Disney Parks Pricing Changes

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Just recently, Disneyland and Disney World rolled out new price changes for park tickets. The changes mainly effect 1-day ticket purchases and that really makes the biggest impact on Disneyland visitors. Most guests to the Disney World will stay for multiple days and purchase multiple day tickets. Multiple day tickets at both parks still offer the better discount as the price per day decreases with each additional day you add.

If you are visiting the Disneyland resort this year and plan to visit for one day, now there is a tiered pricing based on the day you visit. The choices are value, regular and peak. If your wondering when the busy times of year are, they are the “peak” price tier. Here is a graphic of the year of the 1-day ticket pricing tiers at Disneyland.

DLTicketCalendar

The greatest price breaks come with a 3-day park pass, but here is a quick rundown of multiple park passes at Disneyland:

2-day Adult (Ages 10+): $195/ticket
2-day Child (Ages 3-9): $183/ticket
Park Hopper will add $40/ticket

3-day Adult (Ages 10+): $255/ticket
3-day Child (Ages 3-9): $243/ticket
Park Hopper will add $40/ticket
Magic Morning Early Access with these passes

4-day Adult (Ages 10+): $280/ticket
4-day Child (Ages 3-9): $265/ticket
Park Hopper will add $40/ticket
Magic Morning Early Access with these passes

5-day Adult (Ages 10+): $295/ticket
5-day Child (Ages 3-9): $280/ticket
Park Hopper will add $40/ticket
Magic Morning Early Access with these passes

Disney World has new 1-day ticket tier pricing as well following the same style although their calendar has different peak and regular days, which shows that crowds are different in Orlando. Here are the 1-day ticket pricing tiers for Disney World:

WDWTicketCalendar

At Disney World, multiple-day park passes are available up to 10-days but here are prices up to one week. The more days, the greater the per day discount (Magic Morning Early Access only available for resort guests):

2-day Adult (Ages 10+): $202/ticket
2-day Child (Ages 3-9): $190/ticket
Park Hopper will add $55/ticket
Adult tickets about $101 per day

3-day Adult (Ages 10+): $290/ticket
3-day Child (Ages 3-9): $272/ticket
Park Hopper will add $55/ticket
Adult tickets about $97 per day
4-day Adult (Ages 10+): $325/ticket
4-day Child (Ages 3-9): $305/ticket
Park Hopper will add $69/ticket
Adult tickets about $81 per day
5-day Adult (Ages 10+): $340/ticket
5-day Child (Ages 3-9): $320/ticket
Park Hopper will add $69/ticket
Adult tickets about $68 per day

6-day Adult (Ages 10+): $355/ticket
6-day Child (Ages 3-9): $335/ticket
Park Hopper will add $69/ticket
Adult tickets about $59 per day

7-day Adult (Ages 10+): $370/ticket
7-day Child (Ages 3-9): $350/ticket
Park Hopper will add $69/ticket
Adult tickets about $53 per day

So it pays to stay more days at the parks although other costs can add up! If you are planning to visit a Disney park for 1-day, remember to check the new tier pricing.

If you are hoping to buy Disneyland tickets for a reduced price, be leary of companies you find on the internet that offer savings as there are a lot of scams for Disneyland. Our friends at Get Away Today offer special deals for Disneyland tickets and are a local travel agent. We also recommend the site Undercover Tourist for both Disneyland and Disney World discount passes although they mainly have multiple day passes. As always, our friends at Destinations in Florida always have deals for Disney World!

Halloween at Walt Disney World

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Halloween is fast approaching and Disney World is getting ready to celebrate this spooky holiday! All of the Halloween celebrations happen at the Magic Kingdom. The other parks don’t decorate for Halloween and Epcot is having the Food and Wine Festival all the way until November. So all of the following Halloween treats are focused at Magic Kingdom. If you are considering visiting Walt Disney World this fall, you may want to book some of these things right away as they are already selling out, but some treats are part of the regular park pass.

