Disney World – D23 – A News Nuggets Special Edition

This weekend was D23’s Destination D – Amazing Advenutres event. As you might expect, there was a decent amount of Disney World news that came during this. Here are the highlights:

Pandora – The World of Avatar

I would classify the news concerning Avatarland coming out of D23–especially the announcement of a “Summer 2017” opening–as the most “important” item from the event. Now, obviously “summer” could mean anything from late April through early September, but I’m going to try to be optimistic (remember, Animal Kingdom first opened on April 22).

Satu'li Canteen - Artwork courtesy of Disney
Satu’li Canteen – Artwork courtesy of Disney

Bolstering the opening date announcement, Disney also revealed additional details about the new land, including (i) Satu’li Cantenn (the major restaurant in the land), (ii) Pongu Pongu (a “special drink location”), and (iii) Windtraders (the merchandise location.) What seems pretty clear from the concept art Disney released is that this land–much like the upcoming Star Wars land–is going to maintain its theming throughout the entire land, from the food offerings, to the merchandise offerings, to (I bet) even the way cast members interact with guests (I believe the buzzword is “immersive.”)

Windtraders - Artwork courtesy of Disney
Windtraders – Artwork courtesy of Disney

Robert Niles over at Theme Park Insider also had a write-up of the actual D23 presentation, that included confirmation from James Camerson himself that Na’vi will not be walking around Avatarland, instead limiting their appearances to attractions.

Maybe the most interesting release from the event was this video of a Na’vi animatronic–the “Shaman of Songs”, a key figure in the Na’vi River Journey BOATRIDE:

If the actual animatronics are going to look that good, Avatarland really could be something.

Star Wars

Though the news coming of Avatarland might have more immediate impact on Disney World, Star Wars land also got a minor highlight, including a mention of the attraction that will allow guests to “take controls of the Millennium Falcon” and the release of new piece of artwork showing what the new land will look like at night:

Star Wars Land at Night - Artwork courtesy of Disney
Star Wars Land at Night – Artwork courtesy of Disney
Windtraders – Artwork courtesy of Disney Similar to what happened when Disney released Episode VII, it was also announced that there would be a new Episode VIII theme mission that will be added to Star Tours along with the release of the movie.

Other Items

  • “Major Changes” coming to Epcot – Disney Parks Chairman Bob Chapek said that Epcot would be going through a “major transformation” in the next couple of years (WDW News Today classified it as “an overhaul“.). Write-ups of the speech all reference his use of the phrases “dream big” and “more Disney, timeless, [and] relevant”, while staying true to Epcot’s “original vision”. At this point, those phrases are more a Disney fan Rorschach test (“relevant means it’s going to be all current IPs!”, “timeless means they’ll be thinking outside of what’s hot now, and doing something that will last”, etc…), than actually revealing about what might happen at Epcot. With so much else going on around Disney World, I’m going to take more of a wait-and-see approach on this one.
  • MagicBand 2 coming to Disney World – This new magic band has been rumored for a few weeks, and involves a removable disc that you can take out of the band and insert in other items (e.g., a necklace.) Ultimately, I’m glad I’ll now have an easy, visual way to know which of my Magic Bands is older, but I don’t really have a lot of excitement (or disappointment) about this. (Check out WDW News Today’s Magic Band 2 gallery if you want to see a metric buttload more photos of the new style of Magic Band.)
  • In-Park Cabanas coming to Magic Kingdom and Epcot. – This news item was not part of the official D23 announcements, but, instead, quickly spread on Twitter. Details are still a little hazy, but it seems like the “cabanas” are $650ish a day “tents” (see here and here) that have AC, seating, television, and the ability to order “room services” (at an additional cost.) As you might imagine, that initial pictures look ridiculous. However, if Disney can somehow offset additional prices increases or staff reductions on the backs of people who want to hang out in a tent and watch tv in the Magic Kingdom, I’m fine with it.

That covers the news from the weekend. If events like this are interesting to you, you might want to take a look at what D23 is offering in 2017. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Pongu Pongu - Artwork courtesy of Disney
Pongu Pongu – Artwork courtesy of Disney

News Nuggets from Around Disney World

It’s that time again, time to clear out the (way too long) lisitng of Rope Drop [dot] Net News Nuggets! LIke some of the last couple of updates, Disney trips and day job stuff has meant that this list is a little bit longer than previous updates.

Let’s get to it!

We’ll end things with two videos. First, a video from Theme Park Review of the last show of Elyssa’s and my beloved Celebrate the Magic:

and then a video

Initial Thoughts from Our October 2016 Disney Trip

Our latest trip to Disney World focused around a few major Disney World events: Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival. I’ve learned these past couple of years that having defined things that we want to do lets us feel a little of the time pressure that people who don’t visit as frequently as we do can end up feeling. It makes for an interesting trip. Here are some initial thoughts:

  • The End of Celebrate the Magic:I’ve already written about how much Celebrate the Magic means to Elyssa and me, but seeing the show for the last time was still overwhelmingly emotional for both of us. I have faith that the new projection show will be good, but I doubt we’ll ever have the emotional connection to that new show that we have to this one. It truly will be missed.
  • Kona Cafe (Breakfast): I still love starting a day with a press of Kona Coffee and an order of Tonga Toast. Elyssa almost always ends up with a Big Kahuna (which, again, is a great way to start the day.) We normally get an early ADR, and then head to the Magic Kingdom to watch the Welcome Show. I don’t know if I’d recommend Kona if you want to rope drop Mine Train, but it’s pretty perfect for what we use it for.Breakfast at Kona - Always a Hit
  • Homecoming Florida (Dinner or Drinks): Homecoming is fast becoming one of our favorite spots to grab a drink later at night (in addition to being an excellent dining option for either lunch or dinner.) Fried Chicken, biscuits, and hush puppies aren’t the most “adventurous” of dishes, but Homecoming does them very well. If southern comfort food is something you enjoy, I’d definitely give Homecoming a shot.
  • Animal Kingdom at Night is a (Hidden?) Gem: We now build nights at Animal Kingdom into our trip. An evening Safari, a drink or two at Nomad Lounge, and the Tree of Life Awakenings (which are extremely fun to watch) all make for a really enjoyable night.
  • Seeing Friends is Always Fun: Elyssa and I were fortunate enough to run into world famous podcaster, “Light ‘Em and Hide”, twice including once with a guest appearance by similarly renowned Disney theme park photographer Brandon Glover. Though we didn’t get to meet up with friends of the site, Dutch, Josh, or Eric, I’m sure we’ll run into them again before too long. Name dropping aside, it’s always nice to spend time with people we know from this little hobby of ours. I hope the trend those meet-ups continues.

Over the next week (or two, or three…), I’ll be working some more in-depth coverage of a few of things we did, but here is a little preview:

  • Goofy and Pals Breakfast at the Four Season: Elyssa and I decided to switch things up on the character breakfast front and try something a little different. My (almost) twitter length review: Breakfast was good. It has a little different vibe than standard Disney character meals (fancier?). The food also seemed to be a step up from what you might find at a traditional Disney buffet. The character interactions were superb (and if that’s what you want, I’d recommend making a 10:45am or so reservation, since the place was nearly cleared out by 11:00.).
  • Mickey’s Not so Scary Halloween Party: Halloween is Elyssa’s favorite holiday, so we had been thinking about planning a trip around the halloween party for years. Things finally fell into place this year. We arrived at the party a little before 4 (and used our AP to gain admission.) We ended up meeting Tink, Rapunzel, Tiana, the Seven Dwarfs, and riding Mine Train before the party officially started at 7pm. From then on it was character meet-and-greets, parades, fireworks, and candy. It was a super fun night (Maybe Elyssa and I should do a Mic Drop segment on it??)
    Is there anything left for me?
    Is there anything left for me?
  • Food and Wine: I feel like the stand outs from Food & Wine the past couple of years are either desserts or from the Chew booths (or sometimes, both.) Things like the Liquid Nitro Truffle, or the Peanut Butter and White Chocolate Mousse stand out in my memory more than the duck bun I got from China. At this point, I’d probably be fine attending 1 or 2 mornings mid-week and calling it a Festival.

Overall, it was a pretty great (if not a little jam packed) trip (even with Celebrate coming to and end.)

News Nuggets from Around Disney World

If you’ve been following us on Twitter (including at Elyssa’s new handle!), then you know that the last few weeks have been crazy at Rope Drop [dot] Net HQ. Weddings in foreign lands (well, Maine), J O B job stuff getting in the way of site updates, etc…all have conspired to make this a HUGE helping of News Nuggets. I hope you’re hungry (for news)!

First, a quick link in case you pre-order this year’s Unofficial Guide and need to get ir replaced due to the defects: How to Get a Free Replacement 2017 Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World.

And now, the actual nuggets:

How about we take before we look at more nuggets?

Fall at Disney World!
Fall at Disney World!

Okay…now back to the nuggets…

Here’s a different way to end the post, a video stroll around Castaway Cay from The DIS:

Live Stream Tonight of Disney Fall Offerings at 8:00PM Eastern

The Disney Parks Blog is doing another live stream tonight at 8:00PM. What’s different about this stream, however, is that it’s not dedicated to just 1 event. Instead, it’s supposed to give looks at things like Mickey’s Not-so-Scary Halloween Party and the Food & Wine festival. I’m interested to see how it works.

Can Disney send me a couple of these to enjoy during the live stream?
Can Disney send me a couple of these to enjoy during the live stream?

Rope Drop dot Net Investigates – Burglaries at Epcot

The real reason John and I are in Orlando this week is to bring you breaking news coverage of the identification of culprits in a burglary ring at Epcot. Here’s what we know:

Families started reporting missing snacks to cast members weeks ago. The story was always the same; a family would park their stroller to take the kids into a restaurant or on a ride only to return hours, or even just minutes, later to find the stroller ransacked, animal crackers and gummy bears nowhere to be found. We spoke to one woman whose toddler was screaming at the top of his lungs. Unfortunately we aren’t sure what the woman said, because her toddler was screaming at the top of his lungs. He was probably hungry.

Disney instructed cast members to be on the lookout for whoever was swiping snacks. There was speculation that Dora’s frenemy Swiper was on the loose. We also heard discussion that the Aristocats were to blame. The crime ring was cracked open this week though, as Rope Drop dot Net set up cameras near the scene.

What did we uncover? Well, take a look for yourselves. We’re not dealing with mere cat burglars. These crimes are being conducted by some seriously squirrelly figures.

Temp -1608293817
One of the suspects scoping out a stroller basket.

 

Temp -1608293842
Our first suspect discovers a bag with something worth further investigation.

 

Temp -1608293844-2
Our first suspect sends out a message to his accomplice that the coast is clear and it’s stealing time.

 

Temp -1608293844
The second suspect serves as a lookout and scout for strollers further down the line.

As you can see, there is a long line of strollers here and these animals can simply go to town. For these two, it’s a better breakfast buffet than Tusker House. Those poor unsuspecting families will be forced to pay Disney prices for snacks when they return to discover their off-brand cheerios missing.

Since we here at Rope Drop dot Net only report the news, we were unable to intervene or prevent further pilfering. Disney has been notified of the problem.

In the meantime, we recommend keeping all your snacks in a fanny pack on your person. Fanny packs are coming back in style!

Sunday Night and Monday at Disney – August, 2016

As I mentioned in the last post, one of the goals during this trip was to make smaller updates along the way (instead of waiting to talk about the trip at the very end.) Since we’re going to STK tonight–which means you might never hear from me again–, I figured now would be a good time to post an update.

