Sunday Territorian 5 Nov 2017
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Nationwide News Pty. Limited
50 FRONTIER TRAVEL SUNDAY NOVEMBER 5 2017 NTNE01Z01MA - V1 D id you know that about 55,000 people visit Walt Disney Worlds Magic Kingdom per day? Thats 20 million per year, just a few short of Australias population and reason enough to start planning your theme park itinerary months ahead of time. Visiting a Disney Park is considered a rite of passage by US vacationers. To ensure your trip is the happiest on earth, weve rounded up top tips thatll help get the most out of your time and dollars in Americas most popular theme parks. LAY OF THE LAND Americas top theme parks are located in California and Florida. Walt Disneys original theme park, Disneyland, located about an hours drive from Los Angeles in Anaheim, is made up of Disney California Adventure theme park, Downtown Disney District, three Disney hotels, plus shopping and dining. Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, is the worlds number one theme park, home to Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom featuring Pandora The World of Avatar, Disney Springs (formerly Downtown Disney), Disneys Boardwalk, and two major water parks: Typhoon Lagoon (wave pool) and Blizzard Beach (slides). Universal Studios Hollywood, Los Angeles, features the all-new year-round Walking Dead Attraction, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter, Springfield USA, alongside plenty more movie attractions. And Universal Orlando comprises Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure (The Wizarding World of Harry Potter features across both), and the new Volcano Bay water park. WHEN TO GO 1. BYE-BYE CROWDS No patience for crowds? Then youd best avoid Disneyland on Mondays, Saturdays, summer and holiday Sundays, the weeks around Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving weekend, and the weeks leading up to Christmas through the first week of January. 2. RAIN, RAIN YAY! January is a good time to visit Orlando, as is Theme park hacks STORY MARINA KAY Escape Fireworks light up the sky and illuminated image projections create a patriotic exterior on Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World September through November, though the chance of thunderstorms is high. That said, rainy days call for shorter lines, so pack a raincoat and brave the showers theyre usually short-lived. 3. MEGA FANDOM Crowds aside, special events and themed holidays attract hardcore fans. Those in the know book Disneylands Mickeys Halloween Party way ahead of time. At Universal Hollywood, theres Grinchmas, and starting this year, an all-new Christmas in The Wizarding World of Harry Potter experience thatll transform Hogwarts castle into a lightshow spectacular. Choose your events wisely though: WDWs Epcot International Food and Wine Festival is more for fun-loving foodies than families with little kids. TOP TICKETS 4. PARK HOPPER To jump from Disney park to Disney park over the course of a few days, a park hopper ticket is your best bet it works out less expensive than buying single park tickets. Purchase them in advance and online because buying at the theme park, WDW for example, can tack on a surcharge. Note: the single-day park admission price to any one of WDWs four theme parks is subject to seasonal demand-based pricing (Peak, Regular, or Value), though the multi-day ticket is not. Check the Disney Parks website for prices based on your exact dates of visit. Once youve purchased your Disney tickets, link them to your my Disney Experience account and print them out to exchange for a Magic Band or Key to the World Card at the parks guest services counter. Easy! At Universal Orlando, an Unlimited Express park-to-park ticket is a good option especially for Harry Potter fans because it allows admission to both theme parks and priority access to unlimited rides. 5. AHEAD OF THE LINE At WDW, too much down time is a drag, but too little can make for chaos. Prioritise those rides you want to go on by booking them in advance (if available) via the FastPass ridereservation system. This saves waiting in lines for popular rides such as Splash Mountain in Magic Kingdom and Toy Story Mania in Hollywood Studios. WDW resort guests can make FastPass reservations 60 days before the trip and offsite hotel guests 30 days prior. Making day-of reservations will likely result in disappointment as only a certain number of rides are reserved per hour. But you can get lucky with last-minute cancellations. So keep refreshing those timeslots on your MyExperience App to get lucky! A new feature is the MaxPass. Unlike the FastPass, it isnt free, but for $10 you have a better chance of scoring a FastPass reservation and will receive unlimited downloads of PhotoPass images (photos taken by Disney cast members). DINING TRICKS 6. MEAL TIMES At slower times of the year, usually in autumn and winter, Disney offers free dining plans. For that you will have to purchase a nondiscounted Walt Disney World Resort hotel and park hopper ticket package. Value and Moderate resorts receive the Quick-Service Dining Plan, and a Deluxe and Deluxe Villa resorts the Free Disney plan. If youre keen for the latter, ask whether your Quick-Service plan can be upgraded. Information on 2018 availability is updated on wdwinfo.com as this offer is not always a sure bet. 7. RESERVATIONS & CHARACTER DINING At WDW you can make dining reservations 180 days before your arrival (disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining) and it is a good idea to do so, especially if the restaurant hosts character dining like The Crystal Palace Restaurant with its Winnie the Pooh meet-n-greet, or Cinderellas Royal Table, where Cinderella welcomes guests in the castle lobby prior to seating. Her Fairytale Breakfast is one of the hardest reservations to score (along with breakfast or dinner at Magic Kingdoms Be Our Guest Restaurant), because it accommodates only 130 diners at a time. Walk-ins are rarely accommodated anywhere, so make reservations. Check out unofficial touringplans.com/walt-disney-world/ character-dining for a full character dining list. At Universal Orlando, characters from Scooby Doo, Shrek, and The Simpsons visit three resort hotels on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights. 8. BYO SNACKS Bring nuts and granola bars, perhaps a picnic, to keep energy levels up and food costs down. Insulated water bottles can be refilled with iced water for free at Disney concession stands. Cool off by adding a one-day water park ticket. At WDW youll save with a Ticket with Blockout Dates if not travelling over summer and peak periods. (For 2017 this was May 27 August 27). SOUVENIR TAKEAWAYS 9. FREEBIES If celebrating your birthday, anniversary, or other special event, tell guest relations and restaurants ahead of time you never know what bonuses will come your way. At Disneyland, head to the City Hall to receive a free celebratory badge, or as Americans call it, a button. 10. DISCOUNTS Check your receipts for discounts and offers. They could be stated in fine print. Fun with Mickey and Minnie Mouse (left) and enjoying sweet treats at Disneyland *Conditions apply. Prices correct as at 31 Oct 17 but may fluctuate if surcharges, fees, taxes or currency change. Offers subject to availability. Agents may charge service fees, rates vary. Payments by credit card will incur a surcharge. Airfare not included. All savings are included in the advertised price. ~Surcharge applies for Fri and Sat night stays. Kids stay free when using existing bedding. +One gift card per booking per stay. #Valid theme park ticket required. Offers may be withdrawn without notice and are not combinable with any other offers unless stated. Please check all prices, availability and other information before booking. As to Disney Logo, Artwork and Properties: Disney Offers may be withdrawn without notice and are not combinable with any other offers unless stated. Qantas Holidays and Helloworld Travel booking terms and conditions apply, see in store for details HW_DNY_AUS_W1 To book see your preferred Helloworld Travel agent today. To find your preferred Helloworld Travel agent call 13 14 15 or visit helloworld.com.au/agents STAY AT ONE OF THE 3 DISNEYLAND RESORT HOTELS IN CALIFORNIA AND RECEIVE A DISNEY GIFT CARD VALUED UP TO USD$150+ Disney 4 nights accommodation at Disneys Paradise Pier Hotel (3.5 star) in a Standard View Room~ Up to 2 Kids (17 years and under) stay FREE 4 Day Disneyland Resort Park Hopper Ticket 1 FREE USD$150 Disney Gift Card upon check-in+ Early Admission to Disneyland Resort with Extra Magic Hour # Return airport transfers $1,549*from $545*per adult per child (2-17yrs) family share VALID FOR TRAVEL: 07 Jan - 07 Mar 2018 Other departures available between Mar May 2018, seasonal surcharges may apply. HELLO DISNEYLAND HOLIDAY INCLUDES SAVE $196* PER FAMILY
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