News Nuggets from Around Disney World

It’s been a little bit since we did a full version of the News Nuggets, so it looks like we’re going to need a double order! (As an aside, Elyssa and I once thought we were hungry enough to get 2 orders of corn dog nuggets from Casey’s Corner. It did not end well.)

First, today’s big news was the release of the famous “Free Dining” offer (and related room-only discount.). Free dining is one of the most “famous” of the Disney discounts, but if you’re staying a moderate or deluxe resort, it’s almost always a better value to get the room-only discount instead.

Second, initial reviews of the first couple of “After Hours” parties at the Magic Kingdom are starting to trickle in. Attractions Magazine has some nice pictures that show (what feels like) a nearly empty park, easyWDW showed how there was virtually no wait at any of the attractions that were operating, and Dave’s brief summary on seems to confirm the “non-existent crowd” feel. Even TouringPlans thinks the party is worth the money. Personally, I’m tempted by it, but Elyssa and I could do a lot with $300 at Disney World, so I’m not sure we’ll end up doing it.

Third, you can now book your 4th Fastpass+ on your phone!. This should mean that a lot (most?) people no longer will need to ever visit one of the Fastpass+ kiosks (which means maybe Disney can put staffing cuts in those areas instead of on actual attractions.)

Now, on to the rest of the Nuggets!!

That’s it from this double-sized order of News Nuggets. I’ll leave you with the final performance of the Dream Along with Mickey castle show:

Disney World Summer Entertainment Announcements – EMERGENCY News Nuggets

The Disney Parks Blog exploded this morning with news about what’s coming this summer to Disney World. There is so much information that it seemed appropriate for a very special EMERGENCY EDITION of the Rope Drop [dot] Net News Nuggets!

First, we learned that near the end of May (i.e., Memorial Day Weekend), we’ll be getting:

A couple weeks later, in June, we’ll be getting:

  • Frozen Ever After – Say what you want about Frozen, but this is going to draw people to Epcot in a way that hasn’t happened for months (years?).
  • Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire. – The previous Magic Kingdom stage show had been around for so long that I can’t even really remember watching it. I’m interested to see what they do with this one.
  • Soarin’ Around the World – Speaking of things to draw people to Epcot. Going into The Land pavilion the past few months has been eerie. I’m looking forward to Soarin’ re-opening, and I have high hopes that the new video is going to be great.

Disney also announced that new princess Elena of Avalor will debut at the Magic Kingdom in August and posted another rundown of the new Disney Springs elements opening this summer.

Lastly, Disney shared some more details about the upcoming Toy Story Land at The Studios. Personally, I’m less concerned with the attractions coming to this land, and more interested into how intricate the theming is. I really hope I feel like I have been “shrunk[en] to the size of a toy” while I’m there."

Disney also released some concept video of the Slinky Dog Dash coaster, and that seems like an excellent way to end this post:

John and Elyssa’s Favorites – Attractions by Theme Park

For this edition of John & Elyssa’s Favorites, we pick our single favorite attractions from each park at Disney World. We listed the parks based on order from Elyssa’s “least favorite” to “most favorite”.

The Studios

Ack! Where's my beard ?!!?
Ack! Where’s my beard ?!!?

Elyssa – Toy Story Midway Mania : Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger Spin was near the top of my attraction list for a pretty long time. Then, Toy Story Midway Mania came and blew it out of the water. The theming is so intricate and the game is fun for everyone. The only negative is that I NEVER beat John, which tarnishes the ride a little. But it’s still my favorite at the Studios.

John – Tower of Terror: I think it would be tough for me to find a single block of 4 minutes that is better at Disney World than riding Tower of Terror. The whole attraction—from pre-show, to the “dark ride” elements, through the drop, is immaculately detailed and a ton of fun. I really hope I can convince Elyssa to ride it with me just once.

Animal Kingdom

Just Chillin'
Just Chillin’

Elyssa – Kilimanjaro Safaris: ANIMALS! Awesome wild animals. At this point in our lives, a photo safari in Africa is probably not imminent, so this is about as close as I can get. The bottom line is that it’s a relaxing and entertaining drive. Nothing else at Animal Kingdom even comes close.