  • We both really enjoyed the night time Kilimanjaro Safaris. As I mentioned on Twitter, the experience is almost impossible to photograph, but don’t let my crappy photos deter you from giving it a shot. We were lucky enough to see the best lion interactions we’ve ever seen on a safari at Animal Kingdom, and I would still feel like I’m ahead if I rode the ride 10 more times and didn’t see an animal. If you’re at Animal Kingdom at night, I think it’s worth your time to give it a try (and Elyssa would probably even give a stronger recommendation.) That said, if Disney’s only running 1 side of the queue (which I hear is pretty common), you’re going to want to do what you can to get a Fastpass+ reservation. Otherwise, you’re probably going to wait an hour. (We managed to get a Fastpass+ reservation for about 20 minutes in the future after about 3 minutes of refreshing the app around 7:50pm.)
  • The Tree of Life Awakenings are fantastic. I saw 3 different versions, and I enjoyed them all. I especially like the one that featured more “movie type” excerpts, which gave the whole thing a Celebrate the Magic-like feel.
  • Nomad Lounge was pretty much dead from 8:45-10:00 while we were there, but it was a nice, relaxing way to end the day. The Kungaloosh Ale (which almost had Newcastle-like flavors with some added spice) and the Tempting Tigress were both quite good. Elyssa also enjoyed the Hightower Rocks (where the sweetness that covers the alcohol could easily get you sneaky drunk without too much effort.)
    Princess Birthday Breakfast
    Princess Birthday Breakfast
  • The actual breakfast at Akershus is not quite as good as places like Crystal Palace, Tusker House, or Whispering Canyon (it consists of a “hot plate” with eggs, bacon, potato casserole, etc…, and a buffet with pastries and cold cuts.) We had decent princess interactions, seeing Belle, Ariel, Cinderella, and Snow White in the span 50 minutes (though the princesses all came out much later than we thought they would.) We still managed to exit in time to get into Frozen Ever After with only about a 15 minute wait (I’ll probably write about this more later, but you probably want to exit at 8:45-8:50am if you really want to guarantee a low wait. We exited at about 8:55am and ended up merging with the flow of people. I think we got pretty lucky.)
  • I really enjoyed Frozen Ever After. The movement on animatronics–especially Olaf–has to be seen to be believed. It is just so fluid. Elsa’s ice palace scene is also fantastic. For us and our sensibilities, it’s an upgrade over Maelstrom.
    We really liked Frozen Ever After
    We really liked Frozen Ever After
  • Even though we weren’t on the far edge of the Soarin’ screen, we could see some bending of the structures. For us, it was only really noticeable for the Eiffel Tower. That said, the Soarin’ experience is still great. I’ll refrain from any “spoilers” about what’s in it, but I like the new video. (It’s probably blogger bias, but when I first thought about what to write for Soarin, the minimal bending was what came to mind. That’s why that sentence was first, not the part where I explain my overall impression of the ride.)
  • I think Ample Hills is my second favorite ice cream on property (it is probably Elyssa’s first.) I think I still prefer a No Way Jose, but knowing I can get Ample Hills if there are no Beaches & Cream ADRs available is a great fall back. (I know the ice cream itself is probably better than plain ice cream from Beaches & Cream, but I just have so much connection to the No Way Jose, that I can’t pick something else ahead of it.)
    Squad Goals
    Squad Goals
  • After having lunch there on Monday afternoon, I think Via Napoli has moved into a clear 3rd place in the “Disney World restaurant most frequented by the Kivii” rankings. (Whispering Canyon is pretty far out in the lead (since we have stayed at Wilderness Lodge a bunch, and it has breakfast, lunch & dinner options), Beaches & Cream is second place (partially because of stops for No Way Joses), and BOATHOUSE is probably 4th (for now).) The “flexibility” pizza provides is probably one of the reasons we like it so much (we decided to make a last second Ample Hills stop about 45 minutes before Via Napoli, which meant we didn’t eat our entire pizza for lunch. That wasn’t an issue, however, since we were able to take it home and pull it out of the fridge to have for dinner a couple of hours later.)
  • We finished our day by watching the Main Street Electrical Parade. I’m glad I got to see it again before it goes away in a few weeks, but watching it does reinforce that I’m super bummed it’s leaving. Elyssa and I have so many good memories of watching it.
    What are you looking at?
    What are you looking at?

That’s it for this update. Dinner at STK tonight. Wish me luck!

News Nuggets from Around Disney World

It’s time for everyone’s favorite serving of Disney World, the Rope Drop [dot] Net News Nuggets! There isn’t a lot of particularly juicy news this time, but a few things that I would classify as “transitional” (like the closing of Sum of All Thrills or–essentially–moving all convention space to the Yacht Club.) That said, let’s get to it!

We’ll close out with a video that Disney recently posted of what it’s like to be the eagle at the tail end of the Main Street Electrical parade. Thanks for reading, and enjoy!

