May the Fourth Be With You

star-wars-4th

Dig out those Chewbacca costumes, grab a lightsaber and cue the Cantina Band. It’s Star Wars Day!

Fans all over the world celebrate the Star Wars franchise today with parties, viewings and organized celebrations. At various Disney Stores, fans will be in the thick of it, with in-store activities, giveaways and promotions.

This year is especially exciting as it coincides with the recent announcement of the new Star Wars Episode VII film and cast including originals Harrison Ford (Han Solo), Carrie Fisher (Princess Leia) and Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker).

Star Wars Day has become so popular that the following day (May 5) has been referred to as Revenge of the Fifth. Fans let their evil sides come out by celebrating the villains from the Star Wars series.

How will YOU celebrate Star Wars Day?

Happy 25th Anniversary Hollywood Studios!

Disney Parks Blog

Disney Parks Blog

Back on May 1, 1989, Hollywood Studios (formerly MGM Studios) opened at Walt Disney World in Florida.

Originally, the park only had 9 attractions – Backstage Studio Tour, Catastrophe Canyon, Disney Classics Theatre, The Great Movie Ride (I think the water is still the same as 25 years ago!), Hollywood Hollywood, Magic of Disney Animation, Monster Sound Show, Superstar Television and Residential Street.

My, how things have changed.

Now, the park has tons of rides and attractions for all to enjoy – Fantasmic, Toy Story Mania, Star Tours, Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, Beauty and the Beast Live on Stage, and Rock n’ Roller Coaster, to name a few. One special treat we got to experience on our last trip was the Jedi Academy Training. Both of my kids signed up (BIG Star Wars fans) and had so much fun!! Darth is huge close up!

The one thing I definitely miss from the old MGM Studios days is Residential Street. I loved seeing the Golden Girls house, one of my favorite shows growing up. It was just such a treat to see these props as you rode by, making you feel like you were somehow part of the ‘magic’ of television.

So Happy Anniversary Hollywood Studios! Here’s to the next 25! ;)

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – Full Ride Through!

Disney Parks Blog just posted a video capturing a full ride through of the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride at Magic Kingdom. So awesome.

The ride opens this spring (could you BE move vague Disney?). Height requirement for this ride is 38 inches, which is great for little ones to experience their first “rollercoaster”.

I wonder if Snow White will take a ride on this every once in a while, similar to Aladdin + Jasmine do on the Magic Carpets? Hmmmm….she might not want to mess her hair up though.

Having watched the video a few times, I cannot wait until our next trip to Disney World to ride it firsthand.

Let me know what you think once you’ve watched the video yourself!

Changes to the MyMagic+ and the FastPass+ system

Starting today, some big changes are in effect for MyMagic+ and the FastPass+ system.

Using the ‘old’ system of FastPass+, guests were only allowed to book three FastPass+ options for their Disney MagicBand per day. Once those three were completed for the day, you were out of luck. Have fun with the line-ups.

BUT starting today, guests can now select additional FastPass options once they have used their first three FastPass+ selections! Much like the old system, when they’ve used that fourth selection, they will then be able to book another, and then another, and so on, and so forth. The only downside: these subsequent selections will have to be made at kiosks inside the parks (hello line-ups?).

Also, Guests are now able to select their additional FastPass+ selections from different parks, using the Park Hopping method. For instance, if I was at Magic Kingdom all morning and used my initial three FastPass+ options, I could then make a fourth option for Test Track at Epcot and park hop over there for the rest of the day. This was not available using the original FastPass+ system.

Having used the MagicBands on our last trip we found the system seamless and had no troubles. Our one complaint was that you could only book three FastPass+ options per day, but this new method seems to take care of that. However, having to line up at kiosks to make your fourth, fifth, sixth choice doesn’t really seem ideal. Making use of the My Disney Experience Mobile App seems to be a better use of time and energy. However, from what I’m reading, you can make your choice at the kiosk, and then modify it using the Mobile App. Seems like a decent compromise…..for now!

Any thoughts on the changes to MyMagic+ and FastPass+? What’s been your experience using the systems?

New Disney Mugs Coming to Disney Parks!

Disney Mugs 2014
Wow. Wow. Wow.

These are so cute!

This morning, Disney Parks Blog announced a new set of character inspired mugs, reminiscent of the ear hat ornaments and most recently, shoe ornaments Disney has been releasing.

The princess mugs include Cinderella, Belle, Ariel, Jasmine, Rapunzel, Aurora and Snow White.

Villan mugs include Ursula and the Queen of Hearts. New Evil Queen and Malificent mugs have also been released, but are not sculptured in the same vein as these mugs. The body of the mug is more like a regular mug. But still stunning, nonetheless!

The mugs will be released to select merchandise stores at Disneyland and Disney World very soon. They will also be available for purchase at Disney Store online sometime in May.

My personal favorite is the Rapunzel mug. Any favorites for you?

Disney Mugs 2014

Happy Anniversary Animal Kingdom!

Animal Kingdom

Happy Earth Day!

It’s also another special day – Animal Kingdom celebrates it’s 15 year anniversary today! The fourth park built in Walt Disney World, Animal Kingdom originally opened on April 22, 1998. The ‘lands’ included in the 1998 opening included Africa, Discovery Island, Oasis, Camp Minnie + Mickey, Rafiki’s Planet Watch and Dinoland U.S.A. The land ‘Asia’ was added one year later in 1999.

Animal Kingdom is home to many of my favorite attractions at Walt Disney World. You CANNOT beat the Kilimanjaro Safari Ride, which over the course of a day spent at AK we will ride a few times just to see what animals have been hiding or have decided to come out and play! Other favorites of our family include Kali River Rapids (ride when you are just about to leave the park or you’ll be soaked ALL DAY!), Expedition Everest, the Festival of the Lion King and Finding Nemo the Musical. Our favorite place to eat in Animal Kingdom is Restaurauntasaurus.

So what are your favorites in Animal Kingdom? Any ‘MUST DO’s” on your list?