Full Ride-Through: Take A Trip Aboard Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Walt Disney World’s newest roller coaster is opening in the Magic Kingdom later this spring, but you can ride it right now in this first-person POV video released by the company on Wednesday.

The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train features new audio animatronic characters that use computer graphics to give them a full range of facial expressions.

A video released by the company on Tuesday shows the effect up close.

The new coaster is being billed as a family ride with a height requirement of just 38 inches, or just a tad higher than the 35-inch requirement for the Barnstormer, the park’s “kiddie” coaster.

Construction Walls Come Down at Seven Dwarfs Mine Train

Seven Dwarfs Mine Train achieved another milestone overnight last night, when Walt Disney Imagineering removed the final construction walls from around the attraction.

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These are the first photos  that offer a look at what the entrance will look like, including both the Standby and FastPass entrances.
Seven Dwarfs Mine Train is scheduled to open later this spring. Stay tuned for more news and updates on the attraction.

New “Feel The Force” Premium Package Available During Star Wars Weekends

dtnemail-Star_Wars_Weekends-d7127You can take your Star Wars Weekends experience to a whole new galaxy with the new Feel the Force Premium Package at Disney’s Hollywood Studios®.

This special experience provides access to reserved viewing areas for two popular Star Wars Weekends spectaculars – the Legends of the Force: Star Wars Celebrity Motorcade and the Symphony in the Stars fireworks.

During the day, the motorcade viewing area includes beverages and snacks. And when the stars come out, the fireworks viewing area features a Star Wars-themed dessert party.

Plus, the force will be with you always when you receive a special souvenir Disney PhotoPass card, which includes complimentary Star Wars photos, that you can link to your Disney account.

The Feel the Force Premium Package occurs every Friday, Saturday and Sunday during Star Wars Weekends, May 16-June 15, 2014. The price is $54 for adults and $32 for children (tax and gratuity included). Book today by contacting We Travelers Three.

Disney FastPass+ Service Enhancements at Walt Disney World Resort

PrintWith MyMagic+ you can reserve access to select attractions and entertainment experiences before you even leave home and modify on-the-go with Disney FastPass+ service. And best of all, it’s included with your Theme Park admission.

Today we are excited to share that starting on Monday, April 28, 2014, all Walt Disney World® Resort Guests will be able to make additional FastPass+ selections at in-park kiosks after they have redeemed their original (up to three) selections.

Guests will be able to make one additional selection at a time, based on availability. After they redeem that additional selection, they can go to a FastPass+ kiosk to make another selection, and so on. (The additional FastPass+ selections must be made at a kiosk only.)
Guests will be able to make their additional selection(s) for an experience at which they already redeemed a FastPass+ selection earlier that day.

Guests with valid park-hopping privileges will be able to make their additional selection(s) at another park. Those selections must be made at a kiosk in the park where the desired experience is located.
Stay tuned to We Travelers Three for more MyMagic+ information.

Valid Theme Park admission required. Disney FastPass+ attractions and entertainment experiences, the number of selections Guests can make and available arrivals are limited.

“Frozen” characters now appearing in Magic Kingdom park

dtnemail-Anna_and_Elsa-94f3fAnna and Elsa from the popular Disney animated film, “Frozen,” are now appearing at Princess Fairytale Hall in Magic Kingdom® Park.

You can meet-and-greet Anna and Elsa every day until early evening, after which they can meet other Disney Princesses. Cinderella and Rapunzel will also continue making appearances at Princess Fairytale Hall. And, to make the most of their time, you can take advantage of Disney FastPass+ service  for this experience.

Plus, you can also catch all of these characters, and many more, during the afternoon performance of the new “Disney Festival of Fantasy Parade.”

To book your magical Disney vacation today contact We Travelers Three today!

The Wilderness Must Be Explored!

Wilderness Explorers Base Camp
Wilderness Explorers Base Camp

In 2013, the amazing folks at Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Theme Park opened a new interactive experience for guests of all ages, The Wilderness Explorers!

Just like in the Disney•Pixar film, Up, young Wilderness Explorers  can complete challenges to earn badge stickers for their Wilderness Explorer Handbook – there’s 30 different challenges in all. Each hands-on activity teaches kids something new about the wild animals and wild places inside the Park, including:

  • Veterinary Badge – Help diagnose a sea turtle’s health issue
  • Dinosaur Badge – Join in the exploration for dinosaur fossils
  • Animal Find Badge – Check off each of the animals you see
  • Music Badge – Learn how to play an African drum pattern
  • Yeti Badge – Find Yeti artifacts and hear about the folklore

Participation is included in Park admission and timing for the experience depends on how many badge challenges you wish to complete.

I was lucky enough in August of 2013 to be able to experience it for myself.  I had a fabulous time!

To get started I grabbed a field guide from headquarters—located on the bridge between the Oasis and Discovery Island—or drop by Wilderness Explorer stops in Africa, Rafiki’s Planet Watch, Asia and Dinoland U.S.A. to pick one up there.

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My first task was to learn the Wilderness Explorer call…

Next I headed toward the Expedition Everest challenge.  On my way to to attraction I came across a Wilderness Explorer Wildlife Field Station.

Here I was able to earn my Animal Call badge by identifying specific calls.

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Then it was on to Everest.  My Wilderness Explorer handbook instructed me to set a telescope to a certain elevation and record my findings.  If my finding were correct I earned my badge.

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I had so much fun wandering around Animal Kingdom looking for WE outposts and earning my badges.  Not only saws it fun but it was also educational.  In order to get my Yeti badge I had to ask the cast member near the outpost to share stories from his native land about the Yeti.  It was fascinating.

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Learning about Dinosaur bones.

It was such a fun day and such a great way to see and experience Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park.

I highly recommend it.  By the way, don’t forget to stop by and meet Russell and Dug!

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School’s Out for Summer!

100_4213Summer vacation is quickly approaching and We Travelers Three have been booking a lot of family vacations to Walt Disney World.  Since WT3 has a wonderful relationship with the Mouse, and we are excited about our own upcoming trip to Disney World, over the next several weeks I will be sharing some posts about different things that you can enjoy at the Happiest Place on Earth.

From resort hotels, to interactive experiences at the parks to some of our favorite things, join WT3 for an amazing adventure around Walt Disney World.

Paris: Day Three

Notes from dinner at the Eiffel Tower and day three of our trip to Paris.

1. Probably not the best idea to pair a five course dinner that is complimented by five glasses of wine, including champagne, with a wine and cheese tasting lunch that was made of five different wines, including champagne, and six different types of cheese. Both meals were outstanding but they combined to make for a restless night’s sleep.

2. After minimal sleep we had an early alarm to catch the C train to Versailles. The C runs direct to Versailles, except when the route is closed due to track maintenance. Time to be flexible and become acquainted with the trains of Paris.

3. A friendly, Parisians are so rude, ticket agent helped reroute us. After a connection and a 15 minute walk, we found our way to the palace of Versailles. The palace and the accompanying gardens are amazing, wildly decadent, and reflect a wee bit of madness. The fact that not one but two additional, slightly smaller palaces were built to allow the family to get away from the palace that was originally conceived to help the family escape the trappings of Paris says it all. Each of the rooms are adorned with marble, gold, tapestries and / or paintings. There were no spaces left unadorned.

4. Think today’s celebrities are over the top? Do they have a hall of mirrors that is over two football fields long and is decorated with statues from the era of Roman rule? Louis the 14th loved him some Louis the 14th, and he loved marble statues because Greek and Roman era statues are everywhere at the Versailles Estate. They’re inside, with one in nearly every room open to the public. They’re along the outside of every wall of the palace. They line the walkways of the gardens and the fountains. One of the statues was of a lion biting the helpless rump of a soldier.

5. We left the palace earlier than planned because we were both really tired and didn’t think we’d make it out of the maze of gardens alive if we tried to see everything. On the way back to Paris we were old pros with the trains and didn’t need to stop and ask for directions once.

6. Originally we were going to enjoy the tour of the River Seine this evening but we decided to go early. Our tickets were for any tour during the day and we managed to find our way onto the 3:00 PM tour just in time. We both almost fell asleep as the gentle rocking of the boat combined with the soft, cool breeze lulled us into a couple of head bobbing, weary travelers. Fortunately we were awake to take in the site of Notre Dame as it rose up before us.

6. After a side trip to the Boulanger and patissier (bakery and sandwhich shop) across the street for a light, late lunch we headed back to the flat for some downtime before dinner.

7. Yes, we are staying in a flat instead of a traditional hotel. It’s a furnished one bedroom apartment with a small, but full, kitchen and bath. Plus it has a washer/dryer. It’s actually cheaper than a hotel room and we can do laundry, which means we don’t need to pack as much. But the real plus is we are living in a real apartment in a real neighborhood. We’re actually getting a taste of the day to day life along our little section of Rue de Saint Dominique. We’re planning on using a similar strategy for our next European vacation.

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Paris: the first two days

We are two days into our tour of Paris and here are a few observations.

1. My wife is absolutely wonderful in many ways but I want to focus on her vacation planning skills right now. The first two days have been a good combination of sight seeing and down time. As soon as we seem to be getting tired our next stop is a little cafe for a little cafe creme or hot chocolate.

2. "The French are rude, especially to Americans" is a myth. Perhaps if one acts like the quintessential, ugly American, the experience is different. However, Kelly and I have encountered nothing but gracious, courteous, and patient Parisians who are proud of their city, and what it has to offer, and want visitors to feel the same way. This has been true at the major attractions as well as the out of the way cafés.

3. Example of #2. Yesterday we encountered a group of young people in the park near the Eiffel Tower running a con claiming to be working on behalf of a handicap charity. A local woman approached us after the group moved on and, speaking perfect English, told us to make sure we hadn't been pick-pocketed. She confirmed the group were con artists and that they work all the major tourist areas, and then she apologized for them and seemed genuinely relieved to hear all they got from us were a few euro. The fact that she was walking a dog that was the spitting image of our beloved Kady, complete with blue racquetball in her mouth, was just a pleasant bonus.

4. Earlier today we saw a similar group running the same con on a young American couple. As we walked by I told the man it was a con. He looked up and asked "it is?" I nodded and he took his wife by the arm and quickly walked away. My good deed for the day.

5. Paris is the second major European city we've visited dominated by scooters and motorcycles. They seem to be able to go anywhere with complete disregard for the traffic laws we're used too. However, they are very mindful of pedestrians, at least so far. I'm seriously thinking of replacing the truck with one.

6. Highly recommend the Rick Steves walking tours of the Orsay Museum and the Left Bank.

I'll add some more notes in the next day or so. Off to dinner on the first observation of the Eiffel Tower. My wife is so awesome!

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2014 Disney Dining Plan Changes

Disney Dining PlanThe Disney Dining Plans have undergone a price increase; and now details for 2014 Disney Dining Plans are starting to emerge!

There aren’t too many changes so far in the 2014 plans, but a few updates may affect your plans. Take a look!

2014 Quick-Service Disney Dining Plan Changes

Disney has added a few new restaurants to the plan for 2014, and some meals at select locations are no longer available for a DDP credit:

New Disney Dining Plan Restaurants

Beaches Pool Bar and Grill, Grand Floridian (lunch) — this location has a brand new menu this year! Fountainview, Epcot (breakfast) — this will be re-opening as a Starbucks location later in 2013.
Meal Changes
Note that these changes may be due to tweaks to a restaurant’s menu and/or operating hours:

  • Main Street Bakery (breakfast only, no longer allows lunch or dinner)
  • Backstretch Pool Bar, Saratoga Springs (lunch only, no longer allows dinner)
  • On the Rocks, Saratoga Springs (lunch only, no longer allows dinner)
  • The Paddock Grill, Saratoga Springs (breakfast and lunch only, no longer allows dinner)

See more info about these changes on our Disney Quick Service Dining Plan page.
2014 Platinum Disney Dining Plan Changes

Here’s what’s been updated in the Platinum Dining Plan for 2014:

  • Reserved seating at Fantasmic! is no longer included.
  • Bike rentals have been reduced from 1 hour to 30 minutes.
  • Guests can now choose any massage and facial of their choice for the included spa treatments.
  • Richard Petty Experience now includes a Junior Ride-Along opportunity for kids 6-13 years old!
  • Characters in Flight is now offered.
  • Epcot Segway Tour is no longer offered.

Read more about the Platinum Dining Plan here!
Updates to Cancellation Dates

Note that for 2014, the package cancellation policy has changed. If a guest cancels one day prior to arrival, the total cost is non-refundable!

2014 Disney Dining Plan Restaurants

See an in-progress list of the 2014 Disney Dining Plan Restaurants here.

More Updates to Come

“Why isn’t Restaurant X listed on the plan?!???!?!?” While some restaurants are already listed on the plans, it’ll take some time before all eateries are finalized. (Usually restaurants not owned by Disney wait until the last minute to re-up their status in the Dining Plan). For instance, you’ll notice the absence of many Downtown Disney restaurants. These (and others) will likely be added throughout the remaining 2013 months.

Our recommendation is to book your Advance Dining Reservations for 2014 based on the 2013 Disney Dining Plan Restaurant list. If, for some reason, a restaurant that you’ve booked does not continue on the Dining Plan in 2014, you can then make other plans.

Stay tuned for more Disney Dining Plan information as it is released. Please understand that this is all subject to change.

Thanks to Disney Food Blog for the heads up and information.