News Nuggets from Around Disney World

Both here at Rope Drop [dot] Net HQ and throughout Orlando, the events of the last week the events of the last week+ still leave a lasting impression. Though we continue to mourn for all the lives that were lost, we are going to try and talk once again about a place that we (and probably a lot of you readers) love. There’s not real “good” approach to moving on from something like this, so we’re going to do a symbolic “reset” and clear the deck of all our pending News Nuggets (even if some may be a little out of date, now.) Here is what we’ve got:

That clears all the pending News Nuggets. Hopefully, the next couple of weeks will bring some better news.

Thoughts from a Whirlwind Weekend Trip to Disney World

If you were following along with either my or Elyssa’sTwitter accounts this past weekend, you know that we had a whirlwind trip down to Disney World. Here are some initial thoughts:

  • Magic Kingdom After Dark was Awesome: Even though Elyssa and I walked in a couple of minutes after 11, we had a fantastic time at this event. We rode Winnie the Pooh, Jungle Cruise, Pirates, Splash, Big Thunder (Elyssa rode BOTH Splash and Thunder!), Haunted Mansion, Pan, Mine Train, Under the Sea, Mad Tea Party (all 3 of us in 1 cup), Buzz, and met Mickey. We walked onto everything but Mickey (where we waited for about 10 minutes.) My only regret is that we didn’t eat more free ice cream. Overall, this event was well worth the $75 per person we spent, and I would love to do it again. (And, yes, I know that’s not the real name for the event.)
    Mickey is adorable in his safari gear
    Mickey is adorable in his safari gear
  • Tusker House is always Great (Even after only 3 Hours of Sleep): Elyssa and I love breakfast at Disney World, and one of our favorite places is Tusker House. As we’ve said before, it seems to have higher quality food than other Disney World breakfast buffets, and the character interactions have almost always been fantastic. Even Kilimanjaro Safaris being down with “technical difficulties” when we finished didn’t damper our enjoyment of the morning. (Thankfully, Safaris opened right around the time of our Fastpass+ window.)
  • The Boardwalk is Pretty Great if You Like Ice Cream: If you remember the famous easyWDW YOU WILL LOSE MEMBERS!! post, you know there was some outrage when they closed Seashore Sweets (including the thought there was no ice cream in the Boardwalk area anymore.) Well, as major fans of Beaches & Cream, Elyssa and I were always fine with grabbing a No Way Jose as our ice cream item of choice (we did that on this trip, too), but Ample Hills Creamery now provides another option. The ice cream at Ample Hills is fantastic, with some unique flavor choices (I went with the coffee toffee coffee / chocolate milk and cookies combo), but you do pay for the quality. The 2 cups of ice cream that Elyssa and I got cost more than a No Way Jose (combined, obviously).
  • Joy & Sadness!!
    Joy & Sadness!!
    There is a Stark Contrast between the crowds at the booths at Flower & Garden compared to Food & Wine: (Feel free to make your “Stark” / Game of Thrones joke here.) When you go to Food & Wine, you have to get there right when they open at 11:00am if you want to “guarantee” that you won’t have super long waits. At Flower & Garden, it was rare to even see a line at the booths (even on a Friday night.) Though I had done some research into what was being offered, I ended up deciding that I would rather just spend my money other ways than on the “outdoor kitchens.” I know people say Flower & Garden has become a “mini-Food & Wine”, but I just didn’t get that vibe. (EPCOT AISDE: The Joy & Sadness meet-and-greet is pretty awesome. Highly recommended.)
    Just like I get in my mall food court
    Just like I get in my mall food court
  • Disney Springs is a Really Nice Place to Visit and It Keeps Improving: The “it’s just mall” take is weak and tired. We get it, there’s an Under Armour store at Disney Springs and there’s one at your favorite mall. Cool. Now leave so I can enjoy the ambiance, great places to eat, and the Disney-specific shopping that is also at Disney Springs without you taking up space. I’m fine with people saying Disney Springs is “not for them”, but you’re doing a disservice to people who are planning their Disney World tip if you just dismiss it out of hand. Places like the BOATHOUSE and Jock Lindsey’s offer a chance to relax, have a drink, or get a pretty decent meal in a nice setting that doesn’t require theme park admission (The BOATHOUSE filet sliders are still a great value, and I keep waiting for them to raise the price by like $5 one night), and the construction isn’t even done yet. I think when construction is finally completed, Disney Springs really is going to be a place a majority of people are going to want to visit on their vacations. (DISNEY SPRINGS ASIDE: The 3 Little Pigs Sampler at B.B. Wolf’s was fantastic.)

