I’m not sure when we’ll get to it next, so we’ll take a very short opportunity to visit Hollywood Studios to check out the new Studio Catering Company menu. This post from a couple of weeks ago offers a more robust view of what’s going on at the Park.

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It’s been a while since we’ve been on the monorail as the sun is rising, so we’ll check out the new Be Our Guest breakfast situation with an 8:05am reservation.

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As you may be aware, I am the co-author of the highest rated Walt Disney World guidebook of all time (on Amazon): The easy Guide to Your First Walt Disney World Visit. It’s available on Amazon here. If you’re wondering what the book looks like and includes, this post introduces it.

Dave and I ran an update last week, updating a lot of little things that changed and a few major things like updated ticket pricing, special event details, Be Our Guest lunch reservations, restaurant menus and pricing, updated FastPass+ kiosk locations and priority, new advice on Wishes FastPass+, updated color-coded maps, and whatnot. Both the print version and electronic Kindle version are updated. Unfortunately, Amazon’s Kindle update system leaves something to be desired (there’s no mechanism for telling Amazon to push an update through and they’re slow to figure out changes have been made), but those of you that have purchased the Kindle version or received a complimentary copy with your print purchase should receive an automatic update shortly. New Kindle purchases will receive the updated edition automatically and new print purchases will also receive the updated Kindle version for free using the Kindle MatchBook program.

People will occasionally say, “Josh, you helped us so much planning our vacation and your site has no advertisements, what can we do to help support what you do?” The answer is buy a book. You can keep the Kindle version to reference yourself and hand the print copy off to the neighbor that won’t stop bugging you about what to order at Pecos Bill or whether they want the Stitch’s Great Escape FastPass+ or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train.

And perhaps more importantly, if you just buy one now I won’t have to keep bugging you about it.

I’m not usually a big horn tooter, but the website and book have received some nice press this past week.

The Boston Globe: Planning a trip to Disney? Read this first.

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This review is sponsored by by DVC Magic Resales at www.dvcmagicresales.com (they used their DVC points to book the room and in exchange will also be posting this review and reviews of the other properties). If you’re looking to buy into the Disney Vacation Club or purchase more points for less than you’d pay Disney directly, they’re a great choice. They also take excellent care of those looking to sell their contracts independently.

Past reviews:

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Larger: http://www.easywdw.com/reports13/enjoythestage.jpg.

Looking up Hollywood Boulevard, this is about as clear of a view as we’re going to get before the stage starts going up for Star Wars Weekends.

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Be Our Guest Breakfast Official

by josh on March 16, 2015

Disney officially announced a “test” of breakfast at Be Our Guest Restaurant today: http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2015/03/new-breakfast-starts-march-20-at-be-our-guest-restaurant-in-the-magic-kingdom-at-walt-disney-world-resort/. Reservations open March 17th with breakfast being served for the first time on March 20th. The rest runs daily from 8am-10am through June 18th.

It will be interesting to see if people eating early get an advantage in moving to either Princess Fairytale Hall or Seven Dwarfs Mine Train before anyone from the main entrance has a chance to get back there. Both attractions are much closer to Be Our Guest in New Fantasyland than they are to the front of the Park. The prix fixe aspect is interesting as well – breakfast is expected to cost $19.99 per adult and $11.99 per child, which is significantly more expensive than any quick service breakfast, most table service breakfasts, and most breakfast buffets without characters (The Wave and Captain’s Grille, for example). Breakfast is expected to include beverages and a pastry basket. On the other hand, 20 bucks per adult is significantly less expensive than character breakfasts at Crystal Palace ($26.99/adult $14.99/child) or Cinderella’s Royal Table ($~55/adults $~33/kids). Breakfast was originally going to be an a la carte affair, but doing things like this will maximize revenue and guarantee people aren’t just hanging out inside the quick service for 30 minutes without ordering anything before hauling it over to Mine Train at 8:45am.

The website will hopefully secure a reservation and grab breakfast there early next week, after they get a chance to work out the initial wrinkles. The blogs tend to visit on the first day and come away with problems that are never seen again. We should have a better idea about what to expect next Tuesday or Wednesday. As far as whether you should try to secure a Be Our Guest breakfast for a date sometime in the future…my recommendation would be to book it tomorrow if you think there’s a chance you’ll do it. If it sucks, you can easily cancel it online, via the app, or by phone.

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We’ll head out to Magic Kingdom to check on Hub construction progress and a few other things of note.

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This is what we’re looking at for October. Click to enlarge or view as a prettier PDF. And if you don’t know what the numbers/letters mean, read the top of this post. The full operating schedule is available here.

October sees average to slightly above average crowds for the most part. It’s not July, but it’s not September either. And the heat is still present for the first two to three weeks, before things cool off both in terms of crowds and temperatures going into the third and fourth weeks. Visitors with flexibility in their travel dates will want to look toward the last week of the month.

The daily recommendations are a departure from past years due to significant changes in the Extra Magic Hours schedule. On the plus side, it improves things at Epcot on Mondays and Wednesdays, in addition to adding a 4th day at Magic Kingdom most weeks that will be “most recommended” with the 7pm close and lack of attractive forces. On the downside, seeing Wishes and the Electrical Parade is more difficult with evening Extra Magic Hours increasing crowds on Wednesdays and the naturally heavy crowds we see most Mondays and Saturdays. Wednesdays remain the best day to see the Electrical Parade and Wishes (with the exception of the last week when Friday is the best), but the Park will be busier than previous years with Extra Magic Hours attracting more resort guests.

Otherwise, the Food and Wine Festival pushes Epcot crowds up significantly every day, with the heaviest crowds on the weekends. Local Florida schools are out on the 23rd and 26th, which pushes up crowds those days and over the weekend.

Things should be fairly straightforward otherwise.

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Disney made some changes to Magic Kingdom’s operating schedule over the first week in September. With Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party officially kicking off on September 15th, Disney has extended the close from 7pm to 10pm and added Electrical Parades and Wishes to most dates over the first week. It wouldn’t surprise me to see the dates in question revert back to 10pm closes in the future, but if you want to be certain that you can attend a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, you would want to schedule your vacation to include September 15th or a Party date sometime thereafter. A preview of the updated crowd calendar follows the list of changes:

Tuesday September 1:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-7pm. Main Street Electrical Parade added at 9pm. Wishes added at 10pm.

Wednesday September 2:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-9pm.

Thursday September 3:

  • No changes.

Friday September 4:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-7pm. Main Street Electrical Parade added at 9pm. Wishes added at 10pm.

Saturday September 5:

  • No changes.

Sunday September 6:

  • No changes.

Monday September 7:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-7pm. Main Street Electrical Parade added at 9pm. Wishes added at 10pm.

Click the image to enlarge it.

A pretty PDF calendar is available here: http://www.easywdw.com/sept15-v3.pdf. A few changes were necessary with the extended closes and additional nighttime entertainment. If you’ve already set up the perfect dining reservations with the perfect itinerary, you don’t necessarily need to change your whole plan of attack with the low overall crowd level. Those with some flexibility might want to change a couple things.

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Disney updated the July operating schedule today. The full July operating schedule is available here: http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/ParkHours/WDWTravelAgent_july.pdf. Click “refresh” on your browser to load the newest version. The updates are almost exclusively longer operating hours and additional nighttime entertainment at Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom. We should see extensions at Animal Kingdom in the future. Last year, Animal Kingdom never closed before 7pm in July with many 8pm closes. Disney may not officially extend the hours until mid-June. An FAQ follows the list of changes.

Wednesday July 1:

  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-8:30pm. Second Fantasmic added at 10:30pm, in addition to 9pm show.
  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-12am from 9am-10pm. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 11pm, in addition to 9pm Parade.

Thursday July 2:

  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-8:30pm. Second Fantasmic added at 10:30pm, in addition to 9pm show.
  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 9am-12am from 9am-10pm. Second Main Street Electrical Parade added at 11pm, in addition to 9pm Parade.

Friday July 3:

  • Hollywood Studios hours extended to 9am-10pm from 9am-8:30pm. Second Fantasmic added at 10:30pm, in addition to 9pm show.
  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 8am-1am from 9am-12am. Second Festival of Fantasy Parade added at 12pm, in addition to 3pm Parade. Main Street Electrical Parade moved to 10:15pm and 12:15am from 10pm.

Saturday July 4:

  • Magic Kingdom hours extended to 8am-1am from 9am-12am. Second Festival of Fantasy Parade added at 12pm, in addition to 3pm Parade. Main Street Electrical Parade moved to 10:15pm and 12:15am from 10pm.

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