Friday, September 30, 2011

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Chef Jens Showcases Favorite New Tastes at Epcot International Food & Wine Festival

Check out some of the new items being featured at this year's EPCOT Food & Wine Festival. Video courtesy of the Disney Parks Blog.

Photography Tip: Shooting Dark Rides at Disney

The Disney Photography Blog has really evolved into your one-stop source for all things Disney photography. Whether it's getting great ideas for subject-matter to shoot while you're at WDW, finding resources for camera gear, or tips on how best to capture images at the parks, this is the website to visit.

For example, check out this great three part series on how to shoot inside the Disney Dark Rides.

Celebrate WDW's 40th Anniversary - This Saturday (Oct. 1) at the Magic Kingdom!

Saturday October 1st marks 40 years since Walt Disney World opened its gates. For more information, check out Touriing Plans. While many of you who are fortunate enough to be at Disney during this weekend will no doubt want to take advantage of being able to participate in the festivities, note that crowd levels for the Magic Kingdom are likely to be higher than normal. One possible option, if you are planning to purchase Park Hopper passes, would be to head to the MK first thing to catch the festivities and then leave to go to another park for the remainder of the day. However, this may not sit well with younger children, who are likely to want to stay at the MK all day. I am not a fan of touring Disney when it is too crowded, but it'd be hard to pass-up particpating in this once-in-a-lifetime celebration. Although, I suppose you could wait another 10 years for the 50th anniversary!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Amazing Photo Editing for Great Disney Photos

Here's a great step-by-step process for turning an okay photo in to an amazing photo using photo-editing software. The article also gives you an idea for a great location from which to shoot the Wishes fireworks show at the Magic Kingdom. The Disney Photography Blog comes thru again!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

EPCOT Food & Wine Recipes!

Looking for recipes from the Food and Wine Festival? Well, check out the official Disney website. While not exactly written recipes, the site features video tutorials, which will give you an idea of how to make what look to be some very delicious international treats, including some of the offerings from Germany, Mexico, China and Japan. Yum!

Update: You can also check out the Disney Food Blog, which has compiled the YouTube videos for these recipes in a format that is much easier to view than directly on the official Disney website.

Here's one that I'm particularly looking forward to making at home:

Photography Tip: Depth of Field

Here's an excellent tip from the folks of the Disney Photography Blog on how to capture great depth of field shots at Disney.  Here's an example of a shot we took of one of the little statues surrounding the Partners statue in the Magic Kingdom hub.


Part 2 of the Depth of Field Article can be found here. More great advice on capture amazing images at Disney World!

Magic Kingdom Parking Lot Changes

Disney's heroes and villians are coming to the Magic Kingdom Parking lot! Maybe this will make remembering where you parked easier! Find our more details on the Disney Parks Blog
Photo Courtesy of Disney

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Avatar Coming to Disney's Animal Kingdom

In case you haven't seen the news, Disney announced today that it was entering into a deal to bring Avatar to Disney World's Animal Kingdom.


I'll be honest, I've not seen the film (but I will make it a point to watch it now). However, I am a bit apprehensive of this concept. I understand that a major theme of Avatar is conservation and that this fits into one of the main themes of Animal Kingdom. And, I do agree that it would be nice to see some additions to Animal Kingdom. I just think that featuring some new continents, like Australia or South ,might be a better approach. Not to mention that there are so many characters and stories in Disney's own catalog that they could utilize. How about more Pixar? Or even bring in some of the Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli characters? 

At the end of the day, Disney generally doesn't let me down so I will keep an open mind. Hey, some of the most popular attractions, Star Tours and the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular for example, are not Disney, right? For more information on the plans for Avatar, check out the email Q&A with Disney Parks' Tom Skaggs.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Disney Food Blog's Disney Dining Adventures

Here's a sneak peak at the concept behind the next e-book from Disney Food  Blog - Disney Dining Adventures. It's a guide filled with lots of themed dining plans for your next trip to Disney! Looks to be another amazing resource from DFB that will enhance your Disney dining experience. This particular guide will have a starting point of the Magic Kingdom, with other editions starting in the other theme parks to follow.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fireworks Viewing and Photography at Magic Kingdom

Check out today's Disney Photography Blog article for some good tips on viewing spots to capture the Magic Kingdom fireworks. It can be tough enough to capture fireworks properly, so if you're going to go to the trouble to set-up some great shots, you might as well make sure you've set-up in a location that will give you a good angle to capture them. The article gives a handful of locations to choose from, depending on what you're looking for and your level of crowd tolerance.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Touring Plans Lines App Update - Track your Progress

Great news - the Touring Plans Lines app now lets you track your progress and check attractions off of your list as you complete them. To learn more, click here. But remember, to access this great feature, you must be a member of Touring Plans. To join, sign-up here.


Taking Great Food Photos

Here's a great article from the Disney Photography Blog on how to take great food photos at Walt Disney World. Eating and photographing are two of our favorite Disney activities - might as well combine the two to capture the magic of Disney Dining! 
Chicken Lo Mein at Yak and Yeti (Animal Kingdom)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Planning to head down to Disney in the next two months? Then make sure to check out Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. You can find out more information about this special event on the official Disney blog.  WDW Magic also features this year's Not-So-Scary-Halloween guide map. The festivities began today and run on select nights thru November 1st. 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

WDW Photo Spots with Kids

Some of the best images you can take at Disney are of kids (and adults!) enjoying the classic attractions such as Dumbo. But what's the best way to capture those moments? Toss a coin to see who gets to ride with the kid(s) and who has to take the photos? What if  we told you there was a way to get your photos and allow everyone to ride the attraction, rather than having one member of the family stand outside the ride to take the photos? Well, there is! You can split-up into two cars and have the person(s) sitting in the front car turn around and snap photos of the person(s) sitting in the car behind. Perhaps a bit intuitive, but it took us a couple of trips ("Honey, it's your turn to get to ride Dumbo while I take the pictures") before we figured this out...


You can even get some great castle shots from Dumbo (or some shots over the construction wall of the new Fantasyland expansion!). 


Note, this tip also works great for other Dumbo-style rides such as the Magic Carpets of Aladdin, also located at the Magic Kingdom and the Triceratops Spin at Animal Kingdom.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Restaurant.com Gift Certificates 80% off thru Wednesday Sept 7th!

Restaurant.com is offering 80% discounts on its gift certificates thru Wednesday, September 7th. That means you can get $25 gift certificates for only $2! Simply use code RDCSale when checking out to get the discount.

To find out more about the Disney-area restaurants available on Restaurant.com, check out our blog post on the topic.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Disney Rewards Visa Card

In the market for a new credit card? Love Disney? Planning a trip to Disney World? If any (or all) of these apply to you, you might consider looking into the Disney Rewards Visa credit card from Chase. While the rewards points don't accrue as quickly as some other cards and are perhaps not as useful as cash back rewards, there are several other great reasons to get this card if you are a Disney fan and/or are planning a trip to Disney. 

One great perk that comes in handy when planning/taking a Disney vacation is the sign-up bonus that is typically available after your first purchase with the card. I've recently seen $40-50 Disney gift cards offered, which can be used to purchase just about anything Disney, including park tickets! We actually received an offer in the mail for a $200 gift card upon first use of the card.  

The card also offers some great in-park perks, such as merchandise and dining discounts. Cardmembers also get access to special character meet and greets.

one of several card designs available

Click on the links below to find out more about this credit card designed with the Disney fan in mind.

Rewards: http://disneyrewards.disney.go.com/credit/rewards/earning.html
Card Perks: http://disneyrewards.disney.go.com/credit/cardperks.html
Theme Park Perks: http://disneyrewards.disney.go.com/credit/themeparkperks.html
Card Designs: http://disneyrewards.disney.go.com/credit/carddesigns.html
Cardmember Offers: http://disneyrewards.disney.go.com/offers.html

Mobile Applications for Disney

Looking for some great mobile applications to enhance your Disney vacation once you're inside the parks? These can be valuable tools to help you save time, organize your itineraries and keep track of dining reservations. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Lines from Touring Plans - allows access to the great features of Touring Plans (e.g., personalized plans, crowd calendar, etc.) and the ability to view current wait times for all Disney attractions. Click Here for more information.
  • WDW Dining - this official Disney mobile site allows you to search for and make reservations - great for making a reservation on the go if your park plans change. To access the page, simply direct your phone's browser to http://disneyworld.com/dining and it will load the mobile website. Note that dining reservations can also be made through the Mobile Magic app discussed below if you are a Verizon customer.
  • Disney's Mobile Magic on Verizon (now free for Verizon customers!) - a great official Disney app that features park maps, character locations, daily events, weather, etc. Find out more information on Mobile Magic Here.
  • Official Disney mobile website - a good alternative to Mobile Magic for non-Verizon customers. Just direct your phone's browser to http://disneyworld.com/.
  • Tripit - this non-Disney site/app helps you plan itineraries for all of your trips, not just WDW. We like to use it to store our Advanced Dining Reservation details (e.g., confirmation numbers), hotel information, etc. Find out more information on Tripit Here.
To find out more about some of these great apps and others, you can also check out the video interview with Disney guru Lou Mongello.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

2012 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World Available Now

The 2012 edition of the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World is available now. This is by far one of the best resources you can purchase to help you plan your next WDW vacation. A true must-have. Plus, purchasing the guide will entitle you to a discount on a purchase of a Touring Plans membership! Get your copy today!

Upgrades to Personalized Touring Plans Make Planning Your WDW Vacation Easier (And More Fun!)

Touring Plans has made some great upgrades to its popular personalized touring plans feature.  Among other things, the new features allow you to use a premium touring plan as a template that you can personalize, and allow you to build in break times and meal times.  You'll also find an easier to use format. Find out more about the upgrades here. And of course, you can still access your personalized plan on your mobile device through the Lines App so that you can follow your plan while in the parks!

Be sure to purchase your subscription to Touring Plans today so that you can take advantage of these great new features and everything else that Touring Plans has to offer! The amount of time and money you will save more than makes up for the cost of the subscription (under $15 for one year of access). Plus, if you purchase the 2012 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, you'll be eligible for a discount on Touring Plans.
The Unofficial Guide Walt Disney World 2012 (Unofficial Guides)

New Disney Dining Resources Available Now

The Disney Food Blog has published two new resources to help you plan your Disney dining experience. We are big fans of DFB and love their guides! Whether you're a Disney newbie or a seasoned veteran, there's information in these guides for everyone.



and



And don't forget the one that started them all - a must have for any Disney vacation:




Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Sneak Peak at the New Fantasyland

Here's a great look inside the new attractions coming to the Fanatasyland expansion at Walt Disney World.  The artists' renderings are amazing. Can't wait!

Disneyland. Hmm...

If Touring Plans keeps posting blogs like this, we're going to have to accelerate the notion of visting Disneyland! Sounds amazing, and I love the idea that you can cover all of Disneyland in a long weekend.