There was one other big part of the trip for Elyssa and me: The BOATRIDE Club “fleet up” (term credit to friend of the site Eric Laycock). That, however, deserves its own write-up (which I’ll hopefully get to later this week.)

I had a pretty good trip
I had a pretty good trip

Meanwhile, at Disney World

We’re trying to a little something different and posting some trip photos on the site during the trip. These are different than the ones Elyssa and I have been posting on social media, so enjoy!

Always great to meet Mickey
Always great to meet Mickey
The Star Wars fireworks are fantastic
The Star Wars fireworks are fantastic
Always great to see BB-8
Always great to see BB-8
Ample Hills Ice Cream
Ample Hills Ice Cream
Waffles at Al Forno
Waffles at Al Forno
Pork Nachos at Territory Lounge
Pork Nachos at Territory Lounge

Tons of New Announcements, but we’re at Disney World!

There were a bunch of new announcements today, including that from May 27 through June 17, you’ll be able to see classic Soarin’ at Epcot and that Frozen Ever After will open June 21 (comments on the post seem to indicate that Anna & Elsa will be stand-by only ?!?!?). Though I would love to write things up in more detail, Elyssa and I are currently at Disney World, so I’ll point you to this post over at easyWDW with a summary of all the new stuff taking place this summer at Disney World.

Oh, and in case you were worried, we’re having an okay time down here:

The Big Cheese
The Big Cheese

News Nuggets from Around Disney World

It may seem like you just had a large helping of News Nuggets, but the Disney World news has been coming hot and heavy for the past week or so. Sounds like it’s time for another order!

Here are the latest Rope Drop [dot] Net News Nuggets:

Even though it’s not really our beat, we’ll end with a couple of videos from Shanghai Disney. First the TRON coaster:

And this one of Shanghai’s version of Pirates of the Carribbean:

Rumors are that this is the BOATRIDE system that will be used in the new Pandora BOATRIDE. Hopefully, that ride will be as impressive as this version of Pirates is.

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 yourfirstvisit.net 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.)

Epcot

IllumiNations!
IllumiNations!

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!

News Nuggets from Around Disney World – April 1 Edition!!

April 1 News Nuggets

It’s time for a special, April 1st edition of the Rope Drop [dot] Net News Nuggets! With so much to report on, we are going to jump right into the Nuggets, but please stay tuned for a special announcement at the end of the post!!

  • The Sorcerer’s Hat is Returning to The Studios – After a brief hiatus, the famed Sorcerer’s Hat is returning to The Studios. In order to allow for the new construction, The Great Movie Ride will be closing on April 15, 2016 to allow easier construction access to the courtyard. (NOTE: Rumors are the hat returning is only the beginning, and it’s just a matter of time until Epcot gets back its magic wand!)
  • Small World, Peter Pan, and the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh to close for refurbishment – After finally realizing that theme park guests universally prefer rides that involve sitting in nearly stationary vehicles while looking at a screen, Disney will be closing three of its signature attractions to replace them with ground-breaking technology that is referred to internally as “SCREENZ!”. When this transition is successful, Disney hopes to apply the same changes to its other attractions, starting with Kilimanjaro Safaris.
  • Illuminations to occur only during hard ticketed events – With the success of the yet-to-begin After Hours event at the Magic Kingdom, Disney has decided to expand its late night offerings to Epcot. In order to “plus” the event for its guests, Disney plans to move Illuminations to 2 hours after the park closes to regular guests. This later start time should give hard-ticketed guests a much better viewing experience of Disney’s classic nighttime show.
  • Park Hopper ticket now required to ride Splash Mountain, Tower of Terror, and Expedition Everest. – Following the success of Universal Studios’ strategy of making guests pay for tickets to 2 “quarter day” theme parks just to be able to ride on one of its rides, Disney will now require park hopper tickets to experience some of its most popular attractions. (NOTE: With the Park Hopper ticket now required to ride certain rides, guests will have to purchase the new “Preferred” Park Hopper ticket in order to actually “hop” between parks.)
  • Fulton’s refurbishment to include takeover by the staff of Lombard’s Seafood Grill – With so many restaurants at Disney Springs trying to raise the proverbial bar when it comes to dining, the owners of Fulton’s Crab House have decided to take things in a completely different direction. “What if we gave the crew at Lombard’s a clean slate?” a person familiar with the matter said. “Could they make a restaurant so bad that people would visit it just to see how bad it was?” It’s a lofty goal, but if anyone can set a new standard for horrific seafood, it’s the crew from Lombard’s.