MainStreet

The main attraction at Magic Kingdom is Mickey’s Not-S0-Scary Halloween Party. This event is an additional ticket to attend and is only on select nights. Tickets began to go on sale in April and one night is already sold out. The cost of tickets vary depending on the day of the week, but they range from $68-79 per ticket. Here are the dates of the party:

September 15, 18, 20, 21, 25, 27
October 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31 (sold out)
November 1

To purchase tickets, visit the Disney World website here.

All parties run from 7:00 pm until midnight, and Magic Kingdom closes at that time for regular park guests. Those who have tickets for the party will receive a special bracelet and will be allowed into the park 3 hours early. Here are some of the special happenings during the party:

Mickey’s Boo to You Halloween Parade

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This is one of their best parades by far! Expect to see characters you never see as well as ghosts and villains. And the music is fantastic! Times are 8:35 pm and 11:15 pm each party night.

Celebrate the Villains Castle Show

This is the Castle projection show that has been turned into a villain-themed show. It begins at 9:45 pm.

Happy HalloWishes Fireworks

Hallowishes

This special fireworks display is amazing! It is a Halloween themed “Wishes” show that includes the villains. It follows the Celebrate the Villains Castle Show. Fireworks are at 10:00 pm.

Happy Haunted Hallows

These are the wonderful Halloween special lighting, music and effects that come on throughout the park once the party officially begins!

Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular

HocusPocus

New this year is the Hocus Pocus show at the castle that features the Sanderson sisters from the movie “Hocus Pocus” as they cast a spell on the Magic Kingdom, along with other Disney villains. Show is at 8:00 pm, 9:00 pm, 10:40 pm and 12:00 am.

Character Meet and Greets

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Characters will be out for special meet and greets as they will be dressed in their Halloween costumes! There will also be a few special greets including Jack Skellington and Sally, the Seven Dwarves, Villains (excluding the Evil Queen and Maleficent for 2015), Princesses with their Princes, Anna & Elsa, Gaston, Lotso, and the Queen of Hearts.

Special Photo Op at the Haunted Mansion

Hitchhiking ghosts will be added into photos in front of the Haunted Mansion.

Sorcerer’s of the Magic Kingdom Special Card

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A special Halloween card will be introduced at parties for the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom game.

Select Rides Open with Shorter Lines

Party-goers can enjoy many of the Magic Kingdom rides without much of a line as there is so much to do at the party, lines are shorter. Not all rides are open during the party.

Happy HalloWishes Dessert Package

New this year is the HalloWishes Dessert party at Tomorrowland Terrace that features new Halloween themed desserts. This event requires an additional ticket. Guests at this party will also receive VIP seating at the Boo to You Parade. Cost is $69 for adults and $39 for children.

Party Specialty Treats

  • Ghost Cupcakes at Gaston’s Tavern
  • Candy Corn Soft-serve cones at StoryBook Treats
  • Spider Cupcakes at Main Street Bakery
  • Monster Cupcakes at Main Street Bakery
  • Halloween cookies at Main Street Bakery
  • Halloween Ice Cream Sandwich at Plaza Ice Cream Parlor

MonsterCupcake SpiderCupcake IceCreamSandwich CandyCornCone

Special Merchandise

Pins

Some merchandise is only available at the parties, but some is available in stores throughout the fall. Some of the items we love are the commemorative pins, Halloween MagicBands and cute party shirts! There are lots more Halloween souvenirs in the parks including candy buckets, decorations and more!

Shirts Mugs

If you do not attend Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party, you will still enjoy the amazing Halloween decorations throughout the Magic Kingdom including some fantastic Jack-O-Lanterns.

