Addition of "Standby" to Wait Times in My Disney Experience Suggests FastPass May Return Soon

Entertainment 10 June, 2021 - 03:49pm 35 views

When will Ohana reopen?

– Walt Disney World announced Tuesday the reopening dates for two popular dining locations on resort property. Officials said Sebastian's Bistro at Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort will reopen to guests on June 24 while 'Ohana at Disney's Polynesian Village Resort will open July 9. WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlando‘Ohana and Sebastian’s Bistro get reopening dates at Walt Disney World

How much does it cost to go to Disney World?

It's time to hit the parks. Because of the pandemic, you must make a reservation to go to Walt Disney World Resort parks. And it comes at a hefty price. A standard ticket starts at $109 for ages 10 and older ($104 for ages 3 to 9), and the actual price depends on the day you visit the park. Las Vegas Review-JournalHow much does it cost to go to Disney World now?

Disney theme parks are notoriously pricey, but these proven tips and tricks can help you save hundreds

Business Insider 10 June, 2021 - 06:00pm

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The cost for tickets, food, and souvenirs alone can rapidly add up; it skyrockets when you factor in airfare, hotel, car rental, parking, and other incidentals. For a family of four, for a five-night stay, the average price of the trip is approximately $4,500 and can quickly increase by the hundreds, if not thousands.

While there are few discounts on admission, there are proven ways to save significant money elsewhere that won't hinder the enjoyment or limit the experiences. After all, not having to stress about money makes for a far more enjoyable time — the key is to plan ahead and know what to expect. 

As a travel writer who has covered Disney vacations extensively for over a decade, I have figured out the best ways to maximize the fun while keeping costs down. These top tips, based on what I've learned over the years, can help ease the damage a Disney vacation could have on your bank account.

In addition to money-saving tips for both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, I've also included a few that are unique to each property. Here are the best tips for saving money on a Disney parks vacation.

As with any popular destination, prices for resort stays tend to rise during peak season, especially during school breaks in the summer, Thanksgiving week, and the days around Christmas and New Year. Weekends are always more expensive as well. Traveling during non-peak dates may be a challenge, but you can save an average of $400 a night.

Insider tip: Crowds tend to be smaller during weekdays in winter, from January to March, as well as September and early November.

Disneyland and Disney World are comprised of multiple parks, each with its own entrance fees. As the name suggests, Park Hopper is an option that lets you visit multiple parks per day, but you will pay significantly more for this privilege. The difference between a single park ticket and one with Park Hopper can be up to about $85 per day; for a family of four, that's a savings of $300 to $350.

Another reason to skip the Park Hopper concerns logistics. There's plenty to do at each of Disney's parks, so I recommend dedicating an entire day to one park, instead of stressing to rush to another. You can take it slow and enjoy all the amenities of a single park. This is especially true for Walt Disney World, where the parks are located far apart and you would waste time shuttling from one to another.

Insider tip: Park Hopper makes sense if you are an experienced visitor who wants to hit specific areas or rides at each park. With some strategic planning, it is possible to visit two or more parks, especially at Disneyland and the adjacent California Adventure. The Park Hopper Plus option lets you visit select water parks and golf courses.

While Disney doesn't generally offer discounts on park tickets, there are a few money-saving options to explore before paying full price. First, nail down how many days you plan to be in the parks; there is a price break depending on how many days you visit. For example, if you go to Disney World for just one day, it would be about $109 per day. If you opt to go for five, the price drops to $88 a day. Keep in mind that the standard tickets don't include water parks, golf courses, and other non-theme park areas.

Know a friend or relative in Florida? State residents can save 40% off a four-day ticket in addition to other discounts. The catch is that the resident must be present and show verification at the time of entry, so they will need to be included in your group. If it's a close family friend or grandparent, that may not be an issue. From time to time, Southern California residents may also receive a similar offer.

Insider tip: Check out ticket brokers, such as Undercover Tourist or Get Away Today, as well as membership-only clubs like AAA and Costco Travel, which often have deals on Disney resorts and packages. If it applies to your family, Disney also offers a military discount for four-day and five-day ticket packages. Travel agents who specialize in Disney vacations may offer discounted packages as well.

There is a large selection of dining options at either resort and prices range from budget to premium. For example, a New York Strip at the upscale Steakhouse 55 in the Disneyland Hotel costs $58 (that is just for the steak, sides not included). But at the casual Bengal Barbeque eatery inside Disneyland, you can enjoy a delicious Bengal Beef Skewer for $5.49. 

The key is to research the various food outlets available at the park you will be visiting, basing it on your budget and family's eating habits. If you don't care about sit-down meals and can run on hot dogs and churros from a street cart, you can cut down on food expenses.

Note that some restaurants, such as the aforementioned Steakhouse 55, are still temporarily closed. 

Insider tip: You are allowed to bring your own food and non-alcoholic beverages inside the park, with a few exceptions. In addition to saving money, this is great for those with dietary needs or picky eaters. You can also save time not having to queue up to order food. However, this option isn't always feasible, especially when you're traveling and staying in hotels, or you just don't want to haul extra items. Even if you don't plan to bring in full meals, it is smart to carry snacks such as granola bars, fruits, or nuts. 

Another option for cutting down on food costs is to have groceries delivered to a hotel, as many rooms have mini-fridges and microwaves — great for stocking up on water, sodas, snacks, and even quick-heat and pre-made meals and alcohol. If your room has a full-sized kitchen, consider cooking some meals "at home" or for bringing inside the park (see our tip above). Amazon Prime delivers to hotels, while Garden Grocer specializes in Disney World deliveries.

Insider tip: My family always likes to get an early start in the morning, so I make instant oatmeal before heading out. I also bring K-Cup pods of my favorite coffee in case we get a room with a Keurig coffee maker, which is becoming more common in Disney hotel rooms. And, if you like to unwind with a drink at the end of the day, you can save money by mixing a cocktail or pouring a glass of wine in your room.

With all the walking you will do, it's important to stay hydrated, especially during the hotter months in Florida and California. Skip the bottled water the park sells (a bottle of Dasani costs around $4) and opt for a money-saving and environmentally friendly refillable water bottle instead.

You can fill water bottles at restaurants or one of the refill stations. But keep in mind, refill stations are few and far between, and due to COVID-19 cleanliness protocols, it is harder to fill your own water bottle.

Insider Reviews recommends the Vapur Element and Hydaway Collapsible Water Bottle because they are lightweight when empty and easy to pack.

Disney is skilled at dividing guests from their money, especially when it comes to keepsakes. In most areas of the parks, you won't be able to go more than 20 feet without being lured by the siren song of souvenirs. It can be very tempting to walk away with a droid from Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge ($99) or a replica of the Enchanted Tiki Room Sign ($150), but try to keep those temptations at bay.

Instead, spend your money on less expensive, classic park items that will hold their value (in sentimental ways), such as a pair of Mickey Mouse ears with a name embroidered on them (about $23) or, my favorite, a hand-cut silhouette from one of the artists on Main Street ($10).

Insider tip: You can get creative by buying souvenirs before you step inside the parks. For example, if your child wants to frolic around the parks dressed as Cinderella, Belle, or Elsa, you can purchase an official Disney dress online for about $30. One of these dresses will set you back about twice that much inside the parks.

While Disney's Polynesian Village Resort and Disney's Grand Floridian Resort & Spa are lovely, they are also expensive — the Grand Floridian starts at around $400 per night. If a hotel is purely a place to sleep, Disney's Art of Animation or Disney's Coronado Springs Resort are two of the more inexpensive options inside the Disney bubble, starting at around $179 a night. 

Check out all our choices for the best Disney World hotels here. If you're willing to stay at a non-Disney resort, there are also many excellent hotels in Orlando and Kissimmee from as low as $66 per night, depending on the season.

Insider tip: Many nearby hotels are also under major brand umbrellas like Marriott and Hilton, including Hilton Orlando Bonnett Creek, Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress, Walt Disney World Dolphin, and Waldorf Astoria Orlando. Consider using hotel rewards credit cards and earned points to book stays for free.

Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is Disney's popular timeshare program that lets you rent studios, villas, and suites at one of the deluxe resorts. Membership is a big investment, but my friends who joined have been pleased with the program. Here's a secret: You can take advantage of the program without being a member, by renting DVC points.

When you rent DVC points, you are essentially booking through a DVC member, not Disney. For a negotiated fee, you get access to their points and preferred rates (a member has a set number of deductible points that must be applied in order to get those rates), which can make those deluxe resorts drop down drastically in price. 

For example, the price for a deluxe studio at Disney's Riviera  — depending on the date  — is $559 a night, but you can rent points and pay about $275 for the same night. At Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge, a studio is $616 a night, but with DVC points you pay $380. You are basically getting the same room for almost half the price. And, it's not just for Florida: DVC also includes California properties.

Companies such as David's Vacation Club Rental and the DVC Rental Store can facilitate the points rental from DVC members, and the booking process is similar to a regular hotel reservation. There are plenty of caveats with this system, so make sure to go over all the restrictions and conditions from the broker or DVC member.

Insider tip: Experience a taste of a deluxe resort without staying in one. Have a Dole Whip at the Polynesian and stroll along its beach, or head to the Grand Floridian, grab a coffee, and take a seat in the lobby and bask in the old-timey vibe.

Save on park tickets by scheduling a non-park day. There are many ways to get a Disney resort experience, including spending hours by the pool, checking out the lobbies and restaurants at hotels, and heading to the Disney Springs shopping and entertainment center. Keep reading for our suggestions on free stuff to do at Disney World.

Insider tip: At Disney Springs, make sure to indulge in one of the massive cookies from wildly popular Gideon's Bake House, sip a glass of bacon old-fashioned from Wine-Bar George, or have a leisurely brunch at Chef Art Smith's Homecomin'.

There are only three Disney-owned hotels within Disneyland — the Grand Californianthe Disneyland Hotel, and Paradise Pier. While the hotels are fantastic and convenient, they are also expensive. For example, rates at the Grand Californian start at $586 a night. Thankfully, there are lots of affordable options surrounding the park. Read our roundup of nearby hotels ranging from the budget-friendly Hampton Inn & Suites to the new JW Marriott, which, even though it is a four-star property, is about half the price of the Grand Californian or the Disneyland Hotel.

Insider tip: Widen your hotel search to include Buena Park, California. Home to the Knott's Berry Farm amusement park, Medieval Times dinner theater, popular Cuban eatery Porto's, and other attractions, Anaheim's neighbor boasts its share of quality accommodations. It's just a quick 15-minute drive from Disneyland.

While the MaxPass program is currently on hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, the MaxPass is well worth the extra $20 per ticket and will enhance the experience by saving you time. The MaxPass allows you to make FastPass selections from your phone and eliminates the need to trek over to the attraction to manually pick up a FastPass from a kiosk. A FastPass, for those unfamiliar, allows you to join a much shorter line for a ride (the feature is also paused).

Insider tip: The MaxPass also comes with unlimited PhotoPass downloads, so you can utilize the park photographers to capture lots of family photos to remember the trip. This is an excellent deal since downloading one photo costs $14.95.

Admission to Disney's parks is expensive, but there are several fun attractions you can check out that don't cost a penny. They add to the overall Disney vacation experience while keeping the cost down. (Some of these places and activities may be temporarily closed or unavailable.)

While Disneyland and Walt Disney World are open for business, to get the most bang for your buck, it might be best to wait. There's a case for going now: reservations are required and capacity is controlled to promote distancing, so it's less crowded than normal. But parades, fireworks, most live entertainment, the ease of the FastPass system, and close-up character encounters have yet to return. Dining options are also limited, and some hotels haven't reopened.

Instead, take this time to plan and save up for the trip. When all of the parks' amenities return, you and your family will have a more memorable experience.

EPCOT Draws HUGE Crowds and Long Lines Once Again | Inside the Magic

Inside the Magic 10 June, 2021 - 01:45pm

When the theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort first opened in July 2020, there were several health and safety protocols put in place. These include the requirement of wearing a proper face covering, increased hand sanitizing stations, social distancing, and operating at a limited capacity.

But as the world continues to fight the ongoing pandemic, Walt Disney World is adjusting its safety protocols that were put into place last summer. If Guests visit one of the theme parks in the near future, they will notice a relaxed face mask protocol, reduction in social distancing, increased capacity, and more.

With all of this being said, if you have an upcoming Disney World vacation, expect to see a bit more “normalcy” compared to last summer when the theme parks first reopened after temporarily closing due to the ongoing pandemic.

As you can see in the photo below, posted by one Reddit user, Spaceship Earth drew a massive line on Thursday, June 10. Guests were lined up, still socially distanced, but it is clear it is not at the same six feet as it once was. This is, as many would say, be a step closer to “normalcy”.

There is also a crowd of Guests pouring into the theme park, which you can see in the distance.

It wasn’t long ago that CEO Bob Chapek confirmed that the theme parks have already started increasing capacity once again, which you can read more about here. At this time, we do not know exactly what percentage of capacity Disney World is operating at, but we know it is higher than 35% — And you can see the crowds and capacity increase reflected in the Reddit post above.

If you are planning on visiting Disney World on your next vacation, be sure to familiarize yourself with the current safety protocols at the theme parks. You can view them by visiting the official Walt Disney World website here.

This out-of-state Annual Passholder visits the parks as often as she can. While at the Most Magical Place on Earth, she can typically be found people watching on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover, relaxing at Baseline Tap House, snacking on Mickey-shaped foods, or hanging out with her foolish mortals at the Haunted Mansion.

ITM now consists of multiple writers living near both Disneyland and Walt Disney World theme parks and around the world. This allows us to bring you the most interesting, entertaining, and unique entertainment experiences, covering theme parks, movies, TV, video games, special events and so much more.

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VIDEO: Disneyland Paris Releases Ad Where Cast Members Welcome Guests Back to the Magic - WDW News Today 10 June, 2021 - 12:55pm

A new video released by Disneyland Paris reveals Cast Members welcoming guests to the resort, which reopens later this month. The video features masked Cast Members getting dressed in their uniforms and affixing their name tags. It also shows Cast Members introducing us to the upcoming Hotel New York – The Art of Marvel. Take a look at the video below:

Videos like these have been popping up recently to get us hyped for the reopening of Disneyland Paris on June 17th.

Are you excited to greet cast members at the Disneyland Paris reopening? Let us know in the comments!

As always, keep following WDWNT for all of your Disney Parks news, and for the absolute latest, follow WDW News Today on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Detour Planned for County Road 186 Southeast of Sauk Centre

WJON News 10 June, 2021 - 08:41am

SAUK CENTRE -- A road resurfacing project just southeast of Sauk Centre will prompt a detour starting Monday.

As part of the County Road 186 resurfacing project, the bridge over the Sauk River will be closed for approximately two weeks while crews complete bridge approach repairs.

Traffic will be detoured to the north and then through the city of Sauk Centre.

County Road 186 is being resurfaced from the bridge down to 395th Street southeast of town.

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