You really can’t get much better than the Partners statue, can you? Represents everything I love about Walt Disney World–the Man and the Mouse.
Archive for April, 2011
You know that I love my Disney Rewards Visa, right? I use it (responsibly) for almost everything, and enjoy the rewards each year on our vacation. As a DRV cardmember, I’m often privy to Disney World discounts before the general public–and today is one of those lucky days.
Disney World is now offering “Free Dining” to DRV cardholders for travel dates of August 28 through September 24. (You may remember that they had previously offered free dining through September of 2011, but it had to be booked quite some time back…many of us wondered if they’d still offer it in the fall. We now have our answer.) If you’re not a DRV member (why aren’t you?), have no fear–the deal will be released to the general public on Monday. If you ARE a cardmember, I’d book before then!
Of course, the free dining promotion precludes you from other discounts (such as room-only discounts), and you must book at least a 3-day and no more than 14-day Magic Your Way package (that simply means booking hotel and tickets together). In doing this, you will receive one of the Disney Dining Plans for free for all guest three and older in your party.
Again, the breakdown of which plan you’ll receive free is based on the Resort category. If you’re staying in a Value Resort, you’ll get the Quick Service Dining free. At Moderate, Deluxe, or Villas, you’ll receive the regular Disney Dining Plan free. You can upgrade any of these plans to Deluxe by paying the difference in cost.
This deal is limited (probably even moreso than usual, since some people already snagged free dining when it was offered last year, but it appears you can book until August 27–don’t wait that long!
If you need booking codes, or if you’d like a referral code to become a Disney Rewards Visa cardmember–and receive a $25 bonus in Disney Dream Dollars–you can email me at affordingthemouse (at) att (dot) net.
You might say today’s tip is a whole collection of tips. I like to call it Find the Hidden Gems. On your first visit to Walt Disney World, it really takes almost all your energy just to see the major attractions and soak in the atmosphere. And it takes several visits to be able to say you’ve done the major and most of the minor attractions. (After more than a dozen trips, I still haven’t seen everything!) Somewhere around your 5th or 6th trip (it varies from family to family), you’ll realize that you more or less “know the drill.” You still enjoy every attraction, of course, but you are finally ready to dig in a bit more…to look for some of the many hidden gems around the World.
Hidden gems are those surprising details that Disney crams into every square inch of their Parks–little things that make you smile. Here are a few you can explore on your next Disney vacation:
- On Main Street, you might come across the occasional “old-timey” telephone. Go ahead–pick it up and listen. You just might get an earful.
- If you’re in the train station on Main Street and you have a penny, you can treat yourself to a “moviola” on one of the machines.
- If you get to Tom Sawyer Island early in the morning, you might just find a paint brush that Tom left behind. Take it to a Cast Member for a prize!
- Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Cafe has a couple of interesting trash cans. Listen closely, and you might hear something.
- Legend has it that Cinderella has a favorite horse on Prince Charming’s Regal Carousel–the only one with a gold ribbon on its tail. (Hint: This horse is in the middle–not on the outside ring of horses.)
- The Kim Possible Adventure has added a whole bunch of hidden gems to the World Showcase. You never know what you might see–and the best part is that you control the action with your Kimmunicator!
- Behind the United Kingdom pavilion, you can try to weave your way through a hedge maze. Don’t worry–it’s not nearly as tall as a corn maze.
- Near the Canadian pavilion, you will see three totem poles–only one of them is “real.” See if you can tell which is made of cedar (and carved by renowned Tsimshian Indian carver, David Boxley) and which two are made of fiberglass?
- Try to make your way to the courtyard of the Germany pavilion at the top of the hour. Listen for the “kukoo!”
Disney’s Hollywood Studios
- There’s a well near the entrance to the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular. Pull the rope and listen!
- While you’re there, go ahead and open those crates in the bushes that say, “Don’t Open.” Really…it’s OK.
- There’s a cool speeder bike near the exit to Star Tours. You’re perfectly welcome to hop on and live the fantasy (great photo op!).
- As you go through the turnstiles at Muppet 3-D Vision, you’ll see a welcome mat. Take a peek under it.
- Look for D’Vine on the trail between Africa and Asia. This performance artist is not to be missed!
- Along the walkway to Camp Mickey & Minnie, listen for two talkative plants, Herb and Flora.
- The bridge near Kali River Rapids has a few buttons that allow guests to “shower” those riding the attraction.
- This one is a photo clue. If you stand near this small temple area in India, and look across the Park to Everest, you’ll see something interesting in the silhouette.
There are so many more. Any favorites to add?
OK, I have to admit something to you, dear reader: I’m not sure I have ever seen Sounds Dangerous. I may have seen it in my younger days when it first opened, but I really don’t remember it. (I do seem to recall being in the building and trying some of the audio booths that let guests experiment with sound.) In my adult years, our trips have almost always been when the attraction was down during “Seasonal Operation.” (That just means that they only run it when it’s busy enough in the Parks to attract sufficient crowds.) So, I really can’t tell you if you should be disappointed with the news below.
Now that spring break and Easter have come and gone, Sounds Dangerous will again be closing on May 1 and returning to a “Seasonal Operation” schedule. What does that mean? I’m never quite sure. You might see it re-open in the middle of summer. It’s likely to make an appearance around Christmas and New Year’s. And, yes, it will almost certainly be opened for the spring break and Easter months.
Little princesses everywhere will rejoice at this news–I know mine will! Disney is adding 512 themed princess rooms–Royal Guest Rooms, as they’re calling them–to its Port Orleans Riverside Resort by March 2012.
Since Princess Tiana is most at home in New Orleans, she appears to be the star of this renovation, but she has invited good pals Belle, Jasmine, and others to share in these luxurious rooms that feature ornate beds with fiber-optic special effects in the headboards, along with gold and crystal accents. If you can believe the concept art of these rooms, they certainly appear to be fit for royalty of any age.
For the health-conscious among us, the Contemporary Resort is adding Health and Wellness Suites, which will feature such upgrades as non-allergenic mattresses, 100% cotton linens, and bamboo flooring. Bathrooms in the suites will include rainwater showers and tea tree oils. Cardio equipment will be conveniently in the rooms, and guests can enjoy yoga sessions or spa treatments at the renovated wellness studio. In addition, the conceirge lounge will feature fresh and seasonal organic foods.
This week will mark the final performances of a 15-year run for the perennial favorite, British Invasion. The Beatles tribute band has been performing for eager audiences at the Great Britain pavilion in Epcot. Their last performance at Epcot will be on April 30.
The band’s Facebook fan page indicates that this decision was theirs, not Disney’s. It also says that they plan to play at Disney from time to time, just not with the regularity of the past. A fan appreciation party is planned for sometime in May, and the boys will also have a concert in downtown Orlando on May 14. If you’re a fan, you can keep up with British Invasion via their Facebook page.