By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2019, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.

Category — w. Most Recent Stuff

New Disney World Summer Room Rate and Gift Card Deal


Disney World announced an offer this morning that over part of its dates involves both a room rate discount and a gift card. The overall offer is for May 28 through August 28, and needs to be booked by August 28.

Those who book this offer for arrivals May 28 to June 30, 2019, will receive both a room rate discount and a Disney Gift Card at check-in. Those whose arrival is after June 30 will get just a room rate discount.

Details on the offer are here.

The value of the Disney Gift Card will vary based on resort type:

  • Disney Deluxe Villa Resorts: $25 per room per night
  • Disney Deluxe Resorts: $20 per room per night
  • Disney Moderate Resorts: $15 per room per night
  • Disney Value Resorts: $10 per room per night

Room rate savings vary by resort:


Kelly, the long-time travel agent partner of this site, can try to book you into this deal—subject to availability. Contact her using the form below.

Kelly will be tied up moving her already eligible clients into the deal this morning, so please be patient with her getting back to you today!

A couple of other current deals expire at later this week (on April 27) so more deals may come out soon! You’ll be able to find any new Disney World deals here after they come out.


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April 24, 2019   No Comments

New Disney World Summer Free Meal Deal


A new deal for summer stays in certain Disney World value and moderate resorts came out this morning. It needs to be booked by June 30, 2019, and includes stays with arrival dates “most nights” May 28 through August 21st.

The deal requires full rates be paid for rooms and tickets, and offers one quick-service meal per person per night booked. As I write this minimum room nights and ticket days are unclear. It looks like 4 nights and five ticket days, but sometimes these items are “examples,” not minimums.

I’m in a couple of board committee meetings at my day job this morning, but should have more clarity on these minimums this afternoon. Disney’s material on this offer is here.

Resorts excluded from this offer are at the values All-Star Movies and the Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation, and at the moderates, Port Orleans French Quarter.

Savings depend on family size and ages. For a four person family with one kid younger than ten, the savings would be on the order of $55 to $75 per day. At the low end at the least expensive value resorts, that’s on the order of 30% off standard room prices for this example family. Younger families and/or smaller families and/or families staying at more expensive resorts will save less as a percentage of room rates.

Kelly, the long-time travel agent partner of this site, can try to book you into this deal—subject to availability. Contact her using the form below.

Kelly will be tied up moving her already eligible clients into the deal this morning, so please be patient with her getting back to you today!

A couple of other current deals expire at later this week (on April 27) so more deals may come out soon! You’ll be able to find any new Disney World deals here after they come out.


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April 24, 2019   No Comments

Updated 2019 Disney World Crowd Forecasts and Week Rankings

I’ve just revised my 2019 Disney World Crowd Calendar,  and–because crowds are a big part of it–also my 2019 Disney World week rankings.

These revisions were based on two things—the partial opening of Star Wars on August 29, and my new information on actual 2019 fall breaks.

Weeks affected by forecast crowd level changes were those starting 8/24/19 (the week of the partial opening) through 10/26/19. The opening date for the rest of Galaxy’s Edge, once announced, may require me to revise the later among these, and the later weeks of 2019, yet another time.

The basic approach I take to crowd forecasting is Bayesian:

  • I use my knowledge of how crowds have varied over the course of the year to set my priors—I’ve been doing this for a decade now, so have a pretty good set of priors.
  • I then gather new, relevant, future-oriented information, apply judgment and parallel examples to it, and then as needed revise my priors.

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April 22, 2019   No Comments

Hollywood Studios During the Crisis: Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway Delayed Until Spring 2020

“The only end of writing is to enable readers better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.” –Samuel Johnson


In another surprise, although rumored for a while, Disney (in an oh-by-the-way style) announced late last week that the new ride being developed in the old Great Movie Ride space at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, Mickey and Minnie’s Runaway Railway, would have its opening shifted from this fall to the spring of 2020.

The immediate concern of everyone was the impact on crowds at Disney’s Hollywood Studios after the partial opening of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge in late August.  The widespread perspective is that Disney needs another high capacity attraction to give the crowds drawn by Galaxy’s Edge something else to do besides building up the lines of the currently existing rides and shows.

But on reflection, I can think of a couple of ways that this decision might actually be good for lines at Hollywood Studios (other than in Galaxy’s Edge).  [Read more →]

April 21, 2019   3 Comments

A Friday Visit with Jim Korkis: David John Marley on the Jungle Cruise

Welcome back to Fridays with Jim Korkis! Jim, the dean of Disney historians, writes about Walt Disney World history every Friday on


By Jim Korkis

Walt Disney once famously said that it takes people to make the dream a reality, and that is certainly true of the cast members who work at the Disney theme parks. In fact, for some attractions like the Haunted Mansion and the Tower of Terror, the personalities of the individual cast members add tremendously to the overall experience.

However, the one attraction that has always been dependent upon the personality of a cast member is the iconic Jungle Cruise in Adventureland. It is infamous for its bad puns and corny jokes that developed almost from the opening of the ride in 1955.

Being a Jungle Cruise skipper is considered one of the prime and most coveted positions for a cast member.

David John Marley was a Disneyland skipper on the Jungle Cruise for three years. Currently, he is a professor at California State University, Fullerton with a background in history.

He had the idea to contact dozens of former Jungle Cruise skippers who worked the attraction over six decades to create an anecdotal oral history recounting humorous and horrific tales of working on the ride. The result is a fascinating and entertaining glimpse into the life of a Disney cast member.

Some former skippers asked that they remain anonymous as they shared their tales, but the overwhelming majority are identified by their entire name and by decade. Interestingly, some of the current skippers had to have their thoughts reviewed by Disney Media Relations.

The book is divided into twenty-three short chapters devoted to different topics from training to interactions with guests to accidents and much more. Each chapter is filled with many different skippers offering a paragraph or two discussing their personal experiences about that topic.

Marley allows each participant to tell their own story without any interjection from himself. However, Marley does share a few of his own stories just like the other skippers.

Not all of the memories are memorable, or in some cases even that interesting, but those that aren’t help provide a wider perspective, and make those that are amusing stand out even more.

Those funny moments run the gamut from the clueless questions asked by guests (“Is that water real?” “Where is Adventureland?”) to the various pranks devised by the skippers (like the five gallon jug of liquid soap that was dumped into the water, transforming the river into a bubble bath, or the skipper who showed up in the elephant bathing pool one trip wearing just his boxer shorts and holding a bar of soap).

Marley even had Jason Schultz from the Richard Nixon Presidential Library dig out information about a former skipper, Ron Ziegler, who later became Nixon’s press secretary.

The book was so well received that a sequel following the same format, More Skipper Tales, was released in December 2018.

Thankfully, these books debunk the theory that what happens in the jungle stays in the jungle.

*  *  *  *  *

Thanks, Jim! And come back next Friday for more from Jim Korkis!

In the meantime, check out his books, including his latest,  The Vault of Walt Volume 7: Christmas Edition, and his Secret Stories of Walt Disney World: Things You Never You Never Knew, which reprints much material first written for this site, all published by Theme Park Press.


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April 19, 2019   No Comments

Next Week (April 20 through April 28, 2019) at Walt Disney World


The material below details next week’s Disney World operating hours, Extra Magic Hours, parades, and fireworks.

For for more on April 2019 at Disney World, see this.


The Magic Kingdom will be open from 8a to 12MN 4/20, 9a-12MNp 4/21, 8a to 12MN 4/22 through 4/25, 9a-12MNp 4/26, 8a to 12MN 4/27, and 9a-10p 4/28

Epcot will be open from 9a-9p every day

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be open from 9a-8.30p 4/20 through 4/27 and 9a-9p 4/28

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be open from 9a-9.30p 4/20 through 4/26, 8a-9.30p 4/27, and 9a-9.30p 4/28


Saturday 4/20 Morning: Animal Kingdom Evening: none

Sunday 4/21  Morning:  Hollywood Studios Evening: none

Monday 4/22 Morning: Animal Kingdom Evening: none

Tuesday 4/23 Morning: none Evening: Epcot

Wednesday 4/24 Morning:  none Evening: Magic Kingdom

Thursday 4/25 Morning: Epcot Evening: none

Friday 4/26 Morning:  Hollywood Studios Evening: none

Saturday 4/27 Morning: Animal Kingdom  Evening: none

Sunday 4/28 Morning:  Hollywood Studios  Evening: none


The Magic Kingdom: Afternoon parade: 3p every day


Happily Ever After at Magic Kingdom 9.15p 4/20 through 4/27 ; 9p 4/28

IllumiNations at Epcot: 9p every night

Fantasmic at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 8.30p 4/20 through 4/27; 9p 4/28

Star Wars Show and Fireworks at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 9p 4/20 through 4/27; 9.30p 4/28

Rivers of Light at Disney’s Animal Kingdom:  8.30 and 9.30p every night


See Steve Soares’ site here. Click the park names at its top for show schedules.

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April 18, 2019   No Comments