Captain Jack’s Pirate Tutorial ended its twelve year run on September 29, 2018 in Adventureland, in the Magic Kingdom at Disney World. This was a cute show offered near the Pirates of the Caribbean ride where Captain Jack and his mate Mack invited some children from the crowd to join them in learning some pirate skills.
The Magic Kingdom parade schedule changes a bit in December:
- Disney’s Festival of Fantasy Parade will be presented daily at 3:00PM through December 22nd. It is not offered from Dec. 23 – 31 but returns on January 1, 2017
- Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmastime parade will be presented daily at 12:00PM and 3:30PM on December 23 – 31, 2016. This parade is also presented during the Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Parties offered on select evenings in December (special ticket required).
- Disney’s Main Street Electrical Parade is no longer presented at Disney World.
Magic Kingdom Fantasy in the Sky Fireworks – In addition to the regular Wishes Fireworks, a New Years Fireworks display will be presented at 11:48PM on December 30 & 31, 2016.
Ian's Tip for A Better Disney Trip: Communicate!
Everybody has their own idea of what a Disney vacation looks like, but nobody else knows what's in your head unless you tell them!
You don't have to micro-manage every second of your trip or squeeze in every single attraction (newsflash- you can't get 'em all), but if you have something you want to see, do, or eat - you have to actually TELL somebody!
Before (and during!) your excursion, communicate with each other so that everybody knows what's in everybody else's head that day. Even if you can't get to all of it, the really important things can take precedent and help eliminate bruised feelings, sulking, pouting, and those oh-so-awkward public arguments!
About the Author: Ian and his wife Toni work together to help their clients have wonderful Disney World, SeaWorld, and Universal Orlando vacations. There is no extra charge to get their expert help for your trip when you book your vacation through them.
In spite of what you might have heard, standing right in front of Cinderella's Castle in the Magic Kingdom is not the best place to view Wishes! If you stand right in front of the castle, you will be looking almost straight up and will miss a lot of the fireworks.
As you can see in the shot I took from the side of the castle, over near Big Thunder Mountain, the fireworks are far behind the castle! In order to see the full magnitude and beauty of the fireworks, the best viewing area, in my humble opinion, is right as Main Street opens up into the hub. You will be close enough to see the majesty of the castle, while being far enough back to see the magnitude of the fireworks. My absolute favorite spot to watch Wishes from?!?!? Hmmmm....that's a secret that I share with my clients! :)
One of my biggest tips for Disney World and Universal Orlando guests (or any other Orlando theme park) is to be prepared for rain! Florida is notorious for rain showers, so be prepared! You can purchase them for about $10 each in the theme parks but I save money by buying a whole bunch of rain ponchos from Amazon and carry them with me. Most rain showers are over pretty quickly, so when rain comes, we put on our ponchos, grab a little snack (Dole Whip!!) and wait it out! A lot of people flee the parks when the rain starts so coming prepared is a great way to take advantage of the shorter lines during rain showers. No need to let a little rain ruin your day!!!
You can also find inexpensive, disposable rain ponchos at most Dollar stores and in the camping section at Walmart. My local Dollar Tree had them in the section where hair accessories are sold. The fashion maven in your family may declare that they would NEVER wear a poncho but will probably change their mind when they see lots of people putting them on when the rain starts.
Even if it isn't raining, you may want ponchos to help keep you dry on attractions that can soak you to the skin like Splash Mountain in the Magic Kingdom, Kali River Rapids at Disney's Animal Kingdom or Dudley Do-Rights Ripsaw Falls and Popeye & Bluto's Bilge-Rat Barges in Universal's Islands of Adventure.
Have a magical day!
Travel Agent specializing in Orlando theme park vacations
Are you wondering which FastPass+ reservations are best? We give an Unofficial Guide or a subscription to TouringPlans to each of our clients. These fantastic resources are full of powerful and up-to-date information that will help you keep lines and waits to a minimum.
If you have the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World (printed guidebook), look at the touring plans found near the back of the book and select a plan that is right for your group. You'll find FastPass+ recommendations and best times so that your theme park touring plan and your FastPass+ reservations work together to give you the best way to keep lines to an absolute minimum.
If you have a TouringPlans subscription, look under the "Touring Plans" tab, select a park and you'll find the FastPass+ recommendations in the gray box near the top of the plan.
If you aren't using a Disney World theme park touring plan or itinerary, here are the attractions I recommend you try to get FastPass+ reservations for:
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train - this is the Magic Kingdom's newest attraction and is very centrally located so long lines are always an issue here.
Peter Pan’s Flight - Surprised? Again, the central location is an issue but this ride also has a very low rider capacity and relatively slow loading and unloading so a FastPass here can free up a lot of time you would've spent in line.
Note: Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is a new roller coaster (you don’t go upside down) that is Magic Kingdom’s newest attraction and that, along with the central location, means that lines are horrific. Peter Pan's Flight suffers from low loading speed, low rider capacity and a central location so its lines also are terrible.
How to Beat the Crowds at Magic Kingdom
The 14-minute below shows you where the “hot spots” are in Disney World’s Magic Kingdom, and more importantly, how to move to avoid the crowds.
Frozen Ever After – popularity of Frozen plus the fact that this is Epcot’s newest attraction means long lines.
Test Track and Soarin' are always popular but Disney will only let you choose one of the rides mentioned in this section so go with Test Track or Frozen Ever After and ride Soarin' using the standby line as soon as the park opens.
How to Beat the Crowds at Epcot
The 11-minute video below helps you plan a day at Epcot that will keep you ahead of the crowds and out of the long lines.
Disney’s Hollywood Studios:
Disney is currently only allowing guests to choose one FastPass from the new Toy Story Land.
Slinky Dog Dash is new and will also be very popular - this FastPass option can be hard to get, even 60-days early. Also, a lot of its line is outside which means your wait can be really hot without FastPass.
Toy Story Midway Mania – the fact that this is the only ride in this park that is truly appropriate for all ages causes long lines and has no height restriction.
Rock 'n Roller Coaster and Tower of Terror are always popular choices for thrill seekers.
Alien Swirling Saucers is easier to get and lines aren't usually as long; I wouldn't choose this one.
Disney’s Animal Kingdom:
Avatar - Flight of Passage
Couldn't get an Avatar - Flight of Passage FastPass? Click here for tips on riding without waiting hours in line.
You don’t typically need FastPass+ for shows or 3D movies.
The 9 1/2 minute video below will explain the crowd patterns at Disney’s Animal Kingdom so you can avoid - or at least manage - them and have a great day.
Be Our Guest is a beautiful and very popular restaurant in the Fantasyland area of the Magic Kingdom. The restaurant is a table-service location during dining but is a Disney quick-service location at breakfast and lunch. It is so popular and the lines were getting so long that Disney has made this the only quick-service location that accepts advance reservations. You can check availability and make reservations by logging into your "MyDisneyExperience" (MDE) account on a computer or by using the MDE app on your phone or by calling 407-WDW-DINE (407-939-3463). If you booked your trip through us, your agent will be happy to take care of this for you, subject to availability.
Once you have a quick-service reservation at Be Our Guest in the Magic Kingdom, you'll definitely want to take advantage of the option to pre-order your food prior to your vacation. Several of my clients have reported really long waits (up to 40-minutes) just to get to order. Pre-ordering takes a little time and thought at home but cuts one line and a lot of wasted time out of your Magic Kingdom experience. You can pre-order food up to 180 days prior to arrival by logging into your "MyDisneyExperience" (MDE) account on a computer or by using the MDE app on your phone. This restaurant is a table-service location at dinner so your server will take your order once you are seated.
TIP 1: It is easy to forget what everyone picked when you order your meal weeks in advance so you may want to set up some kind of reminder for yourself. Some ideas I've heard are to use the appointments or notes function of your smart phone or to schedule an email for delivery on the day of your reservation to an email address you receive on your phone. If you're using a printed touring plan, you may want to write down the list of who ordered what on that. You could also write down everyone's name next to their order and take a photo with your phone so that you can just look at that if there are questions and confusion.
Tip 2: If your party is in more than one room and is on a dining plan, you'll want to book as many reservations as rooms. You'll probably be able to sit together but all of the dining credits for the group will be taken from the account of the reservation of the person who booked the reservation if you don't break it up by room. They cannot split the credits up by room when you arrive.