My Favorite Thrill Rides at Walt Disney World

Let’s face it Walt Disney World isn’t really known for it’s heart stopping, scream-worthy attractions.

So if you are a sky diving, roller coaster loving, adrenaline junkie then Walt Disney World may not be the place for you to visit. But, for me it is perfect!

I am definitely much more adventurous now then when I was a child but I am still somewhat of a chicken. I do love a good roller coaster (as long as the drops aren’t too big) but I still can’t seem to get myself on the Tower of Terror or Summit Plummet.

So, here is my list of thrilling (yet relatively tame) attractions at Walt Disney World.

1) Expedition Everest – Legend of the Forbidden Mountain

Expedition Everest had already been open for nine years before I was finally able to board that train in the Himalayas.

I was a tiny bit nervous as we boarded since I had never been on this type of coaster before. But, I had heard home amazing the details and story telling were throughout so I knew that I had to give it a shot.

Let me tell you, I was not disappointed.

Expedition Everest is one of the best roller coasters I have ever been on. The views that you get of the rest of Animal Kingdom alone are worth the wait in line, in my opinion.

This ride is just thrilling enough for my tastes as riders are sent through unexpected twists and turns… and couple of surprises along the way.

No automatic alt text available.

 

2)  Space Mountain:

I can still remember being terrified of Space Mountain as a child.  For most people this is a pretty tame, mid-level roller coaster but what throws it up a level for me is that the entire thing is in the dark. I also love the soundtrack for Space Mountain!

3) Splash Mountain: 

This ride in Frontierland features the characters and songs from a classic 1946 Disney film Song of the South. While I do love Splash Mountain I have to admit that I do still get butterflies as the wooden log that I am floating in begins to climb that final hill with the vultures circling up ahead and there is nothing quit like reaching the crest of the hill and all you see if the top of Cinderella Castle. Splash Mountain will take you to your laughing place with a 5-story drop into the briar patch. I don’t know what it is, but I love water rides and don’t mind getting wet at all (especially in that Florida heat).

Image may contain: sky, cloud and outdoor

4) Big Thunder Mountain Railroad:

This is arguably my favorite ride in all of Walt Disney World. I don’t know if it is the desert landscape, the haunted town or the fact that you are speeding through a gold-mining town on a runaway mine train but I LOVE Big Thunder Mountain Railroad.

Image result for thunder mountain disney world

5) Test Track:
I still remember when Test Track opened and the first time that I stood in the queue with the cars racing passed over heard. I was so scared to get on but instantly fell in love after just one ride. I also love the memories that I have of riding Test Track with my younger brothers. Although, the attraction was renovated in recent years and I much prefer the original version.

No automatic alt text available.

 

7) Mission: SPACE:
Ever been to space? Me neither. But, if you ride Mission: SPACE  you’ll get a pretty darn authentic experience. Epcot’s Mission: SPACE was designed by NASA for Walt Disney World back in 2003. The attraction takes guests on a simulated “mission to Mars.”

I remember how scared I was to get on this ride after I heard that NASA themselves had designed it and that actual astronauts had tested it out and had said that the ride was as close to the true experience of blasting into space that anyone could get without actually doing it.

But, there was no reason for me to be scared because as soon as my cousins and I got off we were begging to ride again.

 

Advertisements

Beauty of Disney in Photogrpahy- Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion

Although I do prefer the actual attraction at Walt Disney World, I have to say that I have a hard time deciding which ride exterior I prefer.

I love the New Orleans Square antebellum manor look of Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. But there is just something about the grandeur and sometimes spooky look of the Haunted Mansion in the Magic Kingdom.

But, what I enjoy most about the Disneyland version is that you are able to walk right up the front and onto the veranda of the mansion to enter the queue whereas at Walt Disney World you are just sort of walking past it and the tarp that covers the queue makes it difficult to see the exterior of the mansion as you move closer.

 

If you could live in either of the mansions which would you choose, the Antebellum style of the mansion in Disneyland or the Gothic Revival Style of the mansion in Walt Disney World?

The Secret Behind the Incredibles Super Powers

The world has been waiting nearly fourteen years for the release of the Incredibles 2 and in my opinion the sequel did not disappoint.

I found the movie to be funny, dramatic and a great super hero film. I really enjoyed that the film essentially picked up where the last one ended so that we were ale to join the Carr family right back where we left them.

During a recent press event the writer/director of the Incredibles Brad Bird revealed that the powers that he gave each of the Carr family members were not simply for story’s sake; each super power was intentional and had precise reasoning behind it.

Brad Bird didn’t just give Mr. Incredible super-strength on a whim, or Violet invisibility because he thought that they were fun super powers. When deciding the super powers that each of his characters would have Brad looked at the typical roles that each family member plays within a nuclear family. He drew inspiration from the stereotypes that family members typically have within their families and used these to create unique and intricate character dynamics to tell this family’s story.

When asked about how he created each of the family members Brad said ” I picked the powers based on who they were in the family. And so men are always expected to be strong, so I had Bob have super strength. Women, mothers are always pulled in a million different directions, so I had her be elastic. Teenagers are insecure and defensive, so I had Violet have force fields and invisibility. Ten-year-olds are energy balls that can’t be stopped. And babies are unknown, maybe they have no powers, maybe they have all the powers, we don’t know.”

“So, that’s what Jack-Jack was, he was seemingly the first normal one in the family and then at the end of Incredibles you find out that he’s the wild card, and that he’s sort of the Swiss army knife of powers. And that to me reminds me of the way babies can grasp languages really easily and adopt them easily.”

 

Have you flown into the movie theaters to see Incredibles 2 yet?

 

 

A Stroll Through The French Quarter

Do any of you guys have a  bucket list of hotels? I do.

It has always been a goal dream of mine to stay at the three resorts on the monorail loop; the Grand Floridian, the Polynesian, and the Contemporary.

I think that the Grand Floridian is gorgeous in all of it’s elegance and splendor and definitely seems like the most luxurious choice.

The Polynesian always felt like the most relaxing with it’s South Pacific, beachy, Hawaiian vibes.

But, for me it has always been about the Contemporary.

It’s hard to put into words exactly what it is that draws me to the Contemporary. But, I think that it could be the memories that I have from being there as a child.

I remember riding in the front of the monorail (sorry, this is no longer allowed) with my younger brothers, pretending that I was the one driving the monorail and thinking how cool it was that the monorail drove right through the center of the hotel.

I remember playing in the arcade with my cousins Shannon, Nicole and Vanessa.

I remember celebrating birthdays at Chef Mickey’s.

 

But, as much as I love the Contemporary and as much as I want to stay on the monorail loop, I really really want to stay at the Port Orleans- French Quarter.

I have always wanted to visit New Orleans, and while I still hope to make it there someday, I think that the Port Orleans in Disney World may be as close as I get.

I love the tree and lamp-post lined streets and the colorful buildings. This property is full of little hideaway corners and courtyards, so many nooks and cranny’s to explore. . This property always reminds me of both versions of the Haunted Mansion; the brick posts and iron wrought fences remind me of the grandeur and charm of the Florida version while the balconies and architecture remind me of the beauty of the California version of the attraction.

This property has such intricate detail and is just full of color. I love it’s juxtaposition of detail yet simplicity.

While I have obviously not yet stayedon property I have heard from many others that this resort tends to be much quieter, relaxed and slow paced then others and I love the idea of being in such a serene setting in the middle of a busy, crowded theme park.

 

Have you stayed at the Port Orleans: French Quarter? What did you like or dislike about it?

 

Beauty of Disney in Photography- Late Night Park

Check out this beautiful photograph taken by DisneyTouristBlog.com. While I have never had the pleasure of being in a Disney park when it is empty like this, I don’t think that there could be anything more magical.

Thank’s to Early Magic Hours and breakfast reservations I have been able to be in the park first thing in the morning when there are very few people around. But,  I think that there would be something so peaceful and magical about being in the park at night, after closing, with no one around.

I think the Walt Disney Company is missing out on a HUGE opportunity here. I think that they would get a ton of interest if they offered tours of the Magic Kingdom or any park at night after closing. Disney, you’re welcome for the idea!

 

If you could be in the park after dark with no one else around, what would you do?

The Art Of Mary Blair

Any Disney fan will recognize the name Mary Blair. But, for those of you who don’t, today we will be talking about her art and her legacy with the Walt Disney Company.

Mary Blair was one of the most influential concept artists of her time. It was because of her artwork that the Disney Studios was finally able to produce the movie Alice in Wonderland. Walt Disney had wanted to do Alice in Wonderland for many years. He had actually wanted it to be the film that was released prior to Snow White, but because of issues with the concepts and scripts they postponed. It wasn’t until they joined with Blair that they finally had a breakthrough. It was through Blair’s cartoon style and bizarre drawings that they were finally able to bring Alice’s world to life.

She is also known for her work on Peter Pan, Cinderella, the Three Caballeros, and she also worked briefly on Dumbo, Fantasia, and also Lady and the Tramp.

Without Mary Blair many of our favorite classic films would not have existed. I can tell you that Peter Pan is my favorite Disney movie and seeing some of the concept drawings that she did for it, is just magical.

Blair’s contributions to the Disney company are legendary and her art has made our world so much brighter. Just take a look at her beautiful art and design for It’s A Small World.

I know that there are some people who are not huge fans of the Its A Small World attraction but personally it has always been one of my favorites. I especially love the Disneyland version that features some of our favorite and most popular Disney characters such as Ariel and Mulan.

But perhaps the most awe inspiring of Mary Blair’s pieces is the mural that she created that now sits in the Grand Canyon Concourse of the Contemporary Resort in Walt Disney World.

Mary Blair was a visionary, combining her love of abstract art with vibrant color and shapes. Disney would not be what it is today without her.

 

Which is Mary Blair’s work is your favorite?

 

 

 

Dining Reservations in Walt Disney World

Anyone who has any experience planning a vacation to any Disney park knows that half the battle is in the planning itself. Planning is so important that after booking your reservation and park tickets Disney will send out a list of important dates for you to remember; such as, when you are able to begin making your dining reservations and more importantly when you can begin to book your Fast Passes (but we will talk about the latter at another time).

For many people, a visit to a Disney park is not so much about the attractions but more about the food. In fact, to some people, dining in Walt Disney is an attraction all in itself. People take their food pretty seriously guys!

So today we are going to talk about the most difficult popular dining reservations in Walt Disney World.

The popularity of restaurants is always changing and fluxuating depending on time of year, new restaurants opening and any number of other factors. I am sure that this list will change as they continue to bring new dining experiences to Disney Springs. But, based on my own experience, shared information from other Disney blogs, groups and friends this list is accurate for the moment.

Be Our Guest Restaurant

I have seen many a Facebook post lamenting the difficulty of getting an ADR (advanced dining reservation) for Be Our Guest. But, in my own experience, I have not found this to be the case (at least not for breakfast reservations).

I have been able to succesfully make breakfast reservations twice; once for our honeymoon in 2015 and again last week for our trip in November.

Guests who are staying at a Disney resort are able to make dining reservations up to 180 days before they arrive. Our 180 day mark was on the 19th of May. Today is May 30th and as an experiment, I attempted to book us a dinner or lunch reservation for Be Our Guest and there were no reservation times available.

So while I don’t think that getting the reservation is as difficult as people make it out to be, I do think that it is important to do it right at the 180 day mark.

Also, it was announced earlier this year, that Be Our Guest will be transitioning to a Signature Prix-Fixe dinner menu as of July 27th.

So, I definitely think that this will impact dinner reservations going forward.

While we have not been to BOG for lunch or dinner, based on reviews and information from other blogs, I think that a breakfast reservation is the best option for this dining location. These are my reasons why:

I. Cronut- Enough said

II. Early enterance to the park: If you are able to score a dining reservation for 8:00 or 8:30am you will most likely be able to enter the park before the park officially opens. What we have found is that this allows you time to eat and enjoy BOG and finish right around the time the park officially opens and beat the crowds a little bit. We like to finish our breakfast and head straight to Seven Dwarves Mine Train before there is a chance for a line to form.

III. Disney Dining Plan: BOG is considered a table-service restaurant for lunch and dinner. BUT! For breakfast it is a quick-service location! So you can eat a $20+ meal as part of your quick service dining plan and not have to pay extra.

 

‘Ohana

I was lucky enough to dine at ‘Ohana a few times as a kid and man was it good!

Over the years ‘Ohana, located inside the Polynesian resort, has become increasingly popular for both breakfast and dinner. If you are looking for a good character breakfast then ‘Ohana is a great place to start. But, by far one of the best things about this restaurant is it’s wall of windows that affords you a perfect view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks if you are lucky enough to score a table near a window.

 

Victoria & Albert’s

My pocket book has not been full enough for me to visit this dining location yet, but I will make it there someday.

I can tell you that I have heard and seen (thanks to the Youtube video linked below) that it is absolutely amazing and worth every penny.

If you want to see what Victoria and Albert’s is like, check out my friend Adam Hattan’s video below:

 

California Grill

This is another restaurant on Disney property that will cost you a pretty penny and while I have not made it there myself I do know that you will not find a better place to spend those pennies.

Not only have I heard that they have amazing food but I can pretty much guarantee you that you will not find better views of Bay Lake or the Magic Kingdom, since California Grill is located on the top floor of the Contemporary.

Check out the video below for a quick tour of California Grill from Disney expert Lou Mongello:

 

To top off this list is pretty much any of the new restaurant’s in Disney Springs:

  • BOAThouse
  • Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’
  • The Edison
  • Enzo’s Hideaway
  • Jock Linsey’s Hangar Bar
  • Maria & Enzo’s
  • Morimoto Asia
  • Paddlefish

 

What are the first reservation’s you always try to book?

My Disney Packing List

While I am still months away from packing my bags and jetting off to Walt Disney World, I always start my planning early so that I can begin to gather any special items that I may need.

I’ve realized over the years that no matter what lists I create or how early I start planning and organizing I always forget something.

So this time, in order to save myself the headache and extra cash, I decided to create my own Walt Disney World packing list.

So… I started off creating my own list until I realized that I was just googling other people’s lists to find new ideas. And I realized that there are hundreds of Disney packing lists out there.

So instead of reinventing the wheel, I am just going to share with you the best one that I have found.

The Essential Walt Disney World Packing List is a great resource for your vacation to the Walt Disney World Resort. This checklist includes all the essential items you need to pack for your Disney vacation. #DisneySide #DisneySMMC #DisneySMMoms

 

This list includes not only the essentials but also the extra’s; items that I would never have thought of. While I can’t say that I would necessarily bring ALL of this, I do think that it is pretty exhaustive (and a wee bit repetitive) and covers just about everything.

Again, I did not create this list myself. You can find the original post/author at that link below.

http://thefarmgirlgabs.com/the-essential-walt-disney-world-packing-list/

 

Is there anything not on this list that you always make sure to bring on your trip?

 

8 Must Eat Snacks From Around Walt Disney World

One of the opinions that I hear the most from people when it comes to a Disney vacation is that the food is “theme park food” and that it is expensive.

This couldn’t be further from the truth…if you know where to look. Yes, there are dining establishments that offer the typical pizza, hot dogs and chicken tenders; but some people enjoy that type of food.

For those of us who are a bit more adventurous there is a plethora of food options to choose from; there is everything from Dole whips to lobster burgers and barbecue…. there is literally something for everyone, there are thousands of options.

Today we will be taking a look at 8 of my favorite snacks from around Walt Disney World.

 

I. Nutella Waffle with Fresh Fruit

This delectable creation is offered inside the Magic Kingdom at the Sleepy Hallow Inn. Nutella+Freshly Made Waffle+Fresh Fruit= How could this possibly get any more perfect?

The cost of the Nutella Waffle is $8.29 and while this location does not accept the Disney Dining Plan, the waffles offered at the Sleepy Hallow Inn are huge and easily shareable.

Image result for nutella waffle disney

 

II.  Dole Whip Float

Now on to my favorite Disney treat… the Dole Whip Float.

Typically I enjoy pineapple but I would not say that it is my favorite thing in the world. But, when it comes to Dole Whips, it breaks all rules. Tangy, sweet and refreshing; there is nothing better then beating the Florida heat by getting yourself a Dole Whip from Aloha Isle and enjoying it in the air-conditioned show building of the Enchanted Tiki Room.

And the best part is that Aloha Isle accepts the Disney Dining Plan which means that you can get the Dole Whip Float as a Snack Credit!

If  you are not on the DDP then this deliciousness will cost you about $5.49. But, again this treat is shareable!

 

Three cups filled with soft-serve Dole Whip at Aloha Isle in Magic Kingdom park

 

III. LeFou’s Brew

Okay, full disclosure, I haven’t actually tried LeFou’s Brew yet. But! It is on my list of Must-Have’s for our trip in November.

I LOVE apple juice, which is why this treat is perfect for me! LeFou’s Brew is Frozen Apple Juice with a hint of Toasted Marshmallow and is topped with All-Natural Passion Fruit-Mango Foam. (I’ll just be over here in the corner drooling away)

LeFou’s Brew is available in the amazingly themed Gaston’s Tavern right next door to Beast’s Castle and Be Our Guest restaurant.

This treat seems like the perfect indulgence while waiting in line for a Journey with the Little Mermaid.

Image result for LeFou’s Brew

 

IV.  Churro

This one makes the list because it is my husband’s favorite. He can easily have two or three (or more) churro’s a day! (It’s a good thing they are considered snack credits on our DDP).

Fried, crunchy,chewy dough sprinkled with sugar and cinammon, what’s not to love?

These beauties can be found at snack carts throughout the parks.

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

 

V. Mickey Ice Cream Bar

If you didn’t have a Mickey Bar, did you really go to Disney?

These frozen treats are just quintesential, classic Disney. How could you not get one?

Also, not only are Mickey Bars considered a snack credit but you can also order them from room service on-board the Disney cruise ships (at no extra cost)!

No automatic alt text available.

 

VI. Turkey Leg

Turkey Leg’s were a staple of my childhood. But, I have to admit that I don’t enjoy them as much now as an adult as I did back then. Maybe it’s because we always had someone to pull the meat off for us and essentially do all the work. (Thanks Ralph)

Regardless, not only are turkey legs smokey, tasty and delicious but they are also HUGE! If you are looking for a cheap and easy way to feed your whole family then turkey legs are the way to go. While they do cost $10-$12, they are definitely large enough to share between a 4-5 person family (maybe more depending on how much your littles eat).

Two succulent turkey legs sits on a plate

 

VII. Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup

This is another snack that I have yet to try but I have heard that it is amazing. As the name suggests you can find it in the Canadian pavilion at EPCOT.

Originally you could only get this delicacy if you were dining at the steakhouse Le Cellier but thankfully the cheese soup gods  Disney exec’s heard their guests call of love for the cheese soup and decided to offer it at the Refreshment Port (for a snack credit).

Image result for cheese soup canada epcot

 

VIII. Ramen

While I have had Ramen, I have yet to have it in Walt Disney World. BUT! I heard from some friends that not only does Disney offer Ramen as a dining option but it’s actually a snack credit! You can find this perfect quick meal at Katsura Grill in the Japanese pavilion.

Bowl of udon noodles topped with 2 pieces of tempura shrimp

 

So there you have it! 8 of my favorite snacks from around the world  Disney World. I hope you enjoyed this post.

And share down below what some of your favorites are.

 

 

References

*Disclaimer- Some of the great photos above are mine and some I borrowed from other Disnerds.

https://www.easywdw.com/easy/epcot/canada/

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/epcot/katsura-grill/

https://disneyland.disney.go.com/dining/turkey-legs/

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/magic-kingdom/aloha-isle/

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/magic-kingdom/gastons-tavern/

Wishes! A Magical Gathering of Disney Dreams

I know, I know… Wishes is no more and the fantastic Happily Ever After has taken it’s place.

But, I won’t be posting about HEA anytime soon because I haven’t actually seen it yet. Living on the opposite side of the country means that I only get to go “home” every few years. The last time that I was in Disney World was in May 2015 and I am so thankful that I was able to see Wishes one last time.

How could anybody not love Wishes?! This night time fire works show included projections, Disney music, fireworks and Tinker Bell flying over the Magic Kingdom. For me there was nothing better then standing on Main Street U.S.A or in the Hub watching the beautiful lights streaming across the nights sky with thousands of people all around singing along to your favorite Disney songs. Those are the moments that you want to just bottle up and hold onto forever; those moments are why I love Disney so much.

As a fellow blogger said, “When those trails of light go shooting up into the sky, all your silent prayers and hopes seem to shoot up to heaven along with them.”

Wishes played inside the Magic Kingdom for nearly 14 years from October 9, 2003 to May 11, 2017. During that time I probably saw Wishes 6-7 times and I can tell you that it was an awe-inspiring, life changing experience each and every time. These are the things that dreams are made of. (Yes, I did just reference the Lizzie McGuire movie).

Image result for this is what dreams are made of

Oddly enough, one of the lyrics from the new fireworks show Happily Ever After is “spark a dream that we’re meant to follow”; that is exactly what Wishes did for me.

Not to mention that Jordan Fisher is EVERYTHING!

Image result for jordan fisher                                                                                  You’re Welcome.

 

If you ask any person who is Disney obsessed, why they are obsessed, I can guarantee that 90% of them will say that it is the Disney magic.

Now that “magic” may look different for each person but I bet you that part of it is how the magic of Disney erases all of those little worries, all of those regrets or doubts or uncertainty. Even if for just 20 minutes while watching Wishes, the pressures of reality disappear and are replaced with that little bit of pixie dust. That is what makes Disney….Disney.

 

So here in honor of Wishes are some pictures that my husband and I took on our last viewing of this beautiful fireworks display.

No automatic alt text available.     No automatic alt text available.    No automatic alt text available.   No automatic alt text available.

 

 

 

 

A Brief Comparison Of Disneyland and Disney World

I grew up in Florida for the first 15 years of my life and spent more time than I can remember in Walt Disney World. So many of our posts here at the Disnerd are about Walt Disney World. But, I decided that since I now live on the West Coast and frequent Disneyland much more often than I do its eastern sister that it was time to do a post on Disney’s original park.

So today I am going to briefly compare the two parks.

 

First off let me say that comparing Disneyland to Walt Disney World is like trying to compare tomatoes to oranges. While the parks themselves may have a similar lay out and some of the same attractions, planning a trip to Disneyland is completely different than planning one to Walt Disney World.

I. Hotels

The hotel situation in Disneyland is completely different then what Walt Disney World has to offer. In Disneyland there are only 3 hotels that are considered to be on Disneyland property, while Disney World has 30+ hotels and resorts to choose from.

Also, staying “on property” in Disneyland will cost much more than what you could pay to stay  “on property” in Disney World.

The least expensive hotel in Disneyland is Paradise Pier which will cost you about $269 per night (depending on the time of year and how in demand the rooms are) while you can stay at the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds in Disney World for only about $45 per night and one of the All-Star Resorts typically costs around $130-$147 per night.

But, to be fair, the reason for this huge difference in price is that Disneyland does not have a Value Resort option the way that Disney World does; all of the hotels in Disneyland are considered Moderate and Deluxe resorts.

If you have been to Disneyland then you know that unlike Disney World it is right in the middle of Anaheim with hotels and businesses all around it. The norm in Disneyland is to stay in one of its neighboring hotels and walk in. There’s no walking into or onto Disney World property. Well… I suppose you could, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

Lately there has been rumors going around that Disney may be purchasing some of those surrounding hotels to then demolish and/or remodel them to create some value hotels for their property.

 

II. Visit during off-season

While there isn’t really an off-season in Walt Disney World anymore (due to Pandora and the soon-to-be opening Toy Story Land), there is still a slow(er) season in Disneyland.

Disneyland is considered to be a locals park with a majority of its guests being Southern California residents, because of this the best time to visit Disneyland is during the school year on a week day and when there are no events at the Anaheim Convention Center.

All aspects of your trip could potentially be cheaper if you pick the right time to go.

 

*Note- The information above is true as of May 2018 but that could all be changing with the opening of Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge.

III. Time OUTSIDE of the Disney bubble

Related image

I know, I know… why would you want to leave Disney property?

In Walt Disney World I do not suggest this; for most people a trip to Walt Disney World only happens every 3-5 years and there is.so.much.to.do therefore once you are on property you stay on property.

The difference is that unlike Walt Disney World, where there are 30+ resorts, 4 parks, 2 water parks and a wealth of things to do outside of those parks, Disneyland Resort is pretty much the opposite.

While in Florida you do have beaches relatively close by, in Southern California there is no shortage of things to do outside of Disney. There are beaches, parks, museums, 1000’s of restaurants, zoos, Hollywood Boulevard, Rodeo Drive and countless other tourist destinations.

IV. Rental Cars

One similarity that both parks share, in my opinion, is that you do not need a rental car for either location.

First of all the Disneyland hotels and the majority of the hotels surrounding it charge for parking and as we all know Disney World resorts began to do this as well earlier this year. So by not getting a rental car you are automatically saving money.

In Walt Disney World you have the Magical Express (which you can read about here: thedisnerdblog.wordpress.com/2018/05/17/disney-did-you-know-disneys-magical-express/)

While Disneyland does not have this option, some hotels do offer shuttles to and from the airport and you can always book a Super Shuttle.

Also, as I said above the resorts around Disneyland are almost all within walking distance so it is unnecessary to pay $10-$17 per night parking at your hotel and then another $20 to park in Disneyland.

 

V. SKIP THE PARK HOPPER

This is pretty much my opinion no matter which Disney resort you are at. I just believe that people already rush through the parks too much as it is and that there is no reason to rush from one park to the next in one day.

Each park has so much to see and do that if people would just slow down and take the time to actually take in their surroundings, take note of all of the detail and story that the Disney Imagineers work so hard on, that they would see that you need at least one full day for each park.

A trip to a Disney park does not have to be about rushing from one attraction to the next and trying to do everything.

 

YOUR THOUGHTS

So what do you think of these comparisons? Do you agree or disagree? Which park do you prefer to visit?

 

 

 

Halloween In California and Mickey’s Halloween Party in Disneyland Day 2

For our second day in California we headed to California Adventure for a few hours and then over to Disneyland for Mickey’s Halloween Party.

This was our second year attending this Halloween event in Disneyland and I have to tell you that we LOVE it. Now in all honesty, I really think that the reason why we love this event so much is because we don’t have kids rights now; I think that having children to take to the party would completely change the dynamic of it.

For those of you who have never been to one of the Halloween or Christmas parties in the parks this is how they generally work:

  • One of the main reasons why we choose to go to the event is because the tickets are less expensive than a typical one day pass. If you buy only the ticket for the event then the price is only $75-$85 compared to the usual $99-$110. Yes, it isn’t a huge difference but that $14-$35 price difference (per ticket) makes up the cost of parking or a meal or even two meals for just the two of us.
  • If you only buy the ticket for the actual party, the hard ticketed event, then you can enter the park beginning at 3pm.  But the actual Halloween party itself doesn’t begin until 6pm. At 6pm when the event starts the cast members begin to check everyone for wrist bands (which they will give you when you enter the park). If you don’t have a wrist band because you didn’t purchase a ticket for the event then you have to leave the park; the party is a private event, with a separate ticket. This aspect alone works in our advantage because it automatically brings the crowd volume down.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         (Insider Tip: This transition period around 6pm is a great time to hit some of the more popular attractions. There is so much activity with CM’s everywhere and some people who don’t understand what is going on, that the wait times tend to drop for a little while).
  • You could purchase a regular priced ticket for the same day AND a ticket for the event and then you can be in the park in the morning and stay the whole day through to the end of the event. But honestly I wouldn’t suggest that. Disneyland is usually open until 11pm on party nights, so entering the park at 3 allows you 8 hours of park time, which I think is still plenty of time.

The reason why I say that we enjoy the party because we don’t have children is that one of the biggest draws of the party is that kids are able to dress up and go to trick or treat stations throughout the park and the lines for these tend to be very long.

This works for us because it means that the majority of the people in the park are in these trick or treat lines and not in the lines for the attractions. I can tell you that for the past two years my husband and I have been able to do almost every ride without waiting more than 10-15 minutes; even the more popular rides like Indiana Jones and Haunted Mansion Holiday.

Another aspect of the Halloween Party that we really enjoyed the second time around was that for the first time California Adventure was also decorated for Halloween AND the ticket for this years party was considered a park hopper. Therefore, we were able to do both parks for that same $75-$85 priced ticket. We went over to DCA for the first three hours, from 3pm to 6pm, before the actual party started and were able to check out the new decorations, Guardians of the Galaxy -Mission:Breakout!, and ride Soarin’ and Radiator Springs Racers before heading to Disneyland for the Halloween party.

 

We won’t be spending Halloween with Mickey this year because we will be seeing him a month later in November on the east coast, but I still highly recommend this event for everyone to try at least once.

Here are some of our pictures from our time in DCA and at Mickey’s Halloween Party:

Image may contain: flower, tree and outdoor

Pumpkin Display in Downtown Disney

 

Image may contain: plant, outdoor and nature

 

Image may contain: Nick Graziano, smiling, standing, tree and outdoor

Hubby has to have his churro!

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, tree, hat, sky, outdoor, nature and closeup

Image may contain: sky, crowd and outdoor

Oogie Boogie keeping watch over the entrance to Disney’s California Adventure

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, shoes and outdoor

This place wouldn’t exist without these two

Image may contain: one or more people, crowd, sky and outdoor  Image may contain: one or more people, sky and outdoor

Guardian’s of the Galaxy – Mission:Breakout!

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

No automatic alt text available.  Image may contain: sky and outdoor                                                                          Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

Halloween Decorations in Radiator Springs

Image may contain: people standing and outdoor

Image may contain: one or more people and outdoor

 

 

 

Halloween In California and Mickey’s Halloween Party in Disneyland Day 1

I realize that it is now June and Halloween has been over for about 8 months now. But, I just realized that I never posted about our trip to Disneyland in October. So, I figure better late then never!

 

Our trip to California and Disneyland started out pretty eventfully. We set out on our 4 hour drive on Friday October 13th not knowing that there were wild fires raging throughout the state of California.

We began our trip with a drive out to New Port Beach and the closer we got the larger the smoke plume got and eventually we drove right past the flames themselves.

Here are a few pictures from our drive:

Image may contain: sky, cloud, car, mountain and outdoor

We came around a curve and all of a sudden there was smoke in the sky; we                             knew nothing about these wildfires until we were driving passed them.

Image may contain: mountain, cloud, sky, outdoor and nature

You can see the flames beginning to grown over on the right side of the picture

Image may contain: cloud, sky, outdoor and nature

The closer we got the less blue sky we could see

Image may contain: sky, cloud, outdoor and nature

 

Eventually we passed the area where the brave fireman and women were working to keep the flames under control and made it safely to New Port Beach.

Being on the beach after what we had just witnessed was surreal. It was crazy to stand with our toes in the sand, ocean brushing over our feet as it rolled in with the tide, and blue skies ahead while behind us we could still see the smoke rising into the atmosphere.

Image may contain: ocean, sky, outdoor, water and nature         Image may contain: sky, ocean, outdoor, nature and water                                                           Image may contain: 1 person, smiling, ocean, sky, sunglasses, outdoor, nature, water and closeup

 

 

 

Disney…Food Channel?

Disney made several big announcements in May but this is the one that I am probably most excited about.

On May 1st, 2018, the Walt Disney Company announced that they will be introducing a new digital channel.

Disney Eats will be a new channel focused on culinary experiences aimed at families (of course).

According to the press release, upcoming Disney Eats shows will include seasons of “Kitchen Little,” which will showcase kids working with celebrity chefs, and “Tiny Kitchen,” with chefs creating small replicas of Disney food. Both were co-created with global entertainment company Tastemade.

The new channel will also have another Tastemade food science series called “Must Be Science,” as well as shows with Disney online influencers that will be announced at a later date.

The programs are aimed at showcasing “co-cooking” experiences, or parents cooking with their kids. Disney will also eventually begin to sell Disney Eats branded products, including kitchen utensils, bakeware and cookbooks.

Disney also announced a relaunch of its free Oh My Disney mobile app and a podcast series. It will debut new programs for Facebook Watch, including “Designing Disney,” a show about designers who create Disney-inspired projects, and “Disney Dream Job,” a series about five children who spend a day working with Disney employees.

 

What could be better then combining Disney and food??!!

Toy Story Land-Update

We have had some exciting news come out of  Walt Disney Imagineering this month!

On May 2nd, we were gifted with new images of the new Alien Swirling Saucers attraction coming to Toy Story Land.

And I have to tell you guys, when I first heard about this attraction, I wasn’t all that excited about it. I was imagining a bumper-car or Buzz LightYear’s Atroblasters (from Disney Quest, R.I.P) type of attraction.

But! After seeing these new images, I have realized how off the mark I was. First of all, why would I ever doubt Disney Imagineering! By now I should realize that they kind of   COMPLETELY know what they’re doing.

 

Alien Swirling Saucers, has been Imagineered to look like a toy from Pizza Planet (think a toy from a Happy Meal) and has been placed in Andy’s backyard next to his Buzz Lightyear’s Star Command playset. This attraction will feature our favorite little green aliens flying around in their toy flying saucers while “The Claw” appears overhead.

Guests will whirl around toy planets and space stations to the beat of a fun electronic space music soundtrack that includes eight songs. Guests will also see pizza details throughout the attraction, including pizza columns, a pizza space station and the planet Pepperonia.

 

This attraction is one of two new attractions planned to debut at the new Toy Story Land when it opens on June 30th.

 

When will you be visiting Andy’s backyard?

Disney- Did You Know? Disney’s Magical Express

Today’s Disney-Did You Know is all about one of my favorite parts of any Walt Disney World trip… Disney’s Magical Express.

Anyone who knows me knows that I love all thinks Disney and that that love has lead do a fair amount of knowledge on the subject. So I tend to get asked a lot of questions when people around me are planning trips to any of the Disney parks.

And over the years one of the most frequent topics that I have gotten asked about is transportation, namely to and from the airport.

 

So that leads me to this week’s question…

Did you know- that transportation to and from the Orlando International Airport (MCO) is included in your Walt Disney World Resort package?

 

I’ve already talked about my opinion on the necessity of renting a car for a trip to Walt Disney World. (You can find that here)

But, what most people don’t seem to understand is thatneed to Disney provides motorcoach transportation for guests staying on property.

One you have booked your Walt Disney World package you will immediately have access to the Disney’s Magical Express reservation website.

All you have to do is go online through your My Disney Experience or you can call 1-407-939-1936 and provide your airline/flight information.

 

So you’ve made your reservation with Disney’s Magical Express, now what?

About two weeks before you leave for your vacation you will receive your Magical Express luggage tags in the mail. It’s the best mail you can receive as it means you are leaving for Walt Disney World soon!

Double check that the flight/resort information is correct, before you attach the tags to your luggage.

 

Note: It is important to make sure the tags are on before you check them in at the airport; this will ensure that your bags are picked up by Disney at the airport. This is a wonderful service that allows you to by-pass the luggage claim upon your arrival!

 

Also, it can take up to three hours for your luggage to be delivered to your room, and you do not need to wait for it as a member of Bell Services at your resort will put it inside your room for you.

Also, remember not to pack your MagicBands in your checked luggage as you will need them to check into Disney’s Magical Express, and it acts as your resort room key and park tickets.
Disney’s Magical Express will also make your trip from Walt Disney World to the airport super simple. The day before you leave, a Transportation Notice will be delivered to you in your room. This notice will let you know what time you need to be at the DME pick-up location the next day.

 

 

My husband and I used the Magical Express on our last trip in 2015 and we absolutely loved it! It’s not just transportation. It’s the perfect way to start off your vacation with a little bit of Disney Magic.

 

Disney-Did You Know?: Walt Disney and Religion

I have admired Walt Disney through out my life for a variety of reasons; his ingenuity, creativeness, sense of business, his love for his family, and the magic that he brought into the lives of millions of people. But, the one thing that I did not know about Walt until recently may just be my biggest reason of all.

Many people do not realize or know that Walt Disney was a deeply religious man.

He believed that good always triumphs over evil and that it was important to accept everyone.

(For decades there have been rumors that Walt was a racist and anti-Semitic. He WAS NOT. But, more on that at a later time)

Walt’s daughter Diane Disney Miller once told a minister that the choice to not have any churches on Main Street in Disneyland was an intentional one. Her father did not want to favor any particular denomination. Although, at one point there were plans for a church in the original concept drawings for Main Street.

5 Ways To Bring the Magic of Disney Home with You

No matter which of the Disney parks or resorts you are visiting, everyone knows that the saddest part of any Disney vacation is when it’s time to go home.

Nothing is worse than stepping onto the “Tragical Express” to head back to the airport.

Image result

 

Most of us don’t even make it to the airport before we are already dreaming about and making plans for our next trip… and who doesn’t suffer from a little PDD (Post Disney Depression)?

We spend months and sometimes years planning and waiting for this trip and then before you know it, it’s over.

Therefore, because I love Disney so much and because I know what it is like to suffer from PDD, I have come up with a list of my Top 5 Ways to Bring the Disney Magic Home.

 

I. Podcasts

WDW Radio-

If you are reading this than chances are that you are more than just your average Disney park go’er.

If that is true for you and you have not checked out the WDW Radio Podcast then you are absolutely missing out!

You can check it out here: http://www.wdwradio.com/category/podcasts/

According to the website: “WDW Radio is the Disney podcast dedicated to enhancing your enjoyment and appreciation of Walt Disney World. Awarded Best Travel Podcast for 9 consecutive years, WDW Radio also features LIVE video broadcasts, blog, videos, a large and welcoming community, and special events.”

As an avid listener, I can tell you that this statement is 100% true in every way. You would be hard pressed to find anyone more passionate or knowledgeable about the Disney “World” then Lou Mongello.

Image result for wdw radio

 

The Bancroft Brothers Animation Podcast-

This was the very first podcast that I ever listened to and I haven’t stopped in the last 3 years.

This podcast is hosted by twin brothers Tom and Tony Bancroft who are former Disney animators.

Their website states: “The Bancroft Brothers Animation Podcast provides an entertaining and educational look at animation. Tom Bancroft and Tony Bancroft discuss the art and business of animation with some of the industries biggest talents from Glenn Keane to Brad Bird to Don Hahn.”

At first I was a little bit skeptical about this one, since I obviously am not an animator, and drawing and art have never been a great skill for me. But, I absolutely love hearing about how my favorite Disney characters were created and animated.

If you have even the slightest interest in art or animation then I would absolutely check this podcast out.

http://taughtbyapro.com/category/podcasts/

Image result for bancroft brothers animation podcast

 

Creating Disney Magic Podcast-

Lee Cockerell is the former Executive Vice President of Operations for the Walt Disney World® Resort. As the Senior Operating Executive for ten years Lee led a team of 40,000 Cast Members and was responsible for the operations of 20 resort hotels, 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a shopping & entertainment village.

For the most part Lee’s podcast is geared towards leadership, management and those wanting to grow their customer service skills. But, I still think that it is a great resource for anyone. Through Lee’s podcast I have learned that customer service skills can be used for more than just providing great guest service; these same principles can be adapted and used in our personal lives and relationships as well.

For me, I also love the podcast because Lee is a former executive for Walt Disney World. Disney’s business model and innovative, above and beyond customer service is something that has always intrigued me and for that reason I also love listening to Lee discuss the different strategies they use in the Disney parks.

http://blog.leecockerell.com/category/podcast/

Image result for creating disney magic podcast

 

II. Youtube

There is no shortage of Disney related videos on YouTube. Almost every Disney blogger or Instagrammer has a correlating Youtube channel and you can search for almost anything Disney related on YouTube and come up with hundreds of videos. But, these are some of my favorites.

 

Adam Hattan-

I was turned onto Adam’s YouTube  videos about three months ago by a fellow WDW Radio enthusiast.

Adam’s awesome English accent, passion for Disney and fun, bubbly personality make for great videos that are perfect for curing the post-Disney blues.

What I love most about Adam’s videos is that he is always shooting his videos from inside the Disney parks and literally brings the sounds and sights of Disney right to you.

https://m.youtube.com/user/hattantimes

Image result for adam hattan you tube

 

 

John Saccheri A.K.A Big Fat Panda-

Honestly I can’t tell you how I found John’s YouTube channel because I don’t really remember. But, I can tell you that I have been obsessed with his videos for months.

John’s videos are fun, informative and very entertaining.

John always has a slew of guests and co-hosts that keep the show new and fresh.

https://www.youtube.com/user/thebigfatpanda

 

Image result for big fat panda disney

 

III. Blogs

(You may notice that there is a lot of overlap through out this list)

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a reader. I love to read and it is a regular part of my everyday life.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that blogs are my favorite and I read them consistently. Also, being a blogger myself, I also try to support as many other blogs as I can.

 

WDW Radio Blog-

I already told you about Lou’s podcast above but what I didn’t mention is that he also has a blog.

The WDW Radio blog features many different writers, including Lou, who write about all things Disney and provide great information.

http://www.wdwradio.com/category/blog/

Image result for wdw radio blog

 

The Main Street Gazette-

This blog holds a special place for me as it was one of the big inspirations for starting my own blog.

Ryan’s blog is one of the most consistent I have seen. Ryan has been keeping us regularly and nearly daily up-to-date and informed about all things Disney since 2007!

http://www.mainstgazette.com/

 

 

Mouseplanet-

Those of you who follow Disney bloggers and other online personalities will probably recognize the name Jim Korkis.

Jim isn’t just knowledgeable, he is also a story teller and brings personal stories and articles to his blog that no one else could.

“Jim grew up in the Los Angeles area and since the age of five was a frequent visitor to Disneyland. He was an original member of both the Mouse Club and the National Fantasy Fan Club. He attended all the local conventions where he had the opportunity to interview many of the people who actually worked with Walt Disney. Jim describes his house as looking like “a toy shop and a bookstore exploded and I decided to live in the remains”. For over two decades, he has been a freelance writer and a teacher and for a while was a dealer in animation artwork and related resources. His columns concentrate on sharing stories of Disney history that haven’t been recorded elsewhere.”

If you are looking for a personal view of Walt Disney and the things that he created along with his team then  Jim’s blog and books are the perfect place to go.

https://www.mouseplanet.com/author/57/Jim_Korkis/

Image result for mouse planet jim korkis

 

Disney Food Blog-

Who doesn’t go to Disney for the food?!

The Disney Food Blog is one of my favorite resources online for all things Disney food. Disney Food Blog covers it all, from Food Tours to Best Snack and Quick Service lists, and Tips and Tricks for making the most of the Disney Dining Plans. And not only do they have their blog but they also have plethora of You Tube videos and a Guide to Walt Disney World Dining e-book.

I am currently using their blog posts and videos as resources to help plan our upcoming trip in November.

http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/

Image result for disney food blog

 

Lessons in Leadership with Lee Cockerell-

Lee Cockerell is the former Executive Vice President of Operations for the Walt Disney World® Resort. As the Senior Operating Executive for ten years Lee led a team of 40,000 Cast Members and was responsible for the operations of 20 resort hotels, 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a shopping & entertainment village.

What I love about Lee’s blog is that it isn’t just for “Business” people, Entrepreneurs, and CEO’s. Lee’s blog is full of inspiration and truth for everyday people and focuses on everything from being organized in your personal life, to career success, to leadership and management strategies and how important family is.

 

Image result for lessons in leadership lee cockerell

Also, one of my favorite products that Lee offers is his  Morning Magic Planner. On his website Lee provides the template for this planner (FOR FREE).

BUT! This isn’t your typical calendar view, to-do list type planner. The Morning Magic Planner will help you get the most out of everyday and take care of the most important things in your life.

I have been using mine regularly for the past 4 months and I can’t tell you how big of a difference it has made. I am not the most organized person in the world and I am definitely a procrastinator but the Morning Magic Planner has helped me in ways I can’t even describe.

http://blog.leecockerell.com/morning-magic-planner/

Image result for magical morning planner lee cockerell

 

IV. Community

WDW Radio- Box People 

If you are looking for a community of friends who do life together and share a passion and love of Disney then the WDW Radio Box People group is where it is at!

We meet every Wednesday night courtesy of our “fearless leader” Lou Mongello of WDW Radio to discuss all aspects of the Disney world…but mainly food 😂😂

You won’t find a better group of people, I promise!

So go check out our page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/boxpeople/

And then join us on the WDW Radio Box People page and meet with us tonight at 4:30pm EST

No automatic alt text available.

 

The Disnerds- 

If you are a fan of this blog (which I hope you are!) and you want to get up to date Disney information, join in on discussions,  and share pictures, countdowns and more then our Disnerds facebook page is the place for you!

Join us at https://www.facebook.com/groups/136406580387687/

 

 

V. Home Decor

“Home is where Disney is, when Disney is in the home.”

When you’re back home from your Disney vacation and are already counting down the days until your next trip, one of the best ways to cheer yourself up is to have that Disney magic spread throughout your house.

Disney offers many ways to “Disney-fy” your house from mugs to high end art and collectibles.

These are just a fraction of the places that you can get Disney Decor:

 

 Shop Disney-

The “Home” section of the shopDisney website states that you can “Live your style, in your castle and live the dream everyday.”

They offer a huge selection of housewares: Bed & Bath, Car Accesories, Decor and Lighting, Furniture, Kitchen and much more.

https://www.shopdisney.com/home

 

Disney’s Home Store

On February 20th Disney announced that they would be opening a brick and mortar store in Downtown Disney, Disneyland that will offer everything home related.

In a press conference, the store was desribed as a “New home store fill of adorable items to make anyone your guest.”

 

Disney scented candles-

“The Magic Candle Company provides theme park fans with the most magical scents on earth. Our fragrances are the perfect way to bring the smell of the Parks and Resorts home today. Get ready to smell the magic!”

https://magiccandlecompany.com/

Image result for magic candle company

Beauty of Disney in Photography- The Hub

The Magic Kingdom in general has always held a special place in my heart. But, there is nothing like standing in the middle of the Hub with the Partners Statue and beautiful views of Cinderella’s Castle.

Even as a kid, the Partner’s Statue has always intruiged me, drawn me in. I have always loved any images or art that include Walt and Mickey; there is just something about seeing the man who created all of this magic with his own creation… the mouse that started it all.

 

The photographer of this photo Matthew Cooper titled it “One Day It Will All Be Yours.” And doesn’t that just say it all.

 

 

 

You can check out more of Matthew’s amazing photography on his website: https://www.thetimethespace.com/

 

An Authentically Vintage Atmosphere

As I’ve mentioned before, one of my biggest pet peeves is when people say that ALL Disney food is your typical over-priced amusement park food.

This could not be further from the truth, if you do your research you can find some amazing dining locations both inside and outside of the parks.

One of these “hidden gem” (although maybe not so hidden anymore) is the 50’s Prime Time Cafe.

Now, I would be misleading you if I said that the food were the main reason for coming here… it is not. Don’t get me wrong, 50’s Prime Time Cafe offers many nostalgic, comfort food items but they are at best decent. But, honestly the food isn’t the real reason to come here.

The reasons to visit 50’s Prime Time Cafe are the servers , the decor, and the amazing interactive environment.

Here your waiter will be playing the part of your aunt, uncle, cousin, or brother and is at liberty to force you to eat your vegetables…no kidding.

 

Disney describes their restaurant as:

An authentically vintage atmosphere. It’s a blast from the past when you walk into this all-American eatery themed like Mom’s kitchen.

Bring your appetite and your sense of humor, because Mom and the extended family aren’t above giving you lessons in table etiquette—and doling out punishment to misbehaving boys and girls.

Mind Your Manners!
Pull a vinyl chair up to the Formica table and tuck into hearty home cooking like Mom’s old-fashioned pot roast, Aunt Liz’s golden fried chicken and so much more. Just make sure you wash your hands, put your napkin in your lap and keep your elbows off the table, unless you want a stern talking-to from Uncle Fred.

 

 

I personally have not yet eaten at 50’s Prime Time Cafe in Hollywood Studios but I have heard great things about it and look forward to trying it in the future.

Image result for 50's prime time cafe

Image result for 50's prime time cafe

Image result for 50's prime time cafe

Image result for 50's prime time cafe

 

Resources

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com

http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/

Disney- Did You Know?: Field Trips with Walt Disney

Did you know that Walt Disney had four elementary schools in the United States named after him?

The first elementary school was located in Pennsylvania and was named after Walt in 1956 and the second in Anaheim, California in 1958. The third was built in what Walt considered his hometown Marceline, Missouri in 1960. And the fourth in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1969.

During the dedication at the Anaheim school Walt caused a bit of a commotion when he announced that school would be let out for the day and had busses ready to take all of the children to Disneyland for the rest of the day.

Marvel Themed Land Coming to California Adventure

Well… the announcement that we’ve all secretly (and not so secretly) been hoping for has finally come!

On Tuesday March 20, 2018 it was announced on the Disney Parks Blog that a Marvel themed land will be coming to Disney’s California Adventure.

The  land will be anchored by Guardians of the Galaxy- Mission: Breakout! but will also include areas and/or attractions themed around Spider-Man, The Avengers and more.

The areas surrounding the new Guardians ride are currently Hollywood Land and A Bug’s Land. So far there has been no mention of any changes coming to Hollywood Land however It’s Tough to Be A Bug did close this week to begin work on the new land and it looks like the rest of  A Bug’s Land will close in late 2018 as Marvel Land expands into that area.

The fact that I live on the West Coast and usually get to Disneyland and California Adventure at least once a year makes me super excited for this announcement.

I am also very happy because my husband is a Marvel lover and I know that this is something that he will be excited about and I love any chance I get to share my love of Disney with him.

 

Also, it has also been my opinion that California Adventure is just a hodge podge of lands and attractions. It is has never felt very cohesive to me, at least not in the way that the other Disney parks do; and while this expansion may not necessarily fix that I do think that it will help. The creation of this land will help Guardian’s tie into the environment around it and make it all tie in together.

Here is what Disney had to say about the expansion:

Highly anticipated new experiences at Disneyland ResortDisneyland Paris and Hong Kong Disneyland will soon invite guests to become part of a bigger universe filled with epic heroes and adventures; these three new areas will champion the next generation of Super Heroes.

At Disneyland Resort, the new Super Hero-themed land will begin recruiting guests in 2020, with even more new experiences to follow. The Guardians of the Galaxy will be joined by Spider-Man and the Avengers in what will become a completely immersive Super Hero universe, furthering the evolution of Disney California Adventure park. This new land will be anchored by the popular Guardians of the Galaxy – Mission: BREAKOUT!, in the adjacent space that is currently occupied by “a bug’s land.” “It’s Tough to Be a Bug” closed March 19 to make way for this new heroic experience; the rest of the land will close in late summer.

Walt Disney World to Begin Charging Hotel Guests for Overnight Parking

The Disney “World” is an ever evolving one. This morning it was officially confirmed by the Walt Disney Company that Walt Disney World will follow in the footsteps of it’s West Coast counter-part and begin charging their Resort hotel guests for overnight parking beginning March 21, 2018.

Rates charged will depend on the Resort that the guest is staying at and are as follows:

Value: $13 per night

Moderate: $19 per night

Deluxe: $24 per night

 

Complimentary self-parking will remain for the following:

  • Guests with disabilities (A valid disability parking permit is required)
  • Cast Members staying as guests
  • Guests traveling as part of a group or convention
  • Guests staying at campsites at Fort Wilderness (Each campsite provides parking space for one (1) motorized vehicle)
  • Guests who wish to dine, shop, enjoy activities, or visit a resort for the day

 

More info:

  • All parking fees will be applied to the hotel folio upon check-out
  •  Standard parking fees will not be charged to Disney Vacation Club Members when they’re staying at a DVC Deluxe Villa regardless of whether they used vacation points or another form of payment

 

Guest who make their Resort reservations prior to March 21, 2018, will not be charged for overnight parking.

 

*Also note, the need to pay for parking can be avoided. If you are flying into MCO and do not plan on leaving the Disney “bubble” then a rental car is not needed. Guests who reserve a Magic Your Way package have the option of taking Disney’s free shuttle bus (the Magical Express) to and from the airport. Also, once in Walt Disney World there are several free transportation options to get you anywhere that you need to go within the bubble.

Fantasyland- Food Tour

Today on the Disnerd we will be continuing our culinary tour of the Magic Kingdom with a walk through Magic Kingdom’s busiest land… Fantasyland.

To start off I would like to note that this tour will include Fantasyland, New Fantasyland and Storybook Circus.

Also, this tour will not necessarily be all encompassing. There are many food carts and stands through out these areas that offer the typical fruits, water, pickles, popcorn etc.

During our culinary tour we will be skipping these smaller establishments and taking a look at all of the Counter Service and Sit Down locations.

Fantasyland

 

Upon entering the Magic Kingdom you have a few different options for getting to Fantasyland.

When visiting the Magic Kingdom as a child it was always my family’s practice to hop aboard the Walt Disney World Railroad and take a short trip over to Frontierland where we would then by pass Adventureland and Liberty Square, entering Fantsyland near It’s A Small World and Peter Pan’s Flight.

Image result for fantasyland magic kingdom

But, for our tour today, we will be entering the Magic Kingdom, strolling passed the lovely shops of Main St. U.S.A and right on through Cinderella’s Castle into Fantasyland.

As we enter this land of Fantasy we will first head over to Pinocchio Village Haus.

Pinocchio Village Haus

Main seating area inside Pinocchio Village Haus at Magic Kingdom park

If you are strolling through the park and find yourself hankering for some Italian eats than Pinocchio Village Haus is your go to place within Fantasyland.

This location offers a variety of flat breads and pastas.

While this location would not be my first choice for dining in Fantasyland, the food is decent and on the DDP.

Next on our trip through Fantasyland we will head past the Seven Dwarves Mine Train  and towards Gaston’s Tavern.

 

Gaston’s Tavern

My husband and I visited Walt Disney World in 2015 for our honeymoon and while we did not eat at Gaston’s Tavern during this trip we did go inside the restaurant and I have to tell you that the decor, environment and themeing inside of there far outways the food.

Image result for Gaston's Tavern

Located in New Fantasyland and made to look like the tavern in Beauty and the Beast, this quick service location is just another example of how far Disney will go for those painstaiking details.

Image result for Gaston's Tavern

One of the great food options offered at this location are Disney’s amazing Cinammon Rolls.

A deliciously gooey warm cinammon roll available at Gaston's Tavern

This location also offers options  like Macaroons and Ham and Cheese stuffed Pretzels.

BUT! If you are in New Fantasyland and are looking for breakfast options, you must head on past the Seven Dwarves Mine Train towards the looming castle up ahead.

 

Be Our Guest

My husband and I had were lucky enough to score ADR’s (Advanced Dining Reservations) for Be Our Guest when we visited for our honeymoon and it was by far the best experience we had the entire week.

Image result for be our guest magic kingdom

Be Our Guest has some of the best themeing that I have ever seen in a Disney restaurant. When I first heard that Be Our Guest was being built and that it was going to be located inside of Beast’s Castle, I was incredibly excited. But, nothing could have prepared me for just how spectacular this location is.

When going to Be Our Guest you are not just simply walking up to a building with a themed exterior;  you are literally walking up a long path, through gates and up to (what looks to be) a huge castle. Now I am sure that the Disney Imagineers used forced perspective to make this castle look a lot bigger then it actually is. But, for me walking up to the castle and then inside of it was literally like stepping into the movie.

Image result for be our guest magic kingdom

Upon entering Beast’s Castle you will pass the stained glass window that you will recognize from the movie before heading into the parlor where you will place your order with a cast member.

Image result for be our guest magic kingdom

After this you will have the option of sitting in one of three dining rooms; the Ballroom, the Library or the Beast’s Study.

For breakfast and lunch Be Our Guest is considered a Quick Service location and is covered by the DDP.

(This restaurant is BY FAR the best value that you will get on the Quick Service option of the Disney Dining Plan.)

I could not believe it when I found out that we could eat at this location as part of our plan.

And let me tell you, don’t think that just because this is considered Quick Service for breakfast that you are going to be getting your typical eggs and bacon or Mickey Waffles (not that there’s anything wrong with Mickey Waffles) but this location has so much more to offer than your typical breakfast.

While simple or picky eaters can get the Feast A La Gaston which offers scrambled eggs, herbed potatoes, bacon and sausage, the real reason to come to Be Our Guest is the Croissant Doughnut.

Cronut

I had heard so much buzz circling this Croissant Doughnut before our trip that I knew that had to try it.

This amazing concoction is a fried doughnut topped with Banana-Caramel Sauce, Pastry Crème, and Chocolate Ganache served with fresh Fruit and a selection of pastries.

The doughnut itself has a crunchy exterior but is warm and doughy on the inside and the bananas add this perfect soft, creamy texture and then the whole thing is drizzled in chocolate and whipped creme.

I had done my research previously and assumed that the “selection of pastries” would be a regular croissant or some type of muffin. Boy was I wrong.

They bring you out an entire platter of pastries; a cinnamon roll, chocolate croissant, danishes, and muffins.

pastries

This is why I say that this is the best value that you will get on the Quick Service option of the DDP.

With this meal you get: the Croissant Doughnut, a side of mixed fruit, the pastry platter and a beverage (the beverage is only included if you are on the DDP)

Without the Disney Dining Plan, this meal will cost you $25 AND will not include your coffee or OJ which will set you back another $2.79-$3.49.

 

The Cheshire Cafe

As I said before, the order in which you come upon these delectible eateries will depend on where you enter Fantasyland from.

If by chance you are coming from Tomorrowland, you will pass the Tomorrowland Speedway and directly across from the Mad Tea Party you will find the Cheshire Cafe. Themed after the mischievous feline from Alice in Wonderland, the Cheshire Cafe is a whimsical little location with nothing more then a window for ordering and a few tables placed outside.

But! Don’t let it’s simplicity fool you.

This small locale is mainly known for one thing… the Cheshire Cat Tail.

A stack of several pastries drizzled with brightly colored icing

The Cheshire Cat Tail is a piece of pastry twisted and stuffed with oozing chocolate. The whole things is then drizzled (more like covered) with pink and purple frosting or glaze.

These pastries are a great value; they are big enough for two people to share and only cost $4.99 (or a snack credit on one of the Disney Dining Plans).

The Cheshire Cat also serves a S’mores Pie along with coffee, juices, and slushes.

 

Friar’s Nook

After enjoying our chocolaty deliciousness, we well round the corner and pass two of Fantasyland’s most popular rides; the Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh and the Seven Dwarves Mine Train.

On our left we will come to our next stop; the Friar’s Nook.

The menu at Friar’s Nook has recently been upgraded and Man I am excited to try it out!

Previously Friar’s Nook offered typical foods such as Mac and Cheese and Hot Dogs. But now! They offer LOADED TATER TOTS and FRIED TWINKIES!!!

Loaded Tots and Fried Twinkie

Umm..YAASS!!

Friar’s Nook now offers three varieties of the Loaded Tots; the Buffalo Chicken Tots, the Loaded Fiesta Tots, and the Loaded Greek Tots.

They also now offer Fried Twinkies!

Fried Twinkie

I myself have never had a fried Twinkie but I have to say that this looks delicious. And the best part is that all of these are covered under the Disney  Dining Plan.

If you’re not on the DDP then these options are still of decent value. The cost for the Buffalo and Fiesta Tots is $9.49 and the Greek are $8.49. The Twinkie costs $4.99.

 

Storybook Treats

Directly next door to Friar’s Nook is a tiny cottage looking location that offers up creamy frozen treats (perfect for those Florida summers).

Storybook Treats used to offer a variety of ice cream choices such as cookie and brownie sundaes and a strawberry shortcake sundae. But, unfortunately at this time they are only offering the cookie sundae for $5.49 or regular Hot Fudge Sundae’s for $4.99. Surprisingly this location does not accept DDP.

Cinderella Castle view from a stone archway

 

Now after having taken a bit of a circuitous route through Fantasyland we come back to Cinderella’s Castle and one the Magic Kingdom’s most popular restaurants.

At some point everyone has dreamed about spending the night inside of the castle but surprisingly many people don’t realize that they can have a meal inside of it.

 

Cinderella’s Royal Table

Upon entering Cinderella’s Castle you will be given the opportunity to meet the Princess herself before heading upstairs for your meal.

Cinderella-s-royal-table

Once upstairs, if you chose a character meal, you will be able to meet some of your other favorite Princesses such as Belle and Snow White.

I remember eating at Cinderella’s Royal Table once as a child and I can tell you that I was disappointed and underwhelmed.

While the fact that you are eating IN the castle is cool, everything was just sub-par.

Even as a child I was expecting the dining room to be lavish and fancy and upscale. But, unfortunately it is not. It looks like any other dining room, in any other restaurant. In fact the themeing at Be Our Guest is much much better.

Also, the food was just okay and it is quite expensive.

I recommend eating at this location once just to be able to say that you ate inside the castle but at this point, with a $35-$59 price point, it really isn’t worth a return trip.

Note: Cinderella’s Royal Table is currently closed for refurbishment and will reopen on 03/02/2018. Here’s to hoping that they have stepped up the decor and themeing and revamped the menu.

 

So there you have it! All of the counter service and sit down restaurant’s in Fantasyland.

Which is your favorite? Which new item are you most excited to try?

 

 

References

Disney- Did You Know: Walt and his miniatures

Did you know that for decades Walt Disney constructed and collected a variety of tiny objects?

According to Jim Korkis in his book the Vault of Walt, some of the attractions in the Disney parks were inspired by Walt’s miniatures.

In the 1940s, Walt merged his new found interest in miniatures with his passion for trains. He built a small scale railroad, the ‘Carolwood Pacific’, that ran around his backyard.

At one point Walt even planned to put miniature versions of American landmarks like Washigton’s Mt. Vernon on what would eventually become Tom Sawyers Island.

In a letter to a friend, Walt wrote: “My hobby is a life saver. When I work with the small objects, I become so absorbed that the cares of the studio fade away… at least for a time.”

Beauty of Disney in Photography…Tomorrowland

” A vista into a world of wondrous ideas, signifying man’s achievements… a step into the future, with predictions of constructive things to come. Tomorrow offers new frontiers in science, adventure and ideas; the Atomic Age, the challenge of outer space, and the hope for a peaceful and unified world.”

Walt Disney said these words about Tomorrowland on July 17, 1955, opening day at Disneyland.

This is a beautiful sentiment and had Walt lived longer he may have been the one to make these ideals come true.

Tomorrowland-35

But in reality, Tomorrowland has always had a hard time with that one little word in its title- Tomorrow.

It reminds me of EPCOT Center in many ways (or at least the Future World portion of it).

Both of these areas were put together in painstaking detail, with so much hope and passion for the future. And both have struggled over the years to truly find their place among that future.

The concept for Tomorrowland revolves around the idea of innovation and technology for the future, because of this Disney World struggles to keep the area up-to-date and fresh, because the world and it’s technology are constantly changing.

Time continues forward, technology advances and what was once considered “future” becomes our “present”. Things that were once considered new frontiers and achievements become old news and fall by the way side. For example, the space race. This was once the world’s most fascinating subject but as time has moved on it has become old news and not something of huge global focus.

 

 

This is why I love this picture… it captures the beauty of Tomorrowland, even with it’s short-comings and dare I say, failures.

One of the aspects of Tomorrowland that I have always loved is its architecture. The curved lines and rough, sharp angles. This photograph captures these beautifully.

I also love the bold, bright, neon colors of this World of Tomorrow. While it may not fully reflect our current world, I believe that it does represent the fantastical, over the top version of the future that people envisioned back when Tomorrowland was being designed for Disneyland.

 

What I love most about this picture is the view that the photographer chose to capture. This view can be captured from the entrance to Tomorrowland coming from Main St. U.S.A and the Hub.

It encompasses two of Tomorrowland’s most controversial attractions.

Many park guests and Disney enthusiasts have wondered what relevance Monster’s Inc. has to the future and it’s new innovations.

Does Stitch’s Great Escape truly belong just because it involves a little blue alien?

Personally, I don’t believe that either of these attractions belong in this land. I much prefer Disneyland’s inclusion of Star Tours in it’s version of Tomorrowland. And I believe that ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter was a much better fit for this land, and one of Disney Imagineering’s best ideas.

I also appreciate how this photo gives brief, unobvious views of the Lunching Pad and the Tomorrowland Transit Authority up above.

 

When describing this photograph the photographer chose to focus on his technique for capturing it rather than the subject itself.

He states, “I have taken many ultra-wide shots of Tomorrowland so I decided to give the Nikon 35 1.4 a go through the land. Once again, it gives me a tighter view that really brings some of the details such as the signs into larger focus. The signs too are the most difficult part of shooting Tomorrowland. It is very easy to blow the signs out when properly exposing for everything else. This can be beat by bracketing but you have to be careful on your blend or it will look bad. The Laugh Floor sign especially I have lost track of how many blown versions I have seen of this out there.”

 

What do you think of this picture are you more inclined to focus on what was captured within it or the means by which it was captured?

 

 

References:

https://www.thetimethespace.com

https://touringplans.com

The Beauty of Disney in photography

Over the last year I have developed the habit of browsing through (and obsessing over) Disney related photography.

I have always loved bringing Disney magic into my every day life through the movies, soundtracks, videos, mugs etc. But, up until last year, it had never occurred to me how awe-inspiring and attention grabbing a photograph could be.

My new found hobby has led me to some spectacular photographers who have the ability to capture objects, buildings, and landscapes, that I have seen hundreds of times, in a brand new light, in a new perspective and with a million beautiful details.

 

That is what this new segment is going to be about… these photographs that bring new magic to the Happiest Place on Earth and the amazing photographers who create them.

A New Era for Main Street U.S.A

Last year’s D23 Expo was full of intrigue, mystery and new announcements. One of those announcements was that a new theater is coming to Main Street, U.S.A. at Magic Kingdom.

According to the Disney Parks Blog, the new entertainment venue will be designed similarly to the iconic Willis Wood theater from 1920s Kansas City. Why is Kansas City relevant to Walt Disney World? Because, this is where Walt lived after he left Marceline, Missouri.

In an interview, Bob Chapek, Chairman of Walt Disney Parks & Resorts said “Across Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, we’ve been upping the game in entertainment with shows like Frozen Live at the Hyperion. It’s been a huge hit at the Disneyland Resort, and I’m sure many of you have seen it. This new theater at Walt Disney World continues that streak by bringing a new venue for world-class entertainment to the world’s biggest park.”

Recently, new details have emerged giving us a small glimpse of what this theater could hold for us in the near future.

It has been reported that the theater will hold around 2000 guests, with 1500 of them seated on the main floor, and another 500 on a mezzanine level. It will be very similar in size to the Hyperion Theater at Disney California Adventure.  To accommodate all of these guests, two new sets of restrooms will be a part of the structure, with one set located outside and another within (meaning guests won’t have to leave the building if they have to use the facilities while a show is taking place).

Details as to what production the theater will house when it opens have not been revealed but I predict that we will start getting a trickle of information in the coming year.

Currently, the new theater is set to open in May of 2020.

I personally hope that we will see a version of the new Beauty and the Beast production that premiered on the Disney Cruise Line in 2017. We will be taking our first Disney cruise in November and I cannot wait to see this production! I have heard from several reputable sources that it is Disney’s best theater production to date.

What do you think may be coming to this space?

A New Addition to the Land of Tomorrow

It turns out that sometimes the rumors are true. Over the last couple of years the Disney community has been abuzz with rumors of a Tron-themed attraction coming to Walt Disney World. People wondered would it come to the Magic Kingdom or to Hollywood Studios, would it be the same attraction from Shanghai Disneyland or a brand-new attraction designed specifically for a Florida park?

Well, finally in 2017 the rumors were put to rest and the Walt Disney Company revealed the truth, much to the delight of Disney guests everywhere.

It was announced at the 2017 D23 Expo,  that a Tron attraction would indeed be coming to Walt Disney World. But, not just any attraction, it is the most popular attraction at Shanghai Disneyland that will be finding a home in the Magic Kingdom.

Once this announcement was made, the new rumors began. Would this be the first step in a complete over-haul and redesign of Tomorrowland? Would we be losing classic, beloved rides such as the Carousel of Progress, Tomorrowland Transit Authority and the Tomorrowland Speedway or the (not so beloved) Stitches Great Escape (which has now been closed as of 2018)?

After months of rampant rumors, Disney Imagineering released the design concept above, and we can see that this new attraction will not replace the Tomorrowland Speedway.  Instead, this attraction will be placed beyond the Speedway, where the current walkway between Tomorrowland and The Fantasyland Circus is.

Now our only question is how will this impact the Walt Disney World Railroad? From the concept design it looks as if the railroad tracks and train itself could pass through the exterior area of TRON Lightcycle Power Run (much in the way that the Tomorrowland Transit Authority passes through Space Mountain).

What do you think? Are you excited for the TRON Lightcycle Power Run?

Test Track Presented by Chevrolet

EPCOT at Walt Disney  World has always been my favorite of the Disney parks. Magic Kingdom may be classic Disney World but there is just something about EPCOT that has always drawn me to it.

I don’t know if it was the possibilities of Future World drawing on my imagination as a child, the child in me who dreamed of being an astronaut delighting in Mission Space, my love of learning about other cultures drawing me to the World Showcase or knowing how much Walt loved the idea of this park and all that he could have made it.

But, today on the Disnerd we will be taking a look at one of my favorite Disney attractions, that also just so happens to be located inside EPCOT.

 

Test Track opened in 1999 as Epcot’s first thrill ride. This high speed ride took guests through a series of vehicle tests and outside onto a 50 degree banked track at highway speeds. Ever since it’s opening in 1999 it has become a fan favorite and must do for any Walt Disney World visitor.

But of course, over time, all things must change. A little more then 10 years later, Test Track’s sponsor General Motors was struggling and in an attempt to bring more awareness to their perishing company they decided to do a complete overhaul of the attraction.

After several years of planning and collaboration between General Motors and Walt Disney Imagineering the original Test Track closed on April 16, 2012 and officially reopened on December 6th of that same year.

But, this time there was something  noticeably missing… there were no signs for General Motors at all;  instead the ride had become Test Track Presented by Chevrolet.

Despite having only 8 months to complete the refurbishment, the new Test Track had become a massively different attraction. Nearly every set piece has been removed from the original attraction, with only the ride system remaining the same.

The change that I like best is that the new Test Track took a clear and purposeful step towards the more traditional Epcot Center pavilion. Test Track had gone from being a ride building to an actual pavilion.

 

In this new pavilion there are now 3 distinct phases or areas:

The Design Phase at the Chevrolet Design Center

Guests enter the building through a completely redesigned exterior and come right into a brand new queue area, which showcases Chevy concept vehicles. With this new design, gone are the wide open spaces full of vehicle tests, and in its place come  more structured spaces, allowing the queue of the ride to wind through the ‘Chevrolet Design Center’.

The queue area leads to the Chevrolet Design Studio, which is where the real changes begin. Guests who visit Test Track can now design their own vehicle that will be put through its paces on the Test Track.

At the design studio pre-show area, guests are split into groups and assigned a design kiosk number. Guests can also request their own individual kiosk to each create their own vehicle. Following a brief instructional video, the doors to the design studio open, and the fun begins. Each kiosk is equipped with a very large touch screen which guides the guest through the process of designing their vehicle. Throughout the process, there are 4 key vehicle parameters that are being tracked – capability, efficiency, responsiveness and power. Each design change you make to your vehicle impacts one of these parameters, and will later be used to measure the final vehicle rating. The time given for the design process varies depending on how busy the attraction is, but it seems that so far there is approximately 5 minutes allocated to the design phase. A timer at the top of the screen tells you how long you have remaining. The design options are extensive, guests can customize the shape, size, color, graphics, engines, spoilers, and much more.

(What I like most about this is that it appeals to the men in our lives, it adds to the experience and enhances the story. My husband is a car guy and he thoroughly enjoyed this aspect of the attraction.)

The Ride

Leaving the design studio, guests head to the loading area for the ride. This is still the original Test Track ride system, but now your freshly designed vehicle will be waiting for you.

This loading area has been completely re-built. Even though it is barely recognizable  it still operates similarly to before, groups are assigned numbers on the loading area in preparation for boarding.  After boarding the ride vehicle, the car moves to the seat belt check. From here it is very clear that things are now very different inside the ride building.

As a fellow blogger put, “Gone are the real-world tests in the warehouse, and in its place comes a very futuristic “Tron” like environment.”

A good portion of the ride now takes place in the dark, with vivid lighting effects, the car still goes through the exact same physical track as before, but with all new visuals. At the conclusion of each part of the test, a screen shows each vehicle in the Sim Car, and how it scored in that section of the test.

The Post-Show

Leaving the Sim Track, guests move into the new post show area. This area has changed through out the years since the refurb but over the years guests have had the opportunity to create a Chevy commercial, use a digital driving table that allows them to actually drive a mini version of their car around a track against other guests  and there have been green-screen photo opportunities with Chevy concept vehicles.

As before, the exit passes through the Test Track gift shop.

The new Test Track now features both standby and FASTPASS lines, including an option for single riders. Standby riders get the full design experience, whereas FASTPASS and single riders get an abbreviated version of the design studio experience, where they are able to select from pre-designed cars, but do not have the ability to design from scratch.

I personally am a nostalgic and a bit of a purist so although I do like the Chevrolet Design Center, I prefer the old ride interior and I much preferred the old version of crash tests and speed and brake checks.

But, the design studio element, combined with the more engaging post show does improve the overall experience that guests have when inside the pavilion. And as we all know, it is all about the experience.

 

What do you think? Do you approve of this new version of a Disney classic?

 

 

15 Facts about the Hollywood Tower Hotel

 

 

 

I have a confession to make… The Tower of Terror is my least favorite attraction in any Disney park.

I know, I know I just committed Disney blasphemy. But it is the truth. 

 

Now, I have no problem with the idea of the Hollywood Tower Hotel; I enjoyed the cheesy movie from 1997 (you know the one with a young Kirsten Dunst), I love the way the building looms over Sunset Boulevard, the creepy exterior and the dilapidated interior (that I have only seen in person once). It is the ride mechanism itself that I dislike.

As a kid I was a huge fan of the chicken exit! It took years for me to warm up to Space Mountain (maybe because my mother almost fell out of the ride vehicle when Space Mountain first opened back in 1975), I still panic a little when the log starts climbing that last hill in Splash Mountain, and I still have never been on Rockin’ Roller Coaster (I know, I know).  But, thankfully much of that fear has gone away as I have gotten older.

But, the one thing that will never change is my hatred of free-fall style rides. I HATE that feeling.

So in order to pay my respect for one of Disney’s most beloved rides (without actually having to ride it)… I bring you “15 Facts about the Hollywood Tower Hotel”.

No automatic alt text available.

This is about as close as I will get 😉 

  1. As we know Disney is all about detail and all about story. So, in order to bring us the incredible theming of the Hollywood Tower Hotel, the Walt Disney Imagineers watched 156 episodes of “The Twilight Zone” for inspiration when creating the ride.
  2. The ride vehicle is an elevator car.
  3. The storyline of the attraction sets the date as Halloween night – October 31, 1939.

TOT112269

  1. The architecture of the tower was inspired by multiple Southern California landmarks, such as the Biltmore Hotel and the Mission Inn.
  2. The building features 27,000 roof tiles.
  3. The outdoor queue area features the songs “Inside” by Fats Waller and “Mood Indigo” by Duke Ellington.

TOT112263

  1. The grounds of the Hollywood Tower Hotel were inspired by the look of California’s Griffith Park and Elysian Park.

Image result for lobby of the tower of terror

  1. The lobby of the Hollywood Tower Hotel was outfitted with antiques and furniture purchased at Los Angeles-area auction houses.

Image result for antiques in the lobby of the tower of terror

  1. Some of the sculptures featured in the lobby are the work of 19th century sculptor Auguste Moreau.
  2. A copy of “Four Pages of Hilarious Star Caricatures by Walt Disney” is featured in Photoplay Magazine on the lobby’s concierge desk.

TOM806742

  1. The Library room features a hidden nod to Mickey Mouse in this sheet music, which is for the song “What! No Mickey Mouse?”
  2. The attraction offers a 13-story drop.
  3. The drop sequence for each elevator car is selected at random by the attraction’s computer system.
  4. Measuring 199 feet tall, Tower of Terror is one of the tallest attractions at Walt Disney World Resort.

TOT112265

15. There are now four Tower of Terror attractions at Disney Parks: Disney’s Hollywood Studios (Walt Disney World Resort), Disney California Adventure park (which has now been transformed to Guardians of the Galaxy Mission: Breakout! and No, I didn’t ride that one either), Walt Disney Studios Park (Paris), and Tokyo DisneySea   (pictured above) (each park has their own version of the classic ride)

Recipe Replicas- Mickey Beignets

This week we start a new series- Recipe Replicas!
In this series we will be learning how to make classic Disney treats at home while bringing a little magic to our kitchens.
Mickey Beignets are mostly a Disneyland classic but you can find beignets in Walt Disney World at Sassagoula Floatworks in the French Quarter section of the Port Orleans Resort.
I myself have never had the beignets from Sassagoula but I LOVE me some Mickey beignets from the Mint Julep inside Disneyland.
The Mint Julep is a quaint little walk up window located just outside of the French Market restaurant in New Orleans Square and I can tell you that there is nothing like coming off of the Pirates of the Caribbean or the Haunted Mansion after a long wait in the queu and heading over to the Mint Julep for a refreshing drink and soft, doughy, powdered sugar covered (and Mickey shaped) little pastries.
Image result for mint julep disneyland   Image result for mickey beignets mint julep disneyland
Read on to find the recipe for these tasty treats and let me know in the comments if you’ve ever had these or if you make them at home!

 Mickey Shaped Beignets 

Ingredients
  • ½ tsp. dry yeast
  • ¼ cup warm water, (105 degrees F)
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cups All Purpose Flour
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • powdered sugar
  • honey butter
Instructions
  1. Sprinkle yeast over warm water in a small bowl, stirring to dissolve. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Combine sugar, shortening, salt, heavy cream, egg, flour and boiling water in a large bowl; stir in yeast mixture. With the dough hook attachment of an electric mixer on medium speed, mix the dough just until combined and smooth. Let dough rest for 30 minutes.
  3. Roll to ¼-inch thickness and cut individual beignets with a Mickey Mouse-shaped cutter or cut into 2½ to 3-inch squares.
  4. Cover with a towel and let dough rise until doubled in size in a warm, draft-free area, about 1 to 1½ hours.
  5. Heat 3 inches of vegetable oil to 350°F in a deep, heavy pot over medium-high heat. Fry beignets until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes, turning as soon as they brown on one side. Remove with tongs and place on paper towels to drain.
  6. Dust warm beignets with powdered sugar and serve immediately.

Food…Glorious Food

Today we are going to be discussing my favorite Disney related topic…FOOD!

Join me as we go on a little field trip to the Magic Kingdom for a culinary tour of Adventureland.

Most guests upon entering the Magic Kingsdom like to veer off of Main Street throuhg the Hub and over to their left which would lead them towards the dense foliage and steady beating drums of Adventureland. While not my preffered methjod of exploring the park, this is the route that we will be following on today’s excursion.

We will follow those iron rails past the quaint shoips of Main Street U.S.A then turn left past Casey’s Corner and the Crystal Palace and pass over the bridge into Adventureland.

adventureland

Our first stop on our tour is the Sunshine Tree Terrace.

New-Sunshine-Tree-Terrace-Sign

  • Now, Sunshine Tree Terrace may not be the home of Adventurland’s most popular treat BUT it does offewr a great alternative- the Citrus Swirl.
  • As many fans know the Citrus Swirl was missing from the Magic Kingdom for a few years but made its grand reapperarance back in 2012. And with its return came a now classic debate…

Dole Whip or Citrus Swirl?

 

What exactly is a Citrus Swirl you ask?

  • It is a twist of vanilla soft serve and frozen orange juice (And yes, it is as delicious as it sounds)

Citrus-Swirl-and-orange-bird-cup-sunshine-tree-terrace

  • Much like its rival, the Citrus Swirls comes in two variations: In a cup or as a float.
  • The current price for a Citrus Swirl cup is $4.29 and the float version is available for $5.29 (Both options are available as a “Snack Credit” under the Disney Dining Plan)
  • Sunshing Tree Terrace also offers traditional flavors of soft serve ice cream for $3.99 and a Root Beer Float for $4.99 as well as an assortment of beverages.

 

 

As we head past Sunshine Tree Terrrace and further into Adventureland we find our next stop on our tour; the Jungle Nav. Co. Ltd. Skipper Canteen.

Skipper-Canteen_Full_26276

I have not yet had the chance to visit “Skipper Canteen” but based on the research that I have done, the live reviews and videos that I watched and listened to, I will definitely be heading there in the future.

As we know Disney is all about the continuity of story and the Skipper Canteen is no different. Adventureland’s newest food establishmemt and only table-service restaurant allows you to immerse yourself in the legacy of the Jungle Cruise!

The same quirky (and sometimes corny) skippers who guided your steamer on the Jungle Cruise have opened the doors and kitchens of their tropical hideaways.

At Skipper Canteen guests have the option of dining in 1 of 3 rooms: the crew’s colonial-era Mess Hall, the Jungle Room, and the S.E.A. Room—a once-secret meeting place for the Society of Explorers and Adventurers!

Skipper-Canteen_Full_26251Skipper-Canteen07

Skipper-Canteen_Full_26249

skipper-canteen-walt-disney-world-restaurant-008

In order to dine in the S.E.A. Room guests must head through a secret doorway! 

 

This restaurant is not only known for it’s rich story and environment but also for its food. Here you can explore the bold, flavorful cuisines of Asia, South America, and Africa.

 

Some of the offerings here include: Shiriki Noodle Salad, Falls Family Falafel, Dr. Falls’ Signature Grilled Steak, and “Tastes like Chicken” – Because it is!

Noodle salad with zucchini, peas, carrots, bell peppers, chicken and tofu

A stew with octopus tentacles, clams, mussels, tomatoes and shrimp

An appetizer plate containing mini corn pancakes, braised pork, black bean salad and avocado cream

A plated brownie topped with ice cream, powdered sugar, chocolate sauce and more

Disney Dining Plan and Deluxe Dining Plan are accepted at this restaurant as well!

 

Once you’ve had you’re fill at the Skipper Canteen and have returned from your cruise through the jungle, you now have a choice: you can head to the right past the Magic Carpets of Aladdin and to the border of Adventureland and Frontierland where you will find Aloha Isle or you can head to the left past the Magic Carpets of Aladdin towards everyone’s favorite swashbuckling pirates!

 

For today’s tour we will head over to Aloha Isle first.

Image result for aloha isle

And with  that we have come to Adventureland’s most sought after treat… the Dole Whip.

For those of you who have never had a Dole Whip (how is that even possible?) allow me to offer an explanation: The Dole Whip is a pineapple-flavored soft-serve frozen dessert.

As with the Citrus Swirl, Dole Whip can also be ordered as a float with Dole pineapple juice (and it is MAGICAL, there is a reason this is only served in Disney parks)

3 frozen treats from Aloha Isle snack shop, including a Pineapple float and 2 Dole Whips, with 2 pineapples.

 

BUT… there is also a new offering at Aloha Isle that I have not yet had the opportunity to try… the Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Image result for aloha aisle pineapple upside down cake

Enough Said.

 

From Aloha Isle we head back past the Magic Carpets of Aladdin and the qeue to the Pirates of the Caribbean towards Adventurelands least used dining location… Tortuga Tavern.

Image result for tortuga tavern magic kingdom

I have never actually dined at this location…mainly because it is rarely open.

Even when it is open, Tortuga Tavern doesn’t offer much by way of food (anymore, Tortuga Tavern used to offer some Mexican cuisine). After the detail and story (and food) of Skipper Canteen, Tortuga Tavern is a serious let down. When they are open, the only offerings they  have are hot dogs, turkey legs and assorted beverages.

 

Here is to hoping that some day Imagineers will realize the potential of this restaurant’s location and its theme and put much more effort into its decor, story, and menu.

 

As we head past the vacant Tortuga Tavern we round the corner and come into Frontierland near the Golden Oak Outpost and Pecos Bills Tall Tale Inn and Cafe … and this is where our adventure for today ends.

 

Join us on our next culinary tour for a look at Tommorowland.

But for now, give us your opinion in the comments section below or on our Facebook or Instagram page.

 

Which is your treat of choice… the Dole Whip or the Citrus Swirl?

