Friday Five: Random References & Reflections

©Disney
©Disney
Lots of news to share, so the Friday Five is back!

1. Today the Disney Parks Blog announced that they’ll again be kicking off the summer travel season with a 24-hour Disney Parks event. From Friday, May 23, 2014 at 6 a.m. until Saturday, May 24, 2014 at 6 a.m. (local time) guests are invited to “Rock Your Disney Side” at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World and at both Disneyland and California Adventure at the Disneyland Resort. Guests are being encouraged to dress up as their favorite Disney hero or villain, and the “140 Character” announcement of the event on Twitter suggests we’ll see lots of meet and greet opportunities – sort of a blending of the Friday the 13th Villains event at Hollywood Studios this past year and the 24-hour Disney Day. Are you making plans for Memorial Day weekend at a Disney park?

2. We have an official start date for the new Festival of Fantasy daytime parade in the Magic Kingdom. The parade will make its official debut on Sunday, March 9 – and the photos and videos that have been released so far look amazing. Clearly, Disney is expecting the parade to be popular, as we’re already seeing reports that reserved viewing areas for Festival of Fantasy are available via Fastpass+ for at least some dates. Do you usually make time to watch Disney afternoon parades? Will you make a special effort to see this new parade?

3. With remarkably little fanfare or plans leaked out in advance, Walt Disney World announced a major reconfiguration of the Hub area at the Magic Kingdom. In a move intended to help ease congestion problems, particularly around parade and fireworks times, the Hub is being remodeled in a manner similar to that used for Tokyo Disneyland. Mock-ups show that new pathways will allow guests to move to the front of the park without going down Main Street, including a path that leads all the way to the park exit without rejoining Main Street. The new pathways will also provide new viewing areas for castle shows and fireworks, in particular. In my opinion, this reconfiguration is overdue, and will make both the Hub and Main Street areas much more pleasant experiences at the end of a day in the Magic Kingdom. The Parks Blog posted a flyover animation of the reconfiguration – what do you think of it?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWBktbaiFb8

4. There’s still time to pre-register for the DISDads Dream Cruise 2015! As we await Disney Cruise Line’s release of itineraries for the second half of 2015, we are still planning on setting sail on Father’s Day – June 21, 2015. Pre-registration allows our travel partner, Fairytale Journeys, to ensure that you get booked at the best pricing possible for this cruise. We have eight families pre-registered so far, and have had inquiries from several more. The latest rumors I’ve heard suggest that we should get an itinerary release sometime around March 15, 2014, which is just a couple of weeks away. You can still sail with us, even if you don’t pre-register. But DCL pricing is almost always cheaper the closer to the itinerary release date that you get booked.

5. We are pleased to announce that DISDads Radio will be moving out of beta testing mode on March 15, 2014. And when we go live, we’ll have three excellent podcast partners streaming podcasts with us. The Enchanted Tiki Talk Podcast is a newer show that is off to a great start, and fits right in with the DISDads perspective on Disney. The ResortLoop.com podcast just recently posted their 101st episode, and is hosted by a pair of Disney Dads, Bob Coller and Tim Scott. I’ve been proud to call myself Loopy for months now! And finally, a podcast that I’ve been encouraging DISDads to listen to since way back on Episode 2 of the DISDads Podcast, The Disney Film Project Podcast, will be streaming its extensive back catalog as well as new shows on DISDads Radio.

What do you think about all of this Disney and DISDads.com news? Let us know in the comments below!

The DAD Show #48 – Animation & Magic with David and Christina Matt

hbgeeejgWelcome back to the DISDads Podcast Midweek Destinations And Diversions Show. The DAD Show is your humpday vacation fix. Our intro and outro music was created and performed by Mitch Furman.

In Episode 48, David Matt and his daughter Christina talk with me about their family’s one-night stay in an Art of Animation suite at Walt Disney World and three-night cruise on the Disney Magic out of Port Canaveral.

The DAD Show is sponsored by Kingdom Strollers, Orlando’s Premium Stroller and Crib Rental source.

Do you have any questions or comments about David’s and Christina’s vacation? Want to volunteer to share your vacation story with us? Email us at podcast@DisDads.com; tweet us at DisDadsPodcast on Twitter; and join in the online discussion of the podcasts on our DISDads Discussion Boards; and check out our new DISDads Podcast Facebook page.

If you enjoyed the podcast, we’d really appreciate it if you took a moment to leave us a review on iTunes.

Our Podcasts are also available on Stitcher Smart Radio.

LIVE – The Best (and Worst) of Disney Parks and DCL 2013: Episode 167

DISDadsCircle1400x1400The DISDads Podcast is sponsored by Fairytale Journeys, an Authorized Disney Vacation Planner.

Host: Aaron Rittmaster
Panel: Adam Dale & Brad Coates

Episode 167 was recorded live. In addition to the scheduled topic of the Best (and Worst) of Disney Parks and Disney Cruise line, we talked about the surprise Walt Disney World ticket price increases. We also introduced our new DISDads Radio broadcast partners (we’re planning to launch the broadcast of their shows at http://radio.disdads.com/ next month).

Do you have any Best (or Worst) moments to add? Tell us about them – Email us at podcast@DisDads.com; tweet us at DisDadsPodcast on Twitter; join in the online discussion of the podcasts on our DISDads Discussion Boards; and check out our DISDads Podcast Facebook page.

If you enjoyed the podcast, please leave us a review on iTunes.

DISDads Podcast is also available on Stitcher Smart Radio.

WDW Ticket Price Increase, Effective February 23, 2014 – News & Analysis

For the first time since February 2007 January 2006 [Ed. Note: The 2007 Winter increase was for Water Park admission only. So the January, 2006 increase is the most analagous to this new Winter ticket price increase], Walt Disney World has increased ticket prices outside of its usual summer ticket price increases. Ticket prices last increased on June 2, 2013 – not quite nine months ago. A couple of brief notes before we get to the price increases themselves and my analysis of Walt Disney World’s price increase trends. This increase was essentially a “stealth increase.” I learned about it the way most Disney fans did – when Jason Garcia of the Orlando Sentinel retweeted a link to a one-paragraph story in the Sentinel about an increase coming on one-day Walt Disney World tickets. I correctly speculated that the whole rate card would be going up. As of 10:45 a.m. Central Time today, there is still no reference to these ticket rate increases on either the Disney Parks Blog or even in the news section of Disney Travel Agents web portal. The only official evidence of these price increases is on the Walt Disney World ticket ordering page, where the new prices apply to ticket orders placed today. I don’t think I’m being too much of a conspiracy theorist to suggest that perhaps Disney was hoping that news of the price increases would get buried in social media circles by posts from the Walt Disney World Princess Half Marathon. I won’t comment on whether the price increase itself is good or bad or justified or not – it is, and my goal here is to explore a bit what the increases actually are and explore the trends that are revealed by an analysis of increases over time. But from as both a Walt Disney World fan and a travel agent, I am disappointed by the lack of transparency involved in this round of price increases. WDW is free to change pricing any time it wants – but it’s bush league to try and sneak an increase through without disclosing it through their own established public channels. Increase chart and analysis after the jump.
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Do you wanna build a snowman? #DisneyFrozen #Giveaway

1048356_10103492779294179_570065007_oHey guys! We’re joining together with some of our blogger friends to offer you a chance to win a Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray+DVD+Digital Copy of Disney’s smash-hit film Frozen. Use the form below to enter – and take advantage of the opportunity to take a look at some of the terrific content that our giveaway partners are sharing as well!

The Dragyn’s Lair | The Fronkensteen Lounge | DISTherapy | Merlot Mommy | Focused on the Magic | My Pixie Dust Diary | Magical Mouse Schoolhouse | CanDoItMom | Taking the Florida Plunge | The NYC Talon | MapleMouseMama

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Remember to keep coming back and claiming the new entries that are available each day between now and the drawing on March 15, 2014!

The DAD Show #47 – A California Adventure with Eric Anderson

SpaceMountainWelcome back to the DISDads Podcast Midweek Destinations And Diversions Show. The DAD Show is your humpday vacation fix. Our intro and outro music was created and performed by Mitch Furman.

In Episode 47, Eric Anderson talks with me about his family’s California vacation, including the Walt Disney Family Museum, a drive down the Pacific Coast Highway and Disneyland.

The DAD Show is sponsored by Kingdom Strollers, Orlando’s Premium Stroller and Crib Rental source.

Do you have any questions or comments about Eric’s vacation? Want to volunteer to share your vacation story with us? Email us at podcast@DisDads.com; tweet us at DisDadsPodcast on Twitter; and join in the online discussion of the podcasts on our DISDads Discussion Boards; and check out our new DISDads Podcast Facebook page.

If you enjoyed the podcast, we’d really appreciate it if you took a moment to leave us a review on iTunes.

Our Podcasts are also available on Stitcher Smart Radio.