How many rides do you ride on a day at Disney?
The number of rides enjoyed by the average Disney park visitor may seem surprisingly low.
So what's the average? Nine rides. In a whole day. Considering that a one-day adult ticket costs $87 and change, and entrance for a child age 3 to 9 is $78.81, this means typical visitors are paying roughly $9 or $10 per ride.
A recent New York Times story highlights Disney's secret strategies for shortening the lines at park rides, and these efforts -- which include starting parades to draw park goers into less crowded areas, and sending out a Jack Sparrow actor to amuse folks in line at Pirates of the Caribbean—have sometimes been able to inch the average number of rides to 10 per person per day.
Though some Disney enthusiasts enjoy shopping, parades, and other aspects of the experience just as much as the rides, the cost-per-ride ratio still strikes us as pretty excessive. What do you think? Is a three-minute Disney ride worth the equivalent of $9 or $10 a pop?
For that matter, if you're an avid Disney visitor, do you tend to hit more or less than 10 rides in a typical day? If so, would you care to offer tips for newbies who are trying to get the most ride-age for their dollars?
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Pet Travel News: A handy app, a Disney resort, and more
Good news for folks who consider their pets part of the family. The Mo's Nose app—based on a children's book series of the same name—is your go-to guide for pet-friendly travel. This GPS-enabled tool helps you sniff out everything from groomers, dog parks, and kennels to hotels that welcome canine guests. Does your pooch have a deep dark secret you can't wait to crack? Oddly enough, you can even search pet psychics across America. Released on August 19, this app is compatible with iPhones and iPod Touch and can be downloaded for free from the iTunes App Store. This week also saw the opening of Walt Disney World's Best Friends Pet Care, a 17,000-square-foot luxury pet resort. Just like their owners, pets can stay in a wide range of rooms, from the budget to the swanky. Accommodations start with 32-square-foot indoor rooms and move up to 226-square-foot Very Important Pet suites, which come equipped with televisions and private backyards. Amenities include a nature trail for relaxing walks with owners and a splash-around pool. The property welcomes more than just dogs—it boasts a Kitty City pavilion, as well as boarding areas for birds and small mammals. Hamsters love Mickey, too! As much as I loved my cat and rabbit growing up, vacation time was a human-only affair. All this talk of pet travel got me wondering: Do Americans really take their pets with them on vacation, or is this a niche market reserved for spoiled pageant dogs and cat ladies? Let us know—have you ever traveled with a pet? What kind of pet did you take? Where did you go? And did your dog watch television while you were there?
Disney: Fantasyland expansion, Alaska cruises, and more
Earlier this year, Disney launched D23, its first official community for Disney fans. For a fee of $75, members receive a quarterly publication and exclusive gifts. One of the coolest perks is a chance to attend California's D23 Expo. This annual event took place earlier this month. Here's the news you missed: • The much-rumored expansion of Fantasyland at Walt Disney World in Florida is happening. Slated for 2013, Fantasyland will expand into parts of the Magic Kingdom currently used for Mickey's Toontown Fair and will also use dormant land left over from the old 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea attraction. The expansion will be princess-heavy, as most of the new attractions will feature the likes of Ariel, Belle, and Snow White. But if princesses aren't your thing, there will now be a circus tent area where the classic Dumbo attraction will be moved to—and doubled in size. (Parents can only hope this signals the end of the hour-long waits in the sweltering, shadeless queue!) • After years of endless rumors and waiting, Star Tours will be updated at both Disneyland and Disney World. Set to debut in 2011, the new Star Tours will feature scenes from George Lucas's prequel trilogy (we'll let others comment on whether that's a good thing) and—more importantly—will be in 3-D. • Disney's California Adventure in Anaheim is proceeding with its plans to build Cars Land, scheduled to open in 2012. This six-acre expansion of the park will allow guests to enter the town of Radiator Springs, featured in Pixar's Cars. BUT WAIT, THERE'S MORE The Disney Cruise Line also has changes afoot. In 2011, the Disney Wonder will add ports of call in Alaska and the Mexican Riviera. From May through early September, the Wonder will feature 7-night cruises to Alaska. Starting and ending in Vancouver, the cruise will make stops in Tracy Arm, Skagway, Juneau, and Ketchikan. For the remainder of the year—and bookending the relocation to Alaska—the Wonder will cruise out of L.A. to the Mexican Rivera, making stops in Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlán, and Cabo San Lucas. For more information, visit disneycruise.com. Disney buys Marvel: Let the theme park wars begin! (50+ comments) Ask Trip Coach: Walt Disney World 2009
Disney buys Marvel: Let the theme park wars begin!
It's no surprise in this economy that the few companies with ready cash are acquiring new properties at recession-special prices. Disney, for one, has decided to expand its base by purchasing Marvel Entertainment. The company that has long painted itself as American as apple pie is now the home of Captain America—as well as Spider-Man, the X-Men, and the entire stable of Marvel characters. Disney is no stranger to integrating sci-fi and pop culture characters into its own brand. It has had a close relationship with George Lucas for years. And the re-imagining of Mickey and his crew as Star Wars characters has been a geek's dream. Disney's Star Wars weekends at its theme parks have been extremely popular, and have provided a forum for Lucas to keep his brand in the public eye as well. What makes this story particularly interesting is that on the other side of town from Disney's theme parks in Orlando, is a theme park owned by Universal…which happens to feature characters licensed from Marvel. So what fate will befall Universal's Islands of Adventure? We find it hard to believe that Universal will gladly hand over a licensing check to Disney for visitors to its own theme park. But would Islands of Adventure maintain its appeal if the roller coasters got a fresh coat of paint and had "generic" themes? And was this a calculated move by Disney to put Universal in its cross-hairs, or just a well-time acquisition of a marketable property? What do you think? Are we about to see a theme park war explode in Orlando?
Disney unveils faux Obama on the Fourth of July
Call it Faux-bama. Or perhaps Robobama. After a long renovation, the Hall of Presidents at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom reopens this Saturday, July 4, and inside is a new guest: an Audio-Animatronic version of President Barack Obama. The statue moves and talks, with words that President Obama himself recorded at the White House earlier this year. With the cooperation of White House staffers, Disney even incorporated Obama's sense of fashion and style, including the selection of watch and accessories on the figure. One photo, in the Orlando Sentinel, shows the Obama-bot with a serious, determined face and two hands extended slightly, palms facing up. The expression and body language seems to be saying, "What are you gonna do?" or perhaps "Slap me ten!" With the unveiling, Disney will have on display life-sized animated figures of every U.S. president. Lincoln's gives the entire Gettysburg Address. The Audio-Animatronic Bill Clinton poses with his fist raised, thumb slightly up in his famed "I feel your pain" position. Read more about Disney World in the July/August issue's Ask Trip Coach.