 

 

References:

The pictures above are not my own, they belong to my fellow bloggers below:

http://www.wdwmagic.com

http://www.disneyfoodblog.com

http://www.wdwhelp.com

https://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/

 

 

 

Out with the Old and in with the New

Hold on to your Mickey ears!!

For those of you who don’t know there are big changes coming to Disney’s California Adventure in the next year. At D23 this summer Disney announced big plans for Pixar Pier — the new land that will replace Disney’s Paradise Pier (closed as of January 2018) — opening the summer of 2018.

Pixar pier

The newly themed land will feature revamped attractions as well as a couple of brand-new attractions, restaurants, and shops. The land will also showcase four new “neighborhoods” filled with attractions based on Pixar movies: Toy Story, The Incredibles, Inside Out, and a general Pixar-themed boardwalk.

I. The Incredibles

  • California Adventure’s original attraction California Screamin’ has closed and will be re-themed as the Incredicoaster. According to Disney, the new coaster will feature a mid-century-modern-style loading area, new character moments, and a new look for the ride vehicles. This ride will be the focal point of this land.

Incredicoaster

Rumor: King Triton’s Carousel, which is located in this area as well, will be transformed into a new Incredibles themed attraction.

Prediction: One of our fellow bloggers has predicted that it would be fun to have a superhero academy. This academy would be where young fans could train with The Incredibles and their friends (much like the Jedi Training Academy at Disney’s Hollywood Studios).

II. Toy Story

  • The second of four neighborhoods coming to Pixar Pier is Toy Story Land. This area will be built around the pre-existing Toy Story Midway Mania! attraction.
  • This particular land is also coming to Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida, where it will feature a Slinky dog rollercoaster and will also open the summer of 2018.

Toy Story land

Rumor: Both Hong Kong Disneyland and Disneyland Paris have respective versions of Toy Story Land. In these renditions, guests are “shrunk down” to the size of a toy and encounter larger-than-life versions of their favorite toys and characters. It is rumored that the Pixar Pier version could be the same.

Prediction: I think the California Adventure version of this land will look very similar to the international versions, or perhaps it will be a closer rendition of its east coast counter part. In Disney’s Hollywood Studios,  guests will step right into Andy’s backyard and play alongside his toys.

III. Inside Out

  • While we know that the third neighborhood will be themed around Inside Out, what exactly that will entail is still a bit of a mystery. We do know that this will be the first Inside Out themed area in a Disney park. But, other then that, at this point Disney has not given away any more details.

Rumor: The word circling around the Disney blogging community is that a new “family friendly “ attraction will be added in the near future; what that attraction could be is yet to be seen.

Prediction: One prediction that I came upon was a pretty spectacular one: A simulator ride fitting into this themed land, like the now-closed Cranium Command in EPCOT’s Wonder of Life pavilion, where guests would climb on-board inside Riley’s brain and get a bird’s eye view of a day in the life of a pre-teen girl from the perspective of her lovable emotions.

(I know that it is unlikely for the Imagineers to bring the idea for a previously shuttered attraction to another park, but I personally LOVE this idea. I remember riding Cranium Command with my cousins as a kid and I would love to see it revamped and brought back into the parks and I think that Inside Out is the perfect medium for just that.)

Also, if you’ve seen the movie Inside Out then you know that Riley’s brain is divided into themed areas called “Islands of Personality:” Disney could have this neighborhood mimic the islands found in Riley’s brain.

Inside out

IV. Pixar

  • The fourth neighborhood in Pixar Pier will be an amalgam of the Pixar films. But is slated to have boardwalk-style games devoted to all Pixar characters and franchises, including a Toy Story-themed game called “Bullseye Stallion Stampede.”  pixar pier boardwalk
  • Also, the gondolas of Mickey’s Fun Wheel will be getting a new look and will now feature different characters from Pixar movies.

Rumor : This area may be devoted to dining as well as boardwalk games and shopping.

Prediction: This Is Insider.com predicts that a Ratatouille-themed restaurant would fit perfectly in this neighborhood, much like “Bistrot Chez Remy” at Disneyland Paris.

(My own add on to this prediction is that this Ratatouille inspired restaurant could be put in the space where Ariel’s Grotto restaurant and Cove Bar once were.)

ratatouille

And more…

There is still a whole section in this area of the park that hasn’t even been mentioned yet. The area of “Paradise Pier’ that currently houses Paradise Gardens, Silly Symphony Swings, Jumping Jellyfish, Goofy’s Sky School, the Golden Zephyr, and the Little Mermaid will more then likely remain untouched and become a new named area called Paradise Park.

Still More…

One of the new aspects that I am most excited about is Pixar Fest. While we don’t have a ton of info on what exactly this will entail we do know that it will take place in DCA beginning on April 13 and that it will include a new fireworks show “Together Forever- A Pixar Nightime Spectacular”, the Pixar Play Parade, and the return of the Paint the Night Parade.

Pixar nighttime spec

 

 

My predictions: Let me start by saying that none of these are actually supported by concrete fact; they are just my own opinions and thoughts.

  • Since its opening in 2001, California Adventure has had a hard time finding its identity as a Disney park, a hard time finding its footing. While up until this point most of the park has been fairly cohesive in theme it has also felt kind of thrown together and not quite fitting. (At least in my opinion)  After its revamping in 2005, some of these issues were fixed. But, it still never “fit” for me; it reminds me a lot of Disney’s MGM Studios in that way.
  • Which brings me to my first prediction… a name change. If this were to happen I don’t believe that it would be for a few years yet. But, with this new emphasis on Pixar, the rumors of a Bug’s Land closing, and the slow encroachment of Marvel themed rides (possibly a land…more to come on that in the future) I think it’s only a matter of time before the “California” theme becomes non-existent or at the very least a bare minimum. And with that, the name “California Adventure” would no longer fit.
  • My second prediction: Whole park revamp: As I mentioned above I think that in the coming years the “California” theme will fade and this park will become more like  “The Studios” in Florida. I believe that eventually this park will focus on Disney’s partnerships and new IPs; such as Pixar and Marvel.

 

 

So far this topic seems to be a pretty divisive one for Disney fans and has quickly brought about two separate camps, those who are excited for the changes to come and those who think that it is a huge step in the wrong direction.

I personally am very excited for what is to come. I believe that if the Imagineers would put the same effort, imagination, story, and atmosphere into Pixar Pier as they did Cars Land and the World of Pandora in Animal Kingdom, this could be a smash hit and Disney’s latest success.

 

What about you? What do you think about these changes? Share your opinion in the comment section below or on the Disnerd’s Instagram or Facebook pages.

 

 

 

Trusting in New Beginnings

” And suddenly you know: It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of new beginnings.” – Meister Eckhart

 

Yesterday Disney’s California Adventure shuttered the proverbial doors to one of its original lands, Paradise Pier.

While I did enjoy the Pier, I am not as sad to see it go as some. While Paradise Pier is one of the most beautiful areas of a Disney park (especially at night), that I have seen, as others have stated, I go to Disney to see Disney; if I wanted to explore the beauty of California then I would do just that.

But, there are some for whom this closure hits hard, akin to one of us arriving at the Magic Kingdom to realize that Liberty Square has been closed… unimaginable!

For those of you who have yet to visit Disney’s California Adventure and who will not get to experience Paradise Pier, I have included some photos of this truly beautiful Disney locale.

Although I am a bit sad to see this area of the park go, I am much more excited for what is to come with Pixar Pier.

What do you guys think?

 

Screamin in California-X3

California Screamin opened on February 8, 2001 and was one of the park’s original rides. Its top speed of 55 miles per hour made it the fastest ride at Disneyland and one of the fastest rides at any Disney theme park.

The boardwalk-themed launched roller coaster was the eighth-longest rollercoaster in the world (and third-longest steel coaster in the United States), at 6,072 feet long. Its highest point was 120 feet followed by a 108-foot drop. Though built of steel, the design visually mimics that of a wooden coaster.

Like Space Mountain and Rock ‘n’ Roller Coaster, California Screamin’ is set to music and was the only inverting attraction at the Disneyland Resort.

 

Christmas at the Pier-X3

 

Early Morning Fun-X3

Mickey’s Fun Wheel was a 160-foot eccentric wheel at Disney California Adventure. The Fun Wheel was inspired by the Wonder Wheel on Coney Island, which also features both sliding and fixed gondolas. Mickey’s Fun Wheel has a large Mickey Mouse face at its center.

Formerly the Sun Wheel, it was expected to open on April 24, 2009, but due to delays didn’t open until May 4, 2009.

16 of its 24 gondolas ride on interior rails so that they slide inward and outward as the wheel rotates; this results in a more intense experience. The other eight gondolas are fixed to the rim of the wheel and do not slide. Guests may choose to ride in sliding or fixed gondolas, each of which can carry six people. 

California-Screamin'-Sunset-X3

 

Seaside-Souvenirs-X3

 

 

Disclaimer: As much as I wish that I could lay claim to these gorgeous pictures, I cannot. They belong to the Tours Departing Daily blog.

http://toursdepartingdaily.com/

 

 

Disney Did You Know-The Bees Knees

As fans we know that everything in Walt Disney World is done with purpose, everything that we come in contact with while within the Disney “bubble” is there for a reason. Yet, most of us tend to overlook those reasons, we don’t seek out how and why everything that we encounter is there.

Although I don’t get to the parks (on either coast) nearly as much as I would like, I am one of the odd balls who enjoys those details, I enjoy doing research and finding out the hows and the whys.

So this week in our “Disney-Did You Know” post we are going to take a look at an interesting piece of information that I found over on the amazing “Disney Food Blog”.

* If you have not already been over to the Disney Food Blog you have to head on over there and check it out. AJ’s blog covers everything related to Disney food and her website holds a wealth of information. She has everything from a blog, to pictures, to videos and Ebooks.

http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/ *

 

The DFB team recently put up a post all about the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House and in the post a stumbled upon an awesome tidbit information.

Did You Know- That the shingles of the Grand Floridian Gingerbread House are used and recycled to help the bees in Walt Disney World pollinate?

The gingerbread house is one of the first holiday staples of Walt Disney World to be taken down at the beginning of every year.

According to the DFB, there are 5,089 shingles on the Gingerbread house and every single one of them is removed, with sugar intact.

The shingles are then transported to the Disney Tree Farm where they are left out for the winter months.

And what happens during those months? The shingles are used and recycled by thousands of bees!

During months of cooler weather it is difficult for bees to find food sources so Disney combats this and assists the bees as using the shingles as means to an end.

Instead of doing what most companies would do and just destroying and disregarding the shingles, Disney continues to use them in such a special way.

The bees eat the sugar off the shingles through out the winter months and then in turn pollinate many of the flowers and other growing things you’ll see in Disney World!

And so…year after year, the Circle of Life continuous.

 

The Disney Company purchases Fox!!

       So far at the Disnerd I have made the intentional effort to post new and unique information. My original intention was not to post just released or “new” Disney news.  My reasoning for this was that there are SO many blogs and Facebook pages out there already reporting these stories that I did not want to be constantly reiterating the same information as all of these other pages.

      But, as time has gone on and I have had a chance to process what I want the Disnerd to be and how I want to share information with my readers I have come to the conclusion that I am doing a dis-serice to you, said readers, by not providing you with all the information that I ghave available to me. It has also occured to me that mayne not everyone follows as many Disney blogs and news sources as I do 😉

So without further ado… The Disnerd’s first news story!

The Disney Company has purchased Fox!

           These are exciting times for not just Disney fans but cinema enthusiasts and consumers alike!

           As of December 14, 2017, the Walt Disney Company has purchased and acquired Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. This purchase was made for approximately $52.4 Billion in stock.

          Disney has not purchased portions of 21st Century Fox including Fox Broadcasting network and stations, Fox News, Fox Business and others. What the Walt Disney Company does now own includes: 21st Century Fox’s film and television studios, cable entertainment networks and international TV businesses.

           The most exciting part of this news is that Disney owns some of our favorite entertainment properties including X-Men, Avatar, The Simpsons, and even National Geographic!

          This purchase spells great success for the Walt Disney Company as it now expands their reach around the world to include the Americas, Europe and Asia; as well as,  Star network in India and Fox’s 39% ownership of Sky across Europe. Making the Walt Disney Company a truly global company.

         This purchase also now solidifies the rumors that Bob Iger, current Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company will remain us such through 2021.

Below are not my words, but portions of statements released from various sources:

Combining with Disney are 21st Century Fox’s critically acclaimed film production businesses, including Twentieth Century Fox, Fox Searchlight Pictures and Fox 2000, which together offer diverse and compelling storytelling businesses and are the homes of Avatar, X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool, as well as The Grand Budapest Hotel, Hidden Figures, Gone Girl, The Shape of Water and The Martian—and its storied television creative units, Twentieth Century Fox Television, FX Productions and Fox21, which have brought The Americans, This Is Us, Modern Family, The Simpsons and so many more hit TV series to viewers across the globe.

Disney will also acquire FX Networks, National Geographic Partners, Fox Sports Regional Networks, Fox Networks Group International, Star India and Fox’s interests in Hulu, Sky plc, Tata Sky and Endemol Shine Group.

“The acquisition of this stellar collection of businesses from 21st Century Fox reflects the increasing consumer demand for a rich diversity of entertainment experiences that are more compelling, accessible and convenient than ever before,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company.

“We are extremely proud of all that we have built at 21st Century Fox, and I firmly believe that this combination with Disney will unlock even more value for shareholders as the new Disney continues to set the pace in what is an exciting and dynamic industry,” said Rupert Murdoch, Executive Chairman of 21st Century Fox.

“Furthermore, I’m convinced that this combination, under Bob Iger’s leadership, will be one of the greatest companies in the world. I’m grateful and encouraged that Bob has agreed to stay on, and is committed to succeeding with a combined team that is second to none.”

The agreement also provides Disney with the opportunity to reunite the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool with the Marvel family under one roof and create richer, more complex worlds of inter-related characters and stories that audiences have shown they love. The addition of Avatar to its family of films also promises expanded opportunities for consumers to watch and experience storytelling within these extraordinary fantasy worlds.

Already, guests at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Park at Walt Disney World Resort can experience the magic of Pandora—The World of Avatar, a new land inspired by the Fox film franchise that opened earlier this year. And through the incredible storytelling of National Geographic—whose mission is to explore and protect our planet and inspire new generations through education initiatives and resources—Disney will be able to offer more ways than ever before to bring kids and families the world and all that is in it.

For those interested:

Disney will hold an investor meeting at approximately 5:00 p.m. EST today, Thursday, December 14, 2017, which will be webcast at www.disney.com/investors.

Well there ya have it folks!! What began with a mouse, and even more man’s ambitions and dreams has now expanded to include not only a billion dollar company but also some of the world’s most popular big and small screen characters.

So, tell me what do you think of the news?

 

A Nightmare that never was…

“Forgive me, Mr. Claus. I’m afraid I’ve made a terrible mess of your holiday.”- Jack Skellington

 

We begin with the timeless debate: The Nightmare Before Christmas is it a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie?

The answer of course is…BOTH!

This is why this week, during the Christmas season, we will be taking a look at an attraction that could have been, but never was.

 

Tim Burton found a wealth of success in the early 90’s with movies like Batman and Edward Scissorhands and over the years has become a house hold name, continually known for his dark movies such as Sleepy Hollow, Corpse Bride, Frankenweenie, and his Alice in Wonderland movies.

But many people don’t realize that at one time Tim Burton was actually an animator for the Disney Company in the early 1980’s; working on classic Disney films such as The Fox and The Hound and The Black Cauldron.

Despite eventually being fired from Disney, Burton was still interested in working with Disney to bring one of his greatest ideas to life.

In 1990 Tim Burton partnered with his former employer to create The Nightmare Before Christmas.  Due to its darker tones and subject matter the film was released under Touchstone Pictures and not directly under the Disney name.

The film became an instant hit and was nominated for an Academy Award as well as a Golden Globe that year.  The movie continues to have a cult following and is regarded as a classic Disney film by many.

While Disney stores both nationally and within the Disney parks are inundated with Nightmare Before Christmas merchandise and the movies characters have been added to parades and shows within the parks, the Nightmare Before Christmas IP has never had a huge space within the Disney parks.

With the exception of the Haunted Mansion Holiday overlay that comes to the Disneyland resort every year. The overlay first came to the park on October 3, 2001, and quickly became popular with guests. To the dismay of many Nightmare Before Christmas fans, the overlay has yet to come to Walt Disney World Resort. It has been said that the reason for this is that in order to prepare the Haunted Mansion for its Halloween Town inhabitants the ride must be shut down for an extended period of time (at least two weeks) before and after the holiday season. This is not such a big deal in Disneyland where a good portion of the visitors are local versus the guests at Walt Disney World who are majorly all visiting for other states or even other countries and only visit (typically) every 3-5 years.

Haunted Mansion Holiday

BUT! There was a time when Disney Imagineers considered giving the Nightmare Before Christmas its own attractions.

Imagineer Chris Merritt came up with designs for a dark ride attraction, similar to other popular Disney park attractions such as Pirates of The Caribbean, Peter Pans Flight, and Snow Whites Scary Adventures, that would take you through the story of Nightmare Before Christmas.

Originally, the attraction design was slated for both coasts, but was later changed to fit only into the Disney-MGM Studios.

The designs for the attraction were very reminiscent of those for Peter Pan’s Flight. Guests would board a coffin sleigh, suspended from a ride track above and enter the world of Halloween Town through the tree with the pumpkin door. Just like in the film, the attraction would host many of the wildly popular songs from the film while taking you room to room through scenes from the movies.

To some, such as myself, this may sound like a great idea but I am sure we can all see why building an attraction that had guests riding in coffins was decided against.

 

 

So what are your thoughts?  Would you have enjoyed this attraction?  Would you like to see a Haunted Mansion overlay come to the Magic Kingdom despite the ride closures?  Post your thoughts in the comments below!

 

 

Resources

The Nightmare attraction that never was…

We begin with the timeless debate: The Nightmare Before Christmas is it a Halloween movie or a Christmas movie?

The answer of course is…BOTH!

 

This is why this week, during the Christmas season, we will be taking a look at an attraction that could have been, but never was.

 

Check back tomorrow to find out what could have been…

Thanksgiving in the Wilderness!

          This week in celebration of Thanksgiving and as a nod to my childhood we are taking a look at the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds.

 

          The Fort Wilderness Campgrounds in Walt Disney World have always held a special place in my heart. I spent many a Thanksgiving there throughout my childhood and while I have a vast love for all of Walt Disney World, the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds are a particular soft spot for me.

          The 750 acre resort sits on the shores of Bay Lake, along a white sand crescent beach.  The property is full of vegetation such as cypress and pine trees. With so many other hotels and resorts throughout Walt Disney World this natural and beautiful gem is often overlooked. But, if you are the type of person who has ever thought that “roughing it” isn’t for you, you might be surprised at just how much the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds actually have to offer.

Unlike Disneyland, Walt Disney World was meant to be a destination where you spent at least a week; not just enjoying the parks but also the resorts. Trips to Walt Disney World while wholesome family fun, are also known for being fast paced and action packed. But, at the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds you can find the peace and relaxation of a typical camping trip, all while still being within the “Disney Bubble”.

Many people hear campground and immediately have images of tents, insects, and sleeping bags dancing in their heads. But, the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds have so much more to offer than your typical camping location. Millions of people a year plan trips to what has been deemed by many the “vacation capital of the world” and while planning such trips most people consider which parks they will visit, the rides they will need to fast pass and the restaurants that they will need to secure Advanced Dining Reservations (ADR’s) for but at the Fort Wilderness there is so much more to do and see.

The campgrounds offer an array of activities and amenities, it is entirely possible to stay for a week or more and never leave. There’s bike riding, canoeing, horseback riding, and all sorts of water sports. Fishing is also a popular and exciting pastime at Fort Wilderness. 

water sports

boats_n

carriages22_n

The Fort Wilderness Campgrounds offer a relaxing atmosphere of a bygone frontier era all amid the beauty of central Florida.

Many people don’t realize just how long The Fort Wilderness Campgrounds have been around. They opened on November 19th, 1971 and have long been considered one of the “original three” resorts. But every Disney fan knows that it actually opened one month after the Magic Kingdom, Contemporary and Polynesian Village resorts; which all opened  on October 1, 1971.

One of the aspects that made  the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds so popular in its first years was its proximity to Walt Disney World’s first water park and no  I don’t mean Blizzard Beach nor Typhoon Lagoon; it was in fact River Country. The water park opened in 1976 and was located behind the Settlement Depot. 

The popular Disney blog, WDW Mousenger, reports that the new pool renovation at Fort Wilderness features a slide built around a water tower that was an original fixture from River Country. I have to admit that for a Disnerd like me, that’s pretty exciting!

The seasoned Disney fan will know of Walt’s love for trains, which explains why the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds originally featured its own steam train that transported guests and campers along 3 ½ miles of railroad tracks.

Almost 50 years later the resort is still a favorite among returning guests.  The resort is so popular that there are people (such as my family members) who consistently return year after year and turn it into a family tradition, as mine has. Guests come from all over to set up for weeks at a time, and some, such as retiree’s, live the ultimate dream and set up year round.

Image may contain: outdoor     Image may contain: outdoorImage may contain: one or more people and outdoor

Over the years the campground has seen many changes and renovations; more camping loops have been added and the size of the resort has almost tripled.

What makes the only campgrounds in Walt Disney World so unique is that they offer accommodations for everyone; even the camping novice. Over the years, as its popularity has grown and a myriad of different guest types have poured in,  409 log cabins have been added.  The newest and most recent renovation included wider campsites, WiFi access, and a new swimming pool area with a slide and for those traveling with their pets an enclosed dog park. Not only do guests have the option of “roughing it” while staying in a tent, pop-up trailer, or RV but they also have the option of staying in a more traditional setting inside one of the cabins.

          Another great aspect of the campground is that transportation to and from the resort is easy. Conveniently located near the Magic Kingdom, only a single boat ride away from the Fort Wilderness Lodge docks, and there are also buses conveniently servicing any other location guests may desire.

ferry

There are 3 different shuttles buses that take you around the property to the different loops but you can rent golf-carts to get you around the property as well.

One of my favorite memories from our time at the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds are from when my cousins and I were allowed to walk around the loops on our own, waving hi to people as we walked past their site and playing with other kids. Or when we were given permission to ride one of the shuttle buses around the loops by ourselves (Again, even though it may not seem like it, you are within the Disney bubble and you know that it is a safe place) 

bus stop_n

The resort is set up in a series of separate loops which allows for a great sense of community within said loops. In between each campsite there is lush vegetation and trees which gives you the feel of privacy but also allows you to commune and create friendships with the people in the sites around you and on your loop.

That remoteness and relaxed, slower pace have a way of making you feel like you are out of the Disney bubble without actually taking you out of it. It feels like you are in the middle of the woods, at a remote destination, not in the middle of Walt Disney World.

Being the Disney lover that I am, I have to admit my trips revolve around the parks. But, some of my favorite times during my childhood were walking along the shady paths with my cousins where deer, rabbits and even armadillo could be spotted. And that is exactly what makes the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds so special and unique. You almost don’t even need to leave the campgrounds and go to the parks.

If you are looking for a vacation that will be easy on your budget but still be fun and relaxing. This is the perfect way to go to Disney World without having the typical Disney World experience, of hustling and bustling through-out the parks.

We talk about how all of Disney is this immersive experience, and that is exactly the type of experience that you get when you stay at the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds. When thinking of the campgrounds people tend to forget that even though it is not the “typical” Disney experience… it is still Disney and Disney is all about the story and all about the interactive experience. If you’ve read previous posts you know that I have said in the past that when at Walt Disney World we are not meant to be casual observer, we are meant to be active participants everywhere we go. The Fort Wilderness Campgrounds are no different, Disney does not do anything half way, and guests of the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds are still getting the Disney service and experience.

The experience that you will have at Fort Wilderness is so different than any other experience that you could have in Walt Disney World. Typically you will go to the lobby of your resort, they hand you your key and you’re on your way down the hall to your room. At Fort Wilderness, you pull up to the outpost and you are given a park map and the Fort Wilderness Gazette, a “newspaper” that reports all of the goings on around the resort, and you are assigned your loop and your campsite and from there you are free to explore.

receptionn

No automatic alt text available.  Image may contain: one or more people and people standing

Being the uncoordinated human that I am, it’s still not one of my favorite activities but I do love the memories of my uncle teaching me to ride a bike along the tree lined loops.  It was and still is a great family activity to hop on your bikes and ride over to the trading post themed shopping areas where you can find specialty Disney merchandise that is unique only to Fort Wilderness.  

outpostn

But, there is nothing like taking a leisurely walk along those shady tree lined paths, hearing the faint sound of the train whistle of the Walt Disney Road Railroad in MK, and feeling the cool breeze coming off of Bay Lake.

Also to be found is the highly popular Hoop De Doo Musical Review, a song and dance show reminiscent of the old west.  While I have not experienced the Hoop De Doo myself, I have heard from many sources that it is a great family activity and quite possibly the best “dinner and entertainment” option in “the World”. It well should be, as it is one of the longest running dinner shows in the world, having run continuously since September, 1974.

hoop d don

There is also a 1.5 mile round trip biking and jogging trail between the campground area and the wilderness hotel to allow you to work off all those calories from the all-you-care-to-eat buffet at the Trail’s End Restaurant!

One of the most unique aspects of the Fort is the “Shoe” tree, which can be found along the shores of Bay Lake, heading towards the Contemporary Hotel.  The Cypress tree growing at the water’s edge is adorned with dozens of pairs of shoes hang in the branches by their laces, rumored to be a tongue in cheek tradition of cast members finishing their work program.

shoe tree

While the day time activities at the Fort are not to be missed, the nighttime atmosphere is incomparable.  

Each night beginning at 7:30 there is a campfire program hosted by Chip “N” Dale featuring s’mores, sing-a-longs, and a feature length film on the outdoor screen.  This activity always been my favorite of all those offered at Fort Wilderness and the beach offers a mesmerizing view of the Magic Kingdom fireworks across Bay Lake.

   Image may contain: fire, night and food  Image may contain: night and outdoor

         

As I stated my family and I spent many Thanksgivings in the Wilderness and those times have become some of our fondest memories from Walt Disney World.

My aunt, Jackie has said “What can I say, my kids grew up in those camp sites! They all learned how to ride a bike there and took their first horseback rides on property. Over the years we have discovered that when visiting the Fort Wilderness Campogrounds  it’s not necessary to go to the parks, there’s plenty to do right on property. The memories of my kids grouwing up there are my favorite and I hope to share those same joys and experiences with my grandchildren.”

My grandmother, Dali says “ I love that place, it is a beautiful and cozy place where the holiday festivities are abundant. I have been there many times around Thanksgiving  and created beautiful memories with my children.”

And my cousin Vanessa says “For my family, Ft. Wilderness was where memories were made. It was a place where you could unplug and unwind. Family came first and nothing else mattered. Not only was Mickey detailed along the whole campground, but you also felt the Disney spirit. My family used to go every Thanksgiving and it’s something I will never forget. I may not live in Florida, anymore but I know that I will also share my love of Disney with my kids and share the tradition of Ft. Wilderness with them for years to come.”

 

 

In the end there isn’t much more to be said then that a visit to the Fort Wilderness campground is a treat not to be missed.

 

 

Resources

http://www.wdwradio.com

Picture credit goes to my awesome aunt and uncle who are currently staying at the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds

Thanksgiving in the Wilderness

Although it may be the last of the Disney World resorts that people think to stay at; the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds will always hold a special place in my heart.

I celebrated many a Thanks giving at the campgrounds with my family and those memories are some of my fondest from Walt Disney World.

So, this week, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, we will be taking a look at the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds and its rich history.

Ft-Wilderness-01

fort-wilderness-001maxresdefault

Absence Makes the Heart Grow Fonder

If this is your first time to the Disnerd, let me just say a big, huge WELCOME! I am so glad you’re here.

The Disnerd has been in existence for about 6 months now and so far we have covered an array of topics; from honeymooning at Walt Disney World to an in-depth look at Main Street U.S.A and some of our other favorite attractions.

My mission here at the Disnerd is to equip others with the tools and knowledge to experience the magic of Disney in any way they can. I hope that you will take a look back at some of our previous posts and that they will do just that.

I also ask that you would leave us a comment, like our page and share a post.

 

If you’re already a part of the Disnerd family, then I would like to say Jambo and welcome you back.

I would also like to offer my apologies. When I began the Disnerd it was my intent to offer a constant stream of posts for my audience. But, as the saying goes, “The best laid plans always go awry.”

To quote Dr. Malcolm from Jurassic Park, “Life finds a way.” In my case, it finds a way to interrupt and disrupt.

So many things have happened in both my personal and professional lives that I just haven’t been able to keep up with the blog as much as I would have liked or originally intended.

 

But, it’s a great big beautiful tomorrow and all we can do is move forward.

1054b31df3569c71f573084b72eb54e7

So, again I apologize and from here on out I will strive to do better.

 

Thanks for stopping by,

Jess

 

Disney-Did You Know? – No Peter Pan in Magic Kingdom

Peter Pan’s Flight has been one of the most popular attractions in the Disney parks on both coasts since they each opened. Both attractions almost always have wait times of more than an hour and why wouldn’t they? Who wouldn’t want to fly over London aboard an enchanted pirate ship on its way to Never Land?

But! Did you know that Peter Pan’s Flight was almost left out of Magic Kingdom?

According to sources, in the original plans for Magic Kingdom there were plans for a Mary Poppins themed “Jolly Holiday” attraction which would have taken the place of Peter Pan’s Flight. In these plans there were two different versions of the ride being played around with. One version created by Imagineer Tony Baxter, had carousel horses riding through chalk drawings pulled from the movie. The other was an umbrella flying over the rooftops of London (very reminiscent of the concept for Peter Pans Flight).

The idea behind this was that there was already a Peter Pan’s Flight attraction in Disneyland, and even though the attraction remained insanely popular, it was thought that maybe guests of Walt Disney World on the east coast wouldn’t want the same attractions as their west coast counterparts.

The Imagineers in Walt Disney World also wanted to make this new park something new and different and therefore wanted to implement new technologies and attractions.

The Jolly Holiday was planned to be an opening day attraction. But, it was actually Roy Disney who stepped in and put a stop to this new ride idea. Roy believed that eact coast guests would be very disappointed if they did not get some of the familiar attractions. He also argued that only 1% of Disneyland’s guests actually came from the east coast so if the Peter Pan themed attraction was not placed in Magic Kingdom then most guests would never get to experience it.

In the end Roy won the battle and Peter Pan’s Flight opened along with the rest of the Magic Kingdom in 1971 and to this day is still one of the most beloved attractions in the park.

 

So, what do you think? Would you trade Peter Pan and Tink for Mary Poppins and Bert?

 

References

Picture: https://disneyland.disney.go.com/attractions/disneyland/peter-pans-flight/

http://www.wdwradio.com/category/podcasts/

https://www.mouseplanet.com/articles.php

Disney- Did You Know?- Flying…Mary Poppins?

Who doesn’t love seeing Tinker Bell fly over the park during the night time fireworks show?

Tink began her flying debut in Disneyland in the summer of 1961. She flew from the top of the Matterhorn and over Sleeping Beauty Castle. But, when Magic Kingdom Park opened in 1971, Tink was nowhere to be found.

It wasn’t until 1985 that guests at the Walt Disney World Resort finally got their wish and were able to watch Tink’s first flight on July 3, 1985.

But did you know that, according to reports, in 1966 in Disneyland it was not Tinker Bell but Mary Poppins who made the trip from the Matterhorn over the top of Sleeping Beauty Castle?

 

Disney- Did You Know? – This is NOT a Walt Disney quote

We have all heard the words spoken or seen the quote sprawled across Pinterest boards and the covers of journals and planners, and painted across trendy coffee mugs. (I myself own a few of these items

But, did you know that these words were not actually uttered by Walt Disney himself?

According to Disney Legend and Historian and founder of the Disney Archives, Dave Smith, he was once told the truth about whom actually first spoke these infamous words.

So who was it?

It was actually Imagineer, Tom Fitzgerald. Tom originally wrote this line specifically for an attraction in Walt Disney World… Horizons in EPCOT. The words were part of a song that played in the attraction as well as being seen on graphics used for the attraction. Horizons opened on October 1, 1983… 17 years after the death of Walt Disney.

Don’t feel too bad, even the Disney Company has occasionally incorrectly attributed this quote to their name sake.

So, although this is an ideal that I am sure Walt would have whole heartedly agreed with…it is not one that he ever actually said.

 

Coming Soon…

“Welcome to the universe of X-S. You are about to observe the latest scientific works brought to you by X-S Tech, the galaxy’s leader in innovative high technology.”

In honor of Halloween quickly approaching; for the next few posts we will be taking a look at Disney’s (scariest?) attractions.

Join me as we take a trip back in time and visit one of Walt Disney World’s scariest and most controversial attractions, The ExtraTERRORestrial Alien Encounter in Tomorrowland. This attraction lasted less than a decade, but made a huge impact on any guest who was brave enough to ride it. Most people don’t equate Disney with terror but they cleverly placed it right there in the name a warning. And still this attraction because one of Disney’s most popular and hated rides of all time. Hated due to its fear factor, but popular because of its celebrity cast and sophisticated plot line. We’ll take a look at the history of the attraction, the changes that ensued after guest complaints, and its ultimate demise.

Secrets of Disneyland: The Haunted Mansion

This year marks the 45th anniversary of the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland.  The attraction opened on August 9, 1969. So, in the spirit of that celebration I have spent several weeks researching this week’s subject.

I personally favor the Grand Tudor style Haunted Mansion tucked away in its own little corner of Magic Kingdom; but I have developed a soft spot for the antebellum style mansion located in Disneyland’s New Orleans Square, mainly because the ride was in part Imagineered by Walt himself.

maxresdefault

For many Disney attractions, the journey from idea to reality can be a long and difficult one and one of the best examples of this is the Haunted Mansion.

Come witness a ghoulishly glorious sight as we take a look back at the creation of one of the Disney parks most popular attractions.

Creation

  • The journey from time of conception to opening was a 14 year long one.
  • While the Mansion itself was built in 1963, the attraction didn’t open until 1969, six years later.
  • The idea for the Haunted Mansion came about in the early 1950’s from Walt himself. In fact, Walt wanted a Haunted Mansion style attraction in Disneyland long before it ever even opened.

 

Location, Location, Location

  • One of the very first maps drawn up of Disneyland showed a haunted house down at the end of Main Street because that is originally where it was going to be located in the park.
  • It is believed that Walt’s way of thinking was that every small town had its City Hall, its Drug Store etc. and they all had that house at the end of the street or up on the hill that everyone believed to be haunted. And Main Street was meant to be just that…a small town.
  • Even though this was Walt’s original concept, the first idea for the Haunted Mansion to truly make its way off of the drawing boards was the one that featured the Haunted Mansion in New Orleans Square.
  • Originally New Orleans Square was to be in the area where Indiana Jones currently sits, which would have been where the Haunted Mansion was located.
  • In the end, around 1950, the attraction was assigned to Imagineer Ken Anderson. He was the one who truly moved the mansion away from Main Street and onto New Orleans Square. The decision eventually ended the debates over what the exterior façade of the house would look like.

 

Scary V. Funny

  • One of the reasons why it took so long for the attraction to open was because there were many disputes and disagreements about just what the attraction would be.
  • In those early stages, there were several different machinations and ideas of what type of attraction the Mansion would be. Imagineer Marvin Davis had the idea for a House on the Hill; Ken Anderson thought of it more as a Ghost House and San McKin had the idea of a rundown decrepit mansion.

 

Walk or Ride/ Pirates or Ghosts

  • Ken Anderson’s original idea had the attraction set as a standard haunted house type attraction following in the same suit as the Pirates of the Caribbean. They wanted to continue the theme of the Pirates of the Caribbean Wax Museum.
  • That was due largely to the fact that the Haunted Mansion was originally going to be about pirates. Eventually it was decided that this did not have to be the case and the Haunted Mansion did not have to tie back into Pirates.
  • The story line for the Haunted Mansion was originally that Captain Gore had killed his wife in their home and her ghost comes back to haunt him which eventually drives him crazy, causing him to hang himself.
  • In the original design the guests would walk through the attraction going from room to room through this Haunted Mansion and they would eventually come to an enclosed chamber and there would be a scene where heavy winds from outside would blow open the chamber doors and in could come this ghost ship with Captain Gore on board and he would give the back story of the house before disappearing. Even though the animatronics for this scene were said to be beyond their years, eventually this idea was scrapped because the scene took about 2 minutes to run through and it did not allow for a steady flow of guests through the attraction. There are reminiscent of this story line though out the house; there is a painting of Captain Gore in the hall as you enter the mansion, the hanging figure in the elevator and the bride in the attic.
  • Although you can see a reincarnation of this idea in the current attraction where guests enter a chamber (actually an elevator) and witness a scene from the backstory of the attraction.
  • Eventually it was decided that this did not have to be the case and the Haunted Mansion did not have to tie back into Pirates.
  • Another idea was for the attraction to be centered on the Bloodmire family. In this design the guests were lead through the house by a “Ghost Host” (which obviously stuck around), called the Lonesome Ghost, at the time.
  • At one point the scene with the ghost ship and captain was changed and in its place was the headless horseman.
  • Several years passed as these ideas were tossed around and designed. But, eventually it was decided between Walt and Imagineer Marty Sklar (who just passed away on July 27, 2017) that the story would be of a house that attracts ghosts. It was no longer about what happened in the house in the past but what was currently happening to the ghosts who had taken up residence within the house.

 

The Empty Years

  • After this idea took shape the half built Haunted Mansion sat vacant for years. One of the reasons for this was Walt’s passing in 1966.
  • After Walt died, the arguments over the attraction began again.
  • Eventually, Dick Nunis (the Director of Disneyland) told the then Illusioneers, that before anything else could be decided, a ride system needed to be set into place that could move guests through the house in an efficient manner, allowing for maximum guest turnaround.
  • Eventually, the Illusioneers at WED realized that they already had such a system. It was the Omni-Mover that had been used to transport guests on the People Mover in Tomorrowland. They realized that they could use the same mechanism in the Haunted Mansion attraction.
  • Once this idea was realized, another “battle” began between the two camps who wanted the attraction to be scary versus those who though that is should be silly or funny. On one hand was Mark Davis for the funny side and on the other Claud Coates for the scary side.

 

Legendary Effects

  • Once all of the details were sorted and the fighting had finally fizzled out. The potential for this attraction was truly brought to the forefront and it began to take shape.
  • Imagineer X. Atencio wrote the now immortalized Grim Grinning ghost song that can be heard playing during the attraction.

 

Hat Box Ghost

  • Created by Yale Gracey
  • Originally only worked within the attraction for about two weeks before it was removed because they couldn’t get it to work.
  • Not only was the figure itself removed from the ride but virtually all evidence that the Hat Box Ghost even existed disappeared; everything form the mold, the figures and the drawings.
  • The Hat Box Ghost was not seen again until it resurfaced in early 2015 bringing back much of that mysteriousness from the early days of the attraction.

 

Disneyland_2015_Hatbox_Ghost_Photo

 

 

Coming Soon…

Keep calm and look out for Hitchhiking Ghosts…

haunted-mansion-ghosts-3

This month marks the 48th anniversary for Disneyland’s Haunted Mansion. So, I thought that this would be the perfect time to switch things up a little bit and do a post on an attraction in Disneyland rather than one in Walt Disney World.

I have been doing tons of research and have found many new details and tid bits to share with you guys. I am super excited to talk about one of my favorite attractions with you guys and hope that you are too!

 

 

 

 

Pictures Courtesy of: Tours Departing Daily http://toursdepartingdaily.com/

Secrets of Disney World: Typhoon Lagoon

“A furious storm once roared across the sea, catching ships in its path, helpless to flee. Instead of a helpless and watery doom the wind swept them here to Typhoon Lagoon.”

Typhoon Lagoon

 

Background

The legend of Typhoon Lagoon tells that before the furious storm roared ‘cross the sea, this peaceful little spot was known as Placid Palms. The community of Placid Palms was turned upside down by the destructive storm.  In the aftermath, the local residents, decided to stay in their home and press on. They appropriately renamed their resort Leaning Palms and have kept the village running despite the scattered marine debris, uprooted trees, and ships literally turned upside down.  Today the Leaning Palms resort is a part of what has become Typhoon Lagoon.

Many people on the outside believe that the Disney parks are just amusements parks filled with attractions, but they are so much more than that. They are chalk-full of detail and story, they provide an environment and an ambiance and an immensely interactive experience, if you just take the time look around you. Typhoon Lagoon is such a great example of that, this park is just a glimpse into the rich backstories that the Disney Imagineers create when they build these parks, these worlds they create for us to step into.

When Walt Disney World opened in October of 1971 it immediately became known at the vacation kingdom of the world. The Walt Disney Company has been working diligently ever since to ensure that they retain that reputation. This is why they do their best to continually bring their guests new and innovative experiences. The first way that they did this was by introducing an idea that was relatively new at the time… the water park.

 

River Country

River country

Before Typhoon Lagoon and eventually Blizzard Beach, there was River Country.

River Country was located on an island in the middle of Bay Lake. One of the most vivid things that I can remember from my MANY trips to Walt Disney World as a child, is riding the ferry across Bay Lake to and from the Fort Wilderness Campgrounds and seeing the abandoned structures and dried out slides of River Country. It always drew my attention and peaked my curiosity and it wasn’t until I was older that I was able to do my research and find out what the island had once been. But, as a child it seemed to me a lost world waiting to be explored and discovered…if I only they would let me.

In 1976, Disney World’s River Country was introduced. It was the 1st water park to open in the Walt Disney World Resort. It opened on June 20, 1976, intriguingly enough on my birthday (13 years before my actual birth). Typhoon Lagoon then opened 13 years later on June 1st, 1989. (19 days before my birthday)

It is impossible to discuss Typhoon Lagoon without first discussing River Country because River Country is really where the story of Typhoon Lagoon began.

 

  • As stated above, River Country was located on an island, near the shores of Bay Lake, in the Fort Wilderness area of Walt Disney World.

 

  • River Country was themed as a sort “Swimming Hole”, the type that Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn would have visited (which tied the park back into the Magic Kingdom’s Tom Sawyer Island).

 

  • Again, Disney is all about theming and story. Even though it wasn’t very big (about a quarter of the size of Typhoon Lagoon) River Country was the quintessential swimming hole with rope swing and all. The water park had the same type of feel as Tom Sawyer’s island with its rock formations, caves, and rope and barrel bridges.

 

  • What people did not realize at the time is that they were literally swimming in the waters of Bay Lake. Water from the lake was pumped from the lake into the artificial mountain and rock formations and then spread throughout the park, and then eventually pumped back into the lake.

 

  • Because the water was unfiltered lake water, eventually issues arouse with water safety and algae content.

 

  • As these problems mounted, it was decided that rather than fix these problems it would more cost effective to close River Country and to open a brand new park.

 

  • Thus, Typhoon Lagoon was born.

 

Typhoon Lagoon

The Story

  • Again everything with Disney is about the story. People don’t realize it but every single park, every ride, every restaurant has a story. Every miniscule detail is there for a reason, nothing in any Disney park is done by accident. Therefore, a new water park meant a new story.
  • The original concept for Typhoon lagoon was themed after the Disney movie Splash.
  • This lead to the original story for Typhoon Lagan being that a cruise ship had run aground and washed up on the shores of a beach.
  • There was also a time when the idea was to have the water park themed as if in the middle of a Florida swamp; very dense and tropical
  • In the end, the story of Typhoon Lagoon goes much deeper than what most people realize.
  • In the 1950s, Hurricane Connie brought total destruction and devastation to the town of Placid Palms; bringing earth quakes and volcanic eruptions.
  • After the hurricane, the remaining townspeople took what was left of their town and rebuilt it into the Leaning Palms resort.
  • There are exotic creature, such as sharks in the reef (now replaced by Miss Adventure Falls), because when Hurricane Connie swept across the town it deposited these creatures there
  • When you enter the park the first thing that you see is a souvenir shop owned by Singapore Sal; whose girlfriend is Typhoon Tilly who owns the restaurant down the road. Both are inhabitants of the Leaning Palms Resort.
  • The ship “The Tilly” was thrown on top of Mount Mayday which erupts every half hour, the steam being emitted from the volcano can be seen from almost every area of the park.
  • After Hurricane Connie struck and Mount Mayday erupted the lava flow created what are now the water slides throughout the park
  • You can still see remnants of the “Old Key West” type village that Placid Palms once was in the debris left around the area.
  • There is even a capsized boat near the storm slides.

 

The Water Park

  • Typhoon Lagoon has the world’s largest surf pool. It is not just a wave pool, you can actually surf there.

 

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/recreation/surf-lessons/

surf-lessons-00

  • The park has under gone two expansions in its time. Once in 2005 when Crush ‘n Gusher was opened.
  • This area was once a fruit washing and packaging plant called Tropical Amity Fruit Exporters, but was irreparably damaged during the hurricane.
  • Then another expansion was done in 2016 when the tropical fish where moved and the reef drained in order to make way for Miss Adventure Falls.
  • The park is closed 3 months out of the year
  • Typhoon Lagoon follows on the path of the other parks in that it offers its own big reveal, the same way that Magic Kingdom does with Cinderella’s Castle. Once you get past the turnstiles and into the park you have to go down a winding path and up a hill before the lagoon is revealed in front of you.

 

The Attractions

Lagoon:

  • 6 foot waves every minute and a half
  • The pool offers different experiences depending on where in the pool you are, the closer to the front you are the higher the waves and the rougher the water
  • Towards the front of the pool are two islands where you can sit in the water and relax

typhoon-lagoon-surf-pool-gallery03

Castaway Creek:

  • The parks Lazy River
  • It takes 20-25 minutes to go all the way around
  • You can enter Castaway Creek from a number of entry points and use a tube to float, drift or walk
  • The lazy river is about 2000 feet longcastaway-creek-gallery00

Ketchakiddee Creek:

  • Children’s area; 48 inches or smaller only
  • Full of small slides, a sandy beach and splash areasketchakiddee-creek-gallery00

Keelhaul Falls:

  • Where daredevils can ride through roaring rapidskeelhaul-falls-gallery02

Mayday Falls:

  • Take a trip through caves and waterfalls on the parks longest slidemay-day-falls-gallery02

Gangplank Falls:

  • Gather the gang for a raft ride in a giant inner tube with room enough for 4 people!gang-plank-falls-01

Storm Slides:

  • Hurtle down a trio of winding, water-gushing slides for a sensational 3-story splashdown.storm-slides-gallery03

Bay Slides:

  • Twin body slides offer scaled-down thrills and spills suitable for tiny tots while parents wade in the Surf Pool.bay-slides-gallery08

Crush ‘n Gusher:

  • Grab a friend for this multi-passenger, roller-coaster-like raft ridecrush-n-gusher-gallery00

Humunga Cowabunga:

  • Plummet down Mount Mayday for a near-vertical, 5-story drop—in the dark!humunga-kowabunga-gallery04

Miss Adventure Falls:

  • Board a treasure raft and hit the high seas for family fun during the longest ride in the history of the Disney water parks!Miss-Adventure-Falls_Full_29840

 

I hope you have enjoyed learning more about the Leaning Palms Resort! Stay tuned for more “Secrets of the Disney Parks” and keep an eye out for our post about a one-time ski resort that has melted into a watery wonderland.

 

Part 2- Secrets of Disney World: The Contemporary Resort.

 

“Walt Disney World’s Contemporary Resort Hotel is one of the world’s most dynamic new hotels. It’s a place to stay and a place to play… where monorail trains glide silently right through the soaring A-frame structure…and beautiful Bay Lake is right outside your room.”

Hello everyone! Because there are so many great facts about the Contemporary Resort, it was all too much to include in one post. SO here is Part 2 of “Secrets of Disney World: The Contemporary Resort. “

 

  1. Unfinished Project
  • When the Contemporary opened on October 1, 1971 it was not finished; there were still cranes all over it.
  • The estimate for the cost of the rooms was originally $15,000-$17,000 per room. But, they actually ended up costing approximately $100,000 per room.

 

unfinished

2. Edible Monorail

  • There is ONE place in ALL of the Disney parks around the world where you can order and eat a replica of the Walt Disney World Monorail.
  • What is that one place you ask? It is Disney’s Contemporary Resort!
  • The replica that you receive is made of white chocolate with molten milk chocolate inside of it and is served with a plate of gourmet truffles.
  • In order to get your hands on this beauty you must be a guest of the Contemporary Resort and can only order it through room service for a price of $45.

choc mon

3. Secret Pathways

  • Originally, there was to be a pathway that lead directly from Tomorrowland to the Contemporary and was supposed to have some sort of People Mover on it. This path would lead you into Tomorrowland near Space Mountain.
  • When the Contemporary was built it was meant to be an extension of Tomorrowland in the Magic Kingdom.
  • This is why you can only see the Contemporary from Tomorrowland. If you get on the TTA (People Mover/Blue Line) as you approach the Carousel of Progress, if you look to your left, you can see the Contemporary through the trees.

4. Christmas at the Contemporary

  • The Contemporary is home to the largest Christmas Tree in Walt Disney World
  • During the holidays just outside of Fantasia Gift Shop towards the Magic Kingdom, by the glass wall, a choir comes in and sings Christmas carols and performs a free holiday concert.

christmat

5. Brunch with a View

Although I haven’t yet had the privilege of dining at California Grill, I have heard that it is by far one of the best restaurants on property. And have come to discover that in February of 2016 they began to offer a Sunday Brunch.

  • The restaurant offers breath-taking views of the Magic Kingdom and the Seven Seas Lagoon.
  • AND you may return later to watch the Happily Ever After fireworks show from the rooftop deck by bringing your receipt to the California Grill check-in desk on the 2nd floor.
  • There is an open air kitchen which allows you to interact with the guests
  • The Brunch is part buffet, part table- service
  • The menu is extensive with delightful selections such a Sushi, a “Build-Your-Own” Greek Yogurt Station, and a “Build-Your-Own” Bloody Mary bar

 

bloody

 

view

yogurt

Well, there ya have it folks. I hope you have enjoyed this edition of “Secrets of Disney World” and I hope you’ll stay tuned for our next edition where we take a look at one of Disney’s most evolutionary parks.

 

 

Sources

http://www.disneyfoodblog.com/2016/09/06/guest-review-brunch-at-the-top-at-california-grill-in-disneys-contemporary-resort/

http://www.disneytouristblog.com/disney-world-christmas-decorations-tour/

https://disneyworld.disney.go.com/dining/contemporary-resort/california-grill/menus/brunch/

http://www.wdwradio.com/