Monday, August 29, 2011

WDW Photography Photo Spot: Cinderella Fountain

Here's another great photo spot from WDW Photography. It's of the Cinderella Fountain at the Magic Kingdom. I'm ashamed to admit, I'm not really familiar with this statue. Definitely going to check it out on our next visit to WDW, though.

WDW Photography Releases first eBook - How to Photograph Fireworks at Disney

Looking for a great resource to help you learn to take better fireworks photographs at Disney? Then you've got to check out WDW Photography's first eBook - "How to Photograph Fireworks." For a limited time, it's only $7 for instant download. $7 is a steal of a deal to help you better capture images of one of the coolest aspects of Disney - the various fireworks shows. In fact, for $7, you could learn to take a great shot that would make for an invaluable souvenir from your Disney vacation, helping you to capture what is sure to be a great family memory.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Touring Plans: The Lines App User Manual

So, you've purchased your Touring Plans membership, done all of your planning for your Disney vacation, and figured out what days to visit which parks based on the crowd calendar. The big day has arrived and you've just walked through the gates at the park. Now what? How can you maximize your time in the park and continue to put your family's touring plan to use? It's quite simple really - just use your Lines app (part of your Touring Plans membership) to access a number of great features from your mobile device as you make your way through the park. Among other things, you can view daily park details and wait times. You can also do your part by entering in your own personal wait times and help make Lines more accurate for everyone!

Check out the Lines App User Manual to learn all there is to know about Lines and how to make best use of it during your visit to WDW.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Mickey Pretzels Arrive at Disney World!

Finally! One of the favorite snacks from Disneyland makes its debut at Disney World - the Mickey pretzel! Currently, the Mickey pretzel can be found at the Frontierland Pretzel Wagon at the Magic Kingdom.
Photo Courtesy of Disney Parks Blog

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Disney Parks Mobile Magic App Now Free for Verizon Wireless Customers!

Thanks to the Official Disney Parks Blog for letting us know that the Disney Parks Mobile Magic app is now free for Verizon Wireless customers! I'm a huge fan of Touring Plans' Lines app, but definitely going to give this one a try as another app to use in the parks, especially since it is free and is the official app sanctioned by Disney.

Update: I downloaded the app and have taken a quick spin through it. It's got some great features that I think will come in very useful at the parks that will work well in conjunction with the Touring Plans' Lines app. Among the great features of Mobile Magic: 
  • make dining reservations right from your phone
  • view park maps
  • find characters
  • check the weather
  • determine transportation options between the parks and other Disney areas
  • view entertainment options
  • see the schedule of events for the day
  • play Disney games while you wait in line 
Can't wait to give this a try once I'm actually at Disney! Did I mention it uses GPS to pinpoint your location at the parks!?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Stroller Rentals at WDW

One dilemma faced by all parents traveling to WDW with small children is how to approach the stroller situation: should you bring your own stroller or rent on arrival? There's a good chance that your decision will be based on whether you are driving or flying. However, for us, we've found that even packing our stroller into our SUV makes for a tight squeeze (and we've only travelled with one child and a single stroller so far).

If you choose to bring your own stroller, there are many different thoughts out there and tips for cutting down on the hassle, such as checking your stroller plane-side if flying, shipping the stroller to your hotel in advance of your stay, or purchasing a cheap stroller on arrival and donating it to another family or charity upon your departure. Many would recommend that you travel with a light, compact umbrella-style stroller. As for us, we love our BOB stroller and all of its maneuverability, cargo space, etc (although it does not fold up compactly and takes up a lot of space in the car...).

If you decide to rent, your best bet is probably NOT renting a stroller through Disney, as your likely to get a better deal, greater flexibility and a nicer stroller from an outside company.  A stroller rental from Disney runs $15 a day for a single or $31 for a double (with only a slight discount of $13/$27 for multi-day rentals. Plus, you can't take the stroller out of the park where you rented it (i.e., no parkhopping with the stroller - you'll have to pick-up a new one at the other park, and no stroller at your resort/hotel).

MouseSavers, which provides some of the best, most accurate advice and deals on all things Disney, recommends renting your stroller from Magic Strollers.

To find out more about Magic Strollers, check out MouseSavers, or visit Magic Strollers directly. A single stroller is $15 for the first day and $8 for each additional day. A double stroller is $25 for the first day and $9 for each additional day. The company rents Baby Jogger City Mini strollers, and will drop the stroller off at your hotel when you need it and will pick it up when you depart all for free. They deliver to most resorts/hotels in the WDW/Orlando area. Plus, there's no minimum rental as required by some other companies.

Orlando Stroller Rentals also features some very nice strollers, including Baby Jogger and BOB, and rental price varies based on the number of days you will need your stroller and what type of stroller you want. For instance, for the same City Jogger stroller above, 1-3 nights is $50, 4-7 nights is $70, 8-10 nights is $90, and 11-14 nights is $110. So, you may find that you can get a slightly better deal, depending on how long you stay at Disney. Orlando Stroller Rentals also offers free delivery, and is recommend by and the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.  

The bottom-line, regardless of which of these companies you choose, you are better off renting from a third-party rather than from Disney itself. You'll get a better deal and a more maneuverable, nicer and more comfortable stroller, which will make everyone happier.

Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2012 - Now Available for Pre-Order on Amazon

The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2012  is now available for pre-order on Amazon. Reserve your copy today!

Friday, August 19, 2011

More Fantasyland Expansion Images from D23

Here's some more information courtesy of the Disney Parks Blog on the Fantasyland Expansion, including this fly-over animation of the currently-under-construction expansion:

WDW Photo Spots with Kids

Okay, so I've totally taken this concept from the folks at WDW Photography. I absolutely LOVE their ongoing series featuring the best spots to capture amazing WDW images (ala the Parks' Kodak Photo Spots, only better). However, I noted that one thing was missing from their shots... people! And, for purposes of my idea, kids. Now, my wife will be the first to tell you that I actually take more photos like the WDW Photography team (that is, without the people) and that she is the one that makes sure we have some people in our shots. So, most of the photos featured in this series will probably have been taken by her! So, here we go. First up, a must-have photo for each visit to Disney World, great for capturing how your child(ren) grow from year to year: the Sword in the Stone, in front of Prince Charming Regal Carousel in Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom.  

Our son, just after he turned 1.
Our son a few months before his third birthday.
Featured above is our son, from two of our recent trips to Disney. The first right after he turned one, and the second, shortly before he turned three. Unfortunately we failed to take this photo when he was two. But now you  know about this great Photo Spot, so you won't make that mistake! 

Disney Animated Films

I thought this was a pretty cool clip featuring all of the Disney animated films. The only release missing is #51, this year's release, Winne the Pooh, which just came out last month. I'll admit that I have seen most, but not all of these films. This makes me want to watch the ones that I've missed!

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train Animated Ride Thru

Check out this sneak peak featured today at D23 - a first real look at the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride coming to the expanded Fantasyland at the Magic Kingdom!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Special Acitivities for Kids: Pirates and Princesses at the Magic Kingdom

The Magic Kingdom offers a couple of really great experiences for the kids (and adults!) in your family. They're a bit pricey, so probably not something you'd want to do on every trip to WDW, but definitely a must do once-in-a-lifetime experience. Find out more about The Pirates League and the Bippity Boppity Boutique by clicking on the links.

Monday, August 15, 2011

DFB Mini-Guide to the 2011 Epcot Food & Wine Festival

Check out the latest Mini-Guide from the Disney Food Blog, which features all the tips and tricks you need to maximize your 2011 EPCOT Food & Wine Festival experience, whether you're planning to visit for one day or one week! Order your copy today.

AllEars: How to "Do" a Three-Day Weekend at WDW

Looking for some great advice on doing Disney over a three day weekend? AllEars recently featured an article on just this subject in its recent newsletter. You can find the newsletter here. There are plenty of tips and tricks that will help you make the most out of a short trip to Disney, many of which you will find in this article. So, if your looking to maximize the magic of your weekend trip to Disney, be sure to read this article.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Photography Tip: WDW Photo Spot for EPCOT's Illuminations

Here's a great Photo Spot from which to capture the EPCOT Illuminations fireworks. Thanks WDW Photography! Keep the Photo Spots coming!

EPCOT 2011 Food & Wine Festival Culinary and Beverage Demo Information

Heading down to WDW for the 2011 EPCOT Food and Wine Festival? Check out the Disney Food Blog for all of your planning needs, including the official list of Culinary and Beverage Demonstrations. Note that some of the events require reservations and additional fees.

Photography Tip: WDW Photo Spot - Cinderella's Castle

Looking for a great spot from which to shoot Cinderella's Castle? Try the view from the Crystal Palace - the latest Photo Spot from the WDW Photography team.

Part Three of Travelocity's Video Series on the Walt Disney World Resorts

Courtesy of the Disney Parks Blog, here's part three of Travelocity's video series featuring the Walt Disney World Resort. Part three focuses on resort activities available to WDW guests. Enjoy!

Touring Plans: 10 Reasons Every Walt Disney World Fan Should Visit Disneyland

I'll be the first to admit - I'm a Disney World guy. In fact, I've never even visited Disneyland (or any other Disney Park). That's not to say I don't want to visit the other parks one day, our family just continues to visit Disney World each year rather than head somewhere different. Perhaps it's because we live so much closer to Disney World. Perhaps it's because we have become Disney World snobs. Regardless of the reason, perhaps it's time we paid Disneyland a visit! Check out Touring Plans recent post on 10 Reasons Every Walt Disney World Fan Should Visit Disneyland.

Photography Tip: Shutter Speed

Here's a great tip (with examples) from WDW Photography on how to photograph objects in motion by adjusting your camera's shutter speed to freeze the object and avoid blurring.

WDW Photography Photo Spot: EPCOT from the Monorail

Here's another great Photo Spot brought to you by WDW Photography: a view of EPCOT from the Monorail!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Disney Food Blog releases first DFB Mini-Guide: Magic Kingdom Snacks

Check out the Disney Food Blog's recent follow-up to its highly successful Guide to Walt Disney World Dining -- the DFB Mini Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks. The latest e-book focuses on the multitude of delicious snacks available at the Magic Kingdom and is the first in a series of upcoming DFB mini-guides on various Disney food topics. We put our copy of the first DFB Guide to good use in planning our most recent Disney vacation and can't wait to try out the new DFB Mini Guide to Magic Kingdom Snacks, too!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Amazing Monorail Night Shots

Check out this AMAZING night shot of the EPCOT monorail from the folks at WDWPhotography. It is a prime example of how you can take a couple of great shots and turn them into one incredible shot with some photo editing. You'll need some time after dark at EPCOT to shoot the images and some skill with Photoshop, but if you've got the time and the patience you too could create one of these photographic gems.

Photography Tip: WDW Photo Spot - Magic Kingdom

Check out WDWPhotography's second Photo Spot, featuring Big Thunder Mountain Railroad at the Magic Kingdom. Can't wait to shoot this one!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Photography Tip: Carrying Only One Lens Into the Parks

If you're like us and enjoy photography, you probably know how tough it can be to decide what camera gear to take with you on a trip, especially as it can get quite cumbersome if you're dealing with multiple lens. Plus, if you've got kids, you'll probably find it extra-difficult to manage all of that gear and frankly, to even utilize it. It's not easy to tour the parks with kids while trying to stop and change lenses to get that perfect shot. So, unless you've got a pack mule to follow you around Disney, and/or aren't touring with the kids, consider these tips from WDWPhotography. Carrying one zoom lens will allow you to take a variety of great shots without missing a step.

EPCOT 2011 Food & Wine Festival Beer List Released

Check out Disney Food Blog's coverage of the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival beer list, which was just released. Not a bad selection (although most of the international selections featured by World Showcase countries can be found at the parks every day). And, if you live in a big city like we do, you can generally find most of these beers, domestic and international, at local beer and wine specialty stores (like Total Wine & More) or even at many grocery stores, from Publix and Kroger to Fresh Market. Nonetheless, there's something to be said for enjoying one (or more!) of these non-standard beers while strolling around EPCOT!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Discount Disney Tickets

Trying to save a few dollars on Disney park passes? Your best bet is to check out Mousesavers for great, up-to-date insight on Disney ticket deals of all varieties. Mousesavers particularly recommends Undercover Tourist for the best discounts on Disney passes and tickets to other Orlando-area attractions. Mousesavers also features plenty of other money savings tips for lodging and dining, etc.

The Kitchen Sink Dessert

Looking for a truly unique dessert experience at WDW? Then head on over to Disney's Beach Club Resort's Beaches and Creme and have a go at the famous "Kitchen Sink." You better bring along a few frinds, though - this thing is massive! Check out this video from the Disney Parks Blog, where one of the bloggers attempts to take on the challenge solo.

Should you feel the need to create your own Kitchen Sink Sundae at home, you can find the recipe here.

More Vintage Merchandise to Celebrate WDW's 40th Anniversary

Check out some of the latest releases in the line of WDW 40th anniversary merchandise: