and go non-stop but will eventually end up napping in the stroller as well.  But they will love getting to go on roller coasters and seeing the fireworks at night…Just like ice cream, everyone loves Disney (and if they don’t please don’t send them to my blog, haha).

The biggest concern I hear parents say is that “Susie won’t remember a Disney trip until she turns # years old.”  Okay, this is a (somewhat) valid point.  Susie might not remember the Disney trip.  However, you can take photos and videos so that she can look back and see what the trip was like when she was a year old.  And you’re going to have fun watching her expression as she meets characters and goes on “It’s a Small World” for the first time.  You won’t be able to rewind time once Susie is a rebellious teenager and no longer wants to meet all of the characters.  I am a little biased since I don’t have kids of my own and I also took my first Disney trip when I was 6 months old.  I might not remember the trip I took when I was 6 months old but I feel connected to Disney and to Winnie the Pooh and some of the restaurants we often eat at because those experiences from a young age have never left me and are somewhere in my mind.

I realize taking babies and young children on any vacation (but especially Walt Disney World) is no easy task.  I also realize a Disney vacation costs a lot of money, so I want to point out how I am not referring to when vacationers save up for a Disney trip and choose when to go based on when it makes the most sense financially.  If you can’t take the family until the children are adults, they will still LOVE it (and might have fun drinking around the world instead of forcing you to go on Peter Pan’s Flight).  I simply wanted to address those who believe that there is a magical mathematical formula for picking a time in their child’s life to go.  In other words, the perfect time to go to Walt Disney World is whenever you are able to go, whether that is once every 20 years or once every weekend as a Florida resident.    IMG_3337

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Throwback Thursday to the 90’s

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I believe this photo was taken in 1992 or 1993, but please chime in family members if you know the exact date.  Although the photo is a bit blurry, here is a photo of my grandma, my aunt, and my mom standing in front of an old Disney Vacation Club vehicle at Old Key West (or as it was known then the Disney Vacation Club Resort? or something like that).  I definitely prefer the old Disney Vacation Club logo with the mountains and Disney sun compared to the one they have been using the past few years with Mickey as a globe.  This vehicle almost looks like it could go on a safari!  How many people could fit in it?!

It certainly feels like Florida at school today with the temperature being the same as it is in Disney (a hot and humid 91 degrees).  We also had a random afternoon thunderstorm here where it down poured for 15 minutes.  Right before it rained, I was thinking about how it was just like Florida except for the afternoon thunderstorm and then it started raining.  Thankfully, I was inside by then.

Good luck to all of the runners this weekend at the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend!

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Star Wars Run in Walt Disney World!

The biggest Disney news recently is that there is going to be a Star Wars runDisney weekend in April 2016 in Walt Disney World!  photo 21The Star Wars Disneyland run weekend has been a big hit and so many people are excited about the new race weekend in WDW.  The WDW Star Wars weekend is focused on the Dark Side…so expect to see many Darth Vader and Emperor costumes.  Usually, the half marathon courses go through Magic Kingdom and Epcot in Walt Disney World, but the runDisney website said yesterday that the Star Wars Half will go through Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Epcot, and Animal Kingdom. Since then, this information has been changed to a run through “the Walt Disney World Resort.”   So, if the three park info that was posted is true, it would be awesome because hopefully there will be less road running than usual and more park running.  But since the information was taken down/altered, I am not sure what to expect.  The weekend will have  a 5k on April 15th starting at 6am, a 10k on April 16th starting at 5:30am and the half on April 17th at 5am.  The WDW Half Marathons usually start at 5:30am so an earlier start also hints at that a third park might be involved or race coordinators might be concerned about the heat.  Disney has also added a challenge to the weekend combining the 10k and the half (The Star Wars Dark Side Challenge), as well as a challenge for those who complete the Star Wars runDisney weekends on both coasts.

Well I am planning on running the Walt Disney World half marathon on my 21st birthday so I am not sure about this Star Wars run weekend.  However, it is easy for me to take a flight to Florida from Washington DC and I could hypothetically miss a class or two in order to go for a run weekend in Disney plus I already have an Annual Pass….  The other thing is cost of course, but I haven’t looked into that too much yet.  Registration opens on September 22nd and it has not been announced if DVC/Annual Passholders will get to register ahead of time.  If that’s the case then I will have to decide very soon!  This race announcement is also timed well since I am on Movie #5 of the Star Wars movie series in watching them for the first time.  The last three days have been full of Star Wars at my house with the movies on.  So is anyone here thinking of running the Star Wars WDW weekend races?

When I last posted, I was heading off to a wedding.  The wedding on Saturday was fantastic!  The ceremony was very nice as was the reception and afterwards we all went back to the hotel and had a great time playing Bunko.  Here is a photo of the bride and groom and my grandma receiving a scrapbook that my aunt created and each member of the family added a page to.
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Breaking News-Star Wars Lands

At the d23 expo, it was just announced that Disneyland and Walt Disney World will soon have Star Wars Lands! More info to come…

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Happy 60th Disneyland!

60 years ago today, Disneyland opened.  Thank you Walt Disney for creating an amazing place where families, friends, and fellow Mickey Mouse fans can create fantastic memories.  Nothing compares to watching kids or kids at heart have their Disney dreams come true when they meet Mickey Mouse and see the Castle for the first time.  Although I have not been to Disneyland yet, Disneyland was the original Disney park and I hope to go there soon.  Without Disneyland, Walt Disney World would have never happened and therefore the many happy memories I have of family trips down to Disney would not have been created.  Thank you Walt for all of the Disney magic.      IMG_3339

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