Friday Five: Random References & Reflections

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.

Monday Poll: Which is your favorite 3D attraction at WDW?

Pretty straightforward this time – which is your favorite 3D attraction (defined – by me – as requiring the wearing of 3D glasses)? Is there one I’ve left off the list that you like better? Tell us about it in the comments.

Which is your favorite 3-D attraction at Walt Disney World?

  • Toy Story Midway Mania (DHS) (33%, 14 Votes)
  • Star Tours (DHS) (26%, 11 Votes)
  • Mickey's Philharmagic (MK) (24%, 10 Votes)
  • MuppetVision 3D (DHS) (10%, 4 Votes)
  • It's Tough to Be a Bug (DAK) (7%, 3 Votes)
  • Captain EO (Epcot) (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 42

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Blue Sky Magic Kingdom: Episode 27

Host – Aaron Rittmaster (AJRitz)
Panel – Dave Compton (Groovertoo); John Thomas (BigTex71)

Episode 27 begins a new series, with the DISDads panel taking a long, wishful thinking, look at the future of the theme parks of Walt Disney World. We begin the episode sharing thoughts about Magic Kingdom attractions that have run their course and probably need to go at some point down the road. Next, we addressed attractions that are in need of major overhauls. Finally, we look to the future with ideas for new attractions for the future of the Magic Kingdom. In the midst of all of that wishful thinking, we take a break for Ten Questions with new panelist Dave Compton.

Special thanks to our Producer/Engineer Josh Haas, who also created and recorded our intro music. The DIS Dads Podcast is edited and produced by Josh Haas/Wizard of Haas Production.

We’d love to hear your comments about the podcast – Email us at podcast@DisDads.com; tweet us at DisDadsPodcast on Twitter or leave us a review on iTunes. And now, you can join in online discussion of the podcasts on our new DISDads Discussion Boards.

Friday Five: Random References & Reflections

1. March Madness is my favorite sports time of the year (especially in years like this one, when my Jayhawks are in the Final Four – Rock Chalk)! This year, a couple of my favorite Disney sites are getting into the March Madness spirit. Over at WDW Solo Meets, Turkey Leg Jeff has been conducting a Twitter-poll-based Disney Dining Madness tournament. California Grill knocked off ‘Ohana in the first semifinal match. Currently, Le Cellier is facing Sanaa in the second semifinal. Meanwhile, over at WDWToday, Matt, Mike, Len and Mike have been arranging Walt Disney World attractions into a bracket. As of yesterday’s episode, they’d worked down to their final four. Now is the time to catch up on those episodes – I expect that they’ll be announcing the winner on Monday’s podcast.

2. Another blog that I haven’t mentioned enough here is Tom Bricker’s Disney Tourist Blog. Not only does Tom take and share excellent photography from Disney theme parks, he also offers well-written reviews and shares many of his tips and tricks for taking great photos.

3. Thanks to all of our participating DISDads, especially recent podcast first-timers David Juart, Dave Compton; and Mark Pratt for his help keeping the new message boards moderated.

4. Speaking of the new message boards, come on over and join in the discussion! Our goal is to generate a different atmosphere than is present on the larger, more open boards. If the DIS is conversation that would be appropriate on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom, the DISDads boards are a conversation among the guys hanging out at a sports bar. We have put most of the content boards behind a subscription pay wall, but we’ve left the barrier to entry low. You can purchase an annual subscription for just $1. The reason for doing this is that the pay wall has proven to be the only effective tool for keeping out spammers and trolls. You can purchase other subscription levels, and recieve premiums like a DISDads T-shirt or coffe mug, with the higher cost going to help over the operating costs of the site. If you haven’t registered for the new boards yet, come on over, we’d love to see you there!

5. I just returned this week from a Preview Cruise on the new Disney Fantasy. She’s a truly amazing ship! But if I had to choose the single most impressive thing about the ship itself (as opposed to the CMs, who were incredible the whole time) it would have to be the new show that’s part of the dining experience at The Animator’s Palate. The ability to take artwork created by hundreds of guests and turn it into animated characters who dance and march along with classic Disney characters in a show in just over an hour is incredible. And seeing the reactions on the faces of children as they recognize their drawing dancing along up on the screen is absolutely priceless.

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