That’s all for today’s special April 1 New Nuggets. Before we go, though, it’s big announcement time: After some recent articles on the interwebs, Elyssa and I now realize that (1) we’re too old to enjoy Disney World, and (2) we should be doing more “adult” vacations. So, we are happy to announce that we have started the process of rebranding the site to “Spanish Moss [dot] Net” to better align with our more “adult” focus. As part of this transition, you can expect more of our coverage be about the only theme park in Orlando for people “15 years old and older.” We hope you are as excited for these changes as we are!

(Sorry. No, really. I’m sorry. As bloggers, however, we are required to make horrible April Fool’s Day jokes. It’s in the code.)

Won't Epcot be Nicer without all these People?
Won’t Epcot be Nicer without all these People?

Disney to stream IllumiNations Live Tonight at 8:50pm Eastern

Tonight, Disney will be streaming Illuminations live at 8:50pm Eastern. Previously, I would recommend going directly to the Disney Parks Live YouTube channel to watch these type of events, but, since it seems Disney hasn’t allowed direct Youtube viewing for the last couple of events, it’s probably best just to go right to the Disney Parks Blog and look for a post with the embedded video. Apparently, if you join them beforehand, you can get “a behind-the-scenes look at the operation of this nighttime favorite.”

As always, I’m really glad that Disney has been doing this. It gives people a little more excitement about visiting Disney World, and also allows people to get a little of the “Disney magic” from home.

Enjoy the show tonight!

IllumiNations!
IllumiNations!

News Nuggets from Around Disney World

We talked yesterday about the changes coming to Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend at Disney World, but what are we to do with the news of menu changes, new dessert parties, and (sadly) more price increases? Sounds like it’s time for another edition of the Rope Drop [dot] Net News Nuggets! Before we get to the majority of the Nuggets, we should need to point out one huge item:

With that out of the way, let’s get to the rest of the News Nuggets:

Though not a traditional “news nugget”, I would also like to point out that Disney plans to launch “Frozen” and “Tangled” themed wedding packages!. Yes, they’re only available in Tokyo now, but, if you ever need photography for Disney wedding (Frozen themed or not), feel free to contact Elyssa at Kivus & Camera. I bet there would be a discount for involved for getting to photograph that.

Shower Time!
Shower Time!

Big Changes for Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend

runDisney has officially announced the changes for Wine & Dine Half Marathon weekend and they are pretty major. Here is a summary:

  • There is now a Wine & Dine 10K on Saturday Morning;
  • There is a Lumiere’s “Two Course Challenge” that incorporates the Half Marathon and the new 10k; and
  • The Half Marathon is now a morning race with a route that does not involve the Studios (NOTE: there is still a special “after hours” party later in the evening).

These are pretty drastic changes to Wine & Dine weekend. I was expecting the 10K to be added, but I didn’t think they would move the half marathon to the morning. Personally, I’m going to lament the loss of a night race through Disney World. Also, part of the charm of Wine & Dine was running the Half Marathon and going right to the post-race party. It’s weird to run in the morning and then wait all day to go to the party. (Also, I wonder how many non-runner tickets they’ll sell to the party.)

It will be interesting to see how other runners react to these changes, but I suspect people will be a little bummed that we’re losing a night race.

UPDATE: In a blog post explaining the changes, Disney says that “with all four theme parks at Disney World soon remaining open during the nighttime hours, daytime races allow us to give race participants the best possible runDisney experience along with fantastic entertainment. Based on that explanation, I don’t think we will be seeing a nighttime race at Disney World for some time.

Disney Gives Start Date for Rivers of Light and Details other Summer Entertainment

In a kind of diabolical move, Disney made a few announcements regarding its upcoming summer entertainment while most Disney writers are over at Epcot covering the start of the Flower & Garden festival.

The biggest announcement is that the new Rivers of Light show at Animal Kingdom will debut on April 22, 2016. (There was no mention of how many shows per night they’ll be doing, however.) Elyssa and I were recently discussing whether or not Rivers of Light would open in April, and it looks like Disney is going to get it in just under the gun. Disney provided a preview video of the show, but I find that shows involving water projection (e.g., Fantasmic!) don’t really translate to video. At this point, the best “hype” for Rivers of Light comes from the concept art that has been around for a while.

For those who want more information about Rivers of Light, Disney is going to do a live chat on Tuesday, March 8 at 1:15pm, which will include answering questions left in the comments section of this page on the Disney Parks Blog. If you want to get your question answered, I’d suggest getting it in early (and maybe asking it again during the actual March 8 call.)

The press release for the summer entertainment includes a bunch of things that we have already heard off, including:

  • Nighttime safaris at the Animal Kingdom;
  • The opening of the “Frozenstrom” BOATRIDE at Epcot (not the real name, obviously); and
  • A bunch of new Star Wars-themed entertainment coming to the Studios.

Unfortunately, the only things that have a definitive start date listed are the above mentioned Rivers of Light show and the “Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away” stage show (which will debut on April 4 at The Studios.) It will be interesting to see when some of the other offerings mentioned in the press release roll out. Similarly, rumors are that the Zootopia character will be joining the Move it! Shake It! Dance It! & Play It! Parade, but no date has been announced for that, either.

(Also, let’s just pretend that the summer entertainment press release didn’t include a section on the Skipper Canteen (which opened before Christmas last year.))

 

Will we soon get to take this pictures with Lt. Judy Hopps?
Will we soon get to take this pictures with Lt. Judy Hopps?

 

News Nuggets from Around Disney World

Here are Rope Drop [dot] Net HQ we’re still recovering from the price increase that happened this weekend. Of course, even 8-10% ticket price increases can’t stop us from publishing the next edition of the News Nuggets!

Phew. That was a lot of News Nuggets. Let’s take a quick break to relax in the early morning glow of World Showcase:

Early Morning at World Showcase
Early Morning at World Showcase

Now, back to the News Nuggets!

We’ll finish things up with a couple of “events” from Disney World. First, they recently had a DVC 25th Anniversary “party” at the Magic Kingdom. It featured, among other things, a rare appearance by the Haunted Mansion’s tightrope girl and a special fireworks show. Here are the videos of that show from DVC News, Inside the Magic, and The DIS:

Also, Flower & Garden festival starts tomorrow. There’s a nice primer to the festival at TouringPlans and Denise at Mouse Steps has put together a really nice preview. If you’re still looking to get more hyped for the festival, I’ll leave you with this video from The DIS:

Thanks for reading!

News Nuggets from Around Disney World

Elyssa and I have a big week ahead of us, so we figured we would try to start it off on the right foot…with another edition edition of the Rope Drop [dot] Net News Nuggets!.

There isn’t a ton of major news to start the week, but the time changes at Epcot might indicate that things are going to be a little over there until for a few months.

Let’s take a look at that and some of the other news:

That’s it for now. Stay tuned tomorrow for a little Rope Drop [dot] Net special feature!

Haven't you always wanted a monkey?

News Nuggets from Around Disney World

  It’s time for another edition of the Rope Drop [drop] Net News Nuggets! (Don’t worry, we haven’t given up the site as a result of our new found fame as models on Orlando Weekly) .Before we get to the “new” news nuggets, we have a couple of updates from WDW News Today on items we posted about last week:

and this announcement from Disney that:

With that out of the way, let’s move on to our traditional nuggets!

That does it for this edition of the actual “news” section of the News Nuggets, but I’ll leave you with this “Escape to the Magic Kingdom” video from The DIS to help you through your day: