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Showing posts with label Magic Kingdom. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Magic Kingdom. Show all posts

Sunday, April 6, 2014

A historical view of MK ticket prices

Click for a larger view

Back in February, Disney announced the next round of price hikes for park tickets.  Today a one-day, one-park (ODOP) ticket for the Magic Kingdom is $99.  Given that this price increase came in February, it's entirely possible (and, sadly, not unprecedented) that another price increase may come later in the year.

Thanks to the folks at AllEars.net, we can take a look back at the Magic Kingdom ticket prices since 1982 (that's when the old ticket books went away completely and regular park admission started).  Looking back at 1982, a Magic Kingdom ODOP ticket was just over $13, a mere fraction of today's price.  If you look at the chart above you'll notice that prices rose fairly steadily until the late 1990s.  When Bob Iger became Disney's CEO in 1999, a Magic Kingdom ODOP was $44 - more than four times what it was seventeen years earlier.  Now, in 2014, that same ODOP ticket is $99, more than double what it was just 15 years ago. 

Now I understand costs do go up each year, but what I'm most concerned about is Disney's pace of increase.  If you look at the trend line (the black line), you'll see that from 1982 to around 1992, the ticket price was just slightly above the trend, but pretty close.  From 1992 until 2002, ticket prices dropped below the trend line.  In 2003, that's when things really started to change.  Notice the general slope of the ticket price line starting in 2003 - it's much steeper than it had ever been.  That meant the price of tickets started increasing at a greater rate than before, and for the most part that new slope hasn't relaxed.

In the small chart above, you can see the percentage change of ticket prices from year to year.  After 1999, the percentage of change has been quite volatile, from no change to as much as 12-percent.  Granted, the economy over the last few years has been anything but stable, so I guess it's not much of a surprise to see volatility in Disney's pricing structure.

So what's the point behind all this?  Using a tool like this, we can attempt to predict what prices will be in the future.  Given this rate of increase at around 6% a year, we can expect a Magic Kingdom ODOP ticket to run around $105 next year (that is if they don't already do another price increase this year), and could be around $140 by 2020.  Stop and think about that -- by the time the Magic Kingdom celebrates it's 50th anniversary in 2021, a one-day one-park ticket will be ten times what it was just after the Magic Kingdom's 10th anniversary.  I can't think of too many things that cost ten times what they did about 40 years ago.  If gas prices followed the same rate of increase then one gallon of gas will cost $13 by 2020. 

Maybe now you'll see what I'm concerned about -- Disney pricing themselves out of business.  There will come a point when the average family will no longer see the overall value of a Disney vacation.  I know some are already wondering if it's really worth it.  Sure, the parks are packed and attendance is still strong right now, but it doesn't take much to change all that.  Would you still drive a car if gas cost $13 a gallon?

I'm not griping about ticket prices.  Yes, they're too high, but that's not my main point.  My concern is the value of a Disney vacation.  I want people to be able to afford a Disney vacation.  I want the average family to be able to enjoy the magic.  I want Walt Disney World and Disneyland to be the premier theme parks in the world and the standard for which all others reach.  The more and more a Disney vacation starts to get our of reach for the average family, the closer Disney becomes to developing a reputation as something for the elite only.  Walt was never an elitist and I think he'd never want his parks to become something only for the elite. 

I understand prices have to increase, i just hope Disney will realize that their prices are going up too fast and will slow down that rate of increase. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Farewell PUSH the talking trash can


It appears PUSH the talking trash can will never again grace the concrete walkways of Tomorrowland, at least for now.  Several reports indicate a possible contract dispute led Disney to break ties with the performer operating PUSH and so the beloved walk-around character is no more.  Now Disney has confirmed the talking trash can is no more.

UPDATE (Feb. 10):  According to an Orlando Sentinel article, Disney says PUSH will remain in Tomorrowland.  Earlier, an apparent internal Disney FAQ gave talking points to cast members about PUSH's removal.  I'm sure there will be more to come on this. 

UPDATE 2:  Disney has confirmed PUSH is gone, according to a new Orlando Sentinel article.

But did you ever stop to wonder just how PUSH did what he did?  He was a fully mobile and fully interactive character.  He could carry on complete conversations with people seemingly on his own.  Well, of course, that wasn't the case, but it was pretty hard to pick out just how it was done.

Now that PUSH has been retired, I'll let you in on the secret.


PUSH did indeed have a handler/operator.  If you looked carefully around at the crowd, you just might spot a person standing somewhere within eyesight of PUSH wearing a hat, some sort of fanny pack or satchel and holding his hand up to his mouth for an unusually long time.  Yep, that's the PUSH operator.  I've had the opportunity to secretly observe this performance several times and I have to say the person(s) who operate PUSH are quite good at blending in and not being conspicuous.  It's hard to see from the above photo, but this person is wearing headphones so he can hear what's being said around the PUSH character.  He can then speak into the mic and talk with unsuspecting guests.

It's a pretty simple operation but was beautifully done.  Even after I figured out who to look for, there were several times I couldn't find the operator, he had blended in so well.

So it is with great sadness and regret that I say farewell to PUSH the talking trash can from Tomorrowland.  I can only hope that there will come a day soon when you might make a return.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Photo Friday: A "sweet" hidden Mickey


Welcome to another Photo Friday!

Can you spot the sweet hidden Mickey in this display at the Confectionary at the Magic Kingdom?  These hidden Mickey's can be found all throughout the Confectionary, though they're not really sweet - just decorations.

Enjoy!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Photo Friday: "To honor America"

Main Street Electrical Parade 

Welcome to another Photo Friday!  With Memorial Day just a few days ago, I thought I'd post a photo from the Main Street Electrical Parade to honor our and remember our veterans who have sacrificed for our country. 

To our veterans - thank you!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tip Tuesday: Saving time while park hopping

Greetings again!

As many of you know from reading this blog, I'm a fan of what's called "park hopping," meaning I like to visit more than one park in a day.  That's that the "Park Hopper" pass is for - it is an add-on to the base ticket that allows guests to visit as many parks as they want in a single day.

That being said, park hopping can be time-intensive.  Sometimes it may seem like there's no easy way to get from park to park using Disney transportation.  With a bit of planning and a little luck, you'll be able to do some quick park hopping without burning a lot of time.

So let's go from park to park with some of my tips for how to get to other parks as quickly as you can.

Magic Kingdom to Epcot
Without a doubt the fastest way to get from the Magic Kingdom to Epcot is the monorail.  Here's the hitch, though; the monorail isn't always running, especially later in the evenings and occasionally during the day.  So what do you do when the entire monorail system is offline?  There are a couple of options.  Disney will offer a direct bus to Epcot, but that bus can get overwhelmed quickly.  So here's what you do.  As you approach the bus terminals, look at the line for the Epcot bus.  If it looks like it's pretty long (like there are people completely filling the queue area), you may want to think about an alternate bus, say to the Boardwalk or Yacht/Beach Club, especially if a bus is already there and waiting.  It's possible you can catch a bus to either of these resorts and walk into Epcot through the International Gateway faster than waiting for an Epcot bus that will take you to the front of the park.


Magic Kingdom to Hollywood Studios
If the monorail is running, you've got a few more options aside from the direct bus at the MK bus station.  You could take the ferry or monorail to the TTC and catch a DHS bus from there, or take a bus to any of the Epcot area resorts noted above and then walk or take a Friendship boat to DHS.  I'd say the TTC-based option is the one I'd least recommend, but it is an option.

Magic Kingdom to Animal Kingdom
Here you're pretty much stuck.  There's simply no other means to get to AK from any park aside from a direct bus.  If those buses are supremely packed, you could consider waking to the Contemporary and getting a bus to AK from there, but keep in mind that it's a 10-minute walk to get to the Contemporary and you're totally at the mercy of the bus schedule there.  Of course you can take the "scenic route" by taking the ferry to the TTC or a boat launch from the MK to the Polynesian and then walking over to the TTC to catch a bus to AK, but that also will probably take much longer than just waiting it out back at the MK bus station.

Epcot to Magic Kingdom
Again, by far the fastest way to get from Epcot to the MK is by monorail.  But if the monorail is down for some reason, you're facing a similar situation as I described above, only in reverse.  You can take the dedicated Magic Kingdom bus or a bus to the Contemporary (where you can then walk over to the MK entrance).   It just depends on what the lines for each bus option look like.  Whichever bus you think will arrive next might be your best option.  I wouldn't recommend a bus to the Poly or Grand Floridian if the monorail is down because you'll then have to take a boat launch to the MK entrance.

Epcot to Hollywood Studios
Hoof it!  That right.  Walk.  There's a walkway connecting Hollywood Studios to the Epcot resorts area from which you can then enter Epcot through the International Gateway.  This is the easiest way to get in between both parks.  Yes it's a good sized walk -- upwards of 20 minutes depending on your walking speed -- but you are completely in control of when you arrive.  Otherwise, you can wait for a Friendship boat, but those lines can get tremendously long, especially toward park closing and those boats don't run as often as I'd prefer.  I can't count the times I've "outwalked" the boat from Epcot (especially since the boat stops at the Boardwalk, Yacht/Beach and Swan/Dolphon before going to DHS).  If you're not in a hurry, it's a nice boat ride, especially if you can sit in the very back in the open air.  But if you're trying to save some time, you'd best give those walking shoes a workout.

Epcot to Animal Kingdom
Take the AK bus.  As Princess Leia says, it's your only hope.

Hollywood Studios to Magic Kingdom
Here's where bus line monitoring can really pay off.  Yes, you can take the dedicated Magic Kingdom bus, if the lines aren't too bad.  Or, you can take a bus to any of the Magic Kingdom area resorts (Contemporary, Grand Floridian or Polynesian) or a bus to the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC).  From any of these destinations, you can then hop on a monorail (or walk in the case of the Contemporary) to get to the MK main entrance.  It really just depends on which bus you can catch the soonest.  First bus to arrive wins!  If everything is nuts, you can walk to Epcot, then through the park and catch a monorail to the MK.  That's a really scenic route (and will take a long time), but it is an option.  Of course, if you know the monorail is down, then forget about buses to the TTC, Poly or GF.

Hollywood Studios to Epcot
Same story as Epcot to Hollywood Studios.  Hoof it or wait for a boat.  I'd say start walking.

Hollywood Studios to Animal Kingdom
Same sad story.  Bus is your only option.

Animal Kingdom to Magic Kingdom
My advice is similar as Hollywood Studios to Magic Kingdom -- look for the first bus that can get you to the general Magic Kingdom area and then take a monorail or walk depending on where you end up at.

Animal Kingdom to Epcot or Hollywood Studios
Much like AK to MK, there's always the direct bus to either park, but you also can get a bus to any of the Epcot area resorts (Boardwalk or Yacht/Beach preferred) and enter Epcot through the International Gateway (for Epcot) or take a boat to DHS, or just walk to DHS from the Epcot area resorts.

So there you go -- a complete set of marching orders to help you hop from point A to point B.  What do you think -- do you have some different alternate routes?  Post a comment! 

Good luck and hop along now!!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tip Tuesday: Some of the Hidden Mickey of Liberty Square

Liberty Square Hidden Mickey 

Hello again for another Tip Tuesday!

This week, we're moseying out of Frontierland and going next door into Liberty Square.  There are quite a few Hidden Mickeys to be found in this area of the Magic Kingdom, even though it's fairly small in comparison to the other lands.

The first Hidden Mickey I want to feature is shown above and it's perhaps my most favorite Hidden Mickey in the Magic Kingdom, if not in all of Walt Disney World.  This little gem can be found in plain sight on the ground in the walkway between the Columbia Harbor House and the entrance to the Haunted Mansion.  I especially like how the hoof prints have been carefully placed in coordination with the water cover to form our favorite mouse icon.

Speaking of the Haunted Mansion, there are a few Hidden Mickey's I want to show you, but before I do, don't forget about The Columbia Harbor House and the Hall of Presidents.  There are a few Hidden Mickeys you can discover.  Here's a hint for one in the Hall of Presidents preshow lobby. 
Our first President must have been a fan of the mouse - Mickey kept giving him a tip.

Liberty Square Hidden Mickey

Now there's another very popular and well-known Hidden Mickey to be found inside the Haunted Mansion.  It seems Mickey is a popular dinner guest in the ballroom scene.  He can be found created by some carefully placed plates on the large dining table.  But that's not the only place where you can find a Hidden Mickey formed by plates.  The other is close by, but you'll need to keep a sharp eye out...


Here's a Hidden Mickey I found a few years ago.  As you enter the loading area for the Doom Buggies, look at the light fixtures mounted on the walls.  On each end is a small Hidden Mickey.  These are on each light, so there are a few opportunities to find this one!  This might be a DisneyDaddy exclusive!  I haven't heard anyone else talk about this one.

There are a few more Hidden Mickeys to be found among the living... and the dead... here in the Haunted Mansion, so as our ghost host would say, "look alive," and see how many you can find!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Tip Tuesday: Some of the Hidden Mickeys of Frontierland

I'm back!!!  It's been way too long since I had a post, but that was then and this is now.  So, without further adieu, let's continue our series highlighting some of the hidden Mickeys in the Magic Kingdom.

This week, let's mosey over to Frontierland for some great hidden Mickeys, both in attractions and beyond.

Let's start over at Splash Mountain where there are two (among many hidden Mickeys) that I'd like to share.

Splash Mountain hidden Mickey

The first can be found while making an outside loop around the backside of Splash Mountain.  You'll see this still of Muskrat Moonshine on the right side.  Look above the "S" in Muskrat to see a small painted classic Mickey.  There's no doubt about this one!

Splash Mountain Hidden Mickey

Next, we plunge down the main drop and again return inside the mountain for the final scenes.  You'll see a riverboat with several characters (which were from an extinct attraction called America Sings, but I digress).  To the right of the boat, you'll see a cloud formation that looks like Mickey laying down with his snout pointing straight up.

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Hidden Mickey

Heading outside Splash Mountain, we next venture over to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.  Like Splash Mountain, there are several Hidden Mickeys to be found both in the queue and on the attraction.  Here's one that you'll see on the right side just before you return to the load/unload area.

possible Hidden Mickey

Now this is a possible hidden Mickey.  See those "feathers" on the rooster?  They're circular in shape and some of them come together to form what looks like a classic Mickey.  What do you think?  Hidden Mickey?  Yes or no?

possible hidden Mickey

Same story with our friend Mr. Pig here.  See that white area on his body?  It reminds me of the side-profile Hidden Mickey in Adventureland that I featured in a previous post.  Is this another Hidden Mickey?  You be the judge!

