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Category — zzzz. Rumor-mongering

Halloween 2017 at Walt Disney World

DISNEY WORLD’S SPECIAL HALLOWEEN PARTY

Halloween 2017 at Disney World from yourfirstvisit.netWhile Halloween itself is October 31st of course, Walt Disney World provides a special Halloween celebration at the Magic Kingdom many evenings in 2017 from late August until the first of November.

This celebration is called “Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party,” or “MNSSHP” for short.

At the party, many of the Magic Kingdom’s rides are open, and trick or treating, special events, and different parades and fireworks are offered.

The official Disney World page for this event can be found here.

Click the images below for the 2017 offerings.

And you can find a review of the 2017 MNSSHP party here.

 

MORE ON MICKEY’S NOT-SO-SCARY HALLOWEEN PARTY IN 2017

[Read more →]

February 13, 2017   23 Comments

Pandora to Open May 27, Ticket Price Increase, and Other News and Rumors from Yesterday

Pandora Opening Ticket Prices and Other News and Rumors from yourfirstvisit.netSeveral interesting things came up in yesterday’s Walt Disney Company earnings call. One takeaway is that you might want to buy your tickets now.

PANDORA – THE WORLD OF AVATAR TO OPEN MAY 27

From Disney CEO Bob Iger’s introductory remarks on the call:

“This year we’ll open a great addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom with a brand new land called Pandora – The World of Avatar. Our Imagineers have brought the breathtaking world of Pandora to life through astonishing feats of artistic genius and groundbreaking engineering. The result is an exquisite environment with phenomenal attractions. And today I’m happy to announce this incredible new world will officially open on May 27.”

From later in the call:

“This is a very big land with an extremely unique design and architecture because it really does make you feel as though you’re in Pandora, that great world that Jim Cameron created, and an E-ticket attraction that is unlike any E-ticket attraction that we’ve ever built. And it is sizable. The whole experience is sizable.”

STAR WARS LAND TO OPEN IN 2019

Also from Iger on the call:

“Additionally, our progress continues on Star Wars Lands at Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World [Hollywood Studios], both of which will open in calendar 2019.”

TOY STORY LAND—2018?

Toy Story Land in Disney’s Hollywood Studios did not come up in the call, but the Star Wars date of 2019 has led many to continue to believe that 2018 will see its opening. This seems a little fast to me…

TICKET PRICE INCREASE?

For the last three years, Walt Disney World has increased ticket prices in February. Buying your tickets now –for example from my friends at The Official Ticket Center  –will let you avoid this price increase.

Moreover, I do expect one of these days that Disney World will move its multiday tickets to a seasonal price model, where tickets for some periods of the year are more expensive than for other periods. (One day tickets took on this form in 2016.)

The business logic of this is to simultaneously shift demand to lower attendance times and, for those who won’t change their dates, to capture more value from higher demand times—as Disney’s hotel prices already do.

The possibility of a ticket price increase came up in the call, and I was intrigued by how Bob Iger answered it—and specially why he did not stop his response after the words “I have nothing to announce at this point,” and why he went on to mention redesign of packages and the distinctive importance of multi-day tickets at Disney World.

My take away? This stuff is on his mind…and so perhaps we will see the shift to seasonal pricing for Disney World multi-day tickets this month. If so, my guess is we will see only minor increases in ticket prices for the less-demanded parts of the year, and larger increases for the popular times.

So if you have not yet bought your tickets for your next visit, I’d do that now, especially if you plan to go in the spring break season, the summer, or during any of the major holiday periods later in the year. My friends at The Official Ticket Center  can help you get great prices.

Here’s the complete discussion of ticket prices during the call:

John Janedis – Jefferies LLC

“Hi. Thank you. Maybe another quick follow up at the parks. I think you’ve increased ticket prices in February the last couple of years. You’re going to lap the demand-based pricing model in a couple of weeks. And with Pandora opening, is there maybe a near-term opportunity to further increase single or multi-day ticket prices?”

Robert A. Iger – The Walt Disney Co.

“Yes. I have nothing to announce at this point, but we do take ticket pricing up on typically an annual basis and we do so in a variety of different ways. Sometimes it’s redesign of packages. Remember that in Florida that most of our attendance is multi-day in nature, and so the single day including when we take pricing increases is less important than when we take single-day pricing up in California. But we’re not prepared to make any specific comments about what’s in store in that regard.”

RIVERS OF LIFE NEXT WEEK?

Something else happened yesterday that was not on the earnings call—Rivers of Life, the much-delayed new evening show at Animal Kingdom, had a preview:

There’s no official opening date, but one rumor is that it could be announced any day now, and open as soon as next week. I’ve been burned so much on predicting this show that I officially have no opinion.

The 2017 easy Guide

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February 8, 2017   No Comments

October Twilights and Rivers of Light

As predicted, Disney extended the operating hours at the Animal Kingdom in October to 8.30p closes, going deeper into the evening by an hour early in the month and by an hour and a half later in month.

Closes now range from an hour after civil twilight early in the month to an hour and a half after civil twilight later in the month. (For why the end of civil twilight matters to Rivers of Light and other evening shows, and other definitions, see this.)

This gives plenty of scope for two shows of Rivers of Light—apparently nearing dress rehearsal—the first at 7.30 or 7p and second at 9 or 8.30p (an evening show after park close has been common practice at Disney World for years, at the Studios).

See the image.

rivers-of-light-in-october-from-yourfirstvisit-net

  • The top dotted red line is the updated 2016 Animal Kingdom close (average October 2015 close is the bottom dotted green line).
  • The sloped lines are, from the bottom up, sunset (gold), end of civil twilight (red) and the ends of nautical (grey) and astronomical (black) twilight.

As you can see from the distance between the sloping red line and the dotted red line, open hours after civil twilight range from about an hour earlier in the month to an hour and a half later in the month.

The 2017 easy Guide

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September 24, 2016   3 Comments

2016 Free Dining Rumors

A friend of the site just let me know that South American travel agents are posting about Free Dining.

2016 Free Dining Rumors from your firstvisit.net

Here’s what they are saying:

Free Dining will become available for booking April 25th

It will cover arrival dates of

  • 8/14* up to 10/1/2016
  • 11/15 to 11/21
  • 11/26 to 11/28
  • 12/10 to 12/21

It will require a three night minimum stay, and a minimum of two ticket days.

Value resorts will offer the Quick Service plan for free and moderates and deluxes the Regular Dining Plan

Excluded resorts will include Little Mermaid rooms at Art of Animation, All Star Movies, Port Orleans French Quarter, Bay Lake Tower, Polynesian Bungalows and Grand Floridian Villas.

This is just a rumor, but parts of it jibe quite well with some other stuff that’s come out the last few days, and my source is usually reliable!!

For more on Free Dining, see this, and to sign up for the free dining watch list, see this!

 

*Other rumors have it beginning 8/23

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April 14, 2016   14 Comments

First Disney World 2016 Deals Expected Shortly

Disney World 2016 Deals Expected Next Week from yourfirstvisit.netUsually reliable sources have let me know that Disney World is expected to offer a couple of deals for 2016 early next week.

They say that both a room rate deal and “Stay, Play, Dine” deal will come out September 28 and cover many dates from January 2 thru March 19.

As usual, not all room types will be included.

I also hear there may be major news on a different topic late this week.

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September 23, 2015   7 Comments

Disney World Converts Polynesian Bungalows to FastPass+ Viewing Areas

Target Market for Polynesian Bungalows from yourfirstvisit.netApril 1, 2015: In a surprise, Disney World announced today that it is no longer taking reservations for the 20 new Bungalows that line Seven Seas Lagoon at Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort.

Instead, Disney is converting the deck of each Bungalow and the boardwalk that connects them all into FastPass+ viewing areas for the Electrical Water Pageant.

Disney World’s FastPass+ program is a way for guests to make poor decisions about which ride to do when as many as 60 days before a visit, rather than saving those mistakes for only the time they are actually in Walt Disney World.

“We don’t have a FastPass+ offering at the Magic Kingdom comparable to key FastPass+ options at Epcot like Captain EO and Journey into Imagination with Figment,” a Disney spokesman noted. “Adding an Electrical Water Pageant viewing area to Magic Kingdom FastPass+ options solves that problem.”

The Electrical Water Parade is a moving display of lights and sounds that visits the Disney resorts on the Seven Seas Lagoon and Bay Lake nightly unless cancelled by weather or mercy.

Electrical Water Pageant from yourfirstvisit.net

Much loved by both the elderly and their parents, it combines the visual sophistication of a blinking stoplight with music whose tonal qualities were dated three decades ago.

The change powerfully illustrates the failure of the new eight-person Polynesian Bungalows to attract their target market.

(c) Disney

(c) Disney

Compared to most other Disney Vacation Club two bedroom options, Bungalows have great outdoor decks and nicer dining rooms, but also have less space and a worse second bedroom.

Even so, they rent for more than twice as much, from $2,400 to $3,400 a night.

The pricing is easy to understand when one remembers that the Four Seasons now has a presence at Disney World, and its suites go for as much as $10,000 a night (before parking fees).

The Polynesian Bungalows at these price levels represented Disney’s attempt to stay competitive in the important and growing President for Life/dictator/oligarch/drug cartel jefe “get me the most expensive room” market that’s now being siphoned off by the Four Seasons.

Unfortunately, a design feature has made the bungalows not really well-suited for this market.

The President for Life/dictator/oligarch/drug cartel jefe market requires not only a spectacular space for the Supreme Leader and Nutmeg of Consolation himself, but also a whole constellation of connecting or nearby rooms for the oligarch’s entourage that have to be in regular rooms nearby, but not in the suite itself—bodyguards, children, mistresses.

This is easy to pull off in a standard hotel room tower, where such rooms can be connected (mistresses), down the hall (bodyguards), or just an elevator ride away (children).

FastPass+ Viewing Area for Electrical Water Pageant from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

But with disconnected individual buildings like the Bungalows, this is much harder, and as a result the target market is not responding.

Thus, Disney has given up pursuing this market through the Bungalows and is converting the Bungalows to FastPass+ viewing areas for the Electrical Water Pageant instead.

Insiders suggest that Disney may yet pursue the high-price market, via other alternatives.

For example, refurb plans for the Pirate Rooms at Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort are still not clear.

At current pricing, one could book one of the 64-room Pirate accommodation buildings in its entirety for the price of three or four Polynesian Bungalows. This yields vast refurb scope for building as many as six “Pirate Castles” at Caribbean Beach with more than 20,000 square feet each—plenty of room for the entire entourage to spread out a bit.

But even if this Caribbean Beach piratical refurb goes forward, walking away from the Polynesian Bungalows is still a bit of a black eye.

Creativity requires the freedom to make mistakes, so it’s not that big a deal.

Yet when put in the context of other recent reversals—the brief cancellation of FastPass+ about a year ago, the abandonment of a pain-themed DVC resort, dropping the addition of a Minnesota Pavilion to Epcot, and still no word on the groundbreaking for the high-speed option for leaving Rafiki’s Planet Watch—well, it does make you wonder…

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April 1, 2015   3 Comments