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Mouse Guide To Walt Posts

Cinderella Lego Castle Available September 1st – While Supplies Last

August 31, 2016 • Tory

To be honest, I am not a big LEGO fan.  Well….. I was not a big Lego fan until LEGO designed this awesome Cinderella’s castle set.  The set was first  available to VIPs earlier this month. As of August 31, LEGO has the following message on there website “We have now sold out of our VIP Early Access quantities on this set. Please check back on 9/1/2016.”  I think it is no surprise, that even at $350 USD, this castle is very popular.  The question is, how likely is it that LEGO will sell out of the castle, and how fast.  Since I was not really a LEGO fan (prior to seeing this awesome castle), I am really not sure how to answer this question.  Whether you have plans to buy the castle or not, there is a very interesting video below in which one of the designers discusses some of the details about being part of the project to design the castle.

LEGO Canada

Insights From A Disney Castle Designer


Would you like to see some of the details involved in the castle from the perspective of someone putting the castle together?  Here is a 2 min time lapse video of the castle being built.

Two Minute Time Lapse – Cinderella LEGO Disney Castle



Children Now Required to Scan Fingers

August 30, 2016 • Tory

Adults have always had to hold their magic band against the reader, and also place their finger on the biometric reader in order to enter the park.  As part of this process, it is required that the adult remember which finger was scanned.  The reason for this technology is to make sure that the owner of the ticket (or magic band) is the same person that is trying to enter the park.  This prevents people from trading off magic bands or using other’s bands to get in fraudulently.
Children have always been allowed to enter the park without scanning their finger.  This is presumably because it would be much more difficult for children to remember which finger was scanned and to properly perform the scanning procedure each time they entered the parks.

magic bandsStarting just last week, children under age 10 now are required to have their fingerprint scanned to enter the Walt Disney World theme parks, water parks, and DisneyQuest.  A guest relations cast member has confirmed the changes.

Disney has made no official statement on the new policy beyond the instructions given to front gate cast members at their theme parks.  The change is presumably part of the continuing effort to fight ticket fraud and Walt Disney World Resort ticket resales.

Review of Disney Live Stream of the Main Street Electrical Parade

August 29, 2016 • Tory

Last night at 8:55 ET was a Live Stream of the Main Street Electrical Parade, that was provided by Disney Parks Blog.  With the Main Street Electrical Parade ending it’s run at the Magic Kingdom and moving back to Disneyland, Disney Parks Blog provided a Live Stream of the parade for those that want to see the parade one last time.  Many guest, including myself, were looking forward to seeing the parade during the live stream; but based on guest comments, many guest were very disappointed.  Many guest were most disappointed that the parade was not shown from beginning to end.  The parade was shown from different locations, with an occasional interview while the parade was still going by in the background.  Because of the coverage, part of the parade was missed entirely.  One of the floats most notably missing from the Live Cast was the Peter Pan float.  Many comments were left on the Disney Parks Blog page referencing the disappointment.

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For those that were not able to view the Live Stream last night, you can view a replay of the stream below.

And for those that waited until the very end of the broadcast, you were promised a wallpaper download of the Main Street Electrical Parade artwork.  If you were looking for the wallpaper, and were unable to find it, you were not alone.  After a bit of searching, the wallpaper downloads are here for you to download.

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Main Street Electrical Parade to Stream Live – Tonight @ 8:55 ET

August 28, 2016 • Tory

It was announced on Disney Parks Blog on August 10th, that the Main Street Electrical parade will be ending it’s run on Oct 9.  No official news has surfaced on what will replace the MSE Parade in the Magic Kingdom, but it is hard to imagine that Magic Kingdom will be without a parade as it will be celebrating the 45th anniversary.  There has been some speculation of what is to come, but nothing has been announced.

For all those that will not have the opportunity to attend one more showing of the Main Street Electrical Parade in person, Disney Parks Blog has announced that it will be doing a live stream tonight, August 28th, at 8:55ET.  In order to view the live stream, visit the Disney Parks Blog page here just before the 8:55ET start time and there will be a new blog post at the top of the blog just before the parade starts.

While you wait for 8:55ET to view the parade, Disney has provided us a short video let’s you know what it feels like to ride on top some of the floats in the Main Street Electrical Parade.

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Engine Explodes on Flight to Disney

August 28, 2016 • Tory

Many Disney guest have a decision to make when taking a trip to the “Happiest Place On Earth.”  One of the big decisions is usually – Do I fly?  or Do I drive?  Distance is normally the factor that makes the decision easier for many.  For those that have a choice to do either, the cost vs time trade off normally becomes the biggest factor.  An airplane engine exploding normally is not one of the factors considered.

An Oklahoma City family’s trip to Disney World took a detour Saturday morning after a Southwest Airlines plane was forced to make an emergency landing.

engine explodesTami Richards said she, her husband and their three children — two of whom are ages 5 and 7, and the third is a baby — were on a Flight 3472 from New Orleans to Orlando when, while over water, she heard a loud explosion.


After the pilots stabilized the plane, one came out and told passengers that one of the engines was lost, Richards said. The pilots conducted an emergency landing in Pensacola, Florida, where Southwest Airlines officials are working to get passengers to their final destination.

The full story is captured here by KOCO in Oklahoma City.




Disney To Take Proactive Steps Regarding Zika Virus

August 27, 2016 • Tory

About a week ago,  in an article titled – Why Has Summer Attendance Been Down? – It was suggested that the fear of the Zika virus (as well as many other circumstance) may have caused a few guest to stay away from Disney World this summer.  After the unfortunate alligator attack this summer, Disney is taking additional proactive steps to ensure guest are well informed of the Zika issue.

The Orlando Sentinel reported this afternoon that Walt Disney World  will start distributing free insect repellent Sunday, as the threat of mosquito-borne Zika comes increasingly close to Orlando.

Disney will have various types of mosquito repellent at its theme parks, Disney Springs and the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. Hotel rooms will also have aerosol bug spray. The resort will have signs informing people they can get the protection.

“In an abundance of caution, we are accelerating preventative efforts throughout our property, including providing complimentary insect repellent to our Guests along with helpful guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention,” Disney said in an emailed statement.

Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party – Is it worth it?

August 26, 2016 • Tory

mnsshp8I must say that I was not nearly as excited to attend my first Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party (MNSSHP) as I was to attend my first Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party (MVMCP), but I must tell you that I was presently surprised that I enjoyed MNSSHP much more.

In trying to be very objective (which is hard, because I really think it is worth it), let’s look at what you get for the price.

#1 – Characters, specifically villains –  If you or your kids are a big fan of characters, the party will allow you to meet many characters that are rarely available in the park.  There are several characters that only appear in the parks during MNSSHP or MVMCP.  Although some characters, such as the 7 Dwarfs, usually appear at both events, the villains will only appear at MNSSHP.  If you are a big fan of seeing the villains, you may want to attend the party for this reason alone.  Villains are available for meet and greets and are also a big part of the Boo to You Parade.  Also, you cannot forget the dance parties.  There is usually a dance party that occurs nightly at the Tomorrowland Stage (currently hosted by the Incredibles), but the dance parties that occur during the party usually include unique characters.  In 2015, there were two dance parties that included the Toy Story characters and the Monsters Inc. characters.  The party is the only time I have ever seen Bullzeye from Toy Story and Boo from Monsters Inc.

More Detailed Information about Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party can be found here

Reasons you should attend the party


#2 – Hallowishes – The nightly Wishes fireworks spectacular is transformed into a Halloween Edition.  The villains are present in many of the songs that are played during the firework spectacular and many of the fireworks burst into orange, green, and purple to provide a nice “Halloween” effect to the usual classic fireworks.  Although the firework show is spectacular, you should note that Magic Kingdom fireworks can be enjoyed outside the park.  If you choose to forgo MNSSHP, you can see the firework show (and hear the music) from the resorts along the 7 Seas Lagoon as well as from the boat dock at the TTC.  If you happen to plan your trip at a time that MNSSHP occurs on multiple nights, you can always come back for a 2nd night and watch the show outside the park.

#3 – Boo to You Parade – The parade is truly original.  As a matter of fact, I would say that the parade is my single most favorite parade at Disney world and it also the reason I look forward to the party the most.  Since the parade only last a small portion of the night, I do not believe I can justify the price of attendance for the parade alone, but it is defiantely a highlight of the night.  The gravediggers are one of my favorite groups in the parade, as well as the hitchhiking ghost.  Truly a site to be seen

mnsshp12#4 -Hocus Pocus Villain Spelltacular – The mischievous Sanderson Sisters from Disney’s Hocus Pocus return to the mortal world to throw a Halloween party. The event combines Dr. Facilier, Oogie Boogie, Maleficent and other great Disney villains with amazing dancers, wild visual projections and otherworldly special effects.  This stage show occurs several times on the main stage in front of the castle and is a sight to be seen.

#5 – Candy – Since you can get candy anywhere, I guess it is not really a reason to attend the party.  But trick-or-treating in the Magic Kingdom, as you walk throughout the park definitely adds to the Halloween spirit and fun of the party.

#6 – Rides – I personally would not pay extra to ride the rides during the party, but some do think it is totally worth it.  Since most guest agree with my philosophy the line ques for the rides are usually empty. If you love to ride the rides with just about zero wait, you can have a great time riding over and over again.  Given the number of guest that have paid to participate in Disney’s new morning and nighttime exclusive ride time events, I believe some may put this higher on the list of reasons to attend the party.

Reasons you should not attend the party

mnsshp5#1 – Really the one and only reason to not attend the party is the price.  Most people that vacation at Disney stay for several days or even a week or more.  Once you buy tickets for 3 or 4 days to Disney World, to add an additional day to the park usually only adds $20-$30 to the price.  The price of the Party (Party Prices Here) can range from $62-$105 dollars.  Given the other expenses that you can occur on a Disney trip, the party can be one thing that you may determine that you can do without.  If you have never been to Disney World, or you have not been in a very long time, you will likely enjoy your time in the parks and not even know what you missed at the party.  If you have been to Disney World several times and never experienced a party, you should probably try it at least once.

Bottom Line – It is really a good idea to try to attend a party at least once, whether it be MNSSHP or MVMCP.  While the Christmas theme is very special, the Halloween Party is a little more unique in my opinion.

General Party Tips

MNSSHP officially begins at 7PM, but you can enter the park at 4PM.  Some people have different ideas on how to plan a party day.  Many will rest and not even go to the parks the day of the party.  Since the party is a separate ticket.  You can save a day on your park tickets by waiting until 4 to arrive and rest by the pool earlier in the day.  Also, if you are a big fan of characters, it is best to spend time waiting in a popular character line before the party starts.  Hopefully you can be one of the first to see the character and still have 5 more hours to have fun.

In all the parties I have attended, most of the guest get worn out well before the party ends at midnight.  If you rest and prepare properly, you can see a lot of characters, ride several rides, or get tons of candy in the last hour of the party after the final parade is complete.  If you notice any character lines are extremely long, it may be best to come back near the end of the party if you do not mind taking the risk of missing them.

Disney Signs!!!

August 26, 2016 • Tory

Mickey SignI have to admit, this is a complete departure from a typical Mouse Guide To Walt post.  While 90% of the information provided pertains to Walt Disney World, we all must admit we all have a dorky side when it comes to Disney.  Most of us are truly Disney fanatics.  While others tend to share their Mickey cookie jars and Mickey shower curtains in the several Disney Facebook groups that I am a member of, I think I am a little proud to share my rather original Disney dorky side.  Disney Birthday signs.

Background Story

Minnie sign2Back in April, my wife told me that she saw a facebook post in a classified group about becoming an affiliate for a company that did “yard signs.”  Although I was not convinced that this was a really popular idea, the initial investment was rather small and I was convinced that recovering the investment should not be too hard.  I told her to go ahead and give it a try.  As a stay at home mom, with 4 kids, it was the perfect opportunity that would allow her to be there for the kids during the day and run a business at night.  It has been a lot of fun and quite popular.  Then our Disney dorky side kicked in.  My wife asked the owners/headquarters why they did not have Mickey and Minnie signs.  We received a proof the next day, and less than a week later, Mickey and Minnie arrived in the mail.  Prior to receiving Mickey and Minnie, there were a few other “Disney like” characters that were already available.  My wife has really enjoyed being the “sign fairy” as many call her.  Just imagine playing Santa Claus every night.  Although we have put out several Anna & Elsa birthday signs, I am still awaiting the first person to request that we surprise their family with a “We Are Going to Disney World” sign.

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Sign Gypsies Information

This little company was started about 4 years ago in the Dallas area by two ladies.  When my wife purchased her franchise in April – Sign Gypsies Humble & Kingwood, there were only about 7-10 franchise locations.  There are now over 40 locations.  Most locations are in Texas, but Louisiana now has quite a few affiliates as well.  There is also a single affiliate in Alabama, Georgia, and Pennsylvania.  If you live in a location with an affiliate, you should consider having them set up a “We Are Going To Disney World” sign next time you want to surprise your family.  If there is not an affiliate in your area, feel free to consider starting one.  Start up cost is relatively inexpensive compared to most affiliate business cost.  Also, feel free to contact  Sign Gypsies Humble & Kingwood via facebook if you would like to learn more.

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New Bus Service to Disney Springs

August 25, 2016 • Tory

Many Disney guest have waited very patiently for several years, as Downtown Disney was transformed into the “NEW” Disney Springs.  Parking was rather challenging at Downtown Disney before there was any construction.  The construction made parking so difficult, that many avoided the area completely.  With almost all updates now complete, and almost all stores officially open, Disney Springs is truly a beautiful place, and the parking is definitely much better,

For even greater convenience, Disney has announced, Beginning August 28 2016, there will be a new direct bus service from all Walt Disney World theme parks to Disney Springs from 4pm to 11pm  (or until 2 hours following park close, whichever is earlier) daily.The new service is one-way only, meaning to return to a theme park, guests will need to first go to a Walt Disney World Resort hotel, and then transfer to a park bus from there. Disney Springs recently opened its new bus terminal, which has much more capacity than the old Downtown Disney stops, and drops guests off right in the center of Disney Springs.

What do you think about the new Disney Springs?  Please comment below!

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Why Has Summer Attendance Been Down?

August 21, 2016 • Tory

As a follow to the article that was posted just a week ago, Cost Cutting, Attendance Dropping – Is Disney too Expensive?, there was a great article posted this morning by the Tampa Bay Times in which SeaWorld Entertainment CEO Joel Manby said “We have a Florida problem, not a SeaWorld Orlando problem.”  SeaWorld saw attendance growth in California and Texas, but the opposite in Florida.

frozen ever after5With gas prices down and the new Soarin’ film along with the new Frozen ride, analyst predicted another record-setting year in attendance.  So what was the cause of the slow attendance?  One or two bad news stories could turn away a few visitors, but probably not enough to make a difference; but 3 bad news stories in one week?  Let’s take a look at the different factors that caused lower attendance (not just at Disney, but in all Orlando parks):

  1. Shooting death of Voice singer Christina Grimmie at a local venue.
  2. Massacre at the Pulse nightclub.
  3. Fatal alligator attack on a child at Disney World.
  4. Soft economies in Latin America, especially Brazil.
  5. Brexit may have taken a hit on international tourism.
  6. Mosquitoes carrying the Zika virus.

Even though one single event may not have held back travelers, the combination of two or three likely had some potential visitors making second guesses about their plans.

soarinMark Bonn, a professor who researches tourism at Florida State University’s School of Hospitality, said visitors likely didn’t notice if there was a slight downturn as they waited two hours to see Elsa and Anna at Epcot. The state is coming off five straight years of record tourism, with 105 million visitors in 2015.

“Is being flat in a state where you are at capacity a bad thing?” Bonn said.

For the last few years, Bonn has cautioned about the negative consequences of growth for its own sake. There are diminishing returns in breaking attendance records, he said. It’s the old Yogi Berra joke: Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.

Although Disney only “officially” reaches capacity on two or three days a year (usually between Christmas and New Years), when they have to deny entry to additional guest as a result of fire code; one has to wonder what “capacity” means to guest that will begin to turn away due to over crowding.  It would suggest that Disney is concerned about this factor as well and may help explain the additional “exclusive” events, as well as the peak season ticket prices.  New this year, Disney has added  extra “exclusive” morning events, as well as additional evening events to help guest feel like they have Magic Kingdom all to themselves. Disney has even experimented with this at Hollywood Studios as well. Disney has a plan to increase crowds during slow season and maybe even turn some people away from the busier times of the year.  Disney keeps pushing the limits with the annual ticket price increases, and guest respond by coming more than they ever have before ( If that is not a great problem to have).

A slight drop in attendance this year should really not be a big concern disney hollywoodafter record attendance year over year.  With a new Soarin film and the opening of Frozen in EPCOT, guest had a little to look forward to this year, but not quite the expectations that have been set for future years.  Looking forward guest will get to look to Rivers of Lights finally having its debut, a 45th Anniversary celebration, likely a new night-time parade at Magic Kingdom, Star Wars Land, Toy Story Land, Avatar Land, as well as a few new offerings likely at EPCOT as well.

Even with the slight dip in attendance, revenue is still up for Disney.  Looking to grow bigger and bigger each year, the sky is the limit for Disney.  As seen in prior years, there will be many who complain : prices are too high, crowds are too big, too many old rides, too many new rides, stop changing the parks, and Walt is rolling over in his grave.  But with all the complaints, and higher ticket prices, guest still keep coming back at record rates, and spending at record rates.  I do not think Disney’s growth will be slowing down anytime soon, if anything, it may pick up.  Has anyone heard of “the fifth theme park?”  There has been no rumors lately (as there have been in the past), but I guarantee there is room on the property.  With all the updates, expansions, and new lands already announced, it might take some time before Disney considers a 5th theme park.  But with the crowds continuing to come year after year, where will Disney put them?  For anyone who was able to attend as a kid, and now bring have their own kids to bring to the park – Do the parks look different to you?  What do you think Disney will look like for our grandkids?