Goodbye my old friend Fastpass…Hello FastPass + and My Disney Experience!
I have to say that I am nostalgic about the old system because most of us frequent WDW visitors had that down to a science. But as of this month, the old fastpass machines at the entrance to the most popular rides are no more! Instead, all guests are now expected to take part in the new My Disney Experience, My Magic+, Magic Bands and FastPass + (FP+) online system.
Things work differently depending if you are staying on property or off site.
This is the same for all guests:
You select (and can change) your return time for the ride/experience.
You can only choose 3 FP+ per day
You can only get your 3 FP+ in one park each day
FP+ includes character experiences and seating for fireworks & parades
You can change your FP+ selections at any point, even during your return time(if you get to your ride return and see no line, you can adjust your FP+ at the entrance for a different ride) Continue reading →
I love Star Wars and I love Star Wars Weekends. The artwork has been released for this year’s Star Wars weekend and I love it. Return of the Jedi is my favorite of the original trilogy and I have a soft spot for the Ewoks. This year is particularly special because it is the celebration of the 30th anniversary of Episode IV: Return of the Jedi. I don’t know about you but I remember seeing this one in the theatre when it was released, so now I feel old… It is also going to be interesting this year because it is the first Star Wars Weekend in which Disney now owns the Star Wars empire.
But know that this is not for the first time Disney traveler. Star Wars Weekends are hot, crowded and confusing if you don’t know your way around Hollywood Studios. If you are a seasoned veteran of WDW and you (or your children/spouse) are a fan, this is the weekend for you to visit!
The full schedule is not released but here is what is available now. Star Wars Weekends will take place May 17-June 9, every Friday, Saturday, & Sunday.
Celebrity Guests: You can get a fastpass to meet and get autographs from the celebrities.
James Arnold Taylor: The Official Celebrity Host for all 4 weekends. The voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Clone Wars series. He performs a one man show about voice talent.
Ashley Eckstein: Also a Celebrity Host for all the weekends. She is the voice of Ahsoka Tano in The Clone Wars. She hosts a talk show about the cartoon series. We had the privilege to meet Ashley a few years ago at SWW and she made a wonderful impression on my daughters and made them feel like it is ok for girls to like Star Wars. (I keep telling them that the boys will think it is the coolest thing someday!)
Ray Park: Darth Maul from Episode I: The Phantom Menace for Weekends 1 & 2. He is also a martial arts expert and in X-Men & GI Joe. He does a martial arts show during the weekend.
Warwick Davis: Wicket W. Warrick (my favorite Ewok) for Weekends 2 & 3
The schedule should stay the same for the most part. Character greetings and autographs from the bunches of characters from all the movies and cartoon, specialty merchandise, Jedi Training, Padawan Mind Challenge, Hyperspace Hoopla, Star Wars Stars Motorcade Parade with stormtroopers and various characters.
I will update more as soon as the information comes available, so stay tuned!
We watched Wreck It Ralph yesterday during our snow day and when you pause the movie they show you the scenes that contain characters from well known video games. I thought that was so fun and then I came across this post this morning! Big fun for any Disney fan. Thanks Kenny the Pirate!
Here is a scene from Hunchback of Notre Dame: There is a character from Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and Lion King in this street scene!
I have so many people ask me about the various Character Dining options in Walt Disney World. I have compiled a list with descriptions for each to make deciding easier for you! I have previously written about my favorites if you want to take a look. This is a basic list that tells you the facts, not my opinions of each (which I have many).
This past trip to WDW, we were able to have a first hand look with the D-Tech Me Experience. Last year they unveiled this technology with “Carbon Freeze Me” during Star Wars Weekend. Basically, they took a 3D image of your face and molded it into a carbonite figurine ala Han Solo. Here is a video of the “Carbon Freeze Me” experience. This was so wildly successful with the Star Wars weekend attendees that they expanded the concept this summer.
We were able to do the D-Tech Me Princess experience during the first week of operation. It was located at The World of Disney Store in Downtown Disney, near the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. I assumed this would be just as popular as the Star Wars so we arrived early. There was no one there and they didn’t even seem to be booked. I am pretty sure we could have walked in and had it done. The check in desk and photobooth were in a tiny corner of the store and out in the open for anyone to watch. First they gave each of the kids a choice of princess and hair color. One choose Belle and brown hair, the other chose Ariel with red hair.
They gave us headbands to hold the girl’s hair back and then they sat in a fancy salon chair which adjusted to the correct height for the camera. They were told to watch a screen and smile. The picture was taken by 10 different cameras simultaneously to make the 3D image. They take the girl’s picture several times to give you options to choose from.
It is very disconcerting to see a 3 dimensional version of your daughters face and theycan show it to you both inside and out. The experience is very quick and efficient and the kids thought it was fun. The figurine arrived 6 weeks later encased in foam with a beautiful pink box. The girls love their figures, though it is a little creepy to see their faces on the body of a princess. They also were given a little charm bracelet to take home that day because they have to wait for the princess figurine.
A few things to know. This is only available to girls ages 3-12 years old. You must cancel 48 hours in advance or you are charged $25. Make sure your child has her eyes opened pretty wide and smiles with teeth. It looks more like them with an exaggerated expression.
This is a time lapse video of how Walt Disney World decorates the Magic Kingdom from Halloween to Christmas overnight. It really is amazing! When we were there over Labor Day this past year, we went to Magic Kingdom one evening and nothing was decorated. The next morning at opening, there were Mickey pumpkins and Halloween garlands everywhere. It really threw me off for a while, I felt like I was crazy. I was asking myself, was this here last night?
November a few years ago at Boardwalk, we watched as the team used a giant drill to dig a hole and drop poinsettia all over the property. It took just a few hours to turn the entire resort into Holiday mode. They also were working on the gingerbread carousel as well while we were there. Every time we came into the lobby over 48 hours, there were more and more details to the structure and the smell was to die for!
If you haven’t been to Disney during the Holiday season, you should make a point of going. It is the most magical time at Disney and there are so many things to see and do. Any time in late November through December, the hotels are all decked out and the more expensive the hotel, the more elaborate the decorations. There are so many different things to see and do both inside the parks and out. You can spend an entire evening just riding the monorail to Polynesian, Contemporary, & Grand Floridian and stopping at each to see the decorations and special characters and events they have at each.
More to come on specifics of Christmas at Walt Disney World…
Here is the brochure on the Knight Package for boys at the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. It is only $15.95 plus tax, but if you son is into knight and princes then it is totally worth it. I don’t think you could find a sword and shield in the parks this cheap and it comes with a cool colored hair style. To learn more on Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, follow this link.
This August, I was finally able to experience Sorcerers of the Magic Kingdom and it was awesome! I have written the details in this previous article, but now I will explain from a first hand perspective. It is a great FREE activity in Magic Kingdom. You can start/stop the game throughout your entire trip, so you don’t have to devote a significant amount of time to it if you don’t want to. Also, the cards make a great souvenir to collect and bring home. Continue reading →