Abby’s Pre-Orlando Adventure

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Its nearly time…….

If you watch our bi-weekly Facebook Lives you’re bound to know that i’m due to go on a ‘Super Fam’ trip and in particular, how excited I am about it! Well it’s time and i’m finally leaving tomorrow¬†to embark on what is sure to be the best trip EVER.

If you follow our Facebook or Instagram accounts you’ll be seeing loads of videos and photos from yours truly over the next week including all things Disney, Universal and SeaWorld. Before I start packing (yes I know I’ve left it very last minute) I thought I would give you guys a run-down of what my trip is going to involve.

Soooo.. I arrive in Orlando at 5pm -ish on Sunday and by 9.30pm i’ll be at Universals Halloween Horror Nights!! Nothing like throwing us in at the deep end aye?! I’m absolutely terrified but also mega, mega excited for this (I do feel sorry for the people who are going to have to keep picking me up off the floor in the houses though) The house i’m most excited for is SAW: The Games of Jigsaw, SAW hasn’t featured at HHN for 8 years now and i’m pretty eager to see what’s going to be involved this time around.

For the first few days i’m going to be staying at Universals Cabana Bay Beach Resort which I’ve heard is very nice indeed. ūüėõ On my first full day i’ll be visiting the Wizarding World of Harry Potter Diagon Alley, Hogsmede Village and Universal Studios. I’m absolutely buzzing to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter – I’ve heard so many amazing things about it and I just can’t wait to see it all for myself and i’m especially excited for¬†¬†Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts‚ĄĘ.

On to the next day.. On this day I will be visiting Volcano Bay in the morning and Universals Islands of Adventure in the afternoon, woooo!!! I can’t wait to ride Krakatau‚ĄĘ Aqua Coaster¬†and teeny bit scared to do¬†Ko‚Äôokiri Body Plunge‚ĄĘ¬†I feel like this is going to be a fantastic morning and I can’t wait to get loads of snaps of the Volcano! For Islands of Adventure I’ve been warned not to wear white tops or any denim and this is because i’m bound to get ABSOLUTELY SOAKED on the water rides.. Hopefully it’s a warm day (oh I forgot to mention, the weather forecast for next week is BEAUTIFUL.) Oh i’m also very eager to ride The Incredible Hulk Coaster We have a surprise evening with Universal on this day and i’m super excited to see what this is going to be, of course, i’ll keep you updated!

Day 4 is the day i’m most excited about… anyone who knows me will understand why. Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to swim with a dolphin and now i’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to do it YAY!!! If you haven’t guessed already, i’ll be visiting Discovery Cove in the morning. I’m not going to lie there will probably be some tears buy hey, who cares it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity! After Discovery Cove i’ll be travelling over to Busch Gardens where I cannot wait to ride all the big coasters and ALL of the pressure is on me to ride Falcons Fury.. i’ve got this!

On day 5 i’ll be visiting SeaWorld in the Morning , Aquatica in the afternoon and back to SeaWorld for the evening! ūüėČ Very excited to ride Manta and Mako at SeaWorld as everyone in the offices always raves about how good they are. Especially excited to be lucky enough to ride them in the dark also! Psyching myself up for Ihu’s breakaway falls at Aquatica!

I’ll be staying over night at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, ready for day 6.. On day 6 i’ll be visiting EPCOT in the morning and Animal Kingdom in the afternoon. Can’t wait to visit all of the different countries at EPCOT and i’m so buzzing for Pandora – The World of Avatar at Animal Kingdom, the reviews i’ve read about Avatar –¬†Flight of Passage have all been great so I cannot wait to experience it for myself too.

On the 7th Day i’ll be off to Hollywood Studios and Magic Kingdom, I am really looking forward to seeing Cinderella’s Castle, meeting all of the characters and getting to experience the iconic rides and attractions such as The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster. I also hope I get to watch Happily Ever After, could possibly shed a tear or two here as well!

On my last day I get to go SHOPPING at the Orlando International Premium Outlets and the Florida Mall, I’ve got all my pennies saved up for this I’m just hoping i’ll have enough room in my suitcase!! After that it’s home time ūüôĀ ūüôĀ

Only 1 more sleep¬†to go and i’ll finally be off!! If you would like to follow my action packed week make sure you keep checking our Facebook and Instagram as i’ll be trying to post as much and as often as possible.

See you all soon!!

Smiles Included,

Abby

 

New Skyway Gondola Transportation System at Disney Rumoured.

Hey Thrill Seekers,

There is currently a rumour ‘floating’ around about a new, wacky transportation system between Disney’s Epcot and Hollywood Studios parks that’s all well and good if you aren’t afraid of heights ;-)..

According to permits filed by Walt Disney World it appears that a ‘Skyway-type Gondola system’ might be put in to place to transport guests between Epcot, Hollywood Studios and some resort hotels. Looking at the permits, the cable car type carriages will stop at Epcot’s International Gateway, Disney’s Caribbean Beach Resort, shared station at Pop Century and Art of Animation Resorts as well as Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

There was once a Skyway attraction that operated at Magic Kingdom between the years of 1971 – 1999 that took guests between tomorrow land and fantasy land. The new system would probably be a lot bigger and it would be lovely to have a Skyway back at Walt Disney World working as a real transportation system and not an attraction.

It is well known that Disney aren’t going to be building a monorail expansion any time soon due to cost and efficiency issues but personally I would think that this system would be even more expensive don’t you?

Personally, I love this idea and think it would add to the whole Disney experience as well as being a mega cool way to get between the two parks / hotels and just imagine the views!!

What do you think of this rumour?

Smiles Included,

Jess

Disney’s Retired Attractions

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Theme parks are constantly making improvements to their parks. Attractions are always coming and going; some we’re happy about and some we’re not. I’m going to take a look into some of the iconic Disney attractions¬†that have been retired.

Disney’s Magic Kingdom is a great starting point with Extra TERRORestrial Alien Encounter¬†which was a brilliant attraction that was replaced in 2003 with Stitch’s Great Escape!¬†Rumour has it that even Stitch will be leaving us soon as the park has already scheduled Stitch’s Great Escape for seasonal closures! ūüôĀ

Mr Toad’s Wild Ride is talked about on so many Disney forums so I can only imagine how amazing it was. Originally due to be a roller coaster, it ended up being a dark ride with the left and right tracks being 2 completely different experiences! Unfortunately, I’m too young to have seen this as it closed in 1998 to be replaced by¬†The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.

Snow White’s Scary Adventures opened way back in 1971 but was deemed a little too scary for some guests so closed for a refurbishment in 1994 before opening back up to the public until 2012.¬†Princess Fairy-tale¬†Hall is now in it’s place.

Let’s pop over to Disney’s¬†Epcot and see what’s been changing here over the years shall we? One of my all time favourites that I remember from the first time I ever visited Orlando,¬†Honey! I Shrunk The Audience! I’m not usually a fan of 4D attractions but how can you not love this?! I was gutted when this got taken away but it was temporarily replaced with¬†Captain EO Tribute¬†in 2010.

Maelstrom was an indoor log flume ride which would have it’s twists and turns before moving you backwards. Sadly, this ride closed in 2014 although I was so happy to finally see a Frozen ride,¬†Frozen Ever After!

Horizons was a dark ride taking you through the ideas that could be used in the future to make the world even greater! Horizons was then replaced by Mission: SPACE, a motion simulator ride in 1994.

Over at Disney’s¬†Animal Kingdom¬†Journey into the Jungle Book¬†was a theatrical show filled with animals as well as costumed-humans which closed in 1999 and was replaced later on by¬†Tarzan Rocks.

Tarzan Rocks was another theatrical show lasting about 30 minutes (perfect for the AC) which closed in 2006 before being replaced with Finding Nemo РThe Musical.

Pocahontas and her Forest Friends opened with the park in 1998 and had an array of live animals as well as the lead character from the movie. The theatre seated 350 guests at a time but ended for good in 2008! Nothing major has replaced this show yet even today, but you can still have a meet and greet with Pocahontas herself!

Next stop,¬†Disney’s¬†Hollywood Studios where it used to be best known as the home to Mickey’s Sorcerer’s Hat¬†which was inspired by the apprentice segment in Fantasia! Since 2015, his hat can no longer be found at Hollywood Studios, but instead, a view of¬†The Great Movie Ride.

Journey into Narnia: Prince Caspian was a walk-through attraction, testing your knowledge on the movie and even includes a character meet and greet! This closed in 2011 being replaced with The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow before becoming Toy Story Land. Toy Story Land is currently under construction to become even larger in the near future.

Isn’t it amazing how much Walt Disney World has changed throughout the years?! Can you think of any other Disney attractions that we can no longer visit?

Smiles Included…

Louise

Top Secrets at Disney’s Epcot

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Hopefully you’re still enjoying finding out about some of the parks secrets?! I’m sure you are, or you wouldn’t be here would you…

We’re going to whizz around Epcot clockwise so you can get a feel for the park/world. Future World pavements come alive at night time in between Spaceship Earth and Innoventions. If you look down you will see the floor lit up. Speaking of Spaceship Earth, if you hit all of the switches and dials at once, something cool might happen!

Our first country pit stop is Mexico where you will be able to find added little steps on the side of the pyramids. These were added at a later date to ensure safety for children that liked to climb up.

Over at Norway the roof of the pavilion is covered in grass, real grass! They have gardeners that regularly maintain it instead of having goats up there like they really do in Norway! ūüėČ

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Most of the time you’ll be absolutely boiling walking around the parks in the day with all that exercise, not to forget, the burning sun! If you purchase a fan from the China pavilion, they will personalise it for you and even write your name in Chinese!

At the back of the Germany pavilion is a cuckoo clock, you’ll need to be there at the top of the hour to witness it, and if you’re lucky enough to time it right you’ll see a wooden child pop out of the clock and twirl throughout the cuckoo.

Located in the middle of the Italy pavilion is the Fontana de Nettuno which is the fountain that contains the image of Neptune meaning God of the Sea.

You might notice that the America pavilion looks like it’s 3 storeys high when in actual fact it is 5 storeys high! The architects have done such an amazing job on deceiving the human eye.

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The Japan pavilion has a statue that was donated to Magic Kingdom by the Japanese government but it was later moved over to Epcot when the park opened.

Morocco might look ordinary to you but you might notice if you look close enough that you can spot the The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror over at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. They have painted this to match the rest of the buildings in this area of the Morocco pavilion so that it blends in as Disney like to have the concept of not seeing each of the parks from another. You may also notice that during Illuminations: Reflections of Earth that Morocco is the only pavilion not to be lit up. This is to show respect as it would go against their beliefs.

Only one part of Epcot can be seen and not touched by the public. This part happens to be in the France pavilion and be the Eiffel Tower. Disney call it the ‘carrot’ of the park because it is made to look bigger than it actually is. At only 1/10 of the size of the original, this tower is mounted on top of a building.

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Everyone loves to visit other peoples versions of their ‘home’ which is why I love seeing the United Kingdom pavilion. Here you can actually look up your own family ancestry and have it printed. This is available for everyone visiting the park, not just the Brits!

Canada seems to have a lot of little hidden elements in it’s pavilion. There are 3 totem poles there, but only ONE of these is actually real! There is also a rock that opens up for the Illuminations show which is where the globe comes out from. You’ll notice a beautiful waterfall that was actually built here to mask the noisy generator located just behind it and the Hotel du Canada looks 5 storeys high but in actual fact, is only 3! (a bit similar to the America pavilion)

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I have also heard that some of the trash cans and water fountains might talk to you…

What else do you know about Epcot?

Smiles Included…

Louise

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Do You Really Mean All The Parks?

Hey Thrill Seekers,

A lot of our customers ask for a ticket that includes ‘all of the parks’ without realising how many parks there actually are. Ticket purchasing can become quite complicated when you aren’t aware of all the parks and attractions, especially if you’re a first timer. We have ‘The Big Three’, Disney, Universal and SeaWorld but there is so much more!

Let’s take a look at the big three¬†first.

Walt Disney World actually consists of 6 parks in total, 4 theme parks, Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios and 2 water parks, Typhoon Lagoon and Blizzard Beach. All of our Disney tickets include all 6 of these parks, we do not offer single day or single park tickets.

Disney’s¬†Magic Kingdom is the park to¬†explore lands of endless enchantment, where your fantasy becomes a reality.¬†

Disney’s Epcot allows you to¬†travel around the globe, under the sea, into outer space…and beyond!

Disney’s Animal Kingdom¬†will amaze you,¬†behold the magic of nature with rare animals and world-class entertainment.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios puts you smack bang in the middle of the action, take center stage in the world of movies, television, music and theater.

Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon is a¬†storm ravaged tropical bay while Disney’s Blizzard Beach is a¬†melting ski resort.

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Moving onto Universal now with their 2 theme parks, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. These 2 parks are joint together using The Wizarding World of Harry Potter¬†and the Hogwarts Express.¬†You must have a hopper ticket to ride the Hogwarts Express, which is of course, what we offer! ūüôā

Tip: Ride the Hogwarts Express both ways to encounter two completely different experiences. ūüėČ

Universal Studios is where you can¬†jump into the action of your favourite movies and TV shows’.¬†At the back of the park you will find yourself in¬†Diagon Alley.

Universal’s Islands of Adventure is where you can live the adventure. Towards the back of this park you will be in¬†Hogsmeade.

Universal’s Volcano Bay is the newest park which is due to open¬†on the 1st June 2017.¬†Water is life. Life is joy.¬†

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SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment have a total of 4 parks including SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica, Busch Gardens Tampa Bay and Discovery Cove.

SeaWorld Orlando has a mixture of thrill rides, family rides and animal interactions. SeaWorld rescue a lot of animals from the wild to treat them and then release them back into the wild.

Aquatica is SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment’s water park which is themed to the Southern Pacific and features Australian and New Zealand mascots that you can spot relating to each attraction.

Busch Gardens Tampa Bay is about an hour out of Orlando but so worth the journey! The 19th century African themed park is also, like SeaWorld, a mixture of the thrill and family rides as well as the animal encounters. All of the SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment is suitable for all the family.

Tip: We offer these parks at an amazing 3 parks for the price of 2 offer which entails free parking!

Discovery Cove is an amusement park where guests can completely relax with an all inclusive day and have the choice to ‘talk, touch, play and swim with bottlenose dolphins’.

There are 2 Discovery Cove packages available, 1 including 14 days into SeaWorld and Aquatica and our Ultimate package including 14 days into SeaWorld, Aquatica and Busch Gardens.

Tip: You can make the most of the free parking with our Ultimate Package as well. ūüėČ

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LEGOLAND Florida & Merlin Attractions is next up. LEGOLAND Florida has their theme park and their water park – great fun for all the family. As well as Legoland, Merlin also have I-Drive 360 which is made up of The Orlando Eye, Madame Tussauds and SEALIFE Orlando.

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We offer a number of different ticket options for these attractions, so if you don’t necessarily want to visit all of them, you can take your pick!

If you’re looking to visit some of Florida’s more alternative attractions, you won’t be at a loose end as there are so many options!

Kennedy Space Center

Fun Spot

Gatorland

Boggy Creek – 30 minute

Boggy Creek – 1 hour

WonderWorks

Orlando Magic

So if you were stuck for ideas, I hope you’re not anymore! All of these attractions are available on our website and any questions you have, you can contact us to find out more!

Smiles Included…

Louise

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Festive Treats

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Hooray for all you sweet addicts like myself. It’s the most wonderful time of the year and the sweetest too!¬†This is one of my favourite times to visit the parks just so I can have some of their festive season sweet treats.

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Orlando theme parks have some pretty amazing chefs and bakers who have been working overtime to bring you their best Christmas treats, and the result is mouthwatering!

Here’s just a few mouthwatering treats I know of and where to find them. If you’re lucky enough to be there over the Christmas period make sure you go try them, your taste buds will most certainly be satisfied.

Holiday Cake Pops at Goofy‚Äôs Candy Company ‚Äď Goofy‚Äôs Candy Company in Downtown Disney is always a great place to grab something sweet.¬†Guests can indulge in one of our favourite treats in Disney: cake pops. These mini bites of cake are decorated with either a Santa Mickey hat or as a bright blue snowflake. You can‚Äôt go wrong with a cake pop so whichever you choose your sweet tooth will be impressed.

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Gingerbread Cupcakes at Hollywood Studios ‚Äď Not every one is a fan of gingerbread but when decorated with traditional red and green sprinkles and a Mickey Mouse hat what is not to like. Trust me, your taste buds will smile as they are taken over by gingerbread and cream cheese icing. Mmm Yummy!

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Candy Cane Fudge at SeaWorld Orlando ‚Äď This I must say is one of the prettiest desserts I have ever come across, it’s that pretty you almost don’t want to eat it…..BUT do! This treat has a soft gooey centre like fudge with a hard, crunchy peppermint top.

If it’s all too much for your tummy’s you can always try out the only drink on our festive treat list.

Dutch Chocolate Grasshopper at Epcot ‚Äď The Dutch Chocolate Grasshopper at Epcot is a rich chocolate ice cream drink with a splash of peppermint schnapps and a sprinkling of crushed candy canes. It‚Äôs both refreshing and mouthwatering.

It is safe to say the parks do not and will not disappoint with their Christmas treats.

Sweet Smiles Included

Kelly

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Top 10 Orlando Attractions 2016

Hey Thrill Seekers,

We’ve seen the top 5 attractions in each park and now it’s the big one, the top 10 attractions in Orlando overall.

1st Place: Harry Potter and the Escape From Gringotts – Universal Studios.

2nd Place: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey – Islands of Adventure.

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3rd Place: Expedition Everest – Animal Kingdom.

4th Place: Rock ‘n’ Rollercoaster – Hollywood Studios.

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5th Place: Soarin’ – Epcot.

6th Place: Crush ‘n’ Gusher – Typhoon Lagoon.

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7th Place (joint): Summit Plummet – Blizzard Beach & Seven Dwarfs Mine Train – Magic Kingdom.

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8th Place: Hard Rock Cafe – Universal City Walk.

9th Place: Manta – SeaWorld

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10th Place: Falcons Fury – Busch Gardens

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So it is clear to see that the Harry Potter attractions are extremely popular amongst our thrill seekers and why wouldn’t they be, they really are incredible.

With the opening of Volcano Bay next year I wonder how different this list will look at the end of 2017?! If you’re heading out to visit the parks don’t forget to leave your feedback and vote for your fave attractions!!

Smiles Included,

Jess
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Epcot’s Top Attractions 2016

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Flying high above the other attractions at Epcot and gliding into a steady 1st place is the extraordinary Soarin’.

Be prepared to embark on a journey of a lifetime visiting some of the worlds coolest places. You’ll literally soar over mountains, waterfalls and many more wonders of the world such as the Great Wall of China and Iguazu Falls. Soarin’ will make you feel as though you are actually hang gliding!

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You’ll experience the flight from 40 feet in the air surrounded by beautiful panoramas and a 180 degree, 80 foot IMAX projection dome.

Soarin’ is a very lifelike but at the same time surreal experience at¬†Epcot¬†and as our thrill seekers have voted it as the top attraction you should make sure you don’t miss it on your visit!

Second Place: Test Track – The word ‘cool’ just doesn’t cover this attraction. You get to design your own concept car and then put it to the test. The track is almost a mile long and you’ll reach speeds of up to 65mph!

Third Place: Mission: SPACE РYou will get to become part of a astronaut crew, dodging meteors and zooming around the moon in your very own vessel.

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Fourth Place: Mission: SPACE Advanced Training Lab – This will add to your astronaut training, take part in 4 different activities such as Mission: SPACE Race, Expedition Mars, Space Base and Postcards from Space.

Fifth Place: The Seas With Nemo And Friends – You’ll be joining Marlin and Dory on their search for Nemo. Jump on board your “clamobile” and along the way you will meet characters such as Mr.Ray, Bruce and Crush.

Smiles Included..

Jess
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Disney unveil new Star Wars ‘Death Star’ at Epcot

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Spaceship Earth at Disney’s Epcot was¬†transformed into the Death Star last night. This comes from a meetup with the film Rogue One: A Star Wars Story which will make it’s debut on the 16th December. Some announcements were made at the event with the help of Mads Mikkelsen, who plays Galen Erso in the film.

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So what exactly did Disney announce last night? Mainly based on the Star Wars inspired land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. More characters and scenes will appear in the parks everyday line up in addition to the land that is currently being built.

Also announced was that Star Wars: A Galactic Spectacular that was debuted earlier this year, will be joining their new nighttime spectacular Jingle Bell, Jingle Bam from the 16th December through to the 31st by being projected onto the park’s Chinese Theater.

By the middle of the month, Star Tours – The Adventurers Continue will return for it’s first destination with Jakku to continue the promotion of last year’s Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

Rogue One – A Star Wars Story will be promoted by Disney at Star Wars Launch Bay with new props and models from the film. Some troopers from the film will also be appearing in the daytime show, Star Wars: A Galaxy Far, Far Away.

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Last but not least, Disney announced plans for a Star Wars-themed Guided Tour of Disney’s Hollywood Studios including a spot of Jedi Training: Trials of the Temple show for the children. The tour will also include a ride on Star Tours – The Adventures Continue, a guided tour of the Launch Bay, lunch with Star Wars-themed eats and reserved viewing for the Galactic Spectacular show.

Seems to me like Disney are taking full advantage of Star Wars and I don’t blame them!

Smiles included…

Louise

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Disney’s New MagicBand 2

Hey Thrill Seekers,

Disney have recently announced they are releasing new Magic Bands. With a slight make over and a nip and tuck, the MagicBand 2 will have a removable icon. The technology is all included on this disc shaped icon which you can remove from the band. You may think that this will just pop in and out which means it can get lost easily, but all bands will come with a little screwdriver to undo the tiny screw on the back.

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The icon can be used in other accessories such as key chains, bracelets etc. to make the bands more fashionable.

The bands will still be used for FastPass, hotel admission, payments in restaurants and merchandise stores throughout Walt Disney World Resort in the exact same way, just a slightly new look.

Magic Bands can be used again if you visit more than once and they usually last between 3 – 5 years depending on the battery life. They have smart technology included so that they will turn themselves off once you leave the Walt Disney World Resort and turn themselves back on when you re-enter.

The fact that these bands are waterproof is also pretty cool. You don’t need to worry about it getting wet on any of the water rides or if it rains! Not forgetting that you can personalise your band to make it your own. When I ordered my band I was able to choose between pink, blue, green, red, orange, grey or a yellow band. (Obviously I chose pink!) I also had my name printed on the inside so if I ever took it off, I would be sure it was mine. Disney stores also sell different straps and band its.

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You can even personalise your band yourself by painting it, putting stickers on it, bedazzling it etc. The question is, will defacing your band stop it from working? No, it won’t. If you deface tickets, it can make them invalid however this is not the case with your bands.

If you still have one of the older style Magic Bands, do not worry about having to purchase a new one as they will still work at Disney. Rumours are going around that eventually Disney will be looking to roll these out completely but this won’t be for a while now so there’s no reason to panic.

Icons will be included on every band so you won’t be able to purchase a band on it’s own which may have made personalising the bands a bit cheaper, but we all love spending money anyway, don’t we?!

Once we have an official release date for these bands, we will be sure to update you!

Smiles Included…

Louise

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