Category — p. News and Changes
MEET THE AUTHORS
Co-author Josh and I will be doing a meet-up and book signing Saturday January 28 at Epcot.
We’ll be outside the main pyramid in Mexico on the right from 1p to 2p (or until the crowds go away) and would love to say hi and sign your copy of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017.
For your own copy of the 2017 edition of the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever (ever!), click here.
PRO BOWL AT DISNEY WORLD
That’s the same period that for the first time the Pro Bowl will be in Orlando, with many festivities in Disney World, especially at ESPN but also at Magic Kingdom and Disney Springs.
Here’s the current scoop on what’s going on with the Pro Bowl at Disney World:
To actually see practices or the skills showdown, go here to get tickets.
The tickets are free and are just a way of limiting access to capacity. Note that Saturday the 28th is already sold out, so just come to the meet-up. You don’t need tickets for the “Pro Bowl Experience” fan zone.
In addition there’s a parade of players Friday at the Magic Kingdom—no details yet—and something at Disney Springs, possibly late night player sightings at Raglan Road or, more likely, STK.
Younger son and I will be doing most of these experiences so we can review them for you in case you want to try them out next year. (Older son can’t make it because he’s too busy BECAUSE HE WON A TICKET TO THE SUPER BOWL.)
It’s hard to say what impact the Pro Bowl and associated festivities will have on the parks that week—the best guess is little, except for Friday at the Magic Kingdom and the roads around ESPN Wide World of Sports. (We’re at Art of Animation most nights, so are theoretically within walking distance, although I don’t recall any sidewalks on Victory Way.)
The Pro Bowl fan events and practices at ESPN and parade at Magic Kingdom obviously makes a Disney World visit a little more attractive that week for some football fans, and if it gets the rep of being fun, may make that week a bit more of a target next year. That’s’ why I’m going—to see for myself so I can offer guidance for next year.
ALTERNATIVES TO EPCOT’S FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS
Over that weekend I’ll also be seeing Epcot’s new International Festival of the Arts, which occurs Fridays to Mondays until February 20th. This looks, so far, more promising than I’d thought it would, and after the visit I’ll let you know what I think.
However, you can do your own Festival of the Arts at home—grab some Triscuits and pimento cheese, and settle down with a copy of The Walt Disney Film Archives.
Wildly expensive at 135 bucks on Amazon, this huge (I put the playing card on it for scale, and had to reorganize one of my bookshelves to fit it), 14 pound book is the most beautiful book on the classic animated films you’ll find, and despite the tiny type, my favorite Disney-related book in years.
I’ll post more on this amazing book later, but in the meantime, just trust me and get it.
DISNEY AFTER HOURS
Friday night the 27th we’ll be doing the Disney After Hours event, an expensive way to see a bunch of Magic Kingdom rides with hardly any waits.
Not something I’d recommend for first-timers, this event is well worth it for returning visitors who can stay up through it, especially on nights Magic Kingdom closes at 8p, or if they’ve otherwise blown their Disney World visit hanging around at ESPN.
It’s currently on the calendar for multiple Thursday and Friday nights into early March—specifically, January 20 and 27, February 2, 9, and 16, and March 2 and 9.
See this for how it went in 2016.
THIS AND THAT
January 15, 2017 No Comments
Since it opened, this site has helped more than 10 million people. Among the reactions:
- “This site is astonishingly helpful…Highly recommended!” –Lee Cockerell, Former Executive Vice President, Operations, Walt Disney World® Resort, and author of Creating Magic
- “Great site! Keep up the good work!”–Len Testa, co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2017
- “Insightful, no-nonsense advice for both novice and repeat visitors!” –Julie Neal, author of The Complete Walt Disney World 2017
- “The premier website for first time visitors to Walt Disney World!” –Steve Bell, webmaster, MilitaryDisneyTips.com
- “The most valuable Disney World site on the web!”—Lee
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I am a frequent visitor to the “happiest place on earth”, and have become very knowledgeable about planning, visiting, eating, avoiding crowds and lines, how to use EMHs to our advantage, etc, and know the parks like my own neighborhood.
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January 8, 2017 No Comments
Here are the winners of the giveaway of the free signed copies of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2017–the best reviewed Disney World guidebook ever:
I had planned to pick only three winners on the merits, but the comments were so great is was hard for me to stop at even six!
And if you didn’t win, don’t despair.
- First, if you book your trip using Kelly B as your travel agent, you get a free copy–plus her terrific and sweet help in making all your arrangements
- Second, co-author Josh and I will be doing another giveaway later this month, this time of books signed by BOTH of us, thus either doubling or halving their value! Stay tuned, more details to come.
The actual winning comments:
January 3, 2017 No Comments
Several new Walt Disney World discounts for late February into early June came out this morning. The later April through June dates are a new offer.
If you book your vacation through partner and friend of this site Kelly B as your travel agent, she will figure out the best deal for you!! Contact her Kelly@DestinationsInFlorida.com!
The most understandable part of the deal is a room rate deal, which has various levels of discounts by room class, date of booking, and period of stay.
DISNEY VALUE RESORT DEALS
Value resort deals exclude–as usual–Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation.
DISNEY MODERATE RESORT DEALS
Port Orleans French Quarter is excluded from the deal among the moderates, and deals at Riverside are slender.
DISNEY DELUXE RESORT DEALS
All of the Disney deluxes are in the deal, although savings range from 10% of to 25%.
DISNEY DVC RESORT DEALS
Bay Lake Tower and the Villas at the Grand Floridian are excluded from the DVC resorts on offer, and at the Polynesian Villas and Bungalows, only Studios are in the deal.
December 28, 2016 No Comments
(For the first page of this review of Kidani Village, see this.)
PHOTO TOUR OF A REFURBED STUDIO AT KIDANI VILLAGE
Kidani Village has four room types–Studios, One Bedroom Villas, Two Bedroom Villas, and Grand Villas.
In some two Bedroom Villas, the Studio is the second bedroom. These are called “lock-offs.” In others, built from the start as Two Bedroom Villas, and called “dedicated,” the second bedroom is a little different than a Studio. In these,
- The kitchenette is replaced with a second closet, and the wardrobe is replaced with a storage bench
- There’s no entry to the outside hall from the second bedroom
- Instead of a queen and a fold out couch, you get two queens
All Kidani rooms are seeing a minor refurb–this is expected to be completed in early 2017. I stayed in refurbed Studios twice in later 2016, and the images of this photo tour are from those visits.
You enter a Studio from the hall or, if in a lock-off, either from the hall or from a door near the connecting One Bedroom Villa’s kitchen.
The entry from the hall.
One side of the entry has a mini-kitchen and a small closet.
The mini kitchen has a coffee maker, toaster, microwave and mini-fridge.
The supplies that come with it.
The mini fridge.
The small closet–there’s another clothes storage space in a wardrobe in the main part of the room.
Across the hall you’ll find the divided bath, with the sink…
…and tub/shower on one side…
…and a toilet in its own space on the other. I think a better way to have divided this bath would have been to have put the tub and the toilet into their own private space, keeping only the sink in the other space.
Deeper in the room you’ll find on one side a queen and a fold-out sofa.
A closer view of the queen.
This side from the back.
Between the bed and sofa is this small bedside table, with a bit of storage and also added power points.
The sofa folds out into a bed which I measured as 60 inches wide by 79 inches long. The cushion is only around three inches deep, so I would not plan to sleep adults or larger kids on it.
The coffee table is split, making its parts easier to move when you need to unfold the bed, and I suppose also more flexible.
The other side of the room has a wardrobe, TV/dresser combo, and table and chairs.
This side from the back.
The wardrobe, when combined with the small entry closet, creates plenty of hanging room.
A closer look at the dresser/TV combo.
The dresser has plenty of storage for the four people this space fits…
…and also has two sets of added power points, left and right.
The last furnishing on this side is a table and chairs.
Each bay at Kidani Village has access to a balcony–given how much fun it is to watch the animals in the savannas from the balconies, this is a great feature.
This review continues here!
December 18, 2016 No Comments
Sanaa, the great table service restaurant at Kidani Village, has been serving counter service breakfast for a couple for months now, and I had a chance to check it out in mid-November.
Kidani Village is a DVC property with much going for it, but until recently it was weak on dining options at lunch and especially at breakfast.
Until Sanaa opened for breakfast, morning options included
- Walking, taking the shuttle, or taking the bus to the dining options at the main Animal Kingdom Lodge
- Making breakfast in your room–studios have a mini fridge, coffee maker, toaster and microwave, and villas have full kitchens
The gift shop is pretty well stocked with food.
A couple of months ago, however, Sanaa opened up for breakfast in counter service style.
Basically, breakfast is a set of grab and go options plus some hot meals. You can combine both, and eat them either in Sanaa or back in your room.
Here’s the menu for the hot items (click it to enlarge it):
You enter, and grab anything you want from the grab and go stations:
Bring these to the register…
…and at the register order any hot meals you want.
Pay, and you’ll get a numbered animal that you take with you to whatever open table you want. Your hot meals will then be delivered to your table, as identified by the number on your animal.
Both my visits were a little after 9a (breakfast is served 7a-10a) and at both most interior tables were empty, and about half of the windows tables were available:
Among the menu options, I tried the Savanna Platter…
…and the Safari Waffle.
Each was excellent. The Safari Waffle was out within six minutes, but a kitchen snafu (they had my ticket as number 0, not number 50) with the platter meant it took almost half an hour–it was fine when it did come out, though.
The set-up through ordering has more of an air of slapped-together than I’d really like, driven, I imagine, by the need to create a temporary grab and go and ordering area in the morning, and then having it disappear in time for the table-service lunch.
But once you are at your table, and have your food, all is well, and if you have a window table, you’ll get views like these:
It is a great convenience however, making up for one of Kidani’s notable weaknesses, so if you are staying at Kidani, give it a try!
While on the topic of dining at Kidani, I should also note that I found the Samawati Springs pool food menu more expansive than at my last visit (or maybe I just didn’t notice it).
Here it is–click it to enlarge it!
Kidani used to have two major issues: weak breakfast and lunch counter service offerings, and long walks (up to a quarter of a mile each way) from its furthest rooms to its central services.
Sanaa breakfast, and the entree options on the pool menu, go a long way to fixing the first issue, so I hope the Sanaa breakfast continues!
December 5, 2016 No Comments