Epcot

Disney Road Trip - Podcast Recommendation: 30 Animals That Made Us Smarter

BBC’s “30 Animals that Made Us Smarter” is a great podcast for your Disney road trip. The episode about the way the Stenocara beetle’s body surface allows it to collect water reminded me of the way the surface of Epcot’s Spaceship Earth is designed to collect water and channel it so that it does not fall on guests below.

BBC’s “30 Animals that Made Us Smarter” is a great podcast for your Disney road trip. The episode about the way the Stenocara beetle’s body surface allows it to collect water reminded me of the way the surface of Epcot’s Spaceship Earth is designed to collect water and channel it so that it does not fall on guests below.

Is a road trip to Disney World part of your vacation plans? Do any of your kids have scientific/inventor inclinations?   If so, an interesting podcast to enjoy on the drive is BBC’s 30 Animals That Made Us Smarter.   I find the segments interesting as an adult but it seems to be presented at about an upper elementary school or junior high level and the episodes are only about 15-minutes long.    The “Stenocara beetle and water collector” episode made me think of Spaceship Earth at Epcot.  In the case of the beetle, it has bumps that helps it collect and channel water from fog in the desert where water is scarce. The panels on Spaceship Earth are designed so that no rainwater pours off of the surface onto the ground but, instead, is collected through gaps in the facets and is channeled to gutters that carry it to the World Showcase Lagoon. The beetle lives in an arid environment and Florida gets lots of rain but there are still similarities in the way that these outer surfaces work to direct water to a desire location. You can download and listen to the Stenocara Beetle episode here or stream it through your favorite podcasting platform.

Click here for a 1-minute animated video about the Stenocara beetle collecting water.

 Learn more about Spaceship Earth and the way it channels water

May you have safe travels!

Annette

More Helpful Information:

Epcot International Festival of the Arts to Debut in January 2017

The Epcot International Festival of the Arts will debut on January 13, 2017 and will run for six weekends (Fridays through Mondays).  Guests will get to enjoy the works of past Disney artists like Mary Blair as well as works by current artists like Joe Kaminski and Costa Alavezos, including live demonstrations. Disney Theatrical will bring an exciting new showcase of favorite music and Broadway talent to the America Gardens Theatre stage, including songs from Disney on Broadway's award-winning shows The Lion King, Newsies and Aladdin.  The culinary arts will also be celebrated in the Food Studios area of the festival.   Click here for more information.

Tips for January at Disney World: Disney World will remain at peak holiday crowd levels through January 7, 2017 but then crowds drop to low or moderate levels for the rest of the month with a small spike in crowds over Martin Luther King Jr. weekend (January 13 - 16).   Because of the cooler temperatures, Disney typically finds January the best month to attend to pool repairs and refurbishments but open pools are heated to 82 - 86-degrees. Start checking your extended weather forecast about 10 days prior to your trip and plan to layer clothing as temperatures can vary quite a bit throughout the day and chilly evenings are common.  

Disney World Closures & Refurbishments in January

Tips for February at Disney World: February guests enjoy cool temperatures and low to moderate crowds for most of the month but crowd levels do spike to moderate to high levels over Presidents Day Weekend.  

Disney World Closures & Refurbishments in February

Disney has two early 2017 discounts available now - Offers Expire on December 21, 2016:  The Play, Stay and Dine offer is available for January 1 - March 7th arrivals, though availability is limited.  Room rate discounts are available for January 2 - April 6, 2017 arrivals.  Since both offers must be booked by December 21, 2017 to qualify, this is the best time to book your spring break trip to Disney World.  The good news is that the deposit is only $200.00 and you can cancel up to 30 days prior to arrival for a full refund. 

Click here for a no-obligation vacation quote

Another good reason to book your Disney World vacation packages now is that Disney has raised ticket prices in February every year for the last three years so you'll want to lock in current prices now; once your deposit is applied, your price cannot go up. Ticket prices increased on February 23, 2014, on February 22, 2015, and again on February 28, 2016.

Disney World Tip from Toni: Talk to the Cast Members!

Disney World Tip:  Take time to talk to the Disney Cast Members - they have great tips and stories.

Disney World Tip:  Take time to talk to the Disney Cast Members - they have great tips and stories.

Talk to the Cast Members! They're called "Cast Members" because they are part of the show.  Ask them where they are from and how long they have been at Disney. Chances are, you will hear some great stories or get some good tips.  Many of them live in Florida now but have their city or country of origin listed under their names on their name tag.

The Cast Members in the Epcot World Showcase pavilions are often from the represented country, giving you a unique opportunity to ask questions and visit with someone from another culture...someone who has intentionally chosen to interact with tourist!  This is also true of the Cast Members in the Asia and Africa part of Disney's Animal Kingdom park and the Goodwill Ambassadors over at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

Here's another great tip - take time to talk to me, Toni, before your trip.  I can help you plan a great Disney World vacation starting with narrowing down hotels to those that are right for your budget and then we'll tackle dining and FastPass+ reservation and itineraries that keep you ahead of the crowds.  

Click here to read my bio and get a no-obligation vacation quote.

Planning a Disney vacation? You'll definitely want to subscribe to our free newsletter. You will receive a link to 45 great Disney World Freebies in your welcome note and several helpful “how-to” e-guides over the next week. Unsubscribe at any time.

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How To Get the FastPass+ Options That Will Save the Most Time

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. 

Click Here to Find Out How You Can Get Free Disney World Touring Plans

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.

Disney World Tip - How to pick the FastPass+ options that provide the biggest benefit.

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.

Where to find FastPass+ recommendations on a TouringPlans.com plan.

Where to find FastPass+ recommendations on a TouringPlans.com 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:

Magic Kingdom:

  • 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.

 Epcot:

  • 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:

 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.

Let’s start planning a great vacation!

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The Unofficial Guide book is full of great information to help you have a better Disney World experience. Learn how you can get this book for free at http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com/free-touring-plans

The Unofficial Guide book is full of great information to help you have a better Disney World experience. Learn how you can get this book for free at http://www.buildabettermousetrip.com/free-touring-plans

Day of the Dead traditions at Disney World and Disneyland / Dia de los Muertos

The Mexican Day of the Dead(Dia De Muertos) tradition is observed on from October 31 to November 2nd and it is a time of honoring departed loved ones.   It has roots in Aztec beliefs that say that the souls of departed loved ones can return for a brief time. 

Click here to read more about Day of the Dead traditions and origins. 

Dia de Los Muerto at Disney World

Certain elements have been incorporated into the "Gran Fiesta Tour with the Three Amigos" ride in the Mexico pavilion at Epcot.  Skeletons and skull masks (called calacas) are a a recognizable part of modern Day of the Dead celebrations. (Did you notice the Donald Duck pinata under the arch, in the background of the picture below?)

Mexican   Day of the Dead    (Dia De Muertos) depictions in the Grand Fiesta Tour with the Three Amigos attraction in the Mexico pavilion at Epcot / Walt Disney World Resort - Florida. 

Do you see the Donald Duck banner? This is a Disney-fied version of a folk art called Papel Picado, which means punched or perforated paper, and are usually made by punching or cutting designs into tissue paper, using small chisels. They are used to decorate a lot of events but skeletons and the color pink are a common theme in banners used in Day of the Dead altars.

Donald Duck  Papel Picado  (punched or "peckered" tissue paper banner) in the    Gran Fiesta Tour with the Three Amigos" ride in the Mexico pavilion at Epcot

Pixar's "CoCo" at Disney World and Disneyland

In 2017, there will be sneak preview's of Pixar's "Coco" at Disney World and Disneyland beginning November 22nd.   This animated movie takes an aspiring musician named Miguel on a journey through the Land of the Dead with a trickster named Hector.  Click here to learn more

  • Disney World - Disney's Hollywood Studios in Walt Disney Presents
  • Disneyland - Disney California Adventure - Sunset Showcase Theater in Hollywood Land.

Dia de Los Muerto at Disneyland

From September 15 to November 2, 2017, the Plaza de la Familia at Paradise Gardens in Disney California Adventure (Disneyland) is inspired Dia de los Muertos and the movie "CoCo" and will feature storytellers, songs from the movie, Folklorico dances and Mariachi Divas.   Authentic Mariachi music will be presented at the Paradise Gardens Bandstand along with delicious Mexican foods available for purchase.   Click here for more information

In Disneyland park, guests can head over to Frontierland from September 15 to November 2, 2017 to join the festivities.   Zocalo Park will have a musical trio of iconic calacas (skeleton figurines), brightly colored flowers and Calaveras-style face painting.  You can enjoy dtasty mexican food at Rancho del Zocalo Restaurante.

Click here for a Disneyland Vacation Quote

Planning a Disney vacation? You'll definitely want to subscribe to our free newsletter. You will receive a link to 45 great Disney World Freebies in your welcome note and several helpful “how-to” e-guides over the next week. Unsubscribe at any time.

Email: