Archives for May 2014

Disneyland’s Recent Price Increases

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This weekend, the Walt Disney Co. abruptly increased the price of park tickets at Disneyland. It increased the price of an adult (age 10 and older) single-day park pass 4%, from $92 to $96. They have been increasing the price of park entrance each year about 4% consistently over the past few years. This price is more in comparison with the park prices at Walt Disney World.

The biggest change is the price increase to Annual Passports. The Deluxe Annual Passport increased 4% taking the price from $499 to $519. This Annual Pass allows park entrance days 315 days per year. Blackout dates for this pass include mostly Saturdays and a few Sundays as well as some holidays. The Premium Annual Passport, which offers no blackout dates, is priced at $699. The big announcement though was that Disneyland will stop offering the Southern California Annual Passports. These passports offered a discount rates to Southern California residents with an larger blackout calendar (only 215 park entrance days per year).

Many locals are angry with the increase and the end of the Southern California Annual Pass. Let’s be honest – a Disney vacation is expensive. One of the largest costs is the park passes. Many people complain about the prices being too high, but let’s consider why the price is so high. Keeping the prices higher is a way for Disney to control the crowds. Right now, there is too high of a local crowd that have annual passes for the parks, and they create high volume of people mainly on the weekends. Disney has been drastically increasing Annual Passport prices for a few years now in an effort to diminish their local crowds. They have been trying to find the price point that will actually keep enough of them away. This may sound odd to want to keep people away from the parks, but this is one of the biggest problems for Disneyland.

Before anyone gets angry at me for saying that the local crowd needs to get smaller, I want to say that I used to be an Annual Passport holder myself. We would head over to Disneyland on a weekend night at our leisure, ride some rides, maybe eat a snack, and then head out. While this sounds fun and lovely (and it was), that isn’t the crowd that Disney wants in the majority at Disneyland. They want the vacationers who will stay a few days, dine every day, and spend a large amount of money in the parks on souvenirs and gifts. This is why they offer discounts on multiple-day passes. They want you to stay more than one day. Hence, why a one-day park ticket price just went up. They are trying to control the crowds.

Park guests can’t have it both ways – they can’t have less expensive tickets AND smaller crowds. Its either one or the other. And Disney is choosing the smaller crowds. I have to say that if I’m going to spend all that money to get into the park, I don’t want to have a giant swarm of guests making it miserable.

If you are planning a trip to Disneyland in the future, know that it is always a better deal to buy multiple day park tickets from Disney. And hopefully some of these changes will bring about lower crowds at the parks. But who knows…those local Disneyland fans are pretty determined!

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Top Disney Parks Interactive Experiences

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Disneyland and Disney World offer many fun attractions, shows and amazing dining for families during their vacations. But there are some interactive experiences at both parks that occastionally get overlooked and missed that we want to point out to our readers. We are calling them “interactive experiences” because your participation with them actually is the attraction. If you are visiting the parks for a short time, like 1-3 days, you will probably miss these and try to fit in as many attractions and characters and dining as you can. But for a longer stay at either coast, we think it is well worth finding some time to have a little fun with these great programs. It adds something unique and special for your kids, and they can make amazing memories. Here is our list of the Top Interactive Experiences that we think you shouldn’t miss! And they are all FREE with your park admission!

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1. Animation AcademyHollywood Studios, Walt Disney World AND Hollywood Land, California Adventure (Disneyland). This experience is one of our favorites and it is easily missed at the parks. At Disney World, it is located in the Magic of Animation and at Disneyland, it is in the Animation Building at California Adventure. Both experiences offer a drawing session with a Disney animator that teaches kids and adults how to draw a favorite Disney character. It is so much fun and you leave with your own drawing as a souvenir! Limited space in each session and sessions are at specific times.

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2. Jedi Training AcademyHollywood Studios, Walt Disney World AND Tomorrowland, Disneyland. Your future Jedi can signup to learn how to be a Jedi and then fight Darth Vader! This experience will provide (for the show) a Jedi robe and light saber for each child (these items are returned at the end of the show). At Disneyland, children are chosen from the audience to participate, and at Disney World, children must sign up before the show to participate. Space is very limited and shows are at specific times.

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3. Sorcerers of the Magic KingdomMagic Kingdom, Walt Disney World. This is a scavenger hunt style game with cards and keys that take you all around the Magic Kingdom to defeat the villains. There are multiple hidden screens all over the Magic Kingdom and it is so much fun to play! You can stop at anytime and start again the next day. The cards are great collectors and kids love trying to solve the mystery and fight the villains! See our post on Sorcerers for all the details.

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4. Wilderness Explorers AdventureAnimal Kingdom, Walt Disney World AND California Adventure, Disneyland. Both experiences were born from the movie “Up” where Russell is earning his Wilderness Explorer badges. Kids can follow maps and earn badges as well throughout Animal Kingdom and the Redwood Creek Trail (Disneyland).