You may wonder if it is worth it to go to the Halloween Party if you will be at Magic Kingdom. We do think that this party offers a lot of really fun opportunities and experiences. Here are some of our tips if you attend:

  • Rest the day before you go to the party. It will probably be a long night.
  • Don’t plan anything for the following morning because you will be tired!
  • While costumes look cute, consider having your little trick-or-treaters wear a cute Halloween shirt and be a bit more comfortable. In the Florida heat, costumes for long hours can be tough
  • Lines are very long for photo meet and greets, so pick just a couple that you really want to do, and then ride the rides!
  • Grab a special party map that shows where all the trick or treating stations are as well as character greets. Some trick or treat stations have very long lines and they are better to hit later in the evening.
  • Arrive to the party early!
  • Don’t miss the parade or the fireworks! They are the best!

If you are heading to the Magic Kingdom for Halloween time, enjoy all the fantastic and spooky fun!

The Character Dining You Shouldn’t Miss!

Our family loves to do Character Dining at Disney World and we have just about done all of them! On our last vacation, we decided to try some new dining and even though we always skipped this one, we decided to give it a try. We are so glad we did because it is now one of our favorites! My guess is that you have skipped over this one too. There wasn’t a huge crowd when we reached the restaurant and we didn’t have trouble adding the reservation pretty close to when we left for our trip.

1900ParkFareSign

At 1900 Park Fare, there are two Character Dining experiences: one at breakfast and one at dinner. They are completely different experiences! And this was our first time at Cinderella’s Happily Ever After Dinner.

Cinderella3

There are really only 4 characters at this dining: Cinderella, Prince Charming, Anastasia and Driscella Tremaine. But these 4 characters were so fun and enchanting, it made the whole night so memorable.

First, the food is served buffet. The fare is somewhat of a mix of many different dishes which they describe as from “different kingdoms”. If you enjoy buffets with lots of options without a specific theme, you will enjoy this buffet. Our kids thought the buffet was great because it offered so much variety, like dumplings and pasta and mac and cheese. They actually said it was the best.

Second, and this is really what makes this character dine better than the rest, is the characters. They interact at your table for quite awhile. They act their character! They are mingling all around the room and playing with each other the whole time. The sisters are yelling at each other around the room and talking with Cinderella. It was loads of fun! Part way through the meal, they do a dance where Cinderella dances with a little boy and the Prince dances with a little girl. It was all very entertaining and believe it or not, relaxing. It didn’t have this rushed feeling that a lot of the character dines do.

Cinderella spent time with all my kids and gave them all lovely hugs.

Cinderella2

Princesses always love the little princes!

Cinderella1

Prince Charming talked with my kids for quite awhile and my boys loved meeting a boy character. They get a lot of “princess” in our house!

Prince3

Prince1

The boys were excited to take a “boys” picture with the prince!

Prince2

And the best characters were the stepsisters! We have met them before at Disneyland, and we loved them there too. But they were even better here!

Anastasia2

My littlest wasn’t into Anastasia, but it made for a fabulous picture.

Anastasia3

And the stepsisters do not like mice!

Anastasia1

And Driscella was so much fun with the kids! She missed our table and they made a special stop back for us which was even more fun!

Driscella2

She liked to tease my son that she had a crush on him. She actually planted a big kiss on him and he just turned bright red. It was hilarious!

Driscella1

If you are planning a trip to Disney World and making character dining choices, please don’t pass this one up! I would do this one again for sure! It was the best night we had and your kids will love it too!

A Summary of D23 Expo 2015

First, I am confessing that I did not attend the D23 Expo in Anaheim this year. I am a D23 member but the Expo, which is held every other year, always seems to fall at a very tough time for me to travel which is right when my kids are starting school. So we get to enjoy all the other bloggers posts from the Expo and hear all the news from our home. We wanted to bring you a quick summary of all the news that was announced and give you our thoughts.

The biggest news at the Expo is always the park news that get announced, and this year had some big stuff!

