For my thoughts on the re-opening of Walt Disney World, see this.


By the co-author of The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020, the best-reviewed Disney World guidebook series ever.

Available on Amazon here.

(As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)





Category — Uncategorized

Next Week (May 7 through May 15, 2022) at Walt Disney World

DISNEY WORLD NEXT WEEK: MAY 7 TO MAY 15, 2022

The material below details next week’s Disney World operating hours, parades, early entry, extended evening hours, and fireworks.

OPERATING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 5/7-5/15/22

Magic Kingdom will be open from 9a-11p 5/7, 9a-10p 5/8, 9a-11p 5/9 through 5/14, and 9a-4.30p 5/15

Epcot will be open from 8.30a-9p every day

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be open from 8a-9p 5/7, and 8.30a-9p 5/8 through 5/15

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be open from  7.30a-8.30p 5/7 through 5/14, and 7.30a-8p 5/15

EARLY ENTRY AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 5/7-5/15/22

  • Magic Kingdom: every morning
  • Epcot: every morning
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: every morning
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom: every morning

EXTENDED EVENING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 5/7-5/15/22

  • Epcot: 5/9
  • Magic Kingdom 5/11

PARADES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 5/7-5/15/22

Magic Kingdom’s afternoon Festival of Fantasy parade will show at noon and 3p every day

FIREWORKS AND EVENING SHOWS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 5/7-5/15/22

  • At Magic Kingdom, the Disney Enchantment evening show is scheduled at 9p 5/7 through 5/14
  • At Epcot, the Epcot evening show Harmonious is scheduled at 9p every night
  • At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, a minor evening show, Wonderful World of Animation, is scheduled at 9p every night. An even more minor evening show, Disney Movie Magic, shows at 8.40p every night.

SHOW SCHEDULES FOR WALT DISNEY WORLD 5/7-5/15/22

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

 

 

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May 5, 2022   No Comments

Off Day Disney World Genie+ Itinerary

(Note: this is from the Disney World Genie+ Itinerary.)

THURSDAY AGENDA

You have today off to sleep in, goof off, go elsewhere.

I expect that in later iterations of this itinerary, when character dining is more in its pre-COVID style, and/or when Guardians of the Galaxy and Tron have opened, that this day will become a park day.

PREVIEW OF TOMORROW

Tomorrow, you complete your visit to Magic Kingdom, with an early start.

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March 24, 2022   No Comments

Next Week (March 5 through March 13, 2022) at Walt Disney World

DISNEY WORLD NEXT WEEK: MARCH 5 TO MARCH 13, 2022

The material below details next week’s Disney World operating hours, parades, early entry, extended evening hours, and fireworks.

OPERATING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 3/5-3/13/22

Magic Kingdom will be open from 9a-10p 3/5, 9a-11p 3/6 through 3/12, and 9a-10p 3/13

Epcot will be open from 8.30a through 9p every day

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be open from 9a-9p 3/5 and 8.30a-9p 3/6 through 3/13

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be open from 8a-8p 3/5, and 7.30a-8.30p 3/6 through 3/13

EARLY ENTRY AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 3/5-3/13/22

  • Magic Kingdom: every morning
  • Epcot: every morning
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: every morning
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom: every morning

EXTENDED EVENING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 3/5-3/13/22

  • Magic Kingdom: 3/9
  • Epcot: 3/7

PARADES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 3/5-3/13/22

Magic Kingdom’s afternoon Festival of Fantasy parade will return March 9, 2022. Disney’s scheduling website is acting up, but it is expected to show at 11.30a and 2.30p 3/9 through 3/12, and 12 noon and 3p 3/13

FIREWORKS AND EVENING SHOWS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 3/5-3/13/22

  • At Magic Kingdom, the Disney Enchantment evening show is scheduled for 8p 3/5 through 3/12 and 9p 3/13
  • At Epcot, the Epcot evening show Harmonious is scheduled at 9p every night
  • At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, a minor evening show, Wonderful World of Animation, is scheduled at 9p every night. An even more minor evening show, Disney Movie Magic, shows at 8.40p every night

SHOW SCHEDULES FOR WALT DISNEY WORLD 3/5-3/13/22

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

 

 

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March 3, 2022   No Comments

Next Week (January 8 through January 16, 2022) at Walt Disney World

DISNEY WORLD NEXT WEEK: JANUARY 8 TO JANUARY 16, 2022

The material below details next week’s Disney World operating hours, parades, early entry, extended evening hours, and fireworks.

OPERATING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 1/8-1/16/22

Magic Kingdom will be open from 9a-10p 1/8, 9a-8p 1/9, 9a-9p 1/10 through 1/14, and 9a-10p 1/15 and 1/16

Epcot will be open from 9a-9p 1/8, and 10a-9p 1/9 through 1/16

Disney’s Hollywood Studios will be open from 9a-9p every day

Disney’s Animal Kingdom will be open from 8a-8p 1/8, 9a-7p 1/9 through 1/13, 8a-7p 1/14 and 8a-8p 1/15 and 1/16

EARLY ENTRY AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 1/8-1/16/22

  • Magic Kingdom: every morning
  • Epcot: every morning
  • Disney’s Hollywood Studios: every morning
  • Disney’s Animal Kingdom: every morning

EXTENDED EVENING HOURS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 1/8-1/16/22

  • Magic Kingdom: 1/12
  • Epcot: 1/10

PARADES AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 1/8-1/16/22

There will be no parades. Magic Kingdom’s afternoon Festival of Fantasy parade will return in later 2022

FIREWORKS AND EVENING SHOWS AT WALT DISNEY WORLD 1/8-1/16/22

  • At Magic Kingdom, the Disney Enchantment evening show is scheduled for 8p every night
  • At Epcot, the Epcot evening show Harmonious is scheduled at 9p every night
  • At Disney’s Hollywood Studios, a minor evening show, Wonderful World of Animation, is scheduled at 9p every night. An even more minor evening show, Disney Movie Magic, shows at 8.40p every night

SHOW SCHEDULES FOR WALT DISNEY WORLD 1/8-1/16/22

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

 

 

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January 6, 2022   No Comments

Dining at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

(For the first page of this review of Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, see this.)

DINING AT DISNEY’S CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort has always had a wider range of dining options than any other Disney World moderate resort, and added even more in July 2019. In dining, it now far outclasses the other moderates, and is comparable to several deluxes.

Dining options are in four areas.

  • Gran Destino Tower offers a new table service venue, Toledo, and two new bars, Dahlia Lounge and Barcelona Lounge, each of which also serves hot food. Barcelona Lounge during the daytime does double duty as a coffee shop with various simple breakfast options.
  • Also new, over the water between the Casitas, Ranchos, and Dig Site, is the Three Bridges Bar and Grill, which combines a table service venue with a small bar.
  • In El Centro are two table service venues, a counter-service option, and a grab and go coffee shop.
  • It shares with Caribbean Beach the distinct position among the moderates of having hot food at the main pool bar, and it has a more extensive room-service menu than any other moderate, although the room service menu is weaker than it used to be.

Coronado Springs also has six bars–two in Gran Destino, two in or near El Centro, one over the water, and one at the pool.

If you are counting, that adds up to four more bars than any other moderate, and three more table service venues than any other moderate.

DINING AT GRAN DESTINO TOWER AT CORONADO SPRINGS

The standout at the new in July 2019 Gran Destino Tower is Toledo, a sixteenth floor Spanish-influenced venue with some nice, though limited, views, of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Epcot.

Toledo specializes in steak, seafood, and small plates. The non-entrees are the stars–the appetizers, cazuelas, house boards, and pintxos.  Above are a couple of these, the stuffed piquillo peppers and the Spanish charcuterie, both of which were delightful.

The rooftop setting is lovely for a moderate–or any hotel, for that matter–but can get quite loud, so much so that I would not consider it a date night option.

Despite the noise, I enjoyed the hanger steak, served on a bed of crushed potatoes and with charred peppers, greens, and salsa verde mixed in.

Here’s the review from our book, The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020:

You can find the menu for Toledo on Disney’s website here.

Next to Toledo is the new bar, Dahlia Lounge.

Quite nice, it has both indoor and outdoor seating.

The view from outdoor seating at Dahlia Lounge. Just under the rail at almost the far left you can see Tower of Terror; the blue building just to its right is Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. The camera lens makes these appear farther away than they are–we are just over a half a mile away.

Dahlia Lounge also has an extensive food menu.  See it here. Above are the savory churros, which I kinda felt I had to order, but were a little disappointing–other than the presentation.

And by the way, if you, like me, are a tad empty in the head regarding just what is a Dahlia, above are some examples, courtesy of the Cuyahoga County Fair–my go-to source for Disney World questions. That said, the namesake of the bar is not a flower, but the love interest in the Disney-Salvador Dali collaboration Destino.

The third new option at Gran Destino is Barcelona Lounge.  This first floor space is on the way out to either the pools or El Centro, so it sees much traffic. While there is nothing wrong with it, during times both are open I can’t think of any reason to go here rather than the Dahlia Lounge.

Barcelona Lounge also serves hot food–the full afternoon and evening menu is here.

Not in the online menu (at least as I write this post) are the breakfast offerings–a range of cold and room temperature options like pastries and fruit plates, and also coffee drinks.

There’s no refillable mug station in Gran Destino–there should be–but there is a set of coffee urns off to the left (if you are facing the bar).

There’s an event lawn just outside the Barcelona Lounge. Above is a shot of it from my 8th floor room, while it is being set up for a wedding, which Disney would film for its “Fairytale Weddings” series. The Barcelona Lounge is just behind the left side of the picture.

The propinquity of this event space–and the presence of the Dahlia Lounge upstairs–makes me expect that at times the Barcelona Lounge will be closed for events.

THE THREE BRIDGES BAR AND GRILL AT CORONADO SPRINGS

Also new in July 2019–but not part of Gran Destino Tower–is the Three Bridges Bar & Grill.

This over-the-water venue on Lago Dorado is connected by three bridges–also new–that start from El Centro, the Casitas, and the Dig Site–shortening walks from the Casitas to the Dig Site in particular.

Among other Disney World resort venues, Three Bridges is most like Geyser Point at the Wilderness Lodge, with its views, and the fact that its sides are open to the weather. But it is larger than Geyser Point, and feels more like a restaurant than a bar–though besides tables, it does have a lot of lounge chairs that can do double duty as either bar-area or dining-area options, depending on how much dining is booked.

The night I dined here, dining was so heavily booked that bar guests literally could sit only at the small bar–although the cast member volunteered to move me to a table if one opened up.

I had the stuffed mushrooms appetizer, and the braised pork tacos entree.  Both were terrific.

Overall, Three Bridges Bar & Grill is the most comfortable (so long as the weather cooperates) and casual of the Coronado Springs table service venues, and has some pretty nice prices (the tacos were $13, and the mushrooms $12). That said, I could easily see it being a popular event space as well.

The Three Bridges Bar & Grill menu is here.

DINING IN EL CENTRO AT CORONADO SPRINGS

El Centro, between Gran Destino and the Casitas, has a gift shop where you can buy various shelf-stable and refrigerated snack sand such, and also a grab and go shop, a bar that doubles as a table service venue, a food court, another table service venue, and another bar outside along the lake.

Grab and Go Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The grab and go food shop offers pastries, coffee, soft drinks, and such, and can get quite crowded if a convention or meeting is happening.

Next to it is the food-court style El Mercado de Coronado, formerly Pepper Market, the “quick service” meal offering.

Food Stations Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The food stations used to be overly complicated, but fresh and interesting, making Pepper Market then the best food court among the moderates, though admittedly convoluted.  Now El Mercado de Coronado is much more like any other Disney World food court, with a bit of an added garnish of southwestern offerings and flavors.

Check Out Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Checkout and payment used to have a mystifying multi-step approach that garnered the envy of former Warsaw Pact customer service staff, but now is utterly simple. El Mercado de Coronado is now comparable to other moderate quick service offerings, a loss on the food front but a gain on the service and simplicity dimension.

The El Mercado de Coronado menu is here.

Maya Grill Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

There are two table service offerings in El Centro.  Best known of these two is the Maya Grill.

The Maya Grill review from The easy Guide to Your Walt Disney World Visit 2020:

The Maya Grill menu is here.

Las Ventanas Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Also available for dining is the Rix Sports Bar & Grill, offering a table service menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The Rix Sports Bar & Grill is in particular a great option for a hot breakfast that’s fresher than the cafeteria style offerings at EL Mercado. That’s the Chorizo Skillet, at $14 not wildly more expensive than a less tasty option at El Mercado.

The Rix Sports Bar & Grill menu is here.

Outdoor Bar Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

On the lake side of El Centro, you’ll find the last venue in the El Centro area, the Laguna Bar.

Because of its lakeside setting, Laguna used to the best bar among the moderates. However, it is now just the third or fourth best bar at Coronado Springs–a testimony to the quality and number of bars that opened here in July 2019.

Outdoors Disney's Coronado Springs Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Also here is lots of other outdoor seating.

DINING AT THE DIG SITE POOL AT CORONADO SPRINGS

The main pool bar, Siestas Cantina, is unique among the moderates in offering a hot menu.

One of my lunches-Carnitas Tacos–from Siestas Cantina, no longer on the menu.

Another more pedestrian lunch. As much as my co-author Josh is dubious about their actual ingredients, that Snake River Wagyu Hot Dog is quite good.

A perhaps more legible version of the menu is here.

ROOM SERVICE AT CORONADO SPRINGS

Coronado Springs used to offer the best room service menu among the moderates.

Above is the room service menu from as recently as April 2018.

The menu is much less interesting now…

…and food from it is presented unappealingly.

I expect that the demands of the meetings and conventions markets will force Coronado Springs to up its room service game.

THE POOLS AT DISNEY’S CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT

This review continues here!

TOPICS IN THIS REVIEW OF DISNEY’S CORONADO SPRINGS RESORT

OTHER KEY PAGES FOR WHERE TO STAY AT DISNEY WORLD

 

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August 14, 2019   No Comments

To-Do List: Disney World Extra Extra Magic Hours Itinerary

This To-Do List is for the Disney World Extra Extra Magic Hours ItineraryFor To-Do-Lists for other itineraries, see this.

(Note that a good travel agent, such as Kelly, the long time travel agent partner of this site, can do almost all of this for you, for free. Use the form at the bottom of the page to contact her.)

A. MORE THAN 180 DAYS BEFORE YOUR PLANNED ARRIVAL DATE

1. Confirm your budget, planned dates, intended hotel, kids’ development and heights, and your transportation choice and its availability for your planned dates.

2. Make your plane reservations, if flying. Make any other needed transportation arrangements.

3. Create your My Disney Experience account here and add your family members to it

4. Set up your hotel and tickets. Call 407-939-7675 (preferred, because this allows you to tell the reservationist which building at your resort you wish to be in), or click here to use Disney’s online system.  (Note: if your dates are later than what the online system permits, see this.)

  • If you are following my itinerary, you want the hotel you’ve picked for 8 nights, nine day no hopper tickets, the Dining Plan, and Disney’s Magical Express if you are flying
  • Itineraries other than mine will have different requirements here

B. 181 DAYS BEFORE YOUR ARRIVAL DATE

San Angel Inn at Epcot from yourfirstvisit.netDecide whether on your first night you’ll be dining at Akershus or the San Angel Inn. Akershus is a princess meal–you’ll have another princess meal at Cinderella’s Royal Table on Thursday.  If you really like princesses, do Akershus; otherwise, San Angel Inn is the better choice.

Login to your MyDisneyExperience.com account, click the “Things to Do” tab at top right, under Dining hit “Make Reservations,” and practice trying to reserve restaurants (hint: use the search box at the upper right).

This may well drive you crazy, but the site works better than it used to…

Collect your restaurant reservations together. You will want to do them online in order of hardest to reserve first. This is how they are listed below.

C. EXACTLY 6am EST, EXACTLY 180 DAYS BEFORE YOUR ARRIVAL DATE

(For an 180 day calendar, see this).

Be on the restaurant website by at least 5:50a EST, and have your Cindy reservation all set up on the page. Keep refreshing, as you will be let in as soon as Disney’s system decides it is 6a.

Make as many of the following as you have patience for (try to get through at least Tusker House), in the exact order listed–but note that sometimes the Rivers of Light Dining Package is not available until 90-120 days before:

  • Cinderella’s Royal Table Lunch (dining plan, two credits): Thursday at 11a or later if you can; earlier than 11 only if your sole option…
  • Hoop-Dee-Doo Revue (dining plan, two credits): Tuesday 6.15p show. The later time will keep you up later than you need to be, and the earlier time will cut into your afternoon–but it is the better choice if the 6.15 show is booked.
  • Chef Mickey’s (dining plan, one credit) Tuesday 11a.  Later is OK, but not a whole lot earlier–no earlier than 10.30a
  • Tusker House as Rivers of Light Dining Package (dining plan, one credit). First Sunday 5.30p or later. You can schedule for as late as Disney will allow you to do so, but not earlier than 5.30p
  • Crystal Palace (dining plan, one credit): Second Saturday 6p if you can; earlier OK, but not later
  • Akershus Banquet or San Angel Inn (dining plan, one credit): First Saturday 6p.  No later than 6.30p, but earlier is OK if your travel plans allow for an earlier arrival at Epcot.

For those you don’t make online, make them by calling call (407) WDW-DINE (939-3463)

D. 60 DAYS BEFORE YOUR ARRIVAL DATE

Liking the Name on This MagicBand

Note that you are booking your FastPass+ in two steps: first you are focusing on nailing the ones that are hardest to get, then second  you are going back to the beginning of your visit and adding the rest. This is because some FastPass+ are hard to get even at 60 days (because people whose 60 days opened a few days ago booked their FastPass+ for all their ticket days after that date, overlapping with your dates.)

1. Go to your MyDisneyExperience account at 7am and set up the following hard-to-get FastPass+, booking them in the order noted

  • Second Sunday at the Animal Kingdom: Avatar: Flight of Passage for 9.30 to 10.30a
  • Wednesday at Hollywood Studios: Slinky Dog Dash for 12-1p if you plan to do Savi’s Workshop, Oga’s Canteen, and/or the Droid factory; 2-3p if not
  • Monday at Hollywood Studios: Tower of Terror 9a-10a
  • First Saturday afternoon and evening at Epcot: Tier One: Frozen Ever After. Set the time for when your travel plans permit you to be in the park.

2. Second, continue with the rest (I’ve kept the ones above in this list so you can see the various times):

  • First Saturday afternoon and evening at Epcot: Tier One: Frozen Ever After. Tier Two: Spaceship Earth. The Tier One FastPass+ is your priority. Set the Tier Two times for when your travel plans permit you to be in the park. If you can book just one because of your travel schedule, choose Frozen Ever After
  • First Sunday at the Animal Kingdom: Na’vi River Journey, Finding Nemo: The Musical, and Kali River Rapids. Set Kali River Rapids for 2-3p, Nemo 3p-3.15p for the 3.30p show, and Na’vi for 4.30-5.30p
  • Monday at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Tier One: Tower of Terror. Tier Two: Star Tours and Frozen Sing-Along. Set Tower of Terror for 9a-10a, Star Tours for 10a-11a, and the Frozen Sing-Along for the first show available 11a or later, ideally 11-11.15a for the 11.30a show)
  • Tuesday at the Magic Kingdom: Space Mountain, Tomorrowland Speedway, and Jungle Cruise. Set Space Mountain for 8-9a, the Speedway for 9-10a, and Jungle Cruise for 10-11a.
  • Wednesday at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: Tier One: Slinky Dog Dash. Tier Two: Beauty and the Beast and Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular. Pre-book FastPass+ for Slinky Dog Dash (2-3p if you do not plan to pre-book Savi’s Workshop, Oga’s Cantina, and/or the Droid Factory; 12-1p if you do have plan to see them) and for the shows Beauty and the Beast and Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular.  Ideally, you will pick both the times and the order of the two shows so that you tap in for the second show as early in the afternoon as possible, so check both shows before booking either.
  • Thursday at the Magic Kingdom:  Peter Pan’s Flight, Enchanted Tales with Belle, and Haunted Mansion. Book Peter Pan before your Cinderella meal, and Enchanted Tales with Belle after–but not between the window of 1.45-2.45p (you will be watching the afternoon parade then).  Book Haunted Mansion for 3.30-4.30p
  • Friday at Epcot: Tier One: Test Track. Tier Two: Mission: SPACE and Turtle Talk with Crush. Set Mission: SPACE for 9a-10a, Test Track for 10a-11a, and Turtle Talk with Crush for 12.30p to 1.30p.
  • Second Saturday at the Magic Kingdom: Pirates of the Caribbean, Big Thunder Mountain, and a third ride. Set Big Thunder for 9-10a, and Pirates for 10-11a
  • Second Sunday at the Animal Kingdom: DINOSAUR, Avatar: Flight of Passage and Festival of the Lion King. Set DINOSAUR for 8a-9a, Flight of Passage for 9.30 to 10.30a, and Festival of the Lion King for 10.30-10.45a for the 11a show.

3. Do online check in, requesting as you do special location points

4. Customize your MagicBands

E. NOTES ON PACKING ETC. BEFORE YOU LEAVE

1. Bring your MagicBands in your carry-ons

2. If you use Disney’s Magical Express, you do not need to collect your bags at the Orlando airport unless you arrive late in the evening/at night or are an international traveler. Disney will get them for you and, eventually, deliver them directly to your room. Your bags may arrive hours after you do; so, depending on the weather forecasts, have a carry-on with an appropriate change of clothes for Orlando weather on Saturday, as you will almost certainly go to Epcot on Saturday before your checked bags arrive.

3. Follow the instructions in the Magical Express packet you will receive in the mail regarding both tagging your bags pre-departure, and where to go at the Orlando airport to find your transport to your resort.

4. Bring a copy of your room reservation, confirmation numbers and any tickets for special events you may have received in the mail.

5. Pack breakfast utensils, as they are not always available in the gift shop: bowls, spoons, napkins

6. When you arrive at the hotel, look for the special “On-line Check-in” line, and get into it.

Kelly, the long-time travel agent partner of this site, can book your Disney World vacation at any Disney World hotel!  Contact her using the form below.

  • Date Format: MM slash DD slash YYYY
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Kelly B Can Help You Book Your Trip

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June 24, 2019   No Comments