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Some time has passed since we first heard of Disney’s plans to create some kind of magic wristband. Testing has been going on in the wild—also known as their theme parks—and apparently things have gone pretty darn well. As a result it looks like they’re getting ready go all in with what they’re calling the Disney MagicBand.
Basically these little electronic wristbands will serve as your admission ticket and more. Visitors will be able to utilize these suckers to enter the parks, serve as hotel room keys, and double as credit cards. It sounds like even things like Fastpass—that’s the Disney ride reservation system—can even be beamed down to your digital bracelet.
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In case you haven’t been flipping over the pages on the calendar—ours is still on March—we’re here to remind you that May is right around the corner. To us that means the unofficial kickoff to the summer season, and the first three-day weekend in what seems like a long time. Disney is apparently ready for the warmer weather, and they’re doing something unique to celebrate.
Certain Disney theme parks are getting ready to burn the midnight oil, as it sounds like some parks are going to open for 24-hours straight towards the end of May. The fun will take place on Friday, May 24, as the parks look to celebrate the month of Memorial Day Weekend and the start of the summer season.
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Visitors to Disney World and Disneyland next year may just need to stay a little more connected than they’re used to, as it looks like the theme parks will be all about social media in the coming months. Instead of announcing a new roller coaster, attraction, or other ride—in their defense they’re working on a couple things—next year is all about what they’re calling “Limited Time Magic.”
Each and every week will feature new events and fun stuff, as little surprises and celebrations are scheduled on and off all year long. Disney plans to use Twitter, Facebook, and other internet fun to share the scoop on stuff like character meet-and-greets, limited-time parades, concerts, and other Mickey Mouse activities. Of course there will be chances to grab special edition merchandise and assorted goodies. They've got to move those Mickey ears and shirts, after all.
It’s already well known that it costs an arm and a leg to get into the best of the country’s theme parks, and that’s especially the case if you’re headed to a spot with "Disney" in the name. Don’t worry—at least as far as we know—tickets aren’t going up in price in the immediate future. However, it does look like your ticket might be transforming itself into something a little bit more than a piece of paper or plastic.
Nothing has been announced as of yet, but something tentatively known as the "Magic Band" was kind of called out right on the website of the Federal Communications Commission. Without an official announcement it’s all speculation, but it looks like this "Magic Band" is some kind of wireless bracelet that would digitally hold your admission and ticket information. Basically you’d exchange your credit card digits for a Magic Band that would let you access the park, and maybe even charge a mickey ice cream bar right to your linked card. Again, we’re just guessing here.
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The countdown clock is approaching zero as Disneyland workers and engineers finalize the reboot of Disney’s California Adventure theme park. We’ve mentioned the new rides, attractions, and other excitement a couple times before; however, there’s one more addition that we’ve failed to discuss in the past. It might be time for us to update our picks for favorite and unusual Starbucks, as it now looks like overpriced lattes and coffee milkshakes are heading toward Main Street USA.
It’s not just the parks in California either, as the plan it to bring the caffeine to both the greater Disneyland Resort as well as Walt Disney World Resort down in Florida. Apparently there’s already discussion about sending some Frappuccinos and their passports overseas, but nothing has been worked out as of yet.
There’s all kinds of tricks, tips, and tidbits when it comes to visiting a mega theme park like those in the Disney empire. However, one of the best secrets was a kind of loophole in the FastPass ride reservation system over at Walt Disney World and Disneyland.
It wasn’t really that big of a secret, but it’s something we considered pretty slick. The FastPass kiosks read your park admission tickets and spit back out a reservation for when you can return to a ride like Space Mountain. Stick your ticket in around 10am and it might tell you that you need to come back between 3:30pm and 4:40pm. However, you just need to see Mickey during the 4pm parade! No big deal, as you can always just come after your reservation window expires—no questions asked.
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You might not be hardcore Disney enough to have attended this year’s D23 Expo, but we’re sure that you are probably interested about what it means for the theme parks. The ultimate disney fan event—their words, not ours—took place last weekend, and it produced some pretty decent news on the update front.
Down in Florida at Walt Disney World, upgrades are still on schedule for the Magic Kingdom. Over in Fantasyland, theme park officials are working on a new Beauty and the Beast section that will focus on meeting and greeting some of your favorite characters from the film. If you’ve outgrown character autographs—we understand—just make your way over to Ariel's Undersea Adventure, an attraction copying the blueprints from a similar ride out in California.
Jennifer Lopez took advantage of a little downtime over the weekend and spent the day with her family at Disneyland. On Saturday she was spotted on the Dumbo Ride at the Anaheim, California theme park with her three-year-old daughter Emme. Her son Max, mother Guadalupe and sisters Lynda and Leslie also tagged along for a day of Disney magic.
Of course Jennifer wouldn't be expected to walk through the park on her own, so Disney accommodated the Lopez family by providing them with a personal escort for the day who kept fans at bay.
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It looks like an annual Disney tradition has taken place just in time for the summer vacation season, as the theme parks in California and Florida have raised their ticket prices. There wasn’t too much warning either—which is usually the case—as the house of mouse sent out a little reminder on their Disney Parks blog that things would be heading north effective Sunday, June 12.
For those looking forward to hitting up Walt Disney World anytime soon, tickets for one day of fun at one of the parks is now $85 per adult—it was $82 before the pricing update. Kids—which are only those between age three and nine—get a slight discount at $79 per day. Of course there are all kinds of multi-day park tickets which do provide some sort of discount in one way or another, but unfortunately those were increased as well. Expect a four day ticket—with the ability to hop between the four main parks—to now set you back $298.
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This year Disneyland Paris is going on a little bit of a beach vacation, and they’re encouraging one and all to swing by to take in a little of the sun and sand. As part of this year’s Sand Sculpture Festival in Blankenberge—that’s in Belgium—piles and piles of sand are being transformed into a version of France’s most famous theme park.
It’s not just princesses and castles either, as the whole park has been recreated. The only downer is that this is a look but don’t touch situation, as sand Space Mountain wouldn’t hold up too well to throngs of tourists.
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April is a big month for Disney when it comes to its theme parks in Asia. It seems like we’ve been talking about the House of Mouse opening up a new park in China for some time now, but it looks like tomorrow is the day when the bulldozers, shovels, and cranes finally arrive in Shanghai. The official groundbreaking is set for April 8—assuming all goes according to plan.
It takes quite some time for all those iconic Disney rides and attractions to be built from the ground up, so don’t expect to visit anytime soon. As of now, they’re thinking that it’s going to take about five years or so. The city of Shanghai has created a special tourist zone just for the park, and they’ve set aside just shy of 2,000 acres for hotels, parking lots, and a lake. They’ll also be adding a stop to their subway system too, so accessing Mickey will be pretty simple.
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With the clocks moving ahead this weekend it’s only a matter of time before theme parks across the country throw open their gates for the summer season—check right here for the most anticipated theme park opening dates. However, if you’ve got more than one roller coaster in your sights, there are a few passes that will get you access to all the season’s screams and thrills. Here are our picks for the Three Best Park Passes for 2011:
· Cedar Fair Platinum Pass
There’s only 66 days until Cedar Point opens for the 2011 season, but that doesn’t mean that you need to wait to order your ticket. The ultimate season pass grants you access to every coaster, attraction, and ride in the Cedar Fair empire. So not only can you visit roller coaster mecca in Ohio for free, but any and all Cedar Fair parks are free too—think King’s Dominion and King’s Island. Free parking and exclusive ride nights are yours with the pass, but the best perk is getting into the park an hour before everyone else. All this can be yours for $165 per person, or $155 per person if you order in packs of four.