Disney Park News

Star Wars Themed Lands

StarWars2

Bob Iger announced that new Star Wars themed lands would be built at both Disneyland and Disney World (14-acre lands). While this is exciting for Star Wars fans everywhere, there was no date or even time frame given as to when this will even be done. They are anticipating the new lands will be somewhere behind ToonTown at Disneyland, and in Hollywood Studios at Disney World. If your little ones aren’t Star Wars fans right now, don’t worry. By the time they actually build these lands, they will be old enough to be fans.

StarWars3StarWars

 

Star Wars Launch Bay

StarWarsLaunch

This new area will be added soon to Disneyland in Tomorrowland and in the Animation Courtyard at Hollywood Studios at Disney World. It will include interactive games for guests as well as merchandise and food. Expect to see this in the parks this year in anticipation of the new Star Wars movie coming out this December.

Soarin’ Over The World

We are pretty excited about this new addition to the parks! Soarin’ Over California will be upgraded to a new film called Soarin’ Over the World which will be in both parks in 2016. The film will have upgraded sound and picture quality since it will now be laser projection (unlike Soarin’ Over California which is 70mm format).

Toy Story Land

ToyStory

Disney announced another new land coming to Hollywood Studios…sometime in the future. Toy Story Land will have a family-friendly roller coaster as well as new rides and added track to Toy Story Midway Mania. John Lassetter is part of this new project and he does an amazing job with theming (think CarsLand and Bugs Land) but he is kind of hit and miss with rides (think Luigi’s Flying Tires and Heimlich’s Chew Chew Train). We love Toy Story Midway Mania, and if the new rides live up to this caliber, it will be amazing! But rumors are they may resort to more carnival style rides, like DinoLand in Animal Kingdom, which most guests don’t like. There was no date announced on when this land would see the light of day.

Animal Kingdom Additions and Nighttime Show

AKNighttime

Animal Kingdom is still under construction for the new nighttime spectacular, Rivers of Life, as well as the Avatar-themed land (formerly called Pandora). The nighttime show is set to be quite an amazing show using all their tricks and thrills from Illuminations and World of Color. They also announced the new ride in Avatar-land will be “Flight of Passage” and the aim is for it to feel very real for guests. The last big change at Animal Kingdom is extending the Kilimanjaro Safaris into a perpetual dusk. Not sure how the animals feel about all the changes!

Pandora

Star Tours Addition

If you are like us and have been on Star Tours again and again to see all the different story lines, then you will be so excited that they are adding a new story line soon for the newest movie “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”! No word on when it will be in the parks but I would assume it will be about when the movie comes out in December.

Space Mountain Change

A temporary addition is coming to Space Mountain to promote Star Wars. Yes, more Star Wars. It will temporarily be Hyperspace Mountain and include new effects and music. This will primarily be at Disneyland.

New Frozen Ride at Epcot

Norway at Epcot is currently under construction with the closure of the ride Maelstrom that will be transformed into the new ride, Frozen Ever After. While little is still known about what this ride will be like, we did learn that the wonderful husband and wife duo that created all the music for Frozen, Kristin Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, are helping put together the soundtrack for the ride. If we are lucky, we will come out singing “Let it Go”!

Disney Movie News

Along with all the park news, there was some updates for Disney movies that are coming soon.

Gigantic

  • “Gigantic” is being made that is a retelling of the Jack and the Beanstalk tale; this is a being brought to us by the same team that brought us “Tangled” and the music is being written by the “Frozen” team of Kristin Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez. Can’t go wrong with that, right?
  • “Jungle Book” is being remade and will be out in theaters in April 2016Moana
  • “Moana” will be a new Disney Studios digital animation movie coming November 23, 2016. It will have the first Polynesian Disney Princess.
  • “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” will be the next sequel for the franchise and this movie will bring back Orlando Bloom along with Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush
    Alice
  • “Alice Through The Looking Glass” is a sequel to the quirky “Alice in Wonderland” movie starring Johnny Depp as the Mad Hatter, a role he will reprise in this sequel. It is set to be released in May of 2016
  • Pixar is releasing a series of sequels which is a little disappointing but here are some of them:
    • “Toy Story 4” – If you felt that “Toy Story 3” was a beautiful wrap up of a wonderful tale, your not alone. But for some reason, Pixar is revisiting Woody and Buzz again for another story that centers around the love story of Woody and Bo Peep. Right now it is set for June 2017.
    • “Finding Dory” – Sequel to “Finding Nemo” that centers around the character of Dory. Ellen Degeneres will reprise her role as Dory. This should be released in June of 2016.
    • “Incredibles 2” – We are actually excited about this getting a sequel as we felt the story had more to tell – Brad Bird, the original writer of the first movie is working on this project and we anticipate it will be great
    • “Cars 3” – Yes, another Cars. We kind of feel like this one has run its course, pun intended. But they are working on another Cars movie.
  • “The Good Dinosaur” is an original movie from Pixar (yes, it’s new!) and it will be released this fall (November). We are looking forward to a new story.

That is a wrap up of all the news from the D23 Expo. While a lot of exciting ideas were announced from Disney, there wasn’t really an idea of when a lot of these projects will be finished. I think there are a lot of Disney fans who would like for the construction projects to move at a faster pace. Just think that it took Walt Disney one year to build Disneyland. It took current Disney over 3 years to add an expansion on Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom. So don’t get so excited about some of the building projects. It could be a long time before we see them finished.

Akershus Royal Banquet VS Cinderella’s Royal Table

TableVSBanquet

At Disney World, there are two main choices of character dining with the princess: Cinderella’s Royal Table in the Magic Kingdom and Norway’s Akershus Royal Banquet at Epcot. If your little princess or prince is dying to meet a lot of princesses and you want to try a character dining experience, the big question is – Which one do we choose?

We are asked all the time which princess character dining is better? Or which should we pick? If you haven’t experienced either, it is hard to know which to choose. Luckily, we have been to both with our crew and we will compare them for you. Then you can decide which is right for your Disney experience.

Keep in mind one thing: Cinderella’s Royal Table is a much smaller restaurant than Akershus Royal Banquet. Royal Table has much less tables and thus has fewer reservations. It is much harder to get into this restaurant, not because it is better, but because it is smaller. You may not be able to get a reservation depending on the time of year as well.

Atmosphere

Royal Table

CindFlags

The entrance to the restaurant is actually on the first floor and it is designed like a castle with armor and flags. This is where you will meet Cinderella and take a picture with her. From there, you will climb stairs to the dining room. This room is, again, decorated like a castle with crests, flags and lots of wood and stone. It has amazing views out into the park. These views, unfortunately, are only enjoyed by the families seated right in the center or in front of the windows. If you have more than 4 in your party, you will not be sitting near these areas. The tables are dark, thick wood and the chairs are thick wood with medieval-style fabrics. The dining area is somewhat of a circle shape. The stain-glass windows looking out into the park are beautiful.

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Stain-glass windows that look out into Fantasyland

CindArmor

Akershus

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Main dining room at Akershus

The entrance to this restaurant is somewhat like a restaurant waiting area, and you will take a photo with a princess in a small inlet area. The decoration is designed to feel like a castle with somewhat similar decoration to Royal Table – flags, crests, wood and stone. Inside the dining halls, there are many wood tables and wood chairs. The tables and chairs are less fancy than Royal Table. Stained glass windows and regular windows surround the dining areas. The dining areas are much larger than Royal Table and there are about 3 different rooms of dining tables.

AkerDiningRm1 AkerFlags

Overall: The overall atmosphere at Royal Table wins out only by a hair – the design of Akershus is still delightful and royal. But being inside the actual castle makes Cinderella’s just a smidge better.

