Disney World

American Idol…Out!

Over the last week, rumors were rampant of the impending doom of The American Idol Experience at Disney’s Hollywood Studios (DHS). These rumors have now been confirmed. After our last visit, I will NEVER miss this show (see my take on AIE here). I’d like to think MouseBoss’ complaint caused the demise of this insult to the senses.

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As the television version has waned in popularity, the park attraction has become somewhat long in the tooth. Each day three guests perform per show for the chance to move on to the finale at the end of the day. Contestants were given advice by real American Idol contestants including Fantasia Barino, Adam Lambert, and others. If you’re asking who those people are, that is exactly the reason this show is toast. The winner of the finale would receive a “dream ticket” for front of the line access at a local audition for the television version of American Idol. Three of the 2014 live show finalists were “dream ticket” recipients including my daughter’s favorite, Majesty. American Idol Experience winners will continue to be featured on AI through the 2015 season.

Read this piece from the Sentinel for more details.

The American Idol Experience occupies some prime real estate in the middle of the park just to the left of the Sorcerer’s Hat. The venue could house any marquee attraction.

Right now, the rumor mill is cranking on full that a new Star Wars Land will soon come to DHS – I’m not a major SW fan. In addition to losing AIE, the closure of Indiana Jones would happen well (that actually makes me sad). As the owner of Lucas Films and the upcoming releases of the space saga, Disney could certainly cash in on one of its most popular franchises. It would also be an answer to Universal’s Harry Potter expansion (IMHO – Star Wars has way more staying power than HP). Click here for a history of the Star Wars rumors courtesy of wdwthemeparks.com.

As for now, American Idol Experience…out!

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For a $5 discount at Baby Wheels Orlando, enter the code MouseBoss14.

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Party with Disney Villains

My girls are petrified, I mean literally frozen by fear, of all the Disney Villains. If I need them to clean their room or listen to their mother, I am going to threaten to take them to the Disney Villains Unleashed at Disney Hollywood Studios! When we visit the parks, I always threaten to introduce them to Scar, Gaston, or Sid to keep them in line. Sure, they’ll probably need counseling later in life, but don’t we all?

Anywho, Fifty of Disney’s most notorious bad guys will come for the one night bash. Tickets are currently on sale for this event. Like Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, this is an extra ticketed event. The cost is fairly steep at $67, but truthfully the Halloween Party and Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party are so well run, it’s worth a shot. Click this link for more info and phone number to call.

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Check out the write up in the Orlando Sentinel.

If bad guys are your bag, baby, I say give it a shot! After all, it can’t be all that BAD!

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For a $5 discount at Baby Wheels Orlando, enter the code MouseBoss14.

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Festival of The Lion King Reopens at Animal Kingdom

For months, Animal Kingdom guests have bemoaned the absence of Festival of The Lion King (particularly MouseBoss’ boss). Fear not, fellow fanatics. The show has returned in its brand new Harambe Theater located in the Africa section of the park.

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Anna was petrified until the show started. She was expecting Scar!

This show has been a staple of Animal Kingdom for years, and was the biggest draw to the now extinct Camp Minnie Mickey. This area of the park has now closed to make room for the multi year construction project of Avatar Land (check out Disney Parks Blog for an update on the project). The James Cameron inspired area will arrive just as the new films begin to hit the big screen.

Festival of The Lion King is a fantastic show for the whole family. This interactive experience has some of the best vocal talent (and I would argue THE BEST) in all of Walt Disney World…and I do love me some Hoop Dee Doo.

Head on over to InsideTheMagic to check out their full spread on the new theater.

Hakuna Matata!

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For a $5 discount at Baby Wheels Orlando, enter the code MouseBoss14.

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Nerd Weekend…Just Kidding! It’s Star Wars Weekend Time

If Star Wars is your thing, get your butt to Disney Hollywood Studios this weekend.

My wife and I had the displeasure of accidentally showing up at one of these one year. Actually, lines for rides were short because men were dragging their entire families into lines to get autographs from Ewoks and pictures with movie props. In fact, If you ever want to see as many adult men dressed in children’s costumes, get to Star Wars Weekend. You won’t be disappointed.

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Imagine outfits like this, but not nearly as cute

Sure, Star Wars has played an integral role in the park for years, but they burn down the house and go all out for this event. It’s really not my thing (if you couldn’t tell), but I will provide you with all the details you need.

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Anna getting her nerd on

WHEN: Every weekend day starting today, May 16, running through June 15.

WHERE: Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

WHAT: Star Wars Weekend

Park admission is required (that’ll be $94, please)

I really can’t stomach the research on Obi Won and JaJa Binks, so if you really want all the details, I found this tremendous article. Oh dear Lord, here it is from IGN Entertainment (online media for “adult” men interested in video games and all things fantasy): Walt Disney World Is Set for Their Biggest Star Wars Weekend Yet.

So, my dear Padawans, may the FORCE be with you!!!

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For a $5 discount at Baby Wheels Orlando, enter the code MouseBoss14.

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Disney’s Hollywood Studios Gets Sexy…IN A VERY BAD WAY!

A new attraction has made it on to my “SKIP IT” list.

On our last trip, our 7 year old really couldn’t wait for the American Idol Experience. She loves all the talent competitions on television (of course, she’s 7). We knew she would enjoy it tremendously…and she did. Dad, here, not so much. In fact our experience was so bad, I filed a complaint at Guest Services. More on that later.

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We went to the 1:15 showing on April 21. The crowd for the show was moderate. There were 3 contestants and all had lovely voices for what I am sure is a nerve wracking moment. The first two contestants were middle aged and probably ineligible for the the television version of the show. The third and final singer was a 17 year old girl from Chicago. That will prove to be an important piece of the story. I still remember her name as it was a lovely Irish moniker.

Of the three, I felt the 17 year old was the best (as did the audience because she won). My daughter, expert in all matters of talent competition, disagreed. She sang a lovely version of Breakaway. During the critique of her performance, the Simon impersonator made the most inappropriate comment I have ever heard at Walt Disney World. To my utter disgust, the asshole (really can’t think of a better description) tells a 17 year old minor that it’s fitting she hails from the Windy City because her “performance BLOWS.”

WHAT…THE…HELL!!! The collective gasp from the crowd was immediately telling.

Listen, I’m from Boston and we say worse to pedestrians in crosswalks, but this is obscene. Sexual innuendo lobbed at children in front of little children is just plain old nasty. As I said, the only thing I can think of to describe him is an asshole. Yes, I am responding to coarse language with foul language, but adult men shouldn’t make sexually suggestive language to minor girls in front of children and grandparents for shock value, ASSHOLE!

Anyway, in one show, I turned into some sort of sanctimonious and righteous warrior for wholesome family entertainment. I marched to Guest Services to formally record my horror, shock, ire and disgust. My age now exceeds all of the Cast Members in Guest Services, so they probably had a good laugh at my tirade when I left but I could care less. I asked the Cast Member to write this phrase word for word, “if I were comfortable with entertainment like this, I would vacation at Universal Studios.”

Congrats, MouseBoss. You are an old man!
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For a $5 discount at Baby Wheels Orlando, enter the code MouseBoss14.

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Magical Customer Service at the Magic Kingdom – SPECIAL DISCOUNT FOR MOUSEBOSS READERS

Finally! My first post since returning from our 10 day trip. Forgive me for the delay. Between catch up at work and a commitment for our daughter’s school, I was swamped. Anywho, back to MouseBoss.

I decided my very first post would feature the best customer service I have ever experienced during all my visits to Walt Disney World.

Every time we visit WDW we rent a stroller. We brought our own once (a beautiful Baby Jogger) and it got covered in grease from the X-ray machine at Logan International Airport. “NEVER AGAIN,” my wife promised.

Renting strollers from Disney can be a very expensive proposition. The big plastic strollers are everywhere and you must leave the stroller behind when you leave the park (not to mention wait in a long line when you get there). Sure, folding the stroller on the bus is a hassle, but Disney Resorts are HUGE and a walk to breakfast could tire the wee ones before even getting to the parks. That’s why we prefer having our stroller with us. As an added bonus, the stroller makes a great Sherpa for carrying all that Mickey swag.

On our recent trip, we rented from Baby Wheels Orlando. Over the years we have rented from many vendors and this was our first time using this service. My decision to rent from Baby Wheels Orlando came down to one reason….PRICE. For 10 days, a double stroller with insurance and tax cost $101, and it beat the competition by nearly 30%. For $10 a day, it was far and away the best value of our whole trip.

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When we made our initial reservation we were booked at the Wyndham Bonnet Creek. A few months before the trip we had the opportunity to change into the Animal Kingdom Lodge and we couldn’t pass it up. I contacted Baby Wheels Orlando to inform them of the change in venue. Jessica from Customer Service told me it was no problem and she would gladly note the change. This was my first exchange with Jessica, but as you will soon see, I had reason to contact her again.

On the day of our arrival, the stroller came as promised to the new resort. It was a black Britax double stroller with a rain cover and multiple beverage holders for parents. The stroller was perfect for the 5 and 3 year olds in our party – a place for them to cool their heels and relax (and when we got really lucky, to sleep).

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Half way through our trip, our insurance paid for itself. As we were walking with the stroller, a mechanism on the stroller failed to lock and the it truly became inoperable. We would push for 30 yards and the stroller would start to fold. I called Jessica right away. Over the phone she gave me some tips on how to correct the situation. After a couple of minutes Jessica offered to come meet us. She asked where I was at that point in time. I explained we were at the Magic Kingdom, but we were on our way to the 6:30 show at the Hoop Dee Doo Revue. She asked me to leave the stroller in the stroller parking area and she would either fix the stroller or swap it out with a new one.

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Or, you can pay these prices!

When the show was over we came out to a new red Baby Jogger City Series double stroller. The service was fast, convenient, hassle-free and top notch. For the rest of the trip, the kids continued to ride in comfort.

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Baby Wheels Orlando went above and beyond by providing the very best in customer service. When I returned home, I contacted Jessica again and thanked her for the tremendous service. At that time I also informed her of MouseBoss.com. It’s with great pleasure I announce that Baby Wheels Orlando would like to extend an exclusive discount to all MouseBoss readers. For your next Disney vacation, please visit Baby Wheels Orlando and be sure to enter the promo code MouseBoss14 for a $5 discount on your booking!

Again, if your traveling with kids and don’t want to pay the premium cost at Walt Disney World, consider renting your stroller from MouseBoss’ preferred vendor. Thank you Baby Wheels Orlando!

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FRIEND FRIDAY – The Packard Family Trip Report

There is nothing like running into friends at Walt Disney World. It makes the Happiest Place on Earth just a little happier. My girls were in for a huge treat when we had the pleasure of running into two of their neighborhood dearest at WDW!

Sending out a huge shoutout to Bethanne for this fantastic FRIEND FRIDAY submission. Read on to find out about Bethanne’s awesome trip.
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Since I have never actually won an Oscar, I can only imagine the sense of honor I feel right now is pretty much the same. I have been asked by the esteemed Mouse Boss for a Friend Friday submission.

We left for Disney World the day after Easter, and just arrived home this past Sunday. I traveled with my mom, and my two daughters. My husband stayed home with our two year old son- he will have his special trip someday, too! My mom and I really wanted this to be a memorable trip for the girls. We had visited Disney one other time a few years back, but the girls are both at perfect ages to enjoy all that Disney had to offer. Our decision to go was made a little late in the game, so airfare was high, but hotel and park prices were comparable to any other time of year. So, we planned for months, and since I luckily had befriended Mouse Boss, had some great inside tips to work with! Another friend’s sister is a travel agent who specializes in Disney travel, so we used her to make our Disney arrangements. We decided on a 5 day park hopper with accommodations at the Port Orleans French Quarter Resort. In addition, we purchased the meal plan and the memory maker option.

Another fun detail was that we decided to make this trip a surprise – we did not tell the girls until it was time to leave for the airport. This was really hard to keep a secret, but the reactions were worth it- I would highly recommend that everyone tries this once. Although we did not get the jump up and down reaction that you see on Youtube, we did get to enjoy a moment of pure joy and shock that crossed both of their faces when they learned the big news!

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So, off to the land of magic and mice we flew! We had made all of our dining and Fast pass plans well in advance, so there was little to do but enjoy our time there. Well, and obsess over the my Disney experience app, of course, and make little tweaks to our plans constantly! I really liked the new fast pass system, but it was a little bit of pressure only being allowed three fast passes a day. But this was the joy of staying on the Disney property and having access to our fast passes online. Running a little late? Well, jump online and change your Space Mountain fast pass from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. Careful not to wait too long, though. Just like the old fast pass system, the fast passes for popular attractions were gone pretty early in the day…if not by the day, or week, or month before!

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Some definite highlights were the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique for the girls’ hair and make up. Although, my six year old, Abigail, enjoyed this far more than my eight year old, Anna! Abby also enjoyed Primeval Whirl at Animal Kingdom, which we had never been on before. Anna was a big fan of the Tomorrowland speedway, and her personal Everest – Space Mountain! The big winner by a landslide was of course, the meet and greet with Anna and Elsa- the only fast pass option made in advance that we never could have changed. Fast passes for Anna and Elsa ran out almost immediately after they were released as an option. I know this, because as I already mentioned, I obsessively worked with that Disney app. It’s a problem. I still check it. Are there any support groups for this?

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The Port Orleans French Quarter was great. The pool had a great kids’ water slide, and there were always plenty of seats. Our room was always clean and had all the necessities. It was also fairly quiet – or we were so exhausted that any noise did not have a chance at disturbing our slumber. The buffet at the restaurant there was really good for your basic buffet, too. Although we’ll probably try another resort next time just to sample the other great hotels at Disney, I would definitely recommend this resort to other families. Our travel agent made our stay here a little extra special by having a package delivered with homemade autograph books for the girls, and Princess lanyards to collect their pins! They did love getting a few pins, but after a hot tip from Mrs. Mouse Boss, we switched to the more budget friendly Pressed Pennies!

We got the most of our meal plan, and booked several character dining experiences – which I was thrilled to learn are included in the basic dining plan. Cinderella’s Royal Table at the castle is still a favorite of the girls, and they also love Chef Mickey’s at the Contemporary. We also met Sofia the First and Doc McStuffins at the Hollywood and Vine at Hollywood Studios for breakfast. Non character dining was done at via Napoli at Epcot, 50s Prime Time Café at Hollywood Studios, and a casual last night meal at the Plaza back at the Magic Kingdom. We were not looking for gourmet during this trip, but we were pleased with all of our dining choices.

Have to end this by one adding one more highlight – meeting up with Mouse Boss and company a couple times! Disney is a great experience in and of itself, but meeting up with friends there makes it extra special. Several times over the course of this trip, I reminded the girls that this was their big trip, and we would not be going back to Disney for a long time. Of course, I am already adding notes and memos, and counting the days til we can plan our next trip!

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Thanks, Bethanne! I don’t have a gold statue to send you, but hopefully a snazzy MouseBoss T-shirt will be a greater consolation.

I know you had a great time and it was a blast running into you! It was definitely one of the highlights of our trip.

I can’t wait to help you plan the next one.

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And the Walls Came a Tumbling Down…At Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

All the walls are down at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train. The Cast Member out front claim soft openings won’t occur until June. Sure! :/

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