Hi, Everyone! Welcome to the Best Week Ever here at Walt Disney World. This week we’ll be visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios for all the latest updates, stopping by Downtown Disney for a little food truck action, and finishing up at Magic Kingdom. Ready for some beautiful, blue Florida skies? Let’s get moving! 🙂
Early Saturday morning we set out for Disney’s Hollywood Studios. I knew with the holiday weekend and awesome weather that we’d be facing a crowd. You can see from the photo that it wasn’t too crowded when we arrived, but that changed fast. Speaking of fast, check out the progress removing the hat! I can’t believe how fast it’s coming down. In the bottom right hand side of the photo you can see the actual top of the hat behind the construction wall. It’s so much bigger than it looks! Want to see what other fun stuff we found this weekend? Be sure to click to read more!
Last week the new Cinderella preview opened in ABC Sound Studio (former home of Sounds Dangerous). I decided to skip watching it because they’re generally just extended movie previews. I’ve heard that everyone gets a magnet at the end, but I’d still rather see the movie when it comes out rather than spoiling it. Not to mention with the sad state of the Studios, this actually had a line! What do you think of this space being used for rotating movie previews? What would you like to see instead?
There’s no Starbucks news to report this week. The Studios location still looks like it could open any day. Just next door the shop pictured below was gutted of merchandise and filled to the brim with Frozen goodies. It looked like most of what was previously found in Wandering Oaken’s Trading Post. So if you have a little one looking for Frozen merchandise this location and Sir Mickey’s at Magic Kingdom are still your best bets.
I found this very interesting sign in this shop above the Frozen MagicBands. I’d never seen this notice so clearly posted before. Have you seen it? What do you think of what it says? I’m not sure how I feel about the MagicBands if they’re watching them so closely. I might switch back to using my ticket.
Several folks have asked me about Pandora bracelets and exclusive charms in the parks. This weekend I checked at both Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom, but neither location had the laminated sheet with all the charms available to show guests. At Hollywood Studios they didn’t have any Disney charms at all. There were very few available at Magic Kingdom, but I’m hearing that they will all be back in stock on February 11, when the Pandora store opens on Main Street. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for you guys!
It came to my attention last week that folks are looking for barcodes so they can order merchandise, so I’ll be sure to include them from now on. At the Studios I was specifically looking for items that featured the Sorcerer Mickey hat as the park icon. The shirt on the left retails for $24.95, barcode: 400101 620556. The hoodie on the right was super cute! It was pricey at $49.99, but it’s a piece of history now! 😉 The barcode is: 400165 264260. (Remember, you can always click on any photo to see it larger.)
Next we moved on to Downtown Disney. As you can see from the photo below, the parking garage is looking very close to done, but progress has been slow on the walkway connecting it to the future Disney Springs. This current parking garage has also been labeled as the “Orange” garage, and parking is available to guests all the way up to the third floor. I can’t tell you what a difference this structure makes when visiting Downtown Disney! There was plenty of parking, even with the holiday crowds.
The real reason we were at Downtown Disney was to visit the food truck park because I’d read somewhere that there was going to be an event featuring the new Trattoria al Forno menu. They had a few different menu items, but we decided to split lasagna for $10.75. After we ordered we waited at least 10 minutes for our food, which I found odd since they obviously weren’t cooking lasagna in there! The portion was huge; honestly, it might have weighed a pound! We agreed it wasn’t the best we’d ever had, and it had crunchy bits of onion that really bothered my hubby. To make matters worse, much later in the day we started showing signs of food poisoning. After comparing notes, this was the only thing we had both eaten. While I’m sure Trattoria al Forno will be great, I’m not sure I’ll be trying lasagna off a truck again any time soon!
Next we’re visiting the Magic Kingdom! It occurred to me that people who don’t drive to the parks would miss this pretty entry way into the Transportation and Ticket Center (TTC). This is where the trams pass between the parking lot and the TTC. This is also where you’d walk to the TTC if you’re lucky enough to have a decent parking spot. We were just that lucky, and being that it was late in the day, I was able to snap a shot to share with you without a bunch of people sneaking into frame.
Last week I had a request to show the monorails, but I wasn’t sure if that meant inside or outside. I decided to show both. Can’t go wrong that way, right? 🙂 Of course, I personally prefer the ferryboats. They’re a slower way to get from the TTC to Magic Kingdom, but normally they aren’t as busy. As you can see from the photo below, crowds weren’t an issue heading into the Magic Kingdom on Sunday afternoon.
One of my main reasons for visiting Magic Kingdom this week was that I wanted to collect the barcodes for all the Haunted Mansion Dooney & Bourke bags for anyone who has been hunting that information. I must have looked a little nutty taking all those photos, but here’s the complete list! If there’s a merchandise item you’ve been trying to track down please let me know in the comments below and I’ll do everything I can to help! (Starbucks mugs, anyone?)
- HM Wristlet – 400008 665667 – $88
- HM Small Crossbody – 400008 675611 – $108
- HM Large Tote – 400008 665650 – $248
- HM Letter Carrier – 400008 675628 – $188
- HM Smith Bag – 400007 854505 – $358
My efforts were rewarded when the Festival of Fantasy Parade came rolling by just as I was finishing up. I hadn’t planned on making it for the parade, but grabbed a spot on Main Street to join in the fun. All the action happens up so high with this parade, so I almost feel like you don’t really have to get there early and wait on the rope to see it. What do you think? Do you like to be in the front for parades? Let me know in the comments.
Before the parade ended I ducked into Tomorrowland to get ahead of the crowds. As you can see from the photo below, work is still moving along on the changes to the Magic Kingdom Hub. I know the photo looks really messy, but it’s so much better than it has been. They’re really making great progress, and I’m excited that we’re getting close to having this area put back together.
Since it was a holiday weekend I didn’t think we’d be riding anything without a FastPass+ reservation. However, when we walked by the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover the line only looked to be about 10 minutes, so we went for it. Little did I know it would lead us on quite an adventure! When I snapped the below photo my hubby declared that he saw the partners statue was walled off. Now, he has eagle eyes, but how could he possibly see that? I called his bluff and made us walk all the way back over to the hub.. only to find…..
The partners statue was walled off!! This was the strangest thing I’ve seen in ages. Even stranger were all the visitors taking photos in front of this green box. Now, if you were following along on Twitter this weekend, then you already knew this happened. If you weren’t, I hope you’ll follow us on our next adventure! You can find us @TouringPlans with lots of breaking news and fun from the parks.
This weekend was the first time I’d spotted the Mine Train popcorn bucket in the Magic Kingdom. It actually has working wheels! I almost rolled it right off the popcorn cart by accident! The mine train also rocks side to side. Despite all the working parts I think I’ll be skipping this one. I don’t know why, but it doesn’t appeal to me at all. What do you think? Over in Adventureland I finally stopped into the new Sunglass Hut. This shop was mostly filled with outside brands before, anyway, so the rented space doesn’t really bother me. Passholders also get a 10% discount on purchases!
Since the weather was so beautiful, I booked all of our FastPass+ for outdoor attractions. First up was The Magic Carpets of Aladdin. I don’t think this is one I’ve filmed before, so I decided to take you guys with me for the entire ride! I don’t mention it enough, but my Youtube “channel” is just to link video here. Guy does and amazing job posting videos on the Touring Plans channel. You can check it out here if you’d like to subscribe. Now, let’s fly! 🙂
Next we wandered around a bit before our next FastPass+. I’d received a request to include a photo of the “hidden” walkway that connects Tomorrowland to New Fantasyland, so you can find that photo below. I had my doubts that this walkway would be the normal peaceful retreat it always is because the holiday crowds were swelling in the parks. As you can see, it was our own little piece of paradise on a crowded day. You guys always give me the best suggestions! Is there somewhere you’d like to see next week? Just let me know in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to include it.
Our next FastPass+ was for the Tomorrowland Speedway, and if I haven’t mentioned it, FastPass+ has been working flawlessly for me lately. Honestly, it’s like a switch flipped. Suddenly I understand why everyone loves this system! We didn’t even wait 5 minutes to board our car on a busy holiday weekend.
I’d been daydreaming about a Nutella and Fresh Fruit Waffle Sandwich, so we decided to wait in our longest line of the day over at Sleepy Hollow Refreshments. This might be the best $6.69 you can spend in the park! 😉 However, my better piece of advice is where we enjoyed this delightful treat. The tables at Sleepy Hollow were all full, so on a whim I decided to stop over by the Christmas Shoppe. There is a small courtyard on the side of this shop with a table and chairs. For some reason people seem to assume this table is off limits, but it isn’t. We enjoyed a quiet and semi-private snack while everyone else was fighting for tables.
Our last FastPass+ for the night was for Jungle Cruise. This was somewhat of a fail as we waited nearly 20 minutes to board a boat. The line was very long for both FastPass+ and Standby, but I think we just hit it at the wrong time. They were bringing out additional boats as quickly as possible and obviously trying to meet the demand. The jokes were just as corny as every, and good times were had by all! What’s a little wait when you get to see the back side of water?
As we were leaving we passed the Move It! Shake It! Dance & Play It! Street Party. (I’ll be honest, I had to look that name up. Is that not the craziest name Disney has ever come up with?) Despite the odd name, people really are responding to this parade. It seems much more popular than it was in the past.
That’s everything for this week. Now let’s see what you can expect if you’re visiting next week.
Crowd Calendar: The parks will be nice and slow. Enjoy this week!
Weather: It looks like the beautiful weather will be staying a little longer! Highs in the low 70s and lows in the low 50s – magical! 🙂
Remember: Liberty Square Riverboat will be closed January 23 – 27th.
Here’s my top tip for this week: The table that I mentioned beside the Christmas Shoppe sits beside a sleigh in that same courtyard. The sleigh is excellent for parade viewing!
Do you have any news I missed or any requests for coverage next week? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below, and thanks so much for reading! I’m wishing all of you the Best Week Ever, until next time!