So there you go -- just a few of the many Hidden Mickeys to be found in the rough-and-tumble Frontierland.  See how many you can find?  Yee Haw!!!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Photo Friday: Wishes from the water

Wishes from the Grand 1 

Time again for another Photo Friday!

This week, I wanted to share a photo from one of the most incredible Disney experiences I've ever had -- an evening aboard the Grand 1 while watching Wishes from the Seven Seas Lagoon.

While it's expensive (really expensive), it's an incredible sight.  Wishes takes on an entirely difference scope when seen from the water.

If you can do it -- I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Tip Tuesday: Some of the Hidden Mickeys of Main Street USA

Magic Kingdom Casting Agency door 

Time for another Tip Tuesday!

A few weeks ago, I shared a few of my favorite hidden Mickeys from Adventureland in the Magic Kingdom.  This week, let's head to Main Street USA for a few more of my favorite hidden Mickeys.

Right off the bat, (seen above) is one of my all-time favorite hidden Mickeys in all of Walt Disney World - partly because it's a two-fer and because it's part of a tribute to Walt Disney.  This door can be found along the western side of Main Street outside the Emporium.  A tribute to every Disney Cast Member, this door includes two hidden Mickeys at the top and bottom.  I always make it a point every trip to stop by this door and say a silent thanks to Walt and to the countless Cast Members for creating the world I love and cherish.

Main Street Gifts

Next up is an example of hidden Mickeys in plain sight.  This is a display window along Main Street from a few years back.  Notice the spilled bucket of Mickey-shaped antenna toppers?  There you go!  Hidden Mickeys can take any form.

Aladdin window

Speaking of windows, there are hidden Mickey's to be found in several of the window displays along Main Street.  This display of Agrabah from Aladdin has a clever and hard-to-find Hidden Mickey tucked away in a small part of the left side of the city.  Look closely and see if you can see Mickey hiding in there!

Main Street Confectionary

Finally, many hidden Mickeys are up to interpretation.  Take this one for example.  While searching for photos of some of the hidden Mickeys mentioned above, I ran across this shot from the Main Street Confectionary.  See that tile mural in the back?  I wondered if Mickey might be hiding there and, sure enough, I saw something that might be considered a hidden Mickey.  It could just be me though.  What do you think?  Hidden Mickey?  Yes or no?

These are just a few of the many, many hidden Mickeys to be found along Main Street USA.  Hidden Mickeys come and go, so some of these might not be around anymore while new ones have popped up.  Another great place to search for hidden Mickeys is the Main Street Train Station.  There are quite a few there (I just don't have shots of them yet - perhaps on the next trip...).

Until next time - keep a sharp eye out - you never know when you might find our favorite mouse!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tip Tuesday: Some of the Hidden Mickeys of Adventureland

 

Time again for another Tip Tuesday!

This week let's head over to Adventureland to share a few of my favorite Hidden Mickeys.  The first is one of my most favorite Hidden Mickeys in all of Walt Disney World - at the Swiss Family Robinson Treehouse.  If you look carefully at the image above, you'll see a side profile Hidden Mickey on the large tree branch amidst the lichen.  It's just to the left of the wall.  This Mickey can be sometimes hard to find, especially if you're kind of being rushed along by other guests.  You have to look around to see it.  Once you know where it is, you can find it easily.  There are a couple of other Hidden Mickeys often seen here -- look for some interestingly arranged plates, or fruit placed to create the classic Mickey logo.

Another great Hidden Mickey can be found in the Jungle Cruise.  As you begin your journey, you'll come across three canoes on a beach.  Look carefully at the heads -- you'll recognize three well-known Disney characters.

Sometimes you really have to look carefully to find Hidden Mickeys.  Just as you come off Pirates of the Caribbean, as soon as you enter the gift shop (what a surprise - an attraction that empties out into a gift shop!), you'll see a set of scales with gold coins of different sizes on one side.  Look closely to see a few coins carefully placed to form a classic Hidden Mickey.

Speaking of Pirates, pay careful attention to the locks found in the queue -- they resemble a certain mouse.  Also as you round the corner to the final treasure scene, look carefully at the bottom of the lanterns to see Mickey dangling there.

There are plenty of other Hidden Mickeys to be found in Adventureland, so I don't want to point them all out for you.  Just keep your eyes open, you never know where you might see another one, and who knows?  Maybe you'll find a new one!  Mickey is popping up all the time.

Enjoy and happy Hidden Mickey hunting!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tip Tuesday - some of the Hidden Mickeys of Tomorrowland

Hidden Mickey at Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin 

Time again for another Tip Tuesday!

This week, I'm starting a series of tips about hidden Mickeys at Walt Disney World.  If you're not sure what a hidden Mickey is, check out my post from May 2009 explaining what hidden Mickeys are.

I'm going to go from land to land throughout the parks, starting with the Magic Kingdom to showcase some of my favorite places to find hidden Mickeys.  I won't share photos of every single one, because I want you to find them for yourself and, to be honest, some are very hard to capture.

But let's start with an easy one (seen above).  As you're walking through the queue of Buzz Lightyear's Space Ranger Spin, you'll come across this obvious side profile hidden Mickey depicted in an image of the planet Pollost Prime.  There are a couple of instances of this hidden Mickey.  But Pollost Prime isn't the only planet featuring a hidden Mickey, see if you can find the other one.

Coming out of Buzz, see if you can spot a hidden Stitch and another hidden Mickey.


Hidden Mickey on the TTA 

Another great place to find hidden Mickeys is on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority.  During one of the interior show scenes, you'll come across this woman in a beauty parlor.  Pay close attention to her belt and you'll see a rather familiar black icon.  This one's very hard to shoot, so be ready!

While you're on the TTA, you'll pass through the upper portion of the shop, Mickey's Star Traders.  Look quickly because you may catch several hidden Mickey's embedded in the mural above the main floor.  If you didn't see them, don't worry, just go into the shop and look around as much as you'd like.  There are a LOT of hidden Mickeys, so see how many you can find!

Finally, head over to the Carousel of Progress to see a classic Walt Disney World attraction.  See if you can find our friend Mickey Mouse in the final scene (the Christmas scene).  Here's a hint:  check under the tree.

There are many more hidden Mickeys in Walt Disney World, so take your time, look carefully and you'll find Mickey all over the place!!

Enjoy the hunt!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Photo Friday - Images of the 2010 half

Half marathon 2010 

It's time for another Photo Friday and in honor of the upcoming RunDisney events next week, I'm giving you a special two-fer today!  These shots come from the 2010 half marathon.  Above, I was running through the Magic Kingdom.  Just down on the far left side of the spectators (can't see in this shot) is Lou Mongello and the WDW Radio Running Team cheering section, unless Lou happens to be on one of his many side trips to get coffee, as he was this morning.


half marathon 2010 

Likewise this shot is later on in the event, less than a mile from the finish line, showing how the runners come into Future World by the Seas with Nemo pavilion, run down toward the entrance to World Showcase, turn around and head back past Spaceship Earth again and head out toward the far eastern parking lot area and the finish line. 

Now let me lay a bit of the scene for those of you not familiar with the 2010 half and full marathons.  First off, it was FREEZING.  I mean that literally.  The water stations were freezing up.  At the start of the half marathon it was actually lightly snowing.  Yes, you read correctly, snow in Florida.  A few hours later the light snow became a light sleet then a light and cold rain.  It might not have been the best running conditions, but we all still had a great time (right Lori and Mitch!!).  I can say this, it was one Disney experience I will never forget.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Photo Friday - different view of the Castle Dream Lights

Cinderella Castle Dream Lights 

Time for another Photo Friday!

On Tuesday, I talked about ways to successfully photograph the Cinderella Castle Dream Lights.  I intentionally left off one angle I wanted to save for today -- the front shot, but not just any front shot, THE front shot.

Now you may think the photo above is easy to get.  You'd be wrong.  It's hard to tell from the photo above, but I'm just about laying down on the ground to get this angle.  Also, this is a vantage point that's hard to get to because normally it's not accessible due to the various performances going on in the evening.  I managed to get this angle after Wishes on a night when the Magic Kingdom was open fairly late. 

Surprisingly there weren't many people here even though this spot provides some different vantage points for other items, but that's for another Tip Tuesday.

So I hope you enjoy this close-up view of the Castle Dream Lights!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Photographing the Cinderella Castle Dream Lights

It's time again for another Tip Tuesday!

We'll we're in the swing of things for the holiday season and there's one thing at Walt Disney World that I absolutely have to see every holiday I'm at WDW - the Cinderella Castle Dream Lights.

I wrote about the castle lighting ceremony in a post last December, so I won't re-hash the information in that tip - be sure to check it out.  What I am talking about today is some good ways to take photos of the Castle Dream Lights.


Castle Dream Lights 

For those of you with point-and-shoot cameras, this shot may work best for you.  First, it's not too dark, so the shutter exposure will still be fairly quick.  Second, you have some good resources to use to steady the camera to avoid motion blur.  For this shot, I was standing along the bridge between Fantasyland and the hub near Cosmic Ray's.  The rail is nice and wide so you can (carefully!!) set your camera on the rail to take a steady shot.  You may want to wait for the sun set so you can capture those pretty evening colors as the light fades.


Castle Dream Lights night 

Later in the evening, you can use the same place to get a nice shot with the lights reflecting in the water.

Also remember that there are more angles of the castle than the traditional front angle.  Take this shot for instance:

Castle Dream Lights side view 

This shot was taken from the East side towards the back of the castle.  What makes this different is the lamp in the foreground and the steep angle enhancing the forced perspective of the castle.  If you have a point-and-shoot camera, this might be a bit tough. Digital SLR cameras will have a better chance of capturing this image without blur.

So there you go -- a few different ideas for how you can get those great shots of the Castle Dream Lights -- and be sure to watch for this week's Photo Friday when I'll post another shot of the Dream Lights from a different perspective.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Photo Friday: more little Disney details

Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Saloon 

 Howdy there folks!

It's time for another Photo Friday!

This week's it's a two-fer-one offer!  Ye get two photos today!

The first photo above is a shot of the Gold Dust Saloon as seen from the Walt Disney World Railroad (and you get a really good picture of it when the train is stuck for about 30 minutes...).

But what I really wanted to show you was this...


Big Thunder Mountain Railroad Saloon 

This is a shot of the inside of the saloon.  Now even on a very bright day you can hardly see inside.  I had to use a strong flash and slow exposure to get this shot.  What's impressive is the level of detail Imagineers put in these attractions.  Notice the playing cards on the table and the different liquor bottles.  At most a guest might be able to get a fleeting glimpse while riding the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, or guests may be able to peer inside while passing on the railroad.  Either way, Disney could have gotten away with much less detail... but this is Disney and doing things halfway doesn't cut it.

So enjoy another little piece of Disney detail!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Photo Friday: Skyway to the Past

Magic

Time for another Photo Friday!

I friend shared some old photos from a 1999 trip to Walt Disney World today and I just had to share this photo (with her permission).  What struck me the most about this photo was the date:  summer of 1999.  Little did they know that the Skyway would close just a few months later, in Nov. 1999.

I can remember my own journeys on the Skyway during my early trips to Walt Disney World back in the late 1970's.  I particularly remember seeing 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea from the air and being amazed at how big it was.

Today hardly a remnant of the Skyway can be seen.  The old launch/landing buildings are effectively gone and you have to look closely for clues where the old pillars were located.

A blast from the past...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom cards

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom


Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

This week, I wanted to wrap up my tips about the new Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.  This week I wanted to help you as you try to collect those cards.  Below is a list of the current cards from Common to Super Rare.  Keep in mind that you get a new set of cards every day you visit the Main Street Fire Station.

Disney has started selling booster card packs at The Emporium and I'm hearing that these booster packs are much more likely to contain one of the Super Rare (lightning bolt) cards.  Packs are running around $12 each and there's a home game version coming soon.  When these booster packs first were released last month, they literally sold out in minutes, so it's possible they may not be available when you look for them.

I'm also hearing, thanks to the Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom fan blog, that Disney will begin handing out limited editions of special spell cards associated with special events such as parties, grand openings and releases.  The first of these cards (apparently it will be a special 12-card edition) will start with a Chip and Dale card released during Mickey's Not So Scary Halloween Party.  Other possible cards may be released in connection with movie premieres, the opening of the expanded Fantasyland and/or opening of certain attractions/restaurants in new Fantasyland as well as Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party.

One more thing about cards.  Some may be willing to turn to Ebay to find cards.  I'd be careful purchasing cards on Ebay because it's all to easy to make fakes.  As easy as desktop publishing is these days, making a fake card is pretty easy.  One way to tell if it's more likely a genuine card is to see if it has rounded corners (the Mickey card shown above was a sample image released by Disney, not a scan of an actual card, that's why it has sharp corners).

A good way to store your cards is to use some sort of sports card collectors album.  I use a smaller book that holds four cards per page.  This way you can more easily carry the book in a backpack or bag.  Some use larger binders, which is fine if you are willing to deal with the extra bulk.

One thing's for sure.  Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is a fantastic hit and one that I fully anticipate to expand both in card offerings and in difficulty as it progresses and is updated.

Until next time Sorcerer!



RARE  (marked by a star)
1 Apprentice Mickey’s Broomsticks
2 Belle’s Mountain Blizzard
3 Buzz Lightyear’s Astro Blaster
4 Doris’s Bowler Hat Attack
5 EVE’s Laser Blast
6 Fa Mulan’s Dragon Cannon
7 Flynn Rider’s Flying Frying Pan
8 King Triton’s Trident
9 Lythos’s Rock Titan Boulder Throw
10 Maurice’s Wood Chopper
11 Maximus’ Horseshoes
12 Merlin’s Fireball
13 Monstro’s Water Spout
14 Nibs’s Neverland Assault
15 Rapunzel’s Hair Whip
16 Robin Hood’s Magic Arrow
17 Simba’s Roar
18 The Fairy Godmother’s Pumpkin Bash
19 The Giant’s Giant Stomp
20 Tinker Bell’s Pixie Dust
21 Violet’s Force Fields
22 Woody’s Cowboy Lasso

UNCOMMON  (marked by a crescent moon)
23 Aladdin’s Lamp
24 Bolt’s Super Bark
25 Cinderella’s Magic Ribbon
26 Colonel Hathi’s Righteous Stomp
27 Eeyore’s Gloomy Cloud
28 Frozone’s Ice Blast
29 Lightning McQueen’s Ka-Chow
30 Mickey’s Magic Beans
31 Mike’s Grand Entrance
32 Pinocchio’s Sawdust Blast
33 Prince Phillip’s Enchanted Sword
34 Snow White’s Housecleaning
35 The Headless Horseman’s Exploding Jack-O-Lantern
36 The Mad Hatter’s Tea Time
37 The Queen of Hearts’s Card Army
38 The Sugar Plum Fairies’ Dewdrop Spiderweb
39 WALL-E’s Trash Crunch
40 Yen Sid’s Sorcerers Hat


COMMON  (marked by a planet)
41 Aurora’s Rose Petals
42 Baloo’s Coconut Cascade
43 Caballero Donald’s Pinata
44 Dash’s Whirlwind
45 Flower’s Flowers
46 Gopher’s Demolition Dynamite
47 Grumpy’s Pummeling Pickaxe
48 Lumiere’s Candle Blast
49 Mowgli’s Swinging Vine
50 Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride
51 Pocahontas’s Colors of the Wind
52 Pongo’s Soot Bucket
53 Prince Naveen’s Army of Frogs
54 Pumbaa’s Odorous Gas
55 Quasimodo’s Bell
56 Rafiki’s Wisdom Stick
57 The Blue Fairy’s Wand Wish
58 The Woozles’ Woozle Nightmare
59 Thumper’s Mighty Thump
60 Tiana’s Hot Sauce

SUPER RARE (Marked with a lightning bolt)
61 Ariel's Bubble Attack
62 Dumbo's Pink Elephant Parade
63 Fin McMissle's Missle Salvo
64 Hercules Tower Topple
65 Jasmine's Magic Carpet Tassles
66 Mama Odie's Magic Charm
67 Merryweather's Stone Spell
68 Mr. Incredible's Power Heave
69 Mushu's Fiery Breath
70 Winnie the Pooh's Honey Bees

OTHER
Cast Member Power of the Four Keys

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tip Tuesday: My new favorite spot for evening events at the MK

Main Street Electrical Parade 

Welcome to a belated Tip Tuesday (yet again, sigh).

This week, I wanted to share a brief tip about my new favorite spot to watch the Main Street Electrical Parade which also puts you in a great spot to watch Wishes! and the new "Celebrate the Magic" show coming later this fall about which Disney released some conceptual images earlier today.  Disney also announced they are expanding the seating area for Fantasmic! at the Studios.

Anyway, back to the MSEP.  Many people like to stand in the inner portion of the hub facing Cinderella Castle as the Electrical Parade goes by.  I'm a fan of the opposite view.  Stand in the hub looking back down Main Street U.S.A.  You get a great head-on view of the parade and about halfway through, the lights in Town Square will turn back on so you have a wonderful backdrop for the parade.

Once the parade is done, simply turn around and you're ready for Celebrate the Magic and Wishes.  If you want, you can try to move a bit closer to the Partners statue so that it's in the foreground for any pictures you take.

See for yourself - here's video from when I provided a live stream of MSEP and Wishes! back in June.  It's in parts, due to the feed getting bounced a few times.

Enjoy!

Main Street Electrical Parade

The Magic, the Memories and You & Wishes!



Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Playing Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom map

Welcome Sorcerer!

It's time again to share some tips and tricks to playing one of the newest experiences at the Magic Kingdom:  Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom.  Here's the problem:  Hades, that evil lord of the underworld, has broken free and is trying to get the crystal of the Magic Kingdom.  It's up to you and Merlin the wizard to stop him and his legion of villians.
As I mentioned in a post two weeks ago, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom (SOTMK) is a card based interactive game that guests can play throughout the Magic Kingdom.  Each visit to the parks, guests can stop at the Town Square Fire Station to pick up additional game cards to use to complete tasks throughout the park.
This week, I'll walk through how to play the game and some tips to make your adventure run a little smoother, especially if you're with multiple players.

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom key card and map
When you first get your all-important key card and map (shown above), you will want to head to any station on the map (Adventureland is shown above).  Your map will show the SOTMK portals in each of the currently active lands in the Magic Kingdom:  Mains Street USA, Fantasyland, Frontierland, Liberty Square and Adventureland.  Tomorrowland doesn't have any SOTMK portals as of this post, though the game is likely going to be expanded into the new Fantasyland and could possibly be expanded into other areas like Tomorrowland, though no official announcements have been made.

Most people who get their new key card, map and initial card set will head to one of the Main Street USA portals, resulting in a line.  It's better to head away from Town Square and go at least to one of the two portals further down Main Street USA.  Better yet, head to Adventureland, where there are more portals to work with. 
Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom shield

So how can you find a portal? Sure it's on the map, but they're sometime hard to find.  Just look for this symbol on the ground.  This is the EXACT spot you're supposed to stand on to play the game.

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom lock

Once you find a portal, look for this lock (shown above).  Take your key card and place it against the lock.  The first time you play the game, the screen will tell you which portal you are supposed to start it.  Be sure to take note of the symbol shown on the screen.  That corresponds to the portal symbols on your SOTMK map.  Go to that portal.  If you try to use another portal, you'll again be directed to the proper starting place.  Oh, and everyone has a different starting place. 

Now, if you're traveling with several Sorcerers, you can ask the cast member at the Fire Station to have your entire playing party to start in the same land.  You won't start in the same exact portal, but you can at least have your adventure running in the same location so you're not cris-crossing the park too much (you'll be doing a lot of that anyway).

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Now that you've found the right portal, it's time to star battling some bad guys (or gals)!!

To play the game, you need to first show your key card at each portal.  You eventually will go to every portal in the Magic Kingdom (often more than once).  You're trying to defeat Scar, Yzma, Jafar, Ursula, Maleficent, Cruella de Vil, Dr. Facilier, Gov. Ratcliff and (ultimately) Hades.

Defeating each villian usually involves accessing four different portals.  Most portals require the use of one or more spell cards.  In the basic version of the game (which is the only version currently running), the type of spell card used really doesn't matter.  You can use one or more than one to accomplish your task.  In future versions (Disney has said they are working on advanced versions), the type of spell card used will be a factor in determining success against the villian.

Once you have defeated all eight villians, you're off to battle the head honcho in this whole operation -- Hades and if you're successful you will be given the title of Master Sorcerer of the Magic Kingdom!!!

Now you can complete SOTMK in a single day, though it will be a very long one and it will be all you do.  I strongly suggest taking a few days to try to complete the game.  If you don't finish, don't worry, you can always pick up where you left off on your next trip.  In fact, I think you should only do one or two villians on each trip -- that way you have something new to do on your next visit.

Either way, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom is a fantastic and fun game for players of all ages.  In June, I saw young kids and seasoned adults playing side by side and having a great time.

A few general tips: 
  • Wear good shoes because you will be doing a lot of walking (you should be wearing good shoes anyway).
  • Keep track of your key card.  If you lose it, you've lost your entire game progress and you'll have to start over.  If you lose a spell card, you can always get more, but you can't get another key card and resume your progress.
  • As you're walking around, take note of where portals are located.  Sure, they're on the map, but it's more helpful to know where they really are so you can easily find them when you need them.
  • Be patient.  You will run into lines at portals, especially during peak times of the year.  While you're waiting, be courteous to other guests and don't spoil the surprises by talking about the game.  Each portal can have different parts of the game running.
  • Always get a new set of spell cards each day you're at the Magic Kingdom.  They're free and you can get one pack a day.  You never know which cards you'll get.
So there you go Sorcerer!!!  You're ready to play.  So hurry to the Firehouse because Merlin needs your help!!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Tip Tuesday: Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom (part 1)

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom
Welcome to another Tip Tuesday!

This week, I wanted to start a series of posts about a new interactive card came that debuted this summer at the Magic Kingdom, appropriately entitled the "Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom."  This is a free card game open to all guests of all ages.

Playing the game is very easy.  First you need cards.  To do that, just head over to the Recruiting Center located in the Firehouse in Town Square.  Show your park ticket and you'll get a pack of five cards, a map (shown above) and, most importantly, your Key (also shown above).  It's very important not to lose this key as all your progress is stored on that card. 

Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom

Each day each player can get a new pack of cards like the ones seen above.  They are numbered 1-70 and have different powers.  They also are different kinds of cards from common to super rare.  I'll talk more about the different card groupings and which ones you should watch out for later on in this series of posts.

I'll talk about how to play the game in next week's post.  This week, I wanted to go over some general tips about this new experience.

First, Sorcerers is VERY popular.  I mean VERY.  It's not unusual to have a 30 minute wait just to get your initial set and/or expansion sets.  As I say constantly, it's best to be at the Magic Kingdom for rope drop.  If you don't have an attraction you really want to get to first thing, you might want to try to pop into the Firehouse to get your cards before it gets packed later on.  Each day you're at the Magic Kingdom, it's a good idea to get a new pack of cards because they card packs are random, so you never know what cards you might get.

As you start to get more and more cards, you may want to think about how to keep your cards together.  Some use baseball card books (the Sorcerers cards are about the same size and fit well).  Disney says they may release a Sorcerers themed card book later this year.

As you play the game, you'll be going from one place in the Magic Kingdom to another and then back again.  You will be cris-crossing the parks several times over, so good shoes really are important because you'll be doing a LOT of walking. 

Finally, did I mention this is VERY popular?  Frequent guests and Orlando locals have taken to Sorcerers with a passion similar to pin trading and Vinylmation.  Don't be surprised if people approach you asking to trade.  While trading can be fun, you will want to know what your doing.  More on this aspect later in this series.

In my opinion, Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom may be one of the best additions to the Magic Kingdom in many years (at least until new Fantasyland opens) - speaking of which, it's likely that this game will expand sometime after new Fantasyland opens in early December.  This is a game everyone can play on their own or together.  My three have had the best time working hard to complete the basic game -- and there are tougher versions in development.

There's so much more to Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom, that I will spread this out over a few Tip Tuesday posts -- so look for more next week!

Until then -- Merlin needs your help Sorcerer!