John – Kilimanjaro Safaris: This 20 minute jaunt through an amazing recreation of the African savanna was just a revelation for me the first time I rode it. I really did feel like it’s was Walt’s idea of a “live animal” Jungle Cruise come to life. The only negative I have about the ride is that I wish you could spent more time on the savanna (which is why I love the Wild Africa Trek so much.)



Elyssa – Gran Fiesta Tour: John thought I was joking when I said this. I’m not. I like Donald being a goofball. I really like the ambiance of the inside of the Mexico pyramid. It’s a dark ride and it’s a BOATRIDE. ’Nuff said.

John – Illuminations: Reflections of Earth: It’s kind of tough to not pick Soarin’ here, but I finally ended up settling on Illuminations. This really is a night time spectacular (3 acts, great music, awesome fights, etc…) I especially like how everyone is circled around World Showcase Lagoon, instead of traditional fireworks where people are all facing the same direction.

Magic Kingdom

Elyssa – Jungle Cruise: I think my favorite attraction at Magic Kingdom probably changes daily through a rotation of a select few. More often than not though, the first one that pops into my head is the Jungle Cruise. I enjoy dad jokes and puns. The louder everyone else groans, the more I giggle. I think Jungle Cruise epitomizes the tradition of Disney parks and I will love it forever.

John – Meet Tinker Bell at Town HallSplash Mountain: The emotional pick for me would be Celebrate the Magic, for how much it means to Elyssa and me. Splash Mountain, however, does so many of the “classic Disney World” things well, that I have to make it Number 1. It’s a complete story, told in the tradition of a Disney dark ride, but as a BOATRIDE, that also includes 3 different, super enjoyable drops (including the last one, that’s 50 feet and can reach speeds of 40 mph.) And it does have some emotional significance, since it’s the only Disney World attraction that is actually part of our wedding vows.

Those are our favorite attractions in each Disney World theme park. Let us know on Twitter or in the comments!

BOATRIDE Club, Baby!
BOATRIDE Club, Baby!

A Special Podcast from our Friends at Mighty Men of Mouse

One of the things Elyssa and I have really enjoy about running Rope Drop [dot] Net is building relationships with people in the Disney and related communities. So, when someone from that community does something that we think is really awesome, we like to let you know. Today is one of those times.

Recently, friends of the site, Mighty Men of Mouse  released a very special podcast (No, not the “learn a life lesson” kind of very special, a “super awesome” kind of very special) where they sample all 43 flavors of donuts from Allie’s Donuts in North Kingstown, RI. It’s an amazing listen as the guys sample and describe some of the best donuts available in the U.S. I highly encourage you to check it out.

Here are all the DonutCast Links:

Major Change to Disney Vacation Club Member Benefits for Resale Buyers

Earlier today, Rick Note posted a letter from Ken Potrock, Senior VP & GM of Disney Vacation Club, that outlined a major change for the DVC resale market:

[E]ffective April 4, 2016, Members who do not purchase their ownership interest directly from Disney Vacation club will not have access to other Membership Extras, such as exclusive Member experiences and discounts. (emphasis added)

Bay Lake Tower
Bay Lake Tower
This is a huge change. It means that if you buy DVC on the resale market going forward, you no longer will be eligible for things like AP discounts. (I emphasize going forward in the previous line, since the letter makes it clear that current DVC members are not affected by this change, regardless of where they purchased their membership. Relatedly, Lisa Truesdell received confirmation from Disney that people who are currently in the “right of first refusal” stage of purchasing DVC via resale will also not being impacted. Recent updates indicate that if you hadn’t closed on your resale DVC update by April 4, that you will not get benefits. ANOTHER UPDATE! Now Disney says you will get the benefits. Hopefully, this will be the last of these updates.)

There are obviously a bunch of ramifications to this change that we going to start seeing shortly. For example, how many people who were interested in small (50 point-ish) DVC contracts as a way to “dip their toe” in the DVC waters are going to simply avoid buying DVC at all? Personally, this probably pushes out any potential DVC purchasing for Elyssa and me by at least a year.

I am also interested in seeing how this change impacts the recent “flat” or declining point purchase trends that have been reported over the past 4 months. Will people who would have purchased resale be driven to purchase directly from Disney? I think it will be a few months before we even start to see any impact, but I am really interested in seeing how this plays out.