Walt Disney World Weekly Scoop

Walt Disney World tests new FastPass distribution at Animal Kingdom: No More Running Around the Parks

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Walt Disney World is reportedly testing a new FastPass distribution system that would centralize the distribution locations. Currently, guests must go to a specific ride in order to get a FastPass for that ride. For example, if they want to get one for the safari ride at Animal Kingdom, which is located at the far end of the park, they must walk all the way to the ride entrance, using up valuable park time. Worse yet, in the busiest season they might get to the ride of their choice, only to discover that all of the FastPasses for that day have already been distributed. The FastPass test is allowing guests to get their FastPasses for any ride from the machines at “It’s Tough to be a Bug,” near the center of the Animal Kingdom theme park. All other FastPass rules are still the same. You can only have one FastPass at a time and you cannot get another one until the time window starts on your current FastPass or two hours have passed, whichever comes first. The number of FastPasses distributed each day will still be limited, and once they are gone you’re out of luck. However, if the new system is a success and is rolled out at all four theme parks, it will mean a lot less wasted “walking time” and more time to devote to the rides. Here is an example of how the new system might help you if it’s rolled out theme park-wide: You visit Disney’s Hollywood Studios and want to get a FastPass for Toy Story Midway Mania and then ride Tower of Terror until your FastPass window starts. Under the old system, you would have to walk all the way to Pixar Place, which involves heading far into the park. You get your Fastpasses, then backtrack all the way back to Tower of Terror. If FastPass distribution machines were located centrally (for example, near the Tip Board), you’d walk in, get your FastPass immediately, then head right to Tower of Terror with no wasted steps. The same would be true for getting a Soarin’ FastPass at Epcot Center, which currently requires a walk to the Land pavillion, or walking all the way to Big Thunder Mountain in the Magic Kingdom for a FastPass, then backtracking to Fantasyland or Tomorrowland to ride something else. So if you need to purchase discount Disney tickets for your vacation, please contact our office at 1-877-406-4836 or visit us on the web at www.officialticketcenter.com

Space Shuttle Landing Information from NASA

Space Shuttle Endeavor Landing Information 

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Hi everyone!

The following schedule is based on information available today and will be in effect at Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex Friday, July 31, 2009.  The first attempt at landing for Endeavor, STS-127 at Kennedy Space Center is 10:47 a.m.  The second attempt is 12:22 p.m. KSCVC will be open for normal operating hours (8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.) for general public guests to view the landing from the main campus of the Visitor Complex.  The tour will operate as normal to all three tour stops.  We will also show NASA Select in IMAX 1 and 2 during the landing attempts as well. So if you need your Kennedy Space Center tickets for this event, please call us toll free at 1-877-406-4836 to purchase your discount tickets or see us online at www.officialticketcenter.com

Weekly Scoop

Important Information You Need to Know!

Hi everyone! I just wanted to give a quick update to you on upcoming events that are due to occure at the theme parks soon. Walt Disney World has sent me news that will effect anyone traveling to the Magic Kingdom in August and November. Here they are, listed below. 

 

Pardon Our Pixie Dust:

 

Magic Kingdom® Park:

 

Space Mountain is closed through November 21

 

Tomorrowland Transit Authority is closed through August 24

Stitch’s SuperSonic Celebration is permanently closed

 

So if you are going to be here during these months, please be aware of these closures! Remember if you need to purchase you Disney tickets, then please call us toll free at 1-877-406-4836.

 Sea World Orlando has a great new item they are rolling for those kids of any age that love Elmo. If you have ever wanted to hang out with your favorite pal from Sesame Street, then now is your chance. Start your day off with a breakfast of a life time at Sea World Orlando by having that breakfast with the one and only Elmo. This exciting program is now being offered through August 8th. The prices are $18 for adults and $16 for children plus taxes. The breakfast is at 9:15 am and you need to be there, no later than 9 pm. Park addmission is required for this dining program, so if you need Sea World tickets for this event, then please call us toll free at 1-877-406-4836 or visit www.officialticketcenter.com for prices.

Dining in Orlando on a Budget

Experiencing Orlando on a Budget with, “The Official Ticket Center”

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In my last post, I discussed the, “In’s and Out’s”, of buying the best tickets possible, to see the most of our world famous theme parks here in central Florida. I went over the best Disney tickets to purchase, along with the best Sea World tickets and Universal Studios tickets as well. If you would like to learn about these specials, please read my last posts or see them for yourself at www.officialticketcenter.com . Today I am going to show you the best ways to save money on your meals, along with a few of where the locals dine hidden eateries. First I would like to say that I have been all around the world and I myself am a cheap traveler. Cheap, in the sense of saving my money for the big events, but cheap in the smaller events like eating! I always hear my guests say that they don’t have any money left for eating after they buy their attraction tickets. They are kidding of course, but not far from the truth of the matter. I being an owner of a small business, like to steer my guest to other small businesses for anything they may need. For eating, I tell many of my guests who do not want to spend $120 a day on meals at the big theme parks to go buy a collapsible cooler and a freezer pack at the Publix food market and load it with sandwiches, chips, juice boxes and anything else they may crave for a day at the parks. (The local Dollar stores are a great place to pick up food supplies as well!) Many people do not realize that they can take in something like this,” NOT A BEACH COOLER” but a small collapsible cooler and then rent a locker at the front of the parks and leave it along with anything else that they do not want to carry around all day. Then you can come back whenever you want to grab a bite to eat. This alone will save the average family $500 for a 5 day trip. When you get hungry, go back and grab the cooler and find a nice shaded area to sit and eat and people watch while you relax and enjoy you homemade lunch. Remember, you cannot bring in a large sized cooler and you cannot bring in alcoholic beverages as well. Remember to pack extra snacks for the ride home. I have 3 kids and I know at the end of the day, they are still hungry. So bring a little extra to hold them over until dinner time.

Next, let’s talk about dinner time. I love to grill out anytime and even more so on vacation. The smell of an outdoor BBQ just sets the mood for that relaxing evening here in Florida. Most hotels have an outdoor BBQ area and this tip alone can save you big bucks with your dinning budget. I know this is not an every nigh thing, but it can be done at least 2 nights during your stay. If you are renting a vacation home rental, ask the management company if they have a BBQ grill at the house. If they do not, just find the closest Home Depot or Lowes and buy the old dad style portable grill for $20 and then pick up a bag or two of charcoal while your are buying the BBQ groceries at the Publix shopping mart. If you are staying at a vacation home rental, they will normally have everything that you would have at home, so there is no need to buy plates, sporks or anything else for that matter. I will discuss vacation home rentals in my next post. But the bottom line here is to be self sufficient as much as possible when it comes to eating while here on your trip.

 If you do wish to let someone else do the cooking while you are here and still do not want to break the bank, I recommend a few places. The first is Golden Coral. This is a buffet style smorgasbord that has just about everything you could imagine. I recommend the one location up in the Lake Buena Vista area and the newest one at mile marker 8 on Irlo Bronson Memorial Hwy (S.R.192). For the price, you can’t beat it. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner. The next is, Sweet Tomatoes. This is my personal favorite and Sweet Tomatoes also caters to the vegetarian traveler as well. There are two locations here in the attractions area and my favorite location is the one on International Dr. It is located at the corner of Kirkman Rd. and International Dr. The second newest location is located in Lake Buena Vista, in the Crossroads shopping center. For the price, this is defiantly my favorite place to recommend a family too on a budget. If you go online and do a search for their savings coupon, this coupon can also save you at least 20% off of your bill.

Many travels like to come down here to Florida and have that all you can eat Lobster dinner and they soon find themselves packed into one of the many all you can eat joints along the tourist strip along with everybody else and their brother! I recommend that if you have to have that dinner of dinners on your vacation, go try a place where the locals go to eat like the Miller’s Orlando Ale House in Lake Buena Vista or BJ’s Brew House at the Loop, on Osceola Parkway. Both are within 10 minutes of Walt Disney World and the Sea World resort areas and serve up delicious sea food meals. If money is not an option and you wish to experience the finer side of Orlando dinning, then just drop me a line and I will be more than happy to give you the low down on the inside areas of interest! In my next post, I will go over the best way to save money on your accommodations. Remember to read over my last posts concerning Disney tickets, Universal Studios tickets, Sea World tickets and Kennedy Space Center tickets. These posts will save you valuable time and money on your next Orlando Florida vacation! Until next time, this is Patrick Pulliam, writing for, “The Official Ticket Center”.

If you have any questions or comments concerning the content of this post, please contact Patrick Pulliam at 1-877-406-4836 or email him at patrickp@officialticketcenter.com

 

Walt Disney World Weekly Scoop

Disney helps blind visualize rides at their parks with new device

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“Audio description” is the latest feature of a proprietary, wireless system Disney initially created for disabled guests. (WALT DISNEY WORLD / April 15, 2009)

Walt Disney World has rolled out a first-of-its-kind service designed to let even blind guests “see” its famed attractions.

Called “audio description,” the service provides visually impaired vacationers with a narrative depiction of the scenes that unfold as they move through rides such as the Magic Kingdom Haunted Mansion or Pirates of the Caribbean.

It is the latest feature added to a proprietary, wireless system that Disney World initially developed to help disabled guests. The system also includes features for deaf and hard-of-hearing guests, such as amplified sound and hand-held captions.

“We want to make our rich stories available to everyone,” said Greg Hale, vice president of worldwide safety and accessibility for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts.

Through a three-year contract that was recently renewed, Disney licenses the technology to Houston-based Softeq Development Corp., which markets the system to everyone from other tourist attractions to timber companies.

The system relies on a series of remote, infrared sensors and a durable, hand-held device initially built to withstand drops to the ground, rain and other liquid intrusion, and all manner of other punishment dished out during a day in a theme park.

Customers include the World of Coca-Cola museum in Atlanta, where a former general manager and the current attractions manager are former Disney World executives, and the Hall at Patriot Place in Foxborough, Mass., a hall of fame dedicated to the New England Patriots football team.

Both of those attractions, like Disney World, use the system to provide services to deaf and blind visitors.

But other types of companies are also interested in buying the hand-held unit itself, which Softeq sells as the rugged “Durateq.”

Trey Litel, Softeq’s vice president of sales and marketing, said Softeq markets the device to forestry and oil companies, industrial-safety businesses and even restaurants interested in point-of-sale systems that allow servers to run credit-card transactions right at their customers’ tables.

Disney earns royalties on the software, which it has patented, and on the hand-held devices, which it developed jointly with Softeq.

Both companies declined to say how much the royalties amount to, but the potential market is significant: For example, Softeq hopes to cultivate clients from among more than 14,000 museums across the country.

Disney first introduced its version of the hand-held device in 2005, but it took company engineers much longer to perfect the audio-description feature. The descriptions must be perfectly synchronized to avoid interrupting an attraction’s primary narration.

Engineers had to make various changes along the way. Tests revealed, for instance, that blind guests were uncomfortable using the original, two-ear headphones because they depend on their sense of sound to guide themselves around. So Disney replaced the headphone with a single earpiece, which allows a guest to leave the other ear unobstructed.

The system’s narration also had to be carefully selected and produced to distinguish it from the other audio encountered in a Disney attraction.

For example, in the Haunted Mansion, where all riders listen to a ghoulishly themed male voice, the audio description produced by the hand-held device is provided by a female voice speaking in even tones.

Disney rolled out the audio descriptions earlier this spring, just before the Easter rush. The company says it is now working on expanding the service to include descriptions of outdoor areas in its theme parks.

Walt Disney World Weekly Scoop

Insider answers with, “The Official Ticket Center”

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In my last post I promised to help you find all of the low cost ways to have a great Orlando, Florida vacation without breaking the bank. First thing first. The biggest money burner will always be your Disney tickets and all of the other attractions that have followed in Walt Disney World’s foot steps. The best way to tackle this issue is to buy the Walt Disney World multi-day ticket instead of the individual day tickets. As I explained in my last post, the most cost effective way to get the most bang for your buck is to purchase any one of the Walt Disney World 14 day expiration Disney tickets. This will defiantly lower the daily cost down to around $44 a day. Universal Studios tickets are the second most popular tickets sold here and for good reason. Right now, Universal Studios has 5 different tickets to choose from. The most popular of Universal Studios tickets are the 2 Day 2 Park Hopper tickets. These tickets allow you to hop from park to park on any two days within 1 week. This ticket also includes 7 free Nights of City Walk admissions. City Walk is a Night Time, Adult, Night Club Complex. It also has dinning and shopping for everyone, but you will need a City Walk tickets to enter into their night clubs. The second most popular ticket has to be the 1 Day 2 Park Hopper. This will allow the family with a time issue to visit both parks within the same day. Many people do not realize that Universal Studios has 2 parks, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. Both parks are sure to please any age traveler! The third most popular destination here in Central Florida is Sea World. For a family on a true hard core budget, Sea World Orlando has the best of the best ticket packages available anywhere. By purchasing your Sea World tickets here thru, “The Official Ticket Center“, you can take part in their ticket combo bonanza. The best Sea World tickets at this moment are the Sea World / Aquatica Combo special. This ticket is $96 per adult and $86 for children 3-9. This ticket is a unlimited pass for 14 days from the first day of use. You cant get any better than this ticket! 

 I truly love to see people visiting my beautiful state and I love when people come into our office and ask for those hidden gems that are off of the beaten path and are not printed in any publications. When they ask the question, “What else is there to see besides Walt Disney World”,  I normally pull them to the side and get out my trusty map to show them where these places are. These are the places that you can go to and have the best times of you life and not even spend $40 for the whole family to enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, I love for people to come see the theme parks, but I also want people to see the natural beauty that is often over looked by millions of travelers that come here every year. My favorite place to send people who dare to travel the least traveled path is, Wekiva Springs State Park. This is one of Florida’s most beautiful artesian springs in Central Florida. I was brought up 5 miles from this gem and it still holds its beauty to this day. The water is a constant 72 degrees year round and is a welcoming spot on a hot, Central Florida summer day. Pick up a couple of sandwiches and drinks on the way and remember to bring a pair of swimmer goggles so that you can gaze down into the emerald colored boil, that pushes cool, clear water out, from deep within the Florida aquifer. They also have unguided canoe rentals, that will take you for a stroll back to a time when the Florida Seminole Indians inhabited this land. If you are lucky, you can still find shark teeth at the bottom of this spring, as this area was once covered by shallow ocean tidal pools. If you would like more information on this destination, click here http://www.floridastateparks.org/WekiwaSprings/  Here is a link to see some pictures of the park as well. Enjoy : )  http://www.floridastateparks.org/WekiwaSprings/Photos-Park.cfm

In my next post, I will tell you the best ways to save money on food while visiting our world famous theme parks. Until next time, this is Pat Pulliam with www.officialticketcenter.com . If you have any questions or comments about this post, please email me at patrickp@officialticketcenter.com  or call toll free at 1-877-406-4836.  

Walt Disney World Weekly Scoop

Summer Time In Orlando With, The Official Ticket Center

Summer is definitely here in Orlando and the parks could not be happier. Every day, I see travelers from around the world come into our office and buy just about every ticket there is. Disney tickets are definitely the #1 best seller, as travelers are looking for the best options that will allow them to have that week long stay and not break the bank in the process. The most popular Disney tickets now are the 3 Day Base ticket with the 14 day expiration, upgraded free thru our company to a 5 Day Base ticket with 14 day expiration. This breaks down to be $44.80 a day, instead of $79.88 a day thru Disney. Most families on a tight budget can swing this and most travelers are now savvy to staying at a vacation home rental instead of staying at a chain hotel or motel. Renting a car thru a local rental car company and asking them if they can beat a competitor rate is always a best way to get the cheapest rates available. Also renting a small economy car just to get you back and forth from the parks will only cost $20 to $30 a day. Well within a tight budget conscience family. For those of you who are lucky enough to be comming in tis week, the Space Shuttle will be lifting off on this Saturday the 11th. It will be lifting off around 7:30 pm. and if everything goes ok it will be a sight to remember. If you need discount Kennedy Space Center tickets, then please contact us to get them in advance. In my next post, I will go over the best ways to save money on food while you are here and how to get through the lines at the parks without buying an express pass or waiting hours in the blazing sun. Until next time, this is Patrick Pulliam writing for The Official Ticket Center. Any questions or comments please contact Patrick at patrickp@officialticketcenter.com or call toll free at 1-877-406-4836.

 

 

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Discount Disney World Tickets and More!

Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World

As Orlando’s most recommended discount ticket agency, Official Ticket Center welcomes you to our new blog. Expect to see the latest news about all of the wonderful attractions Orlando has to offer. Best of all, you’ll be the first to know about great insider deals from OTC. Visit us often. We’re looking forward to your visit.