Food

Royal Table

CindPlate3

Stuffed French Toast

CindKidPlate

Kids meal breakfast

Cinderella’s Royal Table is served as a sit-down style where you order from the menu and it is brought to your table. The food is very good and the selections should appeal to most people. The menu is somewhat European/American style fare. The service is very good and prompt. The servers are very good with small children. Our kids always enjoy the food at this restaurant! This restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you are using the dining plan, this table-serve counts as two table-serves.

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Steak and potatoes breakfast

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Vegetarian quiche

Akershus

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Breakfast fare served family-style at table

Akershus is served as both a buffet/family style and a sit-down style. They serve Norwegian/American style fare food. Breakfast offers a buffet as well as family-style breakfast offerings brought to your table. Lunch and dinner have family style appetizers and desserts as well as menu-ordered entrees. They offer some different fare like fish, but we found the food was delicious and our kids enjoyed the food a lot, and even tried some new dishes.

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Breakfast fare from buffet

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Buffet at Akershus

Overall: It is pretty even on the food unless your family is extremely picky and Norwegian fare scares you (but it shouldn’t). Our family enjoyed meals at both restaurants evenly.

Princess Meet & Greets

Royal Table

Cinderella

Cinderella greet before you enter the dining room

Cinderella meets guests at the entrance and takes photos there. There is a PhotoPass photographer there and the photos can be added to your PhotoPass account or on your MagicBand. All other princesses will do meet and greets in the dining room and come straight to your table. If you are there at the beginning of the “session”, each princess is announced individually and then begins a set pattern through the dining hall stopping at each table to say hello, interact, sign books and take photos. They also will do a wishing star portion with all the princesses and each child gets a plastic wishing star to make their wish. They used to give princesses wands and princes swords but that may have changed.

CindAurora

Princesses love little princes!

CindWandStar

Wishing star and wand that girl receive at Cinderella’s – boys get a sword

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Akershus

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Belle greet before you enter the dining room

One of the princesses meets guests at the entrance and takes photos there. There is a Photopass photographer there and the photos can be added to your PhotoPass account or on your MagicBand. All other princesses will do meet and greets in the dining room and come straight to your table. Princess are announced individually and then they begin a set pattern through the dining rooms stopping at each table to say hello, interact, sign books and take photos. They also do a princess parade, where all the kids get in a line with the princesses and walk through the dining hall. They do this several times while guests are there.

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Princesses love little princes!

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Cinderella leading the Royal Parade

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Overall: The experience of meeting the princess at each restaurant is completely the same. They interact at your table and with your kids the same. It takes the same amount of time for them to get to your table. There is really no edge given to either restaurant for this one.

Keep in mind: All photos taken inside the restaurant are with your personal camera and not PhotoPass photographers. Also, the princesses NOT included in these dining experiences are: Anna, Elsa, Rapunzel, Merida and Tiana. Princesses usually included in these experiences: Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Ariel, Jasmine, Mulan and Belle. Belle is typically NOT included at Cinderella’s because she has her own greet at Enchanted Tales with Belle in New Fantasyland.

Price

Cinderella’s Royal Table is more in price than Akershus. Both are expensive and prices vary based on time of year so we can’t give you a set price. It can cost anywhere from $130-$160 for a family of four. Akershus counts as one table serve on the Disney Dining Plan. Cinderella’s Royal Table is more expensive – it is roughly $180-$210 for a family of four. It also uses two table-serve credits from the Disney Dining Plan. At both restaurants, breakfast is less expensive than lunch and dinner. At Royal Table, tax AND gratuity are included in your price. At Akershus, only tax is included. Also, Table of Wonderland discount cards are accepted at both locations.

Overall: If you are simply looking for the cheapest princess dining, then breakfast at Akershus is the least expensive.

Those are the four most important things to look at when deciding which princess dining experience you want to do with your family. Our family has dined at Cinderella’s Royal Table many times and recently wanted to try something different with Akershus, and we were pleasantly surprised with how much we enjoyed it and how similar it really was to the other restaurant.

We hope this comparison has helped you decided where your royal crew will dine with Disney royalty!

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