Disney World and the Banned Selfie Sticks

So, after having enacted a ban on selfie sticks just this past Spring, Disney Parks have stepped up the restriction and just flat-out banned these items throughout the parks. As of June 30, guests who bring selfie sticks into the park will have them confiscated and held at Security until they leave, at which time they can pick them back up.

The ban occurred after the original attempt to limit their use ended up being impossible to enforce; the parks’ first effort was to prohibit their use on fast-moving rides. I’m sure they thought they’d never even have to do that; honestly, what kind of sense does it make to take a high-priced, breakable item like a smart phone and stick it outside of a fast-moving roller coaster attached to nothing but a flimsy pole?!  Nobody would do that, right?

This is pretty self-explanatory, I think. But it's also possible that you might think it means "No square balloons" so I can see where it was unclear.

This is pretty self-explanatory, I think. But it’s also possible that you might think it means “No square balloons” so I can see where it was unclear.

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A Few Disney News Bites

Hello everyone!  There are a number of little Junior News stories about Disney from the past week or two, so I’m going to toss them at you and ask: what are you most excited for?

1: The Jingle Cruise!

Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom will both be giving a holiday makeover to the classic Adventureland attraction, The Jungle Cruise. The holiday theming will begin “in early November”, so presumably sometime in the next week or two?  From Disney’s description:

In this new seasonal storyline of the attraction, the Skippers have grown homesick for the holidays, so they’ve added holiday cheer to the Jungle Cruise queue and boathouse with decorations that have been mailed to them from home (plus a few they’ve created themselves). The Skippers have also added a slew of new jokes to their tours that are the perfect way to get guests in the holiday spirit. Additionally, Jungle Cruise boats have been renamed with the holidays in mind, and if you listen carefully, you may hear a holiday-themed radio broadcast playing in the background.

My thoughts: I love the idea of a Jingle Cruise – I’m not sure why, I just do – but I’ve always been struck by how the Skippers on the Jungle Cruise are such smartasses. ;D  Somehow it seems weird to me that they’d be so sentimental as to get “homesick” and decorate for the holidays!  But that’s just me.  I’d still love to see this!  What do you think, are you for or against this makeover?

2: New Lounge at Hollywood Studios’s Brown Derby restaurant!

One of the nicer restaurants at Hollywood Studios, the Hollywood Brown Derby is now opening an outdoor patio lounge area for guests.  The area is shaded with umbrellas and menu offerings include beverages (alcohol included), small bites – that’s “fine dining” for appetizers – and some really luscious desserts:

Small bites are on the menu and include artisanal cheeses, charcuterie, duck confit tacos, steamed Prince Edward Island mussels, Derby Cocktail with jumbo lump blue crab, black tiger shrimp, avocado and a horseradish-tomato juice, and two Derby Sliders – a Wagyu beef slider with cognac mustard aïoli, smoked gouda cheese, bacon and avocado; and a house-made chorizo slider with chipotle mayo, manchego cheese, pickles and crispy onions.

You can also just stop for dessert, with Chocolate Three Ways (praline milk chocolate cream, crunchy ganache and orange-chocolate mousse), a banana-white chocolate toffee tower on a cocoa-almond cookie and bananas Foster, or strawberry Champagne cheesecake.

Reservations are not accepted and the lounge won’t take the Disney Dining Plan – this is important to know.  The Brown Derby is on the DDP for *meals*, but not lounge.  However, if you have Tables In Wonderland, it applies!

My thoughts: I’m boring and I don’t go to lounges. I should! but I don’t.  I’m a park commando most of the time, because I need to fill up on Disney experiences while I’m there. Then I think of all the things I missed once I’m back home. 😉

3: Reimagined Disney Magic!

Image (c) The Walt Disney Co./Disney Cruise LInes

Image (c) The Walt Disney Co./Disney Cruise Line

The Disney Magic has been relaunched (cautiously!) with new sailings out of Miami, Florida.  The ship has not been just refurbished, but reimagined, with new spaces and activities and experiences all over the place.  Among the most exciting are the AquaDunk, a water ride that begins with a VERY sudden drop – the floor opens beneath you! – and the Avengers Experience, a kids’ section of the boat with activities and Marvel Comics characters such as a Captain America meet & greet!

My thoughts: They had me at “Cruise ship”. 🙂

So?  What are you most excited about?  Are there any that inspire a yawn and a pass?  Leave a comment and let me know!

The Return of the Hat Box Ghost

As a long-time Haunted Mansion fan, I’m familiar with the Hat Box Ghost, though of course I’ve never actually seen him in the ride.  This friendly fella was among the original 999 Happy Haunts of the Haunted Mansion, with a decidedly spooky trick, wherein the head on his shoulders vanished and reappeared inside the hatbox he held.  Unfortunately, technical limitations – well – limited his use.  They just couldn’t quite get him working right, so shortly after the HM opened, Hatbox Harold (I made that name up just now) was retired.

 

I don’t know where ghosts retiring from the Haunted Mansion would go. I always figured the Haunted Mansion was where ghosts went upon retirement.  Y’know, for the party!

Anyway, Hatty has such a great, off-putting design that he’s retained a good deal of popularity among HM fans over the years, in spite of his abruptly shortened afterlife-span; you can learn more about him at various websites like DoomBuggies.com, Wikipedia.org, and so forth.  Fans have been hoping he’d make a triumphant return to the Haunted Mansion for years now… and there have recently been hints that maybe he just might. 😀

 

Hint #1: The emergence of Hatty Harold (Rebecca! Stop making up names for canon Disney characters!) on a variety of Disney merchandise, including this really wicked awesome t-shirt!  Need a Christmas gift idea for me?  I’m linking on purpose, guys. 😉  No, but seriously, with a new Haunted Mansion movie in the rumour mill, Disney is cashing in on some new HM merchandise and I have NO complaints about that.  The inclusion of the Hat Box Ghost might just be a nod to dedicated fans, but maybe it’s a suggestion that he may soon play a bigger role in the Haunted Mansion?

 

Hint #2: Hat Box Ghost is at D23 2013!!  Hatty made it to the Expo!  Touringplans.com reports on their blog that Hatty is appearing in the “Journey Into Imagineering” pavilion at the Expo.  Now, this could easily be done as a relic, something that they designed years ago and didn’t quite work out and they’re showing it since they have it.  Right?  Except that’s not the case.  According to Touringplans.com’s, article, this is a modern recreation of the Hat Box Ghost animatronic.  He’s not holding the Hat Box, but in the promotional video for this pavilion, the speaker says that this is a showcase of “what they are working on” as well as some of their “greatest hits”, and the Hat Box Ghost animatronic is described – somewhat awkwardly – as something that “could have been created for the Haunted Mansion”.  Hmmmm…?  It’s statements like that which make us stop and give pause. 😉

 

So I don’t know about you, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this is the start of a great big, beautiful tomorrow for Hatbox Harold.  Whose name is not actually Harold, I remind you for the third time.

Limited Time Magic: Cinco (and on) De Mayo

Limited Time Magic.

Yep, it’s still going, even though I haven’t blogged about it for a while. 🙂

There are actually quite a few going for the month of May so far, with another big and exciting event coming up near the end of the month! Plus, I just barely missed blogging about a very exciting event that was well-received among the Disneyverse, which was a Star Wars Day celebration! Yeah, Hollywood Studios has its annual Star Wars Weekends in May, but this year saw the first Star Wars Day celebration on May 4th (because, you know. May the Fourth be with you? I needn’t say more). The event included basically a mini-SW weekend with character opportunities, dance parties, and a fireworks show to end ’em all. If you weren’t there, you obviously don’t love Star Wars.

(I am crying in shame in a corner, btw, since I *thought* I loved Star Wars but I wasn’t there, so obviously…)

Cutie-wootie widdle ears!! Image (c) The Walt Disney Co.

Sufficiently Loco? Image (c) The Walt Disney Co.

Anyway, this week’s offerings at Walt Disney World include a Cinco De Mayo celebration kicking off today (May 5) and going until 5/11! This includes not just a Cinco De Mayo celebration but also a Dia de los Ninos party as well. The festival is taking place at Epcot’s Mexico pavilion and includes music, appearances by the Three Caballeros (yay!), dancing, marionnettes, and food! You can also get some limited-edition Cinco de Mayo ears!

May 11 sees the coronation celebration adding Merida, from “Brave”, as the next official Disney Princess. The event is attended by all 10 of the current Disney Princesses, because you can’t see them ANYWHERE else. 😉

And finally, advance warning – uh, advance notice: on May 24, the Magic Kingdom will be open for a 24-hour party kicking off the Disney Monstrous Summer celebration. This party will be held at Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure, too, on the same date! So if you, unlike me, are able to stay up super late and have a good time… it’s going to be a BLAST!

Other Limited Time Magic offerings this week include the Cinco De Mayo ears, and a new nighttime show, “Magical”! You can not only experience the show, you can get glowing ears and accessories:

This May, come glow with a “Magical” new show at Disneyland Park—purchase your very own light-up interactive ear hat and engage with shows and attractions across Disneyland Resort like never before, including “Magical,” Disneyland Park’s newest fireworks spectacular. But that’s not all—as part of Limited Time Magic, discover a “Magical” fireworks viewing area along Main Street, U.S.A., reserved just for you when you’re wearing your “Glow with the Show” ears. Space is limited and will be first come, first served on the following dates: May 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18 and 19, 2013.

Whew! So that brings us up to date, right?  See you next week – I hope – for more Limited Time Magic announcements!

Limited Time Magic: April Fools?

Well hi folks. 🙂 I missed last week’s update on new Limited Time Magic – last week was just rough for my schedule! – and I’m a tiny bit late with today’s, but I don’t think anyone minds, because I’m reasonably sure no one reads the LTM posts I put up. But I do! (Wait, I read my own posts? Eh, sure why not.)

To catch up, there are several new things to cover both at Disneyland and Disney World, some for the month of April and some more limited than 30 days.

I’ll start with the hats.

The hats kind of make me wonder, Is this an April Fools joke or something? DL and WDW each have their own unique hat for the month of April. What

Now I'm hungry. (Image (c) The Walt Disney Co.)

Now I’m hungry. (Image (c) The Walt Disney Co.)

follows now is purely MY opinion and yours might vary, but here we go. This is NOT just because I’m biased in favour of WDW, honest!

I think WDW’s strawberry ear hats are adorable. I don’t normally buy ear hats but I’m really tempted to try and grab a pair of these somehow. Except you can ONLY buy them at Epcot and I don’t think I can drive that far in an evening to pick up a pair. *G*

Good lord. What. (Image (c) The Walt Disney Co.)

Good lord. What. (Image (c) The Walt Disney Co.)

DL’s Cozy Cone hats on the other hand… Okay. Well. Look, I know when we were kids (including 30-year-and-older kids) we always wanted to pick up traffic cones and put them on our heads. (I’m almost sure that wasn’t just me. Help me out here.) But… would I actually BUY a hat for this purpose? On the other hand, would my children want to? Probably. So I guess I’ve answered my own misgivings. I still think they’re – to put it politely – ugly and clunky as heck. Okay, I’ll admit it, that wasn’t politely. 🙂 These are found only at Sarge’s Surplus Hut in Disney’s California Adventure.

Second – the more limited-time events! Firstly I notice that they’re advertising the WDW summer room discounts as Limited Time Magic. I think that’s a bit of a stretch, to be honest, but I guess you could technically apply the term; the discounts are available for a limited time, and a trip to WDW is magical, so it all works! (Hey – psst – did you know that a travel agent can work these room discounts to your best advantage? Do you know anyone who is a travel agent? YES YOU DO! It’s me! I’ve saved more than one client money they didn’t know they could save with this room discount, and my magic is not limited time only! …Aaaaand, done.)

The REAL Limited Time Magic, for the week of April 8-14:

– At WDW, you can “Go Vintage at the Disney Truck Shop”. I don’t know what this means either, so here is the description on the site:

For one week only, the Disney Truck Shop will be parked along the Downtown Disney Westside route at Walt Disney World Resort, offering you the chance to pick up a limited release vintage-style tee. Available while supplies last, the tee has been inspired by the design and logo of the Disney Parks newest shop on wheels. So cruise over for this Limited Time Magic offer, and pick up some of your favorite souvenirs too—this is one ride you can’t afford to miss!

My take: cheat. You have a week to buy a vintage tee-shirt? That’s it? CHEAT. No wonder they put up the Summer room discounts as LTM too, to try to cover for that lame LTM. There were no ideas this week apparently.

– It’s especially lame when you find out that Disneyland is doing its version of WDW’s more-popular-than-expected Long-Lost Friends Week from 4/8-4/14. They’re keeping the exact possibilities on the down-low, but hopefully the voting from a couple of weeks ago will prove fruitful; here is the write-up:

Some rarely seen Characters are stepping back into the spotlight, but only for a limited time! During Long Lost Friends week, Characters you picked in an online poll will make appearances at Big Thunder Ranch Jamboree in Frontierland, where you’ll have the chance to get up-close and enjoy photo opportunities. You could meet Robin Hood, Ludwig Von Drake… even the Three Little Pigs! Visit Disneyland Park to find out, and be sure to sample some long-lost favorite foods too, including Monte Cristo Strips and Zany Cotton Candy!

WHAT are Monte Cristo Strips? Someone mail me some!

So obviously I saved the best for last. If you are going to a Disney Park this week, apparently you win on events if you go to Disneyland, but you lose on hats. (From my perspective anyway.) I’d still pick the long-lost friends over the strawberry ear hat and the “Truck Shop” tee, though.

Join us next week for another installment of “Limited Time Magic: Will It Be Good This Time?”

New Disneyland Hotel Offer for Spring 2013!

This is the pinkest castle I will ever love.

This is the pinkest castle I will ever love.

It’s not very often that Disneyland extends travel offers. Unlike Walt Disney World, Disneyland tends to have a thriving day-trip local base which doesn’t rely too heavily on vacationers making a home at their resorts. As a result, they don’t usually offer the same kinds of hotel discounts or package deals as Disney usually cooks up throughout the year.

But for travel in April and May, Disneyland Resort is offering up a pretty spiffy special; if you book between now and April 27 for most stays between April 7 and May 22, you can save up to 20% per night Sunday-Thursday, and up to 15% per night on Fridays and Saturdays! This deal requires at least a two-night stay. You can add tickets and Character dining and make it into a package, and keep the room discount!

There are little fine-printy things involved; one thing to know up front is that this offer isn’t good on suites, and it can’t be applied to previously-booked rooms. This means that if you had a reservation you’ll have to cancel it and make a new one to get the savings. The offer doesn’t include taxes or hotel fees; there’s a limit of two rooms per party, and five people per room.

Also, understanding the timing of what dates are covered and how can be tricky, so this is how it works: book anytime between right now (RIGHT THIS VERY SECOND!! …Sorry, feeling silly) and April 27, for stays beginning no sooner than April 7 through May 22, 2013. This doesn’t mean that the discount itself ends on May 22, though – that is done on May 24. If your stay begins on May 22 or earlier, you can stay with the room discount through May 24. If, however, your stay begins on May 23, there is no discount. (Remember – two nights minimum stay.)

Wondering what, exactly, are the benefits of staying at the Disneyland hotels? Well first of all… the Disneyland hotels. 🙂 This offer is good on the Disneyland Hotel – I know, I sound like a broken record up in here – Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel and Spa, and Disney’s Paradise Pier Hotel. All three hotels are themed and packed with fun and luxury. In addition, by staying at a Disney hotel, you get Extra Magic Hour at a park each day, an exclusive entrance into the parks, Character Dining and wake-up calls, and a lot more.

Hope you get a chance to take advantage of this! If you do, tell me how it went!

Fairytale Journeys by Rebecca Kelly – March 2013 Special Offer

This is an Advertisement.

But really, it's my ad, not yours.

But really, it’s my ad, not yours.

As I’ve mentioned occasionally here, I’ve recently become a Disney Travel Agent with Fairytale Journeys.  This service is free and encompasses pretty much whatever you want – the only thing I absolutely NEED to do is put your booking in for you.  Otherwise, you can plan out as much as you want, and whatever you don’t want, I’ll pick up the slack.  Want to do everything?  Okay!  I’ll still be here for advice and quick question answers.  Want to do nothing?  No problem!  I can book hotels, flights, rental cars, ADRs, tickets, the works.

Well, I know what you’re thinking – “If I do everything, why should I use a travel agent and let them get paid for doing nothing?”  Two reasons: one, I get travel updates directly from Disney, so I get the latest news as it comes out; and two, this month, I’m running a special offer where, if you book with me – meaning you don’t have to pay in full this month, but we do need to do the preliminary booking – you get a free gift.  In other words, if you book with me, YOU get something for nothing… Plus, of course, your Disney vacation!

The options vary depending on the cost of the vacation you book, but they break down in price ranges: $500-$1749 gets a gift worth up to $25, $1750-$3499 gets a gift worth up to $50, and $3500 or more is worth up to $75!

What, I now hear you thinking, are these gifts you’re promising?  Is this a timeshare?

No.  It is not a timeshare.  You can leave this presentation at any time, I won’t even notice.  And I certainly won’t get hostile and rude and blame you for wasting the past three hours or something that you never actually ASKED me to spend trying to sell this timeshare to you.  …Not that this has ever happened to me, ahem.

But yes – the gifts.  You have the option of either selecting a gift card (Disney or Visa) in the exact amounts above – no “up to”, just $25, $50, or $75 – or picking out some Disney merchandise which I will buy for you and have shipped to you. (that’s where the “up to” comes into it.)  I can’t list everything you can choose from here, but a few samples:

Gourmet Mickey Mouse tea kettle – $40

I have to say, that's a nice kettle. Well, then again, I picked this image out so I guess it's not a surprise I like it. Pic is (c) Disney Store.

I have to say, that’s a nice kettle. Well, then again, I picked this image out so I guess it’s not a surprise I like it. Pic is (c) Disney Store.

Vinylmation Figures – $10 ea.

So darn CUTE.  Image (c) The Disney Store.

So darn CUTE. Image (c) The Disney Store.

Dooney & Burke Wristlet Bag – $60

Other varieties available. Image (c) The Disney Store.

Other varieties available. Image (c) The Disney Store.

Mickey Mouse Messenger Tote – $30

I love messenger bags!  Though I don't know what you're a messenger of. Image is (C) The Disney Store.

I love messenger bags! Though I don’t know what you’re a messenger of. Image is (C) The Disney Store.

Donald Duck: The Original Angry Bird t-shirt – $33

Oh, Donald, I love you. :) Image is (c) The Disney Store.

Oh, Donald, I love you. 🙂 Image is (c) The Disney Store.

(Just to avoid ANY confusion: I am not selling these, I don’t currently have them in my possession, I picked a few nice-looking things from the website.  What’ll happen is you’ll decide what you want and I’ll order it at full price and have it shipped to you as a gift.  I am NOT selling Disney merchandise, on this site or any other!)

There are a few caveats: these come FROM ME and are not provided by Disney or by Fairytale Journeys.  In order to be eligible for the gift you have to book with me in March, but the gift will be delivered after travel occurs to avoid any problems such as unforeseen cancellations, etc.  Also, as much as possible, the price of any merchandise selected should include shipping costs (ie the Dooney & Burke back – $60 plus $10 for shipping, total cost = $70).   Unless for something small, such as Vinylmation, please don’t request multiple items to try to make an exact price.

So there’s your opportunities!  This offer expires after March 31, 2013, possibly never to return… so call me, maybe? (I kind of hate myself for writing that.)  How about: so get in touch please and let’s talk Disney!  I can help smooth out your details, or I can just gab with you about what a great trip you’re going to have!  I love all of it, so I hope to work with you!
Email: rebeccak@fairytalejourneys.com
Website: http://fairytalejourneysbyrebecca.weebly.com
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FairytaleJourneysByRebeccaKelly

Hidden Kitties: the Feral Cats of Disneyland

So. You’re a top entertainment destination spot and one of the symbols of what is unquestionably among the main giants of the corporate/media world. (Yes, you’re a thing, not a person. Bear with me here.)

And you’re infested with feral cats.

Not this kind.  Probably.

Not this kind. Probably.

What do you do?

If you’re Disneyland, as all entertainment destinations/symbols of corporate/media giants aspire to be, you seize the opportunity and turn this around into a good thing.

In short, ever heard that urban legend that Disneyland is crawling with unseen, feral cats that come out after dark? Totally true. There are over 200 of them, rarely seen by guests as they avoid people. Disney has set up five feeding stations, well away from cast members and guests, and the cats spend most of the day at these locations; at night they’re released into the parks where they do their hunting.

Also, the nightly concerts.

Also, the nightly concerts.  These are hard-ticket events only.

What’s really interesting about it is that Disney on the whole cares for these animals.  They do not domesticate them and even avoid much human contact with them to avoid them becoming used to humans – but they do TNR, or trap-neuter-release, and they provide shots and even have adoption programs for the kittens.  In fact, they’re lauded for this.  These cats are better cared for than some humans.  Of course keeping them responsibly benefits Disney – it keeps the cat population from dangerously outnumbering the pests they’re being kept to control, keeps down the threat of disease, and gets a little free labour into the picture too.

I mean it’s not as if they went out and adopted these cats; they’d have to do something about them anyway, and being Disney I’m sure they weighed their options pretty soundly and picked the one that had the best cost-to-benefit ratio.  That it’s a humane and responsible option is a PR benefit. 😉

There’s no word on what these cats do on nights when the park stays open super-late or has a themed party.  Of course I’m sure they’d blend right in.

There’s a pretty neat collection of images of the hard-to-find Hidden Kitties of Disneyland out there.  Random cats, just walking along a landscaped area or nestled in a train track.  I wouldn’t go looking for them though – “feral” is a pretty scary word and feral cats live up to it.

I must say, I think my favourite part of this whole story is the part where they found 100 feral cats (and their fleas) living in the unused portion of Sleeping Beauty Castle.  That reminds me of something out of a horror movie.  “Just – need to – move this board aside – almost… there!  G-Good LORD!  Look at them all!” *HISSSSS!*

Oh, who am I kidding, it was Disney.  It was probably more like “Wow, it sure is spooky in this basement!  Wh-what was that noise?!”  And they shine the light in and it’s:

And then they all go "AWWWW!"

And then they all go “AWWWW!”

Thanks to Mickey Mutineers for the topic suggestion.  This is my 50th post, y’all! 😀  I don’t know about you, but I love to celebrate meaningless milestones!

Disney Social Media Round-up, 2/10/13

Blog Updates:

Podcast Updates:

Disney News:

Travel Offers:

Announcing my Facebook Page!

Fairytale Journeys by Rebecca Kelly is now on Facebook!  Please “Like” if you do!  I wish I could promise something like cookies but instead all I can promise is my undying gratitude.  And possibly pictures of me in silly hats.

Oh look, here is a silly hat picture now.  What a bizarre coincidence.

Oh look, here is a silly hat picture now. What a bizarre coincidence.