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Cinderella’s Castle Makeover – More Than Just One Celebration?

Cinderella’s Castle Makeover – More Than Just One Celebration?

Cinderelly, Cinderelly! If you’re going to head to the biggest celebration in Walt Disney World history, you got to look your best. Cinderella’s Castle definitely knows this. With Walt Disney World’s 50th anniversary less than a year away, are you we seeing an early glimpse of the celebration decorations? As Neil Patrick Harris would say, let’s suit up! Off the Magic Kingdom, we go.

Cinderella's Castle as a Birthday Cake

What History Tells Us

A lot! As they say, we can learn a lot from history. When it comes to Walt Disney World or Disney Park celebrations, everything usually centers around the castle. In Disney World, that’s Cinderella’s Castle. Over the years, we’ve seen Cinderella’s Castle take on many different looks for a variety of celebrations. For the 25th anniversary of Walt Disney World, the castle transformed into a pink birthday cake. Additionally, when Disneyland celebrated it’s 60th anniversary all the Disney castles from around the globe transformed for the occasion.

Passholder Insights: One of our Magic Kingdom Rope Drop strategies is to head through Cinderella’s Castle towards Fantasyland for Peter Pan’s Flight.

Changes for Cinderella's Castle

What We Know

It’s the 70th anniversary of the movie Cinderella! To celebrate the occasion Walt Disney World will be adding a few golden touches to Cinderella’s Castle. On February 17, 2020, Disney Parks announced the project for transforming the castle would begin in a few days and completed by the summer. By adding accents of gold and hints of rose gold Cinderella’s Castle is definitely becoming the bell of the ball. Nothing will be impacted while the transformation occurs, including Mickey’s Royal Friendship Faire stage show and Happily Ever After.

Passholder Insights: Examining the concept art it looks the hints of purple iridescent paint could be added to the spires to creating a “shimmering” look.

Cinderella's Castle decoration for Disneyland's 60th anniversary

Fast Forward

Ok, Nate, what does the 70th anniversary have to do with the Walt Disney World 50th anniversary? Everything and nothing all at once! In the DVC Duo house, we believe the celebration of the 70th anniversary of Cinderella is a way for Disney World to take the first step in transforming the castle for the big event. With the 50th anniversary expected to begin in January of 2021, Disney would have to paint the castle prior to the holiday season in order to meet the deadline. During the holiday season, Cinderella’s Castle is draped with Christmas lights which would prevent any type of painting to occur.

By pre-painting Cinderella’s Castle Disney would be able to make the transition to the 50th Anniversary version of the castle very quickly. It is still unknown exactly what Disney has planned, but we would project it to be something simple so it would not impact the castle projections for Happily Ever After.

Passholder Insights: One of the best times to book a Dessert Party at the Magic Kingdom is during the busiest times of the year, like Christmas.

Our Thoughts

Beautiful! Looking at the concept art what Disney has planned for Cinderella’s Castle is both elegant and fitting for the 50th anniversary. Afterall the 50th anniversary is the “golden” anniversary. Well, Cinderelly it looks like you’ll be turning heads at the celebration!

Disney Skyliner Expansion – Will We Soar Around More Of The “World”?

Disney Skyliner Expansion – Will We Soar Around More Of The “World”?

Let’s take flight! Where are we off to, Nate? We’re off to talk about a potential Disney Skyliner expansion. With four months in the books, it’s safe to say the Disney Skyliner is an overall success for Walt Disney World. With success comes the big question, what’s next? When looking at Disney’s newest transportation system everyone is wondering, if and when would we see Disney Skyliner expansion. Let’s board our Skyliner gondola and take a look at what we can “see”!

reduced bus service could mean further Disney Skyliner expansion

What We Know

Disney World is excited! On January 5, 2020, Walt Disney World announced a change to the bus service to Disney Resorts that have access to the Disney Skyliner, like Pop Century. Resorts with Skyliner stations now have reduced bus service to both Epcot and Hollywood Studios, with signs suggesting guests use the Disney Skyliner.

Disney felt comfortable reducing the bus operations for two reasons. The first being the improved operations of the system as a whole. After a few bumps out of the gate, the Disney Skyliner has been operating smoothly since. The second is reported guest satisfaction around the reduced wait times when moving to and fro the parks and their resorts.

Passholder Insights: When staying at the Caribbean Beach Resort, you can either board the Disney Skyliner via the Caribbean Beach Station or Disney Riviera Station.

Starting our Half-Day Plan for the Animal Kingdom in Harambe

Where To Next?

Westward we go! The rumored next phase of a Disney Skyliner Expansion is west towards the Animal Kingdom. Currently, Disney’s Animal Kingdom is the only park without multiple transportation options. According to Jim Hill of Jim Hill Media, the Disney Skyliner expansion would run from Disney’s Hollywood Studios to the Coronado Springs Resort area, and ultimately ending at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

Passholder Insights: An alternative to go from Epcot to Hollywood Studios (and vice versa) then Disney Skyliner is either the walkway or a Friendship Boat.

Potential path of a Disney Skyliner expansion

Potential Pathway

It’s all about speed. When looking at potential routes for the Disney Skyliner expansion there’s one thing we’ll need to keep in mind, and that’s speed. One of the big takeaways from the launch of the Skyliner is the shortest routes do the best. If Disney World were to connect the Animal Kingdom with Hollywood Studios the most logical spot for a midway station would be Coronado Springs Resort. Rumor is if there is a Coronado Springs station it would be a bigger hub.

Disney is talking about including bridges and pathways from a Coronado Springs station that would connect to Blizzard Beach. We would project a potential location for the station would be on the southern side of the resort, near the main entrance.

Passholder Insights: Atop the new Destino Tower at Coronado Springs Resort is Toledo that has grand views of Walt Disney World.

Disney Skyliner expansion could see a change in cabins

What Else Could Change?

Wait there’s more! As part of the Disney Skyliner expansion, we could see a change in the cabins. Based on observation it appears guests prefer the cabins without the character wraps, as they have better views. The wraps around the cabins make it more challenging to take in the Disney views. Disney is considering moving away from the wraps when it’s time to purchase/update the cabins in three to five years.

Passholder Insights: For the Skyliner station in Epcot it is located at the International Gateway in the World Showcase between the France and UK Pavilions.

Our Thoughts

It’s only a matter of when. When the Disney Skyliner was originally announced, Disney World already has phases for a Disney Skyliner expansion. What surprised us the most is how the character wrapped cabins are being received. Originally, we thought this would be a home run and guests would be lined waiting for a specific character. At the moment there is no defined timeline to when the expansion would begin. If we had to guess, we would think an announcement during the 50th anniversary of Walt Disney World would make sense. Our cabin is here, it’s time to take flight!

The Monorail Crawl – A DVC Duo Choose Your Own Adventure

The Monorail Crawl – A DVC Duo Choose Your Own Adventure

Let’s take a lap! Our monorail crawl will take us on an adventure around the Seven Seas Lagoon. With the Magic Kingdom as your backdrop, a monorail crawl is our fun way of taking a break from the parks, while enjoying a beverage (or two). The best part is it gives you an opportunity to explore the monorail resorts. Our chariot awaits, let’s get this monorail crawl started! Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas!

our ride for our monorail crawl

What Is It?

An adventure built around drinks. What type of drinks is totally up to you. Whether prefer an adult beverage or not, you can create your monorail crawl. The baseline, not Baseline Tap House, more like the premise of the monorail crawl entails enjoying a drink at each of the three monorail resorts. We’re looking at you Contemporary Resorts, Polynesian Resort, and Grand Floridian Resort. The order in which you enjoy all the resorts and which establishments at the resorts you choose to enjoy is up to you. It’s what we like to call a choose your own adventure in the DVC Duo house.

The only other requirement is you enjoy your adventure by riding the monorail from resort to resort. No need to twist our arm with this requirement, we always enjoy a good monorail ride! Let’s breakdown the drink locations at each of our stops.

Passholder Insights: Keep an eye out for monorail silver and lime, as they have recently received their monorail upgrades.

drinks at Trader Sam's Tiki Terrace

Tropical Stop

Tiki, Tiki, time! Our first stop on our monorail crawl brings us to the Polynesian Resort. We like to get it started in a tropical way. Home to many famous bars including Trader Sam’s and the Tambu Lounge, the big decision is what type of tiki drink entices you. Below is a list of the locations to choose from at the Polynesian Resorts.

  • Trader Sam’s Grog Grotto
  • Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace
  • Tambu Lounge
  • Oasis Bar & Grill
  • Barefoot Pool Bar

More often than not you’ll us stopping in at Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace. With the laidback vibe from patio, fully equipped with the sound of the ukulele, it’s our perfect tropical oasis.

Passholder Insights: The patio tables at Trader Sam’s Tiki Terrace are a first come first serve. We like to snag a standing table by the bar.

old fashioned from Enchanted Rose

Grand Time

After a stop in at the Polynesian Resort, our monorail crawl is off to a solid start. The next stop on our adventure brings us to the grandest of all Disney Resorts, the Grand Floridian Resort. Recently, the resort switched up its lounge options with the addition of the Enchanted Rose. All you’ll have to do is ask yourself if you prefer a drink inside or out. Below is a list of locations to choose from at the Grand Floridian Resort.

  • Enchanted Rose
  • Citricos Lounge
  • Beaches Pool Bar & Grill
  • Courtyard Pool Bar

Our new favorite spot is the Enchanted Rose. The swankie new lounge really knows how to craft a Serena favorite in the martini and shake up a Nate favorite in the seasonal old fashioned. A full review of the new spot is in the works, stay tuned!

Passholder Insights: The Enchanted Rose has a vary of lounging options, but one of the lesser-known options is to ask for your drink to-go and heading to lobby to listen to live music.

Wine from Top of the World Lounge

From Top To Bottom

We’ve got great drinks on all levels! The last stop on our monorail crawl brings us to the Contemporary Resort. From The Wave Lounge on the ground floor the California Grill Lounge on the tippy top, you can’t go wrong with any of the options. Below is a breakdown of options at the Contemporary Resort.

  • The Wave Lounge
  • Outer Rim
  • California Grill
  • The Sand Bar
  • Cove Bar (DVC and Bay Lake Tower Guests Only)
  • Top of the World (DVC Lounge)

Where would you find the DVC Duo? Surprise! It’s the Outer Rim. Most of you may think our go-to lounge at the Contemporary Resort would be Top of the World. We truly enjoy the Top of the World lounge and love stopping in, but there is something about the Outer Rim that keeps us going back. It must be the great views of Bay Lake.

Passholder Insights: The bridge from the Contemporary Resort to Bay Lake Tower is a great place to watch the Magic Kingdom fireworks from outside the parks.

Our Thoughts

We love it! For us, taking an afternoon/early evening away from the parks to enjoy the Magic Kingdom resorts is just what the doctor ordered. The monorail crawl is something everyone can partake in as many of the lounges offer both alcoholic and non-alcoholic concoctions (mocktails). All that’s left to do is choose where our adventure should begin. Who are we kidding, we’ll meet you on the terrace!

Disney Cruise Navigator App – A DVC Duo Essentials Guide

Disney Cruise Navigator App – A DVC Duo Essentials Guide

We’re back and talking apps! No, not the bite-size goodness from the Nomad Lounge, we’re here to chat about the Disney Cruise Navigator app. Similar to a trip to Walt Disney World, where My Disney Experience is your best friend, Disney has an app for the cruise line. We’re getting down to the essentials in this DVC Duo guide to the Disney Cruis Navigator app. Let the downloading begin!

The Disney Cruise Navigator app is available in iTunes and Google Play Stores

What Is It?

It’s an app, Nate. Yes, yes it is. The Disney Cruise Navigator contains everything you’ll need both prior to setting sail and while on your Disney Cruise. Whether you book through a Disney travel agent or on your own the app will become your new friend. After booking your cruise everything you’ll look to do can be done within the app, from making your payments to book excursions and anything in between. If you have a My Disney Experience account, your information should be the same with the app.

Cruise Insights: You can download the Disney Cruise Navigator app at any time to use the app you’ll have to load your reservation number and birthday.

Pre-Boarding

Before your embarkation day, there is a variety of things you can do within the Disney Cruise Navigator. First and foremost you can review all the fun activities to sign-up for, whether it’s champagne tasting or shore excursions, as well as the famous Palo brunch. The app has all the details and associated prices. As soon as you book your cruise you can begin reviewing your activities and when you book events.

Prior to stepping aboard one of the best things you can do within the Disney Cruise Navigator is to check into your cruise. Within the app, you’re able to fill out all your documentation including adding each of your party’s passport information. Additionally, you’re able to add a credit card to your room for on ship charging.

Cruise Insights: Leading up to your cruise the app includes a fun countdown screen showing how many days until you set sail. On your first day, the countdown counter turns in Disney emoji. Say it with us, awwww!

You'll have the option to connect to the internet via the Disney Cruise navigator app

Staying Connected

All Disney Cruise ships include WiFi and depending on your cell phone carrier you may have international coverage in ports. What’s important to know is on the first day, every guest can connect to the internet and receive 50 MB of internet usage at no additional charge for the duration of your sailing. This offer is only available on the first day. Beyond the free offer, you’re able to purchase data packages to stay connected through Connect@Sea.

Whether you decide to purchase data or not on the ship, the Disney Cruise Navigator app will work when connected to the WiFi. If you purchase data through Disney Cruise Line the use of the app does not count towards your allotment.

Cruise Insights: We always like to put our cell phones into airplane mode once aboard the ship to ensure we do not incur any roaming charges.

Examples of what you can do with the Disney Cruise Navigator app

While Aboard

The Disney Cruise Navigator app is filled with tons of information once you’re aboard the ship. Below is a breakdown of tall the different things you can do:

  • Find your rotational dining time and the first restaurant
  • Review each of the restaurant’s menu and dress code
  • Maps to each of the decks
  • Daily activities on the ship, including the different character meet ‘n greets
  • Specials for the day, like Drink of the Day
  • Port related information
  • Basics around allowances, transportation, etc.
  • Stateroom folio
  • Times and floors for the different Youth Clubs and Lounges

When reviewing the different activities you’ll see a heart in the upper right corner. If you click on the heart it will turn red and automatically be added to the “My Activities” section. When the time comes for the activity you’ll receive a push notification reminding you of the event. It’s a great way to not miss anything while you’re enjoying your cruise.

The last big part of the app is the messaging system. Within the Disney Cruise Navigator, you’ll find a messaging app that lets you stay in touch with your party while aboard the ship. It’s a fantastic way to let people know where you are or heading, as well as just chat. You’ll also receive communication from the cast as well. Additionally, if your kids are enjoying the youth clubs you’ll receive messages every time they check-in or out (if you let them have the ability to do so on their own).

Cruise Insights: Recently, Disney Cruise just updated the app to allow guests to put a deposit on their cruise directly through the app.

Our Thoughts

Fantastic! Overall, we found the app to be very easy to use and set-up. Without much research or practice, we were able to take full advantage of the functionality. We would highly recommend at least one person within your party to have the app, as it is the best place to find all the different activities. Alright, let’s check our phones to see what should enjoy next!

Rise Of The Resistance Boarding Group – A DVC Duo Guide

Rise Of The Resistance Boarding Group – A DVC Duo Guide

All rise! Some things are worth waking up early for and a Rise of the Resistance boarding group is definitely one of them. On a recent trip to Black Spire Outpost, we were lucky enough to snag a boarding group on multiple occasions. Now that we’re back, we’re sharing our strategy on how to get your own Rise of the Resistance boarding group. Our phones are charged, let’s head to Hollywood Studios and get that boarding group!

Rise of the Resistance Boarding Group within My Disney Experience

The Prep Work

Let’s channel our inner Scar and be prepared! Our first recommendation for getting a Rise Of The Resistance boarding group is to check your phone the night before. What are you looking for? A couple of things. First and foremost, make sure you have the My Disney Experience app on your phone with all your friends and family members linked together. You’re going to need all the help you can get if you’re going to take on the First Order. Additionally, take a look at where the boarding group selection of the app is located and click through it to become familiar.

Our prep work continues with making sure you have the most updated version of the app. Heading into the App Store or Google Play to check for any updates. We’ve noticed Disney has been updating My Disney Experience on a more regular basis. Alright, the prep work is done, let’s get some sleep before we have to rise!

Passholder Insights: Disney Resorts offer free in-room and resort WiFi which makes it easy for updating your phone apps.

People heading into Hollywood Studios for the Rise of the Resistance boarding group

Beep, Beep

Rise and shine time! Depending on where you’re staying and what time Hollywood Studios is opening that day will help determine what time to get up. For us, the first time we got to the park at 6:45 am and the second time we arrived at 7:45 am. The most important thing about having the opportunity to get a Rise of the Resistance boarding group is that your whole party has to be within the park prior to park opening. That means no sleeping in for grandma if she wants to ride.

On our trip, Hollywood Studios opened at 8 am each day. We made it point to not rely on Disney transportation either time. The first time we took a Lyft to the park and the second we were able to walk over from Disney’s Boardwalk Resort. Our recommendation would be to either drive or rideshare to the park (if you can walk, even better).

Passholder Insights: We noticed rideshares were popular in the morning. Definitely check the app when you first wake up to see how long it will take for a car to arrive at your resort, then get dressed, etc.

Snagged a Rise of the Resistance boarding group

We’re In!

The park that is. Once inside you’ll have a decision to make, line up for another ride, coffee, or find a spot to hangout. First, go around we choose coffee, then the second we camped out in the middle of the park. For us, our focus was on the Rise of the Resistance boarding group. Many other people lined up for the attractions.

We’re in the final countdown to the park opening and you can feel the excitement around you. Below is a step by step guide of exactly what we did.

  • Restarted our phones
  • Closed all open apps
  • Turned Off WiFi
  • Watched the clock on our phone for 8 am (or park opening time)
  • Opened My Disney Experience
  • Selected Join Rise of Resistance Boarding Group
  • Selected Group Members (only the people in your group who are in the park)
  • Select Next
  • Happy Beeps!

On both occasions, we both tried for the group, with Serena getting a group once and Nate another. Our groups were 43 and 62.

Passholder Insights: With all the guest opening My Disney Experience at the same time, getting a Rise of the Resistance boarding group becomes a lottery type of system

Our Thoughts

For us, it was all about setting our expectations. We knew we were not guaranteed to get into a Rise of the Resistance boarding group. Our plan was to mark a day early in our trip and late in our trip to try for a boarding group, and we were lucky enough to get one on both occasions. After going through it twice our biggest takeaway is that you do not have to get up a 2 am or any crazy hours to get to the park. As long as your party is through the gate and in Hollywood Studios prior to park opening you’ll have the same opportunity as everyone else. Our group just got called, it’s time to Rise!