1923 Main Street: Disney Travel Style Podcast

Major Changes to the Disney Guest Experience, plus are French Fries Disappearing from Walt Disney World?
 
Walt Disney World Trip Report: Christmas Holidays 2023
 
The Christmas Holidays vacation experience at Walt Disney World is our favorite time of year to visit. Just back from our most recent stay at Disney's Grand Floridian Resort, we have a lot of news to share, including some changes we noticed and some hints of what may be coming in 2024.
 
Disney Merchandise on Sale
In a major trend reversal, it is suddenly common to see a significant number of items on sale at Walt Disney World shops, most with substantial discounts. We noticed that these are the types of items and prices that would normally have been found only at the Disney Character Warehouse at the Vineland Outlet Mall. This may be Disney's way to upend the scourge of eBay pirates who have had a negative impact  (springs best, Disney avoiding Character Warehouse). Whatever the reason, this is good news for Disney World travelers. 
 
Disney Travel Tip: Not all items are discounted equally across Walt Disney World Resort. We found that the best variety of items on sale is found at Disney Springs in the Marketplace and World of Disney in particular.
 
Ride Wait Times
Disney World ride wait times were often twice as long as what was posted, a reversal from our experience over the past year when ride wait times tended to be shorter than what was posted.
 
Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party
The 2023 edition of Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party was better than past years, showing some improvements to an already fun event. There was noticeably more ambiance particularly throughout the entrance experience walk in particular. Food, treats and the cookie stroll continue to be great (a top pick is the gingerbread cake at Golden Oak Outpost -- a hidden gem).
 
On the downside, there are still long wait times for most rides (so we continue to find Disney's marketing of shorter wait times during these events to be a marketing campaign only--it simply is not the case.
 
Jollywood Nights Falls Victim to a December Tropical Storm Like Occurrence
Jollywood Nights rained out on December 16, the night we were supposed to attend. It was the right call by Disney given the torrential tropical storm-like rain, but we were never notified by Disney. Travel agents received instant notification (presumably to alert their clients), but as guest who bought tickets directly, we never got any notice at all from Disney that it was cancelled. 

This is a significant oversight by Disney and one they need to correct. On the plus side, they did refund the tickets on that same day, so at least someone was on the ball.
 
What's Coming for Genie+ in 2024
One Cast Member we spoke with hinted that the new Genie+ may just be the ability of onsite guests to make their first selection the night before. The CM noted that the biggest guest complaint was having to get up at 7:00 a.m., so this would directly address that. We view that as a shortsighted response to the issue by Disney, but it would still be better than the current situation.
 
We probed on the potential to get rid of Park Passes for Disney Annual Passholders who have an onsite hotel reservation, but did not get a very encouraging response (and not much of an in-depth response at all on that one). 
 
French Fries are Getting Harder to Find at Walt Disney World
In an alarming trend for some, french fries are quietly disappearing from many Walt Disney World quick service menus. It used to be that they were a staple with burgers in particular as an option. Now, you're far more likely to find chips or nacho chips as the side. This is not for health reasons, but likely to reduce costs and streamline speed of delivery. Disney noted in comments over the past two years that their intention was to find more efficiencies in food service and substituting chips for french fries in many quick service dining locations is just one example of how they go about doing this.
 
The Aromas of Disney Hotel Lobbies are Fading Away: Are they Gone for Good? 
It's not your imagination, we definitely noticed that the trademark lobby scents associated with many Disney resort hotels are disappearing, or far less obvious. Disney's Grand Floridian Resort has no noticeable scent and this included a distinct lack of any gingerbread smell to accompany the Christmas holiday lobby display. This is a sad change that we hope is not permanent (but believe that it probably is).


Thank You for Listening to the Disney Travel Podcast

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Thank you for listening and have a magical day!

Mike Belobradic and Amelia Belobradic

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Creators & Guests

Host
Amelia Belobradic
Amelia Belobradic is co-host of 1923 Main Street: The Disney Travel News Podcast.
Host
Mike Belobradic
Mike Belobradic is the creator and co-host of the Disney Travel News Podcast at 1923MainStreet.com and a longtime expert on Disney travel.

What is 1923 Main Street: Disney Travel Style Podcast?

1923 Main Street® is an award-winning* Disney travel podcast hosted by Mike Belobradic and Amelia Belobradic. This is your source for the latest Disney travel style news, tips and advice.

Join Mike and Amelia for fun-filled informative discussions as they share the latest Disney travel style news every week. Get the latest style news for travel to Disney destinations, including Walt Disney World Resort, Disneyland Resort, Disney Vacation Club (including Disney Aulani in Hawaii and Disney's Vero Beach Resort in Florida), Disneyland Paris and more.

In each episode, Mike and Amelia discuss everything Disney inspired style, from what to pack for your Disney vacation, what to wear in the parks, styling your wardrobe for Disney special events and more. Mike has over 50 years and 100+ weeks of onsite Disney travel experience, while Amelia brings a younger perspective to the table with 14+ years and nearly 40 weeks of onsite Disney travel experiences at the age of 16. Mike Belobradic is the founder of 1923 Main Street, a casual clothing line #InspiredByTheMagic of Disney and beyond.

*1923 Main Street: The Disney Travel Podcast won the Canadian Podcast Award for Outstanding Kids & Family Series in 2022 and has been nominated for Best Podcast Awards at the People's Choice Podcast Awards and the Canadian Podcast Awards.