A Magical Night to Remember ~ A Stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite ~ WDW

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All Walt Disney World Resort fans know about the Cinderella Castle Suite and most would love the opportunity to stay a night. The suite is located inside Cinderella Castle on the fourth floor and was originally intended to be an apartment for Walt Disney and his family when they came to Florida. After Walt died in 1966, the space became an area for telephone operators and over the years had various different uses. The Suite is visible from the bridges to Liberty Square and Adventureland, with it’s three, small stained glass windows.

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Mosaic Floor in Entry Foyer ~ Photo via Disney Parks

It seems every die-hard Disney fan (yes, me too!) wants to spend the night in the suite. Who wouldn’t want to? Unfortunately, almost everyone has to settle for dinner in Cinderella’s Royal Table because no one is actually allowed to book it. If you do get the chance to stay – it’s FREE – but, stays are by invitation only. Last year at a Disney media event, I sat at a table next to someone who won a stay with her family. I actually started to hyperventilate when they announced they would be giving away a stay in the suite! That’s the closest I ever came to even peeking inside – sitting at the table next to someone who won a stay! 

stay-cinderella-castle-suiteThe suite was finished for the promotional Year of a Million Dreams and each day that year a different family was randomly selected to spend the night in the suite overlooking the Magic Kingdom. Every now and then Disney will run a contest offering the winner a stay. The suite is lavishly decorated but small (just a bit larger than a studio at one of the Disney Vacation Club resorts). It has three areas ~ a bedroom with two beds, a parlor/sitting room with a sofa that folds out into a bed and a luxurious bathroom. It can accommodate 6  people. Disney has made every effort to make it a beautiful mix of Medieval and modern. The Imagineers have made every effort to ensure that the room is plausibly authentic as a suite in Cinderella Castle despite its modern conveniences. The Cinderella Castle Suite carefully toes the line between modern and Medieval. 

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Fireplace in Bedroom ~ Photo via Disney Parks

Medieval but Modern

The careful attention to centuries-old details to make the suite believable hide many modern amenities. There is a lavish garden tub and shower; wheelchair accessible bathroom and bedroom facilities and an elevator to gain access to the suite. Medieval paintings and mirrors turn into modern flat-screen televisions.

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Bathroom ~ Photo via Disney Parks

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Tub ~ Photo via Disney Parks

Guests fortunate enough to visit and stay in the suite are assigned guides to take them through a rear entrance into the Magic Kingdom and to begin their stay. These guides are full of Disney knowledge and love to share as much of this knowledge as they can with guests. The guide will also act as your human FastPass+ and will sweep you through the lines for any attractions you wish to ride while you wait for your suite to be readied. As guests of the suite you are also able to watch the fireworks from a VIP spot on the lawn complete with Mickey ice cream bars, popcorn and drinks. Because of the stained glass windows in the suite, there is no good viewing of the parade and other park happenings from inside. You can also slip into one of the plush robes and slippers provided and sneak into the Magic Kingdom after the park closes for some special photo memories! When you stay the night, you will be asked to be ready early the next morning to be led by a special guide to enjoy breakfast at Cinderella’s Royal Table

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Bedroom Area ~ Photo via Disney Parks

Stay Cinderella Castle Suite
Sitting area ~ Photo via Disney Parks

A stay in the Cinderella Castle Suite will remain at the top of my Disney “Wish List” for a long time. It doesn’t matter how much money you have, Disney will not be allowing reservations anytime soon. I do believe that magic really does happen at Walt Disney World ~ so ~ you never know!




Private Cabana Rental at Magic Kingdom Being Discontinued

Private Cabana Rental Magic Kingdom DiscontinuedBack at the end of November white cabanas popped up in Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom and the official word was the private cabanas were only there temporarily as a “test” for private rental use. For $649 (plus the cost of your regular park admission) you would have your own little shaded sanctuary throughout the day. The cabanas were able to accommodate 8 people and included lockable storage, charging stations, sunscreen, insect repellent, water, soft drinks, and snacks. You were also able to add dining options delivered to the cabana for another additional fee.

Mid-way through the test period, Disney lowered the cost to $500 for the day stating it was a “seasonal” reduction. However, it has now been announced that the rental of the cabanas will be discontinued as of February 17, 2017. I guess even $500 was too much for most. I personally think they looked tacky. They reminded me of special event tents that are used for special parties or filming and just don’t fit in with the park on a regular basis.

Walt Disney World has been introducing a number of add-ons aimed at higher-end visitors recently. Those have included dessert parties, early race packet pickup, and preferred parking for its theme parks. It has opened early and closed late for visitors willing to pay extra money. There is even a really nice wedding package starting at $180,000! Unfortunately, I think some of these high priced add-ons may be starting to backfire on the company since – just my opinion – I think most of their visitors are everyday, hard working, middle class people who want to visit often so adding extra money onto the cost of their trips just isn’t realistic.

What are your thoughts?

 




Star Wars Galactic Nights Coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios

Star Wars Galactic Nights Hollywood Studios

Experience an epic premiere party ~ get in costume for this galactic party (be sure to read the Official Costume Guidelines HERE) ~ the first of the new Star Wars events for the entire family coming to Disney Hollywood Studios on April 14, 2017 from 7:00 p.m. to midnight!

Adult $129 and Child (3-9) $124 plus tax

Enjoy Special shows and activities during the evening, including:

  • Hollywood Arrival:  Make your entrance walking the red carpet
  • Special Star Wars Character Sightings and Greetings:  Look for Boba Fett, Storm Troopers and more!

Some of the Character opportunities you can expect to experience include:

  • Stormtroopers on Patrol ~ As you board your shuttle at Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, get ready to come face-to-face with Imperial Stormtroopers patrolling the embarkation ramps in pursuit of a Rebel spy.
  • Ewok Encounter ~ While you adventure through the forest of Endor en route to your flight with Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, prepare for a curious encounter with a few furry village inhabitants.
  • Imperial March ~ Clear the way for Darth Vader as the feared-and-revered Sith Lord leads a battalion of Stormtroopers down Hollywood Boulevard during a dramatic Imperial March to the event stage.
  • March of the First Order ~ Clear the way for Captain Phasma as this ruthless commander leads her squad of Stormtroopers up Hollywood Boulevard in a daunting demonstration of the First Order’s obedience and strength.
  • Characters at Star Wars Launch Bay ~ Visit the Cantina at this popular Disney’s Hollywood Studios destination for a chance to interact with the most notorious bounty hunter in the galaxy, Boba Fett—and possibly even Darth Vader himself!

Rebel Base ~ Dance the night away at this DJ-hosted party featuring a stunning projection of Yavin Base

The Star Wars Show on Location ~ Join the hosts of the popular starwars.com show as they interact with guests . . . and film material for their weekly online program!

Celebrate the Saga ~ Throughout the evening, take off on an interactive journey that chronologically celebrates the milestones of 40 Force-filled years of Star Wars.

  • Inside the Saga:  After a brief pre-show warm-up featuring the hosts of the Star Wars Show, hear from a Star Wars feature film cast member.  As your host asks question after riveting question, their stories will be yours—including what it was like to perform before an audience of millions!
  • Behind the Magic: Following a pre-show with the hosts of the Star Wars Show, learn what it takes to make some of cinema’s most beloved moments, as experienced by one of the Saga’s behind-the-scenes wizards. Their adventures will be yours as this special crew member explains all that goes into bringing the world—and worlds—of Star Wars to life.
  • Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away
  • Unique, Park-wide Scavenger Hunt:  Search for the Death Star plans throughout the park and capture your experience to share on social media. Put together a puzzle of interactive proportions as you collect Star Wars-themed pieces from each of the 8 live-action films!

During the Seize the Saga Scavenger Hunt, you’ll be enlisted to find 8 takeaway clues located at each of the Star Wars photo backdrops. After gathering the clues, you will be encouraged to act out your very own mini scene or capture a heartfelt message about your love for Star Wars—and post your moment on social media during the event.

  • Dimensional Photo Backdrops:  Feel like you’re in the middle of the action as some of the most iconic Star Wars scenes surround you.
  • Unique Food and Keepsakes:  Treat yourself to galactic-themed bites and special souvenirs available for purchase
  • Fireworks:  End the evening with a nightime spectacular bursting with memorable Star Wars moments.

Plus, ride Star Wars themed, Disney Hollywood Studios attractions and more!

Attractions available throughout the event include:

  • Star Tours – The Adventures Continue
  • Star Wars Launch Bay
  • Star Wars: Path of the Jedi
  • Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple
  • Toy Story Mania!
  • The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror
  • The Great Movie Ride
  • Muppet*Vision 3D
  • Voyage of the Little Mermaid

*Tickets are nontransferable and nonrefundable. The number of tickets available is limited. Tickets are valid only during specific event dates and hours. Prices, entertainment, attractions, experiences, ticket types, entitlements and other event elements subject to change without notice.

The event is currently only scheduled for April 14, 2017, but I additional dates and events should be announced soon since Disney is billing this as “the first of the new Star Wars events”. I would imagine they will begin to offer additional nights based on the Star Wars theme soon.

You can purchase tickets HERE.




Latest Walt Disney World Refurbishments

The following information regarding closings and refurbishments at Walt Disney World Resort is accurate as of January 4, 2017. The information is subject to change without notice.

WDW Refurbishments January

Magic Kingdom

Monorail – The Walt Disney World Resort Monorail System is undergoing refurbishment and may be on modified service and/or routes. If Guests plan to use this form or transportation during their visit they should check to be sure of the best option available on their day of travel, as alternative transportation options will be available – through February 28, 2017

  • The Magic Behind Our Steam Trains Tour – January 1 through February 28
  • Liberty Square Riverboat – January 3 through January 12
  • Walt Disney World Railroad – January 9 through March 2
  • Hall of Presidents – January 17 through June 29

Epcot

  • Infrastructure Work that began September 28, 2016 will continue through February 20

Disney’s Hollywood Studios

  • On-going construction of new lands/areas

Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  • Kali River Rapids – January 3 through February 13
  • On-going construction of new lands/areas

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon

  • Closed for annual refurbishment December 25, 2016 through March 11, 2017

WDW Refurbishments January

Disney’s All Star Movies Resort

  • Fantasia Pool – February 6 through February 10

Disney’s All Star Music Resort

  • Piano Pool – December 12, 2016 through February 3, 2017. During this time guests may use the Calypso Pool located near Melody Hall.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Villas – Kidani Village

  • Soft Goods Refurbishments will continued throughout January, 2017. All work is being conducted between the house of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Guests may see or hear work in progress.

Disney’s Beach Club Resort

  • Stormalong Bay Pool Slide – pool will remain open. Refurbishment is on slide only. January 30 to February 10
  • Tidal Pool – February 20 through February 22

Disney’s BoardWalk Resort

  • Garden Pool – February 13 through February 15

Disney’s BoardWalk Villas

  • Community Hall Pool – February 27 through March 1

Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort

  • Trinidad South Village Pool – January 6 to March 16

Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort

  • Hard Goods Refurbishment – on-going – Guests may see or hear construction taking place, or encounter alternative paths of travel throughout the resort. To minimize any possible disruptions, all work with the most potential for noise will be limited each day between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Disney’s Old Key West Resort

  • Sandcastle Pool – January 2 through February 24. The leisure pools located at Old Turtle Pond, South Point and Miller’s Road will remain available.

Disney’s Pop Century Resort

  • Hippy Dippy Pool – January 13 through January 20. During this time guests may use the Computer or Bowling pools
  • Room refurbishments will begin in February. 2017. During this time, guests may see or hear work in progress and certain pathways may be unavailable. To minimize any disruptions, Disney will attempt to limit work to 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Disney’s Port Orleans French Quarter

  • Doubloon Lagoon Pool – January 9 through January 13

Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside

  • Magnolia Bend Pool – January 23 through January 25

Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort

  • Congress Park Pool – January 30 through February 2

Disney’s Wilderness Lodge & Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge

  • Throughout 2017, due to extensive refurbishment projects, guests will very likely see and hear construction work in various areas throughout their stay. To minimize disruptions, Disney will attempt to limit work until after 9 a.m. At this time, many popular areas will remained closed – including the Hidden Springs Pool (the leisure pool at Boulder Ridge Villas at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge), beach, marina, playground and more. In addition, certain pathways, like our nature trail, will be unavailable, and surrounding views may be altered. However, the recently renovated Silver Creek Springs Pool will remain open and boat transportation to Magic Kingdom park will continue to be offered.
  • Cub’s Den Children’s Activity Center will be unavailable throughout 2017.

Disney’s Yacht Club Resort

  • Beginning January 2017 – room refurbishments. During this time, guests may see or hear work in progress and certain pathways may be unavailable. To minimize any disruptions, Disney will attempt to limit work to 9 a.m. through 5 p.m.
  • Admiral Pool – February 22 through February 24

Disney Springs

  • Planet Hollywood will reopen early in 2017
  • Fulton’s Crab House will reopen as Paddlefish in early 2017
  • Characters in Flight will be closed for refurbishment January 9 to January 13



Disney Dine-on-the-Go Quick Service Dining Package Test

Disney Quick Service Dining TestA quick service dining plan ~ “Disney Dine on the Go” meal option will begin a testing period at select Magic Kingdom quick service locations. The plan will include 2 Counter Service Meals and 2 non-alcoholic drinks per person. This plan can be purchased for a single day at a time and will be available to all guests.

The test period will run January 12 through February 22. Guest of the Magic Kingdom will be able to purchase a one-day quick-service meal plan as part of the Disney Dine-on-the-Go test. The cost per adult is $29 and per child (age 3 to 9) $12. Guests who purchase this 1-Day Disney Dine-on-the-Go plan will receive certificates that can be redeemed for the following:

  • One lunch quick-service meal* that includes one (1) entrée and one (1) non-alcoholic single-serving beverage (may be used only until 4 p.m.)
  • One dinner quick-service meal* that includes one (1) entrée and one (1) non-alcoholic single-serving beverage (may be used from 4 p.m. until close)

*Dessert is not included in the meal

Disney Quick Service Dining Test
photo credit-WDW News Today

This test will be available only at the following Magic Kingdom Quick Service locations:

  • Casey’s Corner
  • Columbia Harbour House
  • Cosmic Ray’s Starlight Café
  • Pecos Bill’s Tall Tale Inn and Café
  • Pinocchio Village Haus
  • Tomorrowland Terrace Restaurant

You may purchase the Disney Dine-on-the-Go plan only at Magic Kingdom Vacation Planning booths and Magic Kingdom Guest Relations. All certificates must be redeemed within 14 days of purchase.