1. We’re developing a concept for a new series of podcasts, and we need your input. Please visit Nathan Trent’s “My Magic Kingdom” thread over on the DISDads Podcast message board and join in the fun!

2. I know many of we dads have children who may be candidates for the Disney College Program in the perhaps not-so-distant future. Check out Amanda in Walt Disney World to follow one College Program participant’s experience. Amanda will actually be starting with the Fall Advantage 2012 class, but she’s already written some really interesting, detailed posts about the application process and preparing for the program.

3. Thanks to participating DISDads: Dave Compton, John Thomas, Mark Pratt, Josh Haas and Nathan Trent. There’s always room for one more. If you’d like to participate in a podcast or write something for the blog, just let us know at podcast@disdads.com.

4. The time has come! We’re ready to begin taking bookings for the DISDads Convention! The official convention dates are January 10 – 14, 2013, and our group rate can be extended for up to three days before and after the convention dates. While rates will not be finalized until Disney announces them this summer, we do have a range (including a maximum rate). Your deposit of one night’s room rate can be made based 2012 rates. After 2013 rates are determined, you will be able to add a Dining Plan if you wish, as well as special group-rate tickets. The rates for our convention resorts are:

I just got an Email with our official Convention resort rates. I’ll be posting details later today. (06/05/2012)

The 3% increase is my personal “best-guess” as to what the rate increase will be, but our contract guarantees that the rate will not increase more than 10% over 2012 rates. We have a limited number of rooms blocked out at each resort, and the reservations are first-come, first-served. To make your reservation, you can either contact a Fairytale Journeys by DISDads travel agent, or you can call Group Reservations directly at (407) 938-4868. Our Group Name is DISDads Trip 2013, and our Group Number is G0610952.

5. Disney PhotoPass recently announced a new, enhanced PhotoPass product they’re calling PhotoPass+. For $199.95, in addition to having access to photos taken by photographers around the theme parks, your PhotoPass CD and online account will include ride photos (from Space Mountain; Splash Mountain; Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin; The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror; Rock ‘n Roller Coaster; Expedition Everest; and Dinosaur) and photos from many dining experiences (at 1900 Park Fare; ‘Ohana (breakfast only); Spirit of Aloha Dinner Show; Chef Mickey’s; Cinderella’s Royal Table; Tusker House (breakfast only); Hoop Dee Doo Musical Revue; and Princess Storybook Dining at Akershus Royal Banquet Hall). While the $199.95 price appears to be a great value when compared to the standard PhotoPass price of $169.95, the pre-order discount that has allowed you to purchase a PhotoCD in advance of your vacation for only $99.95 is not available for PhotoPass+. Currently, PhotoPass+ is ONLY available as an upgrade, and must be purchased at a PhotoPass viewing location at Walt Disney World. While you can upgrade a pre-ordered PhotoCD, you must pay the full difference between the $99.95 pre-order price and the PhotoPass+ price of $199.95 – eliminating the pre-order discount.

At twice the price of a pre-ordered PhotoCD, PhotoPass+ is severely overpriced, unless you would otherwise be purchasing multiple dining photo packages and/or attraction photos. As quality digital photography has become easier and less expensive, PhotoPass pricing has become much less of a value, and it seems to me that PhotoPass+ is another step in the wrong direction for Disney photography products. I believe that Disney could make the purchase of a photo product virtually ubiquitous by dropping the price of PhotoPass+ to $49.95. I suspect that they would make back their money on volume and on the greater number of people who would be purchasing photo products after their vacations. They’re taking all of those ride photos and dining experience photos anyway, so the marginal cost of making them available via PhotoPass+ is virtually zero. But by raising the price to $200, I expect an even greater proportion of guests to skip Disney PhotoPass products entirely.

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