MickeyBlog News – Edition 11
Do you want to skip the lines at Pandora – The World of Avatar or get your picture taken with an imaginary Dole Whip? If you answered yes to either question, the latest edition of MickeyBlog News is going to make you happy.
The $265.19 Decision
The line queues at Pandora – The World of Avatar have remained long almost half a year after the themed land’s introduction. Curious onlookers want to see the amazing new feats of Imagineering on display at Pandora. Meanwhile, Disney veterans continue to be obsessed with the two new rides there, Na’Vi River Journey and Avatar Flight of Passage.
Frankly, there’s no reason to expect traffic to die at any point over the next 18 months. The only reason for a drop-off is the arrival of Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, presumably in 2019. Until then, Pandora’s the hot new thing at Walt Disney World and should remain so even after the introduction of Toy Story Land.
Disney’s aware of this situation, and they’re addressing it in the most profitable way. The company’s once again offering an upcharge event. As of October 1st, guests can participate in The Ultimate Nights of Adventure VIP Tour on Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. On these three dates, guests pay $265.19 each (including tax) for a four and a half hour tour of Pandora.
During this tour, guests get to ride both Avatar attractions. They also learn more details about the technologies involved as well as facts about the fictional world of Pandora. Participants also get to walk on Expedition Everest, Dinosaur, and Kilimanjaro Safaris without waiting. Plus, they enjoy priority seating to Rivers of Light. The question is whether these five rides and a show are worth $265.19 to you.
PS: Annual pass holders and DVC members are entitled to a 15 percent discount, a savings of about $40.
The $39 Decision
A much cheaper upsell offering won’t get you on Avatar Flight of Passage, but it will fill your belly while you enjoy Fantasmic! The Fantasmic! Dessert & VIP Viewing Experience package comes with a “delicious snack box.”
Disney indicates that the contents of the adult box are: “chocolate-covered strawberries, cheesecake, a chocolate cupcake, apple crisp, California trail mix and cheese and crackers.” Kids get their own box, and it contains “chocolate pudding with crushed chocolate cookies and gummy worms, confetti popcorn, grapes and a vanilla cake bite which features the star of Fantasmic! — Sorcerer Mickey.”
All guests also get a drink with their snack boxes. Disney describes the options as: “a bottle of water and a specialty alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage in a light-up keepsake Fantasmic! cup.”
Most importantly, people who attend this event get to check-in at a special Fantasmic! area before the show. A cast member will take them to a reserved seating area that has the best view of Fantasmic! The cost of the package is $39 for adults and $19 for children aged 3-9. Kids under three don’t have to pay but they also don’t get a snack box. They’re expected to share with their parents.
New Magic Shots
Magic Shots are one of my favorite aspects of Walt Disney World. Guests who use PhotoPass or Memory Maker get to take high-quality photographs across the Disney campus. Some of these images are special ones that include animated GIFs in the background (or even foreground). My family loves chasing these at parks, and Disney photographers seem to get a kick out of guests who know to ask for Magic Shots.
Well, if you’re like us, you’re in for a treat right now, figuratively and almost literally. Two new magic shots are available that can put a tasty treat in your hands. Or mouth. One of the magic shots is of a giant Dole Whip that looks like it could feed fifty.
The other is of a Mickey Bar. The photographer will ask you to mimic taking a bite out of the air. Then, the digital magic will show you trying to crunch on the Mickey Bar. Both images are adorable and highly recommended. Remember that you can see where various PhotoPass photographers are taking pictures. All you need to do is pull up the MyDisneyExperience app on your phone. It’ll even provide directions from your current Walt Disney World location to the applicable PhotoPass spot.
Chef Mickey’s Minus the Monorail View
A couple of months ago, Disney confirmed that they needed to perform some unplanned maintenance at Chef Mickey’s. Management decided to move the restaurant to a different location while they fixed the issues. Upon reflection, these same people realized that they could evolve the unplanned maintenance into a scheduled bit of routine maintenance later in the year.
That time is almost now.
Starting in late November, Disney will move the Chef Mickey’s meal to a different part of Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Do you know where they escalators are that take you from the lobby up to the fourth floor? The conference rooms you see on the way up are where the restaurant will serve meals for a few weeks.
You’ll still receive the same Chef Mickey’s experience, of course. All of the beloved costumed characters will still wander from table to table, offering unforgettable photo ops with diners. The only real difference is that you won’t have the monorail view in the background or windows that overlook Bay Lake and Magic Kingdom.
The location change is a temporary inconvenience, but Chef Mickey’s will still stand out as one of the best restaurant visits at Walt Disney World, even when it’s hosted in a conference center. Seriously, Pluto once stole our phone at Chef Mickey’s and took about 50 selfies of his eyes. This place is magic.
Finally, let’s close this week’s edition with some park news.
Something fun has returned to Disney’s Animal Kingdom. For a long time, guests could get their hair wrapped at the park. In January of 2017, Disney discontinued the practice and it seemed like a feature the company wouldn’t bring back. I am happy to announce that this conjecture was off-base. As of today, you can once again ask for a hair wrap at Animal Kingdom.
Head to Discovery Island. You can use the Tree of Life as a starting point to find the wrap area. It’s close to Island Mercantile. And if you want to enjoy this experience without heading to a park, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort also does hair wraps.
The other news at Animal Kingdom isn’t great, but it’s long overdue. Disney is finally taking Kali River Rapids down for maintenance early in 2018. Several features of this attraction haven’t worked for a while now, with park analysts speculating that Disney may never fix them. That’s apparently not the case, as Disney will perform renovations from January 2 through February 9, 2018. You wouldn’t want to ride a water ride in January anyway, even in Florida, so the timing makes perfect sense.
Finally, this last note is for cast members, although you’re almost certainly aware by now. Disney’s currently offering you a 20 percent discount on food and beverages at the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival from now until November 11th. That’s not quite when the event ends, as the closing date is November 13th, but it is close enough.
The only catch is that you can’t use the discount on alcoholic beverages. Otherwise, it’s a great deal that your friends and family members are certain to pressure you into using for them. And if your friends and family members have never bugged you about your cast member discount, consider yourself the lucky one.
Have a great week, fellow friends of the mouse!