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5. Captain Jack Sparrow’s Pirate TutorialMagic Kingdom, Walt Disney World. Do you have a big pirate fan at home? In this show, kids are brought on stage and taught how to be a pirate by a group of Jack’s crew as well as Jack himself. Some kids dress as pirates for the occasion. Sign ups are done ahead of time at the park and shows are at specific times only.

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6. A Pirate’s Adventure: Treasures of the Seven SeasMagic Kingdom, Walt Disney World. Similar to Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom, this treasure hunt involves helping Jack complete set missions and clues and treasures are collected throughout the park. This experience runs all day and night. Signups are in Adventureland.

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7. Agent P’s World Showcase AdventureEpcot, Walt Disney World. A scavenger hunt style experience through the countries of the World Showcase. Kids can sign up throughout the World Showcase and then they receive an electronic device to help them work through the clues and complete their mission. Kids who love Phineas and Ferb will love the hidden characters throughout the pavilions.

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8. Kidcot Fun StopsEpcot, Walt Disney World. While these are the least flashy of all the interactive experiences, they are very interesting and fun. Kids can visit a stop in each country and get a stamp in their passport, autograph book or anything else they are using for souvenirs. They can color something at each stop – it used to be Duffy but recently has been Agent P. At each Kidcot Stop, there is a Cast Member from that country that usually writes or stamps something in that countries language for the child. It can be a fun learning experience for kids and they will enjoy collecting all the pavilions. You can purchase an Epcot Passport to put stamps in and keep as a souvenir.

There are other fun experiences at all the parks, but these are some of our favorites. If your family has time to take part in any of these, you won’t regret it as they can be so much fun. The scavenger hunt games are lots of fun for the kids and they can work on it alongside their parents.

Happy Travels!

Disney Infinity 2.0

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Disney Interactive and Marvel recently unveiled the newest addition to the Disney Infinity games – Marvel Super Heroes. This will be a sequel to the wildly popular game that debuted last year. It was a giant hit at our house!

Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes will introduce the Marvel Universe and the classic Marvel characters for kids to choose. There will be 20 available super heroes and the original Disney Infinity will be compatible with the new Marvel Super Heroes Toy Box.

Expect to see this sequel in stores this fall, as well as additional characters and play sets. The big favorite characters in our house are Elsa and Anna as well as Jack Sparrow, but I can see Captain America and Ironman being a big hit with my boys! What characters would your kids like to see in their Disney Infinity?

Disney Deals – Summer & Fall

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Walt Disney World Resort

Free Dining for the coming fall: Free dining will be available to book for Disney Visa cardholders from May 2–6. The free dining offer will then be offered to the general public starting May 7th. Here are the details:

Travel Dates Eligible for Free Dining:

August 31 – October 3
October 26 – November 1
November 9 – November 20
December 12 – December 23

Disney Value Resorts ~ Quick Service Dining Plan Included
This can be upgraded to regular plan for $18.65 per person per day ($3.20 for children).

All-Star Music Resort
All-Star Sports Resort
Pop Century Resort
Art of Animation Family Suites

Moderate Resorts ~ Regular Dining Plan Included

Carribbean Beach Resort
Coronado Springs Resort

Deluxe Resorts ~ Regular Dining Plan Included

Animal Kingdom Lodge
Yacht & Beach Club Resorts
BoardWalk Inn
Contemporary Resort
Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
Polynesian Resort
Wilderness Lodge

Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts ~ Regular Dining Plan Included

Bay Lake Tower
Animal Kingdom Villas
Beach Club Villas
BoardWalk Villas
Old Key West Resort
Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa
The Villas at Disneys Wilderness Lodge
Fort Wilderness Cabins

The following Resorts are NOT INCLUDED: All-Star Movies, Art of Animation, Port Orleans French Quarter, Port Orleans Riverside, Campsites at Ft. Wilderness, 3-bedroom Villas, and Villas at The Grand Floridian.

A 3 night minimum stay (14 night maximum) and two day minimum park ticket is required for each person in the party.

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Disney Visa Room Discounts: Disney Visa Cardholders can take advantage of this room discount available to book May 7th. Save up to 30% on select resort rooms for stays from August 16 to October 3, 2014. Book this discount through August 8, 2014. Discounts are tiered based on resort. Visit the Disney Visa Rewards for special details on specific resorts and discounts.

RunDisney Group Rates:  Are you a runner?  Do you want to run a race with Mickey Mouse?  Join the VIP runners at Destinations in Florida for some of the favorite races including Tower of Terror, Disney Marathon, and Disney Princess Run.  They have fantastic group rates for runners, including FREE tickets to the Disney Water Parks (with at least a 2-Day Pass).  Contact Destinations in Florida for more details.

Affordable Package with Room & Dining:  One of the most expensive parts of a Disney vacation are the tickets!  Save money and enjoy all of the other fun at Disney with a Ticketless Package.  Book this new package with your hotel and one of the Disney Dining Plans, without the addition of tickets.

Free Day to Play at the Disney Theme Parks:  Buy 6 or more tickets for your family or friends with the 4-Day, 5-Day, 6-Day, 7-Day, 8-Day, or 9-Day tickets and you will get an extra day free.  Imagine another day to ride Splash Mountain or another day to get pictures with Mickey Mouse!  If you are visiting together, order your tickets together to save money!  Must book by June 14.

Florida Resident & Annual Passholder Rates:  Florida Residents and Annual Passholders can take advantage of great rates on rooms at select Disney Resorts hotels for stays through early summer.

Summer Deal for Florida Residents:  Book your summer vacation and get a free Memory Maker photo package to remember your fun! Book at least a 2-Night/2-Day Package at special prices, just for you!  Plus, get the Memory Maker for FREE!  This discount promotion is available from June 3-Aug. 2, 2014.

Military Discount:  Active duty and retired members of the US military can get specially discounted rooms at Disney Resort most nights through September 27th, 2014.  Thank you for serving our country.

Disneyland Resort

Save Up to 20% Off Your Hotel:  Visit Sunday through Thursday nights from April 20-June 8, 2014 and save up to 20% off your hotel.  Hurry, this discount ends by May 8, 2014.

New!  Book a Package for as Little as $91 Per Person/Per Day:  Stay right down the road from the Disney Magic at a Good Neighbor Hotel from now through August 12.  Book a package with tickets for as little as $91 per person/per day.

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Special Rates for Florida Residents and US Military:  Take advantage of special deals for Florida Residents and active/retired United States Military.

Last Minute Restricted Deals:  If you are flexible about the location of your stateroom and willing to book last minute you may be able to save BIG! Disney offers Restricted Guarantee rooms 15-60 days before departure dates, sometimes just a few days before departure. These are very restricted and with many rules, but if you are not picky you can save up 40%.

Canadian Resident Deal:  If you are a Canadian Resident, you can enjoy 20% off select rates on the May 24, 2014 Alaska sailing departing from Vancouver, Canada.  Take advantage of this special deal, just for you!

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Get up to a $500 Room Credit to Spend During Your Visit:  Book a 1 or 2-Bedroom Villa from April 23-June 16, 2014 and receive up to a $500 resort credit for a 4-Night vacation.  Book a Deluxe Studio or regular room for 4 nights and receive a $400 resort credit.

Universal Orlando Resort Discounts

New!  Free Gift Card or Transfers:  From May 31-December 18, you can book a Universal Getaway Package and get either free roundtrip transportation from the airport or a free $50 gift card to spend during your vacation.  Great freebies for your Orlando vacation!

Cabana Bay Beach Resort Florida Resident Deal:  Are you ready to experience the spectacular new Cabana Bay Beach Resort?  It is opening this week!  Florida Residents can be the 1st to experience this new hotel at special prices, just for you.  Rates start from just $94 per night plus tax.  This deal is good through June 5.

4th Night and 3rd Day Free:  Book a Universal Partner hotel for 3 nights with a 2 Day Base ticket and receive your 4th night and 3rd day at the parks for FREE!

Save up to $500 on your Universal Package:  Stay at one of the Universal Hotels including Cabana Bay Hotel, Royal Pacific Hotel, Hard Rock Hotel or Portofino Bay Hotel with tickets and save up to $500 on your package.  Now is the time to visit the movies at the Universal Orlando Resort.

Universal 1-Day or 2-Day Pass with Shuttle Transportation for 2014:  Take a day away from the Disney World Parks to visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter!  Book a 1-Day or 2-Day Pass to Universal Studios with shuttle transportation included in the ticket.  This special ticket is only available with select companies including Destinations in Florida.

“Take 2” Transfer:  If you do not want to rent a car during your Orlando vacation, take advantage of the new “Take 2” Transfer ticket for only $39 per person.  This transfer includes transportation from a Disney Resort hotel to Universal Orlando Resort for a Universal Studios vacation.  After your Universal vacation, the transportation takes you back to the Orlando International Airport.

Sea World Discounts

Eat for Free During Your Vacation:  Book a Sea World Package at one of the partner hotels and get the All Day Dining Deal for FREE!

Kids Free at Sea World:  Book your Sea World Package and kids play for free.  You will receive one free child ticket (ages 3-9) for every paid adult.

Orlando Attraction Ticket Discounts

Kennedy Space Center Tickets:  Pre-order your tickets to Kennedy Space Center and save money with special prices.  Experience the Space Shuttle Atlantis, US Astronaut Hall of Fame, and more; just an hour from Orlando.

As always, if you are interested in planning a family vacation to Orlando or would just like a quote, contact our friends at . Jennifer Greene is an expert on Disney World and can help you make your dream vacation a reality!

Seven Dwarf’s Mine Train Dedication Ceremony

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On May 1st, 2014, the new attraction The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train was officially dedicated at the Magic Kingdom. Of course, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs were there to do the honors. The ride will officially open for guests on May 28th! If you would like a sneak peek of the ride, enjoy the video below just released by Disney of what the ride is like. We can’t wait to ride this newest attraction at the Magic Kingdom and it will be a great addition to New Fantasyland!

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What I love about this picture is actually all the bloggers taking pictures!

Here is a sneak peek of the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train attraction (video accessible from website):

**Photos provided from Disney Parks Blog as well as Destinations in Florida travel.

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