At Travel Beat we have all the “other” news from the last week or so—the stuff that wasn’t big enough to stop the presses for. What did the newsroom bring us this week? Bullets are just ahead if you’re in a hurry, and more details follow below. Don’t forget to check out the Headline News Recap, in case there was something you missed!
- Nemo-themed Pixar Place Hotel Pool Area Opens
- Villain-con / Minion-Land Official Opening Date
- Halloween Deco Rolls Out at Disney World
- Save on Private Jet Departures with National Geographic
- Updates to Dining Reservation Process at Disney World and Disneyland
- New Baby Mandrill at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
- Pearl Castaway Club Members Port Arrival Time Update
- Pricing Update for Internet Packages on Disney Cruise Line
- Headline News Recap
If anything you read below tickles your feet, feel free to reach out to our friends at TouringPlans Travel for a free quote.
Nemo-themed Pixar Place Hotel Pool Area Opens
At Disneyland Resort, a retheme of the Paradise Pier hotel to Pixar Place hotel is underway, and the hotel’s fully refurbished pool area became available this week. With a fun Nemo theme the area includes a pool, slide, splash pad, and seating areas with firepits. It’s gotten some rave reviews from guests on social media and I have to say the above pic looks pretty good to me too. The changeover is expected to be complete throughout the hotel this winter.
Villain-con / Minion Land Official Opening Date
We’ve seen a lot of buzz about Minion Land and its flagship ride in the past few weeks; now we have an official opening date: August 11, 2023. Although some elements of the land such as the Minion Cafe have already opened and Despicable Me Minion Mayhem has been around since before Minion Land was a twinkle in the eye of Universal Creative, the flagship new ride is Illumination’s Villain-Con: Minion Blast. Villain-Con and Minion Land will officially open next week, but Villain-Con has been in soft opening for a little bit and we have everything you need to know: Getting to Know Universal – Illumination’s Villain-Con: Minion Blast
Halloween Deco Rolls Out at Disney World
With the beginning of August it’s Halloween Season at Disney World, our parks reporters dropped by for pictures of some of the newly installed decorations.
Save on Private Jet Departures with National Geographic
National Geographic is offering discounts on select Private Jet itineraries for a limited time. These tours cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time by using private jets to dispense with hours spent in layovers and airports on routes that benefit from air travel to move between destinations. New Travelers save $2,500 on eligible departures, and past National Geographic Expeditions Private Jet Travels save even more: $5,000 per person on the same departures.
- Central and South America by Private Jet: February 22 – March 14, 2024
- Around the World by Private Jet: March 10 – April 2, 2024
- Cultural Wonders of Africa: A Journey by Private Jet: May 8 – 30, 2024
- Around the World by Private Jet: Hidden Marvels: May 11 – 31, 2024
Book by October 13, 2023 to take advantage of these savings.
Updates to Dining Reservation Process at Disney World and Disneyland
Both coasts will receive updates to the dining reservation process; these updates affect both the number of times you’ll see available and the menu visibility.
The old way:
- You never saw more than 3 times
- They might or might not be the time you wanted
- If you put in “Lunch” you might not see a time at 1:30 p.m., but if you put in “1 p.m.” you might suddenly see it (or vice versa).
The new way: guests will see all available times for the party size and date that they’re looking to book. If you’re a user of Open Table or other restaurant booking apps, this will feel more familiar to you. These changes should also address the issue of times not showing for selected meals and vice versa.
New Baby Mandrill at Disney’s Animal Kingdom
If you’ve been on the Kilimanjaro Safaris, you may have seen the mandrill tr00p. Mandrills are known for their vibrant colors, including shades of blue, red, and pink on their faces, and yellow manes. Well, the group recently welcomed a new member as Saffron was born to mom Hazel on July 24.
Mandrills were the basis for the Rafiki character in the Lion King, but in real life they’re considered a vulnerable species with only 4,000 or so left in the wild. Breeding programs like the one at Disney’s Animal Kingdom are part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan, to help ensure that the species increases and thrives. Great job with that, Hazel!
Pearl Castaway Club Members Port Arrival Time Update
Good news Pearl Castaway Club Members! You no longer need to select a port arrival time during online check-in. You’ll automatically be placed in the first boarding group of the cruise.
Pricing Update for Internet Packages on Disney Cruise Line
Pricing for onboard internet packages for Disney Cruise Line is being updated, and will take effect on the following dates:
- Disney Magic – 7/31/23
- Disney Wish – 7/31/23
- Disney Dream – 8/1/23
- Disney Fantasy – 8/5/23
At this time, the time-based internet packages are not available onboard the Disney Wonder, but it is expected to offer them at a later date.
The new pricing is:
Stay Connected Package
- $16/day when purchased for the full voyage
- $18/day when purchased for 24 hours
Basic Surf Package
- $24/day when purchased for the full voyage
- $28/day when purchased for 24 hours
Premium Surf Package
- $34/day when purchased for the full voyage
- $42/day when purchased for 24 hours
The time-based packages can be purchased for 24-hour periods, or per voyage, with a 20% discount that applies to per-voyage pricing and additional devices that are added to a package.
Headline News Recap
Disney released a brand new special summer Florida Resident ticket this week. See the details of all the limited-time summer tickets: Disney World 4-Park Magic Ticket + Florida Resident Specials for Summer of 2023
If you’re planning a few months ahead that means thinking about Christmas in August. This week we got details of holiday season entertainment at Disneyland. Disneyland Christmas Entertainment 2023 Style.
That’s it for this week’s Travel Beat. What news are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments!