‘Loki’ is the biggest TV series in the world – and it reached the top faster than Disney+’s other Marvel shows

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Tom Hiddleston stars in “Loki.”

  • “Loki” is the most popular series in the world across all platforms, according to Parrot Analytics.
  • It rose in audience demand faster than Disney+’s other Marvel shows.
  • Disney+ is moving its future original shows from Fridays to Wednesdays after “Loki’s” success.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Disney+’s latest Marvel series, “Loki,” is the biggest show in the world.

“Loki” became the most in-demand series in the world across all platforms faster than Disney’s other Marvel Cinematic Universe shows, including “WandaVision” and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier,” according to the research company Parrot Analytics. The company measures “audience demand,” which reflects the desire of and engagement with, or overall popularity, of a series.

The data suggests that Disney+’s Marvel shows are growing in popularity with each new series.

By June 16, seven days after it debuted, “Loki” was 89.9 times more in demand than the average show worldwide, lifting it to the top. It took “WandaVision” 14 days after its premiere to become the most in-demand global series and “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” eight days.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek said last week that “Loki” was Disney+’s biggest premiere yet (Disney did not release viewership numbers and did not respond to a request from Insider on how it counts a view).

With “Loki’s” success, Disney is moving its future original shows from Fridays to Wednesdays, including upcoming Marvel and “Star Wars” series. Shows like “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “The Mandalorian” found success with Friday debuts, but “Loki” debuts weekly on Wednesdays.

The shift means that Disney won’t be competing with Netflix, which typically releases new seasons all at once on Fridays.

Parrot Analytics said that it expects demand to build for “Loki” week over week as new episodes are released.

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9 of the most exclusive spots in Disney parks

We all know Disney parks aren’t really affordable to begin with, but if you’re looking to sprinkle a little extra Disney elegance into your visit, there are plenty of ways to experience the magic like a true king or queen. A nice queen, don’t worry.

Here’s our list of the most exclusive spots in America’s Disney parks.

1. Cinderella Castle Suite

First up, the Cinderella Castle Suite. At the top of the iconic Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom, there’s a private suite hidden inside. With towering princess beds, an ornate bathroom, and “Cinderella” props throughout, the suite is definitely fit for a royal. A night’s stay here is so exclusive, you can’t actually book it. The suite is by invite only. But it’s rumored Disney turned down an offer of $40,000 for a one-night stay. Some lucky fans have scored a stay by winning various contests. Special guests at the Cinderella Suite have included Tom Cruise and Mariah Carey.

2. Imagineer Dinner

You’ve probably heard of the Disney Imagineers – or the masterminds behind the rides, the shows, the music, pretty much everything that’s cool at Disney parks – and if you’ve ever wanted to meet one, we’ll do you one better. How about a dinner with an Imagineer? Once a month, you can learn from one of these Disney legends over a four-course meal at Cítricos in the Grand Floridian Resort. The only thing is, you won’t know who you’re eating with until you get there. The experience will set you back $89 and is limited to guests 14 and older.

3. Victoria and Albert’s

Located in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort and Spa, Victoria and Albert’s is probably the ritziest restaurant at Disney World. With only 18 tables, reservations are required, and a fancy dress code is strictly enforced. But getting all glammed up is definitely worth it for their chef’s tasting menu. The 11-course meal comes in at $250. But if you’re wanting something even more exclusive, you can book a table for up to eight people in a completely separate and private space, in the Queen Victoria Room.

4. Morimoto Asia

Morimoto Asia isn’t as high-end as Victoria and Albert’s, but it does have a little something special up its sleeve. “Iron Chef” Masaharu Morimoto opened the glitzy restaurant in 2015. Located in Disney Springs, it specializes in Pan-Asian cuisine. Their most exclusive dish is the Japanese A5 Wagyu beef. The beef has the highest rating for Wagyu and is imported from Japan. Each ounce costs $25, but there’s an order minimum of 3 ounces, so be prepared to pay about $75 at least. They also have a Toku-Jyo Sashimi Platter that runs for $100.

5. Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Looking to spoil your little ones? Hop over to Cinderella’s Castle in Magic Kingdom to the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Here, one of the Fairy Godmother’s apprentices will transform your kiddo into a knight or one of their favorite princesses. The all-in package for knights costs $80, but for Disney princesses, a full transformation starts at $450. It includes a hair styling, makeover, manicure, gown, and tiara. You can get princess shoes but for an extra cost. These magic makeovers require a reservation and are only available for kids 3 to 12.

6. Golden Oak Residences

Four miles away from Magic Kingdom is the super-exclusive gated community called Golden Oak. Three-hundred homes, each with a little Disney flair, make up eight neighborhoods. But living so close to all the Disney magic doesn’t come cheap. Each one runs for about $2.3 million. All Golden Oak residents get access to a luxurious clubhouse complete with a pool, gym, and spa. Another perk: Markham’s Restaurant. You have to be a resident here to experience all their Disney-themed meals.

7. Club 33

A luxury Disney experience doesn’t stop in Florida. Over at Disneyland in California, Club 33 has been serving an exclusive group of fans since 1967. Located in New Orleans Square, the club’s existence was once secret, but now it’s pretty well known although few get to experience it. Reportedly, the initiation fee runs between $25,000 and $100,000. Members pay an additional annual fee from $12,500 to $30,000 depending on how exclusive their membership is. And for those willing to foot that bill, membership does come with a couple perks, like the swanky restaurant Le Grand Salon and the lounge attached to it, which is the only place that serves alcohol in Disneyland.

8. Lilly Belle Train

Anybody can ride the steam-powered train of Disneyland’s railroad, but you might not know that there’s a separate train that runs only occasionally. The Lilly Belle car is named after Walt Disney’s wife, Lillian, and apparently it’s the last remaining car from the opening day of the park back in 1955. It doesn’t run every day, but when it does, you can ride it for free, but you have to be one of the first 14 people in line, so get there bright and early. But for the rest of us late risers, the $85 Grand Circle Tour will get you a peek of the train as well.

9. Walt Disney’s Apartment

Back in 1954, as Disneyland was under construction, Walt Disney wanted a place where he could watch over his project. So he had this private 500-square-foot apartment built. The once secret space is located on the second floor of the Fire House on Main Street. It’s decorated by Disney’s original set designer and looks exactly like how Walt Disney left it. You can’t actually stay here, but for $109 per person, the Walk in Walt’s Disneyland Footsteps tour will get you a little closer to the man himself.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in April 2019.

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Disneyland and other California theme parks just returned to full capacity – here’s what is changing

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LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 19: Pedestrians walk near the entrance to Disneyland Resort on February 19, 2009 in Anaheim, California. With the worsening economy, declining attendance and reduced operating income, the Walt Disney Company announced that it plans to restructure its domestic theme-park operations, which will result in the layoff an unspecified number of employees in the coming weeks. Disneyland in Anaheim, California and Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida will reportedly be consolidated into a single unit headed by Worldwide Operations President Al Weiss. Attendance at Disney theme parks in the US dropped 5 percent in the last quarter of 2008 compared to the previous year and in January, Disney offered buyout packages to 600 US executives.

  • California theme parks, sporting events, and concerts returned to 100% capacity on Tuesday.
  • The state health department added some regulations on vaccinations records and masking for theme parks.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

California theme parks, including Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood, returned to full capacity on Tuesday.

Gov. Gavin Newsom first announced the parks could return to full capacity in May as a part of his Blueprint for a Safer Economy. The previous 15% to 35% capacity limits lifted at the same time that the entire state fully reopened.

The parks will also no longer be required to maintain physical-distancing requirements on the sites.

The California Health Department added special regulations for venues such as theme parks, concerts, and sports arenas that could be classified as “mega-events” – indoor events with more than 5,000 people, and outdoor ones with over 10,000. The venues are required to provide masks for all customers, though attendees will not be required to wear them if they have been fully vaccinated.

Customers planning on attending indoor venues must either be able to verify that they are fully vaccinated or take a COVID-19 test with a negative result 72 hours prior to entering the venue. They are expected to bring their test results or send them prior to arriving at the event.

For outdoor events, the agency recommends that the venues require a vaccination record or COVID-19 test, but will not enforce it. If an individual at an outdoor event cannot verify that they have been vaccinated, it is recommended that the venue asks the individual to wear a mask.

The California Health Department said the new mandates will run through October 1, but will be reassessed on September 1.

Disneyland reopened for the first time since the pandemic started on April 30 at 25% capacity. Since then, fans have flocked to the theme park.

Fully reopening the park will allow Disney to begin recouping from the impact of the pandemic on one of its biggest revenue streams. Last year, the media giant lost nearly $5 billion due to park closures.

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27 fun gifts that grown-up Disney and Mickey Mouse fans will love

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

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My partner (left) and me (right) on our latest trip home to Florida – we both hunted down vintage Disney World shirts to wear to Magic Kingdom.

  • I’m a huge Disney fan, with a particular love for all things Mickey Mouse.
  • I scoured the internet for the best gifts you could give a Disney fan – besides theme park tickets.
  • From jewelry collabs to handmade art, any Disney or Mickey Mouse lover would swoon over these picks.
  • For more gift ideas, check out all Insider Reviews gift guides here.

In 2018, celebrations erupted all over the world as Mickey and Minnie Mouse turned 90. Collaborations were popping up left and right, with everyone from luxury watch brands to streetwear sneaker companies dropping Mickey- and Minnie-inspired styles for adults.

Over the past three years, this has been great and very expensive news for classic Disney fans like myself. I grew up near Disney World, so my love for Mickey runs deep – and after putting together this list, my pockets run shallow.

If you’re looking for a gift for a grownup who loves all things classic Disney but wants a more mature look, you’ve definitely come to the right place. I handpicked some of the best Mickey- and Minnie-themed gifts for adults, plus a few old-school Disney options I just couldn’t leave behind.

Here are 27 gifts for Disney fans, chosen by a Disney fan:

A makeup set covered in Bambi illustrations

ColourPop Bambi Lip & Eye Set; Disney gift for adults; makeup gift

Bambi Lip & Eye Set, available at ColourPop, $28

If they love an old classic like Bambi, they’ll appreciate this lip and eye set from ColourPop. The packaging is stunning, but the actual formulas are buttery, glossy, and shimmery. They can make a complete makeup look with the five-pan eyeshadow palette, soft yellow eyeliner, and sheer lip gloss in this set. It’s the perfect gift for them to refresh their makeup collection this summer. For more, you can check out all of ColourPop’s Disney offerings.

A stunning box of fresh roses

Roseshire Magic Hearts; Disney gift for adults; gift of flowers

Roseshire X Disney Magic Hearts, available at Roseshire, from $109

Fresh flowers can seem like a typical gift idea, but you can step up your game by gifting these beautiful roses. Packaging means everything, and Roseshire really goes the extra mile with this box. You can choose between two different color options and three quantities. Although this one has Mickey and Minnie on the box, Roseshire offers plenty of other Disney-themed packaging options.

A mold that makes Mickey Mouse-shaped ice

Williams Sonoma Mickey Mouse Ice Molds - Set of 2; Disney gift for adults; kitchen gift

Mickey Mouse Ice Mold – Set of 2, available at Williams Sonoma, $21.95

Ice doesn’t have to be shaped in squares, rectangles, and circles. They’ll have a blast making Mickey Mouse-shaped ice with the help of this ice mold. It’s the perfect addition to their bar at home and even better with summer on the rise. Other items in this exclusive, Disney-themed collection include a water bottle, a spatula, and more.

A dazzling, collectible powder compact

Estée Lauder x Disney Dreams Come True Compact by Monica Rich Kosann; Disney gift for adults

Estée Lauder x Disney Dreams Come True Compact by Monica Rich Kosann, available at Bergdorf Goodman, $150

For the one who has an eye for collector’s items, this limited-edition compact is a true gem. Luxury jewelry designer Monica Rich Kosann created the packaging for this bejewelled setting powder. They’ll also appreciate the fact that this product is refillable, so they can use it for years and years to come. 

A tie that has subtle hints of Disney

Cufflinks Disney Mickey Mouse Check Silk Tie; Disney gift for adults

Cufflinks Disney Mickey Mouse Check Silk Tie, available at Nordstrom, $58

To add a little touch of fun to their work wardrobe, gift them this silk tie with a checkered pattern and Mickey Mouse silhouettes. The shades of blue and gray keep this tie professional enough to blend into any office.

A personalized bracelet

BaubleBar Mickey bracelet

BaubleBar x Disney Mickey Initial Pisa Bracelet, available at BaubleBar, $10

This limited edition collab puts a stylish spin on classic Disney themes. You can customize the bracelet by choosing an initial for the back of the Mickey bead. Shop the entire collection here

A theme park inspired art print

Peter Pan Etsy print

Peter Pan Fantasyland Poster, available at Etsy, from $5

Since it’s not the most opportune time for a park visit, these Disney theme park art prints are an aesthetically pleasing reminder of our favorite rides. A writer on the Insider Reviews team bought six prints to display in their Disney-themed guest room, earning the print a spot on our 12 best Etsy discoveries.

A Mickey-shaped mug

PB Mickey Ear Popcorn Mug

Disney Mickey Mouse Stoneware Lidded Mugs, available at Pottery Barn, $24.50 each 

There’s no better accompaniment to a Disney movie than this Mickey-shaped mug that’ll hold your movie snacks. If you’re gifting to a Disney enthusiast that’s equally fond of the kitchen, nothing would please a Mickey fan more. It’s a whimsical way to give something practical.

A cozy, nostalgic bathrobe

PB Mickey robe

Disney Mickey Mouse Cozy Robe, available at Pottery Barn, $89

Inspired by vintage illustrations of Mickey Mouse’s 1928 debut, this nostalgic bathrobe celebrates Disney magic. Pair it with its matching slippers or add a personal monogram.

A custom pair of Mickey ears

Etsy Jessie Toy Story Inspired Ears; Disney gift for adults; Mickey Mouse ears gift

Custom Mickey Ears, available at Etsy, $32.30

Mickey ears are an honorary accessory for a theme park visit. If the park’s assortment doesn’t quite get you, the handmade ears from this Etsy shop pay homage to both Mickey Mouse and favorite Disney characters like Jessie from “Toy Story.”

A Google Home Mini stand that’s perfect for a playroom

Disney gifts for men Google Home Mini Speaker

Google Home Mini Speaker Mount, $24.99

Give them a stand for their Google Home Mini that turns the speaker into a 3D version of Mickey’s head. They’ll love the bit of whimsy it affords an otherwise sterile-looking piece of tech.

A perfect pair of sparkly Minnie earrings in rose gold

Disney gifts for adults earrings

CRISLU Minnie Mouse Rose Gold Earrings, available at shopDisney, $75

Disney parks have embraced rose gold in both the signature Minnie ears you’ll see bobbing around and the jewelry it produces. These delicate rose gold earrings make a great jewelry gift that’s not too pricey.

A Disney+ subscription

Originals Disney Plus 4x3

Subscribe for $7.99/month or $79.99/year

It gives you unlimited access to movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox, and costs just $7.99 a month or $79.99 a year after a free seven-day trial. Read everything there is to know about Disney+ over here.

And if you need some binge-spiration, here are all the new movies available to stream.

A minimalist Mickey necklace

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Mickey Mouse Icon Necklace, available at shopDisney, $75

This platinum-finished sterling silver necklace is smaller than it looks, making it perfect for anyone who loves dainty jewelry.

Subtle cufflinks with secret detailing

Disney gifts Mickey cufflinks

Cufflinks Inc. Mickey Cuff Links, available at Saks Fifth Avenue, $150

These cufflinks are a playful choice, but they’re small and simple enough that they won’t look juvenile if worn in an office or at a more formal event.

A pair of holiday pajamas for the whole family

Disney gifts for adults matching PJs

Mickey and Minnie Mouse Holiday Pajamas for the Family, available at shopDisney

If matching pajamas are a holiday tradition in your family, I can all but promise these cozy Mickey jammies will be a hit with everyone.

A pair of wireless headphones that don’t sacrifice on sound

Mickey Beats Solo3

Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones, available at Newegg, $203.14

If you were planning to upgrade to a pair of Beats headphones anyway, why not opt for the Mickey Mouse version? To celebrate his 90th anniversary, Beats developed this fun collaboration with Disney — and didn’t skimp on the carrying case or the graphic design. 

A set of Disney princesses for the fairy-tale lovers

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Funko Pop Disney Princesses, available at Amazon, starting at $7.97 each

This collection of Disney Princesses includes classic characters like Belle, Cinderella, Ariel, and Rapunzel. If your giftee is a fan of the classic fairy tale movies, she might love these cute collectors’ items.

A candle inspired by a classic Disney Parks treat

Disney gifts Mickey Waffles candle

Mickey Waffles Candle, available at Etsy, $34.95

This candle offers a sweet reminder of what’s likely one of their favorite park snacks — and if they’re not a fan of waffles, there are plenty of other Disney-inspired candles to choose from.

A Mickey Mouse slow cooker with dipper

Disney Slow Cooker

Mickey Mouse Slow Cooker with Dipper, available at Amazon, $99.99

Particularly if they have kids, this Mickey slow cooker is a fun way to get everyone excited about making (and eating) dinner. The included dipper is perfect for smaller portions or keeping dips and sauces warm.

A Mickey Mouse ice cream bar sign

Disney gifts Mickey ice cream

Mickey Mouse Ice Cream Bar Wall Sign, available at shopDisney, $32.99

Yes, this wall sign will immediately induce cravings for a cold, just-a-bit-melty Mickey ice cream bar. I’m actually having one right now (*books flight to Orlando*).

A Minnie Mouse wallet with plenty of storage

Disney gifts for adults Kate Spade Wallet

Minnie Mouse Zip Around Continental Wallet by Kate Spade New York, available at Kate Spade New York, $198

The subtle Minnie print keeps this wallet fun and playful, but isn’t so in-your-face that it looks totally childish.

A Mickey Mouse oven mitt set

Disney gifts Mickey mitt

Mickey Mouse Glove Hand Oven Mitt, available at Amazon, $18.34

Sure, these could double as part of a Halloween or theme-party costume, but they’ll serve equally well as oven mitts when transporting hot dishes. 

A pair of Mickey Mouse Collection Ray-Ban Sunnies

Mickey sunglass

Mickey Mouse Collection Ray-Ban, available at Ray-Ban, from $103

With an updated Wayfarer silhouette and graphic Mickey pattern on the temples, these classic sunglasses won’t look out of place no matter where they go or what they pair them with. 

An insulated tumbler to keep their drinks hot or cool

mickey tumbler

Mickey Mouse Stainless Steel Insulated Tumbler, available at Amazon, $28.55

With a splash-proof lid and some serious insulation, this tumbler will keep their drinks hot for up to eight hours and cold for up to 24 hours. Plus, they’ll get to revisit all their favorite Mickeys through the years when sipping on their morning brew.

A Mickey and Friends graphic tee

Disney gifts tshirt

Mickey and Friends Washed Tee, available at Amazon, $22.99

You can’t go wrong with a classic Disney T-shirt, so to top off this list, here’s a perfectly worn-in style they can easily pair with jeans on the weekend or Mickey ears in Magic Kingdom. 

A Mickey Mouse watch they’ll actually want to look at to tell the time

Nixon Mickey Watch

Nixon Mickey Watch, available at Amazon, $175

Nixon’s unisex Mickey watch is the perfect everyday accessory for a Disney fan — and not just one they’ll want to wear once on a trip to the park.

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Disney theme parks are notoriously pricey, but these proven tips and tricks can help you save hundreds

how to save tips on disney vacations

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • Disneyland and Walt Disney World have reopened to all visitors.
  • The parks are notoriously expensive, but you can save hundreds with some creative planning.
  • Here are our top 14 expert tips for saving money on your next Disney Parks vacation.
  • Head to Insider Reviews for more travel recommendations

There are no two ways about it: Planning a family vacation to the Walt Disney World or Disneyland resorts can be an expensive proposition.

The cost for tickets, food, and souvenirs alone can rapidly add up; it skyrockets when you factor in airfare, hotel, car rental, parking, and other incidentals. For a family of four, for a five-night stay, the average price of the trip is approximately $4,500 and can quickly increase by the hundreds, if not thousands.

While there are few discounts on admission, there are proven ways to save significant money elsewhere that won’t hinder the enjoyment or limit the experiences. After all, not having to stress about money makes for a far more enjoyable time – the key is to plan ahead and know what to expect.

As a travel writer who has covered Disney vacations extensively for over a decade, I have figured out the best ways to maximize the fun while keeping costs down. These top tips, based on what I’ve learned over the years, can help ease the damage a Disney vacation could have on your bank account.

In addition to money-saving tips for both Walt Disney World and Disneyland, I’ve also included a few that are unique to each property. Here are the best tips for saving money on a Disney parks vacation.

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Top tips to save money on Disney vacations

Pick the right time to go

As with any popular destination, prices for resort stays tend to rise during peak season, especially during school breaks in the summer, Thanksgiving week, and the days around Christmas and New Year. Weekends are always more expensive as well. Traveling during non-peak dates may be a challenge, but you can save an average of $400 a night.

Forgo the Park Hopper

Disneyland and Disney World are comprised of multiple parks, each with its own entrance fees. As the name suggests, Park Hopper is an option that lets you visit multiple parks per day, but you will pay significantly more for this privilege. The difference between a single park ticket and one with Park Hopper can be up to about $85 per day; for a family of four, that’s a savings of $300 to $350.

Another reason to skip the Park Hopper concerns logistics. There’s plenty to do at each of Disney’s parks, so I recommend dedicating an entire day to one park, instead of stressing to rush to another. You can take it slow and enjoy all the amenities of a single park. This is especially true for Walt Disney World, where the parks are located far apart and you would waste time shuttling from one to another.

Explore your ticket discount options

While Disney doesn’t generally offer discounts on park tickets, there are a few money-saving options to explore before paying full price. First, nail down how many days you plan to be in the parks; there is a price break depending on how many days you visit. For example, if you go to Disney World for just one day, it would be about $109 per day. If you opt to go for five, the price drops to $88 a day. Keep in mind that the standard tickets don’t include water parks, golf courses, and other non-theme park areas.

Know a friend or relative in Florida? State residents can save 40% off a four-day ticket in addition to other discounts. The catch is that the resident must be present and show verification at the time of entry, so they will need to be included in your group. If it’s a close family friend or grandparent, that may not be an issue. From time to time, Southern California residents may also receive a similar offer.

Make wise restaurant choices

There is a large selection of dining options at either resort and prices range from budget to premium. For example, a New York Strip at the upscale Steakhouse 55 in the Disneyland Hotel costs $58 (that is just for the steak, sides not included). But at the casual Bengal Barbeque eatery inside Disneyland, you can enjoy a delicious Bengal Beef Skewer for $5.49.

The key is to research the various food outlets available at the park you will be visiting, basing it on your budget and family’s eating habits. If you don’t care about sit-down meals and can run on hot dogs and churros from a street cart, you can cut down on food expenses.

Note that some restaurants, such as the aforementioned Steakhouse 55, are still temporarily closed.

Get food delivered

Another option for cutting down on food costs is to have groceries delivered to a hotel, as many rooms have mini-fridges and microwaves – great for stocking up on water, sodas, snacks, and even quick-heat and pre-made meals and alcohol. If your room has a full-sized kitchen, consider cooking some meals “at home” or for bringing inside the park (see our tip above). Amazon Prime delivers to hotels, while Garden Grocer specializes in Disney World deliveries.

Bring a refillable water bottle

With all the walking you will do, it’s important to stay hydrated, especially during the hotter months in Florida and California. Skip the bottled water the park sells (a bottle of Dasani costs around $4) and opt for a money-saving and environmentally friendly refillable water bottle instead.

You can fill water bottles at restaurants or one of the refill stations. But keep in mind, refill stations are few and far between, and due to COVID-19 cleanliness protocols, it is harder to fill your own water bottle.

Insider Reviews recommends the Vapur Element and Hydaway Collapsible Water Bottle because they are lightweight when empty and easy to pack.

Collapsible Water Bottle (small)Collapsible Water Bottle (small)

Stick to a souvenir budget

Disney is skilled at dividing guests from their money, especially when it comes to keepsakes. In most areas of the parks, you won’t be able to go more than 20 feet without being lured by the siren song of souvenirs. It can be very tempting to walk away with a droid from Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge ($99) or a replica of the Enchanted Tiki Room Sign ($150), but try to keep those temptations at bay.

Instead, spend your money on less expensive, classic park items that will hold their value (in sentimental ways), such as a pair of Mickey Mouse ears with a name embroidered on them (about $23) or, my favorite, a hand-cut silhouette from one of the artists on Main Street ($10).

Walt Disney World

Tips to save money at Walt Disney World

Stay at a value resort

While Disney’s Polynesian Village Resort and Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa are lovely, they are also expensive – the Grand Floridian starts at around $400 per night. If a hotel is purely a place to sleep, Disney’s Art of Animation or Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort are two of the more inexpensive options inside the Disney bubble, starting at around $179 a night.

Check out all our choices for the best Disney World hotels here. If you’re willing to stay at a non-Disney resort, there are also many excellent hotels in Orlando and Kissimmee from as low as $66 per night, depending on the season.

If you want to go deluxe, consider renting DVC points

Disney Vacation Club (DVC) is Disney’s popular timeshare program that lets you rent studios, villas, and suites at one of the deluxe resorts. Membership is a big investment, but my friends who joined have been pleased with the program. Here’s a secret: You can take advantage of the program without being a member, by renting DVC points.

When you rent DVC points, you are essentially booking through a DVC member, not Disney. For a negotiated fee, you get access to their points and preferred rates (a member has a set number of deductible points that must be applied in order to get those rates), which can make those deluxe resorts drop down drastically in price.

For example, the price for a deluxe studio at Disney’s Riviera – depending on the date – is $559 a night, but you can rent points and pay about $275 for the same night. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, a studio is $616 a night, but with DVC points you pay $380. You are basically getting the same room for almost half the price. And, it’s not just for Florida: DVC also includes California properties.

Companies such as David’s Vacation Club Rental and the DVC Rental Store can facilitate the points rental from DVC members, and the booking process is similar to a regular hotel reservation. There are plenty of caveats with this system, so make sure to go over all the restrictions and conditions from the broker or DVC member.

Schedule a non-park day

Save on park tickets by scheduling a non-park day. There are many ways to get a Disney resort experience, including spending hours by the pool, checking out the lobbies and restaurants at hotels, and heading to the Disney Springs shopping and entertainment center. Keep reading for our suggestions on free stuff to do at Disney World.

disneyland reopening

Tips to save money at Disneyland

Stay at a Good Neighbor hotel

There are only three Disney-owned hotels within Disneyland – the Grand Californian, the Disneyland Hotel, and Paradise Pier. While the hotels are fantastic and convenient, they are also expensive. For example, rates at the Grand Californian start at $586 a night. Thankfully, there are lots of affordable options surrounding the park. Read our roundup of nearby hotels ranging from the budget-friendly Hampton Inn & Suites to the new JW Marriott, which, even though it is a four-star property, is about half the price of the Grand Californian or the Disneyland Hotel.

Splurge on the MaxPass (when it’s back)

While the MaxPass program is currently on hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions, the MaxPass is well worth the extra $20 per ticket and will enhance the experience by saving you time. The MaxPass allows you to make FastPass selections from your phone and eliminates the need to trek over to the attraction to manually pick up a FastPass from a kiosk. A FastPass, for those unfamiliar, allows you to join a much shorter line for a ride (the feature is also paused).

Get the Disney experience for free

Admission to Disney’s parks is expensive, but there are several fun attractions you can check out that don’t cost a penny. They add to the overall Disney vacation experience while keeping the cost down. (Some of these places and activities may be temporarily closed or unavailable.)

Walt Disney World

Disneyland

Consider waiting until next year

While Disneyland and Walt Disney World are open for business, to get the most bang for your buck, it might be best to wait. There’s a case for going now: reservations are required and capacity is controlled to promote distancing, so it’s less crowded than normal. But parades, fireworks, most live entertainment, the ease of the FastPass system, and close-up character encounters have yet to return. Dining options are also limited, and some hotels haven’t reopened.

Instead, take this time to plan and save up for the trip. When all of the parks’ amenities return, you and your family will have a more memorable experience.

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Disney Plus Premier Access lets subscribers buy new movies like ‘Cruella’ while they’re still playing in theaters

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Emma Stone in “Cruella.”

  • With Premier Access, Disney Plus members can pay $30 to unlock select movies three months early.
  • Cruella” is the latest Premier Access title, and “Black Widow” will be added in July.
  • A Disney Plus subscription costs $8 a month or $80 a year.

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With the release of “Mulan” in September 2020, Disney Plus introduced a new purchase option called “Premier Access.” This feature allows subscribers to pay a $30 one-time fee in order to watch a movie early before it’s released to all Disney Plus members.

Raya and the Last Dragon” was the second Premier Access title, and “Cruella” is the latest to debut on the streaming service.

Below, we’ve detailed everything you need to know about Premier Access, including how it works, how much it costs, and how long the option will be available.

What is Disney Plus Premier Access?

Disney Plus Premier Access is a purchase option for Disney Plus subscribers, enabling members to pay an extra $30 one-time fee to gain early streaming access to a movie that’s still playing in theaters. Once purchased, Disney Plus members can continue to stream or download a Premier Access movie for as long as they remain a subscriber.

Premier Access debuted with the release of “Mulan” on September 4, 2020. “Raya and the Last Dragon” followed on March 5, 2021, and “Cruella” became the third Premier Access title on May 28, 2021.

You can think of Premier Access as a way to buy a virtual ticket to a brand-new Disney movie to watch at home instead of a theater. And, unlike a one-time theater viewing, you get to watch as many times as you like as long as you stay a Disney Plus subscriber.

That said, it’s important to note that Premier Access movies eventually become available to all Disney Plus subscribers without an extra fee. As such, Premier Access is best for people who like to watch new films as soon as they come out. If you don’t mind waiting a couple months, you can simply hold out for the wide release and save a lot of money.

How much does Disney Plus Premier Access cost?

The Disney Plus Premier Access fee is $30 in the US. In order to buy a Premier Access movie, you also need to have a Disney Plus subscription, which costs $8 a month or $80 a year.

Disney Plus is also available as part of a bundle with Hulu Basic and ESPN+ for $14 a month. That’s about $6 less per month than you’d pay if you subscribed to all of those services without the bundle.

How long does the Disney Plus Premier Access window last?

The Premier Access windows for “Mulan” and “Raya and the Last Dragon” were both three months. “Cruella” is also set to have a three-month window, beginning on May 28 and lasting through August 27.

This three-month period is similar to the release window that studios typically use for theatrical movie premieres before they’re allowed to debut on home video. After the 90 days, Premier Access titles become available to all Disney Plus subscribers.

What other movies will be available for Disney Plus Premier Access?

Disney Plus has announced plans to release “Black Widow” and “Jungle Cruise” through Premier Access. Both movies will be available to stream on the same day they’re released in theaters.

“Black Widow” will be available with Premier Access on July 9. “Jungle Cruise” will follow on July 30.

Can you buy or rent Premier Access movies on other services?

Though “Mulan” and “Raya and the Last Dragon” debuted exclusively as Disney Plus Premier Access titles, their exclusivity periods were only temporary. Both movies became available to buy on other streaming platforms without a Disney Plus subscription around one month after they premiered.

It’s currently unknown if “Cruella” will remain exclusive to Disney Plus or if it will get a similar expanded release after a limited exclusivity window.

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Netflix apparently wants to break into the video game business. Experts say that’s a bad idea.

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Netflix co-CEOs Reed Hastings, left, and Ted Sarandos, right.

  • Netflix is reportedly fishing around for a major video game business executive to hire.
  • The company intends to expand its gaming efforts – to break into the lucrative video game industry.
  • That initiative is likely to fail, given the history of tech and entertainment companies in gaming.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

With over 200 million paid subscribers worldwide, Netflix is an absolute behemoth.

The streaming entertainment giant has successfully transitioned from a scrappy startup paying to license its content to a major player in Hollywood, splashing out tens of millions of dollars on its own productions.

So, what’s next for Netflix? The answer to that question, at least in part, appears to be video games.

Netflix is fishing around for a gaming executive to help it expand out its gaming initiative, according to a recent report in The Information. While the company has acknowledged an interest in interactive entertainment, it has yet to decide what this will mean in practice. Licensing content from existing game makers? Making its own games? And how will you actually play those games?

While we still don’t know much about Netflix’s plans, one thing is clear right now: Netflix getting involved in gaming is almost certain to fail.

“I do think they will try, and do think they will fail,” Wedbush managing director Michael Pachter told Insider. “It’s hard to make games.”

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“Black Mirror: Bandersnatch” is an “interactive movie” on Netflix that is more choose-your-own-adventure than video game.

Indeed, the video game industry is a very risky business, and even entrenched studios with top-tier talent and years of experience regularly go under. “We have the failures of THQ, Midway, Acclaim, 3DO, BAM, Eidos, Atari, Infogrames, Interplay, and probably a few others to illustrate how hard it is,” Pachter said. “I don’t see how Netflix could possibly think it can develop and sell games.”

Joost van Dreunen, author of “One Up: Creativity, Competition, and the Global Business of Video Games,” echoed Pachter’s skepticism.

“Big tech sucks at games,” he told Insider.

He pointed to Google’s Stadia, Amazon’s Luna, and Facebook’s scattershot gaming efforts across the last decade as prime examples of how major tech companies routinely fail at gaming initiatives.

Google and Amazon and Facebook have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into gaming across the last decade, yet none are major players in the video game market. “They look at it in a way that distribution goes before the content,” Van Dreunen said, “and that’s the wrong way around.”

Instead of creating video games and building beloved brands, they’ve largely focused on the mechanics of how you buy and access those games: Google’s Stadia platform, a Netflix-like video game streaming service, is a prime example.

Less than two years after Google announced a major game development initiative led by “Assassin’s Creed” creator Jade Raymond, and less than one year after outright buying a video game studio, the company folded those efforts this past February.

What’s Google focusing on for its big gaming service rather than making games for it?

An “increased focus on using our technology platform for industry partners,” Google Stadia Vice President Phil Harrison said in a blog post – a pretty huge step back from the splashy announcement of Stadia back in 2019, which promised a new digital service that would compete against the likes of Nintendo, Sony’s PlayStation, and Microsoft’s Xbox.

FILE PHOTO: Google vice president and general manager Phil Harrison speaks during a Google keynote address announcing a new video gaming streaming service named Stadia that attempts to capitalize on the company's cloud technology and global network of data centers, at the Gaming Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
Google VP Phil Harrison speaks during a Google keynote address announcing Google Stadia at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, March 2019.

For Netflix, which has the benefit of owning a beloved intellectual property like “Stranger Things” that could lend itself to games, another problem exists.

“Building games from owned IP is also super hard,” Pachter said. “Disney has failed at least three times trying to do so, and its IP is much stronger than Netflix.”

In recent years, Disney’s biggest properties – from Marvel characters to the “Star Wars” franchise – have found success in gaming by Disney largely handing over creative control to major video game companies.

Examples include 2018’s “Marvel’s Spider-Man” and 2019’s “Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order.” The former, a PlayStation 4 exclusive game made by Insomniac Games, sold over 20 million copies. The latter, a multiplatform “Star Wars” game with original characters and story, sold over 10 million copies.

At approximately $60 apiece, each game has grossed well over $1 billion in sales.

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2018’s “Marvel’s Spider-Man” for the PlayStation 4.

Netflix could follow a similar model and potentially find success.

The company could build a wildly successful game streaming service that seamlessly leverages its existing streaming service. It could spend years, and hundreds of millions of dollars, building its IP into major game franchises.

Or it could buy its way in, splashing out billions of dollars on a major game publisher like EA or Ubisoft – akin to Amazon’s recent purchase of MGM Studios, but for gaming. That would require a major, long-term institutional buy-in from Netflix, in addition to major financial investments.

“You need to have the stomach,” Van Dreunen said. “Like when you look at Google and Amazon – they just don’t have internally the numbers or the understanding of the space to say, ‘Yeah, you know what we should do? Spend $10 billion to really break in.'”

For its part, Netflix hasn’t detailed its gaming plans just yet – but the company is acknowledging the reported interest in a larger gaming investment in the future.

“Our members value the variety and quality of our content,” the company said in a statement. “Members also enjoy engaging more directly with stories they love – through interactive shows like ‘Bandersnatch’ and ‘You v. Wild,’ or games based on ‘Stranger Things,’ ‘La Casa de Papel’ and ‘To All the Boys.’ So we’re excited to do more with interactive entertainment.”

Got a tip? Contact Insider senior correspondent Ben Gilbert via email (bgilbert@insider.com), or Twitter DM (@realbengilbert). We can keep sources anonymous. Use a non-work device to reach out. PR pitches by email only, please.

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Disney’s ‘Cruella’ marks the company’s third PG-13 release this year as the company moves away from G and PG-rated films

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Emma Stone in “Cruella.”

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Today, Disney’s live-action “Cruella” arrives in theaters and on Disney+. But if you’re looking forward to cute puppies, you might be surprised by this dark origin story of the iconic villain. While the 1996 version of “101 Dalmatians” was rated G, this retelling is rated PG-13.

Nobody wants a G. “Cruella” is Disney’s third PG-13 release in a year, according to the WSJ. And if family-friendly Disney is leaning into “extended violence and smoking,” you know the rest of the industry is trending that direction…and has been for a while. By the 2000s, PG-13 movies were raking in most of the box office revenue.

  • Between 2010-2019, PG-13 movies grossed $54.6 billion. In the same time span, PG movies earned $24.3 billion; R movies, $26.5 billion; and G movies, $2.7 billion, according to Comscore.

Bottom line: PG-13 has become the sweet spot for Disney to appeal to a broader audience interested in violent Marvel films, live-action remakes of its classics, and new projects like “Hamilton.”

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The new Florida law that fines tech platforms for removing politicians has a huge loophole for companies that own theme parks in the state

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis

  • Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a new law targeting big social-media companies.
  • Private citizens will be able to sue tech platforms for up to $100,000 if they’ve been treated unfairly.
  • The rules protecting free speech do not apply to companies that own theme parks in the state.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A specific exemption included in a new law signed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to draw fire from critics including the Internet Association, an industry group representing 40 of the world’s leading internet companies.

The legislation, SB 7072, was signed by DeSantis on Monday and bills itself as a way to hold tech companies accountable and protect individuals’ ability to post, share, and access content on social media.

The law forces social-media companies to host all candidates for political office in the state, regardless of what they say, or face fines of up to $250,000 per day. In addition, private Florida citizens who feel they have been unfairly treated by the big tech companies will be able to sue the platforms for up to $100,000.

“Many in our state have experienced censorship and other tyrannical behavior firsthand in Cuba and Venezuela,” DeSantis said in a statement. “If Big Tech censors enforce rules inconsistently, to discriminate in favor of the dominant Silicon Valley ideology, they will now be held accountable.”

But there’s a massive loophole written into the law that exempts companies that own theme parks in the state.

“Social media,” as defined by the bill, “does not include any information service, system, Internet search engine, or access software provider operated by a company that owns and operates a theme park or entertainment complex.”

In other words, the new law won’t apply to Disney, which operates Disney World in Florida, and Comcast, which operates Universal Studios. And other companies like Facebook and Twitter could avoid liability simply by opening – or simply buying – an amusement park in Florida.

Indeed, one Democratic lawmaker asked that very question in the debate over the bill back in April.

“If Facebook buys a theme park, does that prevent us from being able to regulate what happens on Facebook?” asked Rep. Andrew Learned, according to NBC Miami.

“If they bought a theme park and named it Zuckerland and he met the definition of a theme park under Florida statute, then yes,” Republican Rep. Blaise Ingoglia replied.

According to the statute, Zuckerland would need to have at least “25 contiguous acres” and serve at least 1 million visitors per year to be legally allowed to ignore the content rules on Facebook.

The bill also requires social-media companies to inform users of what types of content are allowed on their platforms – like the terms of service and acceptable use policies that users already must agree to in order to access their accounts.

Companies would be further required to give notice when changing their policies, like those emails users already get that say “We’re updating our policies.”

If a news story is clearly untrue, but just so happens to come from a news outlet, social platforms would be prohibited from taking steps to make sure the fake news doesn’t go viral, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“We the people are standing up to tech totalitarianism with the signing of Florida’s Big Tech Bill,” DeSantis said on Twitter.

Another law in Texas, Senate Bill 12, echoes much of the language from the Florida legislation, calling for “protection from censorship or discriminatory enforcement of content regulations.”

Some Republicans, including former President Donald Trump, have claimed that platforms like Facebook and Twitter censor right-wing voices, but research shows conservative content dominates online platforms.

Florida’s SB 7072 is “more about politics than prevention, as the bill arbitrarily exempts major mass media corporations as long as they are also in the theme park business,” said the Internet Association’s senior vice president of state government affairs, Robert Callahan, in a statement on Monday.

In addition, both the Florida and Texas rules apply only to platforms with more than 100 million users. Parler, a favorite app of conservatives, has just a fraction of that, and a Texas lawmaker’s proposal to have the law apply to platforms with 25 million users was defeated.

“This type of legislation would make children and other vulnerable communities less safe by making it harder for us to remove content like pornography, hate speech, bullying, self-harm images and sexualized photos of minors,” said Facebook’s Global Head of Safety Antigone Davis, in a statement to the Austin Business Journal.

Florida’s measure goes into effect on July 1, 2021.

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Disneyland and other California theme parks will return to full capacity in June – here’s what is changing

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  • On Friday, Governor Gavin Newsom announced California would fully reopen on June 15.
  • Theme parks, sporting events, and concerts will be able to return to 100% capacity.
  • The state health department added some regulations on vaccinations records and masking for theme parks.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

California theme parks, including Disneyland and Universal Studios Hollywood, will return to full capacity on June 15.

The announcement was made on Friday as a part of Governor Gavin Newsom’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy. The current 15% to 35% capacity limits will lift at the same time that the entire state fully reopens.

The parks will also no longer be required to maintain physical-distancing requirements on the sites.

The California Health Department added special regulations for venues such as theme parks, concerts, and sports arenas that could be classified as “mega-events” – indoor events with more than 5,000 people, and outdoor ones with over 10,000. The venues are required to provide masks for all customers, though attendees will not be required to wear them if they have been fully vaccinated.

Customers planning on attending indoor venues must either be able to verify that they are fully vaccinated or take a COVID-19 test with a negative result 72 hours prior to entering the venue. They are expected to bring their test results or send them prior to arriving at the event.

For outdoor events, the agency recommends that the venues require a vaccination record or COVID-19 test, but will not enforce it. If an individual at an outdoor event cannot verify that they have been vaccinated, it is recommended that the venue asks the individual to wear a mask.

The California Health Department said the new mandates will run through October 1, but will be reassessed on September 1.

Disneyland reopened for the first time since the pandemic started on April 30 at 25% capacity. Since then, fans have flocked to the theme park.

Fully reopening the park will allow Disney to begin recouping from the impact of the pandemic on one of its biggest revenue streams. Last year, the media giant lost nearly $5 billion due to park closures.

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