CN Traveler Names Disney World’s Best Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line has been named the highest-rated cruise line in CN Traveler magazine’s latest edition of the Readers’

Disney Dream. Photo: Disney Cruise Line News

Disney Dream. Photo: Disney Cruise Line News

Choice Awards. A total of 76,700 readers took part in the poll. Top cruise lines were named in four categories: large ship, mid-size, small, and river cruise.

In the category of large ship lines, Disney took the top spot for offering family-friendly packages on state-of-the-art vessels and ports of call in the Caribbean, Hawaii and Alaska.

Disney is a big favorite among readers and guests: The brand also topped the 2014 Cruisers’ Choice Awards and was also named best mainstream cruise by Bon Voyage magazine this year.

The other top-ranking cruise lines are Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Princess, and Cunard.

Before you board the Disney Magic, Disney Fantasy, Disney Magic, Disney Dream, or Disney Wonder, don’t forget to pick up a copy (or two) of Hidden Mickeys Go To Sea: A Field Guide to theDisney Cruise Line’s Best Kept Secrets (second edition) by Steve Barrett. It’s a fun way to get to know these ships and Castaway Cay while searching for the elusive mouse.

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Intrepid Traveler Author at Disney Fan Club Event

Charles Ridgeway, author of Spinning Disney’s World, published by the Intrepid Traveler, will be among the Disney Legends at the D23 Destination D: Attraction Rewind, presented by H2O Plus, taking place Nov. 22 and 23 at the Contemporary Resort at Walt Disney World. Charlie, as he known, was the Disney press agent for 40 years and Spinning Disney’s World is a compilation of his experiences.

spinningThe paperback edition of Spinning Disney’s World, to be published in January, will be updated to include a forward by Rick Sylvain, Walt Disney World’s current publicity director.

D23 is the official Disney Fan Club.

Other Disney Legends taking part include Marty Sklar, Bob Gurr, and Alice Davies; Walt Disney Archives Director Becky Cline; Disney and World’s Fair historians Bill Cotter Stacia Martin, and Michael Kelley.

Disney archivists, Imagineers, Legends and luminaries will join together to celebrate fan favorites such as Adventure Thru Inner Space, If You Had Wings, and 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea with rarely seen concept art and images, vintage video clips, and revealing stories. A full day of presentations will be dedicated to Disney’s contributions to the 1964-65 New York World’s Fair. In addition, current Walt Disney Imagineers will share their stories and insights on Disney creations.

For additional details and ticket information, visit the event’s website.

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Hidden Mickeys: Disneyland 2.0.0. App Now Available

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 4.59.41 PMHidden Mickeys: Disneyland, the popular app for tracking down Hidden Mickeys in Disneyland, has just been updated!

Totally redesigned for iOS 7.0 (and later), the user interface includes all the Hidden Mickeys in Steve Barrett’s Disneyland’s Hidden Mickeys: A Field Guide to Disneyland Resort’s Best Kept Secrets (4th edition), as well as those in Cars Land; Hidden Mickeys that have disappeared have been removed.

Hidden Mickeys: Disneyland is Version 2.0.0. Those with previous versions – 1.12 or 1.10 – are entitled to free updates.

Version 2.0.0 has been optimized for iPhone 5 and is compatible with iPad and iPod Touch as well. Like previous versions, it supports Game Center, Apple’s online network that lets users play games together, tracking their progress and scores.

Developed by Campbell/Gambill Designs, LLC, the app is 3.4 MB in size. It can be ordered through the iTunes store for $5.99.

Check out the review of the Hidden Mickeys: Disneyland app by Teri on the Disney Geek website.

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Disney to Expand Star Wars Presence

Not to be outdone by Universal, Disney CEO Bob Iger has announced that the company is planning a much larger Star Wars presence among its theme parks.

It’s all coming on the heels of the new Star Wars movies, beginning with Episode VII at the end of next year.

Disney’s themed lands designed around films such as Toy Story (in Hong Kong and Paris) and Cars Land (In California) have become very popular.

Disney, Avatar

Concept art for Avatar from Disney.

An Avatar-inspired land is being built in Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom. Ground was broken in January 2014 with opening planned for 2017. According to Disney officials: 

The area, which is being designed by Walt Disney Imagineering in partnership with “AVATAR” creator James Cameron and Lightstorm Entertainment, will be unlike anything ever experienced at a Disney park. Guests will experience the wonders of Pandora when they fly with banshees and explore a rich natural environment with mountains that float and interactive plants that glow at night.

Exactly how Disney expects to amp up the Star Wars presence has not been announced, although Disneyland’s Tomorrowland “features a revamped version of Star Tours, which takes riders on a 3D motion-simulated ride across the Star Was Universe.”

So will we see Mickey and Minnie in space suits?

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Celebrate Halloween, Christmas Aboard Disney Cruise Line

Looking to go beyond the typical trick or treat or ho-hum ho-ho-ho?

Disney Cruise Line has themed offerings aboard its ships that are sure to add a kick to your holidays.

Matt Mauney of the Orlando Sentinel reports on the details.

continue reading »

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Cool Off With Disney’s ‘Frozen Summer Fun’

Update: Disney has announced that it won’t “Let It Go” until Sept. 24.

Here’s the schedule for the extended “Frozen Summer Fun (per Orlando My Way):

Through Sept. 28, the schedule of “Frozen Summer Fun LIVE!” will remain the same, with the exception of the “Frozen Fireworks” spectacular. The fireworks show will be presented each night (except Aug. 23)  though Sept. 1, and then on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only from September 5-28.

Without a doubt, Disney’s Frozen is enchanting just about everyone – from dads accompanying their daughters singing “Let It Go” in viral videos to those looking to “cool down” at Walt Disney World this summer. continue reading »

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New VIP Tours at Walt Disney World Resort

viptou189377-613x473Walt Disney World Resort is upping the ante by offering two new VIP tours.

“The Ultimate Day of Thrills – A VIP Tour Experience” and “The Ultimate Day for Young Families – A VIP Tour Experience,” which is designed for young children, each cost $299 person.

The tours last 6 to 7 hours and encompass about 10 attractions at Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and Disney’s Animal Kingdom, including Seven Dwarfs Mine Train, Toy Story Midway Mania, and Expedition Everest. A meal at a Disney table-service restaurant is also part of the package.

There will be one tour guide for each group of 10 people. The tours can be scheduled for Tuesdays, Fridays, and Sundays. A 15 percent discount is available for Disney Vacation Club Members, Disney VISA Cardholders and Annual Passholders. A Magic Your Way Park Hopper is required for admission

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Aaron Wallace Dishes on Orlando Attractions Magazine – The Show

Elisa Goldman interviewing Aaron Wallace.

JeniLynn Knopp interviews Aaron Wallace. Note the copy of Hidden Mickeys in the upper left-hand corner.

Aaron Wallace, author of The Thinking Fan’s Guide to Walt Disney World, shared some insight into the inspiration behind his book in an interview with JeniLynn Knopp for Orlando Attractions Magazine – The Show.

In writing the book, Aaron said he wanted to treat the theme park rides the same way as works of art. “We look at film and literature as works of art… why can’t we look at theme park rides the same way?

“You love something more when you know more about it … I believe you learn to love something so much more and appreciate it on a deeper level when you know more about it.” He challenges people who already love the attractions to dig deeper and ask why they love them… what is it that resonates on a deeper level?

Aaron also looks beyond the superficially saccharine nature of “it’s a small world,” which, he said, uses techniques of hypnosis to achieve an altered level of consciousness and to impart this bold racial racial message — it’s an optimistic  look at the the way the world existed at the time – 1964 – and how the world might change, then linking it to today’s sociopolitical climate. “It all comes together,” he says.

The complete interview can be found here.


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Ticket Prices Rise at Disneyland

So you’re heading to Disneyland this summer. Along with packing your copies of Disneyland’s Hidden Mickeys and Lots To Do In Line Disneyland, pack a few extra dollars.

Prices at Disneyland Resort increased as of May 18, and are now headed toward the $100 mark for a single day admission to Disneyland or California Adventure.

A Day Pass to either park increased to $96 from $92. The One Day Parkhopper, which covers both Disneyland and California Adventure Park has jumped to $150, up from $137. The previous increase took place last June. Parking also increased by $1 to $17.

Walt Disney World raised its prices in February with one-day admission hitting $99.

Robert Niles of Theme Park Insider provides a list of the different admission options with their old and new prices, plus dollar and percentage increases.

Industry insiders are betting on when the $100 threshhold will be reached with expectation that it won’t happen until 2015. That’s not so far away.


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Bart Scott on Chicago’s WGN-TV

Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 10.18.10 AMSpreading the word that Walt Disney World is indeed a manly man’s paradise, Bart Scott, author of Ears of Steel, shared his tips for a successful WDW experience on WGN-TV’s Morning News.

The biggest take-home from the interview is that you shouldn’t cut corners — it’s a special experience that the family will remember for a lifetime.

First, he recommends staying on property, for the accessibility and convenience.

Next, with a clip of the Richard Petty Experience in the background, he says to try something new. (This is no time to be a shrinking violet.)

The best time to go to WDW? Bart says to avoid summer and the holidays and go in the fall, September. (“School is for suckers,” he quips.) There are no lines and the weather is great.

Bart also endorses the use of Fast Passes, Magic Bands, and the various smart phone apps as convenient ways to access the parks’ attractions.

Finally he says don’t obsess about money. “You’re getting great value.”

Bart also tipped his hat to the Disney travel agents. “They’re insane Disney nuts! They’re the ones you really want… they can fix anything!”

Check